Five Quick Ways to Speed Up Your Home Network

Posted in Internet

It’s no longer an amenity: people need a strong Wi-Fi signal in their homes. In a recent IDC survey, the US respondents have stated that Wi-Fi (access to the Internet) is the second thing they couldn’t live without, with the top place being taken by food, in case that you were wondering.

As a general rule, internet signal arrives in your home through a cable, and then it is fed into a router, which shares it using Wi-Fi (wirelessly) with all the Internet-ready devices in your home that are connected to the router. There are exceptions to these rules, of course, but that’s what happens in 99% of the homes.

Home wi-fi network

Progress has been made during the last years with Internet access and router setup, with some companies promising 60 seconds Wi-Fi setups, but this is still an area that can make many people that don’t have an IT background cautious. Here are five easy ways to speed up your home network without risking to break your working Wi-Fi connection.

1. Find out the best router position in your home. You don’t have to be an IT genius to do that either; the closer the router, the stronger the signal. It is important to know that a router that’s placed on the floor won’t perform as well as one that’s placed higher – on a shelf, for example.

You can either place the router close to the center of your home, thus providing decent Wi-Fi signal for all the devices, or (our recommendation) you can move the router closer to the devices that really need a strong internet connection: your home office, a computer that is supposed to stream video, etc.

2. Use good router antennas. Your router has one or more antennas, and their makers have decided to make them orientable for a good reason: it matters! Often times, a vertical antenna position provides a strong Wi-Fi signal for most devices, but sometimes it may help to rotate the antennas towards the device(s) that need a good Internet connection the most.

wireless router antennas

If the properly oriented antennas don’t fix the problem, it may be the time to think of a high gain RP-SMA antenna and cable.  If you plan to upgrade a Wi-Fi antenna, you will also need an RP-SMA right-angle adapter, because this will allow an omni-directional antenna to stand upright.

3. Change your router’s operating frequency, if possible. Did you know that many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, etc work on a frequency – 2.4 GHz – that is also being used by many routers? Many of the modern routers (dual-band routers) allow you to change the operating frequency, so do that if it is possible, because it will reduce the interference with other devices. You may need to consult your router’s manual to do that.

4. Update your router’s firmware. Just like Windows, your router makes use of patches that fix vulnerabilities and sometimes boost its speed. Check the router’s manual, and then download and install the router firmware. Don’t forget to change the default password to one that includes letters, numbers and special characters like %,^, and &.

5. Prevent people from stealing your Wi-Fi signal. Did you know that many people use others’ internet connections? Fortunately, there are many tools that will help you determine who is connected to your Wi-Fi network and – even better! – send you an email whenever someone is trying to connect without having your permission.

Use these five ideas and I guarantee that your home network will be faster. The best part is that you shouldn’t need more than a few hours of work, and then you will be able to enjoy the benefits of a faster Internet connection for many years.


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Bingham Memorial Hospital Launches a Series of Online Medical Tests

Posted in Hospitals, News

Bingham Memorial Hospital, a medical health care unit located in Blackfoot, Idaho which is led by hospital manager Louis Kraml, has recently launched several a series of medical tests that are supposed to help and educate the area residents.

The first test is a diabetes 2 risk assessment quiz; its role is to help people evaluate their type 2 diabetes risks, as well as to educate them regarding the factors that can trigger the disease.

The test consists of a small series of questions which ask the persons that are taking the test if they have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure, what is their age (the diabetes 2 risk increases as we age), their gender (men are more likely to develop diabetes), their diabetes family history (this could increase the risk for diabetes as well), their race (people belonging to certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop diabetes), level of physical activity (inactivity can increase the risk of diabetes) and the height / weight ratio (people with higher BMI values have a greater diabetes 2 risk).

A score is displayed at the end of the test, along with a diagnosis and information about the risk factors that should be taken into account. The results can be shared or printed; as an alternative, it is possible to schedule a consultation with a specialist on the same website page.

The second medical test that has been recently launched at Bingham Memorial Hospital is the Pre-Pregnancy IQ Test, which is addressed to the mothers that take into consideration the idea of having a baby. The test consists of a true / false series of questions with instant answer checks, in an effort to offer the future mothers good quality advice from the very beginning.

The test discusses preparation before the very first prenatal care to the doctor, over-the-counter drugs, which can affect the baby, so are not recommended before getting the doctor’s approval, dangerous chemicals workplaces and environments, prenatal vitamins and their role in preventing birth defects, as well as other things that can be done to make sure that your baby is going to be as healthy as possible.

The report at the end of the test provides the score, as well as the option of subscribing to the monthly “Health Matters for Women” newsletter. It is also possible to schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at Bingham Memorial Hospital’s Women’s Center.

We look forward to seeing more tests like these in the future; they are surely needed, because they can teach us all how to take better care of ourselves.

According to the official Louis Kraml statement on the hospital website, the hospital has grown to a modern medical facility within the last 10 years, having budgets that are close to 250 million dollars each year. It may not look like a lot of money when you compare the budgets with the ones that are made available to the nation’s biggest hospitals, but that amount of money is really impressive when you take into consideration the fact that we are talking about a rural, community-oriented medical center.

The budget growth is over 3,000% – a 30 times increase – in comparison with 2003, so the results are even more impressive. According to the hospital manager, this growth is attributed to the medical team, which did its best to serve the needs of the people living in Blackfoot and its surroundings.

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Louis Kraml

Posted in Hospitals, News

For the second year in a row, Louis Kraml, CEO at Bingham Memorial Hospital, has received the National Award for Patient Satisfaction. This should be of no surprise for the over 100,000 people that have been treated at this hospital.

Louis Kraml

Louis Kraml

Louis Kraml has used the occasion to emphasize the fact that this medical institution does its best to offer high quality medical services for all its patients.

Basically, the patients have scored the hospital led by Kraml in the top five percent facilities all over the U.S. for 48 months in a row.

The Healing Center at Idaho’s Doctors Hospital has announced the first Idaho Traumatic Brain Injury Summit in Pocatello. The purpose of the summit was to put into perspective several new ways in which people leaving in Idaho that have suffered from traumatic brain injury can be better helped and assisted. Prevention of brain injuries has also played an important role and was discussed during the summit, of course.

The doctors, together with the management team – represented by Louis Kraml – agreed that each brain injury is unique, so it has to be treated with extra care.

At present, Bingham Memorial Hospital and Idaho Doctors Hospital are financing medical studies as a way to give thanks to the nation’s heroes. It is known that in the U.S. there are about 4 million Americans that suffer from brain injuries.

Under the management of Louis Kraml, Bingham Memorial Hospital has received the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant. This means that the efforts dedicated to improving the quality of the medical services has been attested. The money was directed towards creating the Rural Wisconsin Healthcare Cooperative Quality Indicators System, in an effort to improve the medical outcomes that really matter.

“The outcomes that matter” is a name given to all medical efforts that lead not only to medical improvement, but also to quality of life improvements for the patients. Louis Kraml has stated that he is fully dedicated to sustaining the rural hospitals.

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Colocation and Cloud Hosting Explained

Posted in Hosting

Our guest today is Bob Spiegel, CEO and founder of QuoteColo, a company that offers colocation and cloud hosting services. So let’s welcome Bob!

bob-spiegelBlocter: Please tell us a few things about yourself.

Bob: I am happily married, I’ve got four great kids and I like to spend my days at the beach, surfing and scuba diving.

Blocter: That’s not too close to colocation and cloud hosting, isn’t it?

Bob (laughs): Well, it’s what pays the bills. And seriously, it’s something I’m really passionate about. I started doing this business over 15 years ago and I’ve never gotten bored of it.

Blocter: So what is it that you do? What services does QuoteColo offer?

Bob: Basically, we are a colocation broker. We work with about 500 nationwide cloud and colocation hosting providers to find the best prices and services for custom hosting needs.

Blocter: OK, that sounds cool. So you find a company that is interested in cloud hosting, and then you ask a small fee, putting them in contact with the proper colocation provider?

Bob: That’s pretty much it, excepting the fact that we offer a free service – the colocation providers pay us a referral fee, without asking the clients any extra money.

Blocter: Wow! That’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?

Bob: Well, that’s how you keep a business running for over 15 years…

Blocter: So can you give us the basics of cloud hosting? Lots of people talk about it, and yet very few of us really understand it.

Bob: Here’s an example that should be easy to understand: cloud hosting is pretty much like a bank. You take your money there, I take my money there, and the bank stores it. Now replace “money” with “data”: lots of people take their data to a “data bank”, a data center that uses multiple servers to store your and my precious info.

Blocter: So what is a private cloud then? It’s like renting your own room in the bank?

Bob: Yeah, you’ve got that quite right. With private cloud hosting, you actually own the bank, if I may say so.

Blocter: Sweet! What about colocation?

Bob: With colocation, you don’t use other people’s servers, other people’s computers to store your data. You invest money in a powerful server, and then you take it to a colocation hosting center and let them take care of it.

Blocter: I see… but why would I want to do that? I mean, what are the advantages in comparison with a standard website hosting account?

Bob: There are several advantages with colocation hosting. To begin with, you are in total control of your files. Your entire website resides on your server, and if something needs to be edited, you don’t have to ask somebody else to give you permission to access your files, etc.

Then, you’ve got total freedom in changing the web host at any time. With standard hosting, you are basically tied to a particular website hosting company and the migration is painful most of the time. On the other hand, if you have your own server and use colocation hosting, changing the service providers is as easy as walking into a room and taking your server to the new provider.

Blocter: Those are good reasons! But why shouldn’t I store the server in my own house?

Bob: Well, you could do that! Still, all the colocation providers use special facilities, with temperature-controlled environments, to store your server. And if you leave your house, you don’t have to worry that somebody will break in and steal your precious data.

Blocter: These are all great reasons to choose a colocation provider, Bob! Thank you for your time, it’s really appreciated!

Bob: Thank you for having me.

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A History of Blogging

Posted in Blogging

Lots of people are using blogs as a way to communicate their opinions with the entire world these days, so I thought that it would be interesting to start this blog with an article that describes the history of blogging. But then I thought that some of you might wonder what is a blog, after all?

blogging-historyA blog is a conversation that is posted on the internet and is made out of comments that are displayed chronologically. Blogs have become more and more popular and they are indeed an important segment of the internet culture. Millions of people worldwide spend at least minutes (often times hours) each day reading various blogs.

There are several types of blogs and depending on your personal preferences you can easily find one that suits you best. There are blogs that discuss news, technology, jobs, hobbies or blogs that have been crested purely for entertainment purposes. However, it is important to understand that the blogs have a short history, as they appeared only five to ten years ago.

Most specialists and the internet researchers have established that was the very first blog that has appeared in the virtual world. It was launched by Justin Hall, who was back in 1994 a student. That time the name used for this type of web application was not that of “blog”. He created a personal homepage that has afterwards been given the name “blog”.

In 1997 the name “weblog” was already on the market and its creation is linked to Jorn Barger. The name was meant to reflect logging on the web. In 1999 the term “blog” was used for the very first time by the programmer Peter Merholz. After five years, Merriam-Webster declared the word blog to be the word of the year.

During the 2000’s the blogs developed a lot and if during 1999 there were about 20 blogs on the net, in 2006 there were about 50 million blogs. The first popular blogs were dealing with politics, and different political candidates started using blogs to promote themselves. But also blogs with certain topics became more and more popular. People began to love reading posts on pop culture, news, fashion etc.

It took several years, but finally in 2001 there were launched different articles on how to create a blog, how to write an article, how to post an article, and so on. Some of the most popular blogs started in the beginning of the 2000’s. The list may contain names like Boing Boing, Dooce, Gizmodo and the Huffington Post. In the very same period, several blog platforms have been created, and among them WordPress, which was built in 2003, definitely deserves a mention.

In 2002 the first engine that searched for blogs was launched. A year later Audioblogger, a major podcasting service, was launched, and in 2004 people had access to video blogs.

When blog owners began to earn money with their blogs, mega blogs were launched and people began to make fortunes over the night (well, maybe over the year). In 2005 a researched showed that 32 million Americans were reading blogs, meaning than more than ten per cent of the U.S. population was using them. Starting with the year 2004 blogs began to be used on much larger scales, as politicians, organizations, candidates etc, were posting to or reading blogs.

Before 2009 the blogs were managed by single individuals but after that year, multi author blogs appeared on the market and they displayed posts created by more people.

At present there are countless blogs on the internet, containing posts on almost any possible subject. There are blogs that contain mainly texts, photos, videos, music.

In February 2011 there were no less than 156 million public blogs.

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