Tech Talk #63 – Oct. 28, 2017

And now for something completely different

With apologies to Monty Python, I’m taking a break from the doom and gloom of tales about security breaches and giant corporations collecting and selling our data and identity theft.


Let’s start with a question.


Why do smartphones get bigger every year?

Seriously. In the beginning, smartphone screens were about 4” (measured diagonally, like TVs – for some reason.) Then we moved up to screens between 4 and 5 inches, then between 5 and 6 inches, and now there are phones with screens more than 6 inches. What do we get for all this extra real estate?


When a phone has a bigger screen, you can get more content on the screen at one time (less scrolling), everything’s easier to see, photos and videos are bigger, and it’s easier to type on.


In theory, the battery can be bigger – although the power demands of the hardware in a bigger phone tends to cancel the advantage of a bigger battery, in my experience.


On the downside, a bigger phone probably won’t fit in your pocket or designer purse anymore. A big phone is hard or impossible to use with one hand, and it’s heavier than a smaller phone. Also, you’ll probably drop a bigger phone more often because of the whole hard-to-use-with-one-hand thing and the phone being heavier than a smaller phone.


I have a three-year-old Motorola with a 5.25” screen that fits in my cell phone pocket. I can use it with one hand, and it goes all day on a charge. I tried a new 6” Motorola phone that fell out of my pocket, didn’t last all day on a charge, and was hard to use one-handed. I sent it back.


Fix WiFi connection problems 90% of the time with one weird trick

OK, it’s not a weird trick, I just wanted to write my first clickbait headline.


Anyway, you really can fix almost all WiFi connection problems yourself by doing this:

  • Shut down anything that connects to your WiFi – streaming devices (Roku, etc.,) printers, phones, tablets, laptops. Also shut down anything that connects with a network cable like streaming devices, printers, and computers.
  • Unplug the power cords to both your modem and your router. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may provide both in one box, so you only need to unplug one box. Winning!
  • Disconnect the modem from the cable that connects it to your ISP. Depending on your ISP, this cable should be either a round coaxial cable or a green telephone cord. If your ISP is Race Communications, you have an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) instead of a modem. Only disconnect the power to the ONT
  • Leave everything disconnected and powered down for a full two minutes. After the two minutes are up, reconnect the coaxial cable or telephone cord to the modem.
  • Power up your streaming devices, printers, tablets phones, laptops, computers, etc.
  • Reconnect the power cord to your router and wait until it boots up and the lights are stable. It might take a few minutes.
  • Reconnect the power cord to your modem and wait for it to boot up and become stable.


It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it really will fix most any WiFi connection problem.


If, after all that, you still can’t get onto the internet with any of your devices, call your ISP.



Murphy’s Laws of Computing

  • When you get to the point where you understand your computer, it’s probably obsolete.
  • The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.
  • When the going gets tough, upgrade.
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.
  • He who laughs last probably made a back-up.
  • A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.
  • The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.
  • A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely what you want to do.



Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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