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Top 5 Ways to Strengthen and Secure Your Wi-Fi

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Top 5

Locked Wifi Network

These days, if you have an internet connection in your home, it is also highly likely that you’re using a wireless router to access the web. Wireless internet is convenient, and nowadays it’s pretty darned fast too. However, Wi-Fi is not without its problems, and if your wireless network is in need of a few tweaks check out our list. 5. Improve Signal with Better Placement There are other ways to get better coverage, and we’ll get to those, but instead of rushing out to get strips of wire and aluminum foil it could be just as easy to move your router to a more central location.
  • Place your router somewhere central. If you have a second floor or someplace high, use it. The radio waves broadcast by your router travel best laterally and in a downward direction.
  • Make sure there aren’t any devices that may interfere with the signal such as halogen lamps, baby monitors, microwaves, or cordless phones.
  • Wi-Fi travels best when it doesn’t have to go through thick walls, metal, or mirrors.
  • Most routers start at a default channel (probably 6). Change it up so your neighbors’ devices aren’t competing.
4. Extend Signal with a Repeater or a Bridge Most homes aren’t big enough to need a repeater, but people with devices in basements and/or attics might need a little extra boost. If you do need better signal, and placement isn’t working, get yourself one of these bad boys. They usually range from $40-$100, and they should solve most of your signal strength issues. There are also ways to hack your existing router into a repeater. Another option for people that have wired devices too far away from the router is to get a bridge. These convert your wireless signal into a wired connection, and go for around $50-$60. If none of these options work, maybe it’s time to break out the foil. 3. Secure with WPA Encryption Now that you know how to get the best signal possible, you need to keep those pesky data moochers out. Wi-Fi security is typically not very secure, but if you make your access point just a little harder to get into, those evil web trolls will probably move on.

Not good enough

WEP is usually the default on router encryption, but if your router comes with a setup disk or if you’d rather just go to the admin page, you can change it to WPA. WPA is less easy to crack than WEP. If you’re really worried about security make sure your passphrase is long and meaningless. The best password is the one you can’t remember… but do remember to write it down. 2. Limit MAC Addresses You can also prevent strangers and unwanted guests from using your access point by telling your router which devices are allowed to connect. A MAC (Media Access Control) address is like a fingerprint for your networked devices. They’re unique to each device, and you should be able to configure your router to grant permission to only certain ones, namely yours.

If Independence Day has taught us anything, it's KEEP THAT NETWORK RESTRICTED!

1. Hide Your Network It’s like having an invisible cloak for your home network. Through your router’s admin page, you can turn off “SSID broadcasting.” This will prevent normal computers from listing your access point as a detected option. Now, this could prove problematic when you can’t find your own access point, so before you do this, download NetStumbler for Windows or MacStumbler for OS X. These are the Predator infrared goggles for hidden wireless networks. Both are free.

Harry! What happened to my Wi-Fi?

Are taking all of these steps going to guarantee your Wi-Fi is safe? No, but internet intruders are a lot like car thieves. The longer it takes, the faster they lose interest. These tips should be fine for anybody that isn’t storing information regarding national security or transferring millions of dollars into Cayman Island bank accounts. If those last two things do apply, then you’ve probably got bigger problems to worry about.

Apps We Love: Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad 2

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Tech Musings

App-Store-Icon

In November Adobe released Photoshop Touch to Android tablet users. This new tablet-based version of Adobe’s popular software was a welcome addition to the droves of hopeless, non-intuitive photo editing apps we had seen before. We first expected this app to be a stripped down version of Photoshop, more akin to Photoshop Express. Luckily, that’s not what Photoshop Touch is at all. Photoshop Touch includes all the core desktop features Photoshop users will expect like layers, clone stamp, blur, effects, and filters. These features are intuitive and user-friendly. In addition to the classic Photoshop tools, users will also find new features exclusive to Touch that will allow them to take full advantage of touch and cloud-based operation. Photoshop Touch integrates Facebook and Google Image Search for seamless image acquisition via the web and/or social media. In addition to image acquisition, edited photos, and projects can be easily and instantly shared via Facebook, uploaded to Adobe Creative Cloud, or even printed via AirPrint. Another really neat new feature is Scribble Select. This tool allows the user to dictate what image elements to keep and what to remove based on a free form border the user creates with his or her finger. The iPad 2’s camera allows users to fill an area of a layer with any picture on the tablet. Unfortunately, the app is limited only to users with iPad 2, and iPad 1 owners will not be able to use it. As it turns out, the maximum image resolution for the app is 1600 x 1600. This means, if you’re working on something at an extremely high resolution on your desktop, the iPad app won’t be able to handle it. However, for any images taken with the iPad’s camera, there won’t be any issue. While it’s still a farcry from the desktop version, Adobe’s Photoshop Touch is easily the most feature-rich, comprehensive collection of photo editing tools available today for any tablet.
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