My Laptop was Sluggish. My iPhone, iPad not connecting. Problem…. Solved!

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.36.04 AMI have a Macbook, and it’s getting old….. So, when it started acting up (gradually), I took it to be a symptom of my computer’s age, and began to slip $ into a cookie jar to save for a new one. The problems were sporadic. A page would load sluggishly. Or not at all. Then it would work fine. Then it would slow down. I’d do all my housekeeping (emptying the trash, deleting desktop clutter, rebooting the computer) and it would get better. And then, after an all-too-short while, give me problems, again. Sigh. Computers are expensive. I wasn’t happy about the impending expense.

And then there was my iPad. It is new-ish, not quite two years old. It worked fine for all off-line activity, but had a terrible time staying connected to my home wi-fi. It often dropped the connection. Not a huge problem for me since most of my internet browsing is done on the computer, but it was still annoying. I would have to go to the settings, and tap on my home internet to reconnect several times a day. I didn’t give it tons of thought. I kind of wondered if I had a dud of an iPad, but I never bothered to take the next step to troubleshoot…..

And this same situation frequently happened with my iPhone as well. I would look for the wifi tornado on my phone, and although it is supposed to automatically connect to my home wifi when I am in the house, it usually didn’t. Again… I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I just ‘noticed’ it….

Throughout all this time, I must point out that our streaming service on the television was working fine. We stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Acorn and Hulu with no troubles. And this is why I probably never connected the dots and looked to my router. After all, the internet couldn’t be the problem (I thought). The streaming was flawless.

I NEVER deduced that any of this was an internet problem. After all, the wifi in my house was clearly “fine” (I thought). The streaming was working, and the tornado symbol was visible on my computer….. It was “ON” (wasn’t that enough?)

And then, one day, I turned on my Macbook, and had no internet at all. I checked with my internet service provider, and learned that there were no disruptions in my area. So it had to be a problem on my end.

My troubleshooting expertise for an internet problem consists of ONE action, and one action only. Unplug the router, wait a minute or so, and re-plug. Magic! Everything was working again, as usual.

But, remember, my “usual” was not-so-good. Sluggish Macbook and disconnected devices. This had gone on for so long, I was just accepting this as normal. Duh. It’s not.

When I needed to unplug and re-plug the router a few more times, it s-l-o-w-l-y dawned on me that maybe I needed a new router. With a son coming home for Christmas, I thought this would be the perfect time to replace it …. after all, isn’t that what these young people do? Help their parents with these techy installs?

I did a quick internet search, and since I don’t understand this technology at all, I simply depended on the recommendations of websites like CNET, and selected a router in a reasonable price range that was in stock at our local Best Buy. I brought it home, and waited for my son to arrive and install this new mysterious device.

And now I’ll skip to the GLORIOUS outcome: Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.58.56 AM

After installing the new router, I learned that:

My Macbook is NOT failing. It is NOT sluggish. Its poor performance was entirely due to a failing router.

My iPad is NOT defective. It is firmly attached to the internet, now. Again….. the failing router was responsible.

My iPhone is NOT finicky. When I walk in the door, it connects to my wifi. And stays there until I leave, again. The failing router was totally responsible.

and so ….. My message to all of us un-techy people: Routers do NOT last forever. They fail, and they can fail gradually. If you are having problems, your router MIGHT be your issue. After the replacement, all of our devices are now working flawlessly.

If you want to know more about this, here is a REAL article (as opposed to my uninformed ramblings) from the NYTimes about wifi and router issues:
If your wifi is terrible, check your router

Bottom line, routers don’t last forever. If you are having internet issues, and your router is more-than-a-few years old, consider the possibility that it might need replacement.

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How to Permanently Delete Kindle Books from your Library

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.01.17 PMIf you are an enthusiastic ebook reader, you have probably developed quite a library. I know I have, with oodles of books in the Cloud, and a long line of unread books waiting for me on my Kindle.

I have so many that I feel the need to do a bit of pruning. I know there are thorns among the many roses. It’s time to let some of them go.

So …… let’s be CLEAR: When you have a book on your Kindle, and you “delete from the device” ….. , you still own the book. Even though it is no longer physically sitting on your Kindle, it is alive and well and resting in your Cloud Library, just waiting for you to download it to your device whenever you would like to read it.

What we are going to talk about now is a different action. A PERMANENT action. We are going to look at deleting a book from your Cloud Library forever. That’s forever.

If you do this, it will be gone. You will no longer own the book. If you want to read it again, you’ll have to buy it again. So before you do this ..be sure!

Here is how to PERMANENTLY delete a book from your Kindle Cloud Library:

Go to the Kindle books area on the Amazon website. Look along the top of your screen. Click on “Manage your Content and Devices”. (You can also access this area through “your account”.)

There will be several tabs, one for content, one for devices, and one for settings. Tap on Content.

Now you see a list of ALL the Kindle books you own. All your books in the Cloud AND all the books on your device are listed, here.

Once you have found a book that you want to delete permanently, click on the little box with dots to the left of the title.

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Once you tap on those dots, a menu will appear. Click on “delete”.

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Once you click on “delete”, you’ll be asked…. “are you SURE??” and if you are, go ahead and delete.

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That’s it! That’s all there is to it.

Just make sure that you are paying attention as you do this, and only delete the books that you really want to toss from your library.

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This Thanksgiving App Could be Quite Helpful Year-Round

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 7.42.03 PM“Butterball” is practically a synonym for “turkey.”

Therefore, when I stumbled across this app, I was quite sure it would contain turkey recipes. And yes, it does. But it also has much more, and since the price is FREE, it is well worth the download.

This app has hundreds of recipes represented by delicious looking photographs. Recipes that will be helpful all year round, not just at Thanksgiving.

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It also gives you some TOOLS, including a very large substitution chart. I often seem to be missing just one ingredient, so I’m anticipating using this pretty-darn-inclusive list (a lot!).

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Butterball Cookbook Plus is available FREE for both the iPad and iPhone in the iTunes store

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Apple’s App Store Adds a New Category …… Shopping!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 6.19.21 AMI’m actually surprised it took so long for Apple to make “shopping” its own category. Until now, any shopping app was buried within the Lifestyle group….. but no longer.

I’m pleased. There are actually several of these apps that I wanted to try (but I forgot) and now, with their own category, I see them and I’ll be downloading a few before the day is over. (And of course, if I find something share-able, I’ll post it, here.)

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When I look at myself as an ordinary-person example, I would have to say that on-line shopping has greatly increased over the last decade. Last year, when the holiday season was over, I surprised myself when I realized that a major portion of my shopping was on-line. A quick google search this morning showed me that the e-commerce continues to gain traction year after year, all over the world.

On-line retailers continue to make the deliveries quicker and the returns easier. Someday it’s likely that this trend of on-line shopping will level off, but for now, it continues to grow. Many of these retailers offer special perks, such as free one-day shipping, percentages off your purchase and/or free merchandise.

I use Amazon a lot, but there are many other sites that I enjoy using, as well. I’ll share a few over the next several weeks. How about you? Do you have any favorites? I’d love to know. :)

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BookBub: Another Source for Free and Reduced Price E-Books

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 6.55.31 AM Yay!! BookBub makes me happy. I LOVE to explore sources for free and reduced price e-books.

For long time readers of this blog, you might remember several other eBook websites that I have gushed about in the past. Among them are Book Gorilla, Early Bird books, and my all time favorite, eReaderIQ.

Noticing that the dates on those posts are as old as TWO years ago, I am happy to report that they are all still very active websites, and ….. personally….. I visit them EVERY day. My Kindle is full of books (great books!) that I’ve gotten for free or greatly reduced prices, and the thrill of the ‘find’ never gets old. :)

And now I’ve added another website to my list of daily book-browsing stops. BookBub

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Once you sign up (it’s free), you will have the opportunity to refine your choices. Are you interested in mystery books? nonfiction? literary fiction? Once you make your selections, BookBub will direct you to the best deals for your interests.

You can also just browse. (ahhhh…. what a pleasure!) and you can also opt in to get emails each day with the most recent deals.

Although I participate in several websites like this, it is always surprising to me that the book choices presented are not usually the same. Yes, there is often some overlap, but in general each website is suggesting a different crop of books. Pure e-book browsing pleasure!!

I’m delighted to have added BookBub to my daily e-book browsing.

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Stickyboard 2 on Sale for …… FREE for your iPad

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 6.06.51 AM FREE is good!

FREE is now ……. but I have no idea how long this sale is going to last. Regular price: $9.99.

The reviews for this app are excellent, and so I downloaded it onto my iPad to look it over.

And I’m delighted!

Imagine a big white board and magic sticky notes at your fingertips.

It’s so easy to use. Just double tap the white board to add a new note. Slide them around with your fingers. Move the entire board with 2 fingers.

You can color code your notes, easily arrange them, even email entire boards.

An awesome tool for all kinds of planning.

When you first download it, you’ll get this screen, full of tips on “how to”. Within minutes you’ll be posting your notes.

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I like to plan and organize and arrange my thoughts, so I intend to give this app quite a workout. I thank the developers for making it FREE. :)

Stickyboard 2 is FREE in the iTunes Store (for your iPad)

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YouTube w/o Ads …. for a Fee. Meet YouTube Red

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.47.42 AMOn October 28, Google will be launching YouTube Red for your iPhone and iPad. YouTube Red will cost you $12.99 a month. ($9.99 for Android devices)

So what is YouTube Red? Here is what you’ll get:

* Ad Free YouTube videos. (Those ads are pesky …. but is it worth $12.99 to eliminate them? Not for me.)

* The ability to download videos and watch offline. (Now, THAT is quite excellent. But still… $12.99?)

* The ability to have YouTube videos run in the background while you use other apps.

* Included is free access to Google Play Music.

Learn all the details, here, on the YouTube Red Faq page.

Apparently, Google is also planning some of their own programming for release on YouTube (following the winning examples of Netflix and Amazon).

It will be interesting to see if this takes off. It sounds expensive to me (compare Amazon Prime at $99 a year to this Google service which will cost you $158.99 a year).

Personally, I have Prime, and love it. YouTube Red does not tempt me even a tiny bit.

But I’ve been very wrong before:
(conversation with son in the late 80’s:
“look Mom, I can leave a message on the internet and someone will answer it.”
Me: “why on earth would anyone want to do THAT?”
) :shock:

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