Easier Blogging with WordPress on your Computer or Cellphone

Early this morning I discovered that WordPress has app’s for both my PC (Laptop) and my Cellphone that make it possible to more easily write posts from either.  Up to this point I have always been using a brower on  my computer to create and maintain posts.

As far as I can tell, it now looks like I can record a video (selfy or not) on my Cellphone and have it upload to my Blog.  I will be experimenting with that later but probably not today.

One of the questions I have for both the PC-based WordPress app and the Cellphone-based app is will they “work” (eg. record and save) posts, videos etc while I am not hooked up to a network and then upload them when I get connected to a WiFi (usually) network?  If the answer is yes, then I have the best of both worlds.  A couple of new, useful blogging tools and no need for always on digital network (cellphone modem basically) access.

My cellphone vendor is Republic Wireless who provides me with very low montlhly cost service by routing most of my calls through home, work or other Wifi access points. They do provide calling service and texting when I am not connected to Wifi.  When I am connected to Wifi I also have access to the Internet.  I get this service for $15/mo plus taxes.  For the way I use my cellphone, this is very nearly as convenient as a full service data plan at a much lower cost.  Republic Wireless also has full service data plans that you can change to on the fly.  You can change your plan twice a month, so you can tailor your plan to your current ussage.

When I was trying out driving for Uber, I changed to a 3 GB/mo full service data plan.  When I stopped driving for Uber, for the time being, I dropped back down to the Wifi only data plan.  Try them, you might like them 🙂

TlG

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Comments on Windows 10

I just got an HP Laptop with a native installation of Windows 10 on it.

  • The scrolling when you use the mouse pad was intuitive if you are used to “dragging the point of view/cursor” on your tablet.  Otherwise it was “backwards” to what you are used to.
  • I have had 3 different Windows 10 machines so far.  Two were upgraded from Windows 8 and later 8.1 to Win10.  I am simply trying to get used to a pure Win 10 laptop so I can more easily provide technical support when my Sister calls me 🙂
  • Unless I go with say “Light Linux”, Windows 10 is where I will spend at least the next decade, so I need to acquire the same proficiency I had with Ms-Dos, XP/Pro and then Windows 7 with Windows 10.
  • In Windows 7 you could easily set up an Administrative account and standard accounts so that the machine was somewhat better protected from accidental or malicious software installations.  In Windows 10, any account that you integrate into the Microsoft Infrastructure apparently turns into an Administrative account. Only if you add a “local” account can you get back to the “standard” account.
  • It’s too soon for me to determine that the excessively easy way this Laptop will suddenly open a url or other hot button which I was just passing by is a problem of the OS or a problem of how sensitive my mousepad setting is.

This is a report in progress.  I will get back to you on it.

Review of a Netgear N900

The actual label is “Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router.”  I got mine from Discount Electronics for $15 which is why I jumped on it like a hungry mouser (cat).  I needed a better wifi router for my son so I ordered 2.

What’s not to like?  This  router has both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with all those b/g/n and a/c stuff.  The 5 GHz band is good for shorter ranged high volume data connections.  This router was reviewed by other sources I trust to have rock solid connections out to 300 feet.  It produces a 10-15% stronger signal (according to the Wifi scanner app on my cell phone) at the same location (my master bedroom) than my Belkin Wireless G router does.  This is the same bedroom my Arris TG862g won’t even reach.

So far I have only been using it as an Acess Point off my Arris TG862g.  I am waiting on a cable modem with telephone jack(s) to arrive.  When that does, I will experiment with moving my local land line onto the internet while using the Netgear N900 to take care of all my internet connectivity needs.  I will also probably sell the Arris and the Linksys cable modem.  I will post about this once I have something more to report.

If you decide to set up your Netgear N900 as an Access Point I will make one recommendation.  The menu you use to activate the AP suggests NOT using a fixed IP address.  I tried that.  The AP worked but I couldn’t access it anymore because I couldn’t tell what it’s IP address was.  You normally access an AP by putting in its IP address (say 192.168.1.230) in your browser.  If you decide to use a fixed IP address you should make sure your DHCP server range excludes that address.  If there is no way to specifically exclude an address simply lower the address range that the DCHP will serve and make the fixed address an IP number higher than that.

Since I have about 7 computers, a cell phone, an Android tablet and a Chromebook laying around here it’s not like I don’t have connectivity needs.  3 of these computers are always on, running BIONIC applications, so I really need a 24/7 level of support.

I have offered above in the “reviewed/sources” links for all the details about how good this Netgear N900 is so I won’t recapitulate those details here.  Thanks for reading.

Tlm

Review of an Arris TG862g

The Arris TG862g is a Residential Gateway providing an “all in one” approach to providing internet access and telephone service through your cable TV coax.  It has the cable modem, the router (with NAT and a Firewall), 4 RJ-45 ports and WiFi connectivity at the N level (2.4 GHz, b/g/n).

The Pro’s include all the features I listed above.  The Gui interface is not too complicated for anyone who has setup a couple of routers over the years.  And is approachable by anyone who is willing to follow the installation guide(s) available on the internet.  I like James Causian’s review of this modem and related topics.

So far this looks like a pretty good deal.  If you can find a used version that works you can get it for near $50 plus the cost (probably) of replacing the battery backup with another battery.

The Cons are large enough to be off-putting and irritating.  They are not large enough to say this is a completely unsuitable buy.

  1. First, Remember, Correlation is not causation.  Right after I installed the Arris TG862g, every couple of days, something happens that causes the chrome web browser of whatever system I am using to crash and restart.  I have talked to my local cable companies tech support about this issue since this is the same gateway they rent and/or sell to other customers.  No fix in sight.  I would like to note that this happens even with 2 different Access Points installed.  So whatever the issue is, is it part of the Arris rather than a Wifi related issue?  I contacted Arris technical support who pointed out there was “no way” a router could crash a web browser.  And after looking around I found some other errors that produced the same symptoms.  So it looks like this issue may not be the Arris gateway’s fault.  On the other hand, I wonder if information transmitted by a router could cause this kind of issue?  If so, has the firewall failed or maybe some other hardware?
  2. The Wifi signal is significantly less strong than my Belkin Wireless G router.  I have a Wifi scanner app on my android cell phone.  I setup two different Wifi connections that were well labeled so I could tell the difference.  The Arris Wifi signal was unusable at the other end of my house (master bedroom) while the Belkin Wireless G was still going strong.  Since this was a common complaint on the internet about this Arris model I have no reason to believe that I had a sub-par unit.
    • Don’t get me wrong.  It should be fine for a 1 room apartment where the Arris is either in the bedroom or the living room.
  3. You can get around #2’s problem (wifi has no range) by either getting another setup (eg other modem and router), turning off the Wifi component (it’s a single checkbox, then click the update button) and adding an external Access Point, or you can “bridge” the gateway and install an entirely new router/wifi.
    • I have experimented with 2 different Access Points both of which have addressed issue #2 (wifi has no range).
    • I have bridged other routers and used an external router/wifi.  I just bridged this residential gateway and changed my Netgear N900 from an Access Point back to a full-service router modem.    Internet research and my local Cable vendor have both confirmed that you can still have telephone service while the modem is bridged.
    • I also have on order a cable modem with telephone jacks that I will try out next.

So in conclusion, this is not the residential gateway I am likely to get and/or keep.  Why?  Because I managed to luck into a Netgear N900 router/wifi for $15 from Discount Electronics.  It listed near $200 retail about 3 years ago.  I will either use the N900 with a bridged Arris TG862g or a Linksys CM3008 that I have previously mentioned or with a not yet arrived Arris cable modem with telephone jacks.  I will review the Netgear N900 later.

Tlm

 

Not renting a cable modem every month is cheaper

I was already aware when I opted to switch my internet from AT&T to cable that I would need to buy my own cable modem.  So far I am the “proud” owner of a Linksys CM3008 and an Arris TG862g. The Arris is a “telephone ready” residential gateway and the Linksys is a plain bread and butter cable modem with no router or wifi or anything.

Since I own an old basic router with wifi (Belkin Wireless G) that has worked as both a router and as an Access Point I was able to immediately get things setup.  It worked fine.  If my basic goal was simply to replace my internet with a cheaper choice that served my needs this would do it.  But wait!  There’s more (as I said in another post).

I wanted to see if I could lower my landline cost too.  I need to note that my wife is comfortable only with a landline.  She is afraid she would lose a cell phone.  One possibility to is to move to a VOIP solution.  It needs to integrate with the house phone system so that it transparently works just like AT&T.

Enter, the “telephone ready” cable modem or residential gateway.  The distinction appears to be exactly that .  A “telephone ready” cable modem still will need a router to provide internet service to multiple internet devices.  It can be plugged directly into a phone jack and will provide phone service to the rest of the house.  I have one of these on order because of the results I got from using an Arris TG862g.

I am going to review how good or bad the Arris TG862g is in another post. I would not be exploring yet more products if it had been very good.

Tlm

 

Internet and phone service on the cheap

A couple of months ago I noticed that AT&T was charging me close to ~$100/month (USD) for a voice line and ADSL that had less than 1 MB/sec upload speed.  I wondered if I could reduce my costs?

First I investigated simply moving to a cheaper ADSL plan.  The best AT&T could do would reduce my cost about $12/mo while dropping the internet to their slowest speed.  And I still wouldn’t have 1 MB/sec upload speed.  In fact, AT&T doesn’t offer a 1 MB/sec upload speed.  This could be an issue if I wanted to apply for a “work from home” customer service or technical support job.  All of them require at least a 1 MB/sec upload speed.

Fortunately, the local cable network company offers service in my area.  They were also offering a sale on a 10 MB down, 1 MB up plan.  $15/mo.  Later I learned that this plan is usually $30/mo.  So in a year I expect the price to rise.

So after paying an installation fee and buying a couple of cable modems I now have perfectly good internet for less.  I will note, I am not a big video or movie download person so this basic internet is fine for me.

To recap.  1) I am now paying about $16/mo for the internet.  2) My phone bill went from nearly $100 down to about $55 this month.  But wait!  There’s more.  🙂  That will have to wait for the next article.

Tlm