Sunday, May 22, 2016

Does Netflix Stall And "Buffer" When You Watch? Check Your Broadband Speed At

Everyone that uses Netflix has had an occasional "hiccup". You're watching a movie and the video stalls or buffers. Is it a Netflix issue or is it your Internet connection? Of course, Netflix believes that most often it is your Internet Bandwidth. To bolster their position, Netflx has opened a new testing site at  It's very simple to use. Just visit using a computer, tablet or smartphone and it will quickly and automatically display the download speed of your current broadband connection.


Compare this number to the speed that your Internet Service Provider claims you are receiving. Most users pay for a particular "speed tier."

In addition, you should compare your measured speed to what Netflix says is recommended. Here is a list of their present download speed recommendations.

  • 3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD (Standard Definition) quality
  • 5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD (High Definition) quality
  • 25 Megabits per second - Recommended for UHD (Ultra High Definition) quality
If your speed falls below 5 Mbps and you want to watch HD programming, you may need to purchase a higher level tier. Give it a whirl.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Is Your IPhone Also Your "Home Phone"? Make It More Convenient - Default To Speaker Mode

Let's face it, modern smartphones are great pocket computers, but they are terrible cell phones. Have you ever considered going back to a "flip phone"? Or perhaps, you never left. The flip type mobile phones were small, easy to carry, easy to use, almost indestructible and sounded great.

On the other hand, many folks rarely use the smartphone "as a phone". Email, Internet, Apps, Text messaging have become dominant - it's a portable computer. 


Landlines are gradually disappearing and we see mobile devices becoming the primary phone in the home. In the privacy of your home or office, setting the phone to "Speaker" leaves you hands free and offers the ability to share the conversation. On most mobile phones the sound quality is better, as well.

If you have an IPhone, you may have discovered that switching from Earphone to Speaker phone can be inconvenient, to say the least. On the larger models hanging a "surfboard" next to your ear can be uncomfortable and difficult to maneuver. So, you might want to set your IPhone to default to "Speaker Phone". Incoming and Outgoing calls (including FaceTime) will automatically use the devices speaker for communication. Fortunately, it's easy to do in two steps.

1. Open the Settings app, go to General and then Accessibility.
2. Scroll down and select Call Audio Routing, which should be set to Automatic by default. Change this setting to Speaker. 

Simple enough. Happy calling!