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How to Maximize Your Wifi Performance for Gaming

If you’re serious about online gaming, you know that Ping and Packet Loss are key to a smooth playable experience. If you are playing on a mobile device you have no doubt experienced both of these issues playing over your home wifi. In this article we’re going to have a look at how you can get the best experience using your home wifi network.

Let’s start at the source, your ISP. If the signal they are sending into your home is already unreliable, then you really have nothing to work with. You can complain and have them see about bringing it up to snuff, or you can change ISP’s for one with a consistently reliable service. 9 times out of ten though, it won’t be your ISP that is causing your game to slow down, skip frames, freeze, or lose your connection to the server entirely.

First thing you need to do is investigate what devices are on your home Wifi. What brand and model is your Wifi router? What phones, tablets and computers are connected via Wifi? And the users of these devices, what do they tend to use the Wifi for? Streaming movies, using social media, YouTube or Spotify? You need to know who your high-bandwidth users are, and when they tend to be at home and joined up, so you can potentially play when they aren’t online,

When it comes to Wifi routers, they are not all created equally. Research yours and find out how many Wifi devices it can reliably serve at one time before packets and connections start dropping. As well, you may not be aware that the slowest Wifi device on your network dictates the speed that everyone’s device will run at. So, if your router supports multiple bands, like B, G, N, but mixes these devices on the same network, and an older B or G band joins, well you all get to run at that speed. Not cool.

If your router will support more than one Wifi network, you can set one up just for your use so that you can be assured that you are getting the most out of your device. Some routers have great built in controls that you can set to make sure your device always gets priority access to the bandwidth over any other devices that are connected. Most of the time no one else will notice, but your experience will be better when you are gaming.

Where is your router in the house, and where are you typically situated when you game? If you are on the other side of the house, the distance from the router can affect your signal strength. As well, any sources of interference between you and the router can cause your experience to degrade as well. So be mindful of this, and if possible play nearer to the router.

So there you go folks. Maximizing your Wifi to get the best gaming performance you can will go a long way to improving your whole mobile gaming experience. Learn what kind of router you have, and what tools and utilities it offers that can be of help, as well as what bands and how many concurrent users it can reliably support. Identify your high bandwidth users, what devices they are using, and play when they aren’t online if possible. Play as physically close to the router as you can to minimize any interference, and to be sure you have the strongest signal possible.

As always if you would like me to look over your wifi situation and see what we can do about getting you a better gaming experience, call me and we’ll set up a time that works for you.

Use Tor Browser to Surf Privately and Securely

What is the Tor Browser? The Tor Browser is based on the Firefox browser, and uses multiple relays to anonymize your web surfing. Sure, you can use your current browser to utilize their version of private browsing, but these only keep other people who use the computer from seeing you’re browsing history. They can’t keep your ISP, for instance, from monitoring the sites you’re visiting (see my previous privacy articles for other ways of doing this.)

Tor Browser, which stands for The Onion Router (to reach The Dark Web, more on this later) offers different levels of protection to keep your activities, location and identity completely private. All this anonymity does come at a small cost though, performance.

Tor routes your traffic through multiple relay servers, or Circuits, each of which anonymizes the information that comes from the previous relay. The more hops your data packets take on the way to and from your destination, the slower your browsing will become. If you find your surfing is unusually slow, or a page is no longer responding, click on the triple bar icon ( the “Hamburger” icon) on the far right hand side of the browser where you can select ‘New Tor Circuit for This Site” and your browsing should commence as before.

As well, you can choose your security level when you start Tor, Standard, Safer, Safest. When you start Tor for the first time, Security is set to Standard. Even Standard is FAR more secure than any other web browser, but if you want to work with either of the increased security levels, you need to be aware that these settings allow less and less features of a site to run or function, due to their ability to compromise your privacy, and warnings will also be shown to you onscreen.

In order to get the most out of Tor Browser, you’ll need to change your surfing habits. One of the first things is to change your default search engine from the likes of Google or Bing, to something like Duckduckgo.com, startpage.com, or searx.me that don’t attempt to track your searches. See my previous article on this.

If you log into your usual Facebook account or other social media while using Tor Browser, it completely defeats the purpose as the social media sites already know so much about you. As well, avoid installing any extensions in Tor as many extensions are not coded with privacy in mind.

Another feature under the Hamburger icon is called ‘New Identity’.
This is not as far reaching as it sounds, what is happening is that Tor is getting you a new IP address, which means it is changing all of the relay servers used to make your connection back to the web. Tor Browser will restart to accomplish this.

Staying safe and anonymous online starts with using encryption in all the connections you make. Tor Browser will automatically attempt to redirect you to the HTTPS version of a website, rather than the HTTP connection. The S in HTTPS stands for Secure, or encrypted. If Tor Browser can’t connect to the HTTPS version, a large in-your-face notice will be displayed alerting you to this issue. Another way to know if your connection is secure is that a green padlock icon will be present next to the URL.

For even more privacy and security, connect to a VPN prior to launching Tor Browser. The VPN will not be able to see what you’re doing in Tor Browser, and no Tor node will be able to see your IP address.

And now to The Dark Web we spoke of earlier. The Dark Web is basically a collection of .onion sites. These sites are not accessible to search engines so you will have to find a .onion directory on the clear web. And even though you are private and secure while visiting The Dark Web, be aware that many of the .onion sites contain illegal content, are selling illegal products, or promoting illegal activities. The Dark Web has its uses, but not for the average web surfing individual in my experience, in fact it can be dangerous.

You can get started with Tor Browser by going to the official site here: https://www.torproject.org/

If you would prefer to have me set you up on the Tor Browser, phone and we’ll set up a time to meet that works for you!

Surf safely folks!

Beef up your Privacy online!

These days it is harder than ever to maintain your privacy. Just walking down the street will have you recorded on several video cameras, let alone hopping on the internet and pursuing your interests there. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and a host of others are tracking and recording your every step.

If you value your privacy, and want to do more to maintain it, there are things you can do that will help.

My first recommendation would be to use the Firefox web browser. Firefox has many configurable settings that can toughen it up to the point where it can be a real chore to even surf the web. How private and secure you ultimately become will be determined by how much effort you want to put into it.

The following link contains a lot of information on how to configure Firefox to be substantially more private and secure.

https://www.privacytools.io/browsers/#webrtc

As well, if you watch this video, they will take you through toughening up Firefox step by step. It can move quickly in some areas but you can always stop and rewind, or go through the article in the previous link.

I highly recommend that you download and install Firefox and configure it with the privacy settings recommended in the video and article. You will be amazed at how many cookies and scripts from online entities you’ve never heard of, who have no business whatsoever being interested in your activities, are recording your every move and forming a profile of you as an individual.

If this is all a bit overwhelming don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you want to beef up your privacy while on the internet, call me and let’s talk, I can definitely help.

Wayne Goldsmith
GoldTek Computer Services
250-485-7146

Mileage Converter

Howdy folks! Recently I started to re-dable (now that’s a funny word, if in fact it is a real word) with BASIC programming. Programming in BASIC, for me, goes all the way back to being twelve to fourteen years old, somewhere in the early 80’s. That’s when the Apple ][+ ruled the personal computer world!

I found an App for iOS, Misoft Basic!, that purported to be an Apple staff favourite for its nostalgic feel, much like the old AppleSoft BASIC of the day. My father thought it would be fun to try some programming again and suggested we work together on a mileage converter. I agreed but went a little overboard and wrote the whole thing one afternoon. So, after cutting my dad out of the fun, he is taking it a step further and is giving it a graphical interface, as opposed to my purely text offering.

I am including the code to what I’ve written so far if you’d like to try it out. Be aware that not all versions of BASIC use exactly the same syntax or commands but if your willing to give this a go, you probably already know that.

10 Rem Convert l/100 to us & imp and back
12 REM by Wayne Goldsmith
13 CLS
15 PRINT “*******************************”
20 PRINT “Welcome to the Multi-Mileage Converter.”
30 PRINT “*******************************”
35 PRINT
40 PRINT ” 1) L/100 to Imperial MPG”
45 PRINT ” 2) Imperial MPG to L/100″
50 PRINT ” 3) L/100 to US MPG”
55 PRINT ” 4) US MPG to L/100″
57 PRINT ” 5) End”
60 PRINT
65 INPUT “Pleas enter you choice… “;c
70 IF c=1 THEN
GOSUB 135
ELSE
IF c=2 THEN
GOSUB 180
ELSE
IF c=3 THEN
GOSUB 250
ELSE
IF c=4 THEN
GOSUB 320
ELSE
IF c=5 THEN
GOSUB 400
END IF
END IF
END IF
END IF
END IF

GOTO 13

135 REM l/100 to imp mpg
136 PRINT
140 INPUT “Please enter your L/100 to IMP MPG you would like to convert. “;l
150 mpg=282.48/l
155 PRINT
157 PRINT
160 PRINT “Your L/100 figure works out to “mpg” Miles Per Gallon!”
165 PRINT
166 PRINT
168 GOSUB 450
170 RETURN

180 REM imp mpg to l/100
181 PRINT
190 INPUT “Please enter the Imperial MPG you would like to convert to L/100… “;mpg
200 l=282.48/mpg
210 PRINT
220 PRINT
230 PRINT “Your Imperial MPG figure works out to “l “L/100. ”
235 PRINT
236 PRINT
238 GOSUB 450
240 RETURN

250 REM l/100 to us mpg
251 PRINT
260 INPUT “Please enter the L/100 figure you would like to convert to US MPG… “;l
270 mpg=235.2/l
280 PRINT
290 PRINT
300 PRINT “Your L/100 figure works out to “mpg” US Miles Per Gallon!”
305 PRINT
306 PRINT
308 GOSUB 450
310 RETURN

320 REM US MPG to L/100
321 PRINT
330 INPUT “Please enter the US MPG figure you would like to convert to L/100…. “;mpg
340 l=235.2/mpg
350 PRINT
360 PRINT
370 PRINT “Your US MPG figure works out to “l “L/100.”
375 PRINT
376 PRINT
378 GOSUB 450
380 RETURN

390 GOTO 20

400 PRINT
410 PRINT ” Thank you for using The Multi-Mileage Converter.”
420 END

450 INPUT “Press ‘C’ to continue, or ‘Q’ to quit.”;d$
460 IF d$=”c” THEN
RETURN
ELSE
IF d$=”q” THEN
GOTO 400
ELSE
GOTO 450
ENDIF
ENDIF