Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Back up your traditional antivirus software

It's becoming more and more important to back up your traditional antivirus software with programs like Malwarebytes and Spybot Search & Destroy. Read more on why this is becoming the standard for home protection. I found this article posted on Germantown Hills Computer PC Repair. We have seen alot of calls on spam issues lately.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Should you hard wire your home?

We here at Tel-Star talk to customers that have issues with their wireless network in their home. We sometimes are helpless when the modem signals and strength levels are perfect but your struggling to maintain wireless connectivity. It's very important for people to realize the difference between your internet signal to your modem and the wireless signal in the home. There are a lot of factors that can impact wireless home networks. This article by CEPro explains some of the benefits of hard wiring your home to maximize your current internet package.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How high can cable bills go?

   It's that time again where we negotiate pricing for a network. Tel-Star belongs to a co-op consisting of other small cable companies to try and keep costs down and have the buying power of some of the big guys. However, skyrocketing increases from the networks are pushing basic cable packages well into historically record highs.
   We all understand and feel the pain of these increases. The public can honestly be looking at basic cable packages in the coming years around $100 a month. When you see networks running messages across your screens, please know it is not from us, your cable provider, but the network themselves that are inducing these scare tactics.
   We here at Tel-Star are doing everything we can to keep costs low and affordable. We will have more information coming as we continue these contracts.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Facebook, small business and your news feed.

  Facebook is hiding posts from you: How you can take back control. This is a great article by trek light gear. Facebook is an awesome tool for small business but customers are not seeing what they should. There is help to change your settings so you can see what you really want to. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New Customer Portal!


     We launched our new customer portal online! From here you will be able to look at your balance, past payments, make payments by credit, debit or checking account or set up recurring payments. You can also sign up for paperless email billing!
     The website is www.telstar-online.net. You will need information from your November bill to sign up for the service. You need the last 6 digits of your NEW account number and the last billed amount. You need to go to the portal click "Manage Your Account". Under "Subscriber Login/Registration" you need to click on the Register for the first time link. Enter the information and click register. You will then need to go to your email and click a link in the Tel-Star Customer Care email to activate the account.
    We look forward to providing you an easy and convenient online way to manage your account! Call us at 888-842-0258 or 309-383-2677 with any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wireless Home Network Mistakes

Even though this article is a few years old, most of what it says is still extremely relevant today. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sports Programming Costs

We all feel the burn with high cable bills. Here is an article that goes over some of the 
issues on why costs are skyrocketing. Published by nypost.com

How to get faster download speeds

This is another great article from Speedtest.net. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marriott Hotels & Netflix Team Up

Let's face it, who even orders the pay per view from a hotel anymore? The idea of Marriott having access to your own Netflix account seems like a pretty good idea to me!


*originally posted by Techhive.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Slow Internet?

This is probably the best article I have ever come across about wireless connections. Many of our calls are about slow internet speeds and when we come out for a service call it does in fact turn out to be router/ wireless network related. We cannot stress enough how important it is to bypass the router and connect directly to your modem and run a speed test.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Maximize your Wi-Fi

Does your home Wi-Fi need some help? The gang from The Fix offer tips for squeezing your network connection for all it's worth.

Article from cnet.com 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DOCSIS 3 Modems and our new speeds

   Tel-Star is increasing speeds again! We have taken our high speed Internet package from a 10M to a 25M and now we are getting ready to launch 50M! Upload is increasing as well! What does this mean for our customers? It means blazing fast downloads and uploads. Super easy video streaming, and faster web loading. Some of our customers have equipment that will need to be updated. If you own your own equipment, now would be the time to look into upgrading. If you rent a modem from Tel-Star, simply contact us to schedule an appointment for us to swap out the rental unit you have.  Here is an article from Jessica Sims at High Speed Experts to explain DOCSIS.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to Avoid Lies, Myths, and Nonsense Online

People share stupid things online. Here's some steps to take before you circulate the same nonsense.
Originally posted at pcmag.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Router placement, according to physics!

 Electromagnetic radiation — it might sound like something that you'd be better off avoiding, but electromagnetic waves of various kinds underpin our senses and how we interact with the world — from the light emissions through which your eyes perceive these words, to the microwaves that carry the Wi-Fi signal to your laptop or phone on which you're reading it.
More or less every form of modern communication is carried by electromagnetic waves. They whisk through the antenna on your car, travel through walls whenever you need to make a phone call inside, yet also inexplicably reflect from seemingly nothing in the Earth's upper atmosphere.
This happens because the atmosphere becomes a plasma at high altitudes — a state of matter where atoms split apart and electrons are no longer bound to their parent nuclei. Plasmas have interesting properties, as they react very strongly to electromagnetic fields. In this case usefully: at low enough frequencies it becomes possible to bounce radio signals around the world, extending their range.
It's the interesting interactions between high-powered electromagnetic waves and plasmas that my research group and I study. The most intense electromagnetic waves in the world are found in the form of high-power laser pulses. The UK hosts some of the most powerful laser systems in rural Oxfordshire, and the same idea of using electromagnetic waves to accelerate particles is used at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN.

It's all in the maths

 We can accurately predict the interactions of intense electromagnetic waves and plasmas, as the underlying physical processes are governed by Maxwell's equations — one of the triumphs of 19th century physics that united electric and magnetic fields and demonstrated that light is a form of electromagnetic wave.
Solving Maxwell's equations by hand can be tortuous, but it transpires that aclever algorithm invented in the 1960s and rediscovered since makes the exercise relatively simple given a sufficiently powerful computer.
Armed with the knowledge of Maxwell's equations and how to solve them, I recently turned my attention to a much simpler but more widespread problem, that of how to simulate and therefore improve the Wi-Fi reception in my flat. While "sufficiently powerful" in an academic sense often means supercomputers with tens of thousands of processors running in parallel, in this case, the sufficiently powerful computer required to run the program turned out to be a smartphone.

For this trick you will need one Maxwell

 The electromagnetic radiation emanating from the antenna in your wireless router is caused by a small current oscillating at 2.4GHz (2.4 billion times per second). In my model I introduced a current like this and allowed it to oscillate, and Maxwell's equations dictated how the resulting electromagnetic waves flow. By mapping in the actual locations of the walls in my flat, I was able to produce a map of the Wi-Fi signal strength which varied as I moved the virtual router.
The first lesson is clear, if obvious: Wi-Fi signals travels much more easily through free space than walls, so the ideal router position has line-of-sight to where you'll be using it.
 Sometimes it appears that the waves have stopped changing, and instead flicker in the same places. This is the phenomenon of a standing wave, where Wi-Fi reflections overlap and cancel each other out. These dark spots on the map (or "not spots") indicate a low Wi-Fi signal, and are separated by several centimetres. Recently, a fellow enthusiast managed to map this phenomenon in three dimensions, as explained in this video.
So the second lesson is less obvious and more interesting: if reception is poor in a particular position, even a slight change of the router's position may produce significant improvement in signal strength, as any signal dark spots will also move.

101 uses for electromagnetic waves

 After publishing my findings I was struck by the number of people eager to perform simulations of their own. Ever eager to spread the gospel of electromagnetism, I bundled the simulation into an Android app to provide others with a simulated electromagnetic wave-based solution to a common modern problem: where's the best place for my Wi-Fi router?
Assuming few would be interested, I was surprised when news spread via social media and the several thousand copies of the app sold over the course of a few hours.
Sales have gradually dwindled but the message remains clear: not only are electromagnetic waves fascinating, mathematically elegant and supremely useful, they can make your life easier, your internet connection stronger, and even make you a bit of money too.
This article originally published at The Conversation here

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

YouTube for Kids!

The child-friendly version of YouTube, is here!
YouTube Kids is now available for download in the App Store and Google Play, giving parents with iOS and Android devices a way to let their little ones enjoy videos specifically meant for children.
For parents, YouTube has always been a double-edged sword. A lot of kid-friendly content already exists on the platform, but there was no effective way to manage kids' viewing habits (without standing over their shoulder, that is). More risqué content was always a single tap away.
YouTube Kids addresses those concerns by providing an app where all content has been screened and deemed appropriate for children. Google doesn't specify an age range, but the blog post announcing the app cites 3- and 4-year-olds as potential users. The app's security feature on the parental controls is a random code that changes each time you click the lock icon; the app displays the code with the numbers spelled out, so it's clear YouTube Kids is aimed at those who haven't yet learned to read.
The parental controls include a built-in timer. After it runs out, any kids still watching are out of luck, as all videos will stop playing until it resets the next day — or until a parent increases the limit. The default is 30 minutes and the maximum is 120; once the timer has begun, kids can see how long they have left via a slowly shortening progress bar along the top. 
Kids should be mindful of the timer. It measures time the app is open — not just time spent viewing videos — and it runs down even if the app is running in the background.
Parents can also opt to disable search, so videos will be limited to just whatever's on the home screen. Just how do kids who can't read search anyway? With voice: a tap of the microphone will let kids say exactly what they're looking for, although results may vary depending on how well they've learned to enunciate.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

12 Tips for Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

This is a great article from pcmag.com. Many of these issues are the top complaints our customers are faced with.  Internet Connection Troubleshooting

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tel-Star Digital Phone Service

Experience the latest in telephone technology that lets you use your broadband connection to make quality phone calls. Our Digital Phone service allows unlimited local and long distance in all 50 States and Canada. Looking to keep an existing phone number? We are able to move most telephone numbers for your convenience.* Customers are even able to control features with a click of the mouse using their online "My Phone" account.

Features include: Anonymous Call Rejection, Call Forward,

Call Waiting, Do Not Disturb, Speed Dial, Three-Way Calling

& Voice Mail Management

New Customers can add phone for 12 months with existing 

internet service for only $20 month!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What can happen when you cut cable lines

   People across northern Arizona couldn't use the Internet, their cellphones or landlines for several hours after someone vandalized a fiber-optic line that brings communications to a large part of the state, officials said. Businesses couldn't process credit card transactions, ATMs didn't function, law enforcement databases were unavailable, and even weather reports were affected.
   Authorities said 911 service was being supplemented with hand-held radios and alternate phone numbers. Water and sewer facilities switched to manual operations, and residents needed cash to make utility and court payments. 911 lines were limited Wednesday afternoon and authorities couldn't access law enforcement databases. Weather reports from the region weren't able to reach anyone. During their evening newscasts, television stations showed blank spaces on their weather maps where local temperatures would normally appear.

Be safe! Call Julie 811 before any digging project.

Even the most cautious excavator or homeowner can occasionally cause damage to a buried line. If a utility line is damaged or dislocated, state law requires that the person responsible for the excavation or demolition immediately notify the affected utility and then contact JULIE at 811 or 800-892-0123.

Please be prepared to give the following information to the JULIE call center agent:
  • JULIE Dig Number
  • Type of underground line damaged (pipe, cable, etc.)
  • Affected utility, if known
  • The location of the damaged line at the excavation site
JULIE’s call center agents may be able to assist with contact numbers for notifying utility owners.

In the event of a potentially dangerous situation, including the escape of any flammable, toxic or corrosive gas or liquid, state law requires the person doing the excavation to do the following:
  • Immediately stop digging and evacuate the area
  • Call 911 and notify the authorities
  • Contact the owners of the underground lines
DO NOT attempt to repair, clamp or constrict the damaged utility unless under the supervision of the utility owner.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It is Safe Digging Month! Call Julie 811

Trees help clean the air, provide shade and make our yards more attractive and comfortable. While it may seem like a simple task to dig a hole and drop in a tree"hold on" there's quite a bit to consider before you pick up that shovel. Here's 5 common mistakes to avoid when preparing to plant a tree.

                                                      5 Common Mistakes when planting a tree

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Connection Speed and what you really need

This is part of an article published by GeekSquad. 

Download Speeds

1-4 Mbps
Generally, this is the lowest level of service available in most areas. Email and most web site will load fine and most music streaming services will work without interruption. Internet phone services (VOIP) should have no trouble. But Standard Definition (SD) videos will buffer on occasion.

4-6 Mbps
According to the Federal Communications Commission, this is the minimum speed "generally required for using today's video rich broadband applications and services." Users at this speed should not have any trouble with streaming audio or video. Service at this speed will allow some file sharing and should work fine for streaming Internet TV (IP TV).

6-10 Mbps
For online gamers and heavy video-on-demand, this is the preferred speed. This speed delivers uninterupted online gaming and smooth on-demand video as long as only one device is using a high bandwidth service.

10-15 Mbps
Users at this speed say they do notice the increase in speed. Web sites drop right into the browser and your interaction with web-based applications and cloud services will be much quicker. Will help you interact with more complex online applications like remote education services, telemedicine and high definition Internet TV.

15-50 Mbps
If you have a number of devices connected to your network and want to use them at the same time without delays, this may be the speed for you. With the explosion of electronic products that can be connected to the Internet, keeping them all working at peak performance is going to be an increasing challenge. Multiple simultaneous connections will require this level of service.

50+ Mbps
Speed like this is not usually seen feeding home networks. The main reasons for such blazing download speed are commercial - video conferencing, real-time data collection and intense remote computing. But again, with the explosion of web-enabled devices in homes, speed like this may someday become the new normal. Remember, we used to access the Internet with dial-up modems.

If you are not getting the speeds of your internet package, the first thing you need to do is a Speedtest. Once through your home wireless network and one bypassing the router and plugged directly in with your modem. That is the easiest way to define if a problem is with the actual service or your home network connection. If it shows your connection is working as your ISP says it should but you're still not happy with your computer's performance, you have a number of options:
  1. Check your home network to make sure it is operating properly.
  2. Your computer may need a little a little work. You may need to clean it up a bit.
  3. You may need to upgrade your Internet service plan. To know what to expect by connection speed, see above.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Easy DVR instructions

Depending on the DVR model you have, most DVRs can record up to 120 hours of standard-definition programming or up to 26 hours of high-definition programming. Storage space varies based on the type of channel (digital, HD) you are recording. Your DVR saves your recordings and allows you to view them whenever you want. You can watch and record programs at the same time or watch only a portion of your episode and view again later. With program notices and options to guide you through the steps, playing and recording programs is very simple.

Record while watching TV
1. Simply press Record on your remote. A notice appears to indicate recording has begun.

To record a second program at the same time, tune directly to the program you want to record. Your DVR will automatically swap to the available tuner.

Record from the Program Information screen
1. Press on your remote to view the TV Listings.
2. Highlight a program and press on your remote. The Program Information screen appears.
3. Press Record on your remote or select the Record icon.
4. Press to record the program as planned, or select the Recording Settings icon to modify the recording settings.

Record a single program
1. Press on your remote to view the TV Listings.
2. Highlight the program you want to record.
3. Press the Record button on your remote. A red dot appears next to the program title in the grid so you know the program is scheduled to record.

Record a series program
1. Press on your remote to view the TV Listings.
2. Highlight the TV series you want to record and press Record twice to modify your settings or press on your remote
and select the Record icon from the Program Information screen.
3. Select the Set up a series recording icon to specify your recording options.
4. Select the Record series with these settings icon to schedule the recording, or select the View all settings icon
to access advanced setup features.

Watch a recording
1. Press the DVR button on your remote or the icon from the Quick Menu, then select My Recordings.
• You can view and sort your recordings by title, date or channel. Use the right arrow  button to scroll through the
different views.
2. Programs recorded on your DVR are organized into folders. The number to the right of the folder name indicates how many episodes are saved in that folder. Press on your remote to open the folder to access your recorded programs. Highlight a program you want to play back and press to view the Program Information screen.
3. Select a playback option from the icons listed.
4. When the program finishes, the transport bar will display with the Pause icon. If you press while the transport bar
is displayed, the Delete recording or Don’t delete recording message will appear.

You can play back a previously recorded program while you record two programs at the same time.