Tune up your tech - HCTC

Tune up your tech

Three tips — and a bonus — to make your devices hum

Gadgets, gifts and gizmos can brighten the holidays. And a few prudent steps can help you keep pesky tech gremlins out of the fun. Consider a trio of tips for getting the most out of your games, TVs, computers and more.

1. GET THE SPEED YOU NEED
Remember, the more devices you connect to the internet, the more bandwidth you need. If it helps, think of this as the speed of your internet connection. Faster connections allow for more devices. How much speed do you need? For starters, many gamers prefer connections of at least 15-25 Mbps. Plus, streaming of high-definition video typically needs about 5 Mbps. Faster service becomes even more important if you have one person streaming a movie on one device while someone else is gaming on another. Each device must share the total available bandwidth.

2. UNRAVEL YOUR CONNECTIONS
Perhaps you wish to connect your smartphone or tablet to a stereo or speaker. Or maybe you want to link your smart TV to the internet. It helps to understand the two technologies.

Wi-Fi: This makes wireless internet possible. Radio waves replace the need for cables, allowing your computers, tablets, phones, security cameras, smart speakers and more to connect to the internet. Think of Wi-Fi as the gateway to the online world or to devices connected to your home network.

Bluetooth: Like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth also uses radio signals to make a short-range connection between devices. Think of this as a one-to-one link between two devices. For example, Bluetooth is often used to connect a smartphone to a Bluetooth-enabled speaker for streaming music. Or, Bluetooth can connect earbuds or headsets wirelessly to a phone for calls and other audio.

3. PROTECT YOUR DEVICES
A power spike, whether from a storm or other problem on the electrical grid, can damage your devices. Consider buying a surge protector. Make sure the one you choose has a joules rating of at least 2,000.

BONUS TIP: TEND YOUR PASSWORDS
Take the pain out of keeping up with passwords with a good password manager. And you’re in luck, because most web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox have basic password management built in. For an extra level of security and convenience, consider tools such as 1Password and LastPass. These allow you to use multiple browsers, offer suggestions for generating solid passwords and can warn about bad practices such as duplicate passwords or sites that have become security risks.