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Why Is My Internet So Slow?!

Why Is My Internet So Slow?!

Why Is My Internet So Slow?

A Summary of 3/20/20 Article Published by TechRepublic*

According to mobile security organization Wandera, internet bandwidth usage trends over recent weeks indicate the following:

  • Use of remote working tools is up 156% from the previous month
  • In the week starting Monday, March 9, usage of remote working tools was up 25.9% from the previous week
  • Zoom usage has grown substantially over the last month—up by 78.7% week to week.
  • Microsoft Teams’ usage was up by 41.7% in the last week compared to one month earlier

Obviously, with so many people working remotely—and so many family members cooped up together, as well—internet access may seem slower or less responsive (also known as poor network latency). The problem is likely with either your Wi-Fi router or your internet connection. If you’ve got the whole family watching Netflix or gaming online, you may be seeing issues because the router is maxing out.

Here Are Some Things To Consider and Try at Home

• Reboot the router. It may help and won’t hurt.
• Reduce online recreational activities. Note: this may escalate an already high level of tension and/or boredom.
• Disconnect low-priority devices.
• Try a wired Ethernet connection to your router.
If possible, try working during less busy hours.

Here’s What Businesses Can Do

• Invest in network infrastructure to ensure the entire workforce can function efficiently from a remote location.
• Terminate inactive connections after a period of time.
Provide employees mobile or portable hotspots.


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Client Profile: Kathryn Maegli Davis

Client Profile: Kathryn Maegli Davis

Great job, everybody! You’ve all managed to amaze me over the months and years with your ability to adapt. It’s no small feat to tackle the depth and breadth of change we face while on our computers. You’ve had to learn new skills, work with different programs and experiment with a variety of devices and systems. Very importantly, you’ve also acknowledged that change at break-neck speed is an integral part of our future.

So, what’s your secret? How are you able to meet all these challenges? What keeps you going?

If you don’t know the answers, see if you can spot them while getting to know a client of mine, Kathryn Maegli Davis. A resident of Menomonee Falls, she:

  • Conducts a lot of research on her two computers (Apple MacBook Air and a Dell desktop)
  • Travelled Europe for 2 years as a young woman and learned to speak 3 other languages
  • Graduated from Mount Mary University as a single mother at a time when “returning student” was not yet coined
  • Is writing her 4th book— the latest a piece of historical fiction about an ancestor of hers who served in the Civil War
  • Served on boards such as the Friends of the Medical College and Mount Mary University
  • Spends time in her kitchen as a gourmet chef
  • Travelled the world with her husband, Dr. Starky Davis
  • Volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house for 25 years
  • Received the 2016 Mount Mary University Madonna Medal
  • Is a life-long learner (This semester she’s enrolled in 20th Century European History.)
  • Was dedicated to her husband’s goal of getting Children’s Hospital built
  • Established the Kathryn Maegli Davis Endowed Scholarship at Mount Mary University (for single mothers returning to school)
  • Donated a Fabergé-like egg to the White House and was able to introduce her granddaughter to First Lady Laura Bush

There’s much more about her that’s not in the list above: some of it having to do with the tragedies and great heartache she’s endured, some of it having to do with her wide and varied interests; some of it about her son (of whom she’s very proud) and his family. It’s all part of a life that is, she says, “almost like a fairy-tale.”

So, what do you and this modern-day “Renaissance Woman” share as your fingers position themselves on the keyboard, your eyes focus on the screen and your brain processes a flood of on-line information? Curiosity, determination and goal-setting.

So many times I get phone calls from clients saying, “Sorry to bother you, Bill, but I was doing such-and-so on my computer and then it crashed,” or, “Just got a new computer and I don’t know what to do next.” I understand the frustration, but will point out that that’s part of the learning process. Just like Kathy, you’re life-long learners and are willing to challenge yourselves. Congratulations!

It would be very easy to simply say, “I want nothing to do with computers” (and there are many, many people who do). Instead, you keep trying. Often I’ll hear, “My husband didn’t want to call you, but I’ve decided he’s spent enough time trying to figure out the computer problem.” In that case, I’m not sure which spouse is more determined, but the point is, you keep plugging away. And so has Kathy, despite many bumps along the way.

Whether it’s (like Kathy) discovering 500 letters from a long-lost relative and deciding to write a book about him, pursuing an education after being widowed, or selecting a new recipe to serve family and friends, you, too, set goals and go about achieving them. There’s no doubt in my mind that most of you, right now, are deciding which upgrade to go with, what network system your small business should use or how quickly you can learn a new software package. Each of these decisions is based upon the goals you’re choosing.

Now do you see what your secrets are in staying computer-motivated? Curiosity, determination and goal-setting.

Many thanks to Kathy for sharing her story (she’d much rather talk about anybody but herself). Many thanks to all of you for sharing your computer challenges with me. I, too, have a goal—keeping you happy with your computer technology.

Estate Planning For Your Computer

Estate Planning For Your Computer

Estate Planning For Your Computer
by Kimberly A. Hughes, Kimmunitee

The Whys and Wherefores
Connecting people with one another is gratifying work, especially when the individuals involved are some of the best in their field. Even better when their raison d’être is serving the community at large. Therefore, when I recently listened to an archived radio segment on digital assets, I immediately thought of two people—William Hand and Eido Walny—and how their collective expertise could help you.

As one of Bill’s clients, it’s a given that at least one computer (probably more) is an important part of your life. No doubt, as well, you have on-line digital accounts (one estimate has the average person linked to 20-25 such accounts) and passwords for each. What happens to all that information upon your death—digital data such as your on-line bank and investment accounts, software, apps, cloud storage, Facebook wall, LinkedIn connections, e-mails, tweets, songs, videos and photos?

Eido M. Walny, Attorney At Law
Need help answering the question up above? Kimmunitee thought so, since PC Assistants is one of our clients. Therefore, we arranged to sit down and have a nice talk (really, it was a wonderful conversation) with Eido Walny of the Walny Legal Group.

In Bill’s mind, there’s none better than Eido to get you thinking about digital asset protection. Eido’s law practice specializes in, among several other areas, estate planning. He’s an award-winning attorney and he and Bill have had professional experience together.

Now that you know how Bill and Eido put this together for you, let’s get to the concepts Eido highlighted in our conversation:

• What’s Mine is Mine and What’s Yours Is Mine
With computer software and the Internet, we’ve entered the world of esoteric assets and non- traditional property. Digital information is reclassifying terms such as “mine” and “property.” Often times when opening an on-line account or downloading software, you don’t own the actual content. Rather, you’re receiving the right to access that content (called a limited license).

That license is granted to you—and generally you and no one else—when you click “I agree” to the service provider’s contract. It’s that lengthy legalese in tiny text that pops up on our screens whenever we open a new on-line account.

Example: Over the years, an individual spends $10,000 building an extensive iTunes collection. He doesn’t own the songs like a traditional record, cassette or CD, but he (and he alone) has the right to listen to those songs. When he dies, what happens to that collection? He never “owned” it to begin with; therefore, “it” (which is really just access to the songs) can’t be sold or transferred.

• Clash of the Titans
In the growing debate between the dissemination of information (end users freely sharing their access) and wanting to keep it private (companies determined to protect their assets and safeguard their customers), no-one has yet come up with an easy solution to this complicated issue. Sans a King Solomon, “no-one” in this case means federal and state legislation. Currently there are few states with appropriate legislation (Wisconsin is not one of them), so that leaves the federal government.

• Federal Anti-Piracy Laws—A Good Idea to Know They Exist
Ever share passwords with family, friends and colleagues? What about business partners or the executor of your will? Then you (along with millions of others) may be violating the terms of your on-line agreement (the contract mentioned earlier), and some federal anti-piracy laws (the only thing we’ve got right now pertaining to digital data).

• Back to the Future
It has been said that two thousand years ago, civilization’s knowledge base was doubling about every one thousand years. Today we’re doubling that base every 2 weeks. With the law generally 2-1/2 steps behind society, imagine the catching up it has to do with digital information. Until test cases are heard and more and different laws are passed, what’s a person to do?

• You’ve Taken the First Step
Feel good about that. Just reading articles such as this and mulling over the concepts is to become aware. “Knowing,” says Eido, “is one-half the battle.”

• What Next? It Doesn’t Include Obsessing.
No need to obsess about protecting your digital data. No need to make hard copy back-ups of everything. Instead, when you next have a bit of free time, take stock of your accounts and, along with their passwords, list them somewhere safe (there are apps for this, by the way).

• The Catch-22 That Will Be Straightened Out Someday
Notwithstanding the potential violation of anti-piracy laws, it would be a good idea to give someone that list. (The caveat in the previous sentence is a good indicator of the conundrum we’re facing.) Monitor your data and, as accounts are added and deleted and as passwords are changed and new ones are acquired, revise your list and give the update to the appropriate person(s).

• When They Die, We Delete
Nope, not that simple. Considering social media alone, every platform has its own terms dealing with the death of an account holder. Rarely are those terms as simple as deletion upon 6 months of inactivity. You might find this infographic helpful: What Happens To Your Social Media Profiles When You Die.

Wikipedia maintains a page entitled “Death and the Internet” where they list the terms of service that certain providers follow when it comes to sharing information and dormant accounts. It’s worth noting which of these providers you may use and then take stock of the applicable policy. One thing that’s immediately apparent is that there is no such thing as an industry standard.

• Power to Manage Digital Media
Yes, there is such a thing. In fact, the Walny Legal Group now includes the Power to Manage Digital Media in their clients’ trusts and durable powers of attorney. While these will not solve every problem, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

• “Do The Best You Can”
That’s Eido’s answer to people’s general query about their digital data. “Sometimes they’re frustrated with that answer,” he added. In this rapidly-evolving Information Age, it’s understandable that some people might feel that way. Yet, “do your best” is Eido’s reassurance that—instead of fretting ceaselessly about digital data—time could be better spent overseeing on-line accounts. Use the steps below to do just that:

  1. prepare and maintain a list of your accounts and passwords,
  2. continue to let people know how to get that information (while keeping the anti-piracy laws in the back of your mind),
  3. consider how you’d eventually like your digital life handled, and
  4. when creating or revising your will and estate documents, add the digital data into your asset category.

Attorney Eido Walny can be reached at 414-751-7531 andEido Walny

He’s been named a “Five Star: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager” each year since 2009 by Milwaukee Magazine.

To read more about digital assets, here are some suggested links :

After Death, Protecting Your ‘Digital Afterlife’
Who Gets Ownership of Your Digital Life When You Die?
Facebook Adds Legacy Contacts to Address Digital Afterlife Issues

Don’t Let Your Data Be Held Hostage

Don’t Let Your Data Be Held Hostage

Don’t Let Your Data Be Held Hostage
That’s not a catchy title — it’s a warning. There’s a dangerous Trojan called Cryptolocker that encrypts the user data residing on your computer (irreplaceable documents, photos, music, etc.). Then you’re sent a message. It reads something like this: “Pay $500 within 2 days to recover your files. Otherwise, your documents will be lost forever.” Some people have paid the extortionists. I don’t want you to be one of them.

How Your Computer Is Infected
By unknowingly downloading nefarious links. For instance, you might get an e-mail telling you that your browser, Chrome, needs an update. Or, you might receive a message telling you that a package is being held at UPS or FedEx, or that your plane tickets are waiting for you at the Delta counter. In every instance, you’re instructed to click on the link provided. Don’t.

How To Tell If Links Are Legitimate
Hover over any link. At the bottom of your screen (generally at the lower left) you’ll see the full URL displayed in a light gray box. If the address doesn’t match the message or if you’re the least bit skeptical, don’t click.

Practice This Step
Try the above right now. Hover over any of the links on this page. Find the URL. See how it matches the content mentioned in the articles. Get in the habit of always looking at site URLs before you click.

Good News
In the process of having this article prepared, I came across Krebs On Security. It reports that several security firms joined together and now have a free online service to help people recover their encrypted files. For more information, see decryptolocker.com.

Client Profile: Maria Zanoni, Elm Grove Physical Therapy

Client Profile: Maria Zanoni, Elm Grove Physical Therapy

If you’ve been told that you have to live with pain, consider talking to Physical Therapist Maria Zanoni. If you’re looking for a more holistic approach or want the benefit of extensive experience, again, talk to Maria. She has, after all, been in her profession for over 30 years (which amounts to approximately 50,000 patient sessions), has two health-related master’s degrees and is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor at Marquette University.

She loves what she does — orthopedic, muscle and joint pain management and education — and every patient who visits Elm Grove Physical Therapy is treated by Maria exclusively. Some of them include babies as young as 2 months (born, perhaps, with a neck or head injury). Other patients are as spry as 92.

When asked what’s one secret to her business success, she answered, “Keeping it simple.” Here she’s referring to that large umbrella called “overhead,” which includes technology and computers. While they  make light of many tasks that once took hours, they’ve figuratively teamed up with HIPPA (our federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to place a heavy burden on health-care professionals, Maria included.

Paper documentation is out and everything — from pre-authorization to charting to billing — must be done on-line. Deciding which software systems to use can be daunting. For example, how does one best choose between programs that are unique to PTs (and costlier) vs. those that are bulky with unnecessary options but are less expensive.Elm Grove Physical Therapy Logo

For every client, Maria uploads data, fills in the necessary information on-line (to an insurance company, for instance, or a health care network) and then deletes everything from her computer. No client information can be saved on her computer. Maria mentioned that therapists are getting fined if their computer containing patient data is stolen.

She says she, ““Understands the complaint about health care practitioners having a face in the computer when working with a patient.” It’s a double-edged sword. She knows of one physician, for example, who doesn’t enter data when talking with patients. But that means he has to do it at home, which takes him away from his family.

Selecting Bill Hand as her computer consultant was one of Maria’s methods for keeping her IT issues simple. “If my computer doesn’t turn on, that’s all I need to tell him. He doesn’t need to know anything more than that,” she laughs. Many times Bill will take her computer home to do his trouble-shooting and she knows she can call him late into the evening. “He doesn’t have the 9-to-5 mindset,” she adds.

On another matter, Maria stated there are some alarming statistics (and they’re not projected to improve anytime soon) showing the toll that musculoskeletal conditions are taking on patients and the health care system. According to the Bone and Joint Initiative (boneandjointburden.org), for instance, musculoskeletal diseases, disorders and injuries are the leading cause of disabilities and health care costs. That’s twice the rate of chronic heart and lung conditions.

It’s a good thing, then, that there are talented therapists like Maria who have the desire and the skill to provide pain relief. “Especially when getting to a therapist first makes a big difference in prognosis and cost, especially for back pain,” says Maria.

Maria is a member of the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association. To see if she is listed with your insurance company, search for “Maria Zanoni Physical Therapy,” not “Elm Grove Physical Therapy.”

Here’s a tip from Maria to help prevent back injuriesThe Plank:
“In your workout regimen, include exercises like ‘The Plank’ that strengthen your deep core muscles. Start holding that pose for 10-20 seconds. Work up to 90 seconds. You can do it if you’re committed.” (That sounds like a challenge! If you’re up to it, check out this “How To Do a Plank Exercise.”) 

Client Profile: Bill and Susanne Gay of Menomonee Falls, WI

Client Profile: Bill and Susanne Gay of Menomonee Falls, WI

Imagine yourself Marco Polo in the 13th century chronicling his adventures in the Far East. Or a 17th century French fur trader experiencing Niagara Falls for the first time. Now try a 19th century Chinese laborer emigrating to California and working on the Transcontinental Railroad.

Can you conjure up some of the awe and excitement these pioneers must have felt? Did you ever long to be a pioneer yourself? To visit strange lands, learn a different language, return home a new person? Well, you are.

All of us living today are breaking fresh ground with computers, pushing the edges of IT exploration, establishing new paradigms and protocols for on-line activities, using “words” such as HTML and WYSIWYG and trying to create individual lifestyles that carefully (or haphazardly) incorporate the vast hardware and software the world has to offer.

A conversation with Bill and Susanne Gay of Menomonee Falls, WI, easily underscores the concept of 21st Century Everyman as Pioneer. These two retired teachers (Bill, English Composition; and Susanne, Foreign Language) recalled their early interactions and wonderment with computers.

WEB in Red LettersNearly 30 years ago, a Social Studies colleague of Bill asked if he had “heard about this thing called the internet?” Bill was taken to their school’s Math Center where, sitting in front of a computer, his fellow teacher said, “Let’s walk down the Champs-Élysées.” As parts of Paris appeared on the screen, including close-ups of cars moving along the famous boulevard, Bill thought he was seeing alchemy.

To heighten the experience, his friend said, “Now we’re going to take a trip to the Louvre.” To Bill’s amazement, he was soon viewing some of his favorite paintings as they took a virtual trip thru the museum. Bill was excited when he arrived home that afternoon. He asked Susanne, “Have you heard about the internet? We need to have this at home.”

Around the same time, Bill and Susanne visited his aunt and uncle in St. Louis who had just purchased a Dell for the sole purpose of communicating with their far-away children and grandchildren via the internet. His relatives’ excitement with this technology was palpable. So, all things considered, Bill and Susanne wanted to be connected to the net, too. They decided to replace their old Apple IIe with a Dell that had state-of-the-art dial-up for full internet accessibility.

Bank Street Writer Cover ImageIn the early years of educational computer programs, Bill remembers sitting in his school’s Apple Lab and being introduced to Bank Street Writer, one of the first word processors. (According to Wikipedia, “It was generally thought at the time to have changed the way students learned to write … and ma[de] the process of editing easier than with pencil, paper and eraser.”) “I stood there thinking I was looking at magic and couldn’t wait to try it myself,” he added. It was also on that day in that lab when Bill used the word “cursor” for the first time.

Soon Microsoft’s word-processing package made editing even easier. Kids could make revisions with ease, using “cut” and “paste.” Footnotes could be moved quickly from one page to the next. “All of a sudden,” Bill said, “it was like the second coming.”

Another early educational software package called The Oregon Trail (History Software by the Learning Company) was a wonderful classroom tool. Bill described it as “miraculous.” The computer game was meant to teach students the realities of travelling the Oregon Trail by covered wagon. Kids assumed different roles and were prompted to make decisions all along their “journey.” Of the period when this computer program and many others like it were being released, Bill stated, “What a time to be teaching.”

moon-landing-62879_1280At the end of the interview, Bill and Susanne recounted the night of July 20, 1969, when they watched the first moon walk. Along with his grandmother and, believe it or not, a room full of strangers, Bill said they all watched silently, in awe. “We felt ourselves as pioneers,” he stated. It was true then. It’s still true today and every day as we move further and further into the Golden Age of Technology.

The Gays, by the way, are grateful to have Bill Hand as their guide!