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February 13, 2018

How Fast Are You Surfing?

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:52 am

You know the feeling, you are at home and all of a sudden, the sites load very slowly.  You may be at the local coffee shop where they provide free Wi-Fi and it is unbelievably sluggish.  YouTube videos either stop and start while buffering multiple times in a couple of minutes or do not load.  Before you reboot…and find that nothing has changed check the internet connection speed where you are.

This service allows you to check your speeds through either a website, application and/or your mobile phone.

The site name is “Speedtest,” is found online at speedtest.net and is owned by Ookla.  Ookla began in 2006 with their home base in Seattle.  The parent company is Ziff Davis so that gives you the knowledge that it has a good pedigree.

Speedtext logo

This site does only three things but does them all well.  When you go to the site you will see a large circle with “Go” in the center.  Click “Go.”

It will test the ping rate and your download and upload speeds in just a few seconds.

First, some definitions.  Ping is the reaction time of your connection to the web servers.  It shows how fast you get a response after your browser has sent out a request. A fast ping (lower number) means a quicker reply back from the site.  This is especially useful in gaming.  The ping rate is measured in ms (milliseconds).

Download speed is simply how fast you get files back on your browser.  For instance, if you are downloading a picture or video you get them quicker, the higher the number.  Upload speed is how quickly you are sending your information up to the internet.  For example, when you are copying something up to Dropbox or emailing a picture.  High numbers are good for uploads too.  These last two are measured in Mbps (Megabits per second).

The website works fine; however, you can install the Speedtest application on PC, Mac or phones.  That way if the connection is slow the apps will get your numbers more quickly.  For your computer, go to, “speedtest.net/apps/desktop” to download the application.  I prefer these over the site.

imageFor your phones you can either go to the phone’s app store or directly to Speedtest, speedtest.net/mobile.

I highly recommend you use this site or app if you are wondering why your speed is lagging.  One slight difference is that with the phone apps you do not (at this time) get “GO” but a “Begin Test” button.  Also, the apps give you some information the site does not.

Keep the following in mind.  When you are at the coffee shop everyone there with a phone or computer is also sharing your connection.  They are notoriously slow if many people are present which includes the employees’ phones.

At home, you may be paying for 50 Mbps download speed and find you are only getting 25 or so.  This is normal as your Wi-Fi is sending your signal across the house through walls and may be further away from your device.  Or someone at home may be watching a movie on Netflix.  You will not get full speed as promised unless you are connected directly into your router by cable.  So, you do not call and complain to the service provider unless it is significantly slower than it should be.

April 15, 2014

Copy That

Over three years ago I mentioned an excellent product named Dropbox. Dropbox is a “cloud” storage program which allows you to save all sorts of files on a site located on the web. It allows you to “sync” your files without you doing anything to your free 2 GB container of online storage. If you have a file in your local computer’s Dropbox folder and edit it, it is automatically transferred to the online location. Pretty much an auto-backup utility. Dropbox has been and still is an outstanding product.

image However, I have found another that is very similar but it has several distinct advantages. I have been using “Copy” for several months now and cannot find any shortcomings. The site is copy.com. Please go there to visit but if you are interested in signing up use this link, “bit.ly/roncopy” to get extra storage. If you use that link both you and I get an additional 5 GB of storage.

image One large advantage is easy to see from the very beginning. It is that you get 15 GB of free storage. If you use my link above you get an extra 5 GB so you start with 20 GB of free storage.

For those of you who use Dropbox but would like more space please give it a try. I strongly urge all of you to use the training information they suggest once your signup, download and install is complete. It is very helpful and most of it is easy to understand.

Other than the amount of storage you get with Copy they have another neat feature called, “Fair Storage." For instance, my wife and I both have an account. We both have many pictures we want to store at Copy. If I have 6 GB of pictures on Copy and I share that folder with my wife it counts as only 3 GB each; it splits the difference. If you have 20 GB of files and share it with four other people only 4 GB would be counted for each of you. That is slick!

Here is another interesting feature I like. With Dropbox you have to sync the Dropbox folder which means that each folder and file you sync must be in that folder. With Copy you can do the same thing or create a shortcut in the Copy folder on your computer to the original folder/file on your computer. That way you get to leave the original files where you have always had them and sync to Copy.com. This makes it even easier to manage for me.

Many other features are available which you can find out about once you sign up. One final thought… Copy.com is owned by Barracuda Networks which is a well-respected company and has been around for over 10 years. They deliver security, networking and storage products based on network appliances and cloud services mainly for businesses. I have contacted them and they say that Copy.com is very successful and should be around for a long time.

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