About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

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 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, “” 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,

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.

October 27, 2015

Windows 10 Annoyances, Part 10

Windows 10 is not the perfect operating system and has a few things that annoy me.  I figure there are some of you out there who are also annoyed by these things.  Today we will look at a few of these and Windows 10 annoyances  

A nice feature which first appeared in Windows 7 and has continued up to W10 and had a few changes is Windows Snap or Aero Snap.  I find this feature particularly useful when working in two documents or windows simultaneously.  For instance, if I am doing research on the internet for a vacation and I read something and want to put that thought into a Word document I could flip back and forth using key shortcuts or the mouse to go back and forth.  However, I can also use the snap feature on a larger screen to view them both side-by-side each filling half of the monitor.

To do this I can click and drag the browser’s title bar to the right or left side of the monitor. When it touches the edge it will pop into that area from top to the bottom and from the middle of the monitor to that edge.  Then I drag the other document to the other side in the same manner.  A great way to work in multiple windows.  I could also make one of the windows active by clicking anywhere on its title bar and then pressing the windows key and the right or left arrow key at the same time and get the same effect.

DNR Site and this column in Word snappedWindows 10 has added the ability to “snap” windows to the four corners of the monitor.  Therefore, if your monitor is large enough, you can see four documents at one time.  It puts one in each of the four quadrants of the monitor. I like that too.

However, the thing I do not like is that they have added, “Snap Assist” to help you.  I find it unhelpful as it makes all of the other windows on your computer decrease in size and sort of hang there.  When you click one it will enlarge to fill the newly made available space.  I do not care for it since it places them fairly randomly and instead of helping makes it clunky to use.  If you have seen this and do not like it either, here is how to stop the Assist.

Open “All Settings,” (I found “Windows key + I” for this recently) click “System” then “Multitasking.”  Once there I switch the second and third options to the “Off” position then close the System window.  Then I am as happy as I was in Windows 7 since snap returns to “normal.” (Check out my short YouTube video here,

Make Windoes 10 a little fasterSome things seem slower in W10 than before.  If you feel like me, as though your computer is a little slow opening and closing items you can change the animation settings to speed things up.

There is a roundabout way to get there but here is Ron’s quick way.  Press the “Windows key + R”, type “sysdm.cpl” then press enter, (opens the systems panel) click the Advanced tab at the top and under Performance click “Settings.”  Now all you need to do is uncheck “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing” then finally, “OK.”  You should notice an increase in speed; although slight in the operation of Windows 10. 

Next week we will take a break from Windows 10 but keep any questions coming and I may write about some of them in the future.

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