Computers & Internet
I'm a geek at heart, which is why I love working on this site so much! So it's only natural that I share some of the geeky things relating to computers & internet that make me so happy!
Internet Access is a big deal for me, and when you live in a rural area it's really hard to get good internet access! If you're in the same boat as me you may have pondered using Starlink but weren't sure if it was worth switching and you didn't know anyone who had it. Well, now you do!
Many years ago we started out with Xplornet - while it was way better than the dial-up internet we used to have, it wasn't without issues. We found there were a lot of outages due to weather and a lot of lag, particularly with upload speed.
Then we switched to a local broadband internet company, which was much faster than Xplornet. There were some outages, usually related to the equipment on their tower, but overall less than we experienced with Xplornet and the speeds were faster. We would have made due with that internet, but then we heard that Starlink was coming to our area!
Enter Starlink! Since my husband and I are both pretty geeky, we just had to try this new technology! What do we like about it? It's at least a few times faster than what we had, with very little in the way of outages. It's very cool how it moves on its own to line up with the nearest satellite. And it comes with a great app! It also has an option to melt snow and ice off of itself in the winter. Careful with this option though as you may see your electricity bill go up - it can be turned off in the app. There are currently no data limits. It's also very easy to set up with no need for a professional installer. We chose to have a local installer come and do ours though, because we wanted it on the roof and needed someone who isn't scared of getting on top of roofs. LOL
Get more info and see if it's available in your area HERE.
And for our router we just upgraded to the Google Nest Wifi Router 3-Pack.
This includes one router and two extenders. We used to have the older Google Wifi 3-pack but had heard that routers wear out over time, plus the newer one has better technology, so we decided to upgrade. Sure enough, we got it installed and have noticed our speeds go up. We didn't throw out our old 3-pack though - we were able to add it to the new mesh to give us better coverage through our house and even through the yard. My husband has a couple of YouTube channels, so strong internet that can handle streaming is very important.
If you aren't sure what the benefit of a Google "mesh" is - a mesh is sort of a spider web through your home. The more strategically placed access points you have, the stronger the coverage throughout your home.
Not sure of what sort of speeds your internet is getting right now? You can run free speed tests at FAST.COM. When you're checking your speeds, make sure you're checking different spots in the house, and when using different devices.
FAVORITE TOOLS OF THE TRADE
I recently upgraded to the Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse, and I LOVE it! My husband also has this mouse and he loves his too! One of my boys recommended this mouse to us and it has not disappointed! My son loves things like fast response times because he likes to game, but for me it's about the ergonomic design. I have carpal tunnel and arthritis in my hands, so comfort in a mouse is very important. The lip for my thumb to rest on is a very nice addition!
My husband bought the Blue Yeti (Blackout) microphone for use on his YouTube channels. He is very happy with the sound quality and background noise cancelling. To go with it he bought this Blue Microphones Radius III Custom Shockmount, this Neewer Microphone Arm and the Neewer Professional Microphone Pop Filter Shield to complete his microphone's setup.
My husband heard a lot of great things about the Gimbal Stabilizer and so far it hasn't disappointed him! If you don't know what a Gimbal does, it stabilizes movement when you're recording with your mobile phone so you have less bouncing and jiggling in your recordings.
This is another piece of equipment my husband is very much enjoying! The picture quality is very good! Get more info HERE.
I have to admit we tend to be a little stubborn, or should I say loyal, when it comes to computer brands. For years we bought nothing but HP products. Then our son directed us to MSI laptops, which are known for gaming. We had never heard of the brand name before and we were a little hesitant to step out of our comfort zone, but do you know what we found? It's a great brand! Gaming laptops are not just for gaming - because they are so fast and responsive they are stellar performers for any labor intensive activities like running several large programs at once, processing/rendering videos, etc. Is it wrong that I think the dragon logo is cute? Turns out change is good. Two thumbs up from us!
One thing became very obvious when I started doing videos of my recipes - I don't have enough hands! So I started out on a quest to find something to hold my phone at an appropriate angle while I cook!
I came across the UBeesize 62" Extendable phone Tripod on Amazon at a really good price! It had a very good rating with very good reviews! But was it too good to be true? How good could it be at that price? I decided to give it a try!
I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised!! The first thing that impressed me was that it was able to securely hold my large and rather heavy cell phone in its case! I also very much like the wide range of motion of the phone holder! Not only can I point my phone down to video me cooking, but I can also point it in many other directions! The other thing I very much liked was the cute little remote that comes with it! I didn't have high hopes for it because of the low cost of the tripod, but I had no issues linking it and using it with my phone! It just took a couple of minutes to set up!
I thought I found a flaw - I thought the base would be too big to sit on my countertop. But I was wrong - the span of the base is adjustable! If you're looking for a tripod for your cell phone, this one is definitely worth taking a look at!
This great little desk gets an honorable mention! I was looking for a laptop desk that I could use when I'm on my exercise bike, so that I could work on things like this website while getting exercise.
I didn't want to spend a ton of money on something that I'd mostly just be using during the winter months, but I wanted to be sure it was sturdy, nice looking and functional.
I honestly couldn't be happier with this desk! There are so many ways it can be adjusted to suit your needs. And I love that I can easily roll it out of the way when I'm not using it! You should definitely check it out and see what you think if you're looking for something similar!
StreamYard is what we use when streaming. We noticed several YouTubers mention they use it, so we checked it out and liked it immediately!
I love it because it's easy to use and allows you to stream to more than one social media platform at a time. Eg. you can stream to your Facebook profile plus one of your Facebook groups plus YouTube all at once. Find out more about StreamYard, which platforms they stream to, pricing options, etc HERE.