Category Archives: Macintosh Networking

5 Things You Need to Know About the Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger

The Time Warner and charter communications mega merger

Is the Time Warner and charter communications merger going to be good for consumers?

As of May 13, 2016, the Time Warner & Charter cable merger is about to be finalized. If you happen to live in an area where Time Warner is one of the only cable providers, such as myself, here are some things you’re going to want to know about going forward. Even though we personally don’t subscribe to Time Warner’s cable service, We are one of their Internet customers. This is only because we really only have two choices, which is either Time Warner cable, or Verizon DSL. We’ve tried the DSL route before and it’s horrible. Here’s a little research we’ve done to see what’s going to change when this merger finally ends up going through.

How big is Time Warner and Charter about to get?

This mega merger will total about 17 million cable subscribers and about 19 million Internet subscribers to Time Warner and Charter total. This puts them second behind Comcast which is currently the largest cable provider in the United States. If you recall, in 2014 Comcast tried to purchase Time Warner Cable but failed due to regulations. After all is said and done, Comcast and New Charter will own about 80 to 90% of the entire Internet broadband market in United States alone.

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The seven year rule

As part of this merger, Charter communications will not be able to charge video streaming companies extra money to improve the delivery of their video content. This includes streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon video streaming. This rule is in effect for seven years from the date of the merger. Charter will also not be able to come up with any policies that will inhibit these video providers from delivering content to their subscribers. Charter will also not be able to institute data caps on their Internet service.

A name is a name is a name

After the Time Warner and Charter cable merger goes through, Charter Communications will name itself “New Charter.” We can probably assume that the name Time Warner will probably just fade away.

Will there be any hidden costs?

As far as we can see, the rates for Cable services and Internet services from the New Charter company should not go up in the short term. In a merger of this size and scope, it would be beneficial for the New Charter to be on it’s absolute best behavior for the next couple of years as the dust settles. They are also committed to providing the best customer service, which is supposedly better than the customer service Time Warner currently offers. As far as price increases in the future, this is probably inevitable and will eventually be something that new charter will rollout. We’re still unsure about things like Internet modem fees, which can currently be avoided by buying your own equipment as we talked about here.

Filling in some Internet access holes

Under this new merger of Time Warner and Charter Communications, a number of low income households will now have access to high-speed Internet. Recent research states that seven out of 10 teachers assign homework that needs to have Internet access. One third of school-age children are unable to get online due to financial concerns. This should change with new plans being offered by this cable giant that will bring down rates for people who currently can’t afford the high rates.

What were also unsure of are the plans for fiber Internet service from this cable giant. In the past Charter has been very vocal about not providing higher speed fiber-optic networks to cities due to the cost and technical hurdles to bring the service to more homes such as Google fiber. As more high definition video content becomes available, consumers are going to be requesting more options to access this content, such as high speed fiber Internet.

It’s still too early to see what the final ramifications of the cable merger of this size will cause, but we will be keeping our eye on it as we are also Time Warner customers. Hopefully by combining these two companies, this will encourage competition between Comcast and New Charter and bring better service for all of those involved.

Easily Extend the Wifi Signal In Your Home With TP-LINK

Easily Extend the Wifi Signal In Your Home With TP-LINK

Easily Extend the Wifi Signal In Your Home With TP-LINK

Trying to get wifi across your house–especially with multiple floors–is a nightmare for most people, including myself. I was doing some research today and came across this little gem–the TP-Link Powerline Wireless Extender. This cool toy works (supposedly) like this:

  • Plug in the first box to a wall power outlet next to your router
  • Plug in the other box (into a wall power outlet) where you have limited signal
  • Push a button on your router to allow it to “clone” your wifi password and name
  • Now, just get on the wireless network like usual–with a stronger signal!

In theory, this sounds like a wonderful idea–it simply uses your internal power outlets and wiring in your walls as a means to deliver the internet signal–anywhere you have a power jack which is usually every room! As long as all of your outlets are behind the same circuit box, you are golden. You can even buy separate receivers for other rooms in your home–just plug them into the wall and have instant wifi coverage. They are retailing for about $60 on Amazon. (Purchase here)

A Simple Way to Keep Your Family Mac Safe at Home

OpenDNS Settings

with a simple tool such as OpenDNS, you can limit a good portion of what your kids can see while surfing on your family Macintosh.

There’s no magic bullet to keep your kids from visiting the darkest corners of the web, however, with a simple tool such as OpenDNS, you can limit a good portion of what your kids can see while surfing on your family Macintosh.

OpenDNS is a free service (with paid upgrades for more options) to limit which sites your kids can surf while on the Internet. It basically involves the following:

  1. Setting up a free account at
  2. Configuring your Macintosh computer (or router) with the proper DNS numbers
  3. Configuring which types of sites can or will not be blocked on the OpenDNS website

Upon completion of these steps, anytime your children try to access a site that is deemed inappropriate, they will simply see a blocked page load on your Mac. You can disallow entire groups of sites, such as gambling or adult sites, or, chat and social media sites. By choosing these broad types of sites, OpenDNS will apply their growing database of inappropriate sites to your block list. The good news is that you don’t have to go in and input thousands of potentially harmful sites–OpenDNS takes care of all of this on their end. Your Mac simply looks at this remote list first before delivering the site to your computer. Even better, you can log in and add or subtract sites that you may find should or shouldn’t be on the list, such as Facebook.

Capital Mac Service would be more than happy to consult you on this service and potentially get your network setup correctly for the DNS number changes. Contact us today for more information on this important service.

Is your Macintosh wifi connection dropping? A possible solution!

Macintosh Dropping WifiOne of the biggest complaints going is how your Mac suddenly drops wifi connection. This is a vexing problem, and often hard to figure out what is happening. Most of the time, like it or not, this wifi dropping issue tends to be environmental. This simply means that the problem is happening on a certain wifi connection, usually at home or at work, but, most of the time only in one place. If this is the case, try this simple trick below the fold that can sometimes resolve this issue.

Sometimes, the very channel your Mac’s wifi card is using (think of wifi channels like radio stations–they all have difference frequencies) is very crowded, or, is getting mixed up with another channel, maybe from a neighbor’s home. You can tell your own router to change this channel, which can alleviate some of these dropping issues and fortunately, Apple gives you a way to get a suggested channel that may be better for you just by using the internal wifi diagnostics in higher versions of the OS, like Mavericks 10.9.2.

Start first by entering the wifi diagnostic tool on the Mac by holding down the option key and clicking on the wifi menu in the Mac’s menubar. You should see “Open Wireless Diagnostics” at the bottom. Go ahead and choose this. Now, you may be asked for the administrator password, which you can put in. Now, In the “Windows” pull-down menu choose “Utilities”, and then select Wi-Fi Scan –>  Scan Now. You will now notice in the lower right hand corner of the window, a box that contains a few suggestions for better wifi channels to use. These channels should be changed in your router settings, which is another article. If you’re comfortable with your router settings, you should be able to head to your router configuration page and tune into these new suggested channels.

Of course, tinkering around with channel settings in your router may be beyond your comfort zone, and if so, contact Capital Mac Service for a possible on-site visit to help with this situation.

My Safari launches, but, it’s won’t connect to any pages!

Airport Issues with SafariIt’s certainly a frustrating experience when you launch your browser of choice, Safari for the Mac in our case, and it simply won’t load any pages. Most of the time you will be connected to Airport with a good signal, however, nothing happens. Restarting, zapping PRAM, shutting off will usually not solve this issue–just a blank white Safari screen.

There are 2 quick solutions to try when your Safari won’t load any pages. First, check the date and time on your system clock–strange, but true. If the date and time are not set correctly, Safari will have some certificate problems and pages simply won’t load. Check the date and time settings and assure yourself that they are correct. If Safari now loads, welcome back to the Internet. If not, try this:

Head to system preferences and into the Network system preference area. While in there, do the following steps:

  1. Unlock this system preference in the lower left hand corner with your administrator password
  2. Select the Location drop-down menu on the top of the window
  3. Choose “Edit Locations…”Hit the small + button at the bottom of this window
  4. Name your new location something like “Airport” or “Wireless
  5. Hit the done button and return to the previous window
  6. Select every item from te left column (except for Airport!) and delete each one, using the – (minus) button at the bottom of that column
  7. You should now only have Airport as a choice in the left hand column
  8. Hit the “apply” button on the bottom of the window and restart your computer
  9. Make sure to join the available Airport network in the Airport menu at the top of your screen
  10. Launch Safari (or whatever browser you use) and see if you now have Internet

Other Tricks To Try if you cannot get Safari to load pages!

Some other tricks to try if you aren’t working yet:

  1. From your Safari menu bar click Safari > Preferences then select the Privacy tab.
  2. Click on “Remove All Website Data”
  3. Delete the cache
  4. Go to the Finder and open a Finder window. From the Finder menu bar click Go > Go to Folder
  5. Type or copy paste the following file
  6. ~/Library/Caches/
  7. Click Go then move this Cache.db file to your Trash.

Lastly, disable any Safari plug-ins you may be running in the Safari preferences. Sometimes these plugins can cause the Safari browser not to load pages correctly. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Choose Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click Extensions.
  3. Select an extension, then deselect the checkbox “Enable… extension.” Repeat this step for every extension that’s currently installed.
  4. Reboot your computer and try Safari again.

If you are back on the web, congratulations! If you aren’t, you may want to make sure you are fully backed up at this point, in case a wipe of your hard drive is in order.

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