Tag Archives: Networking

How to ditch Time Warner Home Phone & modem fees

Time Warner Cable ModemI was tipped off by a client recently on how to ditch Time Warner home phone service and the modem rental fee that they gouge you with every month. All told, this tip will basically get rid of not only $25 per month ($300 per year) on the Time Warner home phone service , but, also the useless $10 modem rental fee they charge you every month. How are we going to do this? For starters, you are going to replace the Time Warner phone service with Ooma phone service, and on top of that, you are going to purchase your own modem to replace the Time Warner issued modem. Ready to begin?

First, a few caveats. Doing this swapping of parts and service is not free–you will be required to purchase an Ooma telephone box (approximately $70-100)  outright and pay to have your home phone number ported from Time Warner to Ooma for about $40 (if you want to keep it–otherwise, you don’t have to shell out for this). You will also have to purchase a new cable modem outright, which will save you $120 a year from Time Warner. The price of a new cable modem can be anywhere from $50-100. At the end of this adventure, you will be paying Ooma roughly $4 per month for service (unless you go with Ooma pro service which is $9.99 per month) and taxes and no modem rental fee to worry about. That will bring your total from about $420 per year to about $48 bucks if you play your cards right.

Let’s talk about Ooma

Ooma Box

Ditch Time Warner home phone service for Ooma

Ooma is an internet-based phone service that hooks to your router and places all of your calls though the internet–which is exactly what Time Warner’s home phone service does. Ooma adds all of the bells and whistles that Time Warner does, including call forwarding, voicemail, junk call filtering (part of the pro service) and mobile apps to keep it all in check. I opted out of the Ooma pro services, since I don’t really need any of that stuff. I will miss the junk call filtering, but, for $10 per month, I can live without it. When the equipment came, it was very easy to setup and get it running in less than 10 minutes. I simply plugged the phone line from the back of the Time Warner modem into the back of the Ooma box. They provide an ethernet cord to plug into your router. After that, it was a trip to the Ooma website to setup my account and get the billing out of the way. I chose to port our home phone number from Time Warner to Ooma for a one-time fee of $39. As of this writing, the port is almost complete and it’s barely been a week since starting it.

The voice and call quality is basically on-par with the Time Warner phone service–no complaints so far. If you have a power outage, you are out of luck, since this works over the Internet and needs wall power. You may want to have a backup place (cell phone), just in case. You can check voicemail right on the cool-looking Ooma box, which resembles an old fashioned answering machine. The website is fresh and clean, and gets you what you need quickly, including call history, voicemail and account options. The best part is the cool, futuristic dial tone you hear when picking up a phone on the Ooma system. I chose to hook the Ooma to the wall outlets so all of our phones in the house work on the Ooma box–a bit tricky to setup, but, worth it. You can purchase an Ooma box and setup at this website.

Let’s talk about your new non-Time Warner home phone service modem.

Ditching the Time Warner Road Runner modem is also possible. I recently found a replacement ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem for about $70 bucks. This is a bare-bones modem that will get the job done. If I were you, I would check the Time Warner website to make sure you find a compatible modem for your region. I haven’t hooked up this new modem yet, until Ooma finishes porting my number. So, in order, you would want to setup Ooma first, then, cancel Time Warner home phone service when your port is complete. Then, you can go ahead and setup the new modem. Do your own research and find the right modem for you, even if you have to contact Time Warner.

 

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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.

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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/com.apple.Safari/Cache.db
  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.

Did this fix your issue with Safari not connecting?

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