How to keep up with technology

The best way to keep up with technology is to use it. Over the years we have seen technologies arrive and some survive.

Predicting which technology survives is the trick. Even selecting which technology product within technology family is tricky. Most computers still run Microsoft Windows. Remember Windows ME (not so good) and XP (good) before Windows 7 (very good) and 10 (now the only version available)?

One of the oldest technologies is Ethernet. It was invented between 1973 and 1974, commercially introduced in 1980, and still used today. It is better and faster than Wi-Fi so use it whenever possible. Offices and now homes standardize on Ethernet.

Verizon standardized on coax for its FiOS and found out it was not fast enough for high speed networking so it switched to Ethernet. And early networks standardized on coax which are now converted or re-run with Ethernet.

Surge protection

Surge protection is important to protect sensitive electronics, especially network and home theater. Most power strips a.k.a. power taps are not surge protectors rather turning one electrical plug into many outlets (usually 4 or 6 outlets). And some power strips which are labeled to be surge protectors are inferior, have on average 2 years limited life, and deteriorate over time. Power strips and surge protector strips are potentially fire hazards. I have seen power strips showing fire damage.

Also, most battery backups a.k.a. UPS are labeled as surge protectors. They fall in the same category as surge protector with the exception is I have not seen one catch fire.

The only surge protector I recommend and use (I own four for computers, network, and home theater) is Zero Surge. Two models, one with 2 outlet commonly with UPS and printer, and the other 8 outlet for computer or home theater, are most popular for home and small-office.

How to use Zero Surge with UPS

Surge protection warning on back:

Verizon power tap clearly labeled that it does not provide surge protection:Strip which caught fire:

Use your own router with FiOS Internet

You can use your own wireless router instead of FiOS equipment. Unlike cable such as Comcast, no modem is necessary. However, you must connect to FiOS using Ethernet (high speed), not coax (low speed). Also, if you have FiOS TV using TV Guide and Video on Demand (“VOD”) on FiOS remote, then you also need MoCA box (MoCA = multimedia over coax).

Smart[er] TV

Smart TV has a) built-in apps, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and b) streams shows via Internet connection, either Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

Dumb TV has neither built-in apps nor Internet connection.

Streaming player, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV, have apps and Internet connection.

dumb TV + streaming player = smart[er] TV

Streaming players keep up to date, work better than smart TV apps, usually better Internet connection, and easier to replace than entire TV if/when necessary.

Roku Ultra has solved all my streaming problems. Three of note:
1. Netflix stopped working on older smart TV. Installed Roku Ultra instead of replacing TV.
2. Amazon Fire TV would not stream certain Amazon Prime Video shows. (I know, right?!) Installed Roku and updated Amazon app.
3. Apple TV did not have Amazon Prime Video app until recently. Roku has always had it.

Dumb TV has same audio and video as smart TV so you can connect cable TV, streaming player, Sonos, DVD player, even surround sound with audio video receiver for full movie experience.

Dumb TV evolved from security camera monitor so has not caught up with the latest smart TV picture technology such as OLED or curved screen. You can use streaming player with smart TV effectively ignoring its apps.

Browser games

All three major browsers have built-in games. Two are easy to access while the third takes a few steps. From https://lifehacker.com/how-to-unlock-hidden-browser-games-in-edge-firefox-and-1843685233:

1) Microsoft Edge:
In address/search bar, type (no spaces) edge://surf and press Enter.

2) Google Chrome:
In address/search bar, type (no spaces) chrome://dino and press Enter.

3) Mozilla Firefox:

    1. Click on + to open new tab
    2. Right click on your toolbar

    1. Click left on Customize…
    2. Click and drag every icon except Flexible space to your Overflow Menu on right side
    3. Click on unicorn icon which now appears on the bottom row
    4. Use left and right arrow keys to move your Pong paddle “Flexible space” along top for bouncing unicorn