From the looks of it, 2017 will be a pretty amazing year for technology. Every day consumers are talking about virtual reality, self-driving cars and a limitless menu of on-demand services. The future really has arrived.
But even as digital tech gets more streamlined and powerful, glitches keep popping up. Just when we think we have superhuman control of our lives, a device fails to work and we have no clue how to fix it. Suddenly, were as powerless as a kitten with a TV remote.
Before you call an expert, you may find a simple solution, or at least a method you can use, on your own. Here are five up-to-the-minute problems that have dogged some friends and colleagues recently, and ways Ive found to remedy them.
Problem 1: Unable to download Netflix videos
Netflix revolutionized television when it started its cheap streaming service in 2007. This one invention basically destroyed video rental stores and changed the way we enjoy home entertainment.
Now, a decade later, Netflix is hustling to keep up with the industry it helped create. The next step: letting customers download movies onto their devices for offline playback.
Its an exciting new era for Netflix, but customers may wonder how they can save movies for a long flight. Heres what to do:
1. Download the most recent version of the Netflix app on your smartphone or tablet. You need version 9.0.0.
2. The Download & Co tutorial will pop up the first time you open the updated app.
3. Shows and movies that are available for download will show a download icon, which looks like a down-pointing arrow. Tap this icon and your show or movie will start downloading onto your device.
4. You can check your content’s download progress by going to the My Downloads section.
Netflix isnt the only service that lets you download movies and TV shows to watch offline. Click here for the step to download movies and TV shows on Amazon and Vudu.
Problem 2: Weak security for your router
You use an encrypted server. Your Wi-Fi signal is secure. You pick complicated passwords, and you change them regularly. So theres nothing to worry about, right?
Wrong. Too many people forget their Achilles heel: the router. Hackers may not be able to break into your computer, but they can unleash a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Just last month, a wave of DDoS assaults ended up breaking into 900,000 routers.
How do you know whether your router has been exposed? Click here for a free check to see if your router was hacked.
Securing your router isnt rocket science. Heres a quick checklist for locking down your router immediately:
1. Check to see if your router is outdated or known to have security issues.
2. Update your routers firmware.
3. Change your routers password.
4. For new routers, skip the EZ setup option.
Need more help? Click here for details about how to secure your router.
Problem 3: Poor cell signal in your home
Many of us find it ironic: We can walk around town, drive through the wilderness or ride a powerboat into the harbor and still get great cell service. But the second we try to make a phone call in our living rooms, the signal sounds buzzy and crackled.
There are several ways to fix this, but the simplest is to connect your smartphone to your Wi-Fi signal. This way you avoid burning up your data plan, and Wi-Fi will provide clearer sound than a poor cell signal.
If youre willing to spend a little extra, you can also invest in certain technology to help clarify your calls. Click here to learn about signal boosters and network extenders.
Problem 4: Slow Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi has become a staple in offices, cafés and homes across the country, and most white-collar workers would struggle without it. A slow Wi-Fi signal could hamper your work, your entertainment, your banking, your travel plans and even your ability to order takeout.