Help! I’m running out of storage on my device!

By this point, most of us have had at least one experience with a device running out of storage. Though our phones and computers have ever-increasing storage capacity, it seems like they just keep filling up. How can you stop the cycle?

 

 

First, we have to figure out what’s taking up the space.

For most of us, it’s not the programs or apps on our devices taking up storage space. Before streaming music was prevalent, I know most of my phone’s storage was taken up with music. Now, however, I’d be willing to bet that most of our storage woes are due to photos and videos that we’ve either taken ourselves to share or photos and videos that have been shared with us.

How do you know? Well, our phones make it pretty easy to see what’s taking up space. On my iPhone, for instance, I can simply open up Settings/General/iPhone storage and I see that I’m using 39 of 128 GB of space.

Most of my stored items are actually apps, but that’s because I’m automatically uploading my photos to the cloud. If you haven’t checked into it, storage from Apple or Google is really affordable. You can change settings on your phone to automatically upload photos from your device, to the cloud, and then remove them from your device. That way, you’ve always got room on your device. It’s a great solution for keeping your device’s memory free, but it doesn’t solve everything. Unless you’re willing to continue to upgrade your storage over and over and over, you’re still going to have to take some time to curate your photo library.

I know it’s hard for some people to delete photos you’ve taken or received, but I encourage you to review what’s in your digital library. If you took a picture of something funny or clever or whatever with the intent to share, delete it once it’s been shared! You probably don’t need it for posterity. It was just something that caught your eye or tickled your funny bone at the time. Likewise, if you’re active on social media, you may have taken photos or videos to share with your friends and families on those platforms. Once they’re on a social media platform, unless you intend to print those photos or use videos for a longer project at some time, you don’t have to also keep a copy for yourself.

If you just can’t bring yourself to delete any of the 200 photos of your children or pets doing something cute or funny or can’t bear not to have 15 photos of a scenic overlook from varying perspectives, it’s okay. You’re not alone. You do have the option to continue to buy more storage space.

In this time of isolation, I’m not encouraging you to be ruthless with digital reminders of happier times, but if you do find yourself with extra time on your hands, maybe it’s a good idea to spend a little time decluttering.

Brian Crommett
CEO
702 Communications

Home Network & Device Upkeep

Those of us fortunate enough to have dedicated IT staffs don’t have to think too much about backups, computer updates and anti-virus scans. But these upkeep basics don’t have to be out of the everyday home user’s reach. Here are a couple suggestions to keep your computer running smoothly and your data safe.

  1. Backups. If you have data you can’t afford to lose, you should really consider setting a backup schedule for yourself. This can be as simple as setting up a Google Drive to sync with files on your computer to running full disk images via your operating system or something like Acronis. If you don’t like the idea of putting your data in the cloud, think about an external hard drive that you can connect, back up your data and then remove the device and place in a fire safe or safety deposit box.
  2. Anti-virus. Every windows PC these days comes with a built-in anti-virus program but there are many others you can choose from. All of them are decent and none of them are perfect. The most important thing with anti-virus is to set those programs to automatically update so they have the most up-to-date virus definitions and also to set a scan schedule. Despite our best efforts and the real-time detection that these platforms offer it’s still a good practice to have a scheduled scan weekly, if not daily.
  3. Software updates. I know software updates can sometimes be a pain. When you try to open a program and you get a notification that a new version is available, it’s easy enough to sometimes dismiss the reminder and ignore the update. I really encourage you to take the time and let the updates run their course. There are few software platforms out there that haven’t been or aren’t currently the target of hacking attempts. Developers are constantly working to maintain interoperability and security. Denying your computer the ability to update to the most recent and secure software may put your computer and files at risk.

If these steps seem like too much, there are still people that can help you. 702 Communications offers managed services that include backup and anti-virus software. We can even install a monitoring agent to make sure your software says up-to-date. For more information on those services, call us at 218.284.5702 or explore our site for more info.

I hope this post will inspire you to secure your own data!

Brian Crommett
CEO
702 Communications

How to Read a Speed Test

You’re maybe wondering why in the world I’d take the time to explain how to read a speed test, but it actually is a little more complicated than you might think.

Now, I know, at the end of the day, you just want things to work the way you want them to work, but if we’re going to get to the cause of your slow internet, we need to figure out if your internet is actually slow because of usage or a problem.

So, what’s the best way to run a speed test and what do the numbers mean? Let’s go through it:

Step one: Plug your computer into your router. I know, most of our devices are connected via Wi-Fi, but you have to remember, it’s your provider’s job to provide you with a reliable WAN (Wide Area Network) connection. If you’re being sold 25MB you should be able to test at your modem pretty close to 25MB. There are many factors that may cause a Wi-Fi speed test to show less than your full subscription rate. So, plug something in for the most reliable test.

Step two: Close every other program on your computer and open a browser to pick a speed test. If you’re streaming music or videos or downloading pictures or uploading files during a speed test, it’ll skew the results. There are lots of speed tests out there but the most common one is speedtest.net. Once there, you’ll see the main test screen.

Step three: Select your testing server. Speedtest will select a server based on some metrics, but it’s sometimes to your benefit to force a different selection. If your provider hosts a speed test, you can reliably test your connection from your home to your provider using their speed test. If you want to test your connection elsewhere in the country, you can do that as well by selecting another location to test. To really get a feel for your connection to your provider, pick your provider’s test server.

Step four: interpret the results

speed test screen

Speedtest.net is going to show you a metric for ping, download speed, and upload speed. In this instance my ping was returned in 1ms, or 1 millisecond. That’s the time it took for me to send a packet of data to the speed test server and get it back. 1ms is the best you can get. I’m on a 100Mb connection and, at the time of this test, I’m showing 93.61Mb down and 92.85Mb up. I’m happy with that result. So, I know that if I can wire a device in and test my connection, I’m getting what I’m paying for. What if I speed test off my phone?

On my phone, I’ve downloaded the speedtest.net app. I’ll run the same test and post the result below:

That’s a completely different result and there could be numerous reasons for the slower test on my phone via Wi-Fi. It could be how far I am from my router, interference with other Wi-Fi networks, other devices in my home or office that are actively using Wi-Fi bandwidth, etc. But if this was the only test I’d done, I might assume that I’m only getting 30Mb of the 100Mb I’m paying my provider for.

Your provider can help you troubleshoot your LAN issues and possibly increase the speed of your Wi-Fi. But remember, our first test today showed that the WAN connection, the one my provider’s responsible for, was good. My LAN connection might need some work, and that’s on me.

For more tips on internet speed or troubleshooting, give our customer service team a call. We’re here to help you get the most out of your internet service so you can stay connected.

Brian Crommett
CEO
702 Communications