[1/24/2022] There are few better things you can do for yourself than sink into a good book or a resourceful magazine article. A well-told story helps you inhabit another’s mind and can even provide insights into your own life.
This is the joy of reading—and it’s truly one of life’s great pleasures. And reading more good books is an excellent New Years’ resolution! Fortunately, getting access to outstanding reading material is easier than ever.
By connecting through DayStarr’s high-speed fiber internet, you don’t have to run to the bookstore or wait for a hard copy of a book to be delivered to your home. Instead, the excitement of a new read can appear in seconds on your tablet, smartphone, e-reader, or any other device of your choosing just by downloading it!
To facilitate more reading in 2023, we’ve compiled a list of six apps, websites, and other platforms to help you discover and explore more books this year.
And many of these apps and websites will connect you with readers who share your reading tastes and passions. So here’s to many page-turners in 2023!
Our first recommendation, Libby, provides free access to thousands of ebooks. Sign up for a Libby account if you have a library card, and your local library uses Libby’s system. Once logged in, Libby offers thousands of titles for free! In addition to ebooks, you can also borrow audiobooks and digital magazines.
Libby works as an online e-library, letting you “check out” up to ten titles at a time (or more, depending on your library!), which gives you a wide selection to read from before needing to return them.
You can keep each book for 14 or 21 days (loan times depend on your library’s policy). Libby also offers “tags” to save books you’ll want to check out later. You can also choose a “deliver later” feature if you’re still in the middle of a book and not ready for a read you’ve placed on hold.
However, remember that some newer, bestselling titles frequently have long waiting periods before you can take them out.
But given that it’s free, Libby is still one of the best options for finding and reading ebooks. We find Libby particularly appealing during vacations and for other travel, where you know you need to find that perfect beach read during your summer getaway.
Goodreads is an Amazon-owned website and app that serves as a one-stop reading station, great for researching potential books, keeping track of what you want to read, your reading goals, and checking out what other readers think about specific titles. It’s an excellent place to find your next read and write reviews of books for others, too.
To help organize your reading, Goodreads lets you create “shelves” of books. You can create different categories, from simple shelves of “Read or Unread” books to a system with various genres.
And if reading more in 2023 is on your New Years’ resolutions list, you should also check out Goodreads’ annual reading challenge, which lets you—and your Goodreads friends—track your reading goals and progress throughout the year.
If you enjoy reading various magazines but don’t want to blow your budget, you should check out Readly.
Unlike the other suggestions on this list, Readly was developed specifically for reading digital magazines (instead of ebooks). You get access to thousands of magazines on almost every topic imaginable for a relatively small monthly subscription fee.
Readly works particularly well on tablets, smartphones, and other handheld devices. And with a catalog of over 5,000 magazines, you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of reading material.
You can even read specific articles from different publications instead of scrolling through each magazine for content. For magazine readers, it’s tough to beat Readly’s value and diversity of content.
Amazon, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited
While you may be surprised to see the online shopping giant on this list, don’t forget that Amazon originally started as an online bookseller!
And that original mission lives on strongly more than two decades after its launch. Indeed, Amazon is a veritable research haven for books of all kinds.
Its search tools lead you to similar book topics and authors and show you what other like-minded readers are buying. Most books have a sample chapter to read, including the table of contents, giving you a good feel for the book before you purchase it.
And because Amazon has millions of users and thousands of book reviews, it’s a fantastic starting place for finding your next great read.
Amazon’s related e-reader devices and services make reading an even better experience.
The Kindle e-reader is beloved by millions, and includes many different features to mimic the appearance of actual pages. Font sizes and page lighting are adjustable, too, making it easy on the eyes.
In addition, several models include Amazon’s electronic ink display, which makes reading easy in any light, including full sun. You can even highlight certain passages to return to repeatedly.
Amazon’s various memberships and subscriptions (like Prime) include many free ebooks available each month. Be sure to check out Kindle Unlimited, which for a reasonable monthly fee offers access to tens of thousands of books.
Generally, you can read up to 20 books at a time, so Kindle Unlimited gives you some leeway to dive into different topics and genres.
Another convenient way to “read” more is through audiobooks, a technology that has grown tremendously popular in recent years. Audiobooks let you “read” on the go, whether driving, walking, exercising, or multitasking. And Audible is one of the best audiobook providers available.
Audible, owned by Amazon, is available as an app on your smartphone or tablet, making it easy to listen to on the go. It’s also loaded with other features readers can enjoy, such as adjusting the narration speed to help you get through books faster. You can also slow them down and rewind them to capture key points better.
Audible also creates exclusive content, from books and short stories read by celebrities to full-cast dramatizations. While audiobooks have a reputation for being expensive, Audible’s tiered memberships have significantly reduced their costs.
So depending on how quickly you read—er, listen—to your audiobooks, Audible provides options to fit your budget and your listening style.
Our final recommendation, Scribd, is a paid service that opens the door to more than 60 million titles of all kinds. Its library is incredibly vast!
Scribd began as a platform for sharing academic, scholarly, and other more technical articles, and it remains an excellent resource for students, researchers, and the intellectually curious.
Scribd’s monthly subscription provides unlimited access to its ebooks, e-magazines, and audiobooks library. It also serves as a hub for readers who offer some of the most detailed and honest book reviews and suggestions online.
We hope these six recommended apps, platforms, and websites will help jumpstart your reading for 2023. With their help, we’re confident you’ll be a voracious reader in no time!
[1/24/2023] Now that the holidays have passed and you’ve opened your gifts and set up your latest tech and coolest new devices, you may wonder if you’re getting the most out of all your new gadgets.
You might be curious about whether that subtle internet service slowdown is caused by your new tech instead of a gremlin or bad weather.
New devices can be incredible, but with new tech comes new potential impacts and complications. You’re probably dealing with head-scratching setups, bandwidth hogs, programming the proper settings, and protecting your privacy. So, we understand that new tech can sometimes be a headache or hassle.
The good news is that you can ensure that your new devices don’t overwhelm your internet, because you utilize DayStarr’s advanced Fiber network, you’ve got a head start on maximizing your new tech’s speeds and innovations.
We’ll discuss some common issues to look out for when setting up new devices and technology in your home. Then, with a few simple steps and adjustments, you’ll be on your way to having the most tech-savvy digs on the block!
One of the most common sources of frustration for many internet users is bandwidth hogging.
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data an internet connection can transmit per second. Bandwidth is different from internet speed, which refers to the rate data is transmitted per second. You want high speeds and increased bandwidth capacity for reliable, fast, and productive internet.
Bandwidth hogging occurs when a device or internet activity uses lots of bandwidth, making everyone else’s internet experience sluggish.
Devices that use a lot of bandwidth include that awesome new smart TV you’ve just set up—especially once you’ve started streaming movies in high definition.
Or maybe one of your family members has started recording and uploading more videos to TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram from their brand-spanking-new smartphone. That budding at-home cinematographer uploading and downloading videos is another infamous bandwidth hog!
If you’ve noticed an increase in slowdowns or general sluggishness with your internet after setting up new devices or tech at home, bandwidth hogging is a likely culprit.
There are online tools available to analyze bandwidth usage among all your devices and activities that will help identify the source of bandwidth hogging.
Once you’ve confirmed that bandwidth hogging is your problem, consider upgrading your internet’s bandwidth capacity by improving your internet plan. Upgrading your internet speed will significantly increase your home’s bandwidth and should meet just about all of your needs.
Contact a knowledgeable and helpful DayStarr team member for more information about improving your bandwidth. We offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps, dramatically enhancing your home’s internet performance.
Check for Software Updates—and Install Them
Even though you can’t wait to start streaming on your shiny new devices or show them off to your friends, you should do a few things beforehand.
The very first thing you should do after setting up a new device and connecting it to DayStarr’s Fiber network is to run a software update check.
Just about every tech device runs on software and firmware that the manufacturer and programmers regularly improve. Updating software is essential for security, as programmers always work to identify security weaknesses in their code or vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Remember that your new device may have been sitting in a warehouse or store for months before you purchased it—and during that time, the manufacturer may have issued multiple software and firmware updates already! So you must ensure your software is up-to-date.
Most devices have settings that let their systems automatically check for software and security updates. You can also let the system install those updates automatically. Still, many people prefer to be prompted to install them first (especially if you don’t want to be stuck waiting for several minutes or longer for installation to be complete).
We consider staying on top of software, firmware, and security updates a must—it’s simply a step you cannot afford to neglect for any of your devices, old or new.
After updating your software and updating your security, take a few minutes to check your new device’s privacy settings. So much of your online activity leaves a digital trail that you might prefer to reduce.
You can start by turning off your “location.”
Many devices track your physical location—right down to your zip code or street address! Though some apps depend on your actual physical location to operate properly (i.e., navigation, weather, and other map-related apps), plenty of apps do not need your location to work well.
You can adjust your location settings to require permission from certain apps before they start tracking or even hide your location altogether. Every device is different, so check the options in each device’s settings or preferences before proceeding.
Other Privacy Settings
Next, check out other privacy settings and make some common sense adjustments. For example, many devices are digitally “spying” on you, tracking your browsing activities or seeing the kinds of TV series and movies you like to watch.
Smart TVs utilize a technology known as “Automatic Content Recognition” or ACR, which scans the titles of the streaming content you view and transmits that information for digital analysis—which then gets used to better “target” you with ads and other marketing materials.
Yes, we know it sounds creepy (though the practice does reduce the costs of smart TVs).
The good news is that you can altogether disable ACR tracking on your smart TV. Of course, each smart TV is different, so check your device’s settings and follow the prompts to turn it off.
Additionally, some devices are even “listening to you.”
Smart speakers sit around just waiting for their unique “wake word” to be uttered, hearing every sound in its range, including your voice.
Again, each manufacturer’s device is unique, so log in to your account and check out its settings or preferences. For example, you can limit how long to keep your voice recordings (i.e., the questions you ask Alexa or Siri, or Google) or simply turn them off entirely.
Wipe Your Old Tech Before Passing It On!
Finally, don’t forget to take some common sense precautions with your old devices.
It’s tempting to pass an older tablet, smartphone, or smart TV on to your kids or even to sell it. But remember that sensitive information and data could be there, too. And we’re not just talking about your browsing history!
Credit card information, Social Security numbers, and even personal photos can linger digitally for years on old devices.
Be sure to “wipe” the memory off your devices before you sell them, give them away, trade them in, or even trash them (or, preferably, recycle them at an appropriate facility). Look into the settings and features of each device or even invest in an app or other program to safely eliminate all of your data before you get rid of your old device.
[1/10/2023] Many internet users experience a sluggish connection even with “high-speed internet.” They’ve invested in a good Wi-Fi router, perhaps a range extender, and may have even upgraded to a faster internet plan.
So why do they find themselves frequently frustrated by slowdowns and freeze-ups? What about their devices—or internet plan—causes this underwhelming performance? And what, if anything, can people do to reduce or even eliminate these issues?
The most likely culprits behind poor internet performance are bandwidth hogs—devices and online activities that gobble up too much bandwidth and slow down everyone’s internet access.
The good news is DayStarr’s advanced fiber network provides exceptionally high download speeds and the much-overlooked bandwidth capacity that only fiber internet can offer. Combined, fiber’s high speeds and excellent bandwidth can end internet sluggishness.
We discuss bandwidth in greater detail below and explain why every internet customer needs to understand it.
Then, we turn to the most common bandwidth hogs in most people’s homes—devices and online activities—and then explain how DayStarr’s best speed tiers can help resolve any bandwidth issues.
What Is Bandwidth—and Why Is Higher Bandwidth So Important?
Bandwidth can be confusing. Put simply, bandwidth is the amount of information an internet connection can manage per second.
Bandwidth doesn’t measure a particular internet connection’s rate (or speed). Instead, it’s about the volume of online data a connection can “carry” and transfer at any given time.
High bandwidth levels let internet users accomplish activities like streaming TV shows, participating in video calls, playing online games, and posting to social media simultaneously without any slowdowns.
More bandwidth is indispensable for keeping an active online household productive—and happy!
What Exactly Is a Bandwidth Hog?
A bandwidth hog is a colloquial term for a device or online activity that eats up more than its fair share of bandwidth. It hogs too much bandwidth and greedily takes it from other devices or activities. Keep in mind that everyday web browsing typically has little impact on overall bandwidth use.
Some devices are famous bandwidth hogs. So, just by turning on and connecting to a bandwidth hog, a huge amount of available bandwidth on your internet connection will be used.
And certain activities require excess bandwidth to carry out your needs. So when even one (or more) bandwidth hogs are activated, the dreaded slowdowns and freeze-ups can occur, leading to frustration and anger in your home!
Common Household Bandwidth Hogs
Today’s smart TVs feature enhanced technology that displays amazing picture quality.
High-definition, 4K, and 4K Ultra-HD TVs produce stunning imagery and hog lots of bandwidth in the process. Using your smart TV will devour an enormous slice of your home internet’s bandwidth. If you have limited bandwidth capacity, your smart TV could impact other devices and online activities or even slow down a show you want to watch.
By far the activity with the most excessive use of bandwidth is streaming video.
Netflix tends to be the top offender, in part due to its popularity and vast library of content. Many people stream shows and movies on other devices like their tablets rather than just their smart TVs. And if you have more than one person in your household—and multiple tablets and phones in use—your bandwidth can easily be hogged just by streaming shows and movies.
And Netflix isn’t the only problem.
Streaming services like TikTok and YouTube also use lots of bandwidth. Posting TikTok videos also compounds the bandwidth problem because it involves sending information from the device to a server, consuming even more bandwidth in the process.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, video conference calling became a daily part of life for many people. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other services allowed people to stay connected face-to-face, even across long distances. But video calls are notorious bandwidth hogs.
Voice, text, and video all combine to devour bandwidth—and that’s why you’ve experienced those ridiculous freeze-frame faces during the call!
And remember, with video calling, you are not just receiving data—you are also continuously sending it back to the server (and then to your loved ones’ devices). That accounts for video calling’s massive appetite for bandwidth and why so many video calls end up frustrating people (unless you have fiber internet!).
Another big-time bandwidth hog is online gaming.
Online gaming is incredibly problematic from a bandwidth perspective because, like video calling, information is shared—from the player back to the server and the server back to the player. It often jams the internet connection for gamers and others in the house.
Higher bandwidth allows this excessive volume of data to transfer with far less latency or other delays. So gamers experiencing lag or freezes will benefit from internet plans and tiers that provide more bandwidth.
What’s the Best Way to Get More Bandwidth?
Well, apart from eliminating bandwidth hogs—the devices and activities you already have and love—your best solution is to upgrade to fiber internet.
DSL, cable, and satellite internet don’t have fiber’s high speeds or bandwidth capacity because fiber’s innovative design and cutting-edge materials allow for data to transfer faster and in much higher volumes.
If you already have fiber internet and would like to improve your internet service, you should increase your plan’s maximum speeds. With fiber internet, you can select a service tier with 1 gigabyte per second (and possibly more, depending on your provider).
A 1 gigabyte per second tier provides plenty of bandwidth to allow a steady flow of online activity like streaming TV and movies, video calling, online gaming, and social media posting. Just by using fiber internet and upgrading your internet speed, you should easily get all the bandwidth your household needs.
To sum it all up, the more bandwidth an internet connection has, the more information it can send out and get back at any particular moment.
And with fiber’s advanced technology and higher speeds, you’ll have additional bandwidth to disburse throughout your home and among your devices. With fiber’s higher bandwidth capacity, your household can avoid the freeze-ups and slowdowns that still plague so many internet users today.
If you have more questions about how Fiber Internet and its maximum speeds and higher bandwidth can make a difference in your internet connection, feel free to reach out to the helpful DayStarr Team Members!
[1/4/2022] What a wonderful year 2022 was at DayStarr. Our team has grown so much, we expanded our service areas, added new plans, and we celebrated all of it at our Christmas party on December 23rd at the Capital Sports Fieldhouse. This is always a fun event for our employees as well as their families.
This was the second year that we voted on and crowned our annual Core Value Champions! This year’s winners are:
Passion – Austin Beamish
Team Player – Katie Nickels
Servant’s Heart – Luke Wilhelm
In addition to getting together and celebrating as a DayStarr family, we also incorporated some trivia which was a blast! There was also dodgeball, knockerball, fowling, cornhole, basketball, and batting cages. We couldn’t have asked for a greater group of employees to celebrate the past year of accomplishments with!
We look forward to what 2023 has in store!
[1/3/2022] DayStarr offers business-level Fiber optic cable service, part of a nationwide rollout that’s bringing the fastest internet service with the broadest bandwidth ever before widely available.
But just what is fiber optic cable, and how is it made? And what makes it so much better than copper cable?
Also commonly called fiber cable, fiber optic cable is a cable line filled with very thin filaments made from silica glass or plastic. The data is then transmitted using light pulses rather than the electrical signals used to move information on copper lines.
Fiber cable moves data much faster than copper lines—easily 20 times faster or more—and can accommodate far more data at once, which means more devices can use bandwidth-hogging applications at once without throttling, buffering, or other slowdowns that could occur during high-traffic times, like your business hours.
A quick history of fiber optic telecommunications
Alexander Graham Bell gets the credit for being one of the earliest experimenters with fiber optic technology, something he explored as he created the telephone in the 1880s. But it was almost a century later before commercial production began.
Credit for the big breakthrough goes to Corning engineers who found a way to make strands of glass that could move data contained within pulses of light that computers could then convert to usable forms for the human beings at each end. And critically, it could do all that without the light pulses leaking from the cable.
That was in the 1970s, at the dawn of the computer age. In fact, fiber optics grew up along with computers and the internet as telecommunications technology advanced at the revolutionary pace that we’re still seeing today.
The 3 Cs of fiber cable
Fiber optic cable is manufactured with three major components. From the inside out, that’s the core, the cladding, and the coating.
The core is the key to fiber optic’s ability to transmit data at very high speeds and very long distances without the loss of signal strength that can plague copper wire. It’s the center of the cable that contains the super-clear glass or plastic fiber comprising strands roughly the thickness of a human hair.
Then there’s the cladding. That’s another layer of glass that functions as a reflector to keep the light pulses inside the core as they hurtle to their destination at a pace that can approach the speed of light.
Finally, there’s the coating, a thin rubber layer that shields the fiber from scratches and other damage. (One thing the shield doesn’t have to do is contain electromagnetic signals. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can be a major problem with copper cable, a problem that doesn’t exist when simply moving light.)
Creating the fiber itself
Optic fiber glass strands are created in a highly controlled environment and a multistep process that begins with a ceramic rod that attracts the silicon dioxide that then forms into a thick cylinder. Any moisture is removed in a high-temperature furnace and the resulting blanks are then placed vertically in an even hotter furnace for the process called the draw.
The draw is when the melting glass forms into strands used for both the core and cladding. After they cool, the strands are wrapped on spools and then later unspooled—either on-site or in a specialized finishing facility elsewhere—for the application of the rubber coating. They later can be joined together into multiple-strand cabling that can then be run through metal or rubber conduits and, when needed, separated back into individual strands at their final destination.
By building our network with this top-of-the-line tech, we can provide high-speed, high-capacity telecommunications that can easily handle your most demanding applications, including multiple VoIP phone lines, teleconferencing, large video uploads and downloads, and cloud-based, business-critical software—with speed, capacity, reliability, and security that copper lines simply can’t match.
To learn more about our Fiber internet for your business, contact us at DayStarr.net.