Cutting The Cable TV Cord

They say that one in 50 Canadians have cut the cable TV cord and I just happen to be one of them. After spending the summer without cable TV due to a bad connection down the street from me and dealing with poor customer service, I decided to cut my cable. I must say that once I got in contact with the right people I was able to get the problem fixed; it’s just too bad I had to go to that extreme to get it fixed. I realized that after two months of no cable the transition to getting my tv shows off the internet had already begun.
How do I do it? Well it starts with my internet connection. I have unlimited internet access which gives me the freedom to stream when ever and whatever I want, unlike some people who have a cap on their internet usage. Streaming internet content may not be for everyone especially with a 1 or 2 gigabyte cap on their internet monthly usage. Just how much data does streaming content use up? This website will give you a good idea… http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/tech-news/how-much-bandwidth-does-streaming-use/article7365916/
The two main websites I use to watch TV shows are located here….
http://www.couchtuner.ma/ and http://www.free-tv-video-online.me/ also known as Project Free TV.
I use the couchtuner.eu website more than the other one though, the quality just seems better. Of course the other way i watch TV content is through Netflix both the American and Canadian version. I get the American version of Netflix on my laptop by using a browser plug-in called Hola Unblocker that changes the IP address to make it appear that I’m from the USA. Another way to appear to be located in another country is with this website… http://www.opennicproject.org/ and changing your DNS settings.
Another program I use is called XBMC which is a media centre program that can be programmed with add-ons that will give you all kinds of content. One easy way to set up XBMC is to use an add-on called XBMCHUB that will preinstall the most popular add-ons giving you movies and streaming TV programs. One device I haven’t mentioned yet is the Android TV box which usually includes XBMC and other applications that would connect directly to your TV through an HDMI cable. These devices are becoming more popular and readily available especially on eBay.
Now that you have possible websites for content and programs to use the other question is how to watch that content on your big screen TV. With newer TV’s and computers that’s easy because you can use HDMI. If your computer doesn’t have HDMI you can always add an HDMI video card although for laptops that isn’t as easy but you can get adapters to change from DVI/VGA to HDMI. On my laptop and my TV I have s-video and RCA jacks which isn’t the best quality but it works.
So if you want to cut the cord as they say, do your research and see what would work best for your system. If you have any questions about XBMC please feel free to ask me.

 

UPDATE: Please note that I no longer use Hola as they have been known to sell user information and your privacy is not guaranteed with them.  There are a number of VPN services out there for a reasonable price.  Free VPN services may not offer the privacy you’re looking for. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As Christmas and the New Year fast approaches I must take the time to reflect on the past year of business.  If it wasn’t for my client’s and the wonderful people I’ve met along the way I wouldn’t have been in business as long as I have. So for that I must thank each and every one of you, including the visitors to my website.  It’s with your support that I’ve been able to stay in business for 5 years and I hope to stay in business for many more to come.  As you may or may not know I take a different approach with my business clients and that is by not just treating you like a person instead of a number but by treating you more like family.  Customer service has always been very important to me and it’s a promise I intend to maintain. 

  I often post articles and industry related news on my Facebook page so please stop by and like my page to keep updated.  In the New Year look for more specials, promotions, etc to help me celebrate a 6th year in business.  I will also support my community the best way I can and one way has been to help children to play sports, I do this through donations to cover the registration fees for them.  After all times are tough and it’s the children that suffer the most.  Want to help by donating?  You can help by donating on my donation page here.  Any small amount will help make a child happy and healthy by being able to play sports.

  So from my Family and I to yours:  I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  Be safe not only on the roads as you travel but on the internet as well. 

Virus News Update! Cryptolocker Virus

I’m sure many of you have heard about this particularly nasty virus that is taking the IT world by storm.  The Cryptolocker virus usually comes to your computer as an email attachment but other methods of installation have also been reported.  Once installed the virus encrypts your documents on not only your local hard drive but on any attached hard drives as well.  This means that your external hard drive could be encrypted as well.  The best thing to do is to backup your data and then remove your external hard drive.  Once your files are encrypted you have several choices, either pay the ransom and hope it decrypts your files properly, forget about having access to your files forever, or attempt to restore your files from a shadow copy or recent backup.  Without the proper key nothing is going to break that encryption code and unfortunately the virus only gives you so many hours to pay up or lose your files. 

 So that was the bad news about this particularly nasty virus, now for the good news.  You can prevent this virus from infecting your system in the first place.  Don’t rely on your antivirus program from saving the day; in most cases it won’t even pick up on this virus.  There is another way to save your system and that’s buy using this particular program called Cryptoprevent found here. Follow the directions and run the program and you will be protected from this type of virus.  The other thing you can do is be careful of your email attachments and don’t open anything you’re not familiar with.  As with any virus as long as you are aware of these viruses and take certain precautions you should be ok. 

 If at any time you are unsure of how to use the Cryptoprevent software and would prefer a professional to protect your system, you can set up an appointment with me.  You can contact me through my website at www.computeremporium.ca or email me at scott@computeremporium.ca or call me and set up an appointment at 519-802-2721.

Community Involvement

As a small business owner I like to give back to my community whenever I can.  One way I’ve been able to do that is to coach a youth’s softball team and have done so for the past couple of season.  I get a great deal of pleasure out of seeing how happy these kids are in a team setting.  They accomplish so much and I always make sure they have fun.  This past season I came across a young lad who wanted to play but really didn’t have the money for the registration fees.  As things were a little tough for me I wasn’t able to afford to help him but I used my contacts I knew and was able to raise the money to get him signed up.  The amount of joy this child had in playing has encouraged me to continue to try and help other children in my community.  So with your help together we can make these kids lives a little better by allowing them to play sports and be part of a team.  If you would like to donate any small amount please follow the link to my donation page.  I thank you for your help and support after all it takes a community to raise a child properly.

Windows XP Support Ends Soon

Just a reminder that as of April 8th, 2014 Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP and Office 2003.

What does end of support mean to customers?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your system or company to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in viruses or possibly someone being able to hack into your system through a security vulnerability.

If you are still using Windows XP then you should think about upgrading to Windows 7 or even Windows 8.  Before you think about upgrading use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to determine IF your system is capable of handling Windows 7.

For advice or suggestions you are more then welcome to contact me at scott@computeremporium.ca or visit my website at www.computeremporium.ca