Lots to think about when diagnosing a slow Internet

Occasionally I get a tech question in the inbox that is quite common. So much so that it makes sense for me to put and answer the question here where more can read and benefit from it.  By the way, if you’ve got something you’d like to ask, feel free to drop me a line through my contact me page.

So, the question deals with Internet speed, and this one is pretty complex because there are quite a number of factors that contribute to the ‘perceived’ speed of the Internet on any given computer:

Q:Hi, my laptop’s internet runs really slow.  I use firefox and internet explorer (they’re both updated). I have tried my laptop on quite a few different internet connections and have run multiple virus and defrag tests with no problems I have 24% free space on my hard drive.  My internet runs really laggy, and i want to sign up for a mobile / stick plan but if my computer can’t run fast there isn’t a point.  is there anything I can do to fix this?

Ok, there’s a lot in those few lines but not really enough to diagnose the problem completely.  Sadly there are a number of things that could impact internet speed, including;

  • the sites you try to connect to,
  • other running applications competing for network or system resources,
  • virus / trojan infection (though in this case the computer was scanned quite heavily),
  • the amount of RAM memory in the system,
  • the age and version of the operating system in use and the age of the computer — this one is important as a 6 year old computer trying to run a modern operating system may have issues as drivers are outdated,
  • hardware no longer supported, or it’s simply not capable of performing modern multi-media tasks that didn’t exist when the computer was originally designed.

As you can see, there are a number of potential issues here, and all of them require more information. So, in this case my recommendation was to consult an expert — giving them access to the machine so they can bring all their experience to bear on the problem.

Since at this point, we’re  not experiencing proper internet speeds, call your internet service provider, and discuss the speed issue with them.  They’ll likely ask a number of questions and have a few tests and tweaks you can perform while on the phone.

Then, if there’s nothing more they can do, perhaps find a trusted service tech or tech-savvy friend and have them help you out, since there’s so many variables that could cause the problems.

Bottom line, good instincts in searching out help. Giving your consulting tech a lot of information or access to the machine will likely generate a number of possible improvements.

And, since I mentioned it above but you likely skimmed over it to get to the meat of this post, if you’ve got a tech question that you think I could help you with,  feel free to drop me a line through my contact me page. I’ll give it a shot 🙂

Four solid tech-news sites I use regularly

Back in the early days of blogging, before podcasting and Twitter and all this new fangled stuff, there was a trend amongst bloggers to occasionally do posts about the sites that have all the cool tech listings and news, as well as the cool people behind the sites.

These days, on Twitter, that kind of a shout out is formalized as #followfriday, or #ff for short.

I think it’s a shame that this trend has fallen by the wayside on blogs, so I’m going to do my small part to give it a kickstart by sharing a few of the blogs, bloggers and sites that keep me doing my thing.

Techmeme – likely one of the biggest names in tech news:

Techmeme arranges all of these links into a single, easy-to-scan page. Story selection is accomplished via computer algorithm extended with direct human editorial input.

Our goal is for Techmeme to become your tech news site of record.

For me, Techmeme is the pulse of Tech as it happens. Good to check in to, every couple of hours or so 🙂

Lifehacker – cool tricks and hacks to make your daily life a bit easier:

an award-winning daily blog that features tips, shortcuts, and downloads that help you get things done smarter and more efficiently.

Mashable – a great resource for tech news that matters. Usually first to have news and relevant commentary.

Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news. With more than 15 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the web and offering social media resources and guides.

Ars Technica – a little slow with the breaking news, but awesome when it comes to detailed analysis of news and issues.

At Ars Technica—the name is Latin-derived for the “art of technology”—we specialize in original news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on topics ranging from the most fundamental aspects of technology to the many ways technology is helping us enjoy our world. We work for the reader who not only needs to keep up on technology, but is passionate about it.

So these are a few of my prime resources, what’re yours? Which sites are your must-go-to sites when you need to find out more about a tech topic?

I get a new label

The following post is a QuickHit(tm) — an article or post I found online and thought was important enough to share directly with you. Of course, you’ll see my thoughts or opinions prepended or appended to this post, otherwise I’m just scraping content, and that’s not the intent.

According to this article on MarketingDaily, I’m a Techfluential…though I could be a bit ‘old’ 🙂

Technology and electronics marketers may want to begin 2010 targeting a small but influential group of consumers who have some undue weight when it comes to influencing the purchases of others.

According to David Krajicek, managing director of technology with GfK Custom Research North America, this group of “techfluentials” is made up of highly connected individuals (indexing mostly under 30) who like to share their opinions about products that make their lives easier.

Or am I just an opinionated guy that likes to talk tech?



You’ve just read a QuickHit(tm). Thanks! And don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments.