EarthLink Member Center Blog

What is the number one thing people do on Independence day … ?

posted by Skeeter Harris

july forth

You might be surprised, but the number one thing people do on Independence Day is EAT!

Make sure you’re prepared with these Top 3 grilling tips for your Fourth of July Cookout

  1. Gas vs. Charcoal? The long-standing debate over which grilling method is “better” involves several variables, from flavor to cost to preference. Charcoal brings out that great smoky flavor no matter what you’re cooking and you can also control the intensity of the flame. On the contrary, gas grills are easier to use, because the heat is manageable and there’s hardly any clean up! There is no right or wrong decision, so choose your preference.
  2.  Turn up the heat! In the hopes that the weather is already nice on the 4th, make it even hotter! The grill that is. Preheat your grill 15 to 20 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature for cooking. Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. You know you got it right when you hear that beautiful searing sound once the meat hits the grill.
  3.  The meat isn’t everything- Don’t forget about the side dishes! Potato and pasta salad, coleslaw, fruit, baked beans, the list goes on and on! It doesn’t matter which side dishes you choose to make for your cookout, just make sure you spend time planning for them too as they are just as important as the meat!

Happy 4th of July from EarthLink!

The post What is the number one thing people do on Independence day … ? appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



Troubleshooting tips for your DSL Internet connection

posted by Skeeter Harris

We’re always concerned when our customers can’t get the most out of the internet.   As a result of our continuous monitoring, and information that we’ve received from those customers who have reached out to us, we have been able to quickly isolate and address the most common issues that affect performance and connectivity.   We believe that there are no widespread issues on our end at this time but we want to provide some troubleshooting steps that we think may be helpful for our customers who frequently experience connectivity issues.

  1. To make your internet connection as consistent and secure as possible, please follow the steps outlined in the links for Windows Users and for Mac Users
  2. It is critical that all WiFi connections are password protected. This prevents unwanted users from accessing your home network, impacting performance, connectivity and possibly your personal information.
  3. All computers should be protected with anti-virus software (yes, even Macs). There are many free programs available and also those for purchase. EarthLink offers Symantec’s Norton product line for a modest monthly fee, but we mostly want you to know that your computer needs to be protected.  Viruses not only can compromise your computer, but they often can result in poor performance or an inability to get to the internet.
  4. Whatever issue may be impacting your connection, we don’t want you to feel like you’re alone.  If you would like one of our technicians to reach out to you directly, please send us a private message with your account information and your best contact number and we’d be happy to troubleshoot with you.

The post Troubleshooting tips for your DSL Internet connection appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



EarthLink Position on Heartbleed Bug on Consumer Systems

posted by Skeeter Harris

heartbleed

The Heartbleed bug is a recent vulnerability that has been circulating news articles this week.  EarthLink has validated that we are not using any impacted versions of OpenSSL in our consumer systems like webmail.earthlink.netmyaccount.earthlink.net andmy.earthlink.net.

Please keep in mind that using the same email and password combination for multiple sites can pose a risk if any one of those sites is compromised. We strongly suggest that you choose a unique password for your EarthLink email address that you do not use on any other websites. This will greatly improve the security of your EarthLink account, and thank you for being a customer of EarthLink.

The post EarthLink Position on Heartbleed Bug on Consumer Systems appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



8 Great Smartphone Apps to Save You Money

posted by Wendy Kastner

Nobody likes paying more than they have to. At least no one I know.

But going out of your way to find the best price can cost you more time than you have to lose. Running around town to price shop. Comparing multiple websites. Flipping through circulars and clipping, organizing and keeping track of coupons. There’s gotta be an easier way.

Fortunately, for smartphone users, there’s a cache of mobile phone apps to help you cash in on the best deals and save all over the place. Whether you’re looking to score at major retailers, land the lowest last-minute hotel rate or consistently pay less at the pump, these are among the top money-saving apps to get pumped about.

All are free and iPhone/Android compatible.

RedLaser
Let’s say you’re at a major office supply store looking for a new laptop or tablet. Wouldn’t you love to know what the “other guys” are selling it for without making an additional trip? Armed with the RedLaser Bar Code and QR scanner app, just scan a product’s barcode and you can pull up pricing on the same item at major competitors. Additional perks include coupon notifications and the ability to scan and save all of your loyalty card info in one place.

Hotel Tonight
Who says you snooze you lose? You can wait until the last minute and still land an amazing deal on an upscale hotel stay. With Hotel Tonight, you can score discounts of up to 70% on same-day stays at high-end hotels. Great rates get posted after noon each day for deals in 12 countries and over 150 prime locations.

shopkick
You don’t even have to buy anything to get something with shopkick. You see, with shopkick, you get points (or “kicks”) just for walking into a store. And you can put your kicks toward gift certificates at participating retailers, including Target, Macy’s, Old Navy and more. Those who spend, of course, get more kicks.

ShopAdvisor
If you already know what you want, ShopAdvisor can help you get it when it’s priced right. With ShopAdvisor, you scan the barcode of something you have your heart set on. It’ll end up on your “watch list” so that whenever it goes on sale (at a store in your vicinity), you’ll be the first to know.

GasBuddy
The staggeringly high prices we’re seeing at the pump have fueled just about all of us to be more frugal in one way or another. GasBuddy puts road warriors in the driver’s seat by alerting where in town you can top off the tank for the lowest price.

RepairPal
If there was only a quick fix to the grind of finding a qualified mechanic. Wait…there is. Download the RepairPal app and know what price you should pay for your repair. What’s more, the app locates qualified mechanics in your area, tracks all your repairs, and offers one-touch access to roadside assistance.

RetailMeNot
With RetailMeNot, customers get the benefit of retail coupon savings without the hassle of having to physically have them in hand (simply show your phone at checkout.) With the app, you can quickly pull up coupons or coupon codes at loads of major retailers.

Viggle
TV junkies can have their fix with the Viggle. Download the app and “check in” to register the show you’re watching (you’ll earn one point per minute). You can earn bonus points for watching featured programs, too. Points are redeemable for gift cards and other prizes.

The post 8 Great Smartphone Apps to Save You Money appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



Smartphone Apps to Simplify Your Life

posted by Wendy Kastner

While many smartphone users might be dazzled with the fact that there are more than 1 million apps on the market, you’re not necessarily one of them. After all, you’re nothing if not practical. Only if an app can truly make your information-loaded life and day-to-day doings easier are you apt to try it.

Here’s a small sampling of smartphone apps designed to do just that. All are free and iPhone and Android compatible.

Grocery iQ
You can shop smarter at the grocery store with the Grocery iQ app. Along with storing and organizing grocery lists, the app also tallies up your bill before you hit the checkout thanks to a built-in barcode scanner. Focused on saving you money, Grocery iQ is rife with coupon incentives, too.

Dropbox
You’ve got loads of important files…on everything from your work computer, to your home desktop and your personal laptop. Ever wish you could access them all in one place? Now you can. Dropbox lets you store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere via the Internet.

Mint.com
If getting a better grip on your income, spending and investments is top of mind, you might well find the Mint.com app invaluable. Giving you the big picture, this app lets you see all of your financial accounts in one place. Focused on dollars and cents, too, Mint.com’s app tracks all of your spending (categorizing it for better budgeting), provides bill-payment alerts, suggest ways to save…and more.

Smartr Contacts
You know you have their contact information. You just can’t recall where it is off the top of your head. The Smartr Contacts app provides search functionality across your many address books – including your iPhone contacts, Twitter connections, Facebook friends, LinkedIn colleagues, Gmail contacts and more.

Key Ring or CardStar
With all the store loyalty cards you’ve collected through the years, that key ring of yours is getting awfully crowded, isn’t it? Say good-bye to carrying around loyalty cards and hello to apps including Key Ring and CardStar. They allow you to scan your loyalty card information into your phone and store store barcodes and account numbers in digital format. At checkout, store clerks simply scan the loyalty barcode on your phone.

EverNote
You never know when a great idea is going to strike. Thankfully, the EverNote app lets you take notes, snap photos, create to-do lists and record voice reminders to help you stay on track and improve productivity while you’re on the go. Making your notes completely searchable, EverNote syncs across all of your computers and devices and jibes with other apps including Facebook and Twitter.

The post Smartphone Apps to Simplify Your Life appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



A Mobile Website: Upward Mobility for Your Business

posted by Patricia Schumacher

You’ve decided it’s high time for your very own business website. Good for you. But before you commit to a plan, make sure what you put out there is up to speed with today’s customers. If you really want to be timely, having a mobile version of your website is a definite move in the right direction.

Whether on the go or sitting around killing time, your customers likely have a smartphone or tablet at arm’s length. To be more precise, 85 percent of Americans are never more than three feet from their mobile phones; that’s according to the experts at Google. Add to that, it’s estimated that over 50 percent of mobile phone users in the U.S. now have a smartphone. Of those, 80 percent say they don’t leave home without it.

Just as the popularity of smartphones and tablets is only expected to rise, so too is the way in which consumers use their mobile devices…from getting their news feeds and perusing restaurant menus, to researching products and services and making purchases.

In a recent Google-sponsored smartphone usage study, the research group Our Mobile Planet found that:

  • 96% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their device
  • 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone
  • 90% purchase, contact the business or take another action after local research
  • 66% access the Internet every day on their smartphone
  • 57% search on their smartphones every day
  • 37% have researched on their smartphone and then purchased on a computer
  • 35% have made a purchase on their phone
  • 32% have researched on their smartphone and then purchased the product offline

Without a mobile-friendly website, you could be potentially turning off consumers and turning away business. Think about those moments when you’ve been on the go, in your car, with your smartphone in hand. It’s great that with one click you can call a company or map their location. That’s because they’ve got a mobile website that simply works. And you could, too, by choosing an EarthLink Web Hosting plan.

In fact, most EarthLink Web Hosting plans and all of our ecommerce hosting plans include a mobile website with click-to-map and click-to-call functionality. These include:

EarthLink Web Hosting plans are designed to make it easy for your business to be more upwardly mobile.

The post A Mobile Website: Upward Mobility for Your Business appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



Computer Care: Tips for Better PC Performance and Longer Laptop Life

posted by Patricia Schumacher

Maybe you got a shiny new laptop under the Christmas tree this year. Or perhaps you’re simply looking to get as much mileage as possible out of your current machine. Why not? Money doesn’t grow on trees. Whatever the case, by following some basic computer care/computer maintenance tips, we can all benefit from better PC performance and longer laptop life.

Drink to Being More Careful.
When it comes to your pricey computer, you can cry over spilled milk. It’s not so bad if the big spill is on your desktop keyboard (which you can replace for less than $20), but if we’re talking about your laptop keyboard, you could easily short out your motherboard with one, unfortunate move.

Keep Your Keyboard Clean.
Step 1: After you shut down your computer, turn your laptop or keyboard upside down and gently tap on the back to kick out crumbs and debris. Step 2: Keeping the keyboard upside down, use a can of compressed air (sold for a few bucks at office supply stores) to blow out anything left stuck between/under the keys. Gently tap the keyboard a few more times. Step 3: If you have a raised-key keyboard, attack those germs by swiping a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol around the rims of each key.

Keep the Screen Clean.
Spots and smudges on the computer screen are distracting, no doubt. To clean your laptop screen or computer monitor, first power off your laptop/monitor. Grab a dry, microfiber cloth (paper towels are too abrasive). Spritz some screen cleaner (sold at office supply stores) onto the cloth (not the screen) and wipe in a gentle, circular motion. Penny pinchers: You can make your own cleaning solution by pouring equal parts distilled water and white vinegar into a spray bottle.

To Dust Is a Must.
Dust build-up is problematic for laptops, given their compact design and small components. If your computer fan is running constantly, or your laptop feels hotter than it should, that might be a sign of dust build-up. What to do: First make sure your laptop is completely turned off. Turn your laptop over and remove the battery pack. Examine the bottom of the laptop for vents, grills or fans. You can use a can of compressed air to blow out dust in these areas. Better yet, say the PC repair guys, use a Shop-Vac set in reserve (with an attachment to concentrate air flow). Blow out these areas, including the battery compartment, to remove dusk particles. Even a small amount of dusk is a big deal for laptops.

Dump the Junk.
For optimal performance it’s just as important to keep the computer clean on the inside. An overload of files and outdated software can waste valuable hard drive space and slow your speed.

Windows users can get rid of old software as follows:

Click the Start button > then Control Panel > then choose Programs > followed by Programs and Features, where you’ll see a complete list of your software programs. Select what want to delete and click uninstall.

You can also shed unnecessary files on your hard disk and free up disk space by using Disk Cleanup on a regular basis. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and clears a variety of system files you no longer need. If you’re a Windows user:

Click the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Cleanup.
In the results list, click Disk Cleanup.
In the drives list, select the hard disk drive you want to clean up, and then click OK.
In the disk cleanup dialog box, select the check boxes for the file types you want to delete, and then click OK.
In the confirmation message that appears, click delete files.

Play it Safe with Antivirus Protection.
To keep your PC in tip-top shape, having a quality antivirus software installed is absolutely essential. Among the choices that consistently rank at the top: AVG Antivirus. Blocking viruses, spyware and other malware, AVG Antivirus can be downloaded free. For more extensive protection (including firewall and encryption protection), purchasing the full version of the software affords you greater peace of mind.

The post Computer Care: Tips for Better PC Performance and Longer Laptop Life appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



Tapping into the Tablet Versus Laptop Debate

posted by Patricia Schumacher

Tablets are taking the market by storm. And according to industry forecasters including Canalys, “tablet domination is set to continue,” adding that global tablet shipments could surpass laptop and desktop shipments sometime in 2014.

Given all the momentum and the sex appeal tablets provide in terms of sleek design and grab-and-go convenience, perhaps you're among the throngs of consumers faced with the debate: which one is better, a laptop or tablet?

Where Laptops Run Laps Around Tablets:

Power. No question. Laptops dominate tablets in terms of power. Designed as mobile personal computers, laptops allow users to perform the same tasks of desktops but with lightweight, mobile portability.

Performance. With more potent processing hardware, laptops not only provide for a wider range of uses, but they also deliver faster performance and work well for multitasking.

Tablets are up to the task of Web browsing and media streaming, but for more complex assignments, laptops are where it's at. With low-powered processors, most tablets just can't keep pace with the computing abilities of laptops.

Storage. As you'd expect, laptops provide far more file storage capacity than tablets. To keep their size and costs down, tablets rely on new solid state storage. While that equates to fast access and low power usage, it also means a lot less capacity for file storage.

Most tablets offer between 16 GB to 64 GB of storage. By comparison, laptops might offer 10 times that. Laptops make it easy to add needed storage, too, whereas with tablets what you get it is what you get.

Compatibility. Laptops can also display/play just about any file, whereas tablets, including iPads, are more restrictive and may well require conversion prior to play.

How Tablets Make for a Top Choice:

Price. A standard laptop can easily run you $500. Though not always the case, tablets generally come with a smaller price tag.

Weight. Anyone who's had to lug around a laptop for an extended period of time can appreciate the portability of a tablet. Apple iPad Air, for example, weighs a mere one pound!

Coolness. Thanks to different processors and lower power requirements, tablets don't throw off the heat that laptops do…so cool, they don't require a fan, as do laptops. Not to mention they just look cool.

Battery Life. The relatively short battery life of laptops has always been a drain for those on the go. In contrast, you can get more than 10 hours of battery life on a tablet.

Apps Aplenty. While laptops revolve around software, tablets are all about apps. There are over 500,000 apps customized for tablets. Apps are also generally less expensive than PC software. And you'll find a lot of apps are free.

Now the big question? Who comes out the winner in the great laptop vs. tablet debate?

If you're among the many looking to downsize and lighten your load, you might hope that a tablet over a laptop would be the answer. In reality, laptops and tablets are better thought of as companions rather than dueling devices. As impressive as tablets are, and even with accessories such as tablet keyboards that deliver the laptop feel folks have been missing, they're not a straight replacement for laptops.

While good at many things, including Internet browsing, serving as e-readers and streaming entertainment off Netflix and other sources, the abilities of tablets are a simply a sampling of what laptops can do.

 

 

The post Tapping into the Tablet Versus Laptop Debate appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



Tips for Those Keen on Green Computing

posted by Patricia Schumacher

Incorporating fewer toxic materials, built to be more energy efficient and wrapped in less packaging, today’s computers aren’t just leaner, they’re greener. To the eco-conscious, how green a computer is might be as important as name brand, RAM, operating system and other components. Before spending your hard-earned green on a new computer, you might consider the following factors if you’re keen on green.

Go for gold (or silver or bronze).
EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is a comprehensive global rating system for green computing. EPEAT evaluates laptops, desktops and computer monitors according to specific environmental criteria and offers Bronze, Silver and Gold ratings. All computers in the EPEAT rating system must meet 23 criteria.

Computers that meet the most “additional points” (based on 28 optional criteria) are rated greenest. Those shopping for a green computer should definitely pay a visit to EPEAT online.

Consider downsizing.
For green computing, notebooks or laptops make more sense than desktops. They require less material to make and less energy to run. Additionally, laptops likely contain less lead than desktops. Yes, laptops and notebooks generally have a higher price tag than desktops, but in the long run, they cost less given the power savings.

In fact laptops consume five times less energy than desktop PCs. Being so portable, they’re more convenient, too. But if you think nothing tops a desktop, consider a small-form-factor (SFF) desktop. Manufacturers include Apple, AOpen and Shuttle. Modest in size and designed with energy-efficient notebook components, SFFs tend to use less power than full-size towers. Check out these top five SFF picks.

You can also visit manufacturers’ websites to sort their greenest models. They should be free from brominated fire retardant (BMR), arsenic, lead and mercury, made with recycled or recyclable materials and include reduced packaging.

What about a monitor? You’ll likely want to buy a flat-panel LCD display. Of course, CRTs are available, but they not only require more desk space but also more power. LCDs use about one-third the power of CRTs.

Reach for Energy Star.
Definitely look for the EPA’s Energy Star label when shopping for a green computer. Having recently been updated (for the first time in 15 years), Energy Star requirements are more stringent than ever. Energy Star computers meet strict Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) requirements, including being able to save energy while in use and in sleep mode. Feel free to search the Energy Star website for energy-efficient computers (by brand or by model number).

Score with Multicore.
The makers of computer processors (e.g., Intel) have been hard at work to reduce power usage. For example, not only is the Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor said to be 40 percent faster, but it’s also considered more than 40 percent more energy efficient than its single-core predecessor. Sipping not gulping power, so to speak, it consumes power very efficiently by powering up processor components, selectively, and only when necessary.

Power save.
Sure, powering up takes time, but consider this. Leaving your PC running actually consumes more energy than shutting down and rebooting. Not sold? At least put your computer in Power Save/Sleep Mode. It’s the next best thing, and it’s easy to do.

In Windows, click the Start menu, choose Control Panel, then click Power Options and select the power plan “Power Saver.” From this window, you’ll also see the option “change when the computer sleeps.” Use the pull-down menu option to select a sleep mode time trigger (e.g., 10 minutes, 15 minutes), so that when you’re away from your computer for that amount of time, sleep mode automatically kicks in.

 

 

The post Tips for Those Keen on Green Computing appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.



EarthLink Web Hosting Plans Take Your Pick. Unwrap Many Possibilities.

posted by Patricia Schumacher

As a professional looking to grow your business, one of the best investments you can make is in a company website. For some small business owners, creating a website is “something I’ll get to when I have time.”

With a new year on the horizon, there’s no better time to put your best foot forward with a website.

Now…where do you start? Say you opt for an EarthLink Web Hosting Plan. What are your options?

Let’s Unwrap the Possibilities of EarthLink Web Hosting Plans…

Are you pretty good at following directions and assembly? Don't mind tackling some details to save money? Then an EarthLink Do-It-Yourself Web Hosting Plan might be the perfect pick. Among the possibilities...

Do-It-Yourself Option #1: Website Plus
(for $9.97/month for the first 3 months, $19.95/month thereafter*)

With Website Plus, you can make your own website in minutes, no experience necessary. It’s a solid option if you’re a small business without a website, or you have a website but want a simple way to rebuild it and manage it yourself.

Essentials include an easy-to-use website builder with built-in business templates, WordPress blog, email marketing and social media tools, unlimited FTP (for managing large files), live chat, and more.

Do-It-Yourself Option #2: Business Website Plus
(for $17.47/month for the first 3 months, $34.95/month thereafter*)

For the small business owner who wants to easily build and manage a website and step up their online marketing. Business Website Plus includes all the features of the Website Plus plan -- and much more. Extras include over 60 professional directory listings, 200 professional email accounts, and a mobile website with click-to-map and click-to-call features.

Think you don't need a mobile website? Consider these stats from a recent Google study of smartphone usage:

  • 96% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their device
  • 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone
  • 90% of smartphone users purchase, contact the business, or take another action after local research

All the more reason to consider the Do-It-Yourself Business Website Plus plan.

Do-It-Yourself Option #3: Ecommerce Website Plus
(for $42.47/month for the first 3 months, $84.95/month thereafter*)

Have stuff to sell online? Let customers fill up their shopping carts and pay securely with an Ecommerce Website Plus plan.

  • Supports online credit card transactions and features a Rapid SSL cert
  • Includes eCommerce Store Builder -- create an engaging storefront and easily optimize your store for mobile devices, sell products and services directly on Facebook, and more
  • Provides advanced Web hosting features, plus all the online marketing tools in our other website hosting packages (including a mobile website)

No time to roll up your sleeves?
Prefer to pay for professional services?

Then you might be just the person for an EarthLink Do-It-For-Me Plan. Keep in mind, the price drops big time after the first year! All Do-It-For-Me plans offer professional website design services, copywriting, maintenance, email marketing, SEO tools, and more.

Options include…

Do-It-For-Me Option 1: Standard Design & Marketing Website
(for $79.95/month, drops to $29.95/month after the first 12 months**)

Count on a professionally designed and branded website, a mobile website, plus tools to market your business. Details.

Do-It-For-Me Option 2: Premium Design & Marketing Website
(for $124.95/month, drops to $69.95/month after the first 12 months**)

Get a bigger website for your business, a mobile website, and additional online marketing tools to help drive traffic. Details.

Do-It-For-Me Option 3: Ecommerce Design & Marketing Website
(for $154.95/month, drops to $84.95/month after the first 12 months**)

Help your business sell more online with a sophisticated and professionally designed store and a mobile website. Take your marketing to the max. Details.

 

* First 3 months are billed at the rates listed above. Standard monthly rates apply thereafter. Current standard monthly rates listed above. Free Domain Name: After you click to sign up you will have an opportunity to search for and choose your free domain name, or you may transfer a domain you already own. Top level domains ( TLDs) included in Free Domain Name promotion are .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .us, .name, .mobi, .asia and .tel. Other domain name extensions are available for additional fees.

** Plan requires a 12-month commitment. Cancellation prior to the end of such 12-month period will result in EarthLink billing you an early termination fee equal to the applicable monthly fee multiplied by the number of months remaining in your 12-month term.

The post EarthLink Web Hosting Plans Take Your Pick. Unwrap Many Possibilities. appeared first on EarthLink Blog: Internet services, Web Hosting, IT services.





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