Somewhere between September and October, Microsoft migrated from Windows Mail to Outlook for free. More features and such. I’ve not checked it out fully, but it may be a “lighter” version of Outlook, or it could just be a different version from what you’d get if you purchased Office. If you have more details you can post a reply.
This information is to make you aware of certain issues that could arise with this move by Microsoft.
Due to security reasons, many email providers use what they call “app passwords” to allow older programs – or programs that aren’t directly theirs – to access their email service. Yahoo! – AOL – Google – among others – support these features. The screenshot you’re seeing is from AOL. I had originally assisted this client with setting up their app password when it became an issue, and they have been using Windows Mail since then. Once the free upgrade/update/change to Outlook took place, they lost access to their AOL email. All others migrated properly.
The app password for AOL seems to have been tied to Windows Mail – it’s not transferrable to Outlook. Attempts to generate a new app password from within the AOL site failed – they’re having problems – and calls to support show that they’re aware. The only workaround currently is to use the browser to check mails. You’ll have to keep trying until the service is available again.
This is not unique to AOL, but it just happened that way in this instance. So be aware if you’re a tech or end user – it’s not that you’re doing anything wrong. It may just be the email provider.
Good morning everyone. Once again I’m going through a cleanup phase.
If I have a device for you (laptop/desktop) with a ticket, you’ll be notified and it will be delivered back to you. In this instance, it’s likely that the device needs parts. Once parts have been purchased, I will collect the item again to do work.
If the device has a ticket and need to be sent for board level repairs, we will discuss.
If I have a device for you and there is NO TICKET in the system – this is either free work or something that was overlooked and should have been put on.
All persons will be contacted and devices will either be returned as they were or returned after repairs are completed.
Some persons may get free or reduced cost repairs due to the length of time I’ve had the items.
If for some reason I’m unable to make contact with you, the item/s will be kept for an additional month and then dumped.
To ensure that persons don’t try to claim things that don’t belong to them, information will be required to identify the device. A serial number, specific sticker or marking will be required. For devices that data can be accessed, a specific file that’s on the device or something that can identify you as the owner will be required.
I keep doing these cleanups each year (or few years) but I’m working towards making this the last one. My work focus has shifted based on the dynamics of the job, and any extracurricular projects taken on must be completed within a short space of time. Remote work will also be limited to a cutoff time of 8:30PM.
This is free and open source. This makes it very easy to acquire and use on ANY platform. This is the choice for when I’m on the road as it works on my phone. I also rather using this tool for supporting Apple/MAC. I’ll need ID/password in order to connect.
RustDesk is somewhere between #1 and #2 with the next option below. The only reason it’s placed first in this list is the Apple/MAC support.
For this, you’ll have to download version 11 as my license does not allow me to connect to newer version. Due to TeamViewer retiring this version however, it sometimes gives issues to connect. This is my #3 in the list because I have a license – but it does give some issues with Windows 10/11 and newer versions of Apple/MAC.
TeamViewer was the most popular tool – probably still is – but the licensing has made it difficult for me to keep up, and I’m not into paying yearly to use it.
I can connect with a newer version if needed, but I will then move to running a portable version of something else, or installing something else if I’m allowed. There is a time limit if you’re not using a licensed version and provide support exceeding a certain amount of time, or number of connections per week.
This is the #4 on my list. I used it and had a license for a time, but I chose not to continue. They’ve changed their operation model – much like TeamViewer with the licensing – but it’s still a good tool to use. As of this writing, the current issue is the restriction of 5 devices per week if I recall. I will use it if it’s what you have, but – like TeamViewer – I will connect then use a portable remote tool or install one that I rather if I’m allowed to do so.
I will use any remote tool that you require once I’m able to. If I’m on the road, I will request RustDesk. I rather the use of the tools I’ve paid for or the free ones, but some persons may be more familiar with a particular one, or already have one installed. I’ll work with what you’ve got or are familiar with – once I have access I will set up what I need if allowed, or run a portable version and create an easy to find shortcut so you can run it again in future.
So – we’re back again. After much testing and checking – I’ve finally settled on TWO primary modes of support.
Remote Utilties (RU)
RU is not free, but I do have a license. While preferred, this should be primarily used by persons I provide frequent support to. The only drawback to RU is no easy phone support. The other drawback would be the inability to provide support to Mac/Apple users.
RD is actually a free remote tool, and works very well from my phone. If you need immediate support and I’m not near a PC/laptop, then RD it is. If you’re not a regular client and just need quick support, RD it is. If you have a Mac/Apple device – RD it is.
As a disclaimer – I will still use TeamViewer 11 or AnyDesk depending on the situation. I will advise you on what to use if the ones listed below do not work.
Before anything else – I need to put this out there. Do not install any remote support software and provide details or access to anyone that you do not know or know about. There may be times when scammers and hackers try to get access to your system (desktop/laptop/iMac/MacBook) and steal your information or install malicious software. Only install or run software when you KNOW for certain that the person providing support is legitimate.
The following are examples of persons or companies that will not ask for remote access to your system.
While some of those – like your school or office – may require remote access, this is done by first setting up the software they need when your device is physically taken into their office. Do not do installs unless you are 200% sure that the person requesting the software setup is legitimate.
Your bank and other places have no need to connect to your system. Microsoft does not need to connect for remote support. It doesn’t matter if they call you or not – it doesn’t matter how legitimate the email may seem. Always double-check before installing any remote software.
There are times when some persons on sites like Fiverr or other helpful persons on forums may request remote access in a private message on the specific site. Use caution in these cases – and common sense – and do not grant access to persons that you do not trust.
In the off chance that you’ve given a connection to someone and then realize you made a mistake, try to terminate the connection as quickly as possible. Depending on the method used, you may need to disconnect your internet connection to kick them off, or shut down the system. Whatever you need to do to secure the system – get it done. Call in a professional thereafter to assess the situation.
QUICK SUPPORT – RUSTDESK
The easiest way to get quick support is to download RustDesk, extract it and run. Provide me (or the tech/person helping you) with the ID and allow them on, or both the ID and password. For the technical persons, please bear in mind that quick support (portable) will require user interaction as UAC actions are not supported by RustDesk unless installed.
Head over to the RustDesk website by going to rustdesk.com. The person providing support will tell you which to get, but for this exercise we’re going with option 3 in the list – PORTABLE.
Once the file has downloaded, open it and run the file.
You should then be presented with a screen showing YOUR DESKTOP with ID and PASSWORD areas. The password may show as stars/asterisks (*) until you mouse over the little eye icon to reveal it.
If you’ve only provided the ID, you should see when the person providing support is connecting. A small window should show up in the top right corner with the ACCEPT/DISMISS options. Once you’ve confirmed it’s the person providing support, hit ACCEPT to let them on.
From there – mouse over the DOWNLOAD option and then click WINDOWS.
Once the page loads, scroll down until you see the AGENT option.
Click on DOWNLOAD AGENT and wait for it to complete.
Once it’s completed – run the file.
If you’re presented with a UAC prompt like the one above – hit the YES option.
A window with an ID and password should then come up. Provide that information to the person giving you support – and they will take it from there.
The steps to install RustDesk are very similar to the quick support section covered at the start.
After going to the RustDesk website by going to rustdesk.com – select the first option shown in the image above. That’s DOWNLOAD. Unless you have a 32bit operating system – or are directed by the person providing support – then you’d use the second option for 32bit.
A file will be downloaded. Open and run it.
The option to ACCEPT AND INSTALL is the one to choose now – unless you wanted quick support and downloaded the wrong file – then you’d select the RUN WITHOUT INSTALL option.
You will likely be presented with the UAC option – hit YES.
You should then be presented with a screen showing YOUR DESKTOP with ID and PASSWORD areas. The password may show as stars/asterisks (*) until you mouse over the little eye icon to reveal it.
Unlike the portable option – or the RUN WITHOUT INSTALL option – a full install grants the person giving support UAC access. This means you can leave them unattended to troubleshoot, diagnose, fix or install whatever you need.
RUSTDESK FOR MAC SUPPORT
Navigate to the RustDesk website through your browser. You can search for it on Google.
Note that it says – you need Mac OS 10.14 or higher for it to work.
If your Mac OS is lower than 10.14, please use AnyDesk. See the link below for more info.
The reason for moving from AnyDesk – aside from pricing – is the change in the model that has taken place. We’ll get into that another time.
If you’re continuing with RustDesk and it’s not compatible, you’ll know when you get to the install part. So let’s get there. Allow the site to download the file.
Run the downloaded file.
If it tells you that it can’t be installed – use the link mentioned before to get AnyDesk. If you’re going to use TeamViewer, it needs to be version 11. We’ll discuss that after.
If the opened file looks like above – with the “blocked” icon across the RustDesk icon, then we can try something else. If you’re able to continue it should look like below. Drag the icon into Applications and then continue.
Once you’re done, you can close and unmount/eject the RustDesk image from the desktop and then run the RustDesk application.
What’s nice about RustDesk is – it’ll prompt you to configure the necessary options right after install. So go ahead and run it.
Once it’s up, you’ll notice it needs permissions. Hit the “CONFIGURE” option and it’ll open what is needed.
You’ll probably have to hit the padlock in the bottom left to unlock the options.
Hit the padlock – enter your password – hit the checkbox beside RustDesk.
If you’re so inclined – you can preempt the need and enable the checkbox in the other area needed – which is ACCESSIBILITY.
Just scroll through the list and select it. Once you’re done, provide the person giving support the ID and password that’s in RustDesk.
Good morning all – it’s 6:34AM at the time of this post. Just updating to advice that I’m sick – been sick from 2023-03-31. Caught a cold/flu from my kid and I’ve been really out of it. Self-medicating and taking natural remedies to try and push through, but it’s been one of the worst episodes so far. This has headache – likely due to sinus pressure – accompanied by weakness and a lowered appetite.
I’m on the mend now, so should be back in full swing soon, but it’s placed most of the work I have to do on pause.
Oh yeah – forgot to mention the lovely ISP – FLOW – that has been giving me problems from 2022-09 (September last year) with a major issue as of the same time I got sick. They resolved the major issue on Sunday – 2023-04-02 – so I finally have service again and can acquire tools/drivers/AV updates to proceed with diagnostics for the devices that I have.
The last part of the discussion with FLOW is below. They’ve still not sorted my rebate – as usual.
For those who I have work to complete – I’m hoping to have everything done by or before this weekend. Your devices should be returned to you by Monday – 2023-04-10 – all things being equal.
I apologize for the delays as a result of this – looking forward to your continued support.
So here’s another update. I came across this recently at a client. They were saying their McAfee antivirus and Microsoft Office kept asking for renewal.
Please take note that at the bottom of each page is the text – “Powered by PC App Store” – in very small print. If you’re not aware of this, you may end up giving your card information to some unscrupulous third party. They also give you no means of closing the nag screen.
For those who can – technically apt or can follow instructions – reboot the system in SAFE MODE and delete the folder with all related files.
It will be found under your user profile folder – most likely C:\Users\MyUserProfile\PCAppStore.
Replace the “MyUserProfile” with your username – or just browse to C:\Users\ and find your profile. Delete the PCAppStore folder once there in SAFE MODE – then reboot normally.
An issue I’ve seen with Windows 11 is the failure to reboot normally. If you come across this – follow these instructions.
SAFE MODE is typically characterized by the words “SAFE MODE” being seen in the four corners of the screen.
Click on the start menu and type the word “MSCONFIG” without quotes.
Click OPEN or click on SYSTEM CONFIGURATION. You should then have the available options seen below. Just ensure it’s set to NORMAL STARTUP and you should be fine. Reboot after the settings look similar to below.
Once you reboot – the system should be back to normal. Check to verify that the malware is no longer loading.
PUP = Potentially Unwanted Program.
Malware = Any software with malicious intent.
There are various tools that can catch and clean malware, but there are times when new variations arrive that aren’t detected. Not immediately at least. Where this one is concerned – I’ve submitted the infected files to Microsoft and other AV vendors. The scans from Microsoft did not find anything. That makes this kind of malware even more dangerous. Most persons as well may not see the fine-print. As an end user, you’ll need to be aware of what you’re subscribed to or have paid for. When in doubt – have a tech check it out.
This is a direct branch off from my last post. I realized something with most small to medium businesses in Jamaica – there’s very little thought given to IT. Whether internal or external IT suggestions – most of it is glossed over until something happens. We’re more reactive than proactive.
To reduce the risks associated with owning tech in Jamaica – here’s some info to get things going.
POWER – UPS – SURGE STRIP
Regardless of you being a home user or a business – you NEED power protection. JPS is not the most reliable power company, and they cannot guarantee clean power to you just by virtue of how things are.
A great example that was given to me by a friend was this – imagine that you’ve built a new home on a newly commissioned area that JPS has put in a brand new transformer. You’re getting the best and cleanest power off the grid in your area. But…5-10 miles down the road – nowhere near you – someone is running a business that does welding. The electrical noise generated on the line will affect your supply – believe it or not. Now imagine being a business and there are dozens of other buildings nearby with varying power requirements. How can JPS guarantee that YOU will get clean power?
While an ONLINE UPS would be best – the cost is very heavy per unit. The cheapest single unit costs around JMD$80,000 – meaning that’s what it would be for ONE PC. Quite expensive if you should outfit all your devices with an ONLINE UPS. So the next best thing is the LINE INTERACTIVE UPS – or SWITCHING UPS. These are the more common ones that make a “click” when they switch from JPS to battery and back. They provide good enough protection for your equipment – but as with most things, there are some brands that work better than others.
FORZA has become very popular in Jamaica – but it’s not a brand that I’d recommend for their UPSes at current. Their surge strips and other devices seem fine, but brands I’d recommend include:
If you can’t afford a UPS – at the very least – get a surge strip. And not one of the cheap ones from the supermarket – a good surge strip from APC – or even a Forza one. The surge strip will at least protect the system in the event of a high voltage surge.
If you’re in a place that has lots of outages – maybe a fridge guard would do better. At least those stay off until power has returned to a constant supply for 5 minutes – I think the timer varies with different models.
This is something that – surprisingly – isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. If you’ve followed the news, you’ll realize that lots of business locally have fallen victim to ransomware and other cyber attacks. Without even considering the darker side of computing, there’s the fact that devices may fail due to age or factory faults. With no proper backups available, a failed drive could grind business to a halt.
Speak with your IT personnel to discuss local and cloud backup solutions. You can do one or both depending on your needs and budget.
This is another sore point for most places. If the systems are working – “just keep swimming” as the statement goes (Finding Nemo reference). Excessive dirt buildup over time can lead to part failure. Static buildup due to the dirt, or having the dirt become “caked” into the circuitry may then cause breaks and failures – or cause failures after cleaning is done. That last one is funny – imagine dirt literally becoming a part of the circuitry and holding the pathways together – then you get it cleaned – then it fails because the circuit is now broken. Things like this actually happen – and it’s not the fault of the technician – unless THEY didn’t schedule your servicing.
Each environment is different, and some systems require more maintenance than others as a result. Typically, home and office systems should be good with 1-4 times per year. This depends on the environment primarily, as a system elevated (on a desk) will have less dirt than one on the ground – typically. And a system in an AC environment will have less than one that’s not in an AC room – typically.
Laptops will usually require less maintenance – again – based on the environment. One that is used by a person that has it on a bed, couch and any kind of fabric surface will find that it’s more dirty than one that’s always kept on a desk, table or flat surface. Even if it’s used in a bed or couch, a laptop that’s kept on a book or cooling pad will have less dirt than one placed directly on the fabric surface.
With laptops – again – there are variables. Some have intake from the back, the bottom (typically) or the top – right through the keyboard keys.
This is another topic that I can’t get into much right now. It will depend on the business/home and how the staff/users utilize the resources. There are always best practices that should be followed, and each person should take the time to review their surroundings – work or home – and do their best to not place the equipment at risk.
Let’s give some examples.
Don’t click on links in emails that seem suspicious.
Don’t go to illegal websites.
Don’t click on pop-ups.
Even if you know the sender – should the email seem suspicious, call and validate the information with the sender. Their account could be compromised.
Check with your IT person/s to verify what needs to be done. Have security reviewed by your IT person/s and take steps to secure your systems. Use password managers. Don’t randomly click yes/allow unless you’re SURE about what’s being run. Do what’s needed to stay safe.
The link below was found as one of the first Google results from a search I did.
So recently I had a discussion with a friend in the IT field which got a bit heated. I realized that while we were saying the same thing – the way in which we’d analyze and question the client was different. So I got to thinking – how could I make this easier for persons to get into? Let’s make an attempt.
As usual – this is my own POV. If you disagree we can discuss. Etc. Etc.
I’m also going to try and simplify this to keep it somewhat short. So let’s go into it.
The best computer/laptop/tablet/phone/car/etc – is the one that suits your needs. Now I added “car” into that for a reason that we’ll get into for comparison.
All cars do exactly the same thing. They get you from point A to point B. Some are more comfortable than others. Some you may have a certain experience with that gives you a bias towards one versus another. As an example – some persons swear by European vehicles, some rather Japanese and others rather the “American Muscle” types. But whatever the reason – regardless of how fast or slow – they do the job.
A computer/laptop is very similar. It will get the job done regardless of specs, but some will do it faster than others. With that bit out of the way. Let’s talk money.
This is usually the deciding factor. Regardless of all the bells and whistles – the price will usually be the deciding factor. If the system is a desktop then the ability to upgrade individual parts will be more likely. Portable devices (laptop/tablet/phone) don’t usually have that luxury – or the parts that CAN be upgraded/changed would be less. So let’s go into the next question.
The primary area my friend and I got stuck on. The platform. I ask this for familiarity and the possibility that a user/client may already have software within the platform that they want to continue using. For example – a Windows user may have purchased Sony Vegas for video editing while a Mac user may have purchased an Adobe Premiere license. Persons with licenses like Adobe Creative Cloud may be able to move between Mac and Windows platforms, but platform familiarity will also reduce the learning curve to get tasks done. Which brings me to the next point.
This is related to the first point – your needs. If you’re going to be gaming then it’s more recommended to use Windows. This isn’t to say you can’t game on Mac or Linux – but it’s easier to get things set up on Windows. If you’re doing emulation, the new Mac M2 does an excellent job – far better than equivalent priced PC hardware.
This section isn’t one that can be painted with a broad brush – there’s too many variables. But your comfort level with the platform, the upgrade path and budget will all play a part in your decision.
FAMILIARITY (Again – Somewhat)
When asked about a recommendation, I may say (for example) that you should buy the HP EliteBook. Your reply may then be that you hate HP based on your experience. I could then suggest Lenovo – and your reply may be that you don’t want anything out of China. These variables may then cause certain questions to be raised based on the needs. So how can we (somewhat) summarize this?
What is your budget?
Do you have a platform preference?
Do you have software/licenses that you wish to keep?
If you do have licenses – are they platform specific?
Are you looking into moving to another platform?
Are you looking for a desktop (stationary) or a laptop (portability)?
There’s more to it – but I think that’ll do to get the ball rolling. In the mean time – as of today – 2023-02-17 – you can check out a few of these links below.
To make things easier. If you buy a gaming class device, or a business class device – whether it’s a laptop or desktop – then it will likely have better components and a longer warranty. If you want your desktop system built by a technician – that can be done as well. If you go the Mac route – bear in mind that there are various models. There will usually be a BASE MODEL that has very little to it – as well as a “flagship” model that has all the bells and whistles.
In the past – getting a Mac would be difficult where warranty and servicing is concerned, but ATL is an authorized dealer locally. This means that all of the services that you’d get overseas can be had right here.
Lastly – don’t expect a $200 computer/laptop to give you the performance of a $500 one. Unlike a car – the person driving it doesn’t improve the chances of a better result.
With that out of the way – let’s get into some details that you may need to move forward.
The cost of the Starlink hardware (as of this writing – 2023-02-06) is JMD$60,500. It’s quite a lot, but considering a few things…it’s not that bad.
Your kit contains:
A wireless router. No LAN.
A power cable for the router.
A standing mount for the “dish”.
A “dish” – satellite receiver.
A really long cable attached to the “dish”.
That’s it. Nothing else. The main issue I had is no LAN – but we’ll get into that later. You can buy multiple addons from their site at https://shop.starlink.com/ if you so desire.
The reason it costs so much – aside from the general hardware cost – is the fact that this includes:
The hardware (listed above).
Shipping – using DHL.
Delivery – again – DHL.
The fact that it includes customs makes it worth the price IMO. Especially considering that the cost in the USA is around USD$599 (USD$600 basically).
The shipping done by DHL in Jamaica is a bit tricky. If you’re in Kingston or some other location that has a street number, lot number, house number, etc…then you’ll get the item right at your door. Most of Jamaica doesn’t have this, so the item will most likely be delivered to the nearest DHL to your shipping address. So you’ll get a phone call once the item is available at the nearest DHL location – you go in – sign for it – go home.
I’m going to apologize for some of the low quality pictures you’ll see. But here we go.
The box is about 2ft by 1ft. You get the previously listed items.
The “dish” plus the stand. A really long cable. And the router. Above you’ll see the “dish” on the stand with the router on the right.
The box is very neatly packed. I recommend saving everything and making a note of how it was packaged. You can then put it back if you want to return it after the free trial period (30 days) is up.
Once you get everything out – you’ll see what I was talking about. The cable is really long – probably 75 feet or more. They have 75ft and 150ft cables on https://shop.starlink.com/ – so I assume you’re shipped with one of those.
There’s a card included that gives instructions. The assembly is straightforward and pretty easy. There is just one thing I need to stress though…
DO NOT TRY TO MOVE THE UNIT BY HAND. The “dish” has motors and will automatically attempt to align itself once it’s connected. Once you’re done it should be the items below connected by a cable – and a power cable from the router to JPS. I advise you to get a UPS to reduce your downtime and protect the equipment from surges/outages.
It’s best to have the device placed where there are no visible obstructions. I assume that based on our location, a clear view to North is advised. You can secure the device to your roof or elsewhere – I’ll get into some other details about the device later on.
You’ll realize in the above image that the “dish” is aligned North. I noticed this prior to securing the device to a roof. It always faced North. Since Jamaica is a small island in comparison to a large continent like the USA – I assume all “dishes” will be aligned to the same location.
Prior to setting up – it’s advised to get the Starlink app from the related store – Apple or Android.
You should already have a login to the Starlink website – use that when signing into the app.
Once you have everything up and running – you’ll see a network called STARLINK that is open. Connect to it and go through the setup in the app. In my case – the device may have been used previously and not reset properly. The person obviously didn’t like the unit or company. My network was called “STINKY”.
Everything prompts you on how to proceed. Set up the wireless network and leave the system to do what it needs to do.
It’ll take a while for everything to be done – 15 minutes to 30 minutes – but it’s pretty straightforward as I said. Here are some other images and information to give you some ideas beforehand.
As stated – the device needs a clear view of the sky. It’ll align itself automatically once it’s on.
Once everything is done you’ll have internet available by wireless. As I said – really easy to set up and configure. But – let’s get into some other things.
While Jamaica is a small place – the device is location locked. You can’t take it from MoBay to Negril and expect it to work. You’ll probably get an error like below.
There’s also some information when you try to move the location – either online through the website or through the app. And I’ve got a tip for that.
Hit the option to UPDATE ADDRESS and ensure you have Google Maps handy. Find your address and get the coordinates. As an example – “18.502432073010848, -77.91474222411976” is the location for the airport in MoBay. The Starlink app location doesn’t support that many characters, so it may end up as something like “18.502432, -77.914742” instead. But just get it as close as possible. Once you put that in – give it another 15-30 minutes and it’ll come right up.
Another method is to use the “PLUS CODE” for the location. Still using MBJ Airport (Sangster’s) you can find the code once you scroll down if it’s not visible.
If the “PLUS CODE” is not available, click on your location on the map. It will drop a pin and show the coordinates at the bottom.
Once you click on your coordinates, it will bring up the “PLUS CODE” on the left.
In the picture above, I picked a random location close to the airport – you’ll see that the “PLUS CODE” is on the left once you click on the coordinates at the bottom in the prior image. It’s best to use that on the StarLink site – it seems to work better. On the off chance your location doesn’t have a plus code after following the instructions, just use the coordinates. Copy and paste into the StarLink site and you should be good to go.
One issue with this may be the zooming in. You could be attempting to change the location and notice that the option is not available. You must zoom in as close as possible on the available map to get the location changed. Just bear in mind the coordinates from Google Maps – or use the website.
They offer portability to be able to move the device wherever you want. For an additional JMD$2,000 monthly. This was an issue from what I saw – because the Boat & RV version is not available in Jamaica. We only get the fixed address version so you’re a bit limited in what you can do. A workaround would be to use it at home and then – if you’re going elsewhere temporarily – take it and pay the extra JMD$2,000 so you’ll have internet wherever you are.
Another issue I had is the standard the device uses. We have basically 6 versions of wireless standards.
A – Old original standard.
B – Next available standard.
G – Probably the most common standard with older devices.
N – Not too old standard which has gained traction.
AC – Pretty recent standard which isn’t available on all devices.
AX – The latest standard.
WiFi6 or WiFi-6 is also Wireless AX. The latest and greatest. It’s a bit unfortunate that the device stops at AC (5) and didn’t go to AX (6) – but it’s still not bad.
For the more technical persons – let me put this here.
So it depends on a couple things. However – WiFi-6 is the latest but WiFi-5 is where the Starlink router stops – as of this post.
There is no network port available on the device. If you want that – you’ll have to buy the addon for it.
Now – they advertise 200Mbps for you to see, but what you get will vary.
The finalized speed test showed 130Mbps down with 19Mbps up. That’s FAR better than you can get on DSL locally, and especially in areas where there is no available internet – or poor signal (like Portland) this would be awesome.
What I found confusing is the upload speeds. Note that there are two separate test results above. The LEFT is from the phone to the speed test server in use. The RIGHT is from the “dish” to the satellite. You’ll notice it has awesome download link speeds – but the phone is much slower. Yet – for some reason – the upload on the phone side is higher. I assume this is part of the available bandwidth based on network saturation. It’s possible that more people going online will reduce the overall performance, but they are improving it constantly – so maybe things will be about the same?
Some persons complained about the latency being high, but I didn’t see that. Considering how the technology is, you’re getting great service for about JMD$1,000 more than what FLOW would charge for their HFC service. And you are less likely to have downtimes like FLOW would give.
For the more technical persons – here are two latency tests. Click to enlarge and view the results.
Overall – for a satellite service to average under 80ms during tests – that’s a win IMO.
It’s best to use the app to do everything. With the exception of the location aspect – the app is the way to go. With it you can change all the settings for the wireless along with power management settings for snow melting and such – which we don’t need in Jamaica. You can also “stow” the device from the app. This basically puts it back in position so you can package it for storage or shipping.
While Digicel and FLOW are the best available options for home internet, Starlink is a strong third contender. If you need a multi-WAN setup you can use Starlink as your failover.
If you’re in a location where HFC or fiber internet is not available from either FLOW or Digicel (FLOW has both based on availability and area – Digicel is fiber only) – then Starlink is the best option.
If you live in a remote location and want to be mostly off-grid – then Starlink is your best option.
Price is pretty good in comparison to the USD costs – the monthly charge is just JMD$1,000 more than what you’d pay to FLOW for current HFC packages – you probably won’t need an “expert” to do the install – and there is no contact. You can stop your service whenever and resume when you’re ready.
The only drawback is the initial cost for the hardware, but once you’ve gotten past that – you should have fairly reliable service.
I’ve just not done so far is test it in a storm or on a really cloudy day – but I’ll update once that’s done.
UPDATE – 2023-05-31
So I’ve tested during rain with clouds – and I’m still getting over 100Mbps down. I’ve done tests and gotten 200Mbps+ while it’s raining – so it’s safe to say it works quite well. Once you have the cables secured, you should even be able to use it during a storm. I don’t recommend that though – you could have damage to the device. It’s best to take it down if you have the threat of a hurricane and then put it back after. While wind and rain shouldn’t affect it, you have no control over flying debris.
I forgot to mention – though it’s kind of obvious – StarLink is an INTERNET ONLY provider. You won’t get cable TV or land line. If you go the StarLink route, it would be best to have an IPTV or other subscription if you’re a TV person.
For the phones – most places locally (Jamaica) have land line numbers that you can call directly. The locations you’d want a land line to call would mostly be those with toll free numbers listed. Using the Yellow Pages website to look up a company will usually provide a regular number you can call directly. JPS for example, has no direct number on their own website, but they do have a regular number on the Yellow Pages listing. You want to use regular numbers if you have a mobile plan with limited or unlimited minutes, as calls to toll free numbers in Jamaica are not toll free from a mobile device.
For me, the fact that the service is less likely to be down when FLOW and Digicel might be – that’s a major win. We even had recent events in the last week or two from this update where most of the island was out of service if you were a FLOW user. This happened for a day or two and affected both residential and business customers. Digicel also had one of the longest outages I’ve ever heard of from a user in Mandeville – from about 6PM the evening before until about 11AM the next day. This is unheard of with Digicel from when I’ve seen, as outages do not usually last more than 2 hours. Maintenance with Digicel is also done in the very late hours, and customers are still given notice by SMS about the maintenance being done.
That’s it for now. Hopefully the information helps. Weigh the pros and cons and take your pick.
The link above should take you to information about IntComex. They’re basically a franchise company like KFC or BK. There are multiple locations across the Caribbean and they provide lots of IT & computer supplies.
Originally when they came to Jamaica, I was attending NCU. The year I don’t recall. At that point – EVERYONE on campus doing IT had an account with them. I didn’t bother to open one because I could literally walk into the hallway and find someone who had an account. Considering that I had setup the first LAN and message board system in use on the dorms, it was easy to message the room and get stuff purchased as well.
Prices were better than everywhere else. This was also before the rise of the freight forwarding companies and commonplace Visa/Mastercard debit cards. Doing a direct purchase from IntComex would give you a rate close to what you’re seeing on Amazon – and less than what most computer stores locally would charge.
IntComex became the major supplier for just about everywhere. And that’s where things went South – with the beginning of the monopoly.
Campbell’s Office Supplies in Kingston were a dealer for Cooler Master – a decent brand for peripherals such as cases, power supplies and fans. Since you could get all your supplies at IntComex, Campbells came out of the PC dealership and focused on the office supplies around 2019. While you can get items special ordered, it will take 2 weeks to get it here – and most persons can just order on Amazon now.
Having pushed most other dealers and companies out of business, if you can’t get what you want at IntComex – you’re better off ordering it. The pricing model for IntComex started climbing shortly after grabbing the market. The prices are currently just around what it would cost for you to buy on Amazon/eBay – pay the freight forwarding company – and pay customs. I mean – that’s not too bad, right? Right? Well – it wouldn’t be if they didn’t suddenly reduce the inventory.
One of the major problems in Jamaica currently is power. JPS is the primary power (electricity) supplier and the power is…dirty to say the least. No fault of theirs and not everywhere. If you don’t have a good UPS and power supply (PSU) for your PC, you’ll end up paying much more over time for your ownership.
That link above will show some good power supplies. IntComex went from having EVGA as an option to only having XTech. You’ll note that XTech isn’t even on the list. None of the better brands like those listed below can be found in Jamaica.
The above list isn’t comprehensive, but it shows what the options are. Cooler Master is on the list in the link multiple times – and it’s no longer available easily at Campbells. You’d ideally want at least an 80 plus bronze power supply – I’ve no seen that on XTech at any point.
Something you can do. Find someone – a store or otherwise – that has a good quality dead power supply. If they have a 500W – compare it with a 700W Xtech. I guarantee you that any smaller output PSU from one of the companies in the link above, will weigh twice or more than a 700W or higher XTech PSU.
Does the weight matter? Not really. But it shows the difference in the quality and number of components used. The use of the PSU here is just one of the areas. No good motherboards, RAM or CPUs are easily available anymore. Everything has to be purchased online. And the best part? If it costs more than USD$50 the customs will slap you with their fees. This is retarded considering that the duty-free amount when you physically travel is USD$500 last I checked. Especially for IT parts – they should allow for a greater threshold.
I think I’ll leave that there where it is. There’s not much else to say. Where IntComex is concerned – the options are horrible – the pricing is no longer as pocket-friendly as it was – oh! I forgot! They’ve now locked things so you have to meet a certain purchase criteria before you can get membership. So if you’re not a business and moving a certain volume – you can’t buy from them. Neat huh?
My recommendation is to find a tech or friend that is in tech. Pay something to have them locate what you need online if it’s a full build – or just ask for a recommendation if it’s a single part. Get a good UPS – not FORZA – and protect your investment as much as possible.
Links below will show why getting an 80 plus bronze or higher PSU is recommended.
Basically. An 80 plus PSU is guaranteed by the manufacturer to work properly even on 80% load. Most cheap PSUs fail after 50%-70% load (like XTech) and some fail even lower. You can’t use an XTech to run a gaming or graphics/video editing system. While it may work for a time, it will likely damage your devices as the power will be fluctuating and not stable. Add that to JPS and you have a recipe for a fire.
That’s it now. I’m out. Let that sink in for a bit.
End User Faults
So this last part is an addition on 2023-01-22 @ 3:55PM. I entirely forgot about the end user issues. That’s part of the reason why IntComex has moved to where it is now. Most users simply buy the cheapest option. Never mind what the tech may recommend – you can get a PSU for less. Choice between an i7 and i3? Maybe they’ll pick the Celeron. It works right? So the company has moved to the cheapest option. They’re about moving products – whatever sells. Never mind that THEY are the ones who shaped the markets to what it is now.
That’s an 80 plus white Thermaltake PSU. Cost on Amazon is around USD$40 which is about JMD$6,280. Considering that IntComex gets the items at a really low price – and can manage to sell them back with markup/profit at less than that – they could provide better PSUs to the local market. At least give the option.
Prices are not shown due to privacy issues – but the end cost of those power supplies would be about JMD$4,710 – with markup that’s going to be about JMD$6,200 in a store.
Firstly – they can sell it for less based on their suppliers. Secondly – they can get better quality ones and still sell them at a reasonable price. And it’s still more expensive here than elsewhere. Check this out.
The link above is to one of the dealers linked to from the XTech website. I had to search through to find one that actually had PSUs available. Most had other products – but no PSUs. Keyboards. Mice. Headsets. No PSUs. And when I do finally find it – it’s still like JMD$1,000 cheaper at the PUBLIC online store. That says IntComex could still do better. Feel free to do your own research on it.
Cheaper isn’t always better. Some of the available products are really just there as a “stop gap” until you get the right things. But with what’s available now in Jamaica – there’s hardly any “right” thing.
Free Market Pricing
One of the issues with a free/capitalist market is the available pricing. The government (customs) is a major factor, but I’ll show how this works with another sector that persons can relate to. Cars.
Needed what’s called a “crank angle sensor” for my vehicle at the time. Local price? JMD$25,000 new – genuine. Want to know how much I paid for it? Genuine. Online purchase. Lemme show you what it was for that vehicle.
It was 2015 and I then paid USD$7.48 which was then JMD$932.41 and would now be about JMD1,174.36. That’s just a tad cheaper than the local price right? And I mean – it’d have to be ordered from the supplier because they didn’t have it immediately available.
Do your research. Shop around. You want something that works? Buy what’s here. You want something GOOD? Get it online. Pay the extra. Protect it as best as you can using a UPS from APC, Liebert or PowerWare. Don’t use Forza. Go solar if you can.
IntComex no longer makes sense unless it’s an item that you need and can’t wait for it to be shipped. The ONLY reason to buy from them is for the very limited warranty. Even hard drives you’re only getting like 1 year or less – most stores give you 30-90 days. Want to know what the warranty is like overseas from the manufacturers?