Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tools of the Tech Trade: TechQuility’s Favorite Android Apps

TouchDownAs smartphones increasingly become cemented into our daily lives, more apps are created to help companies get work done. For every industry, there are probably at least a dozen or more apps that you can use to accomplish any number of important tasks. And then there are the apps that work across multiple industries.

But how do you know if an app is right for you and your needs? You don’t, at least not testing the app.

However, in lieu of that, we thought we’d share some of the top apps used by TechQuility’s principal, Chris Barber. While some of these apps are strictly tech troubleshooting tools, some of the apps listed are great tools regardless of your industry. Maybe there’s an app in here that is a great tool for your business too.

Barcode Scanner: This app was created to scan bar codes to research prices and reviews, scan QR codes and more. Great for when you’re out shopping, just scan an items barcode, and then access price information and reviews to make sure you’re getting a good deal. This app is available for free.

IP Info: This app allows you to view your IP address and other network information straight from your phone. It also allows you to cut information and paste it into other applications such as email, or your remote desktop session to your secure server. This app is free.

Remote RDP: This app allows you to access computers remotely using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) so that you can connect to your computer remotely, via your Android phone. One of the great features about this app is that it supports a Full PC keyboard and mouse setup, making it even easier to access items remotely. This app is not free, but is worth the price.

Smart Tools: An all-inclusive measuring app, Smart Tools features 15 measuring tools in one. This is a great app for

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any sort of building / home improvement / site setup project. While the app isn’t free, it’s relatively cheap, and worth the price.

Speedtest.net: This is a phone app version of the classic speedtest.net website, an internet speed testing website. Instead of running to the computer, you can quickly test your internet connection speeds straight from the phone. This can be helpful if

you’re troubleshooting wireless connection slowness. This app is free.

Square Register: Square is an app that allows you to accept credit card payments directly from your smartphone. You do need the app and the Square card reader to use the service, but both are provided for free from Square.

TouchDown: A robust email management app, Touchdown allows you to sync emails, contacts, calendar items, and tasks from Outlook to your Android phone, so that you can keep up with your schedule and emails, even when you’re on the go. While not free, TouchDown does offer a 30 day trial; however we’ve found the app is well worth the price. Requires Android 2.x or higher.

Wifi Analyzer App: As featured in our article There’s a Reason Your Wireless Might Be Slow (And What You Can Do About It), the Wifi Analyzer app is a favorite app for troubleshooting wireless congestion and slowness issues. This app is free to use.


Julie Strier is a freelance

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writer who likes to help you find smartphone apps you can actually use. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

There is a Reason Your Wireless Might Be Slow (And What You Can Do About It)

Wireless Router

Image Credit: bigevil600

When you have a fast internet connection, you expect it to be speedy every time you get online. So it’s understandable that you might be frustrated when it’s slow.

But did you know that the reason for the slowness might have nothing to do with your internet connection and everything to do with your wireless router?

That’s because wireless routers send signals over the radio spectrum which is shared not only by wireless devices, but other items like microwaves, cordless

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phones, garage openers, and more. When there are a lot of devices in one area sharing the same airwaves, the more interference occurs, and the slower your internet becomes.

This not only applies to the devices in your immediate area, such as inside your office or home, but also devices in the general vicinity, such as the items in the next suite over at the office, or all of your neighbors around you at home.

In fact, under certain circumstances simply running the microwave can be enough to completely knock out a wireless signal sometimes.

Luckily, however, there are a few things you can do to help correct some of these inherent issues.

Set Your Wireless Router to a Different Channel

In some situations, all you need to do is set your wireless router to run on a different channel. Just like messing with the dial on the radio to fine tune the signal (okay, so maybe that analogy is a little old) you can adjust the signal that your wireless router uses.

But before you just go in and change your channel settings, you’ll want to locate which channels are the busiest, so that you can avoid them.

That’s where apps come in. While there are many different applications you can use to analyze what’s being used by the devices around you, the one TechQuility favors is the WiFi Analyzer app for Android.

Because of the graphical interface, you can easily see how busy your area is, and which channels are the busiest. Try to find a channel with little to no activity, to help reduce the likelihood of interference. (While there are some other great tools built into WiFi Analyzer, this is one of our favorite features.)

The channels available for use depend on which country you live in. Most countries allow you to use channels 1-13; however the USA only allows usage through channel 11, because channels 12 and 13 are reserved for. And only the Japanese have access to channel 14. For in-depth information about channels and usage, please refer to this Wikipedia article about the List of WLAN channels.

If you can find a channel with no devices listed, then use that channel. Otherwise, try to find one with the least number of items to help reduce the possibility of interference.

Once you locate your channel, log into your router and change the frequency. Generally this is located under the wireless portion of the settings, but may vary by router.

And that’s it. You should now see a difference in your wireless speeds.

Buy a Router with a Different Frequency

However, if changing the channel doesn’t help, or if something simple like running the microwave causes your wireless network to go down, you may want to consider buying a 5 Ghz router instead.

Most devices, including most wireless routers, run at 2.4 Ghz. When there’s major interference taking down your network, you need to switch to a router that runs at a different frequency. While these routers tend to be more expensive, they can make a major difference in the health of your network, especially where interference is concerned.

So the next time you find you are having wireless slowness issues, take some time to research what’s really going on with your network. You may find that the problem is very easy to fix, allowing you to immediately reduce your frustration, and return to surfing the web at full speed again.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help reduce your technology frustrations. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.