When using the internet, one of the most frustrating problems that you can run into is a poor-quality internet service. You are working away, enjoying your evening streaming, gaming or just reading cool content. You start to notice, though, that your internet starts to produce less and less consistency in its results. Your favorite TV show starts to lag uncontrollably. You start missing clear headshots online in your favorite first-person shooter. Next thing you know, you’re respawning because someone you never have seen coming has popped you in the back of the head.
Sound common? Welcome to the horrible world of bandwidth throttling. If you use an internet service that provides bandwidth throttling, you should really consider an alternative. The prospect of bandwidth throttling can seem horribly draconian. It is, though, a problem that many Americans put up with day-in, day-out. What, though, is ‘bandwidth throttling’ in the first place?
What is bandwidth throttling?
The concept of bandwidth throttling is one designed to limit, basically. It’s an intentional, purposeful slowing down of the amount of bandwidth that you can get access to. It’s used for many purposes, none of them helpful to you, the customer, in any way. It’s a form of speed lowering used by internet service providers that stops your internet speed from reaching its peak potential.
Bandwidth throttling can happen on desktop and mobile devices, across wired connections or wireless via Wi-Fi. It can happen at various points during the connection process from your PC/mobile device to the website or online service that you are using (like an online game or streaming platform).
It’s a system that is used that, really, never benefits you as a consumer. Paying for high-speed internet that does produce consistently high speeds is a massive frustration. It means that you literally cannot access the information that you wish to access as quickly as you could or should.
So, why does bandwidth throttling happen?
As is often the case, the company who offers your internet supply is the clear winner here. They manage to get a lot out of reducing our bandwidth allocation. Doing this at certain periods of time during the day – often the time that you need/want good connectivity the most – helps to reduce server loads. It means that the company is having to invest fewer resources in processing data. The less data you can process at speed, the less they have to process on their end.
This allows the company to have to spend less on servers but also on equipment to manage the internet at the speed you need. Another reason why bandwidth throttling takes place is a lot less wholesome – it’s purely down to cost. If they hit you with a frustrating, evening-ruining throttled speed, you might just upgrade to the next package up – the one that promises less or no throttling.
Those who are using the internet professionally or for most of their entertainment, then, are essentially bullied into paying even more than they should. It’s a common part of the market and a rather unfair practice. It’s become part of the process, and one of the many reasons why US internet service users are watching their monthly costs for the internet go higher, higher and higher. This, naturally, produces negative results long-term.
Why else might my bandwidth get throttled?
Another reason why you might have the frustration of bandwidth throttling is the fact that you are using a service the ISP does not like. This happens when you are picking up data from a platform that the ISP would rather you did not use. Many of these are somewhat legitimate reasons, such as stopping you from using excessive internet speed to download torrents via a peer-to-peer file sharing platform. It will also be used to help reduce the amount of time that you can spend on things like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The solution, of course, is to simply spend more. If you want access to the best things that the internet might be able to offer you, you will have to pay a premium fee to your internet provider in terms of going with a higher rate of an internet service contract.
But I thought my internet plan was unlimited?
Sadly, unlimited has become a term of meaningless usage when it comes to an internet service. Many ISPs manage to fit in unwritten rules regarding how much of the internet you can use on that one given day. Artificial limits – which are never made clear – can really impact and inhibit how much you can get out of your day when using the internet.
This is a common frustration. Bandwidth caps are often in the smallest of small print, or not mentioned at all. That can mean that you often see your internet usage throttled and weakened, ruining any potential plans for the evening. At this point, you have two options. You can pay even more for high-speed internet that you should already be getting. Or, you look for an alternative supplier of your internet service. If you cannot find a way to reduce bandwidth throttling with your present plan, it’s time to consider the latter.
Get an internet service who respects your decisions
You have no reason to put up with bandwidth throttling. At Easy Internet Now, you can find a high-speed internet provider who avoids any form of bandwidth throttling. For the reasons that we’ve explained above, you can see why it’s such an unscrupulous, unfair experience. Why should you be punished so heavily?
Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a fool. With an internet service which prioritizes consistency, you can enjoy a far more robust, enjoyable internet experience day-to-day. Don’t put up with second best, and never accept bandwidth throttling. With so many alternate internet providers who make it easy to avoid such practices, you can stay clear of this frustration. If you are someone who wants to help improve their internet usage, you should start here.
For any online gamer using a high-speed internet service, this story will feel very familiar. You get into a high-stakes battle with an opponent in the game of your choice. After much maneuvering and managing, and a little bit of good fortune along the way, you win. You get the results, the rewards and the ego boost that comes with any hard-fought victory. Then, your chosen game client pings: you have a new message. It’s your vanquished foe, saying that you are a cheat who “throttled his internet” and that you “only won because of lag”.
Sound like an experience you’ve had to laugh your way through before? It’s funny when the shoe is on the other foot. When your internet service throttles performance, or cannot keep up the standard, and you lose out, though, it is infuriating. You feel cheated. All your work and effort ruined by a drop-off in latency, resulting in your lagging internet not allowing you to react.
Internet speed across America is, depending on your internet provider, inconsistent to say the least. Go with a good provider, and you might have nothing to worry about. Choose someone who limits bandwidth, though, and you might just run out of latency at the wrong moment. Does it have the massive impact that so many gamers believe it does, though?
How much does internet speed impact on your gaming prowess on your title(s) of choice?
Slow, throttled internet will always hamper performance
As a gamer, every click can be the one that counts. From sending that sniper shot through the back of an opponent’s skull to sending your troops to ambush the opponent, speed of internet connectivity is no laughing matter. The drawbacks of having slow and poor-quality internet will very quickly begin to shine through.
For example, you’ll often find that your slow internet service will frustrate other gamers. This can make it hard for you to build a good rapport with teammates. If they are always waiting for you to spawn in before the game can start, they’ll get tired of waiting. They might also begin to get tired of your poor performance being put down to lag. Yes, they will be happy to put up with it when it happens from time to time. If you are always last or putting in poor performances due to not being able to react in time, you can soon find yourself out of your gaming circuit unceremoniously.
Fair? Not really. But when other gamers in the server all have smooth performance and your lagging is causing them to lose, you’ll be the one to get the blame. Whether you want to game for fun, for streaming or for competitive payment, good quality internet is essential. You’ll often be kicked from servers – or banned outright – if your internet connection stops others from playing to the highest standard that they possibly can.
Good quality internet allows for the maximum experience
One of the most important parts of playing a game online is that it should feel smooth. This isn’t the turn of the millennium any more: needless lag and latency issues will frustrate. With faster internet that is not locked or throttled, you can play the game much faster. Most maps and games need to download temporary assets before you can log in. With fast internet, you’ll never be the one holding up the rest of the party from starting their game for the evening.
You will also be able to stick around until the end. People being dropped and kicked from servers is depressingly common when they don’t have high-speed internet. If you want a smooth gaming experience where you can forge alliances and make friends, having a smooth internet connection helps. People want to know that they can trust you to be there when the game reaches its crescendo. With high-speed internet, you make that far more likely. Gaming online is a very fun social experience, but people want to know that they can rely upon you to play without dropping off.
You can reduce lagging, glitches and general service issues by having high speed internet. This not only makes it easier for you to perform, but to perform when playing with others. So, if you are serious about gaming online, investing in good high-quality internet that stays up for the whole evening is essential long-term.
Finding good quality, high speed internet for gamers
There are many forms of internet that you should investigate if you are going to be playing games online. Your high-speed internet should first and foremost be from a company that promises no throttling. This lets you to know that you can game to your maximum all night long without hampering the internet performance in-game or for other internet users at home.
You can find that you can get a lot of affordable broadband plans, such as those from Easy Internet Now. This helps you to get online and to enjoy the gaming experience with no latency. Don’t go for something that has speed caps, maximum usage per day or anything like that. Modern gaming is going to burn through even the most generous of caps, so keep that in mind moving forward.
We recommend that you look for high quality, fast paced internet. Anything in the 10mbps range is likely to be good enough, but you should never cap your ambitions. Anything under 4mbps is probably best avoided, though: most online gaming services, like the Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox LIVE, will often run poorly outside of this.
Keep that in mind, as it will likely inform a large part of your decision-making process moving forward. The best gaming experiences online, though, will always be served well with faster internet. So, if you are sick of always coming last due to lag, or being the scapegoat for slow game loading times, consider a faster internet plan. Don’t let yourself be the one to let the team down!
If you’re building your collection of cool devices, or if you have some specific tech you’re looking to purchase, it’s important to get the best prices. Different sites are often running their own promotions, and sometimes major manufacturers themselves will offer limited time deals.
Keeping up with all of these sales might seem tricky, but there are actually a number of sites you can use to keep track of current tech deals. Here are just a few you can bookmark and head back to every day!
The Tom’s Guide website features many different pages with how tos and product suggestions. Their Best Tech Deals page (currently titled “Best Tech Deals of 2018”) is updated every day with a collection of great deals. They mention some of the overall best deals, then show deals based on different categories, like laptops and smart watches. Since it’s updated so regularly, you can be sure you’re not wasting your time looking over deals that have already expired.
PC Mag is a hugely popular site that features news, how tos, and perhaps most importantly, detailed product reviews. They’re well-respected when it comes to their reviews. Their Best Deals Today page is, of course, updated daily. There are several categories, including laptops and gaming. The page is arranged in a slightly overwhelming way, with quite a lot of information, but the information is all useful and relevant, making it easier to spot which deals are the right fit for you.
CNET is another very popular site that’s well-known for its product reviews. They’re also popular for their news articles. On their Deals & Promotions page, they might offer over a thousand different suggestions for current deals. You can click the check boxes on the side of the page to narrow down what you’re looking for, including things like tablets and televisions.
Amazon’s Deals page is not quite the same as the others. Instead of linking to various different outlets (like Walmart, Newegg, etc.), you’ll obviously only see deals for products you can purchase on Amazon. This means it’s not really an aggregator like the other sites and you might miss some good deals that aren’t available on Amazon. However, if you prefer to purchase using Amazon Prime, or if you want to find more than you might spot on the other sites, Amazon’s Deals in Electronics can offer some good buys. You can see currently available deals, and you can even see which deals are coming soon. And they show deals on Amazon devices (like the Echo Dot), so it’s a good place to check if you’re in the market for a new smart speaker or tablet.
Interested in more ways to save money on Amazon and maybe even get free stuff? Check out The Babble Out and see if their program might be a good fit for you!
Xbox One gamers will soon be able to play more of the old games they remember. Forbes is reporting that more original Xbox games are becoming backwards compatible, making them playable on Xbox One.
These games will be released in two batches over the course of the month, and the games include some that have gamers very excited. People using Xbox One will be able to play original Xbox games like “The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind” and “Star Wars: Battlefront,” along with many other popular titles (including several other Star Wars titles).
According to Tom’s Guide, there are currently 13 original Xbox games that are backwards compatible. These were released last October, and they include games like “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” and “Fusion Frenzy.” And, of course, a large number of Xbox 360 games are also playable on Xbox One. These classic Xbox games, however, are particularly exciting since there were so few playable up until now.
Forbes gives the following schedule for the release of the backwards compatible games:
- Blinx: The Time Sweeper
- Conker: Live & Reloaded
- The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
- Hunter: The Reckoning
- Jade Empire
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
- SSX 3
- Destroy All Humans!
- Full Spectrum Warrior
- Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
- MX Unleashed
- Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory (Europe only)
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Star Wars: Battlefront 2
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
- Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: Republic Commando
If you own an Xbox One and want to go back and replay these classic games, keep a close watch on the schedule this month. If you own any of these discs, you’ll be able to begin playing them on your Xbox One. If you have them as digital downloads, you’ll be able to find them in your list of games, ready to be installed.
It’s very nearly spring, and for some, the urge to start spring cleaning has already hit. (It definitely has for me—I went for “late winter cleaning” instead.) Spring arrives on the 20th of this month. So if you’re about ready to get started cleaning out your garage or your messy closet, you should know there are some great and super helpful apps out there.
Here are just some of the ways you can improve your spring cleaning with apps!
- Any.do (Android & iOS): Any.do is a to-do list, calendar, and more. You can get reminders and schedule times for you to accomplish whichever spring cleaning tasks you want. You can even share your to-do list and set up certain tasks for certain people, and there are many more helpful features.
- BrightNest (Android & iOS): BrightNest lets you plan your cleaning schedule and get tips on how to accomplish tasks. You can get reminders, and you can look through their tips for cleaning and organizing, among other useful features.
- OurHome (Android & iOS): If you’re spring cleaning with other people in your home, OurHome can help. You can assign different tasks to different people, set up rewards, get reminders, view progress, and more.
- Sortly (Android & iOS): Sortly is a great way to set up an organized system as you finish spring cleaning a section of your home. With this app, you can take photos of your stuff and then tag them, add notes, put them in different folders, keep track of who you loaned items to, and more. Using this app throughout the year could make spring cleaning even easier next time around.
- Spring Cleaning Checklist (Android): With this app, you can create a helpful checklist for getting all your tasks done. You can organize your checklists by different areas of the home. There are also videos that give tips for cleaning, and you can listen to a playlist while cleaning.
- Wunderlist (Android & iOS): With Wunderlist, you can create different lists and keep up with your tasks. You can share lists, add photos, discuss tasks, set reminders, and more.
Make it fun
- EpicWin (Android & iOS): EpicWin can make completing your tasks a little more fun. It’s a to-do list in the form of an RPG. Instead of just checking off tasks as you complete them, you have a character that can gain XP and develop. There are “animated battles” as you complete tasks, you can find loot, and more. There are also some typical features, like reminders.
- Habitica (Android & iOS): With Habitica, you can treat your tasks like a game. Finishing tasks allows you to level up your avatar. You can go on quests, fight with your friends (helping you stay accountable and on track), and gain rewards as you progress.
There are plenty of websites that offer tips for effective and safe cleaning! Here are just a few sites you can check out.
Get rid of unwanted stuff
Once you’ve cleaned out your closets and under your bed, you’ll likely have some items you don’t need anymore.
For those things that aren’t really worth anything and that you couldn’t sell, you should look into recycling. One app for this is iRecycle. This app is available for Android and iOS. Using this app, you can use your location to find recycling centers near you. After choosing which type of item you’re wanting to recycle, the correct recycling centers will be suggested for you.
If you have items someone might want to purchase, selling online is much simpler than it once was. You can sell through a site like eBay, an app like LetGo, or a service like Facebook’s Marketplace.
For help getting rid of your stuff, check out my article about selling online!
Xbox Party Chat is now available on devices with Android and iOS!
If you’ve wanted to keep in contact with your team while away from your Xbox, or if you just want to be able to use your phone for communication instead of your Xbox, now you can. Microsoft has added its party chat feature to its Xbox app on Android and iOS. You can use live voice chat and text to contact your team if you have Xbox Live.
You might find this useful if you’re making plans with a team or if you’re running late to join the team in-game. It’s also particularly cool because it makes it easier to create a group chat for your team when you’re not actually playing, so you won’t have to all chat on a separate third-party app if you want to stay in contact.
In the past, people have turned to other apps and programs for team communication. One of the most popular choices has been Discord. Discord provides free voice and text chatting that’s specifically targeted at gamers. It works on computers and phones, so just about any gamer can use it. Since Xbox didn’t offer live voice chat, and since Skype wasn’t necessarily the best choice for gamers, Discord became popular among gamers. Other services gamers have used include Mumble (free voice chat software targeted at gamers) and TeamSpeak (free or paid voice chatting meant for gamers as well as professionals).
Now that Android and iOS devices can access live voice and text chat right through the official Xbox app, it’s unclear how many people will really switch to the Xbox app and drop the services they’ve already been using. However, if there was anyone who was wary of using a third-party service for voice chatting, they now have the option of staying in the Xbox app for team chats.
Nintendo Switch will soon have more titles available for players. Nintendo has seen a lot of success with some of its previous releases for the Switch—particularly Super Mario Odyssey. You might remember that Odyssey became the fastest selling Mario game released in the U.S. It was also a critical hit and fan favorite.
Now fans can anticipate more new games for the device, plus they can expect more to come for Odyssey. According to TechCrunch, quite a few new titles are coming, and more content is being added for Odyssey.
New content being added to Super Mario Odyssey includes the addition of a competitive game mode, plus Balloon World hosted by Luigi, which has players hide balloons or try to find balloons that have been hidden.
Some of the new titles announced for release are unsurprising, though there are some titles that may be a little unexpected. Rolling Stone lists all of the titles mentioned in Nintendo’s announcement. Games like Mario Tennis Aces, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Kirby Star Allies, and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition may come as no surprise in the announcement. Other games include The World Ends with You: Final Remix, SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, PAYDAY 2, Fe, and Celeste.
Perhaps the only really surprising announcement is the inclusion of Dark Souls: Remastered. Rolling Stone notes that the Dark Souls games have never before been released for a Nintendo console. Forbes also mentions that Dark Souls: Remastered is coming for more than just the Switch—it’s also coming to Xbox One, Xbox One X, Playstation 4, Playstation 4 Pro, and PC. Not only will the graphics look better, there will be some updates to the gameplay itself. Of course, Forbes’ article also questions how Dark Souls will actually work on the Switch, given how the gameplay works. It’s unclear at this point whether there will be any differences in how the game works on the Switch to accommodate the on-the-go nature of Nintendo’s console.
To watch Nintendo’s announcement of their new content, check out their video on the Nintendo Direct page!
Magic Leap has released more information about their augmented reality goggles set to come out in 2018. The goggles are called the Magic Leap One and are referred to as the “Creator Edition.”
Magic Leap One is a set of futuristic-looking goggles, a Lightpack that runs the AR system, and a controller. According to Rolling Stone, there will be two sizes to choose from for the goggles, and they’ll be able to be arranged for comfort.
According to Magic Leap’s website, Magic Leap One will be different from most other AR devices. Their device will be able to recreate what wearers see, so they can place AR elements on their actual surroundings, and even “interact with” their real location. The device will then remember what it sees, building an area by remembering where everything in the room is located. This lets wearers place objects, leave them there, and come back to find them where they were left. Magic Leap gives the example of placing a virtual television on the wall and coming back to find it in the same place.
Magic Leap One will also respond to several different kinds of input, according to their website. Audio, movements, and eye tracking are all ways the AR system will keep up with what you’re doing while you wear the headset.
All of this, of course, is pretty different from what people come to expect from the typical AR headset. Wearers should be able to build their own environments and create permanent virtual additions to their surroundings, which gives users a lot of control. And they won’t just have to do everything by tapping a button or using a scroll pad—the headset will respond to much more than that.
Of course, tech-lovers have been waiting for Magic Leap to release their products for some time, so potential buyers are still a bit wary. According to The Verge, Magic Leap was supposed to send out their software development kit two years ago. These plans, though, are more specific and seem to be a bigger piece of news.
Magic Leap hasn’t set a specific release date, but their website states it will be out in 2018. You can visit their website and sign up for a mailing list to get updates about Magic Leap One. Keep an eye out next year for Magic Leap One to finally get its release.
(Featured image: Magic Leap)
Potterheads, rejoice! After months of crossed fingers and unconfirmed whispers, Pottermore has announced the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite app that will use augmented reality to immerse players in the (totally real) wizarding world.
The game will come out at some point in the future under the newly-created Portkey Games label. The game is the child of both Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and—you probably guessed it—Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go.
Not long after Pokémon Go burst onto the scene, the idea of a Harry Potter-style version of the AR game started spreading across social media. Some people were calling for its creation, discussing how it might work and how amazing it would be, while others began to spread rumors that the game was already being created. Some websites even began reporting the rumor as a fact. But until this past week, the rumors were still just that: rumors.
With the exciting news that an augmented reality Harry Potter game really is coming, Potter fans are understandably hyped, though it’s important to mention that there’s no suggested release date yet. Pottermore simply says there will be more information about the game in 2018. What news we have so far, though, makes the game sound pretty awesome.
Pottermore’s news release mentions that players will take part in “adventures” outside. You might run into creatures or well-known people from the wizarding world while you’re on one of these adventures. And the game will let players build a “wizarding career,” as well as cast spells (a feature that is surely a must-have for an AR app set in the world of Harry Potter) and take part in other activities.
Based on Harry Potter’s huge popularity around the world and the fact that Pokémon Go has done so well, it’s not hard to imagine Harry Potter: Wizards Unite creating another new wave of AR gaming hysteria. One reason some players dropped off from Pokémon Go was that they just felt as though the game hadn’t changed enough to keep interest. With Wizards Unite, it’ll give every player the chance to get back out and discover a new world in an exciting way. It also sounds like it will have some cool features that will keep players interested over time. You can bet I (and multitudes of other Potterheads) will be waiting impatiently for the new game.
Accio Wizards Unite!
The newest Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, is the fastest selling Mario game ever released in the United States, according to Polygon. Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo’s newest offering in the Mario world. It features new worlds, new moves, a multiplayer mode, fun screenshot capabilities, and, of course, the exciting and fun platforming you expect from Mario games. The new game also works with amiibos. Amiibos are small accessories, like figures and cards, that work with certain games to unlock special content with just a tap. Odyssey incorporates these newer features while still fitting into the popular Super Mario universe.
Super Mario Odyssey has already sold millions of copies and is getting rave reviews across the internet. IGN, the hugely popular gaming website, gave Super Mario Odyssey a 10 out of 10, and the reviewer said they “literally applauded as the end credits rolled.” Meanwhile, the ratings aggregator Metascore shows the game as having an excellent 97 out of 100. Their aggregated user score gives the game a 9 out of 10.
These ratings and the new sales record for Mario shows that Nintendo has really scored big with their newest release. Super Mario Odyssey is only for their newer platform, the Nintendo Switch, which can only make the Switch seem more appealing to those who haven’t purchased one yet. The Nintendo Switch launched back in March, and it was notoriously difficult to find at the time.
Now that Super Mario Odyssey is such a success, some news sources are suggesting the Switch might be hard to find once again, especially considering the upcoming holiday season. Super Mario Odyssey’s well-received release near the end of the year might be perfectly well-timed to make the Switch go out of stock at a lot of stores. This is particularly likely if people decide to buy the device specifically to play the new Mario game, which seems likely.
If you already own a Nintendo Switch, you should strongly consider purchasing Super Mario Odyssey and finding out about it yourself. If you don’t own a Switch yet, all signs point to sales skyrocketing, so you might think about whether you want to buy yours while you can. If Odyssey‘s reviews and sales numbers are anything to go by, it’ll be well worth it.