Weak signal and dead zones inside a large home or awkwardly shaped apartment can be remedied quickly, if a little expensively, with a mesh Wi-Fi system, according to Make Use Of.
A mesh system uses multiple devices to connect to a network and expand the coverage farther than a traditional router by rebroadcasting the same network signal to each unit set up around the home.
Mesh systems work differently than Wi-Fi range extenders that create a new network with each additional unit, causing users to constantly switch networks as they change locations.
Built for the modern age of connectivity, premium systems from companies like Google, Eero, and Velop cost about $300 to $500 for 3 Wi-Fi points.
Although Google claims their 3-point mesh system can cover a 3,000-foot house, don’t be surprised if it takes six or even nine points to cover that area. The Wi-Fi points must all be within sight range or the signal is disrupted. Furniture and walls also disrupt the signal, so homeowners may well find whole-house coverage costs much more than advertised.
The systems are all controlled by smartphone. The Google app maps the network, keeps track of passwords, and lets you pause network connectivity if the kids should be at dinner and not online.
Mature Living: Volunteer work: the feel-good way to spread holiday cheer
Is the spirit of the season inspiring you to spread goodwill and be more charitable? If you’ve got a bit of time to spare and the inclination to do so, why not give back to your community? Over the holiday season, homeless shelters, hospitals and local organizations need volunteers more than ever. You don’t have to look far to find ways to do good works and there are countless opportunities to help others. Some ways you can give back include:
• Wrapping gifts to raise money for charity
• Preparing, serving and delivering meals on Christmas or New Year’s Day
• Visiting people who are alone
• Answering letters to Santa Claus
No matter whether you want to help children in need or provide company to lonely senior citizens, the holiday season is the best time to get involved in your community. Your local charitable organizations will be happy for the help.
Mature Living: Advantages of wireless headphones
Did you know that gradual hearing loss affects 30 per cent of people aged 65 and older? If you constantly need to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, you may be losing your hearing. Luckily, wireless headphones can help you watch your favorite shows and rediscover the music you love.
There are many different types of wireless headphones on the market. Larger, on-ear sets can be used be those who wear hearing aids, while smaller, in-ear options are best for people who wear glasses. Some in-ear headphones are even small enough to carry in your pocket or purse.
Regardless of the type of wireless headphones you choose, you’ll benefit from their advantages. Wireless sets are:
• Easy to use. Simply make sure the battery is fully charged, turn them on and set the Bluetooth settings on your TV or stereo to connect to your headphones.
• Agitation free. No annoying, tangled wires to unravel.
• Able to provide clear and crisp sound. For the best audio experience, you’ll need to invest in a higher-quality set.
• Non-intrusive. You can watch TV or listen to music at the volume you need without bothering anyone around you.
The price range for wireless headphones varies greatly between makes and models, which means there are options to suit nearly every budget. Pick out a pair that you think you’ll like and give them a try. You won’t have to struggle to hear the television anymore and you’ll enjoy your favorite music like you haven’t in years.
Rustproofing: the best way to protect your vehicle from corrosion
Road salt and excessive moisture exacerbate corrosion — an oxidation process that degrades metal — making your vehicle particularly prone to rust damage over the winter. To counteract corrosion and extend your vehicle’s lifespan, look into getting professional rustproofing.
Vehicle owners should consider investing in the treatment, for no car, new or used, is immune to corrosion. Rustproofing prevents or slows the oxidation of metals on un-rusted vehicles. And on vehicles that are already rusted, the treatment will stop the rust from spreading.
Those planning to keep their vehicle for at least another four years should be especially proactive in getting it treated.
The anti-rust oil and grease applied in rustproofing treatments provides additional benefits, including:
• Forming a protective coat that prevents scratching and therefore preserves the appearance — and value! — of your vehicle.
• Preventing the vehicle’s structure from weakening and breaking down.
• Preventing rust from forming not just on the body of the car but also the undercarriage. Rust on the undercarriage can spread to vital components of your vehicle and potentially ruin them beyond repair.
After rustproofing your vehicle, make sure to wash it regularly, especially in winter, to get rid of salt and calcium residue. And if you keep your car in a heated garage, be especially diligent because heat triggers corrosion.
How to deal with difficult family members during the holidays
If you have an uncle who drinks too much, a cousin who’s recently lost a spouse or a sibling who always makes you lose your temper, it’s important to prepare yourself so that you’ll be ready to defuse the situation. There’s no miracle cure for family drama, but with a little preparation and a lot of deep breaths, you’ll be able to get through Christmas dinner. Here are some scenarios you may encounter.
If one of your holiday guests drinks too much, focus on making sure they stay safe. Cut off their access to alcohol and give them plenty of water. Watch them closely for the rest of the evening, and above all, don’t let them drive. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on anyone who you know struggles to set limits for themselves.
Depression and bereavement
Christmas can be a difficult time for people who suffer from depression or for those who’ve lost a loved one. If this applies to one of your guests, don’t minimize their pain or tell them to “cheer up.” Instead, be patient, listen to what they have to say and respect their need to stay quiet or be alone for a few moments.
Whether it’s due to politics, childhood resentments or conflicting temperaments, there are some people who just can’t seem to get along. Try to keep bickering relatives apart and the conversation light. If you find yourself getting upset because of a family member, stay calm and count to 10 before saying anything. Step outside or go to the restroom if you need a moment to regain your cool.
Decking your halls: holiday decorating ideas for the enthusiast
Ready to take your Christmas decorating to the next level? Here are some pro tips that can elevate your holiday embellishments from merely so-so to full out sublime.
Choose your palette
The pro-decorator’s cardinal rule? Choose a palette and stick to it. Make sure your ornaments, ribbons, lights, stockings, gift-wrapping and more are made up of hues from your chosen palette. Here are a few color combinations to try:
• Traditional. Tried-and-true, red, green and gold make up the classic Christmas color scheme.
• Icy. A more modern option, this palette is made up of periwinkle, teal and silver.
• Jewel. A vibrant palette of green, purple, orange and red.
• Metallic. A glittering and regal palette of silver and gold.
• Monochrome. If simple and elegant is more your style, consider a color scheme made up solely of whites.
Choose your theme
Next to palette, the most important decorating decision you’ll make is in regards to theme. The idea is to take an evocative word or phrase and let your imagination go to work. Here are a few examples:
• Winter wonderland. Think white and lots of it. Include elements like snowflakes, tinsel and wintery animals such as reindeer and moose.
• Rustic farmhouse. Use logs, sticks, pinecones, greenery and other natural materials. Plaid patterns are a fitting accompaniment.
• Christmas cheer. Combine festive colors like red, green and gold with classic Christmas imagery.
• West coast Christmas. Bring the charm of the seaside indoors with shells and starfish and a color palette of soft pink, blue and beige.
Once you’ve found your starting point—whether it’s a color palette, a theme or both—you’ll find that your ideas start to flow. Happy decorating!
‘Silent Night’: 200 years of bringing people together
This Christmas marks the 200th anniversary of “Silent Night.” First performed in a village church in Austria, “Silent Night” quickly became one of the most popular Christmas hymns in Europe and today is sung all over the world in countless different languages. In 2011, the carol was granted “intangible cultural heritage” status by UNESCO because of its prominence in world culture.
Known in German as “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” (“Silent Night, Holy Night”), the lyrics were composed by the Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and set to music by the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, for the Christmas Eve service in Arnsdorf in December 1818. Mohr and Gruber performed the carol themselves with only a guitar as accompaniment. The hymn was an instant success with the congregation and soon spread to other towns and countries.
One of the most moving examples of the carol’s place in our shared culture comes from an extraordinary event that occurred during World War I. In December 1914, Germany and the Allied forces declared a Christmas truce and ordered troops to cease all hostilities. According to contemporary accounts, on Christmas Eve one German soldier — Walter Kirchoff, once a tenor in the Berlin opera — stepped forward and began to sing “Silent Night,” first in German and then in English.
Recognizing the hymn, British soldiers joined in, and both sides began singing Christmas carols in their own languages. On Christmas Day, soldiers climbed out of the trenches to wish their enemies a merry Christmas and played games and exchanged gifts until the truce ended. For a brief time after the singing of “Silent Night” that Christmas, “heavenly peace” reigned over the battlefield.