Virtual Halloween Ideas

Make the most of your broadband this socially distant Halloween with some wicked internet based ideas.

Why not try a Virtual Escape Room

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room – a simple form of Escape Room but suitable for all the family particularly fans of Harry Potter that want to explore inside Hogwarts

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSflNxNM0jzbZJjUqOcXkwhGTfii4CM_CA3kCxImbY8c3AABEA/formResponse

Another free option comes from the well established Escape Durham, designed for adults but suitable for those aged 12+

https://www.escapedurham.co.uk/mr-x

Download and listen to a True Crime podcast

Ever since Serial and Making a Murderer went mainstream people have been mad for true crime and there are enough TC podcasts to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat.

 

Host a watch-along of a classic horror movie

Netflix has a whole host of horror movies ready for a spooky night in with the lights off! Even better, after a recent update you can now host a watching party check the link below to find out how

https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-host-a-virtual-watch-party/

 


Tour the Paris Catacombes from the comfort of your own sofa

Forget about the queues and the crowds and navigate the creepy Catacombes from home 

https://www.catacombes.paris.fr/visite-virtuelle/

Did you know you have a period of unaccounted data on your Tooway Konnect broadband package?

This means between 1-6am any data used doesn’t come out of your priority allowance, meaning you can keep this with it’s higher speeds to use when you want it.

Most phones and smart devices are already set to go through their updates overnight (when less people are online so they can get the best connection) when plugged into a power source. However, if you wanted to download a box-set or large files it makes sense to set these to also go through overnight.

You cane make this simple by installing download scheduling software to your phones/laptops or tablets. Different schedulers suit different devices so it’s worth googling for your specific set-up but we’ve listed some suggestions below:

  1. https://ninjadownloadmanager.com/ – with its simple interface and accelerator Ninja is a good option. Ideal for movies and music downloading.
  2. https://www.freedownloadmanager.org/download.htm Covers all the bases and is FREE as it’s built and maintained by open source updates.
  3. http://www.speedbit.com/ Download Accelerator Plus is a paid service although you can opt for the free demo which has everything you need for quick, reliable downloads.

Using a scheduler in this way means you can plan ahead for your next movie night by having your film ready to roll once the popcorn’s ready. You can also avoid heavy downloads impacting on your speeds at the prime times you’re really needing to work online.

So, make even more of your broadband by tailoring it to suit you with a download scheduler.

 

 

Please note astrasat.tv holds no liability for software downloads to your devices.

2020 has had its fair share of ups and downs but in a positive boost astrasat.tv will soon be able to offer satellite broadband with speeds of up to 100mbps.

Many broadband providers struggle under the strain of additional, extended web traffic with limited infrastructure that can’t keep up – this has knock-on effects for the speeds and overall service for their users. Mobile providers offer an alternative that can cost a fortune when paying for internet usage in gigabytes. The rollout of superfast broadband has been promised by the Government by 2025 but in the meantime what do consumers do?

Satellite broadband is the alternative that is already ahead of the curve. Without the restrictions of traditional infrastructure, and the ability to connect anywhere with packages and prices to suit all users, a satellite system is the solution.

Satellite broadband is specifically targeted to rural customers without access to fibre exchanges or having suffered too long with other line of sight alternatives. Satellite networks have also made great technological leaps in the last few years, in part due to investment in infrastructure but also by recognising that how people use their broadband is rapidly evolving. Where there used to be data caps there’s now unlimited service, and what used to dial-up-type speeds satellite internet can now rival fibre broadband in its performance.

So where are these faster speeds coming from? 

These higher speeds (and ultimately new monthly data package options) are thanks to the Geostationary Orbit satellites recently developed and launched by ViaSat and Eutelsat, the primary suppliers of satellite broadband in Europe. This allows for the opening of more beams, literally beaming broadband into your home or workplace. The availability of additional beam space then removes any issues of over-subscribed service meaning everyone benefits from better broadband.

These packages are planned for release with astrasat.tv by the end of the year and will offer increased speeds, uncapped data and a UK IP as standard for a fixed monthly price. If you’re currently suffering slow to non-existent speeds and a shocking monthly bill be first in line for our new packages by emailing connected@astrasat.tv or signing up to our mailing list at www.astrasat.tv

System running slow or lost the lights on your modem? Don’t panic! There are some simple steps you can take to troubleshoot your connection issues before you need to start re-pointing the dish or replacing hardware.

There can be many reasons for slow speeds or a dropping connection and they don’t always mean a fault with the system itself. Data heavy activity, badly built websites or a weak wireless router can all cause your connection to drop.

When it comes to slow or dropping connection the first thing we will always need to do is run some system speed tests.

If you have a Tooway system you can run these by going to

http://speedprobe.skylogicnet.com/HTML5speedtest

We ask you run these connected directly to your modem via ethernet cable – this means we can test if it is a fault with the connection coming into the modem or whether we need to cast the net wider in troubleshooting. If tests are ran through a router and we need to escalate them as part of our troubleshooting the sat provider will often request tests be ran again.

We also ask you to run a minimum of 3 tests at least 30 minutes apart, preferably morning, afternoon and evening. We do this so we can get an accurate picture of your average connection. Speeds will vary, particularly at peak times but we need to know if the issues you’re having are due to network congestion or something more sinister!

While other testing links are available they are not all built the same, or designed for the nuances of different systems. For us to investigate the problems you’re having we need tests run through our link so that the results log our side (where we can monitor your system) and if necessary we can escalate these to the satellite provider.

Another thing you can do from your own home to check for any issues with your connection is login to the modem. This is a quick way of seeing if there is an equipment issue, i.e. the tria needs replacing or the dish has moved.

To do this, open a web browser and type in 192.168.100.1

From this page you can see the status of your modem, tria and connection to the dish. If you have any ! where there should be a green tick you have located your problem.

If speed results and a modem test flag more serious issues, now is the time to call us at astrasat.tv to organise a service call so we can get you back up and running.

 

The internet has been our most valuable utility during the Covid-19 Pandemic – working or schooling from home, shopping, streaming and catching up online with loved ones we couldn’t see in person. 

According to Forbes.com internet usage has increased 70% since we’ve been locked down, with video streaming now responsible for 58% of all web traffic. This is why, more than ever before, a reliable broadband connection is a necessity.

 

So, why choose satellite broadband?

Many broadband providers are struggling under the strain of additional, extended web traffic that’s having knock-on effects for the speeds and overall service for their users. Satellite broadband is the alternative that is already ahead of the curve. Without the restrictions of traditional infrastructure, and the ability to connect anywhere with packages and prices to suit all users, a satellite system is the solution.

The post-Covid future suggests there will be an increase in ongoing remote working and many new users have been introduced to the joys of video calling (hello Granny!) streaming and online shopping. This is particularly relevant to the ex-pat community who will have the opportunity to make the most of working from wherever they are, provided they have the broadband capability they deserve. A satellite dish can be installed anywhere that has  access to the sky, meaning you can literally connect remotely!

You don’t want to get stuck in the loading-loop that is a symptom of restricted, over-subscribed services. The benefit of satellite broadband is the availability of all that space above us. The technology behind the satellite solution is future-proofed by continual development of the networks. Most recently aerospace company SpaceX, run by American maverick Elon Musk, has invested billions in developing Starlink to provide satellite internet as an alternative to cabled or mast services.

 

Why choose satellite broadband from astrasat.tv?

If you’ve spent the last few months staring at the same few walls now is the time to upgrade your entire home with astrasat.tv. Not only do we provide a reliable, fast, unrestricted broadband set-up, we also offer UK TV subscriptions, superior sound and vision solutions all packaged in stylish tech-enabled furniture. 

Unlike large, faceless communications companies we believe in connecting with our customers, online, over the phone or in person to design a package of products as unique as you. We provide front-line technical or installation support and we won’t hit you with any hidden charges – you pay a set monthly data fee no matter what you do with it. 

All our products can be self-installed, alternatively from September for a limited time astrasat.tv engineers will be in zip code areas: 07 Ardèche, 11 Aude, 26 Drome, 30 Gard, 31 Haute Garonne, 34 Hérault, 38 Isère, 73 Savoie, 74 Haute Savoie.

 

 

These days we’re all part of the giant social network that is the internet. We’ve got used to sharing what we had for dinner, where we’re going on holiday and who we think will win Strictly Come Dancing but if we’re not careful the more we put online the more susceptible we become to cyber crime. 

Here are some tips and tricks to keep you secure with astrasat.tv satellite broadband:

While it’s very nice you’re off on holiday for two weeks or you’ve just treated yourself to something expensive – pause before you post. You may trust your Facebook friends and Twitter followers but unless your social media accounts are private this info could be viewable by anyone who may take the opportunity to pay a visit to your empty house while you’re lounging by the pool!

Using a VPN will add an extra layer of security to your data and encrypt all your communication. Normally, when you connect to the internet, you first connect to your ISP (Internet Service Provider), which then connects you to whatever websites you visit. When you use a VPN, you connect to a server run by your VPN provider, which directs your traffic instead so any website monitoring your activity won’t know where you’re browsing from.

When it comes to online shopping, banking or any other web activity that requires you to input important private information check the site you are using is safe. Secure sites are easily recognisable by whether they have a padlock icon in the address bar or start https instead of http. That extra S means the site is using secure encryption and your data is protected. 

Having hundreds of login details can be a pain but it’s better than giving cyber criminals free reign across all your online activity. Google offers a password manager function for Android and Chrome and Apple offers the Keychain option so there is no excuse not to choose strong UNIQUE passwords for your various logins and having your devices remember them means you don’t have to.

In the same way we take medicine to keep ourselves well your tech also needs looking after! Keep anti-virus software up to date to make sure your devices stay bug free and avoid clicking suspicious links that could cause malware to corrupt your computer.

It’s worth remembering though that even following all these tips, web hackers and scammers are sophisticated. If an email or pop-up offers something that seems too good to be true it probably is and if something doesn’t look right it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving any personal information or payment details.

 

astrasat.tv offer great prices on Wireless routers with built-in VPN and a low monthly cost, get in touch for more info 

 

Right now your children are probably spending more time than usual online, so, to keep them safe while surfing the web we’ve compiled a list of ways in which you can control the content they have access to. Hopefully, these will allow you to concentrate on what you need to do without needing to check on what they are doing quite as often.

Internet Matters is a not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to helping parents and carers keep children safe online and is recommended by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. They provide a whole range of tips and advice, but we recommend starting with their E-safety checklist, which will help you set up their devices safely.

Both Windows and Mac have inbuilt parental controls that allow you to set up separate accounts for your children and manage these from your account.

Windows 10 allows you to limit screen time, set age limits and block inappropriate content. You can see exactly how to set up and edit these parameters on Microsoft.com.

If you are a Mac user you can manage screen time, apps and content in a very similar way. This is all managed within your system preferences. There is a handy guide here with information for those using either the very latest OS or older versions.

When it comes to additional parental controls there are lots of tools available (both free and paid for). Some of the most popular tools are listed below, but there are many, many more. If you have specific requirements a quick online search should bring up a solution to your needs.

  1. Qustodio
    This tool is designed to be an easy way to supervise your children online. It’s an app that you install on your child’s devices that allows you to monitor their use while also filtering what they can see and do online.
  2. Kaspersky Safe Kids
    This low-cost option allows you to block harmful content as well as limiting screen time and providing expert tips and advice on online topics.
  3. Kidlogger
    This is a free tool that allows you to see what your children have been doing on a smartphone or tablet including how long they have been on the device and what apps they have been using.

 

Coming soon…

How to schedule downloads to make the most of unaccounted data.

Now we’re well into lockdown, you’ve done the Zoom quizzes, Joe Wicks’ workout has lost its appeal and frankly we’re all a bit bored.

 

We’ve come up with some other ideas to make use of your broadband and banish that boredom!

 

  1. Start a blog.

We’re all hoping a global pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we won’t be repeating but wouldn’t it be interesting to look back in the future and remember what we did and how we coped? There are many free blog builders online where you can choose to publish and share your thoughts, feelings and experiences with the World. Or you might prefer to keep it private and share it with only a select few friends and family. With it being online it’ll always be something you can look back on in years to come.

 

2. Play with google Doodles.

Did you know you can go back to past interactive Google Doodles and play a variety of games? Sometimes it’s the simple things that can create hours of joy, check out https://www.google.com/doodles?q=games to play things like PAC-MAN (2010), Cricket (2017) or have a go at a Rubik’s cube from 2014.

 

 

3. Create a Memory Album.

While physical photo albums are very nice, over time your pictures can become tarnished and you’ve got to find somewhere to keep them all! Why not set up an email account you can send all the photos you want to save to, this way you’ll always have a back-up of your pics online and you or others can email photos or messages to it at any time like a living memory book. With Gmail you can set up a free account in minutes – just make sure you save your login information!

 

4. Go on a Wikirace!

Want another way to have some fun with friends or family online? Why not go on a Wikipedia race, a simple game that can also be educational. It can be played between any number of participants, using links to travel from one Wikipedia page to another. The first person to reach the destination page, or the person that reaches the destination using the fewest links, wins the race. Intermediary pages may also be required. To Wikirace, first select a page off the top of your head. Using a randomized page works well, as well as the featured article of the day. This will be your beginning page. Next choose a destination page. Generally, this destination page is something very unrelated to the beginning page. For example, going from apple to orange would not be challenging, as you would simply start at the apple page, click a wikilink to fruit and then proceed to orange.

A big update is on the way for Sonos devices. In fact, it’s probably the biggest update in the company’s history, marking the end of the beginning and ushering in a whole new chapter.

Sonos S2 is a complete update to the software side of the ecosystem. Sonos S2 is necessary so that Sonos can introduce new products and features, increase bandwidth and improve usability. Any compatible Sonos devices that you have will be automatically updated to S2 when it becomes available on 8th June, and you’ll be prompted to download the new app for the phones, tablets and/or computers that you use to control your kit. Any products bought after May 2020 will have S2 built in.

One feature of S2 is called ‘Room Groups’. This will allow you to create lasting groups of particular zones that you often use in unison – the lounge and kitchen, perhaps – so that you don’t have to do so every time you start playing. You’ll be able to do this as soon as the Sonos S2 platform launches. Newer products with S2 will also include Dolby Atmos –  a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. It expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects.

What’s compatible?

If you own older generation products but are interested in the new S2 options you can:

1) Keep the entire system, even if it includes some S2-compatible devices, on the S1 platform, knowing that you will be locked out of future features and will not be able to add any products that Sonos introduces to its range after May 2020.

2) Split the system in two, separating the S1 and S2 products. You’ll be able to use the new app to operate the S2 system, and the original app to operate the S1 devices. That doesn’t sound great, but you might find that your Sonos speakers are actually often used more or less independently of one another, perhaps even by different members of the family, in which case this could work.

For more info check out http://www.astrasat.tv/sonos-tvs-and-furniture/sonos-sound-equipment/

By now – in the new norm of social distancing and isolation – many people have begun using video calling to stay connected be it on Zoom, Skype or Whatsapp. There is also an abundance of online fitness streams, music and art lessons as well as educational courses. We’ve found a few more things you can use your broadband for to fill your day when you’re not digi-dining or on a conference call.

 

Enjoy some zen snowboarding with Alto’s Adventure & Alto’s Odyssey

Alto’s Adventure and sequel Alto’s Odyssey are both computer games, yes, but they are also a form of meditative relaxation. Beautiful landscapes slide by as your character snowboards or sandboards indefinitely.

You can choose to play these endless runners in two ways: aim for a high score or in “zen mode”.

The game advises you to use earphones to get the most out of the zen soundtrack, which rises to a crescendo as Alto whooshes down mountainsides and the day slides into night. This beautifully designed game is genuinely relaxing and can be played by all ages.

In solidarity with those in self-isolation, developer Snowman is giving both Alto games away for free for a limited period of time. Go grab them before they’re back to the paid versions.

 

Free Kindle Books

If you’re homeschooling the kids Kindle via Amazon are currently offering some free downloadable books for learning and for when you just want to escape into a classic story. There’s a range of fiction including classics, education, entertainment and special interest magazines

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

 

Museum hop with Google Arts and Culture

You can take virtual trips to famous venues all around the globe with Google Arts and Culture. You can access this app on a laptop but it works best on a smartphone for one main reason: the art projector feature.

This augmented-reality overlay places full-size works of art in your living room. 

Don’t wait in line for an hour at the Louvre for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa over the heads of hundreds of other tourists when you can inspect it at your leisure while eating cereal and wearing yoga pants.

The virtual museum tours are also pretty impressive. Using Street View technology Google has free tours of the Guggenheim, the British Museum, Paris’s Musée d’Orsay and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam among others. And if it’s cultural sites you want, there are also 360-degree tours of the Colosseum in Rome, Alcatraz, the Taj Mahal, and the Palace of Versailles

 

Artsandculture.google.com

 

It’s good to talk

Want to help but not sure how to start when you can’t go outside? Register for Quarantine Chat and you can talk on the phone with someone else stuck at home.

 

https://quarantinechat.com/

 

Edinburgh Zoo Live Stream

A good one for the kids, see what the animals get up to when there’s no one around!

 

Panda Cam  / Tiger Cam  / Penguin Cam  / Rock Hopper Penguin Cam  / Koala Cam

 

Throw a Netflix Party

Netflix Party is the most talked-about Chrome plug-in right now. It is so popular that it has crashed out several times so hopefully, by the time you read this, it is up and running. Created by an independent third-party developer, it enables synchronisation of Netflix video playback and adds in group chat.

Install from the Chrome Web Store, visit Netflix and choose your poison. Once you have selected a movie, click the NP button in your browser menu and when the pop-up appears, click on “Start the party”. This generates a URL to share with friends and family. As long as they have Netflix Party installed and click on the button to initiate, their Netflix playback will sync with yours and a chat window appears on the right-hand side.

Microwave some popcorn, get into your PJs and fire up Netflix Party. It’s like having a sleepover except without the annoying aspect of having to make snacks and clean up after everyone.

 

Netflix Party

 

Stay safe and stay at home!