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How to Watch Today’s Solar Eclipse

Posted by tpoole on August 21, 2017

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“… a total eclipse of the heart” is what runs through my head every time I hear someone mention the eclipse that is about to happen this afternoon. That’s right, there is a total solar eclipse happening today, although certain areas of the world will see the total eclipse while others will only see a partial eclipse. If you happen to be in Huston, Idaho, Casper, Wyoming, or Lincoln, Nebraska, you will be lucky enough to see the total solar eclipse, but if you are like me up and live in Southwestern Ontario, we will see a partial solar eclipse. So now the questions are when, what, and how?

When:

The solar eclipse will take place today, August 21, 2017 between 1:06 pm to 3:48 pm. The max coverage that we will be able to view will occur at 2:29 pm. The last time a total solar eclipse happened was in 1979, 38 years ago!

What:

A total (or partial) solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and earth and blocks either all of or part of the sun (depending on where you live). The longest time period that the sun will be completely covered is 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The eclipse is dangerous to be viewed with bare eyes except for when the sun is completely covered by the moon.

How:

An eclipse is not safe to watch with your bare eyes, sunglasses, or even through your phone (although you can take pictures with your phone as long as you don’t look at the sun yourself and have a filter over your lens). The dangers of watching the solar eclipse without protection is injury to your eyes or even blindness. If you are one of the geniuses who prepared for this global event and purchased solar eclipse safety glasses, go you! If you are behind on this, well it is time for arts and crafts! To safely watch the solar eclipse, you can either use eclipse glasses, solar filters for binoculars/ telescopes, or a projector. So how do you make your own projector? Look below to find two easy ways:

Box Projector:

What you will need: a long cardboard box (or two taped together) or tube, scissors, duct tape, aluminum foil, a pin, a sharp knife/ paper cutter, and a sheet of white paper.

What to do:

  1. Cut a rectangular hole at the end of the box (the longer the box, the larger the projected image will be).
  2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil slightly larger than the rectangle you cut out in the box (make sure your foil doesn’t crinkle).
  3. Tape the foil over the rectangle and poke a tiny hole in the center of the foil.
  4. Tape your sheet of plain white paper inside the box across from your rectangle.
  5. Stand with your back to the sun and place the box on your head with the pin hole facing the sun while you look at the white paper.

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Tip* if you are using a tube, put the pinhole at one and the white paper at the other. Then cut a rectangle at the end with the white paper for you to look through at the white paper. Stand with your back to the sun and the pinhole facing the sun. 

Simple Card Projector:

What you will need: 2 pieces of stiff, white cardboard or 2 pieces of plain white paper and a pin.

What to do:

  1. Make a tiny hole with the pin in one piece of the paper or cardboard.
  2. With your back to the sun, hold the paper with the hole above your shoulder so that the sun will shine on the paper.
  3. Hold the second piece of paper or cardboard at arm lengths away allowing the image of the sun to project onto that piece of paper.  The farther away your second piece of paper is, the larger the image will be.

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Binoculars Projector:

What you will need: binoculars, duct tape, a sheet of white paper, and cardboard.

What to do:

  1. Put the binoculars on a tripod of some sort and use the duct tape to secure them.
  2. Trace the lenses of the binoculars on the cardboard and cut out the holes.
  3. Tape the cardboard in front of the binoculars so that the lenses stick out of the holes (make sure there is no space between the cardboard and the binoculars).
  4. Direct the binoculars toward the sun and place the sheet of white paper on the ground below the eyepiece.
  5. Move the paper around until you are able to see the sun’s image projected on the paper.

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If you do not have solar glasses or time to make a projector, you are always able to watch NASA’s live stream of the solar eclipse at: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive/#NASA+TV+Public+Channel

So go outside, or stay in and enjoy watching this celestial event!

 

Sources:
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how

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How to Save Your Phone's Battery

Posted by tpoole on August 10, 2017

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I don’t know about you, but I have days where it seems like my battery will never die and then other days it where it seems as though I just started to use my phone and it is dying already. Then there is the situation we have all been in: you’re out and about shopping, hanging with friends, bowling, or at the beach with a phone that is about to die. You rush to close all of the apps you have open and turn on low power mode to help that battery last just a tad longer, but it never seems to do much. So what else can you really do to make the battery last longer?

To start, there are three simple steps you can take with any phone to increase the overall battery life of a phone.

First, and contrary to popular belief, don’t wait until your phone is dead or has a really low battery level to charge it. Due to most phones having lithium batteries instead of nickel batteries now, letting your phone go all of the way down to 0% can actually damage its ability to hold a charge.

Second, fully charge your new battery. Before you even consider using a brand new phone or battery, charge it to 100%. For most lithium based batteries, the optimal time to charge it would be more than a few hours. For nickel based it would be 10 plus hours! Letting the new battery charge for a long period of time will help it obtain an optimal capacity of charge.

Third, if you leave your phone out in the sun, whether you are at the beach or in the car, your battery can be damaged. Exposed to direct, hot heat for an extended period of time can actually cause permanent damage to your phone and battery. Overheating during usage or while charging can also cause damage to your battery. If this is happening, consider purchasing a new charger or stop using your phone for a short period of time to let it cool down. The optimal temperature for the battery to work and last is room temperature.

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So what can you do to have your battery last longer when you see it is starting to get low? Try a few of these little tricks and see what works best for your phone and battery life.

Turn down your screen brightness and turn off auto brightness. This will help extend your battery life as not as much energy will be needed to light up your screen.

Turn off notifications and auto refresh on apps that you use. A fair bit of battery is used by apps auto refreshing in the background and notifying you of everything happening on social media.

Turn off your location services, Bluetooth, and your personal hot spot.

Look at what is using a lot of battery life. If you see that it is apps you aren’t actually using, delete those apps.

Turn your volume all of the way down or off and don’t have vibrate on. It is surprising how much energy it takes to have your phone vibrate for every text or notification you get.

Try not to use dynamic backgrounds and stop motion animations, especially as your back screen. These use a surprising amount of battery and that’s the last thing you want when your phone is going to die.

Shorten your auto-lock time. Instead of having your phone wait 30 seconds to lock, shorten it to 10-15 seconds. This will allow your phone to use less battery than when the screen is lit up and working. 

I’ve tried closing my apps and turning on low-power mode; although it keeps my phone alive a little bit longer, it never seems to last long enough. Trying a few of these little tricks, I have already noticed a difference in how long my battery will last for. I hope you find these tricks as helpful as I have! 

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Phone Phishing Scam: What it is and how to protect yourself

Posted by cchalkley on August 9, 2017

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These days it feels like we are constantly called by unwanted telemarketers trying to sell us something. Are those annoying calls from air-duct cleaning companies ringing a bell? Yes, these calls are irritating but even more serious than this are the calls from someone trying to get your personal information like your credit card number. Yikes!

This is exactly the scary situation that we’ve learned about recently. Some of our customers have reported that they have been called by 519-700-7000 and the caller has claimed they are from Execulink and asks for their credit card information.

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We want you to know that this is not Execulink calling or any other company associated with Execulink. This telemarketer is using a technique called Caller ID spoofing and has altered the display phone number in order to trick you into answering the call. Execulink cares about your security and would never call you and ask for your full credit card number.

How do you protect yourself against spoofed calls?

  • When in doubt about the company calling, we recommend that you hang up and call the company back directly.
  • Don’t give out personal information to a caller.
  • Register your telephone number on the National Do No Call List
  • Block or filter unwanted calls if you have the calling features to do so.
  • Report the call to the CRTC and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Trust your gut and if your gut is telling you that the call seems odd, then it likely is. Take the necessary precautions and protect yourself from these spam calls and don’t be their next victim.

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


Tips and Tricks: How to Boost Your Wi-Fi

Posted by tpoole on July 26, 2017

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Are you ever bothered by a slow or dropping signal in certain areas of your house? Especially right when you are in the middle of an intense scene in a movie or doing important work? If that doesn’t bother you, I admire your patience! For those of you who it does bother, here are a few quick tips to help boost that signal and get you better, faster wireless without breaking the bank.

An Antenna
Make sure that your router has an antenna, and if it does, fiddle with the antenna to find the best possible placement that maximizes your signal. If your router’s antenna is internal, you are able to purchase external ones which will help send a stronger signal. When adjusting your antenna, point it towards the spot in your house where your Wi-Fi is the weakest. It will help improve the signal in that area.

Placement
Placement is key! The more walls, doors, floors, etc. the signal has to travel through the weaker it will be. The closer to the middle of your home is one of the best places for your router. Routers also work better if they are out in the open and not very close to walls (if you are able) and if they are elevated. So your best bet to get the fastest and strongest signal you can is to have your router placed towards the center of your home, not too close to a wall, and sitting on a shelf or table (for example).

What to avoid while Streaming
If you happen to have an old router and are planning on streaming TV or a movie, make the popcorn first. That’s right, always make your popcorn or heat up your snack first. Why? It just so happens that microwaves in use can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Baby monitors and cordless phones will also have this effect. This is also has to do with the channels that your router and other electronics are picking up.

Channel
There might be others in your neighborhood, apartment building, etc. or even other electronics in your house (for example a baby monitor) that could have their router on the same signal as yours. Remember playing with walkie talkies when you were younger? Well the way a router works is really similar; the more people on a channel the more interference there is. To counteract this, switch the channel your router is on.

Range Extender
Routers usually have a certain distance that they will send a signal to reliably. Any farther and the signal will get weak and slow. To help enhance the distance your Wi-Fi signal reaches, you are able to purchase a wireless range extender. These pick up the Wi-Fi from your existing router and re-broadcast it.

Private
One of the biggest ways to increase your Wi-Fi signal and speed is to make sure your Wi-Fi is always private. This will prevent others from using your network and will protect you more when you are online. If you don’t have a password set on your Wi-Fi, set one now (the harder it is the better). This way other people near you can’t pick up and use your Wi-Fi.

Firmware
If you have an older router it might just be time to update it. There are always changes being made to software for routers to help make them faster and perform better. In some cases it’s as easy as pressing an upgrade button; others might require you to download software to perform the update. By simply updating the firmware on your router it might boost your signal and help increase your speed as well.

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We understand how frustrating it can be to have a lagging Wi-Fi signal. Hopefully these tips and tricks help to alleviate some of that frustration, and give you and your family the best possible Wi-Fi signal for your home.

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Game of Thrones 7 Premieres This Sunday!

Posted by cirvine on July 13, 2017

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Game of Thrones Premieres This Sunday! Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Catch Up.

So for months now you’ve been telling yourself that you’re going to re-watch all the episodes of season 6 in preparation for season 7. Well, I’m sorry to say that like me, you’ve pretty much run out of time. Game of Thrones is back this Sunday. But don’t be sad… Game of Thrones is back! OMG GAME OF THRONES IS BACK!!!!

So let’s get you all caught up and ready for the action that is sure to be crammed into this entire season. Here are some important plot points from the last season to get you caught up.

EPISODE 1, “THE RED WOMAN”

  • We find out why Melisandre, the Red Woman, constantly wears that necklace. She is actually really old. We’re not trying to bodyshame anyone but wow. That’s really hard to look at.
  • Brienne and Pod save Sansa and Theon from Ramsay’s men.
  • In Dorne, Ellaria kills Prince Doran for being a weak leader, while in King’s Landing, one of her daughter’s (a “Sandsnake”) does the same to Doran’s son, Trystane.
  • Daenerys is swept up by a khalasar (the horse-guys that used to be led by Khal Drogo), and is placed in a temple to live her life out as a widowed khaleesi (wife of a khal).
  • Arya is a blind beggar on the streets of Braavos. Boourns.
  • Jon Snow is still dead.

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EPISODE 2, “HOME”

  • Jon Snow’s alive! Thanks, Melisandre. You sort of kind of redeemed yourself. Maybe.
  • Tyrion frees Daenarys’ dragons.
  • Ramsay kills his father, his step-mother Walda, and their newborn son to ensure that he is the only heir to the Bolton house. Oh, so I guess you’re still doing that whole evil incarnate thing eh?
  • Euron Greyjoy is looking to lead the Iron Islands so comes home and throws his bro Balon off a bridge.

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EPISODE 3, “OATHBREAKER”

  • Bran uses his time-travelling-in-the-mind abilities to witness Part 1 of his dad Ned’s arrival at the tower where a pregnant Lyanna Stark was being kept by Rhaegar Targaryen, who’d stolen her away from Robert Baratheon during Robert’s rebellion many moons ago.
  • Arya gets her sight back!
  • Jon oversees the deaths of those who killed him and quits the band. HIS WATCH IS OVER BROS. Mic drop.
  • The High Sparrow announces that Cersei must stand trial for her moral crimes.
  • Rickon and Osha are back! (YAY!) Back into the hands of Ramsay Bolton (NO!).

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EPISODE 4, “BOOK OF THE STRANGER”

  • Jon and Sansa reunite, and get news that Ramsay has Rickon.
  • Daenerys lights her captivity temple on fire and saunters out naked a la season 1, while Daario and Jorah arrive to “save” her.
  • The High Sparrow has Margaery and Loras Tyrell in prison.
  • Ramsay kills Osha.

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EPISODE 5, “THE DOOR”

  • It’s revealed that the white walkers were created by the Children of the Forest to protect themselves from humans. GOOD JOB GUYS GREAT MOVE NO PROBLEM.
  • While Bran is inside another vision, the Night King tracks him down IRL, and while Hodor is trying to “Hold the door!” in the present, Bran watches a young Hodor seizure, yelling “Hold the door” over and over until it eventually transforms into “Hodor” which is the only word he will say for the rest of his life. And that’s when we all cry uncontrollably.
  • Oh ya, and—cherry on top—Summer (Bran’s direwolf) dies too. 
  • Euron pushes Yara out of the way to rule the Iron Islands, but she and Theon sneak off while he’s sealing the deal and steal all the ships.
  • Daenerys learns of Jorah’s greyscale and tells him to go find a cure.
  • A second red priestess in Meereen tells Varys and Tyrion that Daenerys is the prophecied one that was promised. They tell her to spread the news.

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EPISODE 6, “BLOOD OF MY BLOOD”

  • Uncle Benjen aka Coldhands aka Half-Zombie Dude shows up to save Meera and Bran.
  • Sam brings Gilly and the baby to his home, where his dad is mean to them so Sam steals the family sword and gets out of there.
  • Arya doesn’t kill who she’s supposed to so Jaqen H’ghar sends the waif girl after her.
  • Margaery brings Tommen into the faith, making the High Sparrow pretty much King.
  • Jamie is stripped of his Kingsguard post and banished from the city.

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EPISODE 7, “THE BROKEN MAN”

  • The Hound is living in a religious commune that immediately gets slaughtered by thieves.
  • Margaery slips her grandma a note indicating she’s not as into the High Sparrow as she seems.
  • Sansa sends a note asking for help to the Vale, worried that House Stark doesn’t have the power it needs to win the battle over the Boltons.
  • Jaime and Bronn arrive at Riverrun, which is being taken over by the Freys.

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EPISODE 8, “NO ONE”

  • Arya kills the waif (YAY!) and then tells Jaqen that she’s going home (YAY!).
  • The Hound meets up with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Beric Dondarrion tries to recruit him.
  • Tommen says no more trial by combat, essentially leaving his mother helpless in the trial.
  • Brienne runs into Jaime at Riverrun, where she’s trying to recruit the Tullys (Catelyn Stark’s original House) to Jon’s cause.
  • Catelyn’s brother Edmure surrenders the house to the Frey/Lannister armies, and Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully dies in the fight.
  • Daenerys returns to Meereen on a dragon to find the masters attacking the city.

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EPISODE 9, “BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS”

  • Daenerys and her dragons make short work of the masters’ forces.
  • She makes an alliance with Yara, giving her the Iron Islands in the future in exchange for her Iron navy.
  • Huge battle between Ramsay’s team and Jon’s team, with Rickon being the bait.
  • Littlefinger’s Vale team saves the day, and they all retake Winterfell (YAY!).
  • Sansa lets Ramsay’s dogs eat him to death (gross, but YAY!)

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EPISODE 10, “THE WINDS OF WINTER”

  • Cersei  and Maester Qyburn use wildfire to blow up the entire Sept of Baelor and everyone in it, including Margaery, her father, Loras Tyrell, the High Sparrow, and Lancel Lannister.
  • Tommen kills himself.
  • Arya kills Walder Frey and his two sons as payback for the Red Wedding.
  • Sam, Gilly and the baby arrive at the Citadel.
  • Melisandre is banished for causing Shireen’s death. Davos will kill her if he ever sees her again.
  • The Northern houses deem Jon “King in the North” and pledge to fight the WWs with him.
  • Daenerys breaks up with Daario and officially makes Tyrion the Hand of the Queen.
  • Bran’s vision confirms that L+R=J (Jon is Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen’s love child) and that while dying she gives baby Jon to Ned, making him promise to protect him. JON IS HALF TARGARYEN AND DAENERYS’ NEPHEW WHAAAAT.
  • Jaime returns to King’s Landing and is horrified. Cersei’s on the throne.
  • Daenerys, her dragons, and the Ironborn all sail back to Westeros.
  • WINTER IS HERE GUYS

 

So there you have it. Last season was a lot of death and sadness (I LOVE YOU HODOR!), but it also had a lot of huge wins for fans:  Jon Snow came back from the dead, Uncle Benjen came back halfway from the dead, the Hound is still alive, Ramsay died, Daenerys is finally going to conquer Westeros, Arya is finally getting a better plotline, and Cersei proved she is extremely badass.

I can’t wait to see what this next season has in store. My predictions? Jaime HAS to kill Cersei. His whole identity as “Kingslayer” came about from killing the Mad King because he threatened to do exactly what Cersei did, a wildfire massacre. Also, I’m really hoping for a white walker dragon. The whole series is called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Don’t get much closer to that than a fire dragon battling an ice dragon. 

Whatever happens, Execulink TV customers can enjoy a special free offering of HBO on Sunday night so they can watch the premiere at 9pm! Winter is here folks, and it’s gonna be a heck of a season!

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