Top BestBuy.com Competitors

Sites like BestBuy.com header (new)

There are quite a few e-commerce websites out there like BestBuy.com; some from rival (electronics) retail stores, and others that are stand-alone online marketplaces.  We’ve come up with a list of 3 of the most popular of each, for a total of 6.

Top 3 stand-alone BestBuy.com alternatives

Amazon

BestBuy.com competitor - Amazon

(www.amazon.com)

This former book retailer has become one of the giants of online shopping.  Not only does Amazon have numerous electronics and appliance products for sale (some of which it has developed itself), but it also has a various assortment of other goods sold by either Amazon or third parties.

We have a course on Amazon, if you’re interested.

 

eBay

BestBuy.com competitor - eBay

(www.ebay.com)

This is another popular general online retailer that started as an auction-only website, but now sells items directly as well.  eBay is still rather popular for its auction format, though; if you know what you’re doing, you can win items from eBay sellers at below-retail prices.

Our course on eBay has both instructions for buying as well as tips for participating in auctions.

 

NewEgg

BestBuy.com competitor - NewEgg

(www.newegg.com)

If you’re looking for a stand-alone online retailer that specializes in electronics, then NewEgg is one of your best bets.  It has all sorts of high-tech computer hardware and programs, video games, movies, home appliances, and more.  They have won several awards for customer support and expedient service.

 

Top 3 sites like BestBuy.com based on retail chains

Wal-Mart

BestBuy.com competitor - WalMart.com

(www.walmart.com)

Wal-Mart is one of the largest general retail chains in the world, and it has an online companion as well.  Known for its low prices, Wal-Mart offers services on its website such as music downloads and photo processing.  Like BestBuy.com, it allows you to order items online and pick them up at your nearest Wal-Mart store.

 

Target

BestBuy.com competitor - Target.com

(www.target.com)

Another popular retail chain, Target’s online branch at Target.com offers many of the same kinds of products and services as WalMart.com or BestBuy.com.  Target’s focus is on trendy products at reduced prices, as opposed to Wal-Mart’s commitment to low prices on everything.

 

Sears

BestBuy.com competitor - Sears.com

(www.sears.com)

Sears is another long-running retail chain that has made the transition to the online world.  At Sears.com, you can order all sorts of different items, both electronic and not, and pick them up at a nearby Sears store or have them delivered to you.  Like Amazon, Sears also has a “Marketplace” function where you can sell your own wares.

 

What’s your favourite place to shop for electronics online?  Is it BestBuy.com?  Is it one of the alternatives that we’ve mentioned here?  Is it another franchise entirely?  Let us know on our social media feeds or in the comments below, and share your experience!


Wifi Passwords

So, in our last tutorial, we showed you how to set up your Wi-Fi router.  But what if you want a stronger password in order to make it more difficult for other people to use your Wi-Fi network without your permission?  You can certainly do that!  In this lesson, we’ll show you how to change or reset your Wi-Fi password.

To change your Wi-Fi password, you first have to access your Wi-Fi router’s interface over the Internet.  Find your router’s specific Internet address, and then typing it in to a web browser of choice.  From there, navigate your router’s interface until you find your wireless settings, and change your password.

It’s a bit of a complicated process, so we’ll split it into two parts in order to make it easier for you to digest.

Part 1: Accessing your Wi-Fi router’s interface on the Internet

  1. Follow steps 2 through 5 in our How to Connect to WiFi tutorial; that is, find the wireless networks that are available to you.

  2. When you find the wireless network that corresponds to your Wi-Fi router, right-click on it and then left-click Status.

    How to check the status of a WiFi network

  3. When the status window for your wireless network appears, click Details.

    How to check the details of a WiFi router

  4. When your wireless network’s details appear, check for the setting that says “Default Gateway”.  Write this number down, as you’re going to need it.

    How to find the Internet address of a WiFi router

  5. Open your web browser of choice and type the “Default Gateway” number that you obtained from the last step into your browser’s web address bar, as if it was a URL (well, technically, it still is one).  Then press the “Enter” key to go to your Wi-Fi router’s interface on the Internet.

    How to access the interface of your WiFi router through the Internet

    (NOTE: You may have to enter your system administrator name and password at this point; they should have been provided to you when you received your modem or wireless router.  If you don’t have a password, or it hasn’t been changed from the default, just leave this field blank.)

Part 2: Changing your Wi-Fi password

  1. Each router will work slightly differently from here on out, but the general steps are similar.  For starters, we’ll click Settings.

    How to access the settings of your WiFi router

  2. For the next step, we have to click LAN, and then click Wireless.

    How to access the wireless settings of your WiFi router

  3. If you scroll down to the “Security” section, you can click the check box here to decide whether or not you want security enabled for your Wi-Fi network connection (which you probably should, so leave it checked).  You can also click the drop-down menu here to select what type of wireless security you want.  (We would suggest one with the “WPA” standard).

    How to change the password and security settings on your WiFi router

    As you can see here, we also have a choice of using the default password provided with the router, or we can pick our own custom one.  To change your wireless password, click the button beside “Set Custom Encryption Key”, and then click in the box beside it and type in your new password.

  4. When you’re all finished, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save to save your changes.

    How to save changes to the password and security settings of your WiFi router

Tips for choosing strong passwords

  • Make sure that your password is of sufficient length.  Try to make it at least 10 characters, and maybe more.

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols (if allowed) for the characters in your password.  This provides more possibilities that must be tried in order for someone to figure out each character in your password.

  • If your password is allowed to be case-sensitive, use both upper-case and lower-case letters.  This adds even more possibilities for what each character in your password could be, making it tougher to break. 

  • Don’t base your password on easily-recognizable patterns of letters or numbers.  For example, try to avoid words (or groups of words) that someone could look up in the dictionary, or key patterns that someone could figure out by looking at a keyboard.

  • Write your password down on a physical piece of paper and store it somewhere that only you can access.  Don’t write it down in a file on your computer; this makes it too easy to find if your computer gets hacked or stolen, or just simply used by someone other than you.

For more ideas on strengthening and effectively managing your passwords, see our course on passwords.

 

Okay!  Now you know how to change your Wi-Fi password to make it stronger and keep troublemakers off your Internet radio waves!


Dangers of the Internet

Like crimes in real life, dangers that threaten your Internet security come in several different forms.  Some have rather immediate and apparent consequences, while others work more subtly, without you catching on until it’s too late.  We’ll be going into detail about specific types of Internet dangers in later courses and tutorials, but for now, we’ll outline some of the general Internet security threats that you should be aware of.

Viruses

These are some of the most common Internet dangers, and have been around even before the Internet became available to the public.  They usually come from downloading the files they’re attached to, but some can come from simply visiting the wrong website.  They all copy themselves when they work; what they do beyond that varies.  They may simply copy themselves to slow a computer down or take up memory space, or they may include other code that instructs them to replace or otherwise erase other data on a computer.  Some viruses may even create openings in a computer’s security system so that other viruses (or people) can get in and steal or destroy information.

There are three common types of virus-like programs: your basic computer virus, a Trojan horse, or a computer worm.

  • A basic computer virus usually hides itself inside another program, perhaps one that someone uses every day.  When the other program runs, the virus runs as well, copying itself to other programs, and then copying itself again when those programs are run.  This slows down a person’s computer, and may cause other damage.

  • A Trojan horse is an advanced type of computer virus that hides itself inside another computer program that is advertised to a person as normal or useful for helping their computer work.  This tricks the person into installing it and/or running it, which releases the virus inside.  The virus then proceeds to copy itself, and perhaps cause damage.  A common version hides inside fake anti-virus software that is advertised to a person when they supposedly have a virus on their computer, when in reality they do not (this is often known as “scareware”).

  • A computer worm is a type of computer virus that isn’t hidden inside another computer program and, as such, does not require a program to run in order to copy itself.  Instead, part of its own code causes it to actively seek out ways to copy itself over available computer networks.  Again, like a basic computer virus, a computer worm may simply copy itself and slow networks down, or it may also perform other destructive acts.  Computer worms are among some of the most dangerous computer viruses because they can act somewhat independently (when compared to basic computer viruses and Trojan horses), but they are relatively rare.

Adware and Spyware

Some bad computer programs don’t copy themselves and cause damage like viruses do.  Instead, they collect information about what you do on your computer, often without your consent or knowledge.  Some simply monitor the different websites you visit, and use those to display specific advertisements to you in your web browser, based on what they think you like.  These programs are known as adware, and most of them are relatively harmless (besides being a little privacy-invasive and irritating).  However, there are some that perform this function excessively in an attempt to slow down your computer, often by repeatedly opening pop-up windows.

Some very extreme forms of adware perform illegal surveillance, tracking things like passwords or personal and/or financial details when you type them into web pages or other computer programs.  They often do so, and then transmit what they find to their creator, without your consent or knowledge.  These kinds of programs are commonly referred to as spyware.

Spam and Phishing

As we pointed out in our Advantages and Disadvantages of the Internet article, these threats are an unfortunate consequence of how easy it is to put information — or misinformation — on the Internet.  As a result, they usually occur in email clients or on Internet message boards, or on websites where comments are allowed.  They may occur on certain other websites, though.

  • Spam refers to the practice of placing (fake) advertisements, fake warnings about new computer threats, or other trivial or useless information within emails or Internet comments.  These emails or messages are then distributed or published en masse.  The idea behind it — if not simply an irritating strategy to direct more people to a certain person’s website — is to disrupt a conversation or fill up a person’s email inbox, thereby slowing the conversation or email service (and Internet connection) down.  Many modern websites and email clients have measures to counteract this type of threat, but it is still seen in some places on some occasions. 

    See our How to Stop Spam Email tutorial for more information.

  • Phishing is a more dangerous (and, often, more targeted) type of spam where a person intentionally misrepresents their information in an email or chat room.  Often, the information they provide looks like it comes from a legitimate source, such as a bank, retail store, or a popular brand or website (or an employee of one of these).  The impersonator will then often tell their victim something like they’ve won a prize or there’s a problem with one of their accounts.  The impersonator will then say that, in order to claim the prize or fix the problem, the person has to provide confidential personal or financial information, or click a link to go to a certain website. 

    The goal of phishing is to get the victim to give out information that can be used to steal their identity and/or money.  If the victim is told to visit a website, that website will often forcefully download spyware onto the victim’s computer, which will then steal the victim’s personal or financial information (or otherwise download a general virus to wreck the victim’s computer).

    See our Phishing Scams and Advance-Fee Fraud tutorials for more information.

Hacking and other dangers

There are other nasty tricks that cyber-criminals will use to wreck people’s computers, steal their information, or just otherwise annoy them.  Here are some examples:

  • Mousetrapping refers to an attempt to make it impossible for a person to leave a website.  This may be accomplished through an extreme form of adware that continuously re-opens advertisements — or copies of the website itself — in new pop-up windows.  It may also take advantage of tricks or other security flaws in a web browser to disable the browser’s functions, especially ones that deal with navigating to different web pages or closing the browser.

  • Browser hijacking refers to when a cyber-criminal takes advantage of tricks or security flaws in a web browser (or perhaps uses a type of spyware) to forcefully switch a person’s home page to a certain website, and prevent it from being changed.  This artificially increases the number of visitors to that website, which may be useful for advertising purposes.  It’s also annoying for the victim, and it may also result in viruses or more spyware being forcefully downloaded to their computer.

  • Clickjacking is a technique that often goes hand-in-hand with phishing.  It involves displaying a website or email to the victim that appears to be legitimate, and includes what appears to be a hyperlink to a legitimate web page.  Meanwhile, there is an invisible hyperlink placed on top of the fake hyperlink, and clicking it takes the victim to a malicious web page, usually to forcefully download a virus or spyware.  A way to avoid this is to have a look in one of the bottom corners of a browser; usually, when you move your mouse cursor over a hyperlink, it will display in one of these places.  That way, you can see where you’re really being taken.

  • Hacking (or cracking) is when cyber-criminals take matters into their own hands, personally disabling computer security systems by exploiting their weaknesses.  However, this is usually a tedious process that is reserved for specific targets and specific purposes, such as substantial personal gain or to make a significant political statement.  It rarely happens to average people.

 

Well, now that you know about some of the different ways that people can be attacked over the Internet, let’s discuss some easy ways that you can keep yourself from falling prey to a cyber-attack.


How to use Facetime

Looking to get started using FaceTime on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) to have voice and/or video calls with your friends and family? If so, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll be showing you how to use FaceTime to make video calls!

To use FaceTime to make calls:

1. Make sure you have FaceTime properly set up on your device.

Apple devices should come with this app installed, but you may need to make sure it is enabled first before using it. If you haven’t yet, check out our tutorial on how to set up FaceTime.

2. Open the FaceTime app.

Tap the FaceTime icon on your home screen to launch the app.

FaceTime app icon

3. Type in the name, email address, or phone number of one of your contacts.

If you already have them saved in your phone, you can simply type their name and tap the suggestion when it appears. For anyone else, type their full email address or phone number.

Enter contact information

4. Tap the Video Camera to make a video call, or the Phone to make a voice call.

By tapping the video camera button, the person you’re calling will be able to see you, and whatever you point your device’s camera at. By tapping the phone button, they will only be able to hear you – not see you – just like a regular phone call.

Choose voice call or video call

5. At the top of your screen, select Video or Audio to see your call history.

Tap either Audio or Video to see a list of calls you’ve made of each type. You can tap someone’s name in your call history to call them again.

FaceTime call history

You can also make a FaceTime call through your device’s address book, which we’ll explain how to do below.

 Making FaceTime calls from contacts

1. Open the address book on your device.

Tap the contacts icon on your home screen to access your virtual address book.

Contacts app icon

2. Scroll through your contacts to find one of your friends who also has an Apple device.

Look through your list of contacts and find one of your friends that you know has an Apple device.

Scroll through contacts

3. When you find their name in your address book, tap their name to open their contact information.

Once you’ve found the friend you want to call, tap their name on your screen.

Choose a contact to call

4. Finally, tap the Video Camera icon to call that contact through FaceTime video chat.

To call your friend on FaceTime, tap the Video Camera below their name.

Video camera icon

That’s how to call someone through their contact entry on your device. Next, we’re going to cover what a FaceTime call looks like, and what each of the buttons you’ll see are for.

Controls within a FaceTime call

Tap the Camera with Arrows to switch between cameras.

Switch between cameras button

Tap the Microphone to mute/unmute your own audio.

Mute and unmute button

Tap the Red Phone button to end the call.

End call button

3 tips for making FaceTime calls on iOS

1. Make sure the person you’re trying to call has an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

Unfortunately, FaceTime is only available on Apple devices, so you won’t be able to call someone through the app if they have a different type of phone or tablet.

2. Connect to Wi-Fi before starting a video call, if you can.

To prevent yourself from accidentally using up a chunk of your data plan, connect your device to a Wi-Fi network (if you’re able to) before starting a video call through FaceTime.

3. Try to be patient while waiting for your friend to answer.

Sometimes, FaceTime calls can take a little bit to get properly connected. If your friend seems to be taking a while to answer, it could just be that your call is still connecting.

 

That’s it for our guide on how to use FaceTime on iPhone and iPad. We hope you found it helpful! Check out the rest of our Facetime course to learn more about how to use FaceTime, or our next article if you want to learn how to use it on a Mac. Leave us a comment below if you have any questions.


Texting on an iPhone

Are you new to the world of mobile devices, or just got your first iPhone and looking to learn more about text messaging and how it works on your new device? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll be giving you an introduction to iPhone text messaging and telling you a bit about how texting works, both in general and specifically on iPhones.

Let’s start out with the basics. What exactly is text messaging and why should you use it?

What is text messaging?

Text messaging is a mode of communication that allows you to send a message from your mobile device to another mobile device. Using your mobile carrier network, you can send and receive text messages to/from any mobile device on any network. Your monthly cell phone plan likely includes text messaging.

New iMessage conversation

Get in touch with your personal mobile carrier for more information about pricing and plans for text messaging. However, due to advancements in Internet-based communication, text messaging is usually standard on any phone plan, and is often, unlimited.

How does text messaging work?

Text messaging works by allowing you to send messages over your cell phone network to one of your friends or family members on their mobile device. The message sends from your device to your carrier, and then transfers the message on to the intended recipient, viewable on their mobile device.

SMS (short message service) text messaging has been around since 1992, and MMS (multimedia message service) since 2002. These messaging services are available on pretty much every type of mobile device. In 2012, Apple introduced their own messaging system called iMessage, exclusive to their range of devices. It’s similar to SMS and MMS text messaging, but has some differences that make it unique.

That’s a general introduction to text messaging. Now, let’s get into some details specific to iPhone text messages.

What is iMessage?

iMessage is Apple’s own messaging system that allows users to send messages from their Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer) to other people who also have Apple devices. This system is different from text messaging as it uses an Internet connection to send messages rather than your mobile network.

If you’re using an iPhone, your regular text message conversations will appear with green message bubbles, and iMessage conversations will have blue speech bubbles. iMessages can only be sent to contacts who have an Apple device with iMessage enabled. Your device will automatically detect whether the person you are messaging can receive iMessages or normal SMS text messages.

If you’d like to learn more about it, check out our free iMessage course.

Why is text messaging so popular?

Text messaging or “texting” is popular because of its convenience. People like to be able to communicate as quickly and efficiently as possible, and don’t want to spend a lot of time having long, drawn-out conversations on the phone or over e-mail. Texting allows you to get the message across faster.

Pros and cons of text messaging

People love text messaging for many reasons:

  • It’s a quick and easy way to communicate with your friends and family
  • It can save you time spent talking on the phone
  • It can save you money by allowing you to avoid long distance phone call fees
  • Text messaging is available on all kinds of mobile devices and with any mobile carrier, so unlike iMessage, you don’t have to have a certain device to send or receive SMS or MMS text messages

On the other hand, some people may still prefer to have a conversation on the phone rather than texting. In addition:

  • If you want to have a long conversation or need to say a lot, texting may not be the right way to get your message across
  • Texting also doesn’t allow you to hear someone’s tone of voice or see their facial expression as you would in normal conversation, so you may not be able to get as good of a sense of their feelings or emotions
  • With the rise in use of mobile devices, many people have become somewhat addicted to their phones, and texting just adds on to this

 

That’s it for our introduction to text messaging and how it works on iPhones. Be sure to read through the rest of the articles in our iPhone texting course to learn more.