Shortcut - A blog by InternetProviders.com
FAQs

Why Switch to Fiber-Optic Internet from Cable or DSL?

Considering a switch to switch to fiber-optic Internet? You’ve found an excellent place to learn the basics. Fiber- optic Internet is growing as an option across the United States. It’s also extremely fast and reliable, too. Fiber-optic Internet has been called the Internet of the future. It uses different equipment and transfers data more efficiently than cable and DSL lines. Rather than copper coaxial cables, fiber-optic Internet travels on optical cables. These cables, made of hair-thin fibers that transfer data via light signals, aren’t subject to the same pitfalls of cable and DSL Internet.

Is fiber optic internet better?

Fiber-optic Internet differs from other options. What makes fiber-optics such a promising option? Speed: Fiber-optic speed is incredibly fast. Fastmetrics reports that fiber speeds are as much as 20 times faster than other broadband speeds. Bundling: With an Internet service provider that offers fiber, consumers can bundle services for super-fast Internet and TV options.

Does fiber-optic cable increase Internet speed?

Fiber-optic carriers deliver Internet via a fiber-optic cable. Subscribers won’t share this line with neighbors. The line isn’t susceptible to weather interferences or high Internet traffic times.

Who uses fiber optics?

According to an article from Business Insider, “The US ranks 18th among countries in the OECD, a group of the world's largest economies, in fiber-optic penetrations rates…” Americans are slow to get on the fast Internet train. Most Internet Service Providers already utilize existing cable and telephone lines. Implementing a fiber-optic infrastructure takes time and money. The service continues to grow, particularly in larger American cities. Expect to see more options appear, especially as the cost to maintain copper networks increases and fiber-Internet infrastructure and maintenance costs decline.

Does fiber optic internet require a phone line?

Nope! Fiber-optic Internet runs on cables that go straight to your home.

Is fiber optic worth it?

Fiber optic Internet offers tons of advantages. If you want to know “is fiber optic Internet good for my home?” here are a few benefits to consider: STRONGER SIGNAL: With fiber-optic Internet, there’s less signal degradation than with other delivery methods. Light doesn’t fade over distances. Once the fiber groundwork is in place, Internet service providers deliver Internet to a wider variety of homes and businesses, regardless of their distance from the hub. BETTER EFFICIENCY: Metal and copper wires can overheat over time ruin, making it impossible to transfer data. Fiber-optic lines transmit light without use of electricity, and won’t get overheated or wear down. MORE CAPACITY: Fiber lines will also be easier to upgrade. The lines can carry data over longer distances, which creates less overhead, making upgrades more cost-effective than they might be on other less-advanced networks. Fiber-optic networks are projected to grow significantly over the next few years as the demand for fast internet increases.

Sources:

http://fios.verizon.com/beacon/cable-and-fiber-internet/

hhttp://fiberforall.org/why-fiber-is-the-future/

http://www.businessinsider.com/fiber-optic-penetration-in-us-is-low-2016-2

http://fios.verizon.com/beacon/how-fiber-optic-internet-works/

http://broadbandnow.com/Fiber

https://www.fastmetrics.com/how-fast-is-fiber-optic-internet.php

https://www.alliancecom.net/internet/frequently-asked-questions

FAQs

My Internet is Slow – Who’s On My Wi-Fi?

Has your Internet been running slow lately? Do you sit down to watch Netflix after a long day, only to have to pause to buffer? It’s the worst. For some of us, this might just be because of a slow Internet connection. What if you’re paying for one of the fastest connections around, though? This could mean someone is hacking your Wi-Fi. Oh, the injustice! Here’s a few ways you can know for sure.

The quick and dirty

Most wireless routers have an indicator light to show Internet connectivity and network connections. To see if any pesky neighbors, or, worse, hackers, are on your network, turn off all your wireless enabled devices. Check the router’s wireless light. Is it still blinking? This helps you learn something in the moment. If the light is still blinking, there are steps you can take, such as checking the devices on your router. Log in via your web browser. Once you’re logged in, look for a place where attached devices are listed. Check your devices’ IP addresses against those listed on the router.

Consider using network monitoring software

There are plenty of network monitoring tools on the market. PC Mag has compiled a list of the best. There is also a free tool from the Organizational Systems Wireless Auditor called MoochHunter. Law enforcement agencies have used it, and it works by letting you trace the hacker’s location. If you’re not into confrontation or triangulation, you could always beef up your network security.

Ways to secure your wireless network

  1. Log in to your router. Type 192.168.1.1 into your web browser. If this is the right address for your router, it will ask you to log in. If you aren’t sure which address is …
  2. Created a strong password, especially if you didn’t change the default password when you got the router. Choose a password with a lot of letters and numbers with a few symbols thrown in for good measure. Make sure you don’t use common names or phrases, your name or phone number, or address.
  3. Change your wireless network name, also known as the SSID, to distinguish your network.
  4. Encrypt your wireless signal. For a step-by-step guide, check out this site.
The more precautions you have in place, the harder it is for anyone to mooch off your Wi-Fi. Having a secure network means you can rest easy knowing no one is slowing down your bandwidth or hacking important files on your devices.

Sources:

http://www.labnol.org/internet/secure-your-wireless-wifi-network/10549/

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/technology/create-strong-wifi-password

http://lifehacker.com/5738123/how-can-i-find-out-if-someones-using-my-wireless-network

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-detect-stealing-wifi1.htm

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FAQs

A Brief and Sordid History of Wireless Internet

Who invented wireless Internet?

Let’s travel back in time for a moment. The year: 1896. Utah had just become a state, Henry Ford has just finished the first Ford vehicle and the first modern Olympic Games were being held in Greece. It was a time of discovery, gold rushes and technological leaps. It was also the year Guglielmo Marconi, a dapper man with a killer mustache, developed the first wireless telegraph system. A year later, he did something huge for his day – he sent the world’s first wireless message that read “Are you ready?” (It hasn’t been confirmed yet if the message recipient or the world was.) Guglielmo’s system helped pave the way for the Wi-Fi and Internet technology we use today.

When was wireless Internet Invented?

In 1971, after years of phone and wireless innovation, the University of Hawaii gave the world a glimpse into the Internet age. The school provided a public demonstration of a wireless packet data network. It used radio waves for different computers to communicate with each other. But it wasn’t until 1985 that wireless really began to take off.

How long has wireless Internet been around?

The year 1985 was a banner year for wireless Internet and for George Michael. This was the year wireless Internet became mainstream. The Federal Communications Commission decided to allow certain wireless frequencies to be available without a government license. The frequencies they allowed were: 900MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. Who would have thought that because of cash registers we now have Wi-Fi standards? In 1988, the National Cash Register Corporation wanted to create a standard for WLAN, or Wireless Local Area Network. It wanted it for their wireless cash registers. The NCR asked Victor Hayes, a senior research fellow at the Delft University of Technology, to lead a committee to establish these data transfer standards. Hayes partnered with Bell Labs engineer Bruce Tuch to create a standard for WLAN frequencies. Their committee was called 802.11. Nine years after the committee convened, the standard was established, and transmitted data at two megabits per second. The technology continued to increase, and, in 1999, the standard 802.11b came into existence. It represented higher transfer rates than the original standard. That’s when Wi-Fi started to become mainstream- it was cheaper and had a longer range than wired connections. Engineers began to create technology and equipment to accompany wireless networks’ capability. In 1999 routers, came onto the scene, and ushered in the popularity of home wireless use. WI-Fi’s popularity also increased because of companies such as Apple and Starbucks. The first iPhone included Wi-Fi capabilities, and, in 2010, Starbucks started to provide free Wi-Fi to customers. From the very first discovery of radio frequencies to wireless enabled devices everywhere we look, Wi-Fi has come a long way.

Sources:

https://getvoip.com/history-of-wifi/

http://www.exigentnetworks.ie/the-history-of-wireless-technology-storymap/

http://www.ucopia.com/en/technology/history-of-wi-fi/

http://www.thesuitmagazine.com/technology/web-a-internet/22360-wireless-revolution-the-history-of-wifi.html

http://www.flashrouters.com/blog/2015/08/07/what-is-wi-fi-router-wireless-router-faq/

http://purple.ai/history-wifi/

FAQs

What is a DSL filter?

We at Internet Providers often find ourselves pondering deep questions about the universe. Like, is there life on other planets, or how many grains of sand are there on the beach? For today’s deep question we’re asking ourselves, “What is a DSL filter?” We know it’s probably something you’ve asked yourself. Maybe you’ve seen it at your grandparents’ house. What exactly is its function? And, most importantly, are DSL filters necessary? A DSL filter is a small square with a phone connection at either end. It’s placed in your phone line’s wall connection, and connected to your home phone line. If you get Internet on a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), your other devices, such as phones and fax machines, are likely share that line. These devices send Internet data back and forth on the same line. Normally, this isn’t a problem. Occasionally, when these frequencies travel on the same line simultaneously, they can interrupt or interfere with your Internet connection. This is why a DSL filter comes in handy. It’s designed to help field the different frequencies coming across your phone line. Imagine a highway system with three different lanes. The first lane, with the lowest frequency at 0-4 kilohertz (kHz), carries phone calls. Your voice sounds clear on this wave frequency, we might add. The second and third lanes on the highway are for your DSL Internet connection. The upstream lane, from which you download and access the Internet, is the most frequently used. This has a range of 26-138 kHz. The third lane is the upload or downstream lane, which operates in the 138-1,000-kHz range.  DSL allows these frequencies to coexist on the copper line that carries these signals to your home.

Are DSL filters necessary?

DSL works if you want both phone and Internet service. However, signals for those services don’t always stay in their lanes. That’s when a DSL filter becomes necessary. Subscribers get a DSL filter if they start to hear an echo on phone calls or resonance within their Internet connection. A DSL filter splits the frequencies to prevent them from interfering with each other and interrupting Internet or phone service.

Do DSL filters wear out?

If you have a filter installed, but have noticed spotty Internet connections, your filter might be worn out. This website gives a how to guide to test your filter. If, after testing, you find that it has gone bad, you can replace it easily and for less than $10 dollars at a local office supply store or online at amazon.com.

Sources:

http://www.epanorama.net/documents/telecom/adsl_filter.html

http://www.centurylinkdeals.com/internet-resources/what-is-dsl-filter/

Tech

Gmail Hacks That Will Instantly Make Your Life Easier

Gmail’s self-explanatory right? We use it every day for work, to keep in touch with family, and to Gchat our friends while sitting in boring meetings. But did you know there’s so much more you can do with it? Whether you want to get organized or just learn a few new shortcuts, Gmail is a much bigger and more magical world than you might realize. We’ve found the best apps and shortcut hacks so you can up your email game, and reach master levels in productivity.

Apps to make email easier

Sortd

Obsessive list makers: Here’s your calling. Sortd markets itself as a “smart skin that lives inside Gmail.” Although that sounds a little creepy, it’s a cool-looking organizational tool that layers over your Gmail, transforming it into practical and customizable lists. Create to-do lists, drag and drop priorities within the list, sort email, snooze emails and get more done.

Gmail Offline

Catch up on email, without worrying about more pouring in. Are you traveling with no access to email? The Gmail Offline Chrome extension lets you stay productive, even without Internet access, and will send emails out once you’re back online.

Mixmax

Mixmax, another Chrome extension, has lots of features to up your productivity. Schedule meetings with one click. Those on the meeting invite can indicate their availability right in your calendar, rather than the hassle of back-and-forth email. Customize email with built-in templates that let you create charts and polls. It also tracks who has opened your messages, and lets you schedule email.

Giphy for Gmail

Sure, sending gifs isn’t a necessity. Fun is a necessity, though, and Giphy is lots of it. When you download this Chrome extension, a Giphy icon will appear in your Inbox and you can spice up emails in no time.

Shortcuts to make your life easier

Preview Pane

If you like the way Outlook provides a preview pane for email, customize your Gmail to have one, too. Just click on the gear icon in the right-hand corner of your Inbox, select Settings, and scroll to the Labs tab. You’ll see a Preview Pane option that you can enable, and see email in a whole new light.

Tasks

If you get email that includes a task or an upcoming event, select the More button in your menu bar, and choose Add to Tasks. A box similar to a Gchat window will appear, where you can create a to-do list.

Keyboard shortcuts

There are tons, and you can find them all here. You can also create your own. Find customizable shortcuts also under the Labs tab – start creating a shortcut for composing a new message or a calendar invite.

Canned responses

Writing the same type of email over and over? What a bore. Save time by turning on canned responses (under the nifty Labs tab). Create and save messages for future reference. These are just a few of the hundreds of hacks to customize your Gmail experience. Explore the array of options under the Labs tab. It provides a plethora of easy ways to make Gmail more fun and help you be more productive.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-gmail-tips-tricks-and-extensions-2016-5/#fullcontact-shows-everything-you-need-to-know-about-anyone-who-emails-you-4

http://www.refinery29.com/gmail-help-email-guide#slide-3

http://www.mydomaine.com/gmail-hacks

News

3 Odd New Drones That Will Amaze You

When you think of drones, the U.S. Military might be the first thing that comes to mind. Or perhaps you remember Amazon’s bold claims of drone delivery. Commercial drone use is on the rise, though, and with new technology, they’re more accessible and affordable than ever. You’re probably thinking, “What would I ever use a drone for?” If you’re a photographer, videographer, blogger, tech nerd or even in real estate, drones come with tremendous benefits. Not only do drones take fantastic aerial shots for homes, weddings or sporting events, they can also help you stand out on social media platforms. Plus, they’re really fun to fly. Three new drones have recently made headlines for their size, foldability, cutting-edge technology and sleek design. They also mark the next step in the commercial drone market.

GoPro Karma

After much anticipation and delays, GoPro released its latest drone, Karma. It’s small! It’s foldable! It will fit in your backpack! And it looks like something out of a Sci-Fi film. A video game-like device sporting touchscreen technology controls the drone. Plus, with the GoPro Passenger App, you can watch what you’re filming, or let friends check it out. Karma doesn’t have a built in camera - rather it was built so you can attach a GoPro. The drone’s 3-axil stabilizer also serves a dual purpose - it detaches from the drone so you can put it on the “Karma Grip,” to take smooth camera shots on the ground. Available for pre-order, the Karma officially hits the market Oct. 23, 2016. It’s priced at $800. When bundled with a Hero 5 Black Camera, it comes out at $1,100.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI and GoPro were once partners. Although now there seems to be bad blood between the two, and the companies have parted ways, but not without a few pointed tweets. Less than two weeks after GoPro unveiled Karma, DJI presented the world with the Mavic Pro. Who says competition doesn’t breed better products? The DJI is similar to the Karma, or maybe vice versa. That is to say, they’re both foldable and compact. The Mavic Pro is lighter (1.65 pounds to Karma’s 2.22), and comes with a built-in camera, and the capability to track and follow users on the move, as well as snap high-altitude selfies. The Mavic Pro costs around $1,000, available for pre-order. Shipping begins Oct. 15.

Yuneec Breeze 4K

Just want awesome selfies at a more affordable price than the Mavic Pro or Karma? The Yuneec Breeze 4K is the way to go. Although it doesn’t fold up the way these newer models do, it has cool features for sharing video and photos, and an app you can download to control flight straight from your phone. Plus, once your drone is back on the ground, the app lets you download your photos and videos straight to your phone to post to social media. And it’s still small enough to fit in your backpack.

Something more affordable

If you’re not a professional photographer, there are plenty of drones on the market for less than $100. Geek Wrapped has compiled a list here. If you want to learn the basics, grab a cheap drone, head to open space, and practice. Watch out for trees and power lines, and bring extra batteries. You’ll dominate the air in no time.

Sources:

https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/gopro-karma-drone/

https://www.wired.com/2016/09/gopros-karma-drone-new-cameras-look-mighty-hot/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/dji-heads-off-gopro-with-smart-compact-mavic-pro-drone-1474992325

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/djis/

https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/30/the-compact-yuneec-breeze-drone-is-built-for-4k-selfies/

https://www.geekwrapped.com/best-cheap-quadcopters

FAQs

Reasons Wi-Fi Isn’t Working on Your Device

No wires, no problem – unless the Wi-Fi connection says no-go. Wi-Fi connects web-enabled devices to an Internet network by radio waves. It’s effective technology, but also subject to pitfalls, including, but not limited to: HARDWARE ISSUES | Faulty settings on your router or device damage could prevent connection to a network. INTERFERENCE | Baby monitors, cordless phones, and microwaves close to a router can interfere with a signal. SIGNAL RANGE LIMITS | Rooms far from the router might not have a strong signal in a large home. Much depends on the router’s strength and physical obstructions, such as walls. Human error can also cause Wi-Fi problems. That switch on the side of a laptop from wired to wireless Internet can get switched by accident. Users could attempt a login to the wrong network. There’s no shortage of ways people can make mistakes attempting to get online.

My connection is sporadic – why?

The Internet connection stops working, but why? Wi-Fi keeps disconnected status, sometimes, or turns off for no clear reason. Those intervals might be as long as a couple of months, or as brief as a couple of minutes. It could happen any time of day, on any device. If this happens, try this: UNPLUG | Disconnect your router for one minute. Plug it back in. This resets the router and resolves some connection issues. MOVE IT | Wireless devices or microwaves can disrupt service. Move the router away from items that could interfere. These include cordless phones and microwaves. Car alarms, Bluetooth devices, and wireless video adapters could also cause interference. Be sure to:
  • Place router nearest the true center of the house
  • Keep router shelf free of clutter
  • Choose a location away from brick walls or thick beams
STAY COOL | Heat can also hinder your wireless connection. Be sure your router has plenty of ventilation space. If you connect with a USB wireless adapter, give it a touch test. If it’s hot, adjust your workspace to keep it free from confinement, such as blankets or clothing.

Pages take forever to load – why?

Wi-Fi so slow you can’t access a web page?. What can slow down an Internet connection? Lots, including: ACTIVITY | Streaming, gaming, video conferencing on one network can lead to slow page loads. Solution: Turn off bandwidth-thirsty movie and music apps if you’re not using them. HALF-DUPLEX COMPLEX | Wi-Fi can send or receive data at any given moment in a half-duplex system. Ethernet Internet carries a full duplex system, which can send and receive at once. IT’S NOT YOU – IT’S YOUR DEVICE | Older versions of devices – such as iPhones or iPads – don’t have the capacity and processing speed of newer models.

I can’t connect in some rooms of the house – why?

Wi-Fi signal weakness can occur. Are you asking, “Why did my wireless Internet stop working?” Or, do you just want more speed? Try these: REPEAT THAT | Wi-Fi extenders, also called repeaters, expand your network’s reach. They amplify your wireless signal farther than the router can on its own. POWER DOWN | Routers often have more than one power setting. Try a lower one. UPGRADE | Have a 2.4GHz router? Try a newer 5HGz frequency model. 2.4GHz can suffer from more congestion that the newer model. One drawback: the 5HGz upgrade isn’t as adept at penetrating walls with a signal.

FAQs

All You Need to Know About Satellite Internet and Gaming

Satellite Internet seems pretty cool. It involves outer space, and space is always neat. Basically it works like this: Your Satellite Internet service provider sends a signal to a satellite orbiting the earth. That satellite picks it up, and beams it back to the satellite dish at your home. Most satellite Internet users live in rural areas. That’s because cable, fiber-optic and DSL lines don’t always reach far out from their main hubs in larger cities to reach these rural homes. Those living in rural areas interested in getting a satellite connection often wonder if they will be able to game and stream like they would with DSL or cable. Typically satellite speeds can range from .5-1Mbps. For gamers in rural areas, satellite is sometimes the only option. Satellite Internet is often susceptible to latency. The distance the Internet signal has to travel can often affect response time. Most quick-response or real-time strategies and action games can be more difficult to play with satellite Internet than with cable, DSL or fiber optics. If you like online board games, strategy games or indie games, however, you likely won’t notice disruptions.

Can satellite internet work for Xbox live?

That depends. It is possible to connect and game with Xbox Live on a satellite connection, but it isn’t recommended. Because of the lag time, it can lead to a slow gaming experience.

Will VoIP work with satellite Internet?

Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, lets you talk on the phone through your Internet connection. A 2011 report by the Rural Mobile and Broadband Alliance doesn’t recommend getting VoIP with satellite Internet, but many satellite companies have started creating solutions for phone options. If you live in a rural area, and are interested in VoIP with Internet service, here are a few companies that either work with satellite or offer other solutions.

Will MagicJack work with satellite Internet?

MagicJack doesn't recommend using its service with satellite Internet, citing possible delays with a satellite connection. But satellite companies like HughesNet do offer VoIP services through their Internet connection.

Will Vonage work with Satellite Internet?

Yes. According to their website, Vonage will work with a satellite internet connection that has 90 kbps of upload/download speeds.

Will Ooma work with satellite Internet?

Yes. The company’s website, however, states that “the Ooma Hub device has been designed to work with a wired high-speed Internet connection (such as DSL, cable, or fiber-optic).” The company notes there are customers who use the phone service with a satellite or wireless connection. Performance might not be as fast as with other connections, but is still an option. Satellite Internet is a great option for those living in rural areas who want a fast connection. Often, satellite Internet carriers offers bundle packages with tons of TV and movie options. When you’re done gaming, you can check out your favorite TV shows.

Sources:

http://highspeed.com/vonage/faqs/

http://www.magicjack.com/faq/

http://support.ooma.com/home/faq#can-i-use-the-ooma-system-with-a-wireless-or-satellite-internet-service

http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/voip-work-satellite-service-17613.html

http://www.gamingdebugged.com/why-satellite-internet-is-a-viable-option-for-gaming/

Mobile & Wi-Fi

Amazing Apps for Autism You Absolutely Need to Try

Kids love their devices. Basic web-enabled devices – laptops, smartphones, and tablets – open a universe of learning for children. Kids with autism spectrum disorder can have a high degree of digital readiness, and find device learning second nature. Autism refers to a set of complex disorders in brain development. A government survey in November 2015 revealed one in 45 American kids aged 3 to 17 have an ASD diagnosis. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey estimated 1 in 68 has autism. Children on the Autism spectrum often struggle in:

  • SOCIAL INTERACTION | How do two or more people relate? It’s observed one-on-one, in small groups, or large groups. It’s where institutions, rules and systems take root.
  • REPETITIVE BEHAVIORS | How do they manifest in development? Repetitive behaviors can include hand-flapping, head-banging and rocking.
  • VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION | How do we relate with and without words? We send and receive information through verbal and non-verbal cues. It could be face-to-face, through body language, written word, visuals, and more.
We’ve found these apps helpful for children diagnosed with autism. They can also aid their parents, teachers and therapists. Learn more about these as well as what the creators and developers had to say when we reached out to them!

For children

Autism / DTT Colors | Dr. Brown’s Apps DrBrownsApp.com | iTunes ($7.99)
This site offers a set of apps designed to build student skill sets. Categories include Animals, Anti-Bullying, Colors, Letters, Numbers, People, Shapes, Time, and Words. The Discreet Trial Training apps incorporate findings from Dr. Brown’s years of experience in psychological therapy. When reached for comment, they had this to say:

At Dr. Brown's Apps, we have built our app design on over 40 years of Dr. Brown’s psychological therapist experience in a clinical setting.


Digital Problem Solver | The Social Express TheSocialExpress.com | iTunes ($1.99) | Google Play
Users identify feelings from a set of emotions. Then, they move into a coping strategy as the next step in self-regulation. Download your own photos to customize animated, interactive lessons that focus on social relationships. Users learn to read verbal and non-verbal cues, and take part in conversations. We asked them to comment further on their apps and they commented:

We use high quality animation and engaging characters and stories, to effectively deliver the essential elements of social and emotional learning to a population that have difficulties with understanding social cues, or have trouble with managing their emotions.


Learn with Rufus: Emotions | Rufus Robot Rufusrobot.com | iTunes ($4.99) | Google Play ($5)
Kids learn how facial expressions reveal what people feel, with guidance from Rufus Robot. “The inclusion of reward sets and breaks in our apps will keep the child’s interest while he or she learns,” said Dr. Holly Gastgeb, Rufus Robot President and CEO. Dr. Holly Gastgeb also shared:

Research has repeatedly shown that children respond to mobile devices at a young age. Our goal is to capture some of that enthusiasm and direct it in a fun, yet educational, manner. Emotions includes a brief fingerpainting activity that will keep the child’s interest while he or she learns.


Look In My Eyes 1 Restaurant | Fizzbrain.com Fizzbrain.com | iTunes ($2.99)
Creators David and Abbie Cort develop apps for all children. They have an interest in those for kids with special needs. The Look in My Eyes series keys on social skills, such as practicing eye contact. CBS’ 60 Minutes has featured FizzBrain apps. Fizzbrain also shared their thoughts and feelings regarding their featured apps:

FizzBrain is a mom-and-pop studio committed to bringing the latest and very best of educational practices into the world of apps. Between the two of us, Abbie and I have over 50 years' experience teaching in elementary, secondary and special education classrooms, and we draw on all this experience and training as we design our apps. [...] We started FizzBrain in order to develop quality iPad/iPhone applications for all children based on best teaching practices. Our "Touch and Write" series has received numerous commendations and awards.


My School Day & Social Detective | Social Skill Builder Socialskillbuilder.com | iTunes (My School Day $9.99, Social Detective $24.99)
Social Skill Builder transitioned award-winning CDs for ASD students to apps. Interactive software includes video scenarios that encourage users to interact with peers. The popular Social Detective app engages a student’s sense of adventure and problem-solving. Among the glowing testimonials for these programs is this one from from an ABA Therapist from the Penn State Austism Conference:

I worked with ASD students on social skills and your My School Day CD as well as the Social Detective CD are my go to materials. I have both in CD form and am glad they are now available in apps. Easier to transport. The kids really love them especially the Social Detective App and really learn so much from them.


Other gadgets

Dreampad | Integrated Listening Systems Dreampadsleep.com Integrated Listening Systems’ headphone technology had relaxing effects on kids with autism. Headphones present a challenge, though, for those with tactile sensitivity. Enter Dreampad, a pillow with psychoacoustic technology. Dreampad looks and acts as a pillow, but does much more. A music app produces calming music from within. It creates gentle vibrations to trigger the user’s relaxation response. It shows improved sleep habit for those on and off the spectrum. Improved sleep can impact daytime behaviors for children with autism.

iLs developed the Dreampad after observing the powerfully relaxing effect of the iLs headphone technology on children with autism. Tactile sensitivity is very common with autism, and many of the children couldn’t tolerate iLs headphones. We learned quickly that the Dreampad not only reduced anxiety, but improved sleep habits with the vast majority of those on (and off) the spectrum.

Dreampad

For parents, teachers and therapists

Cognoa
Cognoa Cognoa.com This evaluation tool tests a child’s development first. It includes an optional video evaluation and detailed results to share with a pediatrician. “Providing parents with a validated path to early answers not only saves money and time in appointments, but (also) allows parents to remain focused at work,” said Brent Vaughan, Cognoa CEO. Brent Vaughan also stated:

Cognoa for Employers is putting the power of early screening in parents' hands while giving employers the opportunity to provide competitive health benefits beyond normal employee expectations. With developmental delay affecting one in six U.S. children and autism affecting one in 68, it is no wonder that developmental milestones and potential delays consistently rank as top concerns for parents.


Social Stories Creator and Library | Touch Autism Touchautism.com | iTunes (free) Visual supports, such as stories, give direction instruction on social skills. This app provides that for kids with autism. It includes social stories to teach what to expect in an array of situations. Caregivers can create, print, and share customized social stories and visual schedules. The Social Stories Creator and Library folks had this to say:

Children with special needs often need more direct instruction of social skills. Teaching social skills to any child may be easier and less stressful when visual supports, like social stories are used. The social stories found in this app explain accurate social information and ensures that your child will know what to expect in different situations.

Social Stories

TOBY Playpad | Autism West TOBYplaypad.com | iTunes ($25.99)
The TOBY (Therapy Outcomes By You) app contains an extensive curriculum. It includes solo on-screen and partner on-screen tasks, and real-world tasks for early intervention. The app collects data for performance reports on a child’s activity from the comfort of home.

Autism West is committed to supporting families to provide the best opportunities for their child. Our TOBY app is a revolutionary, unique way for parents to become empowered to implement therapy at home. It is best-practice and evidence-based, developed in conjunction with Curtin and Deakin Universities.


The Autism Discovery Tool: Sensory From Within | Spectrum Idea Lab Inc. Spectrumidealab.com | iTunes ($4.99)
Sensory issues might be the most misunderstood aspects of life on the spectrum. This play-based app provides an exploration of challenges and strengths in seven sensory experiences. The app environment provides hidden tools that shed insight to real-world sensory-environment strategy.

When setting out to create this app, our team at Spectrum Idea Lab identified that there was a significant lack of understanding about the sensory issues that often accompany autism, amongst families, teachers, and even those on the spectrum! So we created this exploratory, play-based app which immerses users into seven sensory experiences that demonstrate some of the sensory diversity found on the spectrum, including both strengths and challenges.


Sources https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/new-government-survey-pegs-autism-prevalence-1-45