Digging Safely

Digging Safely

By Krista Lockhart
Planning
Call 811 Before You Dig

Digging Safely: The Importance of Calling 811 Before Excavating in Your Yard

Digging in your yard may seem simple, but what lies beneath the surface can pose significant risks to you, your property, and your community. Calling 811 before digging is not just a precaution; ensuring safety and preventing potential disasters is crucial. This blog will explore why homeowners should make that call before breaking ground in their yards. 

What is 811? 

811 serves as the nationwide call-before-you-dig hotline. If you are contemplating any excavation of your property, it is essential to dial 811 or visit your state’s 811 center website a few business days before digging. This ensures that the approximate positions of buried utilities are marked with paint or flags, significantly reducing the risk of accidentally hitting an underground utility line. 

 

Why Call 811 Before You Dig? 

Calling 811 before digging is crucial to ensure safety, prevent damage, and streamline excavation. Here is why it is essential: 

 

  • Underground Utilities Exist Everywhere – Beneath your property lies a network of essential underground utilities, such as water, gas, electricity, and telecommunications. Striking any of these can result in severe consequences, including service outages, property damage, and even personal injury. 

 

  • Legal RequirementIn many places, contacting 811 is not just a recommendation; it’s the law. Homeowners must notify their local 811 center before digging to avoid any potential damage to underground infrastructure.

 

  • Preventing Service Disruptions – Hitting a utility line can lead to service disruptions for your home and the entire neighborhood. This inconvenience can be avoided by calling 811 and allowing utility companies to mark the location of their lines.

 

  • Avoiding Costly RepairsRepairing damaged utility lines can be a costly affair. Homeowners may be responsible for repair expenses, making a simple call to 811 a cost-effective and prudent choice.

 

  • Protecting the EnvironmentAccidental damage to underground utilities can result in environmental hazards. Leaking gas or chemicals can harm soil, water, and wildlife. By calling 811, you contribute to environmental conservation by preventing such incidents.

 

  • Ensuring Personal SafetyStriking a utility line poses a significant safety risk. Gas leaks, electrical shocks, or water damage can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. Prioritizing personal safety by calling 811 is an essential responsibility for any homeowner.

 

  • Efficient Planning of ExcavationKnowing the location of underground utilities allows homeowners to plan their excavations more efficiently. By avoiding utility lines, projects can proceed smoothly, saving time and effort. 

 

When You are Planning to Dig 

Call 811 at least three days before you dig anywhere on your property and before starting a project. A locator will mark lines on the property. The service is free. 

Call 811 before installing septic tanks, sewer lines, swimming pools, wells, sprinkler systems and water lines, basketball goal posts, mailbox posts, fence and deck posts, and trees and shrubs. 

Even if you have had lines marked for previous projects, call 811 whenever you plan to dig. The depth of utility lines can vary for several reasons, including erosion, previous projects, and uneven surfaces. The risk of striking a utility line exists even when digging only a few inches. 

 

Once Your Lines Are Marked 

Always dig around the markers – not on them. Always dig by hand within 30 inches of the markers, depending on the requirements in your state. Excavation equipment can damage underground lines. 

Calling 811 before digging in your yard is a simple yet powerful action that can prevent many problems. It ensures the safety of your home, community, and the environment while saving you from potential legal and financial repercussions. Digging responsibly is not just a homeowner’s duty; it is a collective commitment to maintaining the integrity of our underground infrastructure. So, before you grab that shovel, call 811 – it is the first step towards a safer and more secure excavation experience. 

5 things to consider when buying a Wi-Fi router

By Krista Lockhart
Wi-Fi
What to consider when buying a Wi-Fi Router.

Selecting a Wi-Fi router is tricky because it acts as the central hub for your devices. A Wi-Fi router supports your entertainment, working from home, and virtual school needs. Selecting the right Wi-Fi router ensures safe and secure connectivity and uninterrupted web browsing. While it can be tricky, here are our top 5 considerations for selecting the Wi-Fi router that will fit your needs.

Discover the top 5 considerations before purchasing the best Wi-Fi router for your home.

Wi-Fi Band:

First, wireless routers operate on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The 2.4GHz band can get congested with numerous devices and is slower at a longer range. However, the 5GHz band offers a faster, less crowded connection but with the drawback of a shorter range. Dual-band routers, utilizing both bands simultaneously, are ideal for large residential communities.

Range:

Dead zones exist in virtually every home or office. So, ideally, your Wi-Fi router should be centrally located away from obstacles and positioned higher on a shelf.  Power-line adapters may improve the range and extend network coverage by utilizing your electrical wiring. Be aware of their speed limitations, as they usually only provide physical ethernet connections.

Speed:

Also recommend opting for a Wi-Fi router that exceeds the speeds promised by your internet subscription with multiple devices connected simultaneously. Make sure the router supports the highest speeds for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Fun fact: Linking your Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet cable should deliver the fastest gaming speeds.

Security:

The Internet offers a gateway to entertainment, work, and learning. It is also an enabler of scams and cyber attacks. So look for Wifi routers with cloud-based firewalls, antivirus, and parental controls. These essential features protect against hacking and malware and support a secure network. Skip routers that lack these crucial features and protections.

USB Port & VPN:

Next, look for Wi-Fi routers with USB 3.0 ports. These routers offer advanced functionality, such as connecting to external hard drives for network-attached storage (NAS) and being easy to use when setting up a media streaming service. Consider routers with robust hardware if you plan to use them as a VPN server for remote access to your home network.
In the modern digital era, a Wi-Fi router is essential. Keeping these 5 considerations in mind will help you pick the Wi-Fi router that will fit your needs now and in the future.

 

Protecting Yourself from Phishing

By Krista Lockhart
Cybersecurity
phishing
How to recognize Phishing emails.

Protecting Yourself from Phishing Attacks: Types, Prevention, and Recovery

In contemporary times, phishing attacks have surged in frequency, closely mimicking authentic communications. This blog delves into the world of phishing, shedding light on its nature, the diverse array of phishing tactics, imparting strategies to prevent falling into their traps, and furnishing advice on how to navigate the situation if you inadvertently become entangled in one.

 

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a deceitful tactic involving the transmission of deceptive messages that masquerade as originating from a trusted and reputable source, typically distributed via email and text messages. The primary objective of the attacker is to steal funds, obtain access to sensitive data and login credentials, or surreptitiously implant malware onto the targeted individual’s device. Phishing is a perilous, harmful, and progressively prevalent form of cyber assault.

 

Types of Phishing Attacks
  1. Spear Phishing: Spear phishing is a highly targeted attack where cybercriminals tailor their messages to specific individuals or organizations. Attackers gather information about their targets from various sources, such as social media, to make the emails or messages appear more convincing.
  2. Email Phishing: This is the most common type of phishing attack. Cybercriminals send seemingly legitimate emails that prompt recipients to click on links, download malicious attachments, or provide sensitive information.
  3. Vishing (Voice Phishing): Vishing attacks involve phone calls or voicemails from scammers posing as trusted entities. These attackers may try to extract personal information or ask for payment details.
  4. Smishing (SMS Phishing): In smishing attacks, scammers use text messages to deceive recipients into clicking on links or replying with sensitive information.
  5. Pharming: Pharming attacks redirect users to malicious websites that mimic legitimate sites. Users unknowingly enter their sensitive information, which the attacker then captures.
  6. Whaling: Whaling is a form of spear phishing that specifically targets high-profile individuals or executives within an organization. These attacks aim to steal valuable corporate data.
  7. Clone Phishing: In clone phishing, attackers take a legitimate email, make a near-identical copy, and send it to the original recipient. The goal is to trick the recipient into taking an action that reveals sensitive information.

 

How to Avoid Falling Victim
  1. Verify the Sender: Always double-check the sender’s email address or phone number. Look for slight variations that may indicate a fraudulent message.
  2. Think Before You Click: Be cautious about clicking on links or downloading attachments, especially if the message is unexpected or seems suspicious.
  3. Don’t Share Personal Information: Never provide sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card numbers, through email or over the phone without verifying the identity of the requester.
  4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
  5. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your operating system, browsers, and antivirus software to patch vulnerabilities that cybercriminals may exploit.
  6. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and scams. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize and avoid them.

 

What to Do If You Fall Victim

Despite our best efforts, anyone can fall victim to a phishing attack. If you suspect that you’ve been phished, here’s what you should do:

  1. Change Your Passwords: Immediately change the passwords for the compromised accounts. Ensure these passwords are strong and unique.
  2. Contact the Affected Service Providers: Inform the service providers (e.g., your bank or email service) about the incident. They can help secure your account and prevent further damage.
  3. Scan for Malware: Run a complete antivirus and antimalware scan on your device to ensure that no malicious software is installed.
  4. Monitor Your Accounts: Keep a close eye on your financial accounts and credit reports to detect any unauthorized activity.
  5. Report the Phishing Incident: Report the phishing attack to the appropriate authorities. In the United States, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  6. Educate Others: Share your experience with friends and family to raise awareness about the threat of phishing and help others avoid similar situations.

Phishing attacks are a persistent and evolving threat in the digital landscape. Staying vigilant, educating yourself about the different types of phishing attacks, and taking proactive steps to protect your, personal and financial information can go a long way in preventing falling victim to these scams. If you do fall prey to a phishing attack, knowing how to respond can minimize the damage and help you recover more swiftly. Remember, the best defense against phishing is a combination of awareness, caution, and ongoing cybersecurity practices.

At Smart City, safeguarding our customers’ information from phishing scams is paramount. We employ a multi-pronged approach to ensure the security of their sensitive data. Our employees undergo rigorous training and awareness programs to recognize and thwart phishing attempts effectively. We maintain robust network security measures, including advanced email filtering, intrusion detection systems, and continuous monitoring, to identify and block potential phishing threats. Most importantly we enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) and adhere to stringent patching and updating schedules to fortify our systems. By staying vigilant and combining employee education with state-of-the-art network defenses, we aim to provide our customers with a secure and trustworthy environment, where their information remains protected against the ever-evolving landscape of phishing scams.

The Hottest Tech Gadgets for Unforgettable Christmas Gifts in 2023

By Krista Lockhart
Gaming
Streaming
Technology
2023 Best Tech Gadgets

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re wondering what tech gifts will make your loved ones’ eyes light up, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll share our picks of the top tech gadgets to consider for your Christmas shopping list in December 2023. Whether you’re shopping for a gadget guru, a fitness fanatic, or a home chef, we’ve got you covered.

Smartphones and Accessories

Latest iPhone or Android Model: Stay ahead in the smartphone game with the latest models offering improved performance and features. Check with your cellular provider for pricing and availability.

Wireless Charging Stand: Keep devices juiced up without the hassle of cords with a wireless charging stand and valet tray.

Apple Air Tags: This gadget will allow them to keep tabs on their items via the Find My app.

 

Wearable Tech

Smartwatches: Like the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Samsung Galaxy watch 5. From fitness tracking to message notifications, smartwatches are the perfect gift for those looking to stay connected and active.

Fitbit Fitness Trackers: Help your loved ones meet their health goals with a fitness tracker that monitors activity, sleep, and more.

 

Home Tech

Amazon Echo Show 5: One of the best tech gifts in its price range, the Amazon Echo Show 5 is a cool smart display with a built-in camera and speaker.

Smart Meat Thermometer: The Bluetooth-enabled cooking gadget will allow them to always cook meat to perfection. It has a companion app giving users step-by-step cooking instructions and notifying them when their food is ready.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Give the gift of a clean home with a robot vacuum that can be controlled through a smartphone app.

Skylight Smart Digital Picture Frame: This beautiful digital frame by Skylight is a great tech gift, allowing recipients to view and interact with their cherished photos on a high-quality 10-inch touchscreen.

Smart Wall Lights: Their glow can change in millions of colors, ranging from various white temperatures to dramatic shades like purple and blue, to name a few.

Tidbty: The gadget can display relevant information like weather, upcoming calendar appointments, and live scores from their favorite sports, among many other bits, on an old-school screen with clearly visible dots.

Petcube Per Camera: Petcube’s Wi-Fi-equipped Bites 2 camera is pretty much the best tech gift you can get the pet parents in your life.

 

Gaming Gadgets

Xbox Series S: The surprisingly elegant, reasonably priced rig can deliver high-performance, high-resolution gameplay at up to a brisk 120 frames per second.

Backbone One iPhone Gaming Controller: Available with a Lightning or a USB-C connector, the accessory rocks a complete set of buttons, thumbsticks, and triggers for console-grade gameplay anytime, anywhere.

Oculus VR Headsets: Dive into immersive gaming experiences with virtual reality headsets and accessories.

 

Kitchen Tech

Temperature-Controlled Smart Mug: It keeps any beverage warm, and you can control all the settings directly through your smartphone via a mobile app.

Smart Coffee Maker: Brew a perfect cup of coffee with a coffee maker that can be controlled via a smartphone app.

CHEF iQ Smart Pressure Cooker: Equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an LCD color display, the connected gadget will help the recipient conquer hundreds of recipes.

Self-Cleaning Water Bottle: The nontoxic technology will allow users to seamlessly sanitize the bottle’s interior, as well as the water inside it.

 

Streaming and Entertainment

Streaming Stick or Device: Upgrade the entertainment experience with streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV.

Waterproof Portable Speakers: The Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker is a great tech gift for any music enthusiast. It is incredibly elegant, and plenty durable with an IP67 rating for water resistance (it can even float!)

Wireless Headphones: Delve into immersive music or movie experiences with high-quality wireless headphones.

Jimu Robot Mythical Series FireBot Kit: This dragon-shaped JIMU Robot by UBTECH is a great gift for young tech enthusiasts.

 

Writing, Cameras, and Photography

GoPro HERO11: GoPro’s latest HERO11 Black action camera is a great gift for adventure enthusiasts.

Instant Print Cameras: Bring back the nostalgia of instant photography with a modern twist.

Portable Photo Printers: Users can edit their photos before printing through a mobile app. There’s even an option to interact with the prints in augmented reality.

Digital Notebook: Reusable Notebooks allow you to take notes the old-school way, and then scan them for easy sharing or cloud storage.

As you prepare to welcome these new additions to your tech collection, it’s crucial to ensure your home network is up to the task. You will need a reliable Internet connection to have the best user experience and get the most out of your tech gadgets. Fortunately, Smart City Telecom offers an All-Fiber network designed to effortlessly accommodate all the gadgets you’re introducing to your home this holiday season.

To find out more about our lightning-fast speeds and competitive pricing, click here. Stay ahead of the tech trends and make this holiday season truly unforgettable with the latest and greatest tech gifts of 2023!

Home Connectivity in the Digital Age

By Krista Lockhart
Fiber
Internet
Home Connectivity in the Digital Age: What to Expect in the Next Five Years

Home Connectivity in the Digital Age

What to Expect in The Next Five Years

As we stand at the intersection of technology and connectivity, the landscape of residential connectivity is poised for remarkable transformations in the coming years. The digital age is ushering in a wave of innovations that will reshape how we communicate, access information, and interact with our surroundings. In this blog, we’ll peer into the future and explore the exciting advancements that await us in the realm of home connectivity over the next five years.

 

Hyper-Fast Internet Speeds Becoming the Norm

The demand for faster and more reliable internet speeds is on the rise. In the next five years, we can expect to see a more widespread availability of gigabit internet connections for residential customers. Smart City Telecom already has 1 Gig service available in Celebration, FL. This means with our service you can stream ultra-HD content, engage in high-quality video calls, and play online games with virtually no lag.

 

The Proliferation of Smart Homes

Home automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) will flourish, with homes becoming smarter and more interconnected. Everything from thermostats and security systems to appliances and lighting will be seamlessly integrated through robust telecom networks. Expect homes to be more energy-efficient, secure, and convenient as devices communicate with each other and respond to your preferences. The interconnectivity between devices will not only enhance convenience but also elevate home security to new heights. With cameras, sensors, and motion detectors working harmoniously, you’ll receive instant alerts if any unusual activity is detected, allowing you to respond promptly and effectively. Whether you’re across the street or halfway around the world, the power to monitor and control all aspects of your home will be at your fingertips.

 

Enhanced Privacy and Security Measures

With greater connectivity comes an increased focus on privacy and security. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) will become more prevalent, requiring users to provide multiple forms of verification before accessing their home network. This could involve a combination of passwords, biometric data (like fingerprints or facial recognition), and even location-based verification to ensure that only authorized individuals can access the network. Equally important, advanced encryption protocols will become more sophisticated, ensuring that data transmitted between devices within the home network is secure and cannot be easily intercepted or decoded by unauthorized parties. AI-Powered Threat Detection where AI will be employed to continuously monitor network activity and identify unusual or suspicious behavior. AI algorithms will learn to distinguish between regular user activities and potential security breaches, enabling proactive measures to be taken to prevent unauthorized access.

 

Augmented and Virtual Reality Taking Center Stage

The convergence of high-speed Internet and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies will transform how we experience entertainment, education, and social interactions. AR and VR will revolutionize entertainment, making it interactive and immersive. Imagine actively participating in your favorite movie or game, influencing its course, and exploring various angles. Gaming will transform, enabling players to embody characters in lifelike digital worlds, blurring the line between real and virtual like never before. Social interactions will be reimagined, bringing people together across distances in shared virtual spaces. Friends, family, and colleagues can convene as if in the same room, transcending physical limitations. Moreover, AR/VR will democratize travel, allowing exploration of far-off places and historical periods from home, fostering empathy, and enriching personal experiences.

 

Personalized Experiences with AI Assistants

Lastly, the evolution of AI-driven virtual assistants is poised to redefine the way we interact with technology on a personal level. Over the next five years, these digital companions will transcend their current capabilities, becoming adept at understanding our explicit commands along with our subtle cues and preferences. This enhanced level of sophistication will empower them to curate personalized experiences that seamlessly integrate into our daily lives.

Imagine waking up to an AI assistant that already knows your morning routine and adjusts the lighting and temperature to your liking. It suggests a breakfast recipe tailored to your dietary preferences and schedules a workout session that aligns with your fitness goals. As you navigate your day, this AI companion intuitively learns from your interactions, fine-tuning its recommendations and actions to match your evolving needs and preferences. These AI assistants will become indispensable in automating routine tasks, liberating you from the mundane and granting you more time and mental space to focus on activities that truly matter to you.

 

A Future of Possibilities

The next five years promise a future brimming with possibilities in residential telecom. With hyper-fast internet, smart homes, enhanced security, immersive technologies, and AI-driven experiences, our homes will become hubs of seamless connectivity and innovation. The evolution of residential telecom is a journey that will continue to reshape the way we live, communicate, and experience the digital world.

Stay tuned for a thrilling ride into the digital future, where technology and connectivity intertwine to create a richer, more connected life at home. Ready to future-proof your home? Smart City Telecom offers 1 Gig Fiber Internet to Celebration, FL starting at $54.95 a month. Check out our Fiber Internet and Wi-Fi Plans or call our helpful customer service team at 407-828-6700.