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How to Turn your Desktop computer into a WiFi router

8336068_f520It is possible to share an Internet connection with wireless-ready devices without using a WiFi router. Nevertheless, your computer does need special hardware to have such a capability.

Most modern laptops already have internal wireless network adapters, and even some desktops. If you have an older laptop with no WiFi capabilities you’ll need to buy a wireless network card or a USB network adapter (this works for both laptops and desktops).

For a desktop you can use a USB network adapter (as mentioned above) or an internal wireless PCI card.

System and hardware requirements

Wireless Hosted Network is a WLAN feature available in Windows 7,8 and in Windows Server 2012/2008 R2 with the Wireless Lan Service installed. The wireless Hosted Network is what makes it possible for your computer to virtualize a physical wireless adapter into multiple virtual wireless adapters. Long story short, only the above mentioned editions of Windows support this feature.

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In this tutorial you will learn how to use Virtual Router, a free application that lets you easily create a wireless Internet connection from any other active connection that’s present on your computer. Virtual Router supports only Windows 7, 8 and 2008 R2, so if you want to turn your computer into a virtual WiFi router and its running under Windows Server 2012 you can either use another program or the Windows built-in settings.

Concerning hardware, your computer needs to have a wireless device and driver supporting the Windows Virtual Wifi and Wireless Hosted Network features. If the drivers are Windows 7/8 certified, they should be supported by Virtual Router. If you’re not sure, check out the list of known supported devices on the developer’s page.
Step 1 – Download and Install

After you made sure your computer is wireless-ready you need to download Virtual Router. This is a free application so you don’t have to pay anything for it. Once you’ve downloaded the installer, double-click on it to start the setup.

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The installation process for Virtual Router is extremely simple. All you have to do is agree with the license terms and proceed to the setup window where you can select the installation folder and whether you want to install the program for just the current Windows user or all users. If you’re not sure what to do with these options, leave the default settings and click the “Next” button.

Virtual Router Setup
Step 2 – Settings

Now it’s time to actually use Virtual Router, so double-click the application to run it. By default, the application runs in the system tray. To open Virtual Router Manager (the program’s interface) double-click the tray icon. Make sure you are connected to the Internet using the connection you want to share.

The settings are straightforward:

1.Fill in the network’s name (SSID) – This can be any name you want, although you should choose a relevant one so you know that’s your shared Internet Connection.

2.Choose a password – Since a virtual router works just like the physical device, you need a password to prevent unauthorized intruders from using your Internet Connection.

3.Select the connection you want to share from the drop-down menu – You can use the Refresh button if you’ve connected to it while the Virtual Router Manager was already open and it wasn’t showing up in the list.

4.Start Virtual Router – Press this button, once you’ve completed all the settings to enable your shared connection.

Virtual Router Manager – Shared Connection

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Step 3 – Test the shared Internet Connection

If everything went well and Virtual Router is started you should be seeing your newly created connection in the Windows connections list.

Your computer should be currently connected to two connections: the connection you’ve shared, and the one you’ve just created.

To connect to it with any wireless-ready device (phone, laptop, tablet…etc) simply select the appropriate network and fill in the password, like you would for any other connection. Voila! You are now successfully sharing your Internet connection!
Erm……errors anyone?

Step 4 – Troubleshooting

“The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation
This is the most common error you can get from Virtual Router. There’s a number of reasons for this error and several fixes, but you can’t know which one works for you until you try them. After each step you should try to start Virtual Router to see if it solved your problem.

The first step is to make sure your wireless adapter has the latest drivers. You can find in in the Windows Device Manager under Network Adapters.
The second step, you need to make sure the hosted network can run. To do that, press the Windows Start button, open “Run” and type cmd to open a Command Prompt window (you’ll need administrator rights). In the window type : netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow
To continue, check if the Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter is enabled. It’s also under the Network Adapters section in the Windows Device Manager. Double-click it and the Properties window will pop-up. If under Device Status you see the message : “This device is disabled (Code 22). Click Enable Device to enable this device.” it means it wasn’t running and you do need to enable it.
If the previous step didn’t work either, there’s a Microsoft hotfix available for a common problem that can occur on computers running under Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. You can download it from here.

Other issues

If you experience other problems with Virtual Router the first thing you can do is check if your wireless device’s drivers are up to date and that you didn’t give your shared connection the same SSID of a network you already have. After that take a look at the developer’s F.A.Q since your problem can be listed there.

If Virtual Router doesn’t work for you, try out some alternatives. Connectivity Hotspot is also a very popular and capable application, although the free version (Lite) has limited functionality. Another free tool for wireless sharing of Internet connections is Virtual Router Plus, which was created as an improved version of Virtual Router that also supports Windows 2012.

Graduate and professional students can use Stafford and Grad PLUS loans to help pay for school.

Ways to Reduce Your Student Loan Debt

Unlike undergraduates, who can qualify for Pell Grants and other subsidies, student loans are the primary financial aid vehicle for graduate students. Fortunately, grad students have several funding options to choose from.

• Stafford loans: Most graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 a year in federal Stafford loans and cannot exceed $138,500 between undergrad and grad school. Those limits jump to $47,167 annually, with a lifetime cap of $224,000, for students in certain health fields.

Graduate students only qualify for unsubsidized Stafford loans, which begin accruing interest immediately. Student loan legislation passed in August 2013 tied federal student loan interest rates to the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note. As the rate on that note increases, so do the interest rates on Stafford loans and Direct PLUS loans.

Interest rates for new loans are determined as of June 1 each year and locked in for the life of the loan. The rate for graduate Stafford loans is equal to the rate of the Treasury note, plus 3.6 percent, and is capped at 9.5 percent. Grad students who borrowed a Stafford loan for the 2013-2014 school year did so at an interest rate of 5.41 percent. Stafford loans come with federal loan benefits, including flexible repayment plans and certain loan forgiveness programs.

• Graduate PLUS loans: Students can cover their entire out-of-pocket costs each year – including living expenses – via the PLUS loan program. Unlike other federal loans, borrowers must pass a credit check, and those with an account in collections or a bankruptcy on their record may be denied.

Like Stafford loans, the interest rate on new PLUS loans is determined annually using the rate on the 10-year Treasury note as of June 1. Graduate students will pay that rate plus 4.6 percent, with a cap of 10.5 percent. Grad PLUS loans borrowed for the 2013-2014 school year have an interest rate of 6.41 percent. The interest rate is locked in for the life of the loan.

Grad PLUS loans also qualify for federal repayment options such as graduated or income-based repayment, as well as loan forgiveness.

• Perkins loans: Graduate students with limited financial resources may qualify for a Perkins loan, but experts warn that these funds are few and far between. While the Perkins loan is a federal program, the funds are doled out by the institution and loan payments are made directly to the school.

Qualifying students can receive up to $8,000 a year in Perkins loans, which come with a fixed interest rate of 5 percent. Unlike Stafford and PLUS loans for graduate students, interest on Perkins loans does not begin accruing until nine months after graduation.

• Private loans: In some cases, students can borrow loans with interest rates starting as low as 2.25 percent. But if the rate is variable it can change dramatically over the course of the loan, and students could wind up paying a lot more than they initially planned.

Several private lenders, such as Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae, also offer loans with fixed interest rates, which may be lower than the rates available via federal PLUS loans. While the loans may seem enticing, students should fully understand the terms of the loan before signing on the dotted line, says Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Student Loan

“We almost always say that students should be choosing federal loans over private,” Draeger says.

Students who plan to take out a private loan should look for one that mimics the benefits offered with Stafford and PLUS loans, including a grace period for repayment and protection against income loss, he says.

4 Creative Ways to Reduce Your Student Loan Debt

Making extra payments and volunteering can lead to reduced student loan payments.

Breaking up your monthly student loan bill into biweekly half-payments will result in an extra full payment at the end of each year, which can limit interest over time.

The Student Loan Ranger gets a lot of questions about student loans. By far the most frequent question asked is how best to reduce or pay a balance as quickly as possible.

Over the past months, we’ve covered many student loan forgiveness options, but those just don’t fit every borrower’s situation. With that in mind, here are some of the more creative ways we’ve seen borrowers pay off or reduce their student loans.

1. Find fives:​ Abe Lincoln, America’s 16th president, graces the $5 bill. He helped abolish slavery, but he may also be able to help abolish your student loans.

One of the more creative savings strategies I’ve seen is a family with a rule to always save $5 bills.They go in a jar and, at the end of every month, get deposited into the bank where they are transformed into an extra student loan payment.

With this simple rule the family is able to shave off about four years of their 20-year repayment term – and save thousands in interest.

2. Volunteer: Giving back is good for the soul, and now it can also be good for your student loan balance.

Sponsor Change has developed a model where college graduates donate their skilled time to assist with nonprofit projects in exchange for student loan repayment. The concept is fairly new and only available in a few cities right now, but it is expanding daily so it’s worth signing up.

Participants receive between $10 and $20 an hour in student loan payments, depending on the level of skill needed for the project they participate in. Zero bound has a similar model, but its participants must crowd fund their own student loan repayments.

3. Pay student loans twice a month: You owe one full payment a month and there are 12 months in a year, so by paying once a month you make 12 payments a year. But if you paid twice a month – not two full payments but half your payment, biweekly –  that’s 26 half payments,which equals 13 full payments a year.

In this way, you’ve just made an extra payment on your student loan without even noticing. If you get paid biweekly, the extra amount should also coincide with those extra paycheck months, making this strategy even less noticeable. You can save even more in interest payments if you round your payment up to the next $10 or $100.

4. Find a way to live and work outside the U.S.: If you work in another country, you may be exempt from paying taxes up to a fairly high amount of income – about $97,000 in 2013. That savings alone can help you put a pretty big dent in that student loan debt.

In addition, the IRS offers benefits that allow people working and living abroad to either deduct an amount of income used for housing expenses, or have some housing expenses allocated as not taxable. This is all savings that you can contribute toward student loan payments.​

Add in the housing allowance that many international employers offer and the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, and this could be a real win.

5 tips to get most out of your smartphopne’s battery

How to Make Your Cell Phone Battery Last Longer

One of the biggest problems with Android is its lackluster battery life. Compared to iOS and Windows Phone, Google’s mobile platform saps battery at a faster rate. Many Android phones don’t even last from dawn till dusk. There’s no silver bullet to solve this problem. However, by altering a few settings, you can make your device’s juice last a little longer. Here’s how to go on about it:

Lower The Screen Brightness
Cranking up the brightness improves the screen readability. However, high screen brightness can drain your phone’s battery like anything. So if you want your phone’s battery to last longer, go to Settings, and set the brightness to the lowest value you’re comfortable with. If your phone has an AMOLED screen, use a black background. AMOLED, being an emissive type screen, can switch off pixels to produce deep blacks. In effect, the phone requires relatively less juice to power the display. In addition to this, shorten your phone’s screen timeout time to minimum.

De-Activate Live Wallpapers And Useless Widgets
Unique to Android, the Live Wallpapers look fancy. However, rendering all these real-time animations take a toll on the battery life. If you want to conserve the phone’s battery, do not use the live wallpapers. Similarly, widgets continuously consume your phone’s battery. However, some of the widgets are useful as they serve you the information right on the home screen. So, what you need to do is remove the widgets that you don’t really require.

Use Wi-Fi Instead Of 3G
To make the most of your smartphone, it needs to be connected to Internet all the time. While 3G offers excellent browsing and download speeds, it eats-up battery rapidly. Things get worse, when the 3G signal reception is weak and flaky. On the other hand, in recent smartphones, Wi-Fi uses less battery compared to 3G. So whenever available, make it a point to choose Wi-Fi over 3G data. Plus, it will also help you save money on data charges.

Keep GPS And Bluetooth Off
Smartphones these days come with a multiple wireless radios including Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi. Save for Wi-Fi, you don’t require these connectivity options most of the times. Therefore, it’s advisable to switch them off unless you’re actually using these features. On stock Android, you can quickly do so by pulling down notification bar and then selecting the Settings Panel. If not all, at least keep the GPS and Bluetooth radios off as these two connectivity options drain the battery at a rapid pace.

Keep A Check On Background Processes
From the multitasking menu, clear the list of recently used apps. You don’t want to keep a heavy game run in the background as it can hurt your phone’s battery life real bad. Also, check the list of services running in the background. If you see any unnecessary process running there, stop it. If you’re unsure about a certain service, click on it to find more information regarding it.

Maxim’s Hot 100 gala at the Pacific Design Center

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A month after Maxim released its Hot 100 List where Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel took top honors for her “stunning, sophisticated and elegant” looks, the iconic lad mag brought the list to life at the 15th annual Hot 100 party.

 

Candice Swanepoel Is At The Top

Candice Swanepoel Is At The Top

As Maxim explained, beauties ranging from “mind-bogglingly seductive supermodels to Hollywood’s most awe-inspiring actresses” took to the red carpet on Tuesday night in West Hollywood, California.

Maxim’s annual list of hotties is here and includes everyone from top supermodels and award-winning actresses to toned athletes. Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel took the top spot, followed by Scarlett Johannsson, Katy Perry and Irina Shayk.

‘It’s a huge honor to be Maxim’s number one, among so many beautiful and talented women! It’s a great feeling,’ Sawnepoel explained in a press release from Maxim.

 

Maxim’s Hot 100 list of 2014 is here and Ms. Candice Swanepoel snagged the top spot.

The Victoria’s Secret supermodel landed at No. 1 on the list, followed by a top 10 of Hollywood stars including Scarlett Johansson, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lawrence and Mila Kunis.

 

 

 

 

“It’s a huge honor to be Maxim’s number one, among so many beautiful and talented women! It’s a great feeling,” Swanepoel said, per a press release from Maxim.

Maxim Creative Director Paul Martinez called the South African native “stunning, sophisticated and elegant.” He explained that Swanepoel was chosen this year not only because of her beauty, but also because she has catapulted herself into international stardom and built herself a global brand.

Maxim Hot 100 Gala 2014

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Did you have a favorite look from the night? Comment below!

Also be sure to scroll through the full Maxim Hot 100 list for all of this year’s top women:

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