Once a week we share reader problems and three solutions; this week we’re looking at increasing Wi-Fi connectivity, how to calibrate your monitor, and how to sneak in a good prank or two at work.

How Can I Get A Better Wi-Fi Signal?

Dear How-To Geek,

What can I do to get a better connection between my laptop and a Wi-Fi router? Are there any software or operating system tweaks that will  help? I’m in a remote location and I only have access to one rather flakey Wi-Fi router. What can I do?


Wi-Fi Craving

Dear Wi-Fi Craving,

Unless your computer is grievously misconfigured there really isn’t much you can do as far as software settings go. What you want to focus on is the hardware side of things. The Wi-Fi router is a radio transmitter/receiver and your computer’s Wi-Fi hardware is a radio transmitter/receiver. To boost the quality of the connection you want to increase your computer’s ability to receive and transmits signals back to the Wi-Fi router.

I order to do that, you need to make modifications to the hardware of your computer. It would be extremely helpful to have a Wi-Fi card with an external antenna, for example. This would allow you to build your own (or repurpose) various shapes (like dishes and cans) to boost the signal. We’d suggest checking out this DIY “cantenna” tutorial and this “Wokfi” tutorial to help get you started. Searching for “cantenna” and “wokfi” or “Wi-Fi dish” will lead you to dozens of tutorials on the subject.

What’s The Deal with Monitor Calibration?

Dear How-To Geek,

As I’m getting more into digital photography, I’m hearing more and more about the importance of calibrating your monitor. I’m not exactly sure what this calibration entails. What do I need to do? Do I need tools or can I use the monitor itself to get the job done?


Monitor Gazing

Dear Monitor Gazing,

The goal of monitor calibration is to bring what you see on the screen in alignment with the natural world/what other people will see on their monitors (if you’re editing for use on the web or online photo sites) and/or to the printer the photos will be printed off of. If your computer is seriously unaligned with the values everyone else is using, then the photo manipulations you perform will yield colors and contrast that look off to everyone else and print poorly.

To learn more about monitor calibration check out our guide to monitor calibration here. If you’re planning on consistently printing your photos with a specific printer, we’d also recommend contacting them and asking them for additional information about calibration and their specific photo printers.

What Are Some Good (But Harmless) Pranks I Can Pull At Work?

Dear How-To Geek,

We prank the crap out of each other around my office but the problem is… I’m rubbish at coming up with good pranks. As a result, I get pranked a lot and I never come up with anything good to get people back. Do you have any tips for some fun but harmless pranks?


Tired Fool

Dear Tired Fool,

There are a lot of simple pranks you can pull off just messing around with someone’s computer. For a roundup of fun but harmless computer pranks check out our offerings from April Fool’s Day:  The 10 Most Ridiculously Awesome Geeky Computer Pranks—we’re sure you’ll find something to get back your office mates. We’re also confident your fellow readers will be more than happy to offer a tip or two.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email and we’ll do our best to answer it!

Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »