Categories
Daily dose

Tips to Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection

Staying connected to the Internet is essential nowadays. We use it for entertainment, education, working or staying connected to family and friends. When your home internet connection does go out it can be a real problem. Below are some of the most basic steps that will help you fix it before going through the motions of calling your ISP which in itself could also be another world of pain.

Is the modem/router on?
modem-router
Modem + router device

Check if your router/modem has power. A modem is a device that allows you to get connected to your ISP via telephone, coaxial cable, fiber, satellite or even via wireless mobile service. A router is another device that allows you to have more than one device connect to your internet service usually via WiFi. Nowadays, it’s standard for Internet service providers or ISPs to give you a modem + router combo. Routers would have lights turned on to show that it has power. Check the outlet and the power adapter. While you’re at it, check if all the cables to your modem/router are properly connected.

Check the physical connections
Rear view of modem-router
Rear-view of a modem-router with the proper connections

Check if the line coming into your house from the outside pole is connected properly. It could be that something snapped or got caught in the cable which caused the lost internet connection. If there’s a problem with it then you’d need to call your service provider as it can be dangerous to fix this on your own.

Red light indicating connection loss
Red LED light means it’s not synced with your ISP
Reset the modem/router

After checking and making sure the physical cables to your modem/router are properly connected and the unit is receiving power, do a power cycle. Unplug it from the socket and give it around 10 to 20 seconds before turning it on again.

If it does the trick, you should be able to get back on-line. If it doesn’t, most modems would usually give an indication that it’s having trouble connecting to your ISP – a red light is quite common.

Check your Wi-Fi connection

You can use other devices that are connected to the Wi-Fi to try to isolate where the problem is. If other devices are able to connect and go on-line then the issue may lie with the device that you’ve lost the internet connection on. It may be a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone. It’s also important to make sure that the WiFi you’re connecting to is your own. I’ve worked in customer service before and believe it or not, we’ve had lengthy calls from customers who later found out that they were just connecting to their neighbor’s WiFi and had been denied access because they changed or put in a password.

Check your device settings

Depending on what device you’re having problems with, check if it has the correct credentials for WiFi by opening its networking settings. It would usually give a notification that it’s unable to connect to the WiFi or if there’s something else that’s wrong with it.

Disable your tablet or mobile phone’s WiFi then enable it again to see if fixes the issue. Then check if you have the correct password. The next step would be to do a power cycle on your device. If it is still unable to go on-line, you may need to reset the WiFi settings on the device. That means removing the current WiFi settings and entering it again as if it’s the first time the device will be connecting to your WiFi.

For laptops, you can reset the Wireless adapter – for Windows, Linux (Ubuntu) and Mac. An alternative is to grab an ethernet cable and physically connect it to your modem/router. If you’re able to go on-line again, then the issue is with the laptop’s Wireless adapter. This could be fixed by updating its drivers or installing updates to your operating system or getting it repaired by your device manufacturer.

If all else fails, it’s time to get in touch with your ISP and ask for assistance. These are the basic steps to troubleshoot your internet connection. Most of the time, one or a combination of these would resolve your internet connection issues without having to call your ISP.

Categories
Daily dose Science

Debunking the ‘Well played China’ conspiracy theory

Along with the SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus that has spread throughout the world causing a pandemic, conspiracy theories abound. One of the most recent ones being spread through social media can be summarized as follows:

China created the coronavirus to cause global economic collapse – people are told to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading, businesses temporarily closed & work stoppage has been implemented.
This has sent stock prices dropping then China comes in to buy those low-priced stocks until we end up with a ‘world owned by China’.

Mind-blowing isn’t it? However this conspiracy theory is wrong on several points.

First, SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 is not a man-made or engineered virus. This has already been proven by scientific studies in the journal Nature Medicine and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Second, while it’s true that the US stock market has seen some decline as COVID-19 has spread in the US, the market has made a rebound after the federal government announced an economic stimulus package.

Third, Chinese investors did buy shares but the shares they bought are those of Chinese companies.

In addition, the Chinese government rolled out an economic stimulus package and spent more than 1.2 trillion yuan ($170 billion) buying shares to shore up prices.

Lastly, Peter Nolan, a professor of Chinese Development at Cambridge University, debunks the notion that China is ‘buying the world’ in his latest book entitled “Is China Buying the World?

‘China has not bought the world and shows little sign of doing so in the near future,’ Nolan writes. ‘Their presence in high-income countries is negligible. This is a remarkable situation for a country that is the world’s largest exporter and its second largest economy and manufacturer. In other words, ‘we’ are inside ‘them’ but ‘they’ are not inside ‘us’.

Peter Nolan, “Is China Buying the World?”

Final words

Stop spreading conspiracy theories. Verify, look for sources or references that are credible. Since most of us are staying at home these days, use the time to search on Google and do some basic research.

If a message is forwarded to you and it has no references or citations, think twice before forwarding it to others or sharing it on social media. Verify. Google. Research. Or ask first from persons you trust to be experts or have knowledge about these things. Don’t be a sheep. Think! If there’s something more dangerous than the coronavirus is it ignorance and being too gullible.

And remember, stay at home. Stay healthy and be safe.

Categories
Science

How long does SARS-CoV-2 survive in the environment?

In a new report on the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators tested how long the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, lasts in the air and on surfaces:

Viable in aerosols or mixed in air for 3 hours

Viable and detectable on the following surfaces:

Stainless steel and plastic – up to 72 hours

Cardboard – 24 hours

Copper – 4 hours

So frequent hand washing is still a very effective preventive measure as well as cleaning surfaces. Especially our mobile phones, tablets & keyboards.

You can read the full report here.

Stay safe and as much as possible, stay indoors.

Categories
Science

How hand washing with soap & water kills the SARS-CoV-2

The inevitable has happened, there are now 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines and as I write this, the World Health Organization is on the brink of calling the outbreak a pandemic.

You may have doubts or misgivings about our own Department of Health, but they are still the best source of information about COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Sharing unverified information via social media only helps to fuel panic and paranoia which could worsen the outbreak for all of us.

With the virus spreading locally, it’s important that we do our share to help contain or minimize its spread. You’ve often heard from medical professionals, government officials, your HR folk, the World Health Organization and media that one of the most effective ways to fight the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 is by frequent hand washing with soap and water. How so? It’s all rooted in the morphology or physical characteristics of the coronavirus. See the illustration below:

Coronavirus is a type of “enveloped” virus which means its core genetic material is surrounded by a membrane. That membrane, encircled in the image above, is called a lipid bilayer or two layers of phospholipids.

By Bensaccount – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lipid_bilayer_section.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2929946

Lipid is a molecule that is like fat. Since soaps dissolve fat, washing your hands with soap and water for a sufficient amount of time, experts say singing “Happy birthday” twice does the trick, dissolves that lipid bilayer envelope of the coronavirus which in turn destroys the virus itself. This simple practice is very effective against germs, that’s why you often see surgeons spending a great deal of time thoroughly scrubbing their hands with soap and water before and after a surgery as shown in popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or The Good Doctor.

So let’s do our part, frequently wash our hands with soap and water to keep it clean and fight off nasty germs like the coronavirus. Remember, before and after eating, wash your hands. After using the toiltet, wash your hands. Just got home from work or outside, wash your hands before touching anything else or your loved ones.

It cannot be overstated: wash your hands with soap and water.