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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
Daily dose

How vulnerable am I to the COVID-19?

The SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread throughout the world and there’s now talk of the COVID-19 reaching pandemic levels. It’s not going to be the end of the world or the start of a zombie breakout but one cannot avoid getting anxious. I myself have been worrying ever since reading about it back in December last year. Primarily because I have not been of the greatest of health; underweight, prone to allergic rhinitis which would easily develop into upper respiratory infection. That alone is enough to make life very hard for at least a couple of weeks until it gets resolved. To top it all off, I work in an office building where there’s a lot of foreign nationals on a daily basis.

So the worry is real. Thankfully most of the answers to the question in the title of this post, can be found on an article by Dr Edsel Maurice Salvaña, M.D., DTM&H, FPCP, FIDSA on Esquire Magazine:

Early data is showing that about 80% of people who get sick with COVID-19 will develop only mild symptoms, while 20% can develop more severe disease. The ones at highest risk for a bad outcome are the elderly and those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. A greater percentage of men compared with women with COVID-19 have died in China, and this may have been partly because more males smoke in China. Protecting your loved ones means avoiding unnecessary travel and practicing social distancing. Elderly people should avoid crowds and crowded places. Make sure everyone’s vaccinations for influenza and bacterial pneumonia are up to date since these can prove fatal if they occur at the same time as a COVID-19 infection. Now is also the best time to stop smoking.

Dr Edsel Maurice Salvaña, M.D. A Coronavirus Pandemic Isn’t the End of the World

I may not be young anymore but certainly not too old to be considered an ‘elderly’ just yet. Heart disease and diabetes free. However, I do have a history of lung disease and that’s where the worry really comes from. On the other hand some level of comfort comes from the fact that I don’t smoke cigarettes and having been on a drinking hiatus since last October, my exposure to second-hand smoke has been practically eliminated.

The real trick now is to keep my self in better health. Wash my hands more often and minimize travel. I even started to use my elbows in pushing the elevator buttons and consciously avoid touching door handles and the overhead bar at jeepneys.

In addition, I regularly keep myself updated with news & information about the COVID-19 from credible sources. Hopefully it would be enough to be spared from this disease along with my family. Hoping even more that a local outbreak would not happen even though the recent moves of the government in response to SARS-CoV-2 spread does not inspire confidence and even adds to our worries, there’s only so much that we can do.

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Daily dose

Quo Warranto petition against ABS-CBN – merits & warts

As I have posted on Facebook a few days ago, it was quite surprising that to have found some merit in the the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-Genral Jose Calida against ABS-CBN last February 10 at the Supreme Court.

Before I continue, a few clarifications: I have always criticized the Duterte administration for its patently-wrong war against drugs, to glaring hints of corruption, incompetence, unacceptable pivot to China and its many anti-poor policies. However, it’s important to keep an open mind and after reading the quo warranto petition, there are some valid, and to my mind are quite simple, points that the Solicitor-General has raised:

Number 1: Offering the digital pay-per-view TV channel Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) using a free-to-air frequency. In the petition, the OSG gave as basis orders, yes there were two: dated April 29, 2015 and May 14, 2019, from the National Telecommunications Commission that told ABS-CBN to “refrain from offering any pay television service” as there are still no established guidelines for it.

To date, ABS-CBN still operates KBO channel which is accessible via its own digital set-top box called ABS-CBN TV Plus. On top of this, which is another violation as per the OSG, the KBO channel can only be accessed by first buying the set-top box and then paying a subscription fee.

Number 2: Transferring the legislative franchise of Multi-Media Telephony, Inc which came under ABS-CBN ownership through a series of acquisitions to become ABS-CBN Converge without prior approval of Congress in violation of the very same franchise.

The other points in the petition belong to the realm of corporate law: ABS-CBN Converge’s failure to offer a percentage of its stock to the public as required by its legislative franchise and lastly, its use of PDRs or Philippine Depository Reciepts in order to raise funding from foreign entities which the OSG claims as violative of the Philippine constitution, I leave to the capable hands of the more learned.

Because of all these allegations, the Solicitor-General is asking the Supreme Court to stop ABS-CBN from offering its KBO channel and to cancel its legislative franchise which could would take the media giant off the Philippine airwaves.

Full text of the quo warranto petition:

However valid these points are, it’s hard to accept that the Solicitor-General’s petition was done in the noble pursuit of justice and fulfillment of his sacred duty. Before the petition, President Duterte has been launching tirades against ABS-CBN as he holds a grudge against the network for not airing his campaign ads back when he still a Presidential candidate in 2016. Not only did he offer the unsolicited advise to the Lopezes, which owns the ABS-CBN, to just sell the network, he has publicly stated that he will see to it that it gets shut down. ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise set to expire on March 30, 2020 and with Congress deciding to take its sweet time on granting it a renewal, much of the on going debate has focused on whether or not this Duterte words will become reality.

For his part, Solicitor-General Jose Calida has made a name of using his office to go after those who get the ire of the President: online news outfit Rappler and its founder Maria Ressa are facing lawsuits instigated by him and the most recent was former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno – removed from office by way of a quo warranto petition, again by Calida.

So the petition is also an issue of press freedom as much as it is about the rule of law in our land. Much more about this in a follow up post.