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Right now, we’re presented with a unique opportunity to meaningfully support our community by supporting our local businesses. You can benefit by making some great purchases for yourself and the community can benefit by ensuring these local companies have a much stronger chance of returning to normal when the crisis has passed. It’s truly a case of doing well by doing good.
Here are some ways you can contribute to the local economy and come across some golden finds!
How else can you help? Spread the word! Share information with your friends and neighbors about what is available from local businesses. Leave a great review about a local business. Make a post on social media about that great meal or that beautiful flower arrangement you picked up curbside.
By supporting our community businesses, we’re supporting our friends, family members and neighbors. If we all do our part to keep our community connected and supported, we’ll all come out the other side of this better!
Think about how often you check your phone. Every hour? Every few minutes? We all touch our smartphones nonstop. And as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to think about what might be lurking on your device.
In studies, everything from e.coli to Staphylococcus aureus ― also known as MRSA ― has been lifted from the surface of smartphones. Research from the United Kingdom suggests 1 in 6 phones have feces on it, since plenty of people browse apps in the bathroom, and set their phones down while in there, as well. In other words, your beloved device is a hotbed for germs.
It stands to reason, then, that the surface of your phone could host the coronavirus if you come in contact with it, said Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of health science at Ball State University.
“We spend at least two hours daily touching the phone,” he said. Some statistics suggest it might even be more. “It clearly becomes a vehicle of transmission, especially when people share phones.”
Dr. Neha Vyas, a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, agreed.
“The frequency with which you should wash your phone is probably akin to how frequently you use it,” she explained. “If you are taking it in a place that is germ-y, it is likely you want to wash it.”
If you’ve heard about UV light devices that eliminate germs from the phone, these can possibly work to kill microbes ― but only with ideal conditions.
Do certain types of UV lights work to kill germs? Yes. Could these devices work in theory? Yes. But do they actually? That’s the question, according to Khubchandani. If online reviews are an indicator, the answer is maybe not.
“The challenge is, are these products tested for efficacy?” Khubchandani said.
In general, the lights are probably not the best standalone practice to prevent virus spread. They are not as convenient, not as cheap and not as widely available as other disinfectants. “Wipes seem to be the best right now for cost, portability and proven efficiency,” Khubchandani said.
First, to keep yourself safe, wash your hands frequently ― then think about your phone. Current research on COVID-19 shows it’s most likely to be spread person-to-person through droplets, mucus or saliva.
After that, the virus is more likely to spread via hard surfaces like your phone or a door knob than soft surfaces like carpet.
“Soap and water are still the best,” Khubchandani said. “Hand washing should be done regularly for everyone. For the phone, you can’t really use [soap and water], but something like a Clorox wipe would work. Look for a wipe with at least 70% alcohol.”
Vyas suggested a wipe that doesn’t have bleach in it, so it doesn’t ruin your phone surface. Ethanol wipes can typically disinfect a surface with the coronavirus. Whatever cleaner you use, just make sure it has time to sit and work its magic before you wipe it off.
“You can lightly wipe the surface of the phone, and then make sure you dry it with a microfiber cloth,” in order to get rid of germs completely, she said. Just make sure the cloth is only used once, then wash it before you use it again.
But of course, a lot of cleaning products like disinfectant wipes are selling out at the moment. If you encounter this issue, Khubchandani suggested filling a spray bottle with simple rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, which you could then wipe away with a single-use cloth. (It’s not the preferred method of disinfecting a surface, but fine in a pinch.)
“Those are the two cheapest if you don’t find the wipes,” he said. “Just keep it in the restroom. Wipe your phone with it after you touch it.”
And make sure you’re sanitizing regularly: “Practice cleaning the phone,” Khubchandani said. “Make it a four-or-five-times-a-day ritual. And clean your personal spaces with disinfectants. Clean your desk, your computer, your phone. Everyone’s scared, but they need to pay attention to their own practices [to prevent spread]. Sometimes, we miss the most obvious things ― like cleaning our own desk, washing hands ― when we’re overly anxious.”
So, to recap: Use wipes on your phone, and follow up with a microfiber cloth if you really want the best results. And most importantly, continue to wash your hands when you interact with others and touch surfaces like your phone. Disinfect your personal spaces and office space, too. Practicing good hygiene is one of the best defenses against most illnesses like coronavirus.
Many of us are spending more time than normal on our screens, whether we are working from home, homeschooling our children, or binge-watching our favorite shows to help pass the time indoors. While COVID-19 has many of us staying home to help save lives, unfortunately it’s not only outdoors that we need to take care.
Scammers and hackers are taking this opportunity—while the country is vulnerable—to launch new phishing and malware attacks. Phishing is when people try to get you to give them sensitive information, like social security numbers, credit card numbers, and so on. Malware is a program that can get into your computer and damage files, delete them, or give your computer a virus. Here are some things you can do to stay vigilant while you’re on your computer more than usual:
If you don’t recognize the person who sent the email, don’t click on an attachment or link. Even if you do recognize the sender, if there is no personal information in the email, don’t click. You might receive an email that says “Look at this” along with a link or an attachment. Only open attachments or click on links if they are clearly from someone you know. If you’re unsure, call the person to verify.
If a pop-up appears on your computer or phone that sounds too good to be true, it is. Pop-ups promising that you have won something or saying there’s a problem on your computer should be treated with skepticism. HCC does NOT use pop-ups to announce that you have won a prize, like an Amazon gift card or an iPad.
There is no prince in Nigeria who will give you seven million dollars. If you receive a message from a loved one who says they have been kidnapped and need money immediately, take a deep breath and call the person to check before you do anything else. Never give out personal information—bank account or credit card information, social security number, etc.—unless you are certain it is going to the right place.
Just about every safety checklist starts with this simple tip. When you create a password, make sure it is nearly impossible to guess. Do that by creating a long password (8 or more characters) that includes both uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one number, and at least one special character (like ! or @ or $ or %).
If you get to a website asking you to download something or input information, check the web address to be sure. If you see a trusted website, like “https://www.hcc.net/” then you’re okay. But if you see something like “hcc.134870xkajg.com” that’s a scam. This advice applies to email addresses, too. A common email scam is an email that appears to be from a friend, family member, or coworker saying, “Can you please open this attachment and print it for me?” A familiar name may be there, but the email address will be wrong.
Unfortunately, some people are taking this vulnerable time to exploit people. Stay vigilant and you’ll be fine. If you have questions about something you think may be a scam, don’t hesitate to contact us.
As the world faces COVID-19 and we, as a nation and a community, work together to prevent its spread, the federal and state government as well as the CDC recommend staying at home if at all possible. Thank you for your commitment to helping us all stay healthy. Here’s our guide to staying connected at home.
If you have a job that allows you to work from home, you’re probably already working there. Here are some best practices for working from home:
If you have children and who are at home right now, there are many ways they can continue to learn online—no matter their age. Here are some helpful resources for helping kids learn at home:
Your internet connection puts a world of entertainment options at your fingertips, even when you’re stuck inside. Many services are streaming movies that would normally be in theaters right now. Others are offering discounts or free service for people who have lost their jobs.
HCC offers a streaming service called nexTV. With features like full HD and live TV included, home entertainment has never been easier. nexTV also offers up to 200 hours of cloud DVR recording, to watch on your TV, smartphone or tablet with HCC’s nexTV app. Equipment is easy to install – just plug your streaming nexTV device into a power source, your TV’s HDMI port and sign into your nexTV account (provided to you by customer service).
Most of us have more time at home right now than we expected. Whether you’re working at home, learning at home, playing at home, or some combination of the three, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Before COVID-19 hit so close to home, the internet generally seemed like a handy tool. Depending on your job or interests, the world wide web might not have been something you gave any thought to. The internet was just there.
Now, as we practice social distancing, that “handy tool” may be becoming a central part of our lives. While it certainly cannot replace good old-fashioned conversations at the neighborhood bakery or hands-on learning in the classroom, it does have the ability to keep us connected in many ways. And let’s face it, generally, we are social beings. The internet provides that outlet.
Here’s a handful of creative ways people are using their internet connection to connect:
We want to make sure you are having the best experience with your internet. Feel free to give us a call to troubleshoot issues you may be having with Wi-Fi or to increase your bandwidth as your needs grow during this time. We’re in this together.
To meet the Internet needs of work-from-home individuals and students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hood Canal Communications (HCC) has increased its minimum internet speed to 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) for six weeks, at no charge to customers.
“We hope that this will offer some relief to our customers who are stuck at home during this pandemic,” said HCCs’ General Manager Mike Oblizalo.
Using the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) guidelines, HCC estimates that families of up to four people will be able to use email, browse the web, video conference and stream simultaneously.
HCC is able to offer this unprecedented broadband access thanks to a major upgrade to its network facilities last year. In 2019, the company expanded its internet backbone, adding two geographically diverse fiber-optic cable connections, each capable of providing 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) of throughput to the public Internet. This network upgrade marked the largest connections to be deployed in Mason County, giving the company the fastest “backbone” Internet connection currently available in the area.
In addition to increasing HCC’s minimum internet speeds, the company has also put into place several relief measures for its customers. All pay-by-phone fees will be waived, to encourage access to the feature and discourage unnecessary contact. HCC is also proud to participate in the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge and will waive late fees for the month of March.
This speed upgrade and other customer relief measures are offered as solutions to the necessary closure of HCC’s offices to the public. Following the advice of the CDC and other government officials, unnecessary contact between employees and customers will be limited until further notice. Additional measures have been put in place to mitigate potential health hazards for technicians in the field.
“Our customers’ and employees’ safety are our top priorities,” Oblizalo said. “We’re proud to offer these relief measures to ensure connectivity and stability in these uncertain times.”
Missing a channel? Seeing an error message? You may be experiencing a regular sun outage.
What are sun outages and how do they affect HCC cable customers? In both the spring and fall, the sun passes behind certain communications satellites once per day.
During this time, the energy from the sun will overpower the signal from the satellite, causing loss of signal, tiling and no reception at all on several channels. This can last 2 to 3 weeks and causes channels to go black for a brief period of time. Initially, outages will be gradual and slight, and can last 15-20 minutes at peak times.
On your television you may see the error messages, “one moment please, this channel will be available shortly,” error code SOAOO, or “no signal” during the time of an outage.
So what is HCC doing about this? Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do to prevent sun outages from occurring. All cable and satellite companies are affected by this semi-annual occurrence. We apologize for this programming interruption, and appreciate your patience during this time!
319 Justice Network
322 KCTS Create
351 Antenna TV
357 This TV
Watch the brief video below, from another cable operator, that explains sun outages simply.
One of the most crucial things you can do is pick the optimal location in your home for your router.
It all starts withor other equipment. Not all routers are made equal and the size and layout of your home will determine what type of wireless network you need.
For homes under 1,500 square feet, a single wireless access point should suffice. That said, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model with support for wireless 802.11ac and dual-band support. This will give you the fastest wireless speeds possible and the best overall coverage. For bigger homes, it’s worth considering making theto offer consistent coverage throughout the entire house. Once the main access point is installed, if you find a far corner of your home doesn’t have solid wireless coverage, just add another node to that area. Problem solved.
Regardless of whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, where you place the primary access point still matters.
When you first move into a new home or apartment, the modem is usually installed along the wall in one of the far reaches of the house. This is simply because that is where the line comes into the house. It’s tempting to just leave everything where it is, but it’s unlikely that this is an optimal location to have your router.
Routers send the signal out in all directions, so if it’s left in the corner of your home, a significant percentage of your wireless coverage is being sent outside your home. It’s best to move the router to a central location to optimize the signal. Installing a router across the house from the modem may prove troublesome. It may require manually running a CAT5 cable under the floor or enlisting the help of powerline network adapters. But the improved wireless coverage will be worth it.
Routers tend to spread signal downward, so it’s best to mount the router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a bookshelf orin an inconspicuous place.
Try to pick a location that’s away from other electronics and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstructions and electronics near your router, the higher the chances are that something will interfere with the signal. One electronic to especially avoid is the microwave, which emits a strong signal in the 2.4GHz band, the same wireless band your router operates in.
Some routers have no antenna at all, but some have up to eight. These antennas help direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, don’t position them all in the same direction. Instead, make them perpendicular to one another — position one horizontally and the other vertically. Or slightly change the position of all the antennas to cover a wide range of angles.
In worst-case scenario situations, it may prove useful toin your home to see where there might be gaps or problems areas in your coverage.
If you’re considering upgrading your router, be sure to call HCC first. For homes with children, make sure to, too.
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