How to Troubleshoot Web Pages That Won’t Load

Upset man on cell phone gesturing at a laptop.
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It’s frustrating when a web page won’t load. Your connection, software, or the website could be causing the problem. Here are a few ways to troubleshoot the issue and access a website, even if it’s down.

Check Your Network Connection

First, check your network connection. Wireless connections can be flaky and drop out at any time, so make sure you’re connected to the right network. An easy way to test this is to visit a popular website, like Google or Facebook. If the site loads, you’re connected!

If the site doesn’t load, make sure your device isn’t in Airplane Mode. On Smartphones, tablets, and many Windows desktop and laptop computers, you can disable all communications. Some Windows laptops also have dedicated Airplane Mode keys, which you can press by mistake. So, double-check your device settings, just in case.

If you can’t access any websites, make sure your computer is connected to your network. Check your Wi-Fi settings or, if you use a wired connection, make sure your Ethernet cable hasn’t slipped out. If you’re confident you’re connected to your local network, it could be your internet connection causing the issue.

The macOS Network settings menu.

The best way to check this is to look at the lights on your router or modem. Every router is different, but most have a clear indicator of the connection status. If the light next to the internet symbol is red or orange, you probably aren’t connected to the internet.

In many cases, rebooting your router and modem might solve the problem. To do so, unplug your modem and router, wait for 10 seconds, plug it back in, and then try the website again.

If the problem persists, you can connect to your local network hardware to get more information. Traditional routers have an admin panel you can access via your web browser. You can usually find the web address printed on the side of the network hardware, along with the default username and password. It’s usually something like 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1. If you have a mesh router system that relies on a mobile app, launch the app instead.

Most routers provide information about your connection status. If you can’t connect to the internet, you might be able to get more information or even an error code. You can then make a note of the error and get in touch with your service provider to try and resolve the issue.

Research Any Error Message in Your Browser

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What’s New in Windows 10’s 19H2 Update, Arriving Fall 2019

Windows 10's light desktop background

Windows 10’s 19H2 update will arrive in the second half of 2019, perhaps in September or October. Also known as Windows 10 version 1909, this will be the smallest, quickest Windows 10 Update yet. It’s practically just a service pack.

A “Less Disruptive Update” With Fewer Changes

Microsoft’s John Cable explains that this update “will be a scoped set of features for select performance improvements, enterprise features, and quality enhancements.” In other words, expect a select set of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and a handful of business features.

If you’re sick of big Windows 10 updates every six months, 19H2 is the update for you! Installing 19H2 will be more like installing a standard cumulative update like the updates that arrive on Patch Tuesday. It should be a small download with a fast installation process—no long reboot and purging of old Windows installations necessary.

Computers with the May 2019 Update (also known as 19H1) installed will get a small patch via Windows Update and quickly update themselves to 19H2. This will likely arrive sometime in September or October 2019.

With Windows 7’s end of life looming on January 14, 2020, Microsoft clearly wants to avoid a repeat of last year’s buggy October 2018 Update.

Other Voice Assistants on the Lock Screen

Alexa saying "I'm ready" on Windows 10

In current versions of Windows 10, Cortana can run on the lock screen. But Microsoft seems to be giving up on Cortana as a consumer product. It’s fitting, then, that Cortana is making way for other voice assistants. A change will allow other voice assistants—like Amazon Alexa—to run on Windows 10’s lock screen.

This is a small feature that should work automatically once Amazon has added it to Alexa. You can talk to your voice assistant, and it can hear you even while you’re on the lock screen, providing an answer.

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Use the 20-20-20 Rule to Relieve Eyestrain

woman with eye strain from working on the computer too long, rubbing her eyes
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Eyestrain is one of the most common complaints among computer users. Fortunately, a simple trick can help remedy the issue: the 20-20-20 rule. Here’s how it works.

Burning and itchy eyes, blurred vision, and headaches are some of the symptoms often experienced by individuals who clock long hours in front of a screen. It’s so common, especially among office workers, that the grouping of symptoms has a name: Computer Vision Syndrome.

The most obvious way to fix the issue is to take breaks to relax your eyes, but that’s not always an option. Imminent deadlines, conference video calls, or engaging video lectures can keep you glued to the computer without a chance to take the time to completely unwind for a few minutes.

That’s when the 20-20-20 exercise comes to the rescue: Every 20 minutes, stare at objects 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Doing so gives your eyes much-needed rest and helps prevent strain.

To boost the restorative power of this trick, try to find green objects to stare at. In fact, our eyes perceive the color green better than other color, and research indicates greens, especially darker greens like foliage, are relaxing to look at—certainly more relaxing than the off-white color of your office walls. With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to take a break from the stimulating (and eye-straining) intense blue-spectrum light of your computer monitor and find plants in the room or trees outside the window to look at.

If your schedule allows it, take it to the next level and go for a quick walk around the office or the house. This will give your whole body a break from sitting down. Plus, your pupils will get some good exercise by looking at a variety of objects during your walk and at distances farther than your workspace allows.

Wallpaper of the Week: Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan

This weeks wallpaper is an image of Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, USA just before rain settles in. Rising mist on Lake Michigan and lowering storm clouds over the area create an image with many subtle shades of blue. The photographer states the rain started shortly after the shot was taken. This is a soft background with mostly clouds and water. The dunes are off to the right and provide mass and sharper definition. There’s a nice balance of sea, sky and shore in this soothing background. Icons show up nicely on this wallpaper.  Read More

The Best Podcast Apps for iPhone and iPad

Overcast playback screen.

Choosing the right podcast app has a big impact on your listening enjoyment. They all play audio, but how they do it and the features they offer are different. Here are some of the best podcast apps for iPhone and iPad.

Why Your Podcast App Matters

As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, what users want from podcast streaming apps (or “podcatchers”) has also grown. Some apps do the bare minimum—they play podcasts. You might be able to speed up playback, but for more advanced controls, you need a more feature-rich podcatcher.

That’s where the more complex apps come in. They bring more interesting interfaces and fuller feature lists, as well as the ability to side-load audio files, share audio clips, skip silence, and more.

The best podcast app for you might be different from what’s best for someone else. And thankfully, there’s enough competition in the podcast-playing space to cater to everyone.

Best of the Best: Overcast

Overcast podcast menu, play screen, and Search menu on a phone.

There are some features all podcast apps have to offer to become popular, like chapter support, and options to change the playback speed. Overcast is a great example of what’s possible when a developer goes the extra mile. It has two standout playback-related features: Voice Boost and Smart Speed.

Voice Boost increases the volume of speech and makes hosts sound clearer and louder without distortion. The volume doesn’t increase for music or jingles, which makes listening to podcasts more pleasant.

As great as Voice Boost is, Smart Speed offers the biggest change. Most apps allow users to listen at 2x, or other speed increments. But Smart Speed removes the silence in podcasts and makes them shorter. So, it reduces your listening time without making anyone sound like a chipmunk. There’s more science to it than that, but once you listen to a podcast with Smart Speed active, it’s difficult to go back.

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