Some years back, I wrote a blog post regarding the need to install only the necessary Web browser plug-ins. I’m now telling you to probably ditch most of them. The modern Web needs no plug-ins!
Retail software is expensive, sometimes running you hundreds of dollars. The good news is that there are some great, free alternatives that aren’t awful. The hard part is discerning the good from the bad and knowing the safe places to get it from. That is what I aim to do with this blog post!
- LibreOffice: http://www.libreoffice.org/
Anything Microsoft Office can do, the LibreOffice suite can do at least as well. With quality programs to answer almost every component of Microsoft Office, LibreOffice will cost you a whopping nothing.
- Notepad++: https://notepad-plus-plus.org/
Notepad++ is a free code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.
The CRRL has a fantastic collection of popular digital magazines from Zinio which our customers can download and keep for free. In an effort to simplify the process of getting these magazines, Zinio has been implementing some changes to its apps and its checkout procedure. Here’s what you need to know:
Windows 8 has been a commercial and critical flop. The improvements made in 8.1 brought it more in line with the expectations of long-time Windows users. Overall though, Microsoft did a poor job of transitioning its customers away from an interface that had gone unchanged for 17 years—and a terrible job communicating why they should want to. With the Windows 10 Technical Preview, it looks like Microsoft will be addressing those problems and bringing to the table new functionality that users will actually welcome.
Wi-Fi changed the networked world. Our laptops could finally, truly be operated on our laps independent of a network cable. Wi-Fi has also made computing significantly less secure. It’s not as if relying on a hardwired connection makes you hack-proof, but relying on Wi-Fi alone for all your online needs is dangerous.
A few times every week I’ll have customers approach me after searching our public catalogs and ask, “What does it mean if it says it’s an ‘eBook?'” When I explain, I always take care to emphasize that an eReader, tablet, or smartphone is not required for most of our digital materials in print—all that’s needed is a regular computer with a modern Web browser and active connection.
Thanks to our OverDrive ebook database, you have 24-hour access to a diverse collection of popular titles you can download instantly to your eReader, including the Amazon Kindle and Kindle apps. At the moment, users can have up to four titles checked out at once. The good news is that these eBooks can be returned early when you're finished with them, freeing up a space to your download limit. However, Kindle users may have noticed that Amazon has recently made a subtle change to the manner in which Kindle books are returned early.
In Google Chrome it’s called “Incognito Mode.” Firefox has dubbed it “Private Browsing.” Internet Explorer? “InPrivate Browsing.” This is the browser feature you can use to temporarily disable storage of your browsing history, text field inputs (such as usernames and passwords, not to mention searches), and cookies. These modes are great for keeping secrets from others using the same computer, but they won’t hide anything from the rest of the Web. What I'm offering will.
The Central Rappahannock Regional Library is dedicated to featuring new and inspiring technologies for the community. For the past year we have been demonstrating 3-D printing with our Mobile MakerLab. The library can offer much more now that a permanent MakerLab has been set up at our England Run Branch.
Thanks to a generous partnership with the University of Mary Washington, library staff and university students are able to teach customers of all ages about aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through demonstrations and hands-on activities.
Free Computer Assistance
CRRL Training on Demand
The Very Basics
The Library Network's New User Training
SeniorNet How-To Tips
Firchild YouTube Tutorials
Goodwill Community Foundation Computer Training
In Pictures Computer Tutorials
Microsoft's Office Tutorials
Tech News & Trends
All Things D
Cult of Mac
Digits: Wall Street Journal Tech Blog
The Guardian Technology News
New York Times Technology News
This Week in Tech Podcasts with Leo Laporte
Washington Post Technology News