Internet

Avoiding Sneakware

I see it all the time: PCs choking on gobs of uninvited software to the point where they barely function.  They may be Web browser toolbars or antivirus utilities or programs that promise to speed up your computer, when in fact they do exactly the opposite.  It enrages me to see programs like these on my customers’ computers because I know that they did not knowingly install these programs--these programs waltzed in with another that the customer did want.  This sort of software is referred to as “sneakware.” It’s kind of like the plus-four your buddy brings to your small gathering that was really only supposed to be a plus-one at most. It’s rude, annoying, and most people don’t know how to properly say “no.”  I can’t help you with your social skills, but I can tell you how to say no to sneakware.

Searching the Internet

Looking for information in all the wrong places?

That's a song that Internet searchers could sing day after day. Spending hours (even days) looking for something online can be frustrating. Here are some tips and favorite sites that our reference librarians use to find what they're looking for....

Feed

By M.T. Anderson

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"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." So says Titus, a teenager whose ability to read, write, and even think for himself has been almost completely obliterated by his "feed," a transmitter implanted directly into his brain. Feeds are a crucial part of life for Titus and his friends. After all, how else would they know where to party on the moon, how to get bargains at Weatherbee #38; Crotch, or how to accessorize the mysterious lesions everyone's been getting? But then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares about what's happening to the world and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed. The audiobook version of this book is highly recommended for an eerie narration including commercial jingles and the "feed" experience.
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Ditch Your Cable

TV Is Dead. Long Live TV

In these lean times, we’re all looking for ways to cut household costs. You may be pondering whether you should ditch the cable TV or the broadband Internet to free up $50 a month. Take my advice and lose the cable. Heck, even if you aren’t in a financial pickle, go ahead and dump it. Your life will be better for it. Here’s why.

Increasing Your Internet Privacy

Maintaining your privacy online is a tricky matter, as I’m sure you know. And though you’re using a firewall as well as anti-spyware software, and you’ve password-protected your computer, that does almost nothing to keep your information secure online. Here are some ideas to help keep you to yourself when surfing the Web. I’ve divided the information into basic and advanced sections for your convenience.

Games for Everyone

Counter-culture revolutionary that I’m not, I am nonetheless always on the lookout for media that has been produced outside the mainstream. The catchall term for such media is “indie,” though such a mass grouping for what is actually a very diverse market is woefully oversimplified. But you get the idea: