Tech Answers

The Dangers of Wi-Fi

The Dangers of Wi-Fi

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.

Reading eBooks in the Browser

Reading eBooks in the Browser

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.

Stuck on the Web?

Stuck on the Web?
Getting stuck on the Web is a regular occurrence for pretty much everyone, from novices to experienced users. Some folks lack the experience to properly decode complex layouts; others have to slog through poor site design; and sometimes stuff just doesn't work. Here are some ideas for finding your way when this happens.

Returning Kindle eBooks Early - UPDATED

Returning Kindle eBooks Early - UPDATED

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. 

Web Browser Privacy Options and Extensions

Web Browser Privacy Options and Extensions

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 MakerLab at England Run

England Run MakerLab

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.

Buying a New Windows 7 PC

Buying a New Windows 7 PC

Nobody I’ve met likes Windows 8 or 8.1. One of my most frequently requested services at the Headquarters branch is to make customers’ Windows 8 laptops act like Windows 7. Are you in the market for a new PC but want to avoid Windows 8? It’s all but impossible to find Windows 7 PCs in stores these days, but you’ve got lots of choices if you shop online.

First let’s start with buying directly from the PC manufacturers. The best three I could find that still sell Windows 7 machines from their own sites are Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Why might you wish to buy directly from the manufacturer?

Streaming Media Dongles: Price and Power in a Tiny Package

Streaming Media Dongles: Price and Power in a Tiny Package

It is a testament to miniaturization that we can now fit an entire entertainment system onto devices no larger than flash drives. Streaming dongles plug into your HDTV’s HDMI port and play content over WiFi. Dongles offer some great entertainment options for those on or off a budget.

Great Podcasts for Life-Long Learning

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

When I can't get my audio learning fix from our many Modern Scholar courses, I turn to podcasts. Podcasts are audio or video-based shows available for download, streaming, or online subscription. Many of them regularly update in weekly or monthly installments, so there is almost always a new episode to catch up on or many past installments to explore.

Don't Get Trapped in the Web Bubble

Don't Get Trapped in the Web Bubble

The Web is as vast and as unending as our ability to create new content, if not knowledge (be mindful of the distinction). That is, almost by definition, as unending as things get, and it can be overwhelming, to put things mildly. As such, many Web services have done their best to personalize their presentations to our individual tastes. In doing so, they are causing us far more harm than good. Click to keep reading. You need to.