Tech Answers

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....

Carry Your Programs with You Everywhere

Most computer users these days use laptops as their portable computing solution and take them almost everywhere they go.  There are those situations, however, when you need access to your programs and your files, but of course, you forgot your laptop when you needed it most.  Fortunately there’s easy access to a computer nearby, but it doesn’t have anything you need on it.  What to do? 

The eBook eVolution

Let’s talk about eBook readers. I’m sure you’ve seen one by now. Rectangular pieces of plastic capable of storing thousands of books to be read anytime, anywhere. Now equipped with screens employing the latest “electronic ink” technology that mimics the lighting qualities of real paper, they are fast supplanting the "traditional" portable media player as the tech to talk about. 

The Windows 7 Age

Windows 7, the anticipated successor to the oft-maligned Windows Vista operating system from Microsoft, has arrived.  Now available in stores on DVD-ROM, on the web for download (http://store.microsoft.com/win7netbooks), and on newly-purchased PCs, Microsoft has a lot riding on the acceptance of their new OS.

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.

Sharing Digital Photos

You’ve taken your personal pictures and downloaded them. Now what? SHARE THEM!
The internet makes it easy. A variety of websites offer FREE uploading and sharing of digital pictures. Most require you to become a “member,” but that’s free, too!

Accessible Bookmarks/Social Bookmarking

“With all the technology we have, why can’t I just access my bookmarks from anywhere?” The good news is: you can, with one of these Web sites:

 
All require you to register for free, and then have their own steps to follow, but all allow you to import your “bookmarks” or “favorites” from your home computer and then access them from any other computer with internet access. If you have been crying out for this ability, here’s your chance!!
 

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.

Netbooks for Newbies

It has been fascinating to observe the rising adoption rates of netbooks. Think of netbooks as filling the technological niche between smartphones (such as the Blackberry and the iPhone) and full-sized laptops: they are compact, light-weight, and inexpensive computers for the price-conscious mobile user. Netbooks generally feature a diagonal screen size of 7–10 inches, wi-fi, a slower processor which consumes less power (resulting in often considerably longer battery life), a smallish hard drive, and no built-in optical drive (CD/DVD).

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: