Reviews and Blog Posts: internet

I know where your cat lives

Privacy on the Internet!

It’s hard sometimes to imagine who might be doing what with the information you share online, or how much you should worry about it.

“I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is a new website that offers a very clear illustration of the kinds of things that might be done with your (or your cat’s) personal information.

From the site’s about page:

Net Neutrality and why it really matters...in 900 words.

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Net Neutrality is a phrase that’s been in the news a lot lately, and it’s not a simple thing to explain. But often, important things are not simple things. Net neutrality matters to anyone who uses or will use the internet, whether at home or at places like public libraries, schools or community organizations.

What is Net Neutrality and Why Should Anyone Care?

No entry sign, courtesy of Elliot Brown on Flickr

On the 14th of this month, the US Court of Appeals for DC Circuit issued a ruling in a case brought by Verizon against the Federal Communications Commission. Verizon was challenging the FCC's attempt to "compel broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic the same regardless of source," as the ruling put it - what is popularly known as "net neutrality." Verizon won. Mostly.

Back in 2010, the FCC adopted the Open Internet Order - a set of rules designed to provide a basic framework for internet service providers (ISPs). It banned content blocking (where an ISP simply blocks subscriber's access to a specific site or type of data) and charging content providers for access to their network (think Comcast charging Netflix to provide its service to Comcast internet subscribers).

Advanced Internet Searching for the Extra-Curious

Google

The internet is chock full o' curiosities, and if you're curious like I am, a plain old Google search just ain't gonna cut it.

It's true that often, when I’m looking stuff up online, I just throw a few words into Google and see what happens. Actually, most of the time that will actually work just fine. But sometimes a search requires a little more finesse in order to dig up really good results.

Did you know you can use Google to search within a website?

Did you know using quotation marks around two or more words creates a search for those words next to one another, and in that exact order?

A simple minus sign before a word in your search prevents results containing that word.

Browser Extensions and Internet Security

Browser extensions are small pieces of software you can choose to install that enhance the capability of your web browser. You may also hear them called add-ons or plug-ins, depending on the browser you use.  The benefit to these small pieces of software is you can personalize your browser so you can easily access information, block annoying ads, or even increase your overall Internet security.

I have a few extensions that make it into my favorites category.  Let's take a look at what they are and what they can do for you.

21st Century Travel

I guess I sort of remember what it was like to travel before the internet. I definitely remember having to buy a phone card for long road trips, and carrying around a sheet of paper with important names and numbers on it.  Once when I was about 19 I landed my mom, my sister and me in a weird industrial neighborhood in a rental car in Chicago. Folding paper maps have never been my jam.

I admit it -- I'm super happy to have a smart phone, and to be able to research destinations online. It's awesome. So as mon petit ami and I prepare for a spring adventure to Paris, I am reflecting on just how heavily I rely on the web for my travel plans. There’s some great stuff out there, for sure. I do a lot of research before I go anywhere. It helps me relax and alleviate anxieties I might have about going somewhere new. I thought it might be useful for me to divulge some of the travel planning tools I use.

Why is the Internet Slow? And What's the Library Doing About It?

Bandwidth Explosion

If you use the Library's public computers, you know that we have experienced a decrease in Internet connection speed. There are a number of reasons for this, several of which have been addressed. And we have isolated the cause of what we hope is the last remaining issue. The good news is that the Library now has a dedicated segment of the City and County of Denver's Internet connection.

This means we aren't competing for bandwidth with other City agencies, and our heavy Internet traffic (we have over 1,500 computers) is not interfering with the Sheriff, Courts or other agencies. The bad news is that this shift has yet to improve the connection speeds at our public computers and this is due to the way we currently filter the Internet. What is not news is that Internet traffic is growing exponentially worldwide.

Fresh City Life My Branch--We've Got Tech!

The Library's amazing Community Technology Center has a wide range of technology classes at the Central Library, everything from computer basics to job search skills, but did you know that Fresh City Life My Branch also offers technology classes with friendly folks from the CTC or with your neighborhood librarian?

From one-on-one help to current tech topics, check out the technology classes available at a branch near you!

Tech Open Houses are designed for you to bring in your gadgets (laptop, tablet, eReader) and get one-on-one help with your questions--especially ones about downloading eBooks!

Every Monday, 11 a.m. - 12 noon at Ross-University Hills

Organizing Your Virtual World

Most of us have favorite bloggers, trusted news websites, an email account and a few social networks we follow, too. Maybe the sites are bookmarked for quick access or addresses pop up in the browser history upon beginning to type. In some cases complete web addresses have been memorized! Stop the insanity!

I don't know about you, but my mornings used to be all about a cup o' joe and time set aside for perusing the newspaper. It's been a long time since I've had actual ink and paper delivered to my doorstep, but I fondly remember opening up a newspaper and leisurely trolling for scandalous headlines, often skimming the heady news articles and jumping straight to the crossword puzzle and comics. This familiarity is comforting, to be sure. The beauty of newspapers is the way they're organized; we know what to expect when we open one up. Breaking news appears on the front page.

About the Blackout

Wikipedia's page on internet blackout day.

This Wednesday, you may have noticed the internet got a little weird: Google’s logo on its homepage was censored, Wikipedia went black, even LOLcats were asking you to contact your members of Congress. The cause of all the uproar? The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), two bills currently in front of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, respectively.

Both SOPA and PIPA were created to allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders greater capacity to combat online sharing of copyrighted intellectual property and goods – i.e., to make it harder to pirate music, movies, and other media online. Proponents of the bills, the most vocal being the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, estimate that internet piracy results in some $100 million in lost profits annually for U.S. companies and the loss of thousands of jobs.

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