December 26, 2011

What are People Using Computer and the Internet for?

Quick, what’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many people it’s pouring that first cup of coffee, for others, and this number is growing, they turn on the computer and get on the internet. The internet has become such a staple of our everyday lives it’s a real pain when it goes down or doesn’t work even for a couple of hours. Businesses have also depended on services like Metrofax Internet Faxing for easier communication.

So what are people using their computers and internet for?

1.    Paying their bills – When is the last time anyone bought a stamp? With the availability to pay bills with online transactions it might be years before you actually need to set foot in the post office. As internet security gets better and older people become comfortable with the technology, more and more people will use the internet to pay bills.
2.    Let’s make some money – Ever hear of Search Engine Optimization? There are many free-lance writers out there that are writing things about various products and items that people see on their computers while visiting the internet. Take a peek at some of the blogging information and see if you don’t recognize a non-expert telling you something you already knew.
3.    Marketing and Social Networking – Okay so Facebook has taken the world by storm as millions of people not get onto Facebook every day. Many businesses looking for cheaper ways to market their products have turned to the internet and other social networking venues to tell people what’s going on with their product.
4.    Education – There used to be a time where going to a 4-year college was an honor and a privilege. If you didn’t have a four-year degree you were thought of as less than someone who did. There are hundreds of online colleges now offering students a variety of ways to gain experience without ever leaving their home.

The Droid

Were you one of the lucky ones that opened a gift at Christmas to find a new Droid tucked inside the box? If you were then it must feel like the Christmas of childhood days. The Droid smart phone is the new toy for adults and they open up a world of possibilities. Your new toy allows you to communicate via phone and text. Even better it allows you to speak your text message into the phone as it is printed. No more fumbling with the tiny keys, you can now keep up and maybe exceed the lightening speed that your children send messages.

At the touch of a screen the Droid will allow you to access your friend’s Facebook status and view pictures. You can also take pictures at the instance a moment presents itself. And you can store those pictures to organize when time allows. Your email can be read and addressed as it arrives in your in-box which will eliminates the timely process of reviewing them in one setting. It has become a fast paced world making it important to keep up by saving every minute you can.

Your Droid will allow you to access the internet the moment that you want to research any particular subject or provide an instant connection to banking information. Never before has an individual been able to immediately reach out and obtain what they need. Work lunch breaks can be utilized for shopping, banking and catching up leaving evening hours for personal use.

When you begin to think that all of this is the best thing that has happened to you in a long time, it gets better. In addition to all of the standard tools associated with the Droid there is more. Numerous free applications are available for immediate download. So if you want to view the stars positions, get to downloading.

Facebook and Twitter taking over writing pedagogy

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Last year Angela Pascopella and Will Richardson of the District of Administration reported a new approach to writing pedagogy for children named ELGG. The program uses the Facebook and Twitter model to edit the written work of students. In ELGG, students write essays and share it with the internet world for critique. The notes given by such critics are then used to re-structure the essay for final review and submission to the teacher. While it may appear that a classroom taught in a blog-type fashion would render negative results, such structure has broadened the learning capacity of special education students to the extent of being placed in regular classes in less than three years of use.

In their report, Pascopella and Richardson refer to a student named Cory who encountered the new educational tool in his sixth grade special education class. Although he was not the best writer in his class, Cory was afforded the opportunity to write an essay about the service of military men and women that received an immeasurable amount of positive feedback from internet readers. Such feedback inspired him to revise and publish a higher quality of work that eventually placed him in regular classes by his eighth grade year.

While socializing over the internet has helped many students like Cory succeed in their educational endeavors over the past few years, it is not safe to say that such networking will benefit all students. Amid the praise given to ELGG, Pascopella and Richardson also present the idea of online networking hindering the writing process in pedagogy. The writers explain, “the students are flocking to online networks in droves, and they are doing a great deal of writing…but much of it outside the traditional expectations of ‘good writing’” Although Facebook and Twitter are inspiring students to write, what type of writing are they inspiring and producing?

DriveMeCrazy Mobile App: An Internet invasion of the driving experience

Philip Inghebrecht introduced the new DriveMeCrazy Mobile App on Monday, December 20, 2010 at 6:00p.m. The purpose of the App is to allow poor driving habits to be reported as they take place on the road. According to Inghebrecht, drivers can speak the license plates offending vehicles into their iPhones and either report them to the department of motor vehicles or social networks. In addition to being able to share driving information with the DMV and  Facebook, drivers may also use the App as a dating venue by leaving audio messages for individuals that they find attractive; no more of the old hooking up at a bar scene.The new App ultimately brings the internet social networking scene to the driving experience by allowing the habits of good and bad drivers to be exposed on the world wide web.

Although Inghelbrecht and the makers of DriveMeCrazy appear to have the major complications associated with the App handled, the small issues are under construction. While he claims that “malicious users” will not have the ability to abuse the site, Inghelbrecht is does not specify the methods that are being used to discourage such users. The idea of an individual having the ability to ruin a person’s social influence and driving record without being held responsible is dangerous. Driving information given by amateurs can lead to negative points at the DMV office and higher insurance premiums; ultimately resulting in a decline in insurance purchases. With such drastic consequences presented, should the Internet be allowed to invade the driving experience?

While it has provided many shortcuts in life, the Internet should not be given lead-way into the “bad-driver reporting” sector of the driving experience. If a driver wishes to report poor driving habits, then he or she should take the necessary precautions already established to do so.

Protecting Your Computer from Viruses

One of the most frustrating things that can happen to your computer is to get a virus that disables it and possibly finds sensitive information that could be used for identity theft. Here are the best ways that you can prevent viruses from ravaging your computer so your information is safe.

First, realize that no matter what you do, there are no fool-proof ways to protect your computer. Especially when you are sharing p2p files or using File Zilla for FTP.  Even if you follow all the tips in this article, it’s still possible to get a virus on your computer. Still, the chances are reduced by following these tips.

Second, use an Internet firewall. This is especially important if you have DSL, cable, or fiber-optic Internet which always stays connected. Even if you don’t have your browser up, it doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t send a virus or hack into your computer through the Internet. A firewall can protect you from this invasion.

Third, keep your computer up to date with Microsoft Update. Periodically, a security update will be released ensuring that any known security holes are patched so your computer is secure.

Fourth, subscribe to antivirus software and make sure to keep your subscription current.  You should certainly do this if you are transferring xvid codec movies with FileZilla software.  Subscriptions are needed because new viruses are being released all the time and security companies are continually developing defenses against these new viruses.

Fifth, never open an email attachment unless you know exactly what it is, even if the email is from someone you know. Some viruses will hack into Facebook accounts and email accounts and send fake emails/messages to people on their friends list or contact list, so just because it’s from someone you know, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Also, if you’re sent a link to a website, be sure you know what the site is. If the site asks you to install anything, be suspicious and make sure you know what you’re downloading.

Finally, if your computer starts running slower than usual, have it checked out by a professional. It could mean that there is spyware on your computer such as a program that records your keystrokes and logs your sensitive information.