Powering the internet requires energy like anything else—so just how much does the wired world suck down?
I don't know what I'd do without my computer. I can't do my job without the internet. I communicate with employers, friends, and family through emails, video chat and Twitter. I schedule meetings and plan deadlines. I bank. I shop. I read the news. I play games. I watch my favorite shows. Yes, I'd be rather lost without this little plastic box of circuits.
I love my laptop. It goes wherever I go. Unfortunately, that means that it also gets pretty grubby after a while. The screen gets dusty. The frame gets smudgy. The spaces between the keys fill up with crumbs of questionable origins. And my desktop? That thing is a dust bunny magnet.
Ah, a perfect combination of two things that I love: well-designed flowcharts and proper image crediting! The internet may seem like a free-for-all, but posting uncredited images can land you in a legal scuffle (not to mention that it's bad manners). Most of my article images are either public domain (found through Wikimedia Commons) or stuff that I've made myself. Otherwise, I add credit, just like I'm about to do right now.
Okay, stop me if you've heard this one. You have a document that you want your co-workers' advice on. You attach said document onto a mass email. The first reply comes back with an edited version of the document. You begin to make changes, but another email comes in, with yet another edited version. Soon you're drowning in a desktop folder full of mismatched documents, all with the same name.
Your best friend's on Yahoo!, your daughter's on AIM, and now your co-worker wants to connect with you over Windows Live. Before you know it, your desktop is overflowing with buddy lists and message windows. Mismatched alert sounds are dinging and buzzing incessantly. Your computer has become a disorganized, stressful place to be.
While a lot of internet threats are rather over-hyped, there are some serious things to be cautious of when going online. Probably the biggest risk to the average internet user is malicious software. Commonly knows as "malware," this term refers to any program that exists solely to do harm. This may include damaging your computer or accessing your data without you knowing. Viruses, trojans, and spyware are all forms of malware. Now, malware can seriously mess up your system, and the idea of s...
You may see the term "binary code" used in some of the blog posts here. You don't ever need to know what binary code is in order to use a computer. But if you're feeling curious and want to learn more about what makes your computer tick, check out this easily-accessible tutorial.
Movies like to show hackers breaking passwords with fancy software and ludicrous gadgets. The reality of busting passwords open is much more mundane. Simple as it may sound, most passwords are broken purely by guesswork. Check out this infographic from ZoneAlarm, as well as this list from the Wall Street Journal of the fifty most common passwords gleaned from the 2010 Gawker hack. If your password is on one of those lists, you need to change it. Right now.
Many folks seem to treat their computers as a sort of mysterious alien technology that only the shamans of the IT Department can comprehend. You might have gotten it into your head that you're just not good at computers and will never understand them. On the contrary, getting a basic grasp on all the amazing stuff inside your computer doesn't require you to be a technological genius. Most people will never have a need or desire to open up their computer and poke around. But it's your machine....
Not just for grandmas! Anybody who's new to Google chat should check this out.
Sure, you go online to email and shop and do research. But have you ever been curious about how the internet actually works? Don't worry, you don't need a degree in computer science to get a handle on how your info gets from point A to point B. Learning the basics of the internet will give you a whole new appreciation for all those emails and chat messages that seem to magically appear. Get ready, because we're about to enter the wonderful world of digital data!