Author Archive

Laughing In Tough Times

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

These days, any excuse to laugh is a good one. And even with its sometimes shady reputation, the internet is a prime place to find this humor. You can uncover everything from one-liners, to humorous essays and stories, to the decrepit knock-knock. Comic strips, YouTube videos, and even the occasional status update on Facebook are sources of comedy.

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Unshelved comic used with permission.

Unlocking the comedic power of the Web can be dangerous, however, and not a little overwhelming. Fear not; I’m here to help. Here are just a few websites to get you started. Although I have taken care to choose quality, trustworthy sites, keep in mind that neither I nor KDL can take responsibility for all content contained therein.

Peanuts

Unshelved

I Can Has Cheezburger

Calvin and Hobbes

The Onion

Zits

Joke-of-the-Day

Garfield

Stupid Signs

Clean Jokes


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Staying Safe Online

Friday, November 7th, 2008

pc-security1.jpgOne of the biggest concerns while surfing the Web is security. And rightly so. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America and there are constant news stories reporting online abuse. Fortunately, by following basic practices and your own good judgment, you can maximize your online safety.

1. Use anti-virus, spyware removal, and firewall programs.

2. Download only from trusted websites. Some downloads can contain dangerous software.

3. Protect your passwords. Make them tough to guess, perhaps by mixing letters and numbers, and never use your real name, birthday, or username for a password.

4. The internet is great camouflage and sometimes people aren’t who they say they are. Never give private information to anyone online

5. Never click on a link in a suspicious email. If you are not sure the message is real, type in the known web address of the site in question and proceed from there.

6. Never reply to spam emails. This will let the spammer know they have contacted a real person and will only result in further mailings.

7. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam.

8. And finally, when in doubt, log off! When it comes to the internet, it’s always better to err on the side of safety.

Ah, but we’ve just scratched the surface! For more tips and information about staying safe online, check out these online resources:

WikiHow’s “Be Safe on the Internet”
National Cyber Security Alliance
Protect Your Online Banking
GetNetWise.org
MySpace Safety from CBS News


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Google Chrome: Part Deux

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

google_chrome_browser_market.jpgOkay, so I confess I’m completely enamored with Google Chrome. Therefore, what I’m about to share with you may seem completely useless, but through my rose-colored glasses, the following tips appear more than worthy. After all, love isn’t practical.

Have a tab that’s gone wacko and even refuses to close? Chrome offers an in-browser Task Manager. Shift+Esc will bring up the Manager and allow you to terminate the processes on a particular tab.

You can also jump from tab to tab without using the mouse. Simply hold down Ctrl and then press the tab’s corresponding number. If you’re on tab one and want to view the website currently open on tab nine, hit Ctrl+9.

Chrome offers an incognito feature, allowing you to shop for that secret birthday present without having to worry about the lucky party stumbling across that same website via the site history. You can go “Incognito” by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or by clicking the “Page” icon in the upper right corner and selecting “New incognito window” from the menu.

Have you ever been surfing the Web and suddenly thought, “Man, I wish I knew how many inches are in 8 miles.” Of course you have. It’s happened to me many times. With Google Chrome, I no longer have to wonder, scrounge around for a pad of paper, or even launch Windows Calculator. Merely enter a simple calculation in the address bar and let Chrome do the heavy mental lifting.

googlecalc.jpg

In Chrome, you can adjust text areas (like those teeny comment boxes on blogs) to a size actually viewable by the human eye.

Ctrl+H will bring up your history page and Ctrl+J will display your past downloads. (Both commands are also accessible from the Settings menu, which is the “Wrench” icon in the upper right corner.

These are just a few of the things you can do with Google Chrome. Interested in learning more? Why not give Chrome a try?


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Lowell Area Ghost Towns

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Historical Museum DisplayMany people think ghost towns are places where spirits live and meet to plan unearthly deeds. Well, okay, maybe only a few people think this. Or perhaps it’s just me. In reality, however, ghost towns are not testaments to the spirit world, but rather monuments to real people. The places where they once lived, worked, and dreamed. They give us a fascinating peek into history and allow us to explore a way of life long past.

There are various reasons why a once-thriving community can become a “ghost town.” In the old days, many founding fathers designed their towns to intercept the railroad, which was spreading across the country, bringing prosperity with it. Often, however, the railroad would, for one reason or another, bypass a hopeful village, thereby dooming it to obscurity. Other towns suffered when their population moved to other areas. Still more failed as railroad’s golden age waned. Whatever the reason, today’s traveler can visit many of these locations and, walking the same streets and seeing the same sights as the town’s early inhabitants, get a sense of the past.

At the Englehardt branch of Kent District Library, the Lowell Area Historical Museum has set up a special display giving a short history of several area ghost towns: Fallasburg, Waterville, Moseley, and South Boston to name a few. With the display, which is both visually appealing and educational, the Historical Museum allows students of history and the casual passer-by to glimpse the glory of a bygone era.


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