Author Archive

Buying A Computer?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Are you thinking about buying a new computer? There are so many choices! How do you know which advice is the most reliable? Here are some of the best sources of information:

Consumer Reports‘ reviews are unbiased, and are based on both research and repair histories. You can access Consumer Reports free if you have a KDL library card or if you are using a KDL computer! Go to, click on Reference Resources > Research Databases > Magazines > Consumer Reports. Enter your KDL library card number and begin your search by using keywords such as “Computers” or “Laptop Computer.”

Kim Komando, who writes online columns about technology and has a weekly radio show, is also a very good source of advice about what to consider when looking for a computer.

PCWorld magazine can be found in many KDL branches, and has some good articles about what to look for when buying a laptop or a desktop computer.  The monthly magazine is also a good source of information about new software.

And be sure to check out KDL’s excellent selection of books about how to buy, set up, and use your new computer!

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More Wonderfulness on the Web

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Time Magazine just posted its 50 Best Web Sites 2009.Time 50 Best  Like other such lists, Time’s choices include sites that are so familiar that you might think “duh!”, such as Google (but really, what would we do without Google?), and those that might be unfamiliar but which could be your next big thing, such as Supercook (enter the ingredients you find in your pantry and it suggests recipes that allow you to cook something yummy without a trip to the store).  Many of the most popular and useful sites are included, so you’ll find entries for Facebook, Skype, Twitter, and Flickr. But keep reading — you’re sure to smile as you find cool sites that you’ve never heard of.  It won’t be long before you’ll wonder how you survived without ConsumerSearch or Mint!

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Keep Your Tweets Organized

Friday, June 26th, 2009

If you are a  Twitter user and follow more than a few Twitterers, you’ve probably found that it can be a daunting task to keep up with all those Tweets! One simple tool to keep you organized is TweetDeck Just download TweetDeck to your computer and sign on with your Twitter account. Set up as many columns as you like (such as News, Friends, Family, Celebrities, etc.), and then begin to organize the Twitters that you follow.  Choose the Twitters you’d like to put in each column. You can put a Twitterer in multiple columns if you wish.  Now you can see at a glance all of your family tweets in one column, all of the news tweets in another, and all of your co-workers in the next. It makes it so easy to prioritize which ones to read first, and which can be left for when you have more time!  Other ways to organize Twitter include PeopleBrowsr, Seesmic, Nambu, and Eventbox.

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Top 100 Web Sites of the Year

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Each year since 2006, London’s The Guardian has published a list of the top 100 web sites of the year. What a treasure trove for those of us who love to get lost on the internet! The Guardian conveniently puts each site into a catagory, so you can search under “Create/Collaborate” and find sites such as Remember the Milk, an online planner/task manager, or Zoho, an elegant alternative to Microsoft Office that, like Google Docs, allows multiple people to work on the same document. (Real-life application: have each member of your family edit their section of the annual holiday letter before you send it!)

Another list of top web sites is from PC World magazine, “100 Incredibly Useful and Interesting Web Sites.”  You can explore catagories such as “9 Sites for Fitness and Travel” or “9 Sites to Help You Survive the Recession,” which includes a link to GasBuddy, the parent of Use it to find the cheapest gas in the region or anywhere else in the United States and Canada.

A short and sweet list of top web sites can be found in’s “Top Ten Best Sites of 2008.” My own favorite site of the year? Google’s new browser, Chrome, which is no longer in Beta and can be downloaded for free. See KDL’s previous articles here and here. OK, go explore! You’ll have plenty to do the next time we get snowed in!   


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Make Your Own Home Page

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Are you like me? I check lots of web sites daily, including various email accounts, Facebook, the weather, some blogs, webcams, and photo sites, and that’s just the beginning. When I found out that I could set up an iGoogle page and include all of these things on my home page, I knew I was on to something really big.  iGoogle allows you to add countless “gadgets” to your home page, and re-arrange them to your liking. You can also customize the theme (the look and color of your page), and you can change out that theme whenever you want to with some very cool graphics.  All you need to get started is a free Google account. Go to iGoogle’s start page and click on either Sign In (if you have a Google or Gmail account) or “Don’t have an iGoogle page? Get started” if you don’t have an account. Pretty soon you’ll be adding and subtracting gadgets, and even creating your own. To set your new iGoogle page as your home page, go to Tools > Internet Options > Use Current (from Internet Explorer), or Tools > Options > Use Current Page > OK (from Firefox).  Try it — you’ll be addicted in no time!  




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Facebook–Not Just for Students Anymore!

Monday, October 20th, 2008

facebook1.jpgFacebook was started by a college student, for fellow students.  Now it’s grown to include over 100 million users worldwide. It’s one of the most popular of the social networking sites, and has surpassed MySpace in total users. And since it’s no longer a requirement that you be a student to use Facebook, why not get on board? First, set up a profile on Facebook. Add your picture (or a picture of something you’d like to represent you), and any other information you want to share with friends. Then the fun begins! You can use the search box to look for people you might know, and when you find someone, you can request to be their friend. If they agree to be your friend, you can see each other’s profile and post on each other’s walls! Keep your profile updated, and see what your friends are up to as well. Share pictures from your trip, or of your kids or your pets! You can also search for groups to join or pages to become a fan of. Every kind of hobby or cause seems to have a Facebook group to join. Why not start by becoming a fan of Kent District Library?


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