2018-03-07 / Features

Internet in Bloom for The Layperson

By Ted J. Bloom

Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A CDCR law librarian and instructor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor.  His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.comTed Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A CDCR law librarian and instructor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor. His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.comWith Net neutrality laws abolished thanks to the Trump administration, it is only a matter of time before ISPs (Internet Service Providers) increase their monthly usage fees for services that have been free, in case yours has not increased by the time this column is published. With that in mind, let us consider some of the more useful Internet services the average user has gotten and may continue get for free, for the time being for both the Windows and Mac platforms:

1. Browsers.  There are many free browsers available so it is hard to say which is better considering they all differ slightly yet still serve as a useful interface between the user and the Internet, primarily the World Wide Web for non-professionals.  The choice, therefore is largely subjective.  I lean towards the Mac platform because even though it costs 20% more than Windows on average, it is targeted far less by Black Hat Hackers as they know only 5% of the population uses Macs.  Also I find Macs to be more user-friendly and thus have less pop-ups.  On my Mac I prefer the Opera browser, visit www.opera.com for details, as it offers a display of easy to read, at-a-glance graphic buttons that the user creates representing the sites desired superimposed on a picture or graphic of your choice.

Moreover, the TOR browser is a multi-platform browser available for free for those who want surfing anonymity by not having their IP (Internet Protocol) tracked.  This browser is so effective that many websites will not allow you to use their servers if you use TOR as they insist on planting cookies on your IP so they may monitor your online use.  See www.TORproject.org for details.

2. GPS mapping software. Google Maps: https://maps.google.com is ranked highly for both platforms and really saves you time whether you are on foot or behind the wheel.  Warning: It is not always accurate, however for the one percent of the time when it fails, the other 99 percent of the time makes up for it considering the difficult task GPS mapping is, especially in over-crowded cities, such as in New York or LA. Therefore, contingencies are recommended, such as have a hard copy map handy.  One reason for a mapping software failure is going beyond the range of Internet towers, such as in some coastal areas.  This can be quite the wake-up call for those addicted to their cellphones or laptops.

To be continued...


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