Category Archives: The Basics

Facebook Privacy

When signing up for a social media account to keep up-to-date with people around us, we often don’t think twice about giving our personal information away online. As technology advances, so do online scams that attempt to obtain information about users including name, age, and even credit card number. It’s important for people to feel comfortable and aware of the information they share online and where they share it. There are some best practices that can help limit what is shown on your Facebook profile, how to block certain users and activities, and protect your password.

I want a Facebook account but only want my friends to see it. How can I do this?
Facebook has made controlling who can see your profile easy. By clicking on the upside down triangle in the upper right corner of the Facebook home screen, a drop down menu will appear. Then, click on “Settings”, listed near the bottom of the drop down menu. A new screen will appear with the option to click “Privacy” on the menu along the left side of the screen. It is here that you will be able to switch the “Who can see my future posts?” setting from “public” to “friends”. Now your Facebook account is only accessible by people you accept as a Facebook friend.

I was tagged in a photo on Facebook that I want to be removed. How can I do this?
The privacy menu also has the option “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in”, which also contains a link to Facebook’s activity log. When viewing your activity log, you can see all posts and photos that you have been tagged in. From here, you have the option to remove the content, by clicking on the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the post.

Someone I don’t know is trying to add me as a friend and is sending me messages. How can I prevent them from interacting with me?
From the Settings screen found by clicking on the upside down triangle in the upper right corner of the Facebook home screen, click on “Blocking” listed along the left side. When clicked on, Facebook allows you to block users by inserting the name or email of that specific person. When completed, the user will not be able to send messages and view your Facebook content.

I received an email asking me to provide my Facebook password because there was a problem with my account. What should I do?
NEVER provide your Facebook or any other important passwords via email or any online forum. Your password should always remain confidential. This is most likely an email scam attempting to obtain your personal information. To remember your password, write it down and store it in a secure area.

Facebook continues to ask me to add information, like my education and workplace to my profile. Is this mandatory?
No, you are not required to add this information to your profile. Information such as your phone number can also be hidden from the public. When clicking on Contact and Basic Info, found on the upper left-hand side of your profile page, you can switch the option from “friends” to “only me”.

Internet scams and hoaxes will never fully dissolve from the web. However, as users of technology, we can educate ourselves about how to safely surf the web and what information we choose to share online. The more people that learn about online security and how crucial it is to protect personal information, the less effect these scams and hoaxes will have on the online population. Knowing that you can use social media while maintaining your privacy makes the experience more user-friendly.

Be sure to check out ETAG’s Volunteer Technology Education Program that incorporates learning about passwords and online safety in our beginners’ curriculum.

– Rosario Commisso (Intern and ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

New VTEP Curriculum

With the help of coordinators, volunteers, community partners, and participants, ETAG has helped hundreds of older adults develop the skills needed to become comfortable users of technology. ETAG’s programs prioritize the needs and interests of the seniors participating. With patient and understanding volunteer technology tutors, the interactions participants engage in makes their visit both enjoyable and rewarding.

The 4000+ visits to the Volunteer Technology Assistance Program during 2016 reflect the participants’ commitment and eagerness to learn and become a part of the digital world.

A constant challenge many organizations face is how to improve. More specifically in ETAG’s case, what can be done to make the participant’s experience more valuable while also enhancing the volunteers’ involvement? To address this challenge head-on, ETAG’s team has created a new EDUCATION based curriculum for participants.

The new Volunteer Technology Education Program is divided into three progressive sections; learner, intermediate, and adventurer, each with its own subjects and objectives.

Learner
The learner level curriculum begins with an introduction to Windows and Apple computers and ends with an explanation of online security and virus protection. Users also have an opportunity to focus on Android/Apple tablets and a few “apps” available. Objectives in this section include but are not limited to, having a basic understanding of a computer’s hardware, knowing how to connect to Wi-Fi and distinguishing what files are safe to download from the Internet.

Intermediate
The intermediate level curriculum starts to explore email, cameras, photos/videos, and maps. Additionally, applications such as WhatsApp and social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are popular intermediate topics. Objectives in this section include but are not limited to, attaching a photo to an email, finding directions on a map, and posting on Twitter or Facebook.

Adventurer
The adventurer curriculum dives into advanced level functions on various social media websites and exposes participants to online storage services in “the cloud”. Objectives in this section include but are not limited to, tagging photos on Facebook, creating backup files and playing online games such as Bejeweled.

TechChecks
To help participants feel comfortable while progressing through the Volunteer Technology Education Program, TechChecks were designed to “check” a participant’s knowledge of a particular task. TechChecks are an excellent way to ensure that participants are reaching an understanding of the topics being discussed. For instance in the subject “Introduction to Windows”, participants are asked to properly power on and off their computer to prove to themselves that they confidently know how to.

The program has no time limit. Whether it’s two months or a year, participants are free to take as much time as they need to build the skills to succeed. Participants have the opportunity to leave the program with an understanding of both basic and advanced level skills in technology, which includes most popular devices, applications, and operating systems. The completion of the program is a reflection of the participant’s hard work and graduates receive a certificate of recognition from ETAG!

Below is the current schedule for VTEP. Please call and make a reservation if you’d like to join us!

Oakville
690 Dorval Dr. Suite 100
905.875.3851 X 5008
Monday (9am-12pm)
Wednesday (9am-12pm)

Brampton
263 Queen St. E. Suite 14
905.595.0722 X 4000
Wednesday (9am-12pm)

7700 Hurontario St. Unit 601, Suite 100
905.457.4747 X 3013
Friday (9am-12pm)

Mississauga
50 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. Suite 300
905.949.0049 X 1266
Friday (9am-4pm)

Malton
7420 Airport Road, Suite 104
905.677.0007 X 5233
Wednesday (9am-12pm)

– Rosario Commisso (Intern and ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

Keyword searches

The Internet is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool. One of the Internet’s best qualities is the seemingly endless amount of data it consists of. Any kind of information is just a few clicks away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… Wow!

The trick to finding the right information online is to track down the most appropriate search results. In order to do that, you must first think of the specific keywords that will lead you there. Keywords are a small selection of important words related to your query or information request.

The first step to finding information online is to use a search engine. Using a search engine, a person can type in their selected keywords, which in turn, generate the search results available. Sometimes you should think of other keywords you can try, if you do not find what you’re looking for with the keywords you’ve already tried. It’s important to note that many search engines are able to find similar or the same information. A short list of popular search engines includes:

www.google.ca

www.yahoo.com

www.bing.com

www.duckduckgo.com

To save some time and effort, only type specific keywords in the search bar, rather than entire questions. For example, if you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in your area, rather than typing, “Where is the nearest Indian restaurant in Toronto?” try typing “Toronto Indian restaurant”.

Google is likely the most popular search engine used by Canadians. There are a few tricks and shortcuts that can help improve your search results:

  • Use quotation marks to get results that contain exact words: “Indian restaurant”
  • Type define:(word) to quickly find the top definition of the word in question
  • If you’ve invested in stocks, type stocks:(symbol) to receive quick stock updates
  • Type weather:(city) to quickly get the current week’s weather
  • Type filetype:(.mp3, .avi…) if you’re looking for a specific type of file, like an mp3 format song, or an avi video

Happy searching!!

– Aneet Hundal (ETAG Volunteer Technology Writer)

Organize your files

Computers are a wonderful repository for a multitude of information, but unless you organize your data, it can become a virtual nightmare whenever you need to find something.

Most computer data resides on our internal hard disk drive (usually known as the “C: Drive” in the Windows world), although it can exist in many other places as well, such as external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, or USB drives, to name a few. For the purpose of this blog post, we will stick to the internal hard disk drive example; however the same concepts are applicable to the other storage devices as well.

Just about everyone is familiar with the idea of a plain old office “file cabinet”, where office workers store information (usually pieces of paper in file folders), using some form of “index” (such as alphabetical order), to make retrieval of this information relatively easy. Well, let’s use our imaginations for a moment, and pretend that your computer’s internal hard drive is nothing more than a drawer in an office file cabinet.

In computer terms we have “files”, which can be data in many forms, such as documents (just like the old-fashioned pieces of paper), photos, music, videos, spreadsheets, presentations, and so on. Each file has a “name” along with other attributes such as its type, size, and location on the computer’s internal hard disk. Files can exist totally on their own, or they can be grouped into “folders” just like in our office file cabinet example.

For tips on how to create folders in Microsoft Windows, watch these Youtube clips 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2ka3149-z4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFN4BlgrQ2I 

In the office, one could simply throw their many pieces of paper or folders randomly into the cabinet drawer without any form of organization, but this practice would be disorganized and inefficient when the information on those papers/folders is required. Instead, the person doing the filing usually has a “system” that they use to keep the files and folders in some logical order to make it easy to find the information later.

Unfortunately, many computer users fail to employ a similar technique of file organization, which makes for nothing but headaches and frustration. Computers will blindly let you throw your files randomly into the drawer (the hard disk). There is definitely a better method for organizing files.

A folder can contain individual files, groups of files, or even other folders (sub-folders). You should create “folders” (with names that make sense to you) on your hard disk. When you wish to create a file, it would make life much easier for you if you store the file in an aptly-named folder, so that you will know where to find it tomorrow, next week, or next year.

For example, you could create a folder called My Music to house all of your music files. In the My Music folder you could have a sub-folder for each genre of music (Classical, Jazz, Pop, Reggae, Rock, etc.) Within each genre sub-folder, you could have an additional sub-folder for each album or artist, and then you could store the individual tracks (files) in its appropriate album or artist sub-folder.

If you only have a few music files on your computer, then this may seem like overkill, but if you have a music library containing hundreds or even thousands of songs, it becomes almost mandatory to organize them in some form of logical manner (in a way that has meaning to you, and the way that you think).

Having said all of this, Microsoft Windows does offer you some help via the program known as “Windows Explorer” (Please Note: Not “Internet Explorer” which is used to access the Internet). Windows Explorer allows you to explore and/or search the data on your computer, and to help you navigate through your files, folders, and sub-folders in order to find exactly the data that you are looking for. The Windows Explorer program can be invoked in several different ways, but the “Windows Key + E” keyboard shortcut combination  is probably the easiest way to start this program.

For those who are new to Microsoft Windows, I strongly urge you to master the Windows Explorer program as soon as possible. With this knowledge, your computer experience will be a much more pleasant and rewarding time.

Be sure to check out these helpful Youtube videos that might help you get started. Youtube is an AMAZING tool when you’re trying to learn something new, no matter what the topic might be.

How To Organize Computer Files

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTJFNmrtW9g

Windows Explorer Tutorials

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdPdLwDSFZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAi1n2lHUYU

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)