Seniors Guide to the Internet – Part 1

What is the Internet?

The Internet, also known as “the net,” is a worldwide system of computer networks in which users at any one computer can get data from any other computer. The original aim was to create a network that would allow users of a computer at one university to be able to communicate with computers at other universities. A side benefit of this design was that, because information is sent along different routes that always change, the Internet could continue to function even if parts of it were destroyed in the event of a military attack or other disaster. Luckily, we’ve never had to test if it works.

Today, the Internet is self-sustaining and is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The most widely used part of the Internet is called the World Wide Web (“the Web”). On the web, you have access to billions of pages of information. Web browsing is done with a software program called a web browser (catchy name!). Currently, the most popular web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. By the way, all of these browsers are absolutely free. Depending on your connection speed, browsers can support such advanced features as animation, video, sound, and music.

How Do I Connect to the Internet?

The best type of connection to the Internet is a broadband connection. It offers the highest transmission speed which is essential if you want the best Internet experience. Cable and DSL service both provide broadband speeds. Cable provides speed twice that of DSL but DSL is more secure.

Broadband service provides high speed data transmission. It also allows more content to be carried through the transmission pathway. Broadband provides access to the highest quality Internet services: streaming media, Internet phone, gaming, and interactive services. Many of these services require the transfer of large amounts of data that may not be technically feasible with telephone dial-up service. Today, broadband service is necessary to access the full range of services and opportunities that the Internet can offer. Broadband service is always on. It does not block telephone lines and there is no need to disconnect from the Internet network when not in use.

Wireless broadband, also known as “Wi-Fi”, is the ability to connect to the Internet without the use of wires or cables. The most common way of accessing wireless broadband is via a wireless router attached to an ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) modem.

1. Using a cable modem

A cable modem is a device that connects your computer to the Internet via a local cable TV line so you can send and receive data at high speeds also referred to as broadband speeds. Cable modems are usually included as part of the cable access service.

a. Sign up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), usually your local cable TV company. The cable company will dispatch a field technician to come to your home to install a cable modem.

b. The technician will connect a cable from a cable TV jack to the cable modem.

c. Then the technician will connect an “Ethernet” cable from the cable modem to the “Ethernet” port on your computer. “Ethernet” is the most popular type of local area network (LAN) technology.

d. Power on the cable modem and computer.

e. A cable connection is less secure than other broadband connections, such as DSL, because you are sharing your cable connection with others in your community. In addition, the cable connection is always on. The Windows Firewall will help prevent intruders from accessing your computer.

f. Open your Internet browser to begin browsing the Internet.

2. Using a DSL modem

A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses technology that provides digital data transmission over the wires of a local telephone network. DSL does not interfere with the use of your standard telephone service. Once you log on to your DSL service, it will stay on until you shut down or restart your computer.

a. Subscribe to a high-speed, or broadband, DSL service. A technician will connect a modem to your phone line. This connection is what allows the DSL signal to be received by the modem, and transmitted to your computer.

b. The other end of the cable will be connected to your computer.

c. Power on the DSL modem and computer.

d. Open your Internet browser to begin browsing the Internet.

3. Using a Router (hardware firewall)

A hardware firewall is a device that is connected between the Internet and your cable or DSL modem, protecting your computer from dangerous intruders. In other words, your computer is connected to the router (hardware firewall) instead of your cable or DSL modem.

The best protection available from Internet attacks is a hardware firewall. They are inexpensive so I strongly recommend installing one. Broadband routers serve as powerful hardware firewalls. They should be considered an important part of your system and network set-up, especially for anyone on a broadband connection.

A router is a device that provides access to the Internet for multiple computers, printers, and other devices. It typically includes four or more Ethernet ports for wired connections to desktop and laptop computers. They can also be configured to transmit signals for wireless (“Wi-Fi”) devices.

A router acts as a firewall by masking the true internet address of your computer from the outside world. Only those web pages that you specifically request are allowed to pass through the router to your computer. Data that you did not request is blocked which helps to keep your system safe from intruders. Think of it as your front door with that little peephole. Somebody knocks and you look through the peephole to see who it is. If it’s your friend who you invited over, you open the door and let him in (“wassup dude!”). If it’s someone who’s arriving uninvited, they are turned away. (I wonder if a router would block my mother-in-law).

4. Standard telephone line modem

Not recommended at all. The slowest of all Internet connections. It will not deliver the full potential of what the Internet has to offer.

What’s a Link?

On all websites, certain words or phrases appear in text of a different color than the rest and sometimes also underlined. When you point to one of these words or phrases by clicking the left button of your mouse, you will be transferred to the page that is associated with this word or phrase. These are called hyperlinks or links. Sometimes there are buttons, images, or portions of images that can be “clicked”. If you move the pointer over a spot on a web site and the pointer changes into a hand, this indicates that you can click on it and be transferred to another site.

What’s a Web Browser?

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the most widely used web browser. That isn’t because it’s the best (which it isn’t). It’s because it comes already installed with every version of Windows and most people don’t bother to change it. Internet Explorer version 7.0 suffered more malware attacks than any other browser. Internet Explorer uses technology known as ActiveX Controls which continues to make it extremely vulnerable to attacks.

An ActiveX control is a web-based program using certain Microsoft technologies. They are controversial because they are downloaded automatically and executed by the web browser.

This is the major reason that Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, which do not support ActiveX controls, are more secure browsers. In addition, Internet Explorer has page rendering problems that causes some web pages to display incorrectly. Performance is faster in the most recent version (9.0) than past versions but is still slower than the other browsers.

Keep Internet Explorer installed on your computer (certain Microsoft services, like Windows Update, require Internet Explorer to function correctly) but use Firefox or Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox keeps you more secure when you’re browsing the web, protecting against spyware, worms, and viruses. As mentioned earlier, it does not support ActiveX controls because ActiveX controls are vulnerable to viruses and spyware. Firefox delivers easier navigation, including those who are visually or motor-impaired. Firefox is the first browser to meet U.S. federal government requirements that software be easily accessible to users with physical impairments.

You can select new controls for your toolbars and change the look of your browser with themes. There are also hundreds of free extensions you can install to add features such as ad blocking, extended tab controls, pop-up blockers, text resizers, and password managers. Firefox is my favorite web browser.

Google Chrome

The Google Chrome web browser is the third most popular browser used today right behind Internet Explorer (#1) and Firefox (#2).

a. Chrome is designed to be fast. It’s quick to start up, loads web pages quickly, and runs web applications fast.

b. Chrome’s browser window is streamlined, clean, and simple.

c. Chrome also includes features that are designed for ease of use. For example, you can search and navigate from the same box, and arrange tabs however you wish.

d. Chrome is designed to keep you secure on the web with built-in malware protection, and automatic updates to make sure the browser is current with the latest security updates, and more.

e. Chrome has many useful features built in, including translation in the browser, extensions, themes, and more.

Chrome is an excellent web browser. I highly recommend it.

Bookmarks and Favorites

Internet Explorer calls them “favorites” (just to be different from everybody else). Favorites are links to your favorite websites that you wish to save for future use. Creating a favorite in Internet Explorer can be done several in different ways.

1. Right-click on a blank portion of the page and click “Add to Favorites”.

2. Browse to the website you wish to add to your Favorites. At the top of the browser window click “Favorites”. Click “Add to Favorites”.

When one of these steps has been completed an “Add Favorite” window will appear and then you can add your favorite to your favorites list. You can even create different folders (highly recommended) for your Favorites.

Firefox and Chrome

Creating bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome are similar and can also be done in several different ways.

1. In the address bar, there is a star on the right side. If you click on it, you can bookmark the page.

2. Right-click on a blank portion of the page you wish to bookmark and click “Bookmark This Page” or press Ctrl + D. This only applies to Firefox.

3. Browse to the website you wish to bookmark. At the top of the browser window click “Bookmarks”. Click “Bookmark This Page”. This only applies to Firefox.

When these steps have been completed an “Add Bookmark” window will appear. Specify the location where you want to save the bookmark. To create a new folder, click the “New Folder” button. I use a lot of folders such as Shopping, Music, Movies, Computers, Finance, Health, Food, Travel, etc. on my browser. I have over 3,000 bookmarks and I can find any one of them quickly and easily (I know – I should get a life!).

What’s a Search Engine?

A search engine is a computer program that searches documents, specifically on the World Wide Web, for a specified word or words and provides links to these documents to where they can be found.

Google

There are literally hundreds of search engines on the internet. However, there is only one that I use and that you will ever need….Google. Most other search engines operate in a similar manner but are not as sophisticated or efficient as Google. Google is a crawler-based search engine, meaning that it has software designed to “crawl” the information on the Internet and add it to its database. Google has the best reputation for relevant and thorough search results. Google’s home page is clean and simple. There is more than one option on Google’s home page.

Search topics include:

Web – The default search engine.

Images – Searches for images, graphics, photos, or drawings.

Video – Searches for video files on the Internet.

News – Searches for information gathered from thousands of news sources worldwide.

Maps – An interactive map tool featuring driving directions.

Shopping – Searches for products for sale online.

More – Additional search tools including:

Books – If you’re looking for text from a specific book, type in the name of the book (in quotes), or if you’re looking for books about a particular subject, type in “books about xxx”. Google will return results that can contain content in the book itself, or will offer links to Book Results at the top of the search page.

Discussions – Searches for information, opinions, and recommendations from user groups.

Blogs, Recipes, Patents, Flights and more.

“I’m Feeling Lucky” – This button takes you instantly to the first search result returned for any query. For instance, if I type in peanut butter I go straight to the Wikipedia entry for peanut butter. It’s basically a shortcut so you can bypass the search engine results page.

There’s even a Google Accessible Web Search for the Visually Impaired.

Security Entrance Products That Prevent Tailgating and Piggybacking Into Buildings – A Brief History

In today’s civilized society the art and science of protecting ourselves and our properties from harm has evolved considerably. Just look at the numbers, variety, and types of doors, locks, alarms systems, video monitoring devices, and other technology designed specifically to keep us safe and protect our privacy and personal property/vehicles. The technology and industry that came up around residential and commercial security and entrance control is enormous. In the balance of this article, we want to take a closer look specifically at commercial property security entrance control, a growing and ever-changing business.

The first commercial buildings probably had basic hinged doors and simple deadbolt locks. During the workdays we know that these doors would normally be open and would typically be staffed by a doorman or security person, or maybe not. Until recent time many lobbies and entrances (even the big cities like New York) would have an open access lobby, possibly with a registration/security desk to help direct visitors. Even as recently as the late 1990′s, some of the most secure buildings had very little in terms of security technology, preferring instead to use security officers to check credentials as pedestrians pass by toward the elevators. But the drastic improvements and interest in access control over the past 50 years has allowed more focus on the technology of entrance control.

What is Entrance Control?
Entrance control can be seen as a subset of the larger access control industry. Access Control refers to the concept and business of protecting premises and information from unauthorized persons. It encompasses all the technology and hardware of card readers, door strikes, specially developed software, intelligent video and entrance control equipment. Entrance control includes all the secure doors, turnstiles, optical lanes, and security portals that operate within access control systems. The business of access control has grown considerably over the past 20 years, certainly a business that can be measured in the billions of dollars.

In our definition, entrance control includes all of the products that you think of for security entrances:

Security Revolving Doors
Security Portals (“man traps”)
Waist High and Full Height Turnstiles, and
Optical Turnstiles (with/without barrier arms, wings or panels)

All of these products have various uses to stop tailgating and piggybacking and their appropriate applications depending on security level desired, necessary throughput, architectural needs, proximity to staffed location, and architectural/design influences.

Relevant Trends
Some of the trends that have influenced the interest and growth of entrance control in recent years include; Employers’ increasing concerns to provide a safe workplace for their staff, terrorism threat, and the possibility domestic disputes carrying over to the workplace. In addition, technology has changed to the point where integrating a good entrance control system with the building’s access control environment is much simpler and seamless. The events of September 11, 2001 increased the interest and urgency of entrance control as responsible building owners and corporate leaders realized the need to know “who is getting in.”

History & Types
It seems that the earliest use of entrance control equipment dates back to the late 19th century. The first entrance control devices were likely the simple “ballpark-type” mechanical turnstiles. They evolved from the agriculture industry, where “stiles” were used to allow humans to pass while keeping sheep or other livestock penned in. Turnstiles use ratchet mechanisms to allow the rotation of the stile in one direction, or to allow just one person at a time. They were some of the earliest security entrance control devices, and modern versions are still used extensively today.

Switching to Electric Strikes

Are you thinking of upgrading your security at home? Do you have door locks that need replacing? Are you looking for a high-tech yet cost-efficient option? If your answer is yes to all of these questions, then electric strikes are just what you need.

These are an electrically-powered device used for managing access to your door. These give you more control not just with your doors but the entire security of your home. Electrical powered strikes are actually simple despite the technology they have. You can actually install them on your own. You do not even need to do extra drilling because they feature standard measurements and they can easily replace your existing fixed strike plate.

Electric strikes are the same as their fixed counterparts. They have ramped surfaces for locking latches, which allow doors to close. What sets them apart from fixed strikes, however, is that their ramped surfaces can be pivoted out of the way of the latches upon your command. They allow you to open doors without turning the knobs to retract the latch. This is convenient especially if you are carrying something with both hands. This features also comes in handy when are too busy to open the door manually yourself. Electrical strikes allow you to enjoy this convenience without buying complicated and expensive security systems.

Finding a Jeep Soft Top Replacement For Your Jeep

Finding a replacement soft top for your Jeep can be a time consuming task. One of the great things about the Jeep community is that there are so many aftermarket parts available. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to this is that the community tends to assume that every Jeep owner understands all of the lingo as soon as they roll their vehicle off the lot. Obviously this is not the case, so here is some information to hopefully help you save some frustration and find the correct soft top the first time around for your Jeep.

The first thing to figure out, and this is with just about anything Jeep, is exactly which Jeep you have. Since you are looking for a soft top, we’re going to assume you have a Wrangler of some sort, but that alone will not get you far in the Jeep community.

Every Jeep has been ordained with a two letter code, depending on the year of its make. Anything made before 1986 is considered a CJ. Unfortunately, the nuances of the CJ go far deeper than is appropriate for this article, so if you own a Jeep that was built before 1986, you will want to do some research to find out exactly which CJ you own.

Past that, the 87 through 96 Wranglers were called YJ, the 97-06 TJ, and 07-09 JK. It is important to remember that every single one of these generations of Jeep had soft tops, every one is different, and every one is readily available on the aftermarket. Be sure to take no chances when it comes to your Jeep’s identification.