Technology Blog

FREE Online Entertainment

Computers are great. Seriously, think of all they do for us. They spell check our horribly written term papers, they help us find dinner for date night, and they help us keep in contact (some say too much so) with all our friends on Facebook. Most importantly tho, they can distract us for hours on end when we are trapped inside by a couple feet of snow. Here are some suggestions of places you can go for free online entertainment:

Music:

Pandora.com - On Pandora you can create radio stations that play the type of music you like. You start with an artist or song and Pandora tries to find similar songs for you to listen to; this has the added bonus of being a great way to learn about new bands!

Grooveshark.com - Grooveshark allows you to create a playlist by searching for artists or titles you like. You then drag them into a play bar and it will play the songs you have chosen in the order you have put them in.

Don’t forget to backup!!!

computer fail

Many of us are familiar with this scenario: You’ve just spent a lot of time working hard at the computer when the computer turns off unexpectedly or crashes. Or maybe it catches a virus that destroys the whole system! Without a way to retrieve your data, all that hard work is gone. To save time and avoid frustration, start getting in the habit of backing up.

A few of my favorite backup software choices are:

Organizing Your Virtual World

Most of us have favorite bloggers, trusted news websites, an email account and a few social networks we follow, too. Maybe the sites are bookmarked for quick access or addresses pop up in the browser history upon beginning to type. In some cases complete web addresses have been memorized! Stop the insanity!

I don't know about you, but my mornings used to be all about a cup o' joe and time set aside for perusing the newspaper. It's been a long time since I've had actual ink and paper delivered to my doorstep, but I fondly remember opening up a newspaper and leisurely trolling for scandalous headlines, often skimming the heady news articles and jumping straight to the crossword puzzle and comics. This familiarity is comforting, to be sure. The beauty of newspapers is the way they're organized; we know what to expect when we open one up. Breaking news appears on the front page.

About the Blackout

Wikipedia's page on internet blackout day.

This Wednesday, you may have noticed the internet got a little weird: Google’s logo on its homepage was censored, Wikipedia went black, even LOLcats were asking you to contact your members of Congress. The cause of all the uproar? The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), two bills currently in front of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, respectively.

Both SOPA and PIPA were created to allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders greater capacity to combat online sharing of copyrighted intellectual property and goods – i.e., to make it harder to pirate music, movies, and other media online. Proponents of the bills, the most vocal being the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, estimate that internet piracy results in some $100 million in lost profits annually for U.S. companies and the loss of thousands of jobs.

eBooks for eReaders

By now, most of you know about the eBooks you can download from Denver Public Library, but do you know about other places you can go to get free eBooks for your Nook, Kindle or other eReader? There are many sites out there that have taken books out of their copyright and digitized them for public consumption. They are free, and you never have to return them.

Because most of these titles are outside of copyright, you are not looking at current best sellers. But if you want to get your Shakespeare or Austen on, you've come to the right place. I have actually found a few surprises in some of the catalogs, including some Kurt Vonnegut, P.G.

Did Santa bring you a new gadget?

Maybe an iPad? A digital camera? A new phone? Not sure where to start or how to get the most out of your new device? No matter what your new tech toy is, the Community Technology Center at the Central Library can help!

Here are just a few of the FREE classes happening soon:

Ask the Gadget Guy!
(1st Saturday of every month)
Saturday, January 7, 2 - 4 p.m.

FREE Online Entertainment!
Monday, January 9, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

eBooks for Tablets and Smartphones
Tuesday, January 10, 6 - 7 p.m.

All classes held in the Community Technology Center, Level 4, Central Library. No registration required.

Download FREE Denver Public Library Books to your Nook, Kindle, mp3 player... and more!

eBook Reader

If you got a fancy new Nook or Kindle for Christmas but aren't sure how to make it work with Denver Public Library's downloadable books, fret not! The Community Technology Center is providing FREE instruction to show you how it's done.

Come to one of our eMedia classes at the Central Library, or attend a Tech Petting Zoo at your neighborhood branch library to learn how to find, check out, download and transfer books to your reader.

If you have an eReader and/or laptop, please bring them to class. If you are curious about purchasing an eReader, devices will be available to try out!

Upcoming Tech Petting Zoos:

Schlessman Family Branch Library: Thursday, 1/12, 10 - 11 a.m.

Go ahead, ask the internet

Our age will probably be largely remembered as the time when humans outsourced large chunks of our brains to our web-connected gadgets: if you had asked me a friend’s phone number 20 years ago, I could recite it by heart – now, I have to make all new friends if I lose my cell phone.

Often, many of my questions can be answered with a simple Google query – “What is the square root of 144?” or “Who played James Bond in Goldfinger?” – but anything moving beyond a simple factual question can mean wading through page after page of results. Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, give you a list of websites that may​ have your answer, but they won’t help you sort through them. To do that, you need to access actual people - and there are a wealth of sites that let anyone ask questions to people with the knowledge you need.

Plan Your New Year's Resolution!

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's is just around the corner, are you prepared for your New Year's Resolution? Take a look at some places on the web to help you keep some common resolutions, including: Get Into Shape, Quit Smoking, Get a New Job, Learn a Language and Save $$$.

Getting in shape seems to be the most sought after goal of New Year's resolutions.  The only problem is, it's really hard to get started (and we don't want to embarrass ourselves trying new things in a strange gym). So what can we do to get our motivation up and our weight down?
Where can I go to workout? Check out Denver Rec Centers! They are a cheaper option to the larger national gyms.

Viruses, Trojans, and, Spyware, oh my!

Join us this Saturday afternoon in the Community Technology Center for our FREE Protecting Your Computer 101 class.

Learn about the different ways your computer can be compromised and how to avoid major computer headaches by using free software that can help protect your computer from viruses, spyware and more.

Protecting Your Computer 101
Saturday, December 10, 2-3:30 p.m.
Community Technology Center, Level 4, Central Library

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