Let’s Get Familiar with Common Technological Terms

It may seem like every day that we encounter a new and foreign sounding word relating to our computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Keeping up with technological jargon can be complicated and confusing. Here are some common technological terms that may help familiarize you with our technological devices.


There are two ways the term desktop is used in the technological world. The first being a desktop computer which is a personal computer designed for regular use at a single location, typically on a desk due to its size and power requirements. A desktop computer consists of a monitor, keyboard, a mouse and a motherboard (processor).  The second is what is commonly known as the screen of your monitor or laptop where you see your screen background photo and all your pinned apps and programs. It acts as your homepage where you should be able to easily locate whatever you may be looking for such as files, web browser, email etc.


If you’re reading this, you are more than likely viewing this through a browser. Your browser is what connects to the internet and opens webpages on the world wide web (also known as internet). It often has its own icon on a desktop, smartphone or tablet. The more common web browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Search Engine:

A search engine is a software system designed to carry out web searches. It can be any form of an application, including but not limited to Google, Bing, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari,, Yahoo, MSN etc. Within the search engine, you can type an inquiry and search the web for your answer.


Often located at the bottom of your screen, the toolbar is the bar/section on the desktop where you have pinned icons and applications. Typically, you’d find an icon to access the internet, your email, folders or access a Microsoft Office application such as Word.


A program or set of instructions that tell your device what to do. These can be any type of web browser, operating system (Microsoft Windows), drivers (allow your operating system to communicate with hardware like printers), and utilities (like anti-virus software). You often have to download these from external websites if they were not already included on your device. Be careful where you download software from and make sure you are downloading from reputable sources, preferably at the source of said software (i.e. if downloading Microsoft Office, make sure you are downloading it from the Microsoft Website, not a third-party website).


Pronounced fishing, this term is synonymous with fraud in the tech world. Phishing is an attempt by cybercriminals posing as legitimate institutions, usually via email, to obtain sensitive information from targeted individuals. Often a link to a website is involved or an attached file for you to save. Some tips to prevent phishing attacks include: verifying links before you click them, avoiding sending sensitive information over emails (or text messages) and calling the sender to verify legitimacy. Learn more about phishing here.


Malware, short for “malicious software”, is an intrusive software developed by cybercriminals (often called “hackers”) to steal data and damage or destroy computers. Some examples of common malware include viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware and ransomware. To avoid malware being installed onto your computer or device, it is important to be sure that links you click are safe or has come from a reliable and real source.

If there are words and terms that you’re still unfamiliar with that were not covered here, you can easily perform your own search by “google searching” the word to get the information you require. A popular search engine to gather information is Google. For example, if you want more information on the word downloading, you can simply type the word into the Google search engine and results would be generated. You can also search for instructions, rather than just words or terms. An example would be inputting “how to renew your passport in Canada” in the Google search engine and results will be generated to assist you. You can use any search engine that you see fit. Computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets are strong resourceful tools that most of us have access to on a daily basis. Having a fundamental understanding of common technological terms ease some of the strain that can be associated with using our devices. Learn more technological terms by clicking here.

Security Tutorials

Staying Secure Online

During the pandemic, Canadians are spending more time online than ever before. As per the Canadian
Internet Use Survey, which was conducted from November 2020 to March 2021, the survey found that
75% of Canadians 15 years of age and older engaged in internet-related activities more often since the
onset of the pandemic. More than half (54%) of Canadian senior citizens reported an increase in
internet-related activities. You can view more details regarding Canadian internet usage by clicking here:

While it’s great to see that older adults are taking advantage of the unlimited resources that can be
found on the internet, it’s never been more important to stay cyber secure. Instances of cyber criminals
disguising as healthcare organizations or the Canadian Government have been increasing – and in many
cases, they’re targeting seniors.

Some steps to ensure your protection are: practice safe passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication
and identifying phishing scams. Click the following link to get more information with how to protect
yourself with simple steps:

At TechServeTO, we connect digital-native volunteers with older adults who just need a little bit
of technical help to improve their everyday lives. If you require tech assistance, free of charge, please
call 1-888-418-4771 or visit us at In addition, if you or anybody else would be
interested in volunteering, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Jeff Cruz, volunteer at TechServe, stated: “I started volunteering at TechServe back in July 2021. During
the pandemic, I had time to reflect and I wanted to give back to community and help others. In
particular, I wanted to help older adults and that’s where I came across TechServe. Whether it be
helping older adults with navigating their smartphones/tablets or helping them sign up to social media
platforms, there’s a sense of satisfaction when I assist older adults with their tech needs. I understand
that technology can be intimidating for some, but the TechServe volunteer platform allows me to assist
older adults get the best out of their technological needs. Let’s face it, technology is used by virtually
every business and helps connect people; being a part of TechServe, I want to ensure that older adults
take advantage of the resources that today’s tech offers and I want to show that tech can be quite
simple and is not as intimidating as it seems at first”.


Why are People Uninstalling WhatsApp?

WhatsApp users began to receive the new Terms and Conditions for the changes that are coming from February 8, 2021. 

This was disliked by users who feel there are privacy risks attributed to these new changes. A similar situation occurred when Instagram was bought out by Facebook.

Cross Information Between WhatsApp and Facebook

The Terms and Conditions also say that data will not only be collected from the main user but also from their contacts or third parties. For example, if the main user interacts in a group, the data of the other people who are part of it will be collected.

Why did the Terms and Conditions change?

The company indicated that sharing the data will aim to improve, correct, and personalize their services, as well as connect them with the products offered through Facebook.

The invasion of privacy because of social networks is an increasing problem circulating in our society.

The telecommunications company also stated that the intention of integrating its different products is to be able to offer a comprehensive and personalized experience to users. If they are not satisfied with the new policies, the user will be able to use alternative services, such as Telegram or Line.

According to the notice, by accepting the new terms and conditions, the user will allow the application or companies such as Facebook and Twitter to have almost total access to their activities, which range from text messages, contacts, purchases, and interactions with third parties, among others.

Will you be uninstalling WhatsApp?

Printable Handout Tutorials

Where to Find COVID-19 Status Information

Below is a PDF document outlining information about where to find online COVID-19 status updates from government and educational sources. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and save, or download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.


Tips to Avoid Fake News Circulating in the Media

Social media provides excellent opportunities to share and communicate with others. Despite having lots of positive impacts, there are also many negative impacts of social media. In recent years, the massive circulation of fake news on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. has become a matter of concern. More than half of social media users observe fake news every day! Fake news, misinformation, and incorrect, misleading, or false advice can spread around the world before anyone has a chance to correct it.

In this article, we’ll discuss some steps to avoid fake news and provide tips to figure out the truth and identify trustworthy sources.

Facts and Evidence

The best way to find the truth is to evaluate the evidence. If any news is suspicious and has sensitive content, you may want to critically analyze and consider what you are reading. Even anything claiming to be a screenshot of news could be manipulated or photoshopped! There are some tests often used to check the reliability of any news, for example, The CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) and The P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources (Purpose, Relevance, Objectivity, Verifiability, Expertise, Newness), etc.

Be Mindful and Careful

Every time you surf the internet or social media, just keep in mind that each action matters. You may find so many bizarre or provocative news content. Just be cautious before you give any like, share, or tweet. A smart act would be evaluating the news before you give any reaction to it. Reacting to any post of misinformation will further its spread.

Investigate It!

If you encounter any news which doesn’t sound right, you may consider verifying the fact. The best way to check is on Google. With less effort, you may find the actual truth. Sometimes the theme of the content in questions might be satirical or humorous. Fact checking would make this clear to you. Also, some popular websites you can use to check the validity of a sources are: FactCheck for politics-related content, for fact checking current news and events, and AllSides to read about different perspectives related to the same issue.

Do Your Research and be Unbias

Sharing something on social media with sensitive content or on specific topics without fact checking first may be misleading to others. So, before you share, do your own research. Use Google and other trusted media sources and government sites to do fact check! Also, you need to be aware of any bias the original writer may have. Try to practice critical thinking and forming your own opinions as a result of your research rather than just spouting off what you hear others say.

Observe the URL

Some websites may look very familiar and trustworthy! One way to check the credibility is by looking at the web address in the address bar of the browser. Explore the web address whether it is correctly spelled or not and how it ends. For example, is not the right one for you to use, while the correct one is Here the presence or absence of a single letter ‘m’ matters. Besides, there may be clickbait or sponsored contents which attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page. So it is necessary to be cautious before clicking any of the sensational link or headline!

Take Initiative!

If you find anyone of your friends or family is believing and/or spreading any fake news, you may act proactively to better inform that individual by sharing trustworthy evidence so that they can read them. There are several dependable and reputed news agencies.

The following are good sources to use as references:

Spend Less Time Online

Online misinformation negatively affects our psychology, daily life, and behaviors and worsens ongoing crisis. It makes it difficult to identify what is accurate and reliable information. Some even promote stigma, discrimination, or violence. You may consider taking periodic breaks away from social media to give yourself a break from all the false news circulating in society. Your well-being and mental health is important! Try spending quality time partaking in your preferred hobbies, learning new skills and practicing good habits away from social media.

References Used


Using Cloud Storage for Files and Photos

If one day you run out of space to store your photos or videos on your computer or maybe you want to find a safe and easy-to-use place to store information, you should consider the cloud.

“The cloud” is the term used to describe a space on the internet that hosts information and enables you to access it through any device and from anywhere in the world. It is like a memory stick (USB, flash drive) or hard disk, but with the added bonus of not having to physically carry it around.

What can you save on the cloud? Any electronic file: documents, spreadsheets, pictures, contacts, medical records, music, movies. You can also share what you store with other people without having to send the information by email. This helps you avoid having to send large files over email and risk them not being delivered because they are too large.

It also allows you to create, edit and save texts, spreadsheets or presentations. This quality is advantageous if you have to use programs like Word, Excel or PowerPoint, because you will be able to enter, view and update your documents through any device without having to carry your computer wherever you go.

To use cloud services, you will need an internet connection and access to your preferred web browser. You will also have to decide whether you want a free or paid service, which will determine the amount of space you will have available to you to store your content. Once you connect to the internet, go to the website of one of the services that offer the cloud, mentioned below, and follow the steps indicated to start storing your information. When you register for one of these services for the first time, you will have to open an account (which will likely be free), for which you must enter your personal information, a password, and your email address.


To avoid compromising the security of your information, you must be careful with the passwords you use to access these services. Use a different password for each social network and cloud service. It is also advised that you change your passwords frequently and use passwords that are difficult for hackers to crack, with different number, letters, and characters.

Keeping a copy of your content that you store on the cloud on a hard drive at home is a good security measure to ensure you don’t lose any important or confidential data. It’s also best to avoid linking your accounts from social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, and to also not share your passwords to your cloud account with anyone. It’s also good practice to not rely on the cloud to store files with sensitive or confidential information, such as bank statements or extremely personal documents in case there is a data breach. Since the cloud is completely internet-based, there is a risk of your cloud account being hacked and your documents and information being accessed by someone other than yourself.

Some examples of cloud services:

Apple iCloud (

If you are a loyal user of Apple, surely you will be interested in iCloud, whose main advantage is that it integrates with Apple devices. If you have an iPhone or iPad, and you link it to an iCloud account, all the contents of your phone or tablet will be saved automatically and can be accessed from any of these Apple devices.

One downside to iCloud is its high cost: the first 5GB are free (not including photos you take with your iPhone or iPad), but any additional space will cost you $1.59 per month for 50GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB, or $12.99 per month for 2TB. More information is available at:

Microsoft OneDrive (

Microsoft’s OneDrive also allows you to store and view files, photos, and videos through a computer or mobile device connected to the internet. OneDrive offers you 5 GB of free space. To increase the space available (if 5Gb is not enough), it will cost $2.00 a month for a 100GB. They also have other premium packages that give the user access to a wider range of features. More information on pricing is available at

One advantage of this service is that it integrates with Microsoft Office programs, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, better than any other service. In other words, you only have to connect to the internet through a computer or mobile device to be able to edit any of these files that are stored in OneDrive, and the changes are saved automatically.

Dropbox (

Dropbox has become one of the most popular cloud services because it is so easy to use. When you install it on your computer, create a folder within Dropbox to deposit the files you want to store on the cloud. You will then be able to see and access them on many other devices that are connected to Dropbox: Windows, Mac, iPhone or iPad, Android or Windows Phone (the application is not affiliated with Dropbox).

This service is very flexible since it allows you to automatically store the photos you take with your mobile device or store your documents to always have them on hand. Dropbox offers you 2 GB for free and if you need more space, it costs $12.99 a month for 2000 GB billed yearly. More information on pricing is available at

Amazon Cloud Drive

If you are an Amazon user and have a subscription this is a great option for you! It is very easy to use and allows you to save and store all kinds of information. Amazon offers you 5 GB free and charges you $25 per year for 100GB. Unlike other services, Amazon Cloud Drive has a special service to save your music.

By using a cloud storage service, you will no longer have to worry about running out of storage space on your phone or computer.


Help Beat COVID-19

We’re taking our fight against viruses to a new level. And we can’t do it without you.

Join the “supercomputer” to find a cure

Finding a cure for COVID-19 requires enormous computing power. Too much for any single computer. That’s why TechServeTO is providing a computer to team up with Folding@home to expand their global “supercomputer,” which consists of thousands of individual computers. We’d like you to join us.


What’s Folding@home?

Developed at Stanford University in October 2000, Folding@home is today one of the world’s largest computer networks dedicated to finding cures for various diseases, from cancer to COVID-19. It brings together everyday people like you who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. This data then helps scientists to develop cures.
TechServeTO has also dedicated part of our infrastructure to help bolster the project. All together, Folding@home has surpassed 1.5 exaflops of computing power, making it the largest supercomputer in the world. But we still need your help.


How can I help?

Simply install and run Folding@home’s software. You’ll be lending your computer’s muscle to a global network dedicated to curing COVID-19. The data created by your computer will be sent back to Folding@home to analyze and add to the pool. The more computers we have, the faster we can beat this disease.


“Help Beat COVID-19.” Avast,


VPNs – An Introduction

Increase Your Online Privacy and Security

Encrypt your internet connection with a VPN to protect your privacy and secure your connection. Prevent your ISP or third-party snoops from viewing your online communications, location, and browsing activity.

Bypass Censorship and Restrictive Networks

Escape government censorship and Internet restrictions. Whether you live in China, Russia, Turkey, or the Middle East, restore your access to a free and open Internet with a trusted VPN.

Stream Without Limitations

Improve your speed, access geo-blocked content, and stay secure while streaming online. Achieve the best streaming experience from any location with a VPN.

Defeat Data Retention

Protect yourself against data retention laws. Encrypt your Internet connection to protect your privacy and to stop governments from spying on you.

“Protect Your Privacy Online – Benefits of a VPN.” VyprVPN,

Printable Handout Security Tutorials

How to Create a Strong Password

Below is a PDF document outlining a few tips on how to create a strong password. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and save, or download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

Printable Handout Security Tutorials

Changing Your Password on Windows 10

Below is a PDF document outlining how to change your password using a PC device that has the Windows 10 operating system. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and save, or download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.