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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, snopes.com 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, www.techserveto.co is not the right one for you to use, while the correct one is www.techserveto.com. 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

https://www.statista.com/statistics/649234/fake-news-exposure-usa/

https://libguides.uwf.edu/c.php?g=609513&p=4274530

https://libguides.tru.ca/fakenews/characteristics

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fake-news.htm

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-train-your-mind-to-think-critically-and-form-you-1516998286

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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.

Security

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 (www.icloud.com)

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: https://www.apple.com/ca/icloud/

Microsoft OneDrive (www.onedrive.live.com)

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 https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/microsoft-365/onedrive/compare-onedrive-plans?activetab=tab:primaryr1

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 (www.dropbox.com)

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 https://www.dropbox.com/individual?cid=29f5d14f7f60cc3b09adad9bdab6c5e6L

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.

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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 [email protected] to expand their global “supercomputer,” which consists of thousands of individual computers. We’d like you to join us.

A GLOBAL SOLUTION

What’s [email protected]?

Developed at Stanford University in October 2000, [email protected] 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, [email protected] has surpassed 1.5 exaflops of computing power, making it the largest supercomputer in the world. But we still need your help.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

How can I help?

Simply install and run [email protected]’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 [email protected] to analyze and add to the pool. The more computers we have, the faster we can beat this disease.

Source:

“Help Beat COVID-19.” Avast, www.avast.com/folding-at-home.

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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.

Source:
“Protect Your Privacy Online – Benefits of a VPN.” VyprVPN, www.vyprvpn.com/why-vpn.

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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.

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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.

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Guide to Using Twitter

Twitter is a social media network that has gained a lot of popularity and use, with more than 300 million active users worldwide.

Although there are many people who have registered on the app, there are some registrants that do not use this network actively. Some may have opened the profile a long time ago when Twitter first came out in 2006, and their account was likely abandoned because they did not know how to use it.

Twitter is technically defined as a microblog. The “blog” part corresponds to the first idea of ​​the network; write and share ideas or thoughts. The curious and most characteristic aspect of Twitter comes from the hand of the “micro” part.  You can share content, ideas, and photos, however there is a limit to how long each post can be, specifically 280 characters long.

You can also use Twitter to connect with other people and send messages. You can decide if what you share is made public or private according to the settings of your profile. In the public setting, everyone can have access to your account and your posts without restrictions, while in the private setting, only people you allow to follow your account will have access to your posts. Twitter also offers a private messaging service so you can directly message someone and only they will be able to see it.

Opening an account in a Web Browser

Open your favorite browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge) and type www.twitter.com in the search bar.

Click on the “Sign-up” button.

To make an account, you can either use your name or your email. If you use your name, the next field will be “Phone number”. However, if you do not want to give that information you can always sign up using your email.

If you choose to sign up with your email, Twitter will send you an email confirmation, so you can proceed to selecting your username.

Tips for choosing a username

Your username is the name your followers use when they send you replies, mentions, and Direct Messages.

It will also be part of the URL for your Twitter profile page. When you sign up, they will generate some suggestions available, but you can choose the username you like best.

You can change your username in your account settings at any time if the new username is not in use.

Usernames must be a maximum of 15 characters long and cannot include the words “admin” or “Twitter” to avoid brand confusion. If you receive a notice that the username you have typed out is “unavailable” it means another user has that username. Therefore, you must alter the typed username some way or you can use Twitter’s suggestions for you.

Getting to know your home screen

  1. Your tweet space = you can write anything you want and click on the Tweet button; it will appear on your feed within seconds.
  2. Home screen list = where you can access new notifications, direct messages (DM), bookmarked tweets and your profile information.
  3. Tweet feed = you can see all the tweets (posts) of the users you are currently following.

To follow an account (personal or business) go to the search bar on the top right corner and type the username of the account. You can also type topics and keywords in the search bar and the results will display many options.

When you are done typing you will see a full list of suggestions.

The checkmark beside a name/organization is the verification badge on Twitter which serves to confirm the authenticity of public interest accounts.

Click on the username you want to add and then click on the “Follow” button. Once you click on this, the button will change from “Follow” to “Following”.

Twitter is a great tool to stay informed with news events, stories, and updates as they happen! Many political figures, news agencies, police departments, celebrities, schools, and organizations have Twitter accounts that keep their followers updated.

You are all set to start using your twitter account. You will be updated to the latest news of your topic of interest.

Start following TechServe on twitter to stay up to date on any news or upcoming events that are going on!

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How to Take a Screenshot on a Windows or Apple Device

Below is a PDF document outlining how to take a screenshot on your 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 to your device, or download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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Setting Up A Printer

Below is a PDF document outlining how to setting up a new printer and connect it to your device. 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.

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Websites for your Health and Wellness

Wellness refers to the state or condition of an individual or group. It means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, routines and behaviors, and being able to overcome stress and daily issues that are a part of life. A higher level of well-being typically means that a person is making decisions and life choices that are physically and emotionally enhancing their quality of life. There are many ways to use the resources available on the internet to become more active by doing cardio exercises, for example, thus improving your wellness and well-being. Some of these resources are paid while others can be enjoyed free of charge depending on the variety of activities you want to do.

Yoga

Yoga is not just a physical exercise. It is an activity that transcends the senses and invites you to enter a world of well-being and relaxation. The benefits of yoga for your physical health are well known, it increases flexibility, fights pain, relaxes you, and improves breathing and posture, among others.

For free yoga video tutorials, there are several pages used for all different levels, (beginners and advanced) as well as journals to keep up to date with the latest news.

YouTube is an excellent place for free yoga videos. By typing “yoga” in the search bar, you will find thousands of videos. The more popular, and potentially better quality, yoga tutorials will have more views and will likely be found on the first page of the search results.

The website “Do Yoga With Me” offers videos of classes and yoga positions for all levels. It offers 3-month free subscription and a variety on online videos to start learning if you are a beginner or continue your journey if you are more experienced. To access this webpage, you can either search on google with your favorite browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera) and type “do yoga with me” or go to their web page https://www.doyogawithme.com/. Additionally, there are a number of free and paid for apps on your mobile device’s app store that you may want to look into!

Photography

For those interested in the art and technique of obtaining long-lasting images due to the action of light there are a free online lesson offered by academies dedicated to online learning. Open your browser and type www.udemy.com or just “udemy” on google and you will find a variety of photography tutorials and courses. At the top of the webpage, you will see that there is a search bar so you can type in anything that you’re interested in to see if they have any resources to meet your needs. If you type “Free Photography Courses and Tutorials” in the search bar on the website, you will see a variety of courses for everyone. To gain access to the videos and the resources, you will have to sign up by clicking the “Sign up” button in the top right-hand corner. After you sign up, you are ready to go and can become an expert in photography in no time!

“Adorama” is another great website for those who want to learn how to take great pictures and also learn the story behind every picture with simple readings on their website. Login to https://lifehacker.com/basics-of-photography-the-complete-guide-5815742 and you will find a manual/guide that will help get you started with quick and easy steps.

Home Workouts

What better way to get rid of that extra quarantine weight than to do some simple workouts within the comfort of your own home! You can find some great at home exercise routines and online classes with a click of a button. There are a variety of routines that are perfect to tone different muscle groups and keep fit.

Fitness Blender (https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos) gives you a variety of options for home training. There are different training videos ranging from 10 minutes to 1 hour, so you can choose the workout that works best according to your schedule.

YouTube is also a great resource to find home workouts that are free of charge and require no subscription. Type “home workouts” in the search bar at the top and you will find a workout that suits you best.

Banana bread is oh so great!…until you hop on the scale and see that you’ve gained some weight. You can start saying goodbye to those extra few pounds by doing some home workouts. Working out has never been so easy!