Categories
Tutorials

A Guide for Online Shopping

Online shopping has become one of the most popular ways of getting the products that you need. Whether it is for fashion, housewares or grocery shopping, online shopping is high in demand in this new technological era.

An online store refers to a type of business that uses a website or an application connected to the Internet as the means of carrying out its transactions. It constitutes the main tool of electronic commerce.

The sellers of products and services make available to their clients a web page (or computer application) where they can see images of the products, read their specifications and, finally, purchase them. This service gives the client a quick purchase, the possibility of doing it from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day. Some online stores include user manuals on the product page so that the customer can get an idea in advance of what they are buying. Similarly, many online stores offer shoppers the ability to rate and evaluate the product. These evaluations can be carried out through the page itself or through third-party applications. They are also a good resource to use as a shopper if you’re interested in what other people thought about the product.

Typically, these products are paid by credit/debit card or through payment services such as PayPal. The purchased good is then sent to the purchaser by mail or courier. Some stores may give you options during checkout, for example, you may be able to pay online and have it delivered to your home; you may be able to order it online but pick it up and pay for it in person at the physical store or alternate location; or you may have to pay for the item once it is delivered to your home.

One advantage of online shopping is that you have easy access to every item available from the comfort of your home. You can avoid the physical act of going shopping and waiting in lines! However, the disadvantage to this is that you are relying on the description of the product and potentially other customer reviews of the item in question to make your purchasing decision.

To shop online you will need to open your favorite web browser on your computer (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge) and search for the store you are interested in by typing the name into the address bar. You can either type in the specific address for the store (i.e. www.amazon.ca) or you can search for the store name and select one of the options that appears (i.e. type in “Amazon” in Google). NOTE: When searching on Google, be sure to select the official company website and be wary of look-alike websites that are not trustworthy and may try to steal your personal information or payment method.

Navigating the Online Store

Every website has a different layout or way of showcasing their products, however, the actual process of purchasing something online is very similar. You browse each store’s website to find the products that you want to buy, then add them to your cart, and checkout. Checkout usually involves the use of your email address, phone number, mailing address and payment method.

Here is a list of some popular online stores in Canada:

All Categories

Amazon – https://www.amazon.ca/

Fashion

Roots – www.roots.com

Hudson’s Bay –https://www.thebay.com/

Marks – www.marks.com

Housewares

Canadian Tire – www.canadiantire.ca

Kitchen Stuff Plus – www.kitchenstuffplus.com

Ikea – www.ikea.com

Electronics

Canada Computers – www.canadacomputers.com

Best Buy – www.bestbuy.ca

Dell Canada – www.dell.com

Apple –  https://www.apple.com/ca/

Groceries

Walmart Canada – www.walmart.ca

Loblaws – www.loblaws.ca

Metro – www.metro.ca

Fortinos –  https://www.fortinos.ca/

It is important to also mention that depending on your needs and time restrictions, there are third-party companies that offer faster delivery for your online shopping. However, these come with extra costs for using these websites. Companies like InstaCart (www.instacart.ca) or Cornershop (www.cornershopapp.com) offer 1 hour rush delivery option when you checkout with them.

Lastly, there are food delivery services that pick up and deliver the food you have pre-ordered from your favorite restaurant. These include DoorDash (www.doordash.com), SkipTheDishes (www.skipthedishes.com)UberEats (www.ubereats.com), just to name a few!

Online shopping gives you increased flexibility and may help you take advantage of online discounts and current store sales while avoiding crowded malls/stores and long wait times!

Categories
Tutorials

A Guide to Netflix

There are a variety of media service platforms online which allow us to watch different movies
and T.V. shows at our convenience. Netflix it is the largest subscription-based streaming service
which allows their users to watch online streaming of a library of movies and television
programs.

Purchasing a subscription for online streaming services allows you the luxury of watching movies and shows without commercials or advertisements. It also enables you to watch thousands of shows and movies in the comfort of your own home whenever you want. Many people have made the switch from cable television to streaming service subscriptions. As the world shifts to becoming more Internet-focused, many available streaming options have paved the way for us to access more forms of entertainment conveniently. Netflix is an excellent option to start watching your favourite movies from home!

Netflix can be accessed through two different platforms:

  1. Smartphone – Netflix can be found in the app store and is available for both Apple and Android phones. 
  2. Online website – To access Netflix from your PC or Laptop, simply enter the Netflix website on your web browser’s search bar: https://www.netflix.com/

To use Netflix you will need stable internet connection, some sort of payment method (i.e. Credit/Debit card), and a working email address. 

Creating an Account

Go to www.netflix.com, enter your email and select Get Started. Note: For security purposes it is not recommended to sign in using a Facebook account. You will then be prompted to create a password for your account. Be sure to use a strong password!

Netflix, and most online streaming services, require a monthly subscription fee to gain access to their wide variety of movies and shows. After creating your account, Netflix will prompt you to choose a plan. The plans offered differ in pricing and what they include (i.e. how many devices can use Netflix at once, the quality of streaming, etc.). 

You will then be asked to set up your payment information, you can choose between Credit/Debit or a Gift Card Code. You will be charged a monthly fee based on the package you chose. Once you input your payment information, click Start Membership.

Free, 7-Day Trial for All First Time Users

Fortunately, Netflix provides all first-time members with a free 7-day trial. Upon entering your online payment information, users have the option to cancel their subscriptions after the 7-day trial and will not be charged for the first week. This is an excellent way for prospective users to become accustomed to the streaming service and decide if they are pleased with it before committing to paying the subscription fee every month. 

Cancelling Your Subscription

To cancel the subscription, click “Account” on the drop-down menu on the top right and click “Cancel Membership”. Refer to the images as a guide. 

Navigating Netflix

This platform is very intuitive and easy to use! On the home screen that appears you will be given options of movies/shows that are newly released, popular, or ones similar to past shows you have watched. You can also create your own watchlist which allows you to add shows/movies to this list and easily access these options in the future, instead of searching them each time. 

To search for certain movies or shows, you can enter a title or genre in the search bar located at the top of the site. 

The example shows a search for Action movies using the Search Bar. Netflix will then give you a wide variety of films related to the genre to choose from. Additionally, Netflix also lists suggestions related to the genre. In this case, it gave options such as Action Thrillers, Family Action & Adventure Movies, Exciting Action Comedies, etc. which you can click on for a more specific selection to choose from.

Upon hovering over a movie, it will show the title, the total length, and the genres associated with the film. 

By clicking the red arrow underneath the film, you are able to read a short summary of the film and see the main actors in the film as well. Additionally, you can click the “more like this” tab at the bottom to view similar films and select the “details” tab to view the full cast, writers, genre, and maturity ratings. 

Downloading Movies

While Netflix is primarily accessed online, you also have the option to watch your favourite movies and T.V shows while you are offline! Netflix provides users with the option to download certain movies by selecting the “download” button located beside the video (Note: you must be connected to the internet for this step). These movies can then be accessed in the app’s Downloads tab when you are not connected to the internet. However, there is one catch: Netflix shows can only be downloaded on the Netflix app on your smartphone or tablet, but not from your laptop or computer. 

To download an episode of a show or a movie, go to the home page of the app and tap on your show of choice. Then scroll down and tap on the download symbol beside the episode (i.e. the symbol is a downward facing arrow lying above a horizontal line) to begin downloading it. The example shows the sixth episode of Season 2 from The Office, “The Fight”, being downloaded.

To check on the progress of the download, tap the “download” tab on the bottom right and once the show has finished downloading, a little checkmark symbol inside a smartphone will appear beside the show.

Note: Not all videos are able to be downloaded from Netflix due to various reasons including the content rights being exclusive to another company and thus not accessible to Netflix. Therefore, in some scenarios, these download symbols to look out for on the Netflix app on your mobile device may not be present. 

Now that you have the basics for using Netflix you’ll be able to start streaming thousands of videos and movies while eating popcorn from the comfort of your own home! 

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Maintenance Security Tutorials

Common Technological Terms That May be Uncommon to You!

We get it! Keeping up with technological jargon can be tricky and confusing! It can be extremely frustrating to understand what someone is trying to tell you when they begin using these foreign sounding words. To help you become familiar with the terminology of our technological devices, we’ve curated the following cheat sheet!

Desktop

Used to describe two different things. The first is a desktop computer, which we know this as being made up of the following separate components: a monitor (screen), a mouse, keyboard, and the computer hard drive tower. 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 home page where you should be able to easily locate whatever you may be looking for (i.e. files, browser, email, etc.).

Browser

Your browser is what connects to the internet and opens webpages. It often has its own icon on the desktop of your computer and is commonly used to refer to applications like GoogleChrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc. Opening your browser gives you access to a Search Engine.

Search Engine

This term is an umbrella term used to make reference to an application on your device that allows you to access the internet. It can be any form of application, including but not limited to Google, Bing, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Ask.com, Yahoo, MSN, etc. It is here in the search engine that you can type an inquiry and search the web for your answer.

Software

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).

Hardware

Any physical component of your device that you require for it to function properly. It can be already be built into your computer like a hard drive for storing files and memory or the CPU – central processing unit, which acts like the brain of your computer. Or it can be an external feature, like keyboards, a mouse, printer, scanner, speakers, or USB thumb drive (memory stick).

Toolbar

Often located at the bottom of your screen, the toolbar is the bar/section on the desktop where you have your pinned icons and applications. For example, this is where you click the icon to access the internet, your email, connect to Wi-Fi, adjust the volume, or access a Microsoft Office application like Excel or Word. An example of one is seen below.

File Explore/Folders

This is an icon often found on your desktop or can be searched for in the search bar feature of your device. This icon allows you to access all documents, images, videos, or files that you have saved or downloaded on your device. You must open this icon to view any downloaded files from the internet as they will appear in the downloads folder for you to access, save, or discard. It is also here that you may view any saved files, like pictures, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, or Word documents. This icon looks like a yellow file folder and is often located on the toolbar of your desktop or as an icon directly on your desktop screen.

Malware

Short form of saying “malicious software”. This term is used to refer to any software that can cause damage to your device. This may affect your device through the clicking of suspicious links in emails or on the internet. Therefore, it is important to be sure that the link you are clicking is safe or has come from a reliable and real source.

Phishing

Occurring through emails and is a form of email fraud. This is when you receive an email from a source that appears to be trustworthy coming from an individual asking for help or offering you a great deal or new program for your device. Often a link to a website is involved or an attached file for you to save. However, these are not safe emails as their purpose is to gather personal and financial information from you that may be used in identity theft or in an attempt to steal your money.

Uploading

When you move or copy a file from your device onto another platform like social media, a website, or shared drop-box. For example, adding a photo to your Facebook page to share with your friends.

Downloading

When you copy data or a file from another source other than your own device, typically performed over the internet. For example, if you download an instruction manual from an appliance website for you to read, or you download pictures a relative sent you over email or Facebook.

Virus

A type of software capable of causing harm to files and programs on your device either by deleting them completely, stealing your information, or damaging the computer’s hard drive resulting in it no longer working appropriately. A virus can be acquired through clicking suspicious email links from senders, clicking ads on a website, or accessing an unsafe website.

Cookies

Cookies are files that contain small amounts of data, for example, a password to access a website, and they help improve your browsing experience. These are often saved on your computer’s web-browser to ease your access of these same sites in the future. It is important to clear these occasionally to improve the operation of your device as overtime, when cookies accumulate, they can slow down your device. They also open the door for these hackers to steal information about you. Although generally safe to use on notable websites, cookies are a way for these websites to tailor their website to you as they collect information about what else you have viewed so that they may easily show you similar things.

Cache

Is a feature on your device that stores data (i.e. passwords, usernames, frequently access websites) so that in the future you have faster and easier access to them. The purpose of your device’s cache is to make the browsing experience easier for you. It is a handy way to enable your computer to save frequently used passwords so you don’t have to constantly keep entering them when you access a website. However, if your device is running slower than normal, it may be a good idea to check your cached data and delete some of it as this may help speed up your computer. When too much data is accumulated, it runs the risk of slowing down the computer system.

Occasionally clearing your cache and cookies are an important part of practicing proper browser hygiene and ensuring your device and access to the internet runs smoothly.

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Tutorials

How to get started on Instagram

Instagram is another fantastic social media platform that can allow users to connect with their friends, family, and keeping up to date on current events. What sets aside Instagram from other social media platforms is the primary focus on communicating through pictures instead of only through text. Your newsfeed will be filled with posts from the accounts you follow, and there are various ways to interact with different users. Instagram also gives the option of inserting a caption underneath which usually provides more context to the photos uploaded.

There are two ways users can use Instagram:

  1. Mobile app – can be found in the smartphone app store and is available for both Apple and Android smartphones
  2. Online websitehttps://www.instagram.com/

Creating an Account

To use Instagram, you will have to create an account by following these steps:

  1. Entering your mobile number or email address
  2. Add your full name
  3. Selecting a unique username (which will be linked to your account)
  4. Creating a password for your account
  5. Providing your date of birth including the year, month and date

After you have completed the previous steps, you will have to enter the confirmation code sent to your email to verify your identity. Once you have finished signing up, you can now start using Instagram! Here are some tips for utilizing it effectively:

Following Friends and Family

Finding a friend or family member on Instagram will work a little differently than Facebook. Since Instagram has +1 billion users, it can be difficult to search for a friend when a couple of other users may already have the same name. For example, if I wanted to find my friend Jane Smith, I might not be able to find her right away because of many other users coming up when searching her name:

The solution? Ask them for their username! When everyone first signs up, they all choose a unique username that no other person on the site will have. Upon searching for their unique username, you will be able to find your friend and start following them.

Following Accounts Catered to your Interests

Instagram can be used for more than just connecting with your friends and family; you can use it to stay up to date with your interests! Many organizations and different artists can now be found on Instagram. Simply search for the name of the organization or artist you wish to follow and your feed will begin showing more of their posts! Some examples of organizations and notable people that can be found are CP24 Toronto News, ESPN, and Justin Trudeau. To begin finding accounts you wish to follow and stay up to date with, search for their names by tapping on the magnifying glass tab and typing in the search bar located at the top:

To ensure you are following the real account of the organization or public figure you are looking for, keep an eye out for the blue verified symbol beside their username which will look like this:

Navigating Your Instagram Feed

Once you begin following more people, your feed will become filled with their posts. Here is more information on how to navigate your newsfeed and the application on your smartphone. For this section, follow the numbers and match them with the corresponding numbers displayed on the image below:

(1) Taking a Photo – This camera icon indicates the option to take a photo directly from your phone’s camera. You have the option to tap the options underneath to start a live stream, create a text post, or simply take a normal picture. Press the big white circle at the bottom once you are satisfied with your photo. At the bottom right, press “send to >” and you will have the option to post it on your story for all of your followers to see, or you can forward the picture to specific contacts by pressing “send’ beside their name.

(2) Stories – Stories are a popular feature on Instagram where users can showcase a part of their day to be highlighted for 24 hours on their profile. To view someone’s story, click on their icon (which will be highlighted with a pink circle). Upon clicking their story, you have the option to send a message in response to their story by tapping the “Send Message” bar located at the bottom and typing your reply to them there. The conversation can be found in your direct messages tab (view #3 for more information).

(3) Direct Messages – Although Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing application, you can still have conversations with your contacts on this platform. Click the little paper airplane icon on the top right to see the tab where all of your conversations will be stored. To start a new conversation, use the search bar at the top of the tab to search for the person you wish to start a conversation with. Remember: if you cannot find them right away, try searching their username instead!

(4) Reacting to a Post – When a post appears on your newsfeed, there are many ways to react to it. By clicking the 3 dots next to a post, you have many options immediately available to you:

Reporting it – If a post violates Terms of Service (i.e., nudity, violence, NSFW content, self-harm) you can report it directly to Instagram for review. The post will be hidden from your newsfeed from then on.

Copy link – Tap this option to copy the Instagram link of the post to your clipboard to share with your contacts on other platforms!

Share to – Your smartphone will present different options on how you wish to share the post such as to a different application, e-mail, phone contacts, or copying it to your phone’s clipboard.

Turn on Post Notifications – Get the option to receive phone notifications from this account whenever they post!

Mute – You will not see this account’s posts on your newsfeed anymore, but you will still be able to follow them.

Unfollow – Tap if you wish to unfollow the account affiliated with the post.

(5) Like – If you enjoyed someone’s post, you can click the heart icon under the post to “like” it and they will receive a notification for it.

(6) Commenting If you wish to add a response or start a discussion under a post, click the comment bubble underneath the post and select “post” when you are done crafting your response. Other people’s comments also have a “reply” button in grey underneath their comments, which you can tap if you wish to type a comment responding to them.

(7) Forwarding – To forward a post to someone on the application, tap the paper airplane icon underneath the post and you can select someone to forward the post to. You can follow up with this in your direct messages tab.

(8) Uploading – To upload a picture from your camera’s library, select the plus (+) icon at the bottom middle of the application. You will have the option at the bottom to select a photo from your library, take a live photo, or take a video instead. Select “next” on the top right when you are satisfied and you will have the option to write a caption underneath the photo, add a location, tag other people, and you can also cross-post it to other applications such as Facebook and Twitter. Once you are satisfied, press “share” and the post will be available to view your profile and on your follower’s newsfeeds.

(9) Activity – The activity tab showcases your account’s activities such as who has liked your posts and comments, whether anyone has replied back to you, and who has followed you. Simply tap the notification to be forwarded back to the post where the interaction took place.

(10) Your Profile – To view your profile, tap your icon on the bottom right of the application. On your profile, you will have the option to view your followers and who follows you, and see how many posts you have. You can also tap the “edit profile” button to change your bio, request a new unique username, and change your display name.

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Tutorials

Printing and Printer Settings on Your Computer

Usually when you want to print a document, you can hit Ctrl and the P key at the same time (or go into the File tab if there is one such as in a word document) and a window will open with print options.

On the left side, it shows a preview of what the printed product will look like. On the right side, you can see some of the printer settings. At the top right, you can see the number of sheets of paper that will be printed.

If we keep going down the right side, we see the Destination tab. This tab is where you can select the printer that you would like to use. If you click on the down arrow, it will show the printers that your computer can print to. You can also choose Save as PDF if you would like to save the file to your computer to look at or print later.

Below the Destination tab, there is the Pages tab. If you click on the down arrow, you can choose Custom and then type in the page numbers of the pages you wish to print.

Below the Pages tab, there is the Copies tab where you can choose the number of copies you want to print.

If we keep going down the list, there is the Layout tab, where you can choose which orientation you want the page to be printed as. Portrait means it is taller than it is wide, and Landscape means that it is wider than it is tall.

Then, there is the Color tab where you can choose to print in Color (if the printer you are using has colored ink) or Black and white.

If you look at the bottom of the right side, there is a tab for More settings. Here, you can change some other settings.

Some commonly changed settings under this tab are Pages per sheet and Two-sided. By changing the Pages per sheet, you can decrease the number of pieces of paper you need to use by printing additional pages on each piece of paper. An example is posted in the picture below.

Two-sided means that you will be printing on both sides of the piece of paper, which is also good to decrease the amount of paper you are using.

When you pick all the settings you want and are ready to print, click Print at the bottom right corner of the window. Sometimes, nothing will be printed and it seems the printer is not working. There are a couple quick things to always check in case this happens. You should make sure the printer is turned on and is connected appropriately to your computer (the printer cord is pushed in all the way or your computer is wirelessly connected to the printer). You can also try restarting the printer and your computer (but make sure to save what you are trying to print first)!

Categories
Maintenance

5 Tips to Speed Up Your Computer

1. Close and Exit Programs in Your System Tray

There may be programs that run in the background when you are using your computer that you may not need. You can find them by going to the system tray on the bottom right side of your screen on the taskbar and clicking the “^” arrow. You can right-click the icons, and some of them will allow you to “exit” or “close” them.

2. Make Sure Your Software Is Up-To-Date

Updating your software, apps, and drivers can help speed up your computer. When a Windows update becomes available a notification will come up on your screen, but you can also check to see if you missed it. From the Start menu, go to Settings, and then to Update & Security. From there, it will tell you if there is an update available.

Sometimes other apps like iTunes will give you notifications that an update is ready to be installed, and updating those apps could improve their performance as well.

3. Delete Files and Programs That You Do Not Use

Sometimes when you have too many files on your computer, it can slow it down. You should delete things like videos, programs, and other large files that you do not use or need anymore to free up space on your hard drive, and make sure to empty your recycle bin after.

4. Change Your Power Settings to Favour Performance

Your computer has a balance between how much power it uses and how fast it is. You can change the balance so that performance is favoured over saving power. To do so, go to Settings, then System, then Power & Sleep, then Additional power settings.

From here, a new window will pop up, and click Create a power plan.

5. Limit Which Programs Run When You Turn on Your Computer

When you start up your computer, many different programs also start up and run in the background which takes away from your computer’s performance. To see these programs, open up the Task Manager by hitting the Control, Shift, and Escape keys at the same time, and then click the Startup tab (note: if you cannot see the Startup tab right away, then click More details and your screen should look something like the following image).

In the Startup tab, you will see the list of programs and can disable things like iTunes, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and other programs that you recognize but do not use all the time. By disabling these programs, you do not actually get rid of them, you just stop them from automatically running when you start up your computer. If you need to use these programs later when you are using your computer, just start them up how you would normally (by searching them in the bottom left corner of your screen, double-clicking on their icon on your desktop, etc.) and then exit out of them when you are finished.

Categories
Tutorials

Simple Guide to Using Facebook

Facebook is a great social media tool that allows us to connect with friends, family, and current events. It can always be accessed through the internet or if you are using a mobile device or tablet, accessing it through the Facebook app makes the process a little easier. To use Facebook, you will first need to make an account by adding an email, filling out some personal information, and creating a password for your account. Once you’ve done that you can start using Facebook! Here are some tips when using this social media outlet!

Adding Friends

To connect with someone you know, type the full name of the person you wish to connect with in the “Search” bar found usually at the top of the Facebook page. It may also just be displayed as a magnifying glass. Multiple people with that name may appear so be sure to select the correct individual and send them a Friend Request. To send the friend request you must click the button that reads “Add friend”. You will have to wait until they accept your request before you can begin interacting with them.

Navigating Your Facebook Feed

For this section, follow the numbers and match them with the same number displayed on the image below:

1. Search Bar – Here is where you type in a person’s name. By clicking on the name, you are able to see this individual’s personal profile page, add them as a friend, post on their page, or privately message them.

2. Your Profile – The icon to the right of the number represents your personal profile. You should see your profile picture (if you chose to use one) and your name. Click this icon to post directly on your page or add any pictures to your account. The current screen displayed is referred to as your News Feed. This is where you view what your Facebook friends are posting about.

3. You can also add a post in this box on your News Feed so that all your friends see what you’ve written. These posts you make on your News Feed and on your personal profile are NOT private – everyone you connect with on Facebook can see them!

4. Friend Requests – When other people request to be your friend, a red dot will appear by this icon indicating that you have a notification. You will have to click on this icon to either accept or deny the friend request. This is also the location where you can view if anyone has accepted your friend requests that you sent out. This icon also provides you will a list of potential people that you may know based on your current Facebook friends. You can use this list to find other people you may know or just ignore the suggestions.

5. Facebook Messenger – There are 2 locations for privately messaging your Facebook friends. The smaller icon opens up a small window on your News Feed that once opened, new messages appear right away. When you have a new message, a little red dot will appear beside this icon. The other location is the “Messenger” button on the left-hand side of the screen. This brings you to the messaging page on Facebook where you can see all past and current messages. When using this messenger button, to return to the News Feed again you must select the Facebook “F” logo located beside the Search Bar. Both messenger options give you accessibility to video calling your Facebook Friends as Facebook acts as another video calling platform.

6. Notifications – this icon represents all new notifications you receive. This could be current birthdays of friends, friends who have mentioned you in a post, or recent updates from your News Feed. When you have a new notification, a little red dot will appear beside this icon. Once you select the icon, you are able to click on each notification and it will bring you directly to the source so you can read more or respond to a friend.

Categories
Maintenance

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Battery Life

If you are using your laptop every day for multiple hours at a time you will need to plug in your laptop to a power source throughout the day. If you aren’t using your laptop that much chances are you will be able to go days without charging it especially if you shut its power off! However, no matter your laptop usage, we have compiled some battery saving suggestions for you to practice that hopefully will extend your laptop’s battery life.

1. Dim your screen

The screen itself on your laptop uses a tremendous amount of power. To help reduce the amount it needs try using a dimmer screen. You can adjust this on your laptop by going to “Settings” and changing the “System’s” “Display”, it is here you can adjust the brightness of your screen. There may also be a key on your keyboard that you can press and adjust the brightness of your screen. Depending on your laptop you may only have to press that key, or you may have to simultaneously press the Function key (Fn) at the same time as pressing the brightness key. In the image, the key on the left is to dim the screen making it darker, saving your battery. The key on the right is to make the screen brighter.

2. Don’t let your laptop’s power completely die before plugging it into a power source

Keeping your laptop plugged into a power source all day seems like a simple solution to avoid your device running out of battery power. However, over a long period of time, it actually damages your battery and may result in the battery itself being less efficient. Instead, try your best to keep track of your battery usage. Try to prevent your battery level from dropping below 20% of power. This will help prolong your battery life in general. Allowing your battery power to reach 0% puts an enormous amount of strain on your battery pack and laptop, so try to prevent this from happening!

3. Close apps and tabs that you are no longer using

Keeping a number of tabs open on an internet browser or a number of programs on and running on your laptop drains your battery even if you aren’t currently using these programs. The best solution to this is to close them when you are done using them.

4. Change your power settings

You can turn on Battery Saver by going to your “Settings” and selecting “Battery”. You can turn on your battery saver whenever you like or enable it to automatically turns on once your battery level reaches a certain value. Depending on your laptop, the battery icon at the bottom or top of your screen may enable you easier access to adjusting your battery power settings. You can adjust the power mode by toggling it across the axis.

5. Avoid too hot or too cold temperatures

Make sure to use your laptop in an environment that is not too hot and not too cold. Extreme temperatures cause your devices to work harder, thus draining the batter power faster. If you notice the surface of your laptop’s keyboard getting hotter than normal, give your laptop a break! Unplug it from a power source or shut down the device to help it get back to normal energy usage and temperature levels. Avoid using your device in direct sunlight or on an already hot surface. Also avoid placing the laptop directly on your lap, or on a pillow or blanket. Doing this results in the vents underneath the laptop to be blocked, thus preventing the device from expelling its heat. This could cause the laptop to overheat leading to a decline in your battery power because your laptop is working harder than normal. Use your laptop on firm surfaces so that these vents are not blocked as your laptop has features to prop it up a little bit on such surfaces allowing itself to cool down.

Categories
Tutorials

How to download and use Skype

Skype is a free communication service that allows us to keep in touch with people from a distance. To use this free service, the person you are contacting must also have Skype. You can make video or voice calls, and directly message someone on Skype. Skype can be used on a desktop computer or on a mobile device. Skype also allows us to call someone’s phone directly, however, this is not a free service and has a fee.

Step 1:

Download Skype to your device from the Skype website: https://www.skype.com if you are using a desktop computer. Then click “Download Skype”. Select which type of device you are using and download Skype to your device following the prompts on the screen. The download will begin at the bottom of your browser. If you are using a mobile device or a tablet you will have to access your device’s app store and then type in “Skype” in its search feature.

Step 2:

Click on the completed download to begin its installation on your device.

An installer window will appear. Allow Skype to make changes to your device, this is safe and part of the installation process. Then click “Install” in the window that appears.

Step 3:

Follow the prompts on your screen. Sign in to your account or create a new one. If you create a new one you will need to fill in all the necessary personal information indicated with an asterisks (*) either by typing or selecting from a drop-down menu. You will also need to type in your Skype Name and create a password for your account. If your Name has already been taken you will have to come up with a new one or new combination of your name. For example, if Jane Smith is taken, try Smith, Jane OR Jane S OR Smith.J OR janesmith123. Find a name that has not been taken yet. We suggest writing down your selected Name and Password combination in case you have to sign-in again in the future.

To complete your account, you will have to verify that you are a real person, and not a computer, by filling in the box that says, “Type the text above here”. Above this text box there will be an image that has some combination of letters and/or numbers. You will have to type out the exact combination of the image in the text box. Then click “I agree” to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Step 4:

Once you are logged into Skype, you may see this image below. Following the image and moving from top to bottom, the first arrow shows your account profile. You can click your name to make changes to your profile, change your activity status, access your settings, and sign out of Skype. The green dot to the left of your name shows that you are currently active on Skype. You can change this status to Invisible – if you don’t want your contacts to see you, Do Not Disturb – if you don’t want to receive any notifications, and Away – if you will not be active nor on your device.

The second arrow shows the different tabs you have access to. The first button is for current and past Chats you have been taking part in with your contacts. You can create a new chat under this page and set up a video call with a current person you have been chatting with. The second button is for Calls. This page allows you to see all past calls you have made or received and begin a new one. The third button is Contacts. Here you can see all existing contacts in alphabetical order. When you click a contact name, you can start a text conversation with that individual, start a video call, and send them files or images. The fourth button is Notifications. This is where you can view a summary of any missed alerts like calls or messages from your contacts. These missed calls or messages will also be found under the Chats and Calls buttons.

The third arrow shows which button to select on the Contacts page when you want to add a new contact. You will need to know the individual’s Skype Name OR you can “Invite to Skype”. The latter involves you sending the individual your profile via text message or email so they can add you to their contacts. This can be seen in the second photo below this step.

Step 5:

When making a video call ensure your camera and microphone are on and working. When the icon has a line through the centre of its circle it means that it is turned off. For example, in this image, the microphone has been turned off, but the camera is working. To turn it back on just click the icon, in this case, you would click on the microphone icon to turn it back on. To turn the icon off, you do the same and click the respective icon you wish to turn off, you will then see the line crossed through the icon. To end the call, press the red phone button. To accept an incoming call, the screen will display the contact that is calling you (i.e. you will see their name and/or photo). Then at the bottom of the screen you will see one green circle with a phone in it and one red circle with a phone in it. Click the green circle to answer the call. Click the red circle to reject the call.

Categories
Security

8 Tips for Browsing the Internet

We compiled some need to know tips for when you are using your internet browser. Hope this helps while you are navigating this vast space!

1. Be wary of suspicious links or websites!

Try to avoid suspicious websites! When accessing a website, look out for a padlock symbol in the address bar or it may say “SECURE” in the address bar itself. These mean that the website has been validated as safe. If you click this word or symbol the website will provide you with a description of its settings as depicted in the image. In addition, when browsing on the internet, ads or popup windows may appear. Avoid clicking on these as they may contain malware that can damage your device and risk exposing any personal information on your device.

2. Is your computer running slow? Try deleting your cookies, cache, and browsing history

If your internet browser is running a little slower than normal this tip may help! Just like the cookies we eat, our online cookies (and cache and browsing history) make us and our browsers a little sluggish! When using Google Chrome as your web browser, click on the upright ellipses, which often lie to the right of the address bar, hover your mouse over “More tools”, and then click “Clear browsing data”. This will open a new tab in your browser that brings you to the browser’s “Settings” page and the second image will appear asking you to select what you would like to clear. You can select to clear all data, or specific items like just your computer’s cookies and/or cache. You can also adjust the time range that you are deleting to ensure you remove all stored, unnecessary data from your browser.

3. Access your most frequented websites faster

If you find yourself always looking at the same websites or want easier and faster access to specific websites like Facebook, your email, a clothing or grocery store, or your online banking you should bookmark it. There are 2 ways to do this. The first, and easiest way, is by clicking the star symbol that is on the right-hand side of the address bar. A pop-up will appear asking what you would like this bookmark to be titled and where you would like it to be located (the folder). Give it an easy to identify title and save it to your “Bookmarks Bar” this will appear underneath your address bar every time you open your internet browser.

Another way to do this is by clicking on the upright ellipses, then hovering your mouse clicker over “Bookmarks”. The pop-up that appears will give you the option to “Bookmark this tab…”, click this and give the bookmark a name and location for you to find it like in the first image.

Also make sure the “Show bookmarks bar” is check marked to ensure you see your bookmarks under the address bar. You can only add a select number of bookmarks to the bookmark bar, however, the remaining bookmarks can be found by clicking on the upright ellipses, hover over “Bookmarks” and then select the bookmark you wish to access, illustrated under the vertical arrow in the photo.

4. Changing your home screen search engine

When you want to browse the internet, it first opens to a home screen with a specific search engine (i.e. Google Chrome, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.). This opening screen can be changed to one of your choosing by clicking on the upright ellipses, then selecting “Settings”. A new tab will open in your browser. Select “Search engine” on the left-hand-side menu, then change the search engine to one of your choosing in the drop down-list titled “Search engine used in the address bar”. This search engine can be Google, Bing, Facebook, The Weather Network, or any website of your choosing. You can add a website by selecting “Manage search engine”, then select “Add” and add the address of your preferred website.

5. Have you mistakenly closed a window you didn’t mean to close?

Don’t worry! Closing the wrong tab or window when browsing the internet happens to all of us! There is an easy way to get back your website (or multiple websites) by clicking on the vertical ellipses which are found to the right of the address bar. Hover your mouse over “History” and then you can select what recently closed page, or pages you would like to reopen. If you had multiple tabs open on the internet window that you closed, you can open all of them at once by selecting the option that shows multiple tabs. For example, in the image shown, you would select “3 tabs” to reopen all of the closed tabs at once.

6. Be careful about what you download!

Never download software or file from any website that you are not familiar with or haven’t researched. Sometimes these third-party websites can install malware onto your device and hack into your information. Instead, ensure that you are downloading an app, software or file directly from the source it claims to originate from. For example, if you are downloading a software for your Apple laptop, make sure you are downloading it from the Apple website. If you are downloading an app like Zoom, make sure it is directly from the Zoom website, not another link and website you find while browsing the internet.

7. Adjust the privacy and security settings on your device

To help limit the amount of information websites can collect about you while you are browsing the internet, you can modify your privacy and security settings. Click on the upright ellipses and click “Settings”. Then select “Privacy and Security” from the left menu bar and then “Site Settings”. In this new window that opens you can make adjustments to what permissions you give websites access to. You can change the settings of your location, camera, and microphone so that websites must ask permission before using these device features. This helps limit risk and prevent the possibility of these websites accessing these features without your knowledge.

8. Be careful with email links!

Always be suspicious if you ever receive an email containing a link in it. If possible, ask the sender to verify that they actually sent the email and if it is a legitimate and safe link. If you are unable to ask the sender and you were not expecting to receive the link for a specific purpose, do not click and open the link! These types of emails are referred to as “phishing emails”. They are meant to trick people into clicking a supposed “deal” or “winning” that the link claims you have received, and instead they install a virus or type of malware onto your device. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid clicking links in emails or while browsing the internet that are unfamiliar to you and seem too good to be true.