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Tutorials

A Beginner’s Guide to eBooks

An eBook is a digital book, a collection of text, and in some cases images, that is published through certain platforms and can be accessed through special devices and applications. They offer many benefits with their use including the luxury of carrying around a smaller reading material and not having to worry about losing your bookmark. eBooks enable users to have access to a number of different reading materials at once without having to lug around your giant reading list collection!

Potential File Formats

The formats vary according to the e-Reader available. For example, the texts viewable on the Amazon Kindle have a unique format that cannot be read by any other e-Reader.

Below we will review the most popular text formats:

MOBI

This format is used by the Amazon Kindle, one type of e-Reader. The text file type cannot be read by another e-Reader unless the file is converted. Texts bought in this format in the Amazon store are protected by DRM, meaning that the copyright information of your digital files is protected on this device. Unfortunately, this text format was replaced by the AZW file format (discussed below).

AZW/AZW3

This file format is the replacement file type for the Amazon Kindle. It is also DRM protected and can only be read on Kindles or devices with Kindle apps. They are also only accessible from the Amazon store.

ePUB

The most popular format and most widely supported for eBooks. It can be read on a variety of devices and most e-Readers (except Kindles). This text format gives a lot of versatility as it is readable on smaller screen sizes. This format is best used for text heavy books.

PDF

This file format is more widespread and has become a popular way of formatting eBooks. Although not generally considered a true eBook format, it is one that most people are familiar with. They are known for their ease of use and their high-end design and formats. However, they aren’t always easily read on a smaller screen.

Each of these formats have their pros and cons in terms of the underlying structure of the document, font type and size, etc. There are a number of other formats also available, however, these are the most common ones found in the major online stores.

How to Convert Files

There are a number of different file converters you can use find just by doing an internet search. For example, Calibre is a file converter and an organizer of the digital library. It is easy to use and able to convert many different file formats depending on your needs. You can download it at: https://calibre-ebook.com/download

Download the eBook from Amazon and send it to your computer or open the Kindle program to download the file there. In the Kindle folder of your computer will be the eBook file. Upload the book from Calibre to add-book, connect the device and send the book. Calibre converts it to the necessary format automatically.

Reading an eBook on Other Devices

The eBook reader from Icecream Apps (https://icecreamapps.com/Ebook-Reader/) is a program that allows you to have a library with your eBooks and read them comfortably on your computer. They have a library with most popular formats such as those mentioned above.

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Printable Handout Tutorials

How to Download Apps & Use File Explorer

Below is a PDF document outlining how to download new apps and how to use file explorer on your device so that you may access all saved and/or downloaded files. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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Printable Handout Tutorials

Using a Web Browser

Below is a PDF document outlining some quick tips about using a web browser, like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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Printable Handout Tutorials

How to Download and Install Zoom

Below is a PDF document outlining the process of downloading and installing Zoom onto your device. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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Printable Handout Tutorials

How to Compose and Send an Email Using Gmail

Below is a PDF document outlining the process of composing and sending an email using Gmail. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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Printable Handout Tutorials

How to Connect to a Wireless Network

Below is a PDF document outlining the process of connecting to a wireless network (Wifi). It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.

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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!

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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.