Jim’s WebLetter for 9/10/16

Hi-ya friends and computer users!

This week, I discovered online mapping, a little computer that’s cheap and selling like hot cakes, and added security when surfing the Web.

If you’ve been to our new home, you have seen the maps on our walls. When we sold our house and downsized to a condo, my wife wanted to go with a coastal theme, fitting for living on the Island. Walls are light blue with a white trim, articles we own include blue coral, pictures and paintings of boats, a starfish, duck decoy ( I collect ) and two maps. One is a very large blue and white map of the world stretched on canvas. The other is a map of Amelia Island on which an artist painted a shrimp boat and fish. He was selling this framed works at last year’s Shrimp Festival and we knew it was perfect for our decor.

I tell you this to say, until recently, trying to find a free topological map online was next to impossible. But National Geographic has changed all that with their new website containing a continental US map you can use to find your part of the country and print out. Using my tablet, I zoomed in on the map to Florida and found Amelia Island had a red dot, which is indication there was a map available, tapped it and opened the map. From there, it was easy to continue zooming in to find where we lived, as well as notable areas in and around the Island and out to sea. All suitable for printing, framing and hanging. You may not have a coastal theme in your home, but want a map for hiking, camping or boating. Check out the National Geographic interactive map website and see what you can discover … http://www.natgeomaps.com/trail-maps/pdf-quads

A milestone was reached this week for a little startup in the UK. As its founder said, the purpose for creating the Raspberry Pi was to create an interest for young people applying to study Computer Science at Cambridge University. He wanted a cheap way of getting something in their hands that would interest them enough to want to build something from it. A computer with monitor, mouse and keyboard that could connect to the Internet and allow its user to write programs to make it function as a computer costing much more. But Eben Upton, founder and CEO of the foundation never thought his little device, a motherboard about the size of a deck of playing cards, would be anything more than something that would interest maybe as many as a thousand people at the time. He figured that, with his wife, he could build these models out of his home and offer them locally for a price of $35 (American equivalent).  

Now four and a half years later, his little project he named Raspberry Pi ( a play on words ) has grown into a full-fledged company selling ten million units as of this week. His little motherboard has been modified several times over the four years to a more modern, more powerful unit capable of running Linux and Microsoft software and creating programs that can do everything from handle simple computing functions to as sophisticated as control security cameras. And now his company is preparing to release a kit for the latest Pi that includes all the peripherals needed to build a computing system in your own home for about $100. It includes a thick book with step by step instructions on set up, projects you can create and ideas for other projects yet to be created. In a word so masterfully used in the UK, I say this is “brilliant”. https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/ten-millionth-raspberry-pi-new-kit/

When you use a computer browser and type in an address for a website you want to visit, time was you had to type in the full address … “http://www.(name of the website).com”. Browsers have come a long way since then. Now you just need to type the name of the website address alone and the browser, whether it’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Microsoft’s new Edge, interprets what you mean and quickly pulls up the website. Most cases now, you may not even see the prefix “http://www”. Just the name of the website.  

The thing is, there is a chance that website may not be secure. In fact more and more sites have been compromised by its owner or a hacker who can attempt to gain access to your computer to get your personal information. This is why the secure sites use “https” as a prefix to their web address. It is a security standard for sites that sell products and services and ensures that the credit card information you use is protected and can’t be hijacked by someone. That is, a reasonable insurance your info is safe (nothing is 100%).  

The thing is, how are you sure the website your on is safe, if you can’t see the “https” in the address?  Google.  Google has been telling website owners that they need to move their sites onto secure addresses or they will show users who visit that they are unsecure. And no on wants to purchase merchandise from an unsecure site. Of course, other companies like Apple have come out saying the same thing … If you own a website, you want it to be secure. This article from Tech Crunch shows you what Google will display when you visit a questionable website using their Chrome browser. It’s better security for you. https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/08/chrome-is-helping-kill-http/

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Tablet owners read iTab Magazine. It’s free. http://iTab.jimonline.com

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That’s it this week. Have a great weekend and may God bless you and keep you safe.

c-ya!
Jim

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