Monthly Archives: April 2017

Protecting Your Computer with Free Software

Q. Are those free PC antivirus programs safe to use?

A. The web is full of choices, but if you are looking for free protection for your computer, go with a program from an established security software company. You can find roundups and reviews online and the AV-Test.orgsite has a list of well-known software creators. Programs that pepper your screen with pop-ups or try to convince you that your computer is full of worms and viruses are often spyware or scams themselves.

Several companies offer free basic versions of their more complete security suites to home users — including Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Sophos and ZoneAlarm. As the range of malicious software has expanded to other computing platforms, some companies now offer free tools for the Mac and mobile platforms as well; Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac is among the options. Free apps that specifically protect against ransomware (like Bitdefender’s Anti-Ransomware Tool for Windows) can also be found.

When browsing for software, make sure you are actually getting a copy of the company’s free antivirus tool — and not just the free trial version of a more comprehensive paid program. Depending on the program, you may be asked to share user data for research or see ads and upgrade offers within the free software. Paid versions typically provide more comprehensive protections, like network or game scanning.

Microsoft makes its own antivirus software for its Windows systems. If it is not already installed, Windows 7 users can download the Microsoft Security Essentialsprogram from the company’s site. The current version of Windows 10 comes with the Windows Defender Security Center for blocking viruses and other threats; go to the Settings app and open the Update & Security icon to check your coverage. (Apple builds in protective features like app-screening and anti-phishing alerts into its Mac OS software, but a third-party program goes further.)

Security software can help block malicious code from invading your computer, but be on guard for more socially engineered attacks from email and other online sources. StaySafeOnline.org has a guide to spam and phishing lures, and other threats to avoid.

The Computer Memory Terminal

COMMUNITY MEMORY is the name we give to this experimental information service. It is an attempt to harness the power of the computer in the service of the community. We hope to do this by providing a sort of super bulletin board where people can post notices of all sorts and can find the notices posted by others rapidly.

We are Loving Grace Cybernetics, a group of Berkeley people operating out of Resource One Inc., a non-profit collective located in Project One in S.F. Resource One grew out of the San Francisco Switchboard and has managed to obtain control of a computer (XDS 940) for use in communications.

Pictured above is one of the Community Memory teletype terminals. The first was installed at Leopold’s Records, a student-run record store in Berkeley. The terminal connected by modem to a time-sharing computer in San Francisco, which hosted the electronic bulletin-board system. Users could exchange brief messages about a wide range of topics: apartment listings, music lessons, even where to find a decent bagel. Reading the bulletin board was free, but posting a listing cost a quarter, payable by the coin-op mechanism. The terminals offered many users their first interaction with a computer.

Among the volunteers who made up Loving Grace Cybernetics and Resource One was Lee Felsenstein, who would go on to help establish the Homebrew Computer Club and who played a number of other pioneering roles in the nascent personal computing industry. For Felsenstein, Community Memory was important for, among other things, opening “the door to cyberspace.”

Adding New Fonts to the Computer

Q. I want to buy a new font online for my Mac, but how do I get it on my system?

A. The Mac operating system includes a utility called Font Book that you can use to add, remove and organize the fonts on your computer. You can find the program in your Mac’s Applications folder.

After you download a new typeface from an online font shop, double-click the file you received. Font Book should open automatically and display a sample alphabet or character set in the new font. Click the Install Font button at the bottom of the box to add the font to your Mac’s type library.

Font Book checks the fonts it installs to make sure there are no problems or incompatibilities with the new files. The program should also alert you if it finds duplicate fonts on the computer and fixes the issue for you. If you want Font Book to remove a font you no longer use, click All Fonts on the left side of the window and select the name of the typeface in the Fonts list. Go to the File menu and choose the Remove option; fonts used by the macOS menus, dialogue boxes and other system functions cannot be removed.

Windows users can install a new font by right-clicking the downloaded file and selecting Install from the menu, or by double-clicking the font file and selecting the Install button. Fonts can be managed in the Windows Font control panel. To get there from the desktop, go to the Start menu, type “fonts” in the search box and select “Fonts — Control Panel” from the results lists. When the control panel is open, you can add fonts by dragging them into the window. Selecting a font in the window and clicking the Delete button removes it.

Career related to internet

Florian Michahelles has run Siemens’ Web of Things research group—which investigates the application of Semantic Web technologies to the Internet of Things (IoT)—since 2013. Having worked in the fields of ubiquitous and wearable computing for more than a decade, Michahelles’ current focus at Siemens is leveraging Web and semantic technologies to enable new business opportunities, particularly in the fields of wearable sensing and human-robot interaction. He wrote “Internet of Things Reality Check” in IEEE Pervasive Computing’s April—June 2017 issue. We asked Michahelles about IoT-related careers.
ComputingEdge: What IoT-related careers will see the most growth in the next several years?
Michahelles: Any career bridging the disciplines of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, design, computer science, interactive design, and communications will be in high demand because IoT reaches across these disciplines.
ComputingEdge: What would you tell college students to give them an advantage over the competition?
Michahelles: Go beyond your major and think about also taking non-tech majors, such as by combining computer science and psychology, business and electrical engineering, or material science and sensors.
ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for IoT-related jobs?
Michahelles: Be an expert in one topic. While breadth is welcome, depth in one topic is key. Breadth then helps you effectively apply your expertise.
ComputingEdge: How can new hires make the strongest impression in a new position from the beginning?
Michahelles: Listen and learn, get your hands dirty, be bold and courageous in proposing new ideas. Play with technologies you haven’t used before, and quickly build demos and prototypes to convey your ideas to others.
ComputingEdge: Name one critical mistake that young graduates should avoid when starting their careers.
Michahelles: Don’t be afraid of failing. Instead, be brave enough to fail often, but avoid failing twice at the same thing. Keep improving.
ComputingEdge: Do you have any learning experiences that could benefit those just starting out in their careers?
Michahelles: First, find your passion and develop it. Passion is the prerequisite to being successful at something. Second, learn how to deal with people. How do you present your ideas? How do you explain your ideas to others? These days, it’s really hard to create something innovative all by yourself. Therefore, it’s important to learn to work with others. And third, get a sense of what is required. Find out what’s needed, where the opportunities are, and adjust your passion to this need.