Stay Safe (Online) in the New Year

With all the talk about hacking and internet security recently, we thought we’d highlight some products designed to keep you safe online.

1280px-tor-logo-2011-flat-svgThe Tor Browser is an internet browser that lets you explore the internet without tracking your activity (sites you visit, searches you perform, login information, files you download). Easy to install, this program can be kept on and run from a portable USB drive. It works on all major operating systems and is pre-configured for ease of use.

ddg-icon_256x256DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t keep track of any search that you perform or the location you are searching from. It won’t follow you across sites with ads or remember any personal information. You don’t have to install anything, just go to their website before you search.

signal_blue_iconSignal app (available for iOS and Android devices) is a free messenger app that allows you to send private messages,  photos, and video to your current contacts without a separate login. You can also place calls. All calls and messaging are encrypted and completely protected from Signal as well as outside parties. No call or message logs are maintained by the company.

Go ahead and give any of these a try for a more secure web presence in 2017.

Learn to Code

To go along with Computer Science Education Week, and just in time for Hour of Code, we’ve collected a few free sites that will help you learn some new computer programming skills. is a non-profit site that organizes the annual Hour of Code. It is dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities.

codecademy is an education company that lets you learn a variety of coding languages for free. They are committed to making their site the best place to learn, teach, and create the online learning experience of the future.

khan Khan Academy is a free, educational site that offers practice exercises and instructional videos on a variety of topics – one  of which is computer programming. Their site includes a personalized learning dashboard that encourages learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Mobile apps are available in the iOS and Android app stores.

tynker Tynker is a creative computing platform primarily aimed at children which teaches them to build games, apps and more. It offers self-paced online courses for learning at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools. A mobile app is available on iOS and Android, but will offer slightly different content than the website.

If you’d like some assistance trying any of these resources out, come to the Central Library on December 8 at 6 pm for our Hour of Code program. No registration or computer is necessary.