The world of tech and the internet can be a complex, confusing one for those who don’t already know it. It is a place with its own special language – several, in fact – shortcuts, technical terminology, and a host of different ways to accomplish tasks. To many people, especially individuals who didn’t grow up on the internet, figuring out how to use it in your work and personal lives can feel overwhelming. It doesn’t help that many message boards and help centers can be full of less-than-helpful opinions, particularly for newbies in the crowd. However, at the same time, the internet has already become essential to our day-to-day life. Can anyone imagine a world without it? As our economy becomes more global, more people work from home, and businesses try to capitalize on new technology, the internet will only become more ubiquitous. Whether you are self-employed, working for another business, or you simply want to communicate with the world, it’s time to put aside your fears and get on board with the basics.
Wifi and Mobile Data
Alright, so this might seem like a very obvious one to start off with – but if we’re covering the basics, we might as well do it properly. With more and more people working on their phones, you might be surprised how many do not realize they have their mobile data switched on. Some internet consumers might be confused by what mobile data is, and even more of us may struggle to explain the differences between the two.
Ultimately, wifi and mobile data provide the same service: access to the internet. People buy wifi from a broadband provider, whereas mobile data is offered by mobile phone companies as part of their packages. Apart from that, the main difference is that Wifi will only work within the range of a local router, whereas mobile data will function anywhere with a network signal (so, for example, anywhere within range of a ‘Virgin’ signal tower), making it much more flexible. So, if you leave your house and your internet is still working, chances are you’ll have switched to your mobile data connection!
Simply put, cloud hosting is one of the best ways to share files with friends and colleagues. Gone is the time when you had to wait days for an email attachment to download; cloud hosting makes this process quicker and simpler if you know the basics. Cloud hosting can be done through several platforms, the most popular being Dropbox and Google Drive, although there are others. They all have pros and cons, but they all work in a similar way, so if you only need a basic service, you don’t need to worry too much about which one you choose. Essentially, you can upload a file from your computer to a special online folder, at which point that file becomes saved in the ‘cloud’ – so it isn’t tied to your computer hardware. If your computer dies, your file will survive. You can then share a link that will allow people to see or edit the file as you see fit. That document will then be available for you and your friends or colleagues to view and edit together in real-time, saving the need for long email chains and lengthy download times.
In the early days of the internet, website design was one of the jobs reserved for an elite number of software designers and technophiles. Now, it can be done by almost anyone who is willing to put in a bit of time to figure out the basics. You do not need to be able to code in order to build a website. This has been made possible through website builder companies such as Wix and Squarespace. First, you need to purchase a domain name. This will form the main part of your URL, and will usually be your company name or similar. You can do this through Squarespace, or if you’d rather you can use an alternative site such as GoDaddy, and import the information into Squarespace so you can build the website around it. After this, it is simply a matter of design. Both Wix and Squarespace offer free templates for different purposes. All you need to do is choose one, then copy and paste your own content into the correct fields. Sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? Of course, as with everything internet-related, building a website is an iceberg that can get more complicated the deeper you dive – however, it’s perfectly possible to get started and build something simple without dipping a toe too far beneath the surface.
What do text files have to do with the internet, you might be asking. Well, if you’re using any connection to send files to other people, there are a couple of problems you might run into. The most likely issue will be one of file types. Everyone will be working with slightly different systems and software versions, so a file that opens on your computer may not open on someone else’s, and vice versa. This is particularly problematic when attempting to send documents between Windows and Apple computers, as often their inbuilt software will be incompatible. Rather than panic, when this happens all you need to do is look up file conversion software that can turn any problem file into something you can read. PDFs are a great example as they are compatible with most devices. If you want to get even more impressively tech-savvy, have a look at pdf generation c# for more advanced ways of creating and converting PDFs from code itself.
Internet security can feel baffling, but it’s one of the most important areas to be aware of and try to understand. Simply by connecting to the internet, you will be putting yourself at risk of attack in a number of ways, from hacking, virus infection, password-stealing, and even identity theft. Again, this might make you wary of connecting at all – but you shouldn’t let the risks scare you away. By following a few simple rules, you should be able to protect yourself and your data as much as possible. Firstly, use different, random passwords for different sites – and if you keep a record to remember them, do this offline using a pencil and paper, to avoid them being stolen by hackers. Make sure to invest in anti-virus software for all your devices, and follow their instructions to keep yourself as safe as possible. When you are making purchases from the internet, keep an eye out for an ‘s’ appearing after the http part of the URL (e.g. https). This tells you that the page you are on is encrypted, so people won’t be able to steal your bank details as you type them in. Never enter your details on a page without that little ‘s’! Finally, keep a cynical eye out for scams, and never open an email if you’re not sure who it’s from – always delete anything suspicious unread, as it’s possible for malicious software to get into your computer simply from opening the email. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be protecting yourself from the majority of threats.
The internet is a treasure trove of information if you know where to look. The most important lesson to learn here is that Google is not your own avenue of exploration! There are many different search engines, including Bing, AOL, Yahoo, Ask, and more. Often, different sites will rank higher in different search engines, so it’s worth trying a few if you want to spread your net wide for information. At the same time, be aware that many businesses are now investing highly in SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimization) to make their website place higher in search results, thus resulting in more website traffic. If you’re looking for specific information, it’s worth visiting a range of sources to ensure the answers you are getting are consistent and accurate.
Trusting the Internet
It isn’t an exaggeration to say you can do almost anything on the internet. The beauty of it is that it can function as an open-source form of community, communication, and information-spreading, alongside a resource for businesses, commerce, and government. However, to be truly tech-savvy, you will need to keep your eyes open and figure out who and what you can trust. Remember that people are behind every website you visit, and it’s important to remember that people don’t always tell the truth. Trust your gut, and look for signs that the information you’re receiving is accurate. These signs include professional layouts, good spelling and grammar, verified sources, and reviews or feedback found on external websites. By double-checking and seeking corroboration, you will be going a long way towards avoiding scams and ensuring you are accessing professional sources.
Technology is improving by the day, and the internet has become a vital part of our working and personal lives. It is not without its risks, but by learning some basic tools to utilize and navigate, you will be able to keep yourself safe and access a number of incredibly valuable resources.
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