Seattle Hosts National League of Cities Congress and Digital Inclusion Workshop

David Keyes and Mark Okazaki

David Keyes with Mark Okazaki

Mayors, councilmembers and staff from communities large and small jumped on the bus, literally, to see Seattle’s community technology centers and learn more about approaches to digital inclusion. The materials from this mobile workshop are now available.

Thousands were in town for the National League of Cities Congress.  The Community Technology Program led a mobile workshop of 52 attendees to learn from staff at Neighborhood House at Rainier Vista and the STAR special technology learning center at Center Park.  Terry Davis and Walter Neary shared info about Comcast’s partnerships and Internet Essentials. Samantha Becker from the UW covered the national digital inclusion framework, Emy Tseng shared tips from the U.S. Department Of Commerce BTOP Public Computing Center program, Asfaha Lemlem and Michelle Chambers covered the RecTech Community Center computer lab programs, in addition to David Keyes providing the overview of the City of Seattle’s digital inclusion work.

Thanks to all the presenters and to those at STAR and Neighborhood House for hosting! 

Library Conducting Tech Impact Survey

From Sunday, December 1 to Saturday, December 21, the Seattle Public Library will be conducting an online survey to find out how our patrons use the library’s computers and Internet connection and how this service has made a positive impact on their lives. This information will help the library improve its technology services and communicate the value of providing free access to computers and the Internet within the community.

The Impact Survey is anonymous, available in English and Spanish, and takes 10-15 minutes to complete. You can access the survey at http://www.spl.org/impact. During the time the survey is offered, public computer session limits at all Seattle Public Library locations will be increased from 90 minutes per day to 105 minutes per day to facilitate taking the survey.

The Impact Survey is the result of a successful research initiative from the University of Washington with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, the University of Washington Information School conducted Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, which was the first large-scale investigation of the ways U.S. library patrons use computers and the Internet at public libraries, why they use it, and how it impacts their lives. The study was instrumental in providing evidence that access to the Internet at U.S. public libraries has a profound and measurable impact on individuals and communities. The report can be found at http://impact.ischool.uw.edu/us-public-library-study.html .

The Impact Survey is coordinated by the University of Washington Information School. For more information about the Impact Survey, stop into any location of The Seattle Public Library or visit http://impactsurvey.org.

Iu-Mien American Association Launches a New Computer Literacy Program

IuMienWith support from the Technology Matching Fund to install state-of-the-art laptops, Iu-Mien now provides computer access at their Southeast Seattle location.

Volunteers play a key role in providing computer instruction for those looking to become more employable in the market place. Upcoming trainings include Computer and Internet Basics, Email, YouTube, Facebook, Craigslist and Microsoft Word. They also offer computer tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays for children ages Kindergarten through high school enrolled in their After School Enrichment program.

For more information on the project, contact Vuen Pahn at vuen.pahn@gmail.com (425) 814-7845 IMAA Community Center, 3925 S Bozeman St., Seattle, WA 98118. Iu-Mien American Association is a non-profit organization that empowers its members by providing resources, training, and networking opportunities for its members to help them adapt to American society while preserving the Mien heritage.

Legit Sites

Knowing if a site is legit in order to keep your computer secure is a task that you need to be proactive with, regardless of whether you have anti-malware software installed.  Most malware software is only good after the first few people have gotten infected and reports it. Don’t let that be you.

Ensure that you are spelling the website correctly; going to http://www.gogle.com could send you somewhere else when you’re looking for http://www.google.com, (Google owns gogle.com for those who do make this mistake.) When viewing websites from an email, it is best to go to their web page and find the link from there. This is time consuming, but when you are unsure about the email it is safer.  Most spam that carry malware will send you an email that looks like it’s from a trusted site or have a name that is close to the site you seek.

Five Tips for Staying Safe While Shopping Online

Shoppers will spend an estimated $2 billion in online sales during Cyber Monday this year.  With that increase in spending comes an increase in potential attacks and exploitations as shoppers flock to the latest deals and trends.

In a recent blog post, WatchGuard Technologies Director of Security Strategy outlines the five most common threats that online shoppers face on today’s web. As outlined in the blog post, shoppers are at risk from these five threats:

  1. Seasonal email phishing scams –This is a great time for cyber criminals to leverage seasonal phishing scams to lure victims to malicious sites or malware. Some of the most common malicious emails during the holidays are fake UPS, FedEx, or DHL messages claiming a delivery failed, bogus flight notices, and even phony secret Santa messages. Avoid clicking links and attachments in unsolicited emails.
  2. Fake product giveaways – Every year the holiday shopping bonanza brings us at least one or two “must-have” items for the holiday season and cyber criminals always seem to recognize these popular consumer items early. We’ve already seen phishers trying to steal personal information from victims by tricking them into filling out details to win one of the new next-generation gaming consoles. While some of these giveaways might be legit, be careful where you share information.
  3. Dastardly digital downloads – Attackers can easily theme free download offers from whatever holiday or pop culture event they want, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so on. If it sounds too good to be free, it probably is. As always, be careful what you download.
  4. Fraudulent e-commerce sites – The bad guys are great at faking websites. They can fake banking sites, social networks and even online shopping sites that have suspiciously good deals for that one hot ticket item. Of course, if they can lure victims to their replica sites, they can leverage that trust to steal information. Pay close attention to the domain names and vet online retailers before ordering.
  5. Booby-trapped Ads and Blackhat SEO – Two popular new techniques are malicious online advertisements and evil search engine optimization (SEO) tricks. By either buying online ad space, or hacking online ad systems, hackers can inject fake advertisements into legitimate web sites, which redirect back to malicious sites. They can also leverage various SEO tricks to get their websites to show up in the top results for popular searches. As you consider clicking ad links or following search results, be aware of the domains and URLs you click on.

Falling victim to an attack is easy. Make sure you are safe and read WatchGuard’s latest blog post that outlines five simple tips users can follow, including:

  • Updating your software
  • Do not click on unsolicited links or attachments
  • Look for the padlock while shopping online
  • Use password best practices on shopping sites
  • Vet online merchants before clicking buy

To get the details on these five tips and the latest in cyber security threats, read the in-depth blog post at: http://blog.watchguard.com/2013/11/27/avoid-the-top-five-holiday-shopping-cyber-threats .

One Expert Says Stop Using the Phrase Digital Divide

National broadband expert and independent consultant John Horrigan suggested in a Board of Experts of a recent California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) meeting that the public and private sector stop using the phrase “digital divide,” arguing that the issue is less about access to hardware and more about the skills to use them.

Read more here.

Seattle Channel Mobile App

Seachannel_HomeConnect to life in the city anywhere, anytime with the new Seattle Channel mobile app. With the new app, launched in early November, viewing and sharing the City TV station’s featured programs is easy, putting people, arts and politics at your fingertips.

Watch award-winning featured shows – Art Zone, Ask the Mayor, Book Lust, City Inside/Out, CityStream, Seattle News Now, or Seattle Voices, among others – or watch live and stay in the know while on the go.

The Seattle Channel app is available at no cost for iPhone  users at the Apple Store and for Android users at Google Play.

The City has several mobile applications and many other City web pages that have been  optimized for use in mobile browsers. For the complete list, including Find It, Fix It (an easy way to notify the City about potholes and graffiti, among other things), the Seattle Center Official mobile event calendar and campus guide, the Seattle Public Library mobile app and Seattle Travelers, featuring real-time traffic camera views, visit seattle.gov/html/citizen/mobileApps.htm.