January 2012

Town Hall Tech and Society Lectures

Seattle’s Town Hall is presenting a series of lectures on technology, Internet and society issues. Here are couple coming up. Links are to more info on the speakers. See more specifics and past lectures online at here.

Monday, Feb 6, 7:30 p.m. – Rebecca MacKinnon: The Struggle for Internet Freedom.

Wednesday, Feb 8, 7:30 p.m. – Wael Ghonim with Dorothy Parvaz: Inside a Revolution.

Monday, March 5, 7:30 p.m. – Science: George Dyson: Origins of the Digital Universe.

Tickets are $5 at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800/838-3006 and at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m.

High Speed Internet Discounts Through Project Endeavor

Project Endeavor is a program that focuses on providing deaf and hard of hearing Americans with access to broadband or high speed internet through discounted internet service plans and internet devices. Project Endeavor also provides an array of training materials and educational resources for deaf and hard of hearing people. Join SWCDHH on Jan. 21st from 1pm-4pm to learn more! Contact SWCDHH by phone at 360-695-3364 or TTY 360-695-9720.

Pew: Teens and Kindness, Religion and Civic Engagement Online

Here are a few links and tidbits from the Pew Internet and American Life Project: 25 percent of online African Americans use Twitter at least occasionally, with 11 percent doing so on a typical day.

The civic and community engagement of religiously active Americans report concludes that Americans who are members of religious groups are just as likely as others to use the Internet, have broadband at home, use cell phones, use text messaging, and use social networking sites and Twitter.

Free Tax and EITC Prep

Each year, millions of dollars from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program go unclaimed by low-income families. The EITC is intended to offset a portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, thus boosting take-home income. It’s a “refundable” credit, meaning that after it is figured against your tax liability, the IRS sends you any money you’re due.

For 2011 tax returns, the maximum credit is worth up to $5,751 for people with three or more qualifying children, although it’s also available to some taxpayers without children.

This year, there is free tax preparation help available from January 10 to April 17 at several locations. United Way of King County provides quality free tax preparations services at these locations, as well as at other locations throughout King County, for those who make less than $50,000. Go here for additional locations and for more information. Seattle locations are:

Beacon Hill El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Avenue S. 98144; hours: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays (Arabic and Spanish); 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursdays; and 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Saturdays (Spanish and Chinese). Also open 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wednesdays from January 10 to February 24.

Central District Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way, 98122; hours: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursdays; and 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Saturdays. Also open 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wednesdays from January 10 to February 24.

Downtown Seattle Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 98104; hours: 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Mondays (Chinese); 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays (Chinese); 12:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays (Chinese and Spanish); 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Thursdays (Chinese); 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturdays (Chinese and Spanish); and 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sundays (Chinese and Vietnamese).

Lake City Lake City Neighborhood Service Center, 12525 28th Avenue NE, 98125; hours: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays; 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursdays (Chinese and Russian); and 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturdays. Also open 5:30 p.m.- 9:oo p.m. Wednesdays from January 10 to February 24.

South Seattle Rainier Community Center, 4600 – 38th Avenue S, 98118; hours: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturdays (Vietnamese); and 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sundays.

White Center YWCA Greenbridge, 9720 – 8th Avenue SW, 98106; hours: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays (Spanish); 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Fridays (Spanish); and 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturdays (Spanish and Vietnamese).

Discounts on Cable, Internet and Phone

The Seattle Office of Cable Communications can help Seattle residents obtain discounts on your cable television service. The discount is available to low income seniors, persons with disabilities, and/or residents living in non-Section 8 subsidized housing.

Income requirements apply. Generally, your household income must be less than 70 percent of the Washington State median income. As an example, to be eligible a family of two must have combined household monthly income of less than $3,273. The discount is approximately $4.00 per month. If you are interested in the cable discount, contact Brenda Tate at 206-386-1989.

The cable discount does not apply to Internet or phone service; however, Broadband companies such as Comcast and CenturyLink have Internet discount programs. See our related article in this newsletter titled, “Low Income? $9.95 Internet!

For discounts on your telephone service, you may be eligible under the State of Washington’s Telephone Assistance Program (TAP). Adult customers qualify if they receive ongoing cash, food, or medical assistance from DSHS. For more information about TAP eligibility, call 1-888-700-0880 (toll-free).

Windows 7 Helpful Screen Adjustments

You are able to drag any window to the left or right of your screen and Windows 7 will adjust your view of that window to take up one half of your screen size. This is very helpful if you have two windows/documents you need to compare side by side. Note that this will not work if you have split screens active and you drag to the side that passes to your second screen.

You can double click on the top or bottom of a window to maximize the height of that window without affecting the width.

Agree or disagree with me? Drop me a note: Derrick Hall.

Misspelled Web Sites Steal Information

One Internet security firm is warning that a botched keystroke while typing an online address can give computer criminals a chance to hijack your system.

San Diego-based Websense, Inc. has identified as many as 2,000 so-called “typosquatters,” which use sites that look identical to legitimate ones to capture personal information, launch malicious computer attacks and initiate online scams.

The Internet domains of some of the nation’s most popular retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart and Apple, have been targeted so an errant character could take consumers to fake domains without their knowledge.

Websense, in its report, said that some companies actually buy up domain names with misspellings to protect their customers.

“Kudos go to Amazon, which registered a good number of potential typosquat hosts, including aqmazon.com, amaxzon.com, amzon.com and many more,” Websense said in its report. “These are all good hosts registered by Amazon itself, leaving no chance for abuse as long as they remain registered to Amazon.”

Read the full article here from USA Today Tech page, and visit Seattle.gov’s Information Security page for up-to-date security tips for your information technology tools.

For more security tips, check out the techtalk blog.