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Notes from the Data Privacy Tech Meetup

May 15th, 2015

Steven Blanc, Information & Technology Security Officer at Bowdoin College visited the Curtis Library for a tech meetup in May 2015.

Steve discussed what we can do to protect the privacy of our data in today’s increasingly digital world.

These are my “takeaways” from that Data Privacy Tech Meetup.


Opening Statement

Steve began by emphatically stating: “If it’s on the Internet, it isn’t private.”

if its on the internet it isnt private

Our “Digital Identities”

Steve spoke about how we are building “digital identities.”

We should be careful about what we post on our Facebook pages and other social media websites.

This is especially true for job seekers.

Employers shouldn’t look at the Facebook pages of their job applicants but we can assume that they do.

Free Online Services Are Not Free

If you’re not paying for it, you are the product that’s being sold.

Scott cited Gmail and Facebook as prime examples as they both trace your browsing history so they can put targeted ads in front of you.

Both services also make it easy to post data about yourself.

You can of course try to abstain from using any services that collect any data on you but Scott said this is not a practical strategy in this day and age.

Do Not Go “Phishing”

Scott spoke about how we can protect ourselves from fraudulent emails.

– Use common sense, look for red flags. For example, If you weren’t expecting a package from UPS, be vary wary about an email trying to give you information about a “missed delivery.”
– Do not open any attachments if you are not sure about the sender of the email message.
– Check before you click it. If there is a link in an email message, mouseover it and see if the web address in the pop-up window is a match. (screen capture)
– If an email has a phone for you to call, look up the phone number yourself

Further Reading:

Use Good Passwords

Scott gave this password example:


This is an abbreviation for “my daughter Katie is 12 years old!”

Scott advised using distinct passwords for critical accounts. No matter how strong a password is, you should not use that same password for your online bank account, your IRA, your credit card, et al.

Scott spoke about password manager programs such as KeePass which enable you to have multiple passwords for your various online accounts but you only need to have know a single master password in order to access them all.

password manager

Further Reading:

The Wrap-up

Scott concluded this data privacy tech meetup by stating:
“Once digital, it will live forever. Unless you need it.”

So we need to be very careful and discrete about what we post online.

You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.
— Scott McNealy, Former CEO, Sun Microsystems

7 Things (plus 1) You Can Pay for OR Get at the Curtis Library for Free

May 13th, 2015

IMG_1178In addition to a considerable number of books (including the newest Bestsellers) which you can read in the Library’s beautiful reading garden and a staff of professional Librarians, Curtis offers…

1. CDs and DVDs

2. Internet (free high-speed wi-fi)

3. Magazines (both print and digital versions thru Flipster)

4. Entertainment and activities for children (This week for example, we have “Time for Twos,” “LEGO Club,” “Musical Storytime with Jud” and “Finger Fun with Miss Teresa”)

5. Professionally maintained PCs (with high-speed Internet and Microsoft Office)

6. Programs for adults (In addition to the rotating art exhibit in the Morrell Meeting Room, there are film nights, book clubs, concerts, author readings, Community Health Information Partnership events, Cornerstones of Science lectures and more.)

7. Computer assistance (including Tech Meetups and scheduled appointments with Tech Wizard Marian Dalton)

8. The Curtis Collaboratory (Part interactive mini-classroom, part think tank, part play space, part studio, part museum, part gallery and ALL PARTS LIBRARY — the Collaboratory is a dynamic participatory learning experience for people of all ages and interests in our community.)

A library implies an act of faith which generations, still in darkness hid, sign in their night in witness of the dawn.
— Victor Hugo

Tips for Dealing With Job Loss

May 4th, 2015

If you are starting to get the uneasy feeling that you may be losing your job, here are some things you can do to prepare for the financial strain that comes with job loss.

1. Trim your budget to boost your emergency fund.

2. Write or Update your resume

– In addition to numerous books on how to write a resume, Curtis Library has public PCs with Microsoft Word.


3. Start looking for a new job

– Visit the Job Search Help page for an overview on what Curtis has to offer job seekers.

– Visit the Curtis Library Jobs Neighborhood on the second floor near the Reference Desk


4. Start a home | online business

Curtis has numerous resources to assist small businesses such as free wi-fi, public PCs equipped with Microsoft Office, and numerous print and digital resources.

You can even start and run a library-based business.

5. Be active on social media sites for both personal and professional networking. Communicating through these sites with old friends and former colleagues can help pave the way for career changes and lead to hiring opportunities.

– You can use the Library’s Public PCs to create a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and join LinkedIn (a business-oriented social networking site).

TIP: don’t post anything on a social media site (or anywhere else on the web) that you would not want a prospective employer to see.


Letting Go of Debt – 7 Books to Help You Live Within Your Means

May 1st, 2015

These books are part of the Curtis Money collection. Click each title to check for availability:

book coverZombie Economics: A Guide to Personal Finance Paperback
by Lisa Desjardins

Arm Yourself Against Financial Doom. Zombie Economics imparts the fundamentals of financial stability through the metaphor of a zombie invasion. Through a compelling apocalyptic narrative in which you are one of the few survivors, you build an arsenal of skills and tools to withstand a zombie (financial) invasion and even fight back.

Letting Go of Debt: Growing Richer One Day at a Time
by Karen Casanova

Simple and positive, each days message helps put seemingly unmanageable debt in the proper perspective-and reminds us of our deepest debt to ourselves: to take heart and find strength in the daily struggle.

Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money
by Karen McCall

Financial Recovery presents a simple system that enables you to discover your underlying attitudes about money — often the cause of self-defeating money behaviors such as overspending, chronic debt, underearning, and low or no savings — and provides the tools, strategies, and support to achieve financial well-being.

stop-acting-richStop acting rich: and start living like a real millionaire
by Thomas J. Stanley

The author explains that most rich people become wealthy and stay that way by being frugal and by being investment oriented as opposed to consumption oriented. As for wealth and happiness he warns, “those who think that acting rich must be predicated on hyperconsumerism are likely to end up on the short side of both the wealth and happiness scales”

The total money makeover : a proven plan for financial fitness
by Dave Ramsey.

Ramsey is a motivator. He wants to get people fired up about getting out of debt. He says financial freedom is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge.

Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich (Quick & Dirty Tips)
by Laura Adams

Adams walks her readers through the ins and outs of money sanity and practical solvency, while helping them create a richer life – both financially and emotionally… (her) peppy tone and highly organized, sensible advice deliver a clear-cut plan for financial literacy.

65 ways to live cheap : your everyday guide to saving money
by Trent Hamm

The book is organized into categories so finding or skipping clusters of ideas is simple (money saving tips for raising kids, vacations, buying a house, etc.). Some of the information is a bit dated, like the advice for modifying cell phone plans. Overall, a pretty good highly readable list of frugal strategies.

Task Management on Your iPad | iPhone

April 28th, 2015

iPhones and iPads come bundled with the “Reminders” app which you can use for task management.

NOTE: “Reminder” in this blog post corresponds with to-do, task, chore, errand, undertaking, et al.

reminders icon

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Create a Reminder

  1. Open the Reminders app
  2. Tap on a blank line
  3. Type in your reminder
  4. Tap “Done” near the top of the screen
create a new reminder

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Check it off

After you have completed a reminder, you can tap its adjacent check box.

Edit a Reminder

Simply tap anywhere on a reminder to edit the text.

Here, for example, I’ve just changed “vet” to “Sunray Animal Clinic.”

edit reminder

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edit reminder too

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Scheduled Reminders

If you need to be reminded to do something at a certain time, you can “schedule” the reminder.

  1. Create the reminder (or tap an existing reminder)
  2. Tap the circled “i”
  3. Slide the “Remind me on a day” to on
  4. Select the “Alarm” time
  5. Tap “Done”
tap the i

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slide remind me on a day to on

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specify the alarm time

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Repeating Reminders

You can schedule a repeated reminder (i.e. a task that you want to be reminded of every day, week, month, or year).

  1. Create a scheduled reminder as described in the previous section.
  2. Tap “Repeat”
  3. Select the frequency (every day, every week…)
  4. Tap Done
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New Lists

You can create separate lists within the Reminders app.

You may, for example, not want to see your “clean the gutters” task when you are at your place of employment.

There you can create an “Office” list (or whatever you wish to call it) to keep your work reminders separate from your personal reminders.

Tap Add List near the lower left corner.

tap add list

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Type in a descriptive name for your new list and tap Done:

create new list

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You can then, for example, upon arriving at your workplace, tap the Reminders app on your iPhone or iPad and then open the “Office” List to see the tasks you need to complete there:

Napkin 2 04-28-15, 2.19.18 PM

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You may find it easier and faster to use Siri to create reminders.

Activate Siri by holding down your device’s “Home” button.

When Siri responds say something like “Remind me to buy coffee.”

Siri will then put that reminder into your Reminders list.


If you wish to be reminded to do something at a specific time, you can summon Siri and say something like “Remind me to call Lisa tomorrow at 9 am.”

You can then say or tap “Confirm”

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If you have multiple lists in Reminders, you can tell Siri which list you want the reminder to go into.

For example, “Add order more paper clips to my Office list”

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Show Completed

Want to see what you’ve done in a particular list?

Tap “Show Completed” at the bottom of the screen

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