Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday really makes me sad. At the moment, I can’t even afford to give to one charity, so how can I help up to a hundred, because that’s how many are bombarding me with requests for donations? If I could afford to, I’d give to all of those, but as it is, I can’t. So all I can do is delete all those emails.

Basic guide to the internet for beginners

Say you’re a complete beginner when it comes to the internet. You just got your internet connection at home, after being totally bewildered by other people’s talk about it, or, maybe, you’ve tried using the internet at the library or at work, but didn’t make any sense of it. No problem. Read this and you’ll be ok.


First you’ll need an email address. Some internet providers offer one or more email accounts, but not all. If you get one from your internet provider, hopefully they’ll also supply instructions, but you can’t count on that. There are a couple of words you’ll need to understand before trying to set up your email program.

POP – the incoming mail server
IMAP – also incoming mail server, but leaves a copy of the email on the server
SMTP – outgoing mail server
SSL – a security protocol
Password – not a term unique to email, you’ll need these all over the internet
Authentication – also to do with security
Authorization – another term to do with security
ID/Account name etc: sometimes, but not always your name/username, the part before the @ symbol, can also mean your complete email address (

If you want a free web based email address, first you need to find a good one. I can recommend Icerocket web mail. You won’t need to worry about pop, smtp or anything else. Just sign up and start using your email. All you’ll need is to remember the URL (the internet address) and your own username and password.

If you prefer to be able to check your email online and on your own mail program, I can recommend It’s an excellent free email provider, that also offers a number of paid options. If you want to receive imap email, you’ll need to know the imap server. Fastmail offers an excellent guide to setting up your email program, so I won’t go into the details. It’s easy to do. Nothing to worry about.

Next you’ll need a free email program. If you’re running Windows you probably already have Outlook or Outlook Express. If you want an alternative try Eudora.

If you’re a Mac user, I can recommend Mail that is included in your OS X. Eudora is available for Mac too.

For more free programs visit or Tucows

Search engines might be the next thing you want to get acquainted with. My favorite is Dogpile, but Clusty, Mamma, Ask, Gigablast, Entireweb, and of course Wikipedia are other excellent resources.

Some of you might want to chat. On or Tucows you’ll find several free alternatives. My favorite is Jabber, but it seems to be a bit difficult to find a place you can sign up for it. For Jabber you’ll need a multichat program or – a nice web based alternative – sign up for Meebo. MSN is probably the most popular chat alternative. You can use a multichat program, but also the MSN messenger. You might also want to check out ICQ and the AOL instant messenger.

Blog – you might be wondering what that is. Easy. It’s short for Weblog, which is a kind of online diary/journal. Or you can use it as a sort of homepage. A homepage is just a place to put all your stuff – photos, links, stories (if you’re a writer) and whatever else you might like to put there. There are many easy-to-use blog platforms. First you need to decide what you want your blog for. WordPress is a very versatile, free and very easy-to-use blog platform. There’s a web hotel where you can get your free blog hosted. You can choose between several different themes. There are also many other ways of costumizing your blog. WordPress is also available to use on your own server or a paid web hotel. That gives you even more costumizing options.

If you’re interested in joining a community at the same time, try LiveJournal. There’s a free basic account level, but unfortunately, they display ads on that, unless you are logged on. On LiveJournal there are plenty of communities to choose between. LiveJournal has several costumizing options. Vox is a bit like LiveJournal, the main difference being that you get space for uploading media – photos, movies, music.

You might have heard of Twitter. Some people call it a microblog. That’s one way of putting it. Personally, I see it as a sort of mini messageboard.

Microblogs can be described as a sort of blog, but not intended primarily for posting long texts. Tumblr is a good example of a so called tumblelog. I like to describe a tumblelog as a digital, online scrapbook. You post photos and other media, links, quotes and shorter text posts. There are many ways of costumizing your Tumblr, but if you prefer, you can choose a theme and leave it that way and focus on what you posts. Soup is another type of tumblelog – you can set it up to collect feeds from your other sites, so that it becomes a mix of all you do online.

If you have a digital camera or a phone with a camera you might want to keep your photos online. There are plenty of fine places to store your files. I like Zooomr a lot. Like I mentioned before, Vox is another place you can post your photos and other files. In fact, many social networks provide free photo storage.

Online social networks… There are plenty of those, more known or less. You’ve probably heard of MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Maybe HI5 too. My favorites are Care2 – for those of us who care about the environment, LibraryThing and similar book sites, writing sites – FictionPress is a good example and pet-related sites like Petster, Dogster and Catster, but whatever you’re interested in, you’ll be sure to find a community or network to suit you.

Once you have a blog, you’ll want to promote it. There are several blog directories that you can submit your blog to. Technorati is one of the better known ones, but there are many others, like Blogged, BlogCatalog, BlogFlux, Blogarama, Blogtoplist and