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Creating a better internet together

Technology can play a huge part in making a better, and more efficient society

Today is Safer Internet Day and the theme this year is "Let's create a better internet together".

Personally, I like the idea of a "better" internet. And while a safer internet should always be a priority for all users, a better internet hints at the altruistic side of the digital world, and its potential to help others and society as a whole.

Many people say the internet and smartphones have eroded our community's spirit and are playing a large part in the collapse of relationships and the death of society.  I say that technology can play a huge part in making a better, and more efficient society.

Take grocery shopping. In the pre-internet era, a simple trip to the supermarket was often a scary and dangerous experience. Some of the many hazards to be navigated included unruly rogue trolleys, kids screaming for the sugary treats that were displayed cunningly at their eye level and the demoralizing possibility of picking the slowest checkout queue. These days all of that can be sidestepped by ordering your groceries online and having them delivered to your doorstep. Now that's a better internet in action.

There are countless Facebook groups, forums and YouTube channels dedicated to helping people get answers to simple questions, from fixing broken electronics to sharing knowledge about software products to composting.

Here are a few examples of websites that can make our lives better

  • http://www.bemyeyes.org/ is a free mobile app that allows sighted people to help blind people by using video conferencing features of phones to allow your eyes to help someone remotely.
  • https://www.tushare.com/ is a great Australian website that allows people to give away goods they no longer need. This not only allows you to help others, but also helps the environment.
  • http://www.redditt.com allows anyone to submit/ask/share just about anything from news to a question or thought. Answers or comments to these questions/observations can be helpful or hilarious. (Warning: can be very addictive.)
  • How can you help someone online? Start a blog, contribute to community forums and online discussions. You never know who might benefit from your knowledge.

    On a more technical note you still need to use strong passwords. If you use a password manager (free of commercial) you can create separate/strong password for each site. This will be a godsend when a hacker finally breaks into site xyz, they can't use your username and password for other sites you use.

  • https://howsecureismypassword.net/ is a great site to see how strong your password is (as hackers can use software to decrypt stolen encrypted passwords).
  • https://asafaweb.com/ is a free website that scans your websites (personal or business) for known vulnerabilities.
  • https://haveibeenpwned.com/ is a useful site that lets you know if any of the sites you use have been hacked recently.
  • Backup your data and perform basic maintenance on your computer like removing dust and defragging files from time to time. If you use portable USB hard drives they only last about four or five years so don't expect them to hold your data forever.
  • See you online.