Since this is an electronic blog and we must be connected to the internet to access and use it we should also be aware of at least some basic security.
I will try to keep things as simple and basic as possible here so that all, whether technically proficient or technically challenged will be able to use it.
I will also make myself available to answer any questions to my community to include in person help if needed. Consider that one part of my giving to my community.
We need to establish a foundation to build on.
I have personal experience with windows and linux, and minimal exposure to mac. I do have an excellent resource available to me with extensive mac experience though, so I should be able to get those questions answered although a little slower than from me personally.
Naturally I prefer linux to windows. It’s way more secure and once installed, requires very little “fixing” to keep it working properly. It just works.
Installation is a little tougher for some but the end result makes it worth it in my opinion and the price is right…free. For basic internet and email operation it’s great. If you have other needs that require specific programs, it can be more challenging. Not because it can’t handle it but because the programs you might need are not as widely known.
Linux also uses older hardware more efficiently so if you happen to have an old laptop laying around gathering dust, it would be an ideal candidate for use as a relatively secure internet/email system. It can be made as secure as you want if you are willing to accept some strict procedures and methods of operation.
Next, we need to get connected. I always recommend a VPN (virtual private network) of some kind. This gives you an encrypted connection to the internet, so your service provider, spectrum, att, etc, cannot track what you are doing online. A VPN does not guarantee privacy but without one, your privacy is definitely compromised.
I personally use Nordvpn, my next choice would be protonvpn, then expressvpn. All of these are highly regarded and do not store your connection information that could then be given to outside sources to include governments. Protonvpn will likely become my primary as they add more servers and their speed increases. In my opinion they are the most security conscious of this group.
Continuing with Proton, they are my email choice, Protonmail. Can’t beat it. Very secure, especially between proton accounts and it’s FREE. If you choose to pay for it, it’s very reasonable and adds plenty of storage space. I highly recommend it if you have any desire for privacy in online communications. If we all here have protonmail accounts that means all our communications with each other are encrypted and totally private as long as no one is given the password to your account.
If you use it for nothing other than for we as a community to communicate, it would be worth setting up an account. Having a secure way to communicate with people you trust is vital.
Speaking of passwords, I encourage you to use a password manager. I use keepass and it works great. It is supported on multiple platforms to include your phone. There are ways to share your database between your devices but that is more in depth than I wish to go here. I can help with that if needed. A password manager allows you to store longer passwords without having to remember them making anything you do with passwords inherently more secure.
A couple of other areas real quick.
I suggest signal as a text message replacement for your phones. Between signal accounts all messages are encrypted and therefore as secure as possible in this day and age.
I also, recommend Brave as a browser. I used to recommend Firefox but in the past few weeks they have come out supporting policies that amount to censorship which I cannot support in any way.
For our basic purposes, that should cover it for now. You should be able to get connected to the internet, browse relatively safely, and communicate through email or text securely.
I’m willing to help when and where I can. I’m not a total tech geek but I have learned a few things over the years that work for me. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing so I’ve put the effort into learning what I needed to accomplish my goals. My methods are not perfect but for most are much better than they currently have and much better than nothing.
I also, have no affiliation with anyone I recommend, this is all just from personal experience.