News You Can Use

January 18th 2017

Players of all ages and abilities are invited to join the Chess Club!  Players should be familiar with the game, though some limited instruction may be available. Monday, February 6th 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. in the library auditorium. Generally, Chess nights are on the first Monday of each month. We hope to see you there!

December 14th 2016

People have been talking a lot about fake news in the past week. It's everywhere, but how do we know what's true and what isn't?

If you use the Chrome browser you can download the extension, This is Fake, created by Slate.com, which will help you find out if a report has been debunked.

And you can always go to the ever-reliable Snopes.com, pop in a few keywords related to the story you're suspicious about, and find out if it's true, false or a little of both.

And be... Read Post

October 21st 2016

If you had trouble accessing a major website this morning, such as Amazon, Twitter, Imgur or Pinterest, there's nothing wrong with your computer or your Internet connection. A widespread cyberattack cut off access to some of the most popular sites on the Web. The attack was a distributed denial-of-service attack, which basically means massive amounts of junk data were sent to websites, overloading the servers, making it impossible for people to get to them--like calling a phone number and... Read Post

September 16th 2016

If you've been using AdBlock Plus as an adblocker I've got bad news: it now allows ads. But according to the people at Eyeo GmbH, the company that developed AdBlock Plus, users shouldn't worry: these ads are "acceptable." Supposedly AdBlock Plus will only ads that are smaller and less intrusive than the ads that companies would prefer to place on websites. The change is controversial, to say the least.

I suggest switching to uBlock, a well-reviewed adblocker that doesn't allow ads.... Read Post

September 10th 2016

Sunday hours resume tomorrow. We will be open 1 to 5 pm.

July 19th 2016

First, I would like to thank James O’Keefe and Dr. Steve Revilak for their great work at SPL’s cryptoparty last weekend. They were very generous with their time and expertise. Several people left at the end of the day with their smartphones and laptops optimized for online privacy.

Second, let’s talk about Windows 10. If you’re a pc user, this latest Microsoft operating system will almost certainly be thrust upon you at some point. There’s something very important you need to know:... Read Post

July 6th 2016
There are so many different ways we're being watched, it's easy to think having any privacy is hopeless, but you shouldn't give up. On Saturday, July 16 at noon we're hosting an online privacy workshop here at SPL. It will be very hands on, so bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop (or all three)  so fix your settings, download apps, and add browser extensions to keep your online activities safe from prying eyes. In the meantime here are some easy steps you can take now to lay the... Read Post
June 28th 2016
It will get easier to say no to Windows 10.  Soon when you click on the x in the upper-corner of the pop-up box nagging you to "upgrade" to Windows 10, the box will actually disappear as you would expect instead of downloading Windows 10. Furthermore the pop-up will soon feature the option "Decline Free Offer" which means you will never see it again. But be aware if you use Windows 7 there will be no more system updates. However, Microsoft will continue to support the system with security... Read Post
April 29th 2016
Top view of Somerville Public Library

We're getting ready for Somerville Reads 2016 - our next One City, One Book program, which will take place in the early Fall - and we need your input! Which of these books would you  most like to read and discuss as a community? You can read about each book below (the reviews have been edited for length then vote for your pick at the bottom of this post.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowel

What do you get when a woman who's obsessed with death and U.S. history goes... Read Post

April 29th 2016
We're getting ready for Somerville Reads 2016 - our next One City, One Book program, which will take place in the early Fall - and we need your input! Which of these books would you most like to read and discuss as a community? You can read about each book below (the reviews have been edited for length) then vote for your pick at the bottom of this post. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowel What do you get when a woman who's obsessed with death and U.S. history goes on vacation? This wacky,... Read Post
April 29th 2016
...is available for public review  at the Central Library, 79 Highland Ave. Ask at the reference desk for help finding it.
April 16th 2016
Somerville's annual Patriots' Day celebration will be held at Foss Park on Monday, April 18 10-11:30 am. There will be a Colonial Fair with games, music by the Somerville High School band, period refreshments, and colonial reenactors. If you play your cards right, you might even get to meet Paul Revere's horse (she has a very busy social schedule; she can't make time for everyone). If you are interested in reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the National Park Service has a... Read Post
March 10th 2016
First the good news:  it seems to have infected relatively few computers. To find out if your Mac has been infected (and learn how to remove it) go here.
March 7th 2016
Transmission, a popular Mac application for downloading videos and music, has been infected with ransomware. It encrypts the data on users' Macs and demands they fork over roughly $400 in bitcoin. Apple took steps to neutralize the malware over the weekend, but some Macs may have been infected as of today. You can read more about the problem here and here. Stay tuned.
February 16th 2016
I've posted a fair bit about protecting your online privacy, but most of it's only applicable to PC users. However, Mac users have an array of privacy self-defense tools at their disposal as well. First, go here and follow Lifehacker's instructions on configuring OS X to maximize your privacy (it's not at the top of the screen--you'll have to scroll down a bit to find the instructions. They're under the heading "Audit OS X's System Settings." For iPhone and iPad users: there's a free app... Read Post

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