Category Archives: Tech Tips

Fact Checking Online

The internet is a great tool. It gives everyone the ability to create content and share online. This allows people knowledgeable in a subject to easily share their knowledge with the masses, or even just allows someone to share their opinion regarding a subject with everyone. The downsides are anyone can create content that is misleading, click-bait, or a hoax.

We have quickly gone from the days where you hear “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” to your social media feed being filled with click-bait misinformation that your conspiracy theory loving auntie keeps sharing.

Fortunately there are ways to check the facts of a link before you click share on social media.

Facebook and Twitter have both released tools on their social media platforms to help prevent the spread of misinformation. Automated tools aren’t always perfect so the onus is on you to check the validity of an article before blindly sharing. One of Twitters tools will show a message, warning that you haven’t click the article to read it and are retweeting based only of the clickbait title alone. These tools aren’t perfect – do your research before sharing.

Snopes is a fact-checking website that was started in 1994 as Urban Legends Reference Pages. It has since become one of the most recognised fact checking websites when it comes to misinformation being shared online. Snopes allows you to do a search of their site for keywords so you can easily verify information before sharing.

Google fact check allows you to perform a Google Search via fact checking websites. This gives you a quick summary of what is claimed to be true, and a true or false answer. You can then use this information to decide on whether or not to share the information. There are many more fact checking websites which can be viewed on Wikipedia.

Before you blindly click share on the next click-bait article, please take the time to read it and research the facts in the article. This will make the internet a better and more informative place.

Search Engines

Google is by far the most popular search engine. Due to its popularity most people use the term “Googling” when referring to any web search – no matter the provider they use. A search engine should not be confused with a Web Browser.

A search engine allows a user to type keywords, phrases, or questions/equations into a search field and have results/answers returned. This allows users to navigate the web without needing to know the URL for every websites. There are 100’s of other search engines available, each with their own speciality.


DuckDuckGo – The privacy-focused search engine. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users – which is a win for the privacy minded user. This means the results are not personalised and may be less relevant but your privacy is protected.

Ecosia – Another search engine that considers user privacy. This isn’t their main selling point though. Ecosia will plant trees when you perform web-searches.

WolframAlpha – Type a question and receive an answer. Whether you need to know the 100th digit of Pi, the 7th Prime Minister of Australia, or the atomic number for Boron or Hydrogen, you will have answers fast.

Kiddle – Is a child safe visual search engine. This allows children to safely browse the internet without fear of stumbling upon something undesirable. It is still recommended a parent supervise their children on the internet because sometimes an innocent term may not return innocent results. Kiddle is based on Google Search.

KidzSearch – Another search engine based on Google Search. Much the same as Kiddle, with added educational links and games on the home page and well as search.


This is only a brief sample of the many search engine that’s are available. When doing any research project, it can be beneficial to try out different search engines to expand the information you require.

If you are interested in protecting your privacy online, it can be beneficial to “Google” yourself using multiple search engines. This is the best way to find out what information you or someone else has shared online. If you can find information about yourself, that means anyone can. This gives you a starting point for cleaning up your digital footprint.

While you are here, be sure to read our other Tech Tips articles!

Your Windows 7 PC is out of support

Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14th, 2020. As of writing, Windows 7 has missed 6 months worth of updates released to patch vulnerable code.

If you are still running Windows 7 you need to upgrade to a currently supported operating system sooner rather than later. Running unsupported software, especially an operating system, leaves your device open for malware and cyber criminals,

Many PCs running Windows 7 can easily be upgraded for free to Windows 10. You can find more information in an earlier post. The Microsoft website has the minimum requirements for hardware as:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800 x 600

This means that Windows 10 can be run on reasonably old hardware.

Another alternative would be to install a Linux distribution such a Ubuntu, or if your PC is very old, Lubuntu.