Computer Security Session 4: Surveillance and Privacy


Who wants to track you?

  • The government and law enforcement
  • Private companies (to sell you things and learn your shopping habits)
  • Criminals (to learn your patterns)
  • Friends, family and potential friends (“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”)
  • Stalkers

How can you be tracked?

  • Data traces left on your computer (e.g. browsing history, browser cache)
  • Interactions with your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • “Like” buttons and advertisements
  • Browser toolbars
  • Keyloggers
  • Logs on the websites you visit
  • Wifi (and wired) snooping
  • Mysterious shadowy government projects that may or may not exist

Scary Elaborations, and what to do: Local privacy, Online privacy, and Legislation


Get Organized: Week 5 Materials


A bit late, but here are the slides and handout from week 5 of the ‘Get Organized’ series. Week 5 was about budgeting.

For those who attended the series, please send me feedback of the constructive and/or showering-in-praise type. Let me know which sessions you liked (or didn’t), whether or not the structure was useful, what has worked for you, what really didn’t work for you, what you wish I’d covered (or covered more), etc. And if you qualified for those 2 free hours of help, I will be in touch at the end of the month!

For those who didn’t attend, or missed some sessions, if anyone is really interested and would definitely come out to a second offering of the series (perhaps a bit reorganized; probably in June/July), please contact me at laura @

Week 5 Handout (pdf)

Week 5 Slides (pdf)

Computer Security: No class March 20


Because several participants would not have been able to make it, we decided to defer this week’s Computer Security class. Instead, we will meet on Tuesday, March 27, Tuesday, April 3 and Tuesday, April 10.

Some topics we will cover over the next few weeks include:

  • Verifying identity (secure web browsing, encrypting email…)
  • What should we be worried about?
  • Email phishing and scams
  • Privacy and tracking
  • Firewalls, Routers, and Wifi

There is still space left in the course, so feel free to register by leaving a comment below.

Computer Security Session 1: Passwords, Overview


version 1.0


Passwords are like housekeys for computer services. They are intended to be secrets that allow you to access resources, but deny access to others.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about passwords:

  • What are the passwords protecting?
  • If one password is breached how many other computer services become vulnerable?
  • Who else knows your passwords? How much do you trust them?
  • What services have your passwords? How much do you trust them?
  • How many passwords do you have to manage?
  • How do you manage your computer passwords?

Password cracking, password strength, managing passwords, overall security thinking, and homework!

GO! Week 2: Organizing your space (and stuff)


Here are the slides and handout from Week 2 of the Get Organized! workshop series. Like last week, there are links to additional resources on the last slide.

In Week 1, we talked about Time Management. In Week 2, we focused on the “analyze” and “strategize” phases for organizing your space & stuff. We covered things like the importance of creating distinct “activity zones” within each room and the key components of any organization system:

  • Group like items together
  • Put things where you use them
  • Make it appealing (e.g. fun, aesthetically pleasing, easy to maintain – whatever appeals to you)

GO! Week 2 Slides
GO! Week 2 Handout

Next week we’ll explore the third and final phase of organizing (“attack”) a bit more deeply than we hav e so far, and we’ll focus on some specific topics: filing, decluttering/purging, and tracking your stuff.

  • Bring a pile of papers (or other things) that need sorting. Or a list of the types of papers in your pile.
  • Bring in an example of something that’s working for you!
  • You can also keep working on earlier phases of organizing or time management stuff, and there will be an opportunity to check in about your progress so far.

Computer Security Course: Tuesday, March 13!


It is late to be advertising this course on the blog, but there is still space in the course if you would like to participate.

This course is about computer security. Computer security is a huge and complicated topic, so to keep it manageable here are the primary goals:

  • To understand some of the security threats that exist in the big scary world, as well as the resources you might want to protect
  • To make better security choices without being terrified into paralysis
  • To have you identify, analyse and improve aspects of computer security as they relate to your own life

The course will be held Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm starting on March 13, at the Working Centre’s main building, 58 Queen Street South, Kitchener. It will run 3-5 weeks depending on student interest. In the first week we will discuss general security principles, talk about managing passwords, and choose topics for future sessions.

This course is directed towards non-experts. We hope there will be lots of interaction and a friendly, nonintimidating atmosphere.

In order to sign up you can leave a comment on this blog post, write the facilitator at his address (username: paul_nijjar) or just show up on Tuesday.