Doug Rutherford

Virtual Village columnist Doug Rutherford teaches computer networking and security for Yukon College and three post-secondary educational institutions in British Columbia.

A Painting a Day

The Coronavirus lockdown and physical distancing has led us to trying to find activities to keep ourselves busy. The stress and uncertainty have played havoc with the mental health of most of us. A friend, who is a professional artist, attacked this problem and challenged herself to paint a small (4×6 or 5×7) watercolour each …

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The Internet is Forever

It’s natural that you have some complaints about your boss, co-workers, or customers. No job is perfect and we are only human. However, how you express your feelings may prove to be a problem, not only in your present job, but also your chances of getting another in the future. While social media may be …

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It must be true – I saw it on the Internet

One of the conveniences of the internet is that it allows anyone to be a publisher; this is also one of its biggest problems. Before the internet, there was usually a filter between you and outrageous claims. However, in many cases that filter no longer exists and people are still learning to take internet assertions …

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Virtual Village: Virtual Village: Facebook is “Like Farming”

Did you ever wonder what’s behind those math questions on Facebook? You know, the ones that “most people will get wrong.” Or what about those count-the-triangles picture games, which apparently most of us get wrong too? What do they have in common with recipes, iPad giveaways, and eye test puzzles? Most of these posts are …

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Buying and Selling Online

I’m back after a bit of a vacation and a bout of pneumonia, but I’m ready to sell you on some safety tips for online classified ads. One of the earliest features of the web was the introduction of classified ad services, such as eBay, CraigsList, and local services such as Borealist. These offer a …

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Virtual Village: The Support Crunch

Some colleges and universities have closed or scaled down their information technology programs. In the Yukon, for example, we went from having a full, stand-alone, two-year diploma to a collaborative program where the teaching is shared through four colleges.

Virtual Village: Identity Theft

A statistical trend that receives little appreciation is that crime rates in Canada have been declining steadily for more than 20 years. There are exceptions, however. Identity theft has become more prevalent. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there were just over 17,000 victims in 2012, with losses of about $16-million. I’m going to write …

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Virtual Village: How Secure are Tablets?

Tablets are on the rise. They are touch-screen based devices that are smaller, more portable and more convenient than a desktop computer. The first commercially released tablets were introduced by Microsoft about ten years ago but were not well received. However, in 2010, Apple introduced the iPad and the market grew markedly. These were smaller, …

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Virtual Village: How Safe is Online Shopping?

Since the inception of e-commerce about 15 years ago, there have been many myths regarding its safety. Online shopping and banking are extremely useful, particularly when you live in a remote location. But, how safe is it? The short answer is that there are some risks. However, these are smaller than many people think. For …

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Virtual Village: Web Browsers

Every time you access the internet, what you’re doing is using a web browser. And even though Internet Explorer is installed on just about every non-Apple Macintosh computer out there, there are many other web browsers to use and reasons to use them. Each have their benefits and disadvantages, so to help you understand your …

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Virtual Village: Creating a Family Social Media Policy

Every large corporation has probably devoted time and effort in recent years to draft its social media policy. This policy outlines the types of information the corporation puts forward on social media, who posts that information, who approves what gets posted, et cetera, in an effort to ensure that the corporation’s best face is put …

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Virtual Village: Going phishing

That’s not a typo in the headline. Phishing is the process of attempting to gain information through deception. It uses email and fake web sites to get you to unknowingly provide information to a criminal. Common methods of phishing include receiving emails that appear to be from banks, other institutions, or online retailers saying that …

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Virtual Village: Online Hoaxes

One of the more annoying facets of the Internet is the ability to spread online hoaxes and urban legends. These did die off in popularity at one point, but now seem to be enjoying a resurgence with the ability to spread them through Facebook and Twitter. They are annoying in that while usually not harmful, …

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Fine-tuning Your Wi-Fi

In my last column, I looked at how Wi-Fi works and how to encrypt your transmissions to reduce the possibilities of unauthorized access to your network. Now, let’s consider a few more steps you can take to lock down your wireless network. Considering how easy it was to encrypt your traffic, you should consider arranging …

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Virtual Village: Clouds on the Horizon?

This summer, the word “cloud” has popped up in conversation with some frequency. However, you are probably also seeing the term used beyond descriptions of the awful weather. The internet cloud basically refers to running applications or storing data somewhere on the internet, rather than on your local computer. To some extent, you probably do …

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Virtual Village: Social Media Safety: Part 2

In my last article, I introduced the idea that you should approach keeping your online information safe in the same way you would protect yourself in real life. Let’s consider this again and look at your social media profile. Setting this up properly is important, since some or all of your profile information is publicly …

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