Finding Lost Electronics

Have you ever lost your camera?  How about your cell phone?  Thankfully, if you have access to the internet, there are some tools to help you locate your lost items.

Cameras:
Stolen Camera Finder – This site uses the camera’s serial number to search for photos on the web taken by the your camera.  If someone else is using your camera, it will help you track it down.  The site works best in Firefox or Chrome.

CameraFound.com -Worldwide “lost and found” for cameras.

IFoundYourCamera.net – Another “lost and found.”

Cell Phones:
If you don’t already have an app installed to assist in finding your phone, try one of these sites:

Icantfindmyphone.com – Enter your phone number and click the “Hello” button to make your phone ring.

Where’s My Cellphone? – Similar to the site above, with the added feature of a delay in call time.

Laptops are more difficult to recover unless you have installed software to protect against loss, such as LoJack for Laptops or Hidden (for Mac).  If you would like to read an amusing computer recovery story involving Hidden, one Mac owner kept a blog about the theft, complete with embarrasing pictures of the thief!

Happy Computing!

Security and shortened links

Traditionally, link addresses to webpages include a path to a file’s location.  For example, in the address www.yourdomain.com/images/family/dog1.jpg indicates that at yourdomain.com, the picture dog1.jpg lives in the “family” folder inside the “images” folder.  As you can imagine, some of these addresses can get quite long.  The links can get even more complicated if the site is built using the PHP programming language.  This can pose a problem if you would like to share a link using software with a character limit, such as Twitter.  Enter the URL shortening services.  By registering your link with a company such as bit.ly or TinyURL, you can get a much shorter link address that will forward to your intended page.

As with many great ideas, some nefarious people have found a way to exploit this service.  They use shortened URLs to mask links to malicious sites.  So, how can you know if that shortened link someone posted or sent you is legitimate before you click it?  Thankfully, there are a few ways to check.

  • bit.ly – If your link has this text in the address, copy the link and paste it into your browser.  Add a + to the end of the link and enter.  This will bring you to a special bit.ly page that will give you details about the link, including the fully expanded URL.
  • TinyURL – Copy and paste a TinyURL link into a browser address bar.  Add the word preview before the address.  For example, tinyurl.com/3k2k91 becomes preview.tinyurl.com/3k2k91.  Following the preview link will bring you to a preview of the page with the fully expanded link without exposing you to malware.
  • If you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, there is an add-on called bit.ly preview that will display information on the link while you hover over it with your mouse.
  • Google Chrome users can also download a similar extension.
  • If you have several links to check, or do not want to use the above options, you can paste shortened URLs into LongURL, ExpandMyURL or Long URL Please.

For more information on how to preview shortened URLs, please visit Joshua Long’s comprehensive guide.  Though people you trust would not willingly send you a malicious link, it’s always a good idea to vet any links before clicking on them.

E-Book explosion

e-readersWith the proliferation of e-readers comes an increasing demand for e-books in libraries.  Many libraries offer free downloadable e-books and audiobooks, but they may not be compatible with all readers.  If you are a patron at the East Greenbush Community Library (or any Upper Hudson library), you can find our digital collection here.  In addition to your public library, there are several sources of free, legal e-book downloads.  Here are a few to get you started:

Also, check with the vendor of your device.  For example, if you own a Nook, you can search the Barnes and Noble website for free e-books.  Ditto with the iTunes store and any of the Apple family of devices.  Happy e-reading!

Find Your Phone Fast

If you’re like me, you’ve ditched the landline and depend completely on your cell phone.  When the phone gets misplaced, it can be a nightmare if you’re alone and can’t call it to follow the ring.  Luckily, I Can’t Find My Phone can help!  Point your browser to icantfindmyphone.com, enter your phone number, and click the “hello” button.  The website will call your phone for free (your carrier may apply charges).  Unless the phone is dead or in a completely different location, problem solved!

Is it just me?

Have you ever had trouble loading a website, but can’t tell if the site is down or if it’s just a problem on your end?  Then this site is for you! Just head to “Down for everyone or just me?” and type in (or paste) the address of the website you’re trying to reach.  The results will let you know if other users are having trouble with the site, too.  Handy!