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Home | Online Resources: Link to a Topic | Computers & the Internet
computers and the internet

For New Computer Users

Ocean County Library offers FREE classes on using the Internet, Word Processing, and more. Please check your local branch calendar for details or visit one of our computer labs.

  Toms River Branch Lab Lakewood Branch Lab
Stafford Branch Lab   Jackson Branch Lab

  Computer mouse skills
Try the Ocean County Library’s fun mouse tutorial. Practice your skills with this enjoyable page. It is also available in Spanish!

  Search the Web
A list of selected Web search tools compiled by Ocean County Library staff. Also try Searchengines101 for lists of general directories, topical directories, and more.

  Link to a Topic
OCL’s subject directory. Find topics ranging from Art to Weather. Start your search here. We’ve done all the hard work for you!

  CNET Buying Guide
Are you thinking of buying a new computer? Do you need to know what features to buy? CNET’s guide can help you decide.

  TrendMicro Security Information
There are plenty of computer viruses you can catch.  TrendMicro is a commercial site that has lots of information to offer on viruses.

Internet Facts

  Hobbes' Internet Timeline v3.3
A straight forward list of important dates in the development of the Internet. If you can’t get enough information about ARPANET this is the site for you. A short bibliography is appended.

  Internet Society
The Internet Society is the non-governmental International Organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet. Visit their home pages to see how Internet innovators are creatively using the network.

Chatting & Communicating Online

ICQ ("I Seek You") is an Internet program that notifies you which of your friends are online and enables you to contact them. With ICQ, you can chat, send messages and files, exchange Web page addresses, play games and create your own homepage. ICQ supports a variety of popular Internet applications and serves as a Universal Platform from which you can launch various peer-to-peer applications such as Netscape CoolTalk. It can also be used in a multiple-user mode, so groups can conduct conferences or just 'hang out' on-line.

  Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Help
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) provides a way of communicating with people from all over the world. It consists of various separate networks (or "nets") of IRC servers, machines that allow users to connect to IRC. The largest nets are EFnet (the original IRC net, often having more than 32,000 people at once), Undernet, IRCnet, DALnet, and NewNet. Generally, the user (such as you) runs a program (called a "client") to connect to a server on one of the IRC nets.

E-mail lists

Topica is a really big directory of mailing lists. Internet mailing lists are communities of people sitting around discussing one of their favorite topics by e-mail. For example, fans of bluegrass music can join BGRASS-L, and meet other bluegrass fans, and talk about bluegrass via e-mail.

Dictionary of Computer Terms

Whatis.com's Internet dictionary is put together by many different people all over the world. Here you can find out what DSL stands for or what "boot disk" means.

Computing News

The Computer Network operates this computing news Web site. Updated many times a day, this is one of the best sites for keeping up with the latest news and with practical information that will affect you and your computer.

  Computer Bits
This on-line computer news magazine operates in Oregon and Arizona, but provides timely and well-written reports for both novice and advanced computer users. They also have an extensive list of computer and Internet resources.

  Slashdot: News for Nerds
News for nerds. Stuff that matters. That’s what it says on their masthead and that is what this site is. Slashdot is a site for the hard core computer user with a Linux bent.

Filters and Internet Law

  Cyber Snoop
Cyber Snoop is a product of Pearl Software. Pearl Software provides standalone and network enabled products to the Internet user community. Their focus includes providing parents with a realistic means to supervise and guide their children in the world of interactive Internet communications.

Peacefire is a youth alliance against Internet censorship. Among other activities, this teen run watchdog group monitors the pre-set lists of "bad" sites programmed into Internet filtering software.

SafeKids.Com is where you'll find tips, advice and suggestions to make your family's online experience fun and productive! Produced by the Online Safety Project, SafeKids offers advice and suggestions for having safe, fun, and educational experiences on the Internet.

Free Stuff

  The Mac Orchard
The Mac Orchard is a carefully cultivated list of the most vital Internet applications and links for Macintosh Internet users, along with Internet software reviews contributed from The Mac Orchard's audience. Mac Orchard represent the most complete, most up-to-date collection of Macintosh Internet applications available anywhere on the Internet.

Tucows is a leading distributor of e-business services and applications on the Internet. This is the site to go to for all your software needs. If tucows does not have a free or for fee program for what you want to do it does not exist.

  Web Clip Art
If you need a free picture for your home page this is the place to go. Links to over 700 clip art sites.

Major Companies and Vendors

  Apple Computer
Home page of Apple, makers of the Macintosh computers, operating systems, and software. Get Apple customer support or product information.

Home page of "Big Blue", manufacturers of IBM computers and products. IBM is responsible for popularizing the desktop computer and is still a major player in the personal computer industry. Get IBM customer support or product information.

Largest computer chip maker in the world, including the 486, Pentium, PentiumMMX, PentiumPro, and Pentium II processors, which are in 2/3 of all PC's. Get Intel customer support or product information.

  Linux Online
The official home page of Linux, a free open-source derivation of the UNIX operating system.

Home page of Microsoft, the largest software company in the world and maker of Windows95, Windows 2000, Windows XP, WindowsNT and Internet Explorer. Get Microsoft customer support, product information, company history or company news from Yahoo.

  Netscape Network
Home page of the maker of the popular internet browsers Netscape Navigator and Communicator, Netscape also provides plug-ins for both online. Get Netscape customer support, product information, company history or company news.

  Red Hat Software
Home page of Red Hat, the most popular installation version of Linux.

  Sun Microsystems
Home of Sun Microsystems, makers of UNIX workstations and developers of Java and Jini.

Donating your old PC: It's Worth More than You Think!

Many nonprofit organizations would happily accept a used PC. To find nonprofits in Ocean County, take a look at the Ocean County Resource Directory the library has compiled. You may need to call a few places before you find someone who could use your PC. Also, keep in mind that most nonprofits are run or are partially run by volunteers, and so it might take them some time to respond to you; please be patient!

Another option is to donate your old PC to an organization which refurbishes old PCs and distributes them to those in need; nonprofits, schools, the disabled or victims of the "digital divide." Many times these organizations can even pick up your PC, saving you the time of shipping the PC out to them.

Should you find that your PC is so old that it cannot be refurbished, consider recycling it. Why clog up a landfill with a computer?

If you choose to donate your computer, be sure to:

1. Take inventory of what your PC has to offer. Have a list handy of the type of PC or MAC you have, including details concerning: 

Monitor type
Processor (type and speed)
Software (plus do you have the original documentation that came with the software?)
Printer, mouse, keyboard etc.

2. Investigate any organization that you might consider donating the PC to. Learn about their mission, and how they operate. Is it something that you agree with? If they are a charity based in NJ, call the state charities hotline at (973) 5046215. If they are national, ask for their EIN number, which the IRS gives to nonprofits and businesses. All nonprofit organizations should be able to provide you with proof of their status.

3. Consider whether or not the organization will be able to pick up the PC from you. Some might need you to ship the PC to them, or may have a drop-off location.

4. Get a receipt for tax purposes.

5. WIPE THE HARDDRIVE! ! This means format the hard drive, or use a software program designed specifically for deleting files so that no personal files are left on the computer. Do not just delete the files: files can be 'undeleted' easier than you realize.


There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations and schools in NJ, which might be interested in accepting your computer. Although the library does not maintain a list of those needing a computer, we do offer, an Ocean County Resource Directory with descriptions and contacts for local nonprofit organizations.

The following is only a partial list of organizations with national and local presence, that seek to connect those needing a computer with those wanting to get rid of an older computer. When possible, we included information posted by the organization concerning the type of computer they can accept. Do some investigating, pick a few, and give them a call. Hopefully you will find a place that can accept your old computer!

Organizations in NJ

Ocean County Computer Recycling Program
donate your old PC at the County's Northern
or Southern recycling centers

Computers for School National HQ:
3642 N. Springfield St.
Chicago, IL 60618
(800) 939-6000

Local Chapters of Computers for Schools
Union County College
Dean Rusimano

Essex County College
Elvy Viera Garcia

Computers for Schools is a national program connecting PC donors to public and private schools, created in 1991.

Equipment requested by NJ chapter:

  Desktop/laptop Systems
  Pentium or faster models, PowerMac and IMac models
  Components and Peripherals (working condition)
  Monitors: SVGA & Mac Color
  100 or 250 MB Zip drives
  16MB RAM and/or 1GB hard drive
  Pentium or faster motherboards
  Hard drives
  Disk controller cards
  Network cards
  Power & monitor cables
  CD-ROM drives
  Ink/Bubblejet/Laser printers
  New and sealed software

NJ Chapter Donation
points are all in southern New Jersey. Be sure to call ahead and see if they will accept your computer.

R.O.C.K .Recycle Old Computers for Kids
Fireman Dan c/o Fire Station #3
124 East Passaic Ave
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

NJ Fire Lt. Mark Bombace in Ridgewood, NJ began R.O.C.K. "Recycle Old Computers for Kids".

PCs that are donated to the program are refurbished by volunteers, and then are donated to schoolchildren. Along with the computer, children are given an orientation on using the computer to get them started.

Type of equipment needed:

  Computers: with Pentium processors 500 MB HD and above please.
  Monitors, Cables, Power Cords
  Software and Operating Systems Windows 95-98, Word, Office, Educational, graphics, etc. .
  Spare parts (for repairs and upgrades), CD-ROM drives (any speed), RAM, modems, CPU's, video cards...

Share the Technology Project
P.0. Box 548
Rancocas, NJ 08073
Email recycle@sharetechnology.org
F.E.I.N. is 22-3494409
NJ Registration Number: CH0992900

Type of equipment needed:

  Requests will describe what type of equipment they are seeking.

National Programs

These are just a few nonprofit organizations that refurbish donated computers and donate them to those in need.

East West Education Development Foundation
504 Dudley St
Roxbury, MA 02119
FAX 617-442-7228
E-mail: sales@eastwest.org
EIN: 22-3079555

The East West foundations accepts used PCs from corporations and individuals, refurbishes the equipment, then passes it along to a nonprofit or school around the world. Any PC that is unusable is recycled.

National Cristina Foundation
500 West Putnam
Greenwich, CT
(800) 274-7846

The Cristina Foundation's mission is to provide special needs students in public and private schools with access to technology. They do not accept the computer themselves, but try and match you with a school in need.

Computer requirements:

  For PCs
For Macs

Web Directories

Here are a few directories for other groups across the country, which accept, refurbish, and then donate used computers.

  Hopi Information Network


Hopi Information Network is a nonprofit organization that refurbishes computers, and provides them to others. They seek to help a diverse number of causes, including providing computers to minority-owned small businesses that are just starting out, low-income students, those that are physically or emotionally disabled, and low-income seniors. Some computers are given away, while others are provided at a low-cost. This is their directory of places that might accept your old computer.


Out of luck with donating your computer? Before you hide your computer in your neighbor's trash, consider having your computer recycled. You may have to hand over a fee as well as your old computer, but wouldn't it give you a warm feeling to know that parts of it were being used again?

  Ocean County Computer Recycling Program
Donate your old PC at the County's Northern or Southern recycling centers.

  Rutgers University New Jersey Solid Waste Policy Group
Where to Recycle Computers, Fluorescent Bulbs, and Mercury Devices in Your County. Follow the link on the right beneath Hazwaste Diversion to Where to Recycle in Your County. You may also wish to call your local municipal recycling coordinator, to see if your old PC can be placed by the curb for pickup.

Freeware computer security programs

Updated June 10, 2005
Contributed by J. Syphrit (Reference, Toms River)

Freeware Computer Security Programs

Today, more than ever, it is not safe to simply unpack your new personal computer and begin to use it on the Internet. The sad fact is that doing so opens the unsuspecting-but-eager Internet user to all manner of attacks, potential privacy invasion, computer viruses, and possible covert monitoring of your activities. Real damage can be done to your computer, to your privacy, and perhaps even to your finances.

Fortunately, there are simple precautions that you may take to lessen these threats. The good news is that these solutions are non-commercial, free programs. This page will direct you to several freeware solutions that can help protect you online. None of the programs you will find on this page require the payment of fees at this time.

Spyware Problems

Spyware is a generic term for programs that are loaded onto your computer, usually without your knowledge, that perform a variety of undesirable functions. For example, some spyware programs gather data on your Internet use and share this data by secretly "phoning home" to a marketing company or organization. Other programs are designed to change or subvert your browser, to send you pop-up advertisements, or even to surreptitiously take control of your Internet connection. All of this usually takes place behind the scenes and without your knowledge. The only hint of trouble you may have is that your computer may appear to operate, or will access the Internet, more slowly.

You can pick up such spyware programs in many ways: opening email attachments, visiting specially coded webpages that load software onto your computer by exploiting security flaws in your browser, downloading software which contains more than you bargained for, and many other ways. Not only are these unwanted programs an invasion of your privacy, but they can also significantly impair the functioning of your computer.

It should also be mentioned that often spyware is very difficult to remove from your machine once it makes its way onto your computer. You might delete a given program only to find that the next time you reboot the problem program has reappeared! Several of the freeware solutions we’ll discuss below will help you with this.

Spyware Solutions

There are several tools that you may download and install on your computer to combat spyware: Spybot Search and Destroy, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, Perfect Process, and Spyware Blaster. Microsoft is also making a spyware detection and removal program available called Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta). You should install and regularly run several of these programs because new spyware threats emerge on an almost a daily basis and it is difficult for any one spyware removal program to stay up-to-date. By using several tools, you will have a better chance of detecting malicious spyware.

These programs not only detect spyware on your computer, but also properly remove it. Spyware often installs itself in several locations on your computer and makes changes to the operating system's registry, making it difficult to rid your machine of the unwanted software. These tools, however, will take care of the removal of these malicious programs for you. Spyware Blaster goes a step further in that it helps to "immunize" your computer by preventing many of the common spyware programs from being loaded onto your computer in the first place!

Another solution in the battle against spyware is to switch to a more secure web browser. Mozilla Firefox is a free browser that is being recommended by many security experts as providing a higher level of security than Internet Explorer. Firefox provides many useful and desirable features such as built-in popup blocking, tabbed browsing, and more.


A firewall is a program or hardware device that controls and limits access to and from a network to your computer. Now, it's probably clear from our discussion so far that it is important to limit and control access to your computer from the Internet. However, you also don't want any and all programs on your computer to have the capability to access the Internet without your knowledge or consent.

As we’ve seen, it is quite easy for your computer to become host to programs that you did not request and of which you aren't even aware. The spyware detection and removal tools we discussed above will greatly reduce your risk with spyware. However, it is important to have a firewall in addition to the above spyware removal tools.

A firewall not only will block unauthorized access to your computer from the Internet, but it will also block any programs on your computer from gaining access to the Internet on their own without your knowledge or permission.

Firewall Solutions

There are several firewalls that are available as a free download. An important note is in order here, though: you should only download and run only ONE of the firewalls mentioned here. Firewalls can interfere with one another when they are run at the same time, so you’ll want to be sure to only select one of the firewall solutions mentioned here.

With that caveat in mind, then, you may wish to download and install Kerio Personal Firewall, Outpost Personal Firewall, or Zone Alarm. These programs are easy to install and feature installation wizards to help a new user set up a firewall properly.

Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) is now featuring a firewall that is turned on by default. If your computer uses Windows XP as an operating system, you should make sure that you have updated your operating system with Service Pack 2. SP2 provides you with a rudimentary firewall that is turned on by default. For more information on downloading SP2, see this Windows XP SP2 page. Once you have downloaded and installed Service Pack 2, your computer will be protected by Microsoft’s firewall.

Anti-virus Software

Computer viruses are programs that gain access to your computer and perform various and often rather unpleasant tasks without your knowledge or cooperation. For example, a virus might reformat your hard drive, causing you to lose all of your data. It might launch an attack to block or interfere with another computer's access to the Internet, placing any potential blame on you. It might send an undesirable message to everyone in your email address book. The variety of viruses and the "missions" they perform for their creators are seemingly endless.

Anti-virus Solutions

There are two free anti-virus tools that you might wish to consider - AVG and Avast. These programs will scan the files on your computer to find, isolate, and remove computer viruses from your machine. In addition to featuring file scanning capabilities, both also feature behind-the-scenes continuous system monitoring to help you avoid accidentally downloading computer viruses while you use your computer. By monitoring your machine in the background as you work, these anti-virus programs can alert you to potentially damaging computer viruses and help you to avoid or remove them.

Once you install one of these anti-virus programs on your computer, you will want to run it periodically to scan the files on your computer for viruses. Both programs have a scheduling feature that will allow you to schedule such system scans to happen automatically at times that are convenient for you – perhaps at night while you sleep.

Since new viruses are appearing almost daily, it is essential that you keep your anti-virus program up to date. Both AVG and Avast feature regular updates to keep up with the latest virus threats.

As with the firewalls we discussed above, you should select only one anti-virus program for your computer. Anti-virus programs tend to interfere with one another if more than one such program is running on your computer at a time.


Got questions? We have answers!
Ask a Librarian


Researched and Compiled by J. Glace, K. Sparks, and J. Syphrit
Edited by C. Paulson

Copyright © 1996-2017 Disclaimer. All rights reserved.
Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753 | Tel. 732-349-6200