Friday, May 11, 2007

Internet Safety Tips
Tips for Children

1. Never give out personal identifying information - name, home address, school name or
telephone number - in a chat room or on a bulletin board.
2. Never include personal information or interests in your Instant Messaging profile, and do not
post your photo.
3. Keep passwords private - even from best friends!
4. Don't respond to mean or harassing e-mails. Log off and tell your parents.
5. Be on alert when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts or money.
6. Never agree to meet with someone face-to-face without telling your parent or guardian.
Then, if your parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, make sure to meet in a public place
with your parent or guardian.
7. Remember that people online may not be who they seem.
8. Remind your parents to keep your computer protected with the latest security patches, anti-
virus software and a firewall to prevent hackers.
9. Delete unknown e-mail attachments, as they may contain viruses.
10.Virus scan all files downloaded from the web to your computer.

Tips to Avoid Online Credit Card Fraud

1. Make sure a website is secure and reputable before providing credit card information online.
2. Don't trust a site just because it claims to be secure.
3. If buying something online, make sure it is from a reputable source.
4. Reconcile credit card statements promptly to avoid unauthorized charges.
5. Beware of providing credit card information when requested through unsolicited e-mails.

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

1. Research businesses or websites, to ensure they are legitimate.
2. Try to get a physical address, rather than a P.O. box or maildrop.
3. Never discard credit card or bank statements in usable form.
4. Pay attention to missed bills: they could indicate that your account has been taken over.
5. Be cautious of scams requiring you to give your personal information.
6. Never give out your credit card number over the phone, unless you made the call.
7. Monitor your monthly credit card statements for any fraudulent activity.
8. Report unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company as soon as possible.
9. Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year.
Thursday, May 03, 2007

How True Love or Tragedy is Only a Click Away...

The Story of Kerry Kujawa

Author Raymond Chan was a classmate of Kerry Kujawa's for several years in Sugar Land, Texas. Kerry's tragic story serves as a poignant example of the dangers of online relationships with offline consequences.

An Unexpected Phone Call

Late last April I got a phone call one afternoon from a good high school friend of mine who attended Texas A&M University. Not expecting the call, I good-naturedly asked how things were going.
It was not a social call. There was no good news, and things were not going well.
Earlier that day police had identified the body of Kerry Kujawa, a fellow A&M student and an old classmate that we had gone to school with for years. Kerry's body had been found, badly decomposed and unidentifiable, in a field on a remote ranch in the Texas hill country. The story around Kerry's tragic death would come out over the next day, and its nature shocked all of us who had known him.
Kerry had been having an online relationship with whom he thought to be a young woman under the screen name 'kelly_mc', meeting and communicating through an online chat room. Her real name was "Kelly McCauley", and seemed to be a nice pre-law student who was trapped in a destructive relationship, and Kerry was one of those people who wouldn't let her stay in such an emasculating position. They seemed to grow closer and closer over the months, and eventually Kerry started to ask Kelly to meet face to face, so that he could help her. He apparently grew insistent on helping her, and on April 7th, 2000, Kerry left campus to meet her in San Antonio.
A week or so later Kerry's family and friends received an email from Kerry saying that he was ok and would be staying with Kelly for a little longer. Online, Kelly had been telling others in the close-knit chat room that she and Kerry were engaged and would be getting married soon.
In the end, this fairy tale fantasy would prove to have been a terrible tragedy. A couple weeks later Kerry's friends started to worry about his continued absence from school and filed a missing-persons report. Just the day before, police had discovered Kerry's body, but had not yet been able to identify it. The news came as a crushing blow to Kerry's family, friends, and all those who had known him.
Who was 'kelly_mc'?

Kerry's online love interest, 'Kelly', was not who he or anybody else thought she was. By interviewing the operators and frequent participators of the chat room, police obtained the phone numbers and addresses that the person had given out to contact her at. Authorities were also helped by carefully examining the computers Kerry had used to send and receive emails from 'kelly_mc'. 'She' was actually 31 year-old, 6' 2" Kenny Wayne Lockwood, a former McDonald's assistant manager who lived with his parents in an upscale neighborhood in San Antonio. He had no felony convictions and was described by one neighbor as being the "last [person one would assume] for being involved [in the murder]." Other neighbors described him as "quiet, a real computer geek."
It would later come out that Lockwood had used the persona of 'Kelly' to talk with other young men in addition to Kerry, luring them with an appealing story and pictures of an attractive young woman to further the ploy. To conceal his identity, Lockwood met Kerry under the pretense of being Kelly's brother, then shot and killed him and disposed of his body. To delay the discovery of the murder, Lockwood sent the email purporting to be Kerry and continued to assume the persona of 'Kelly' in the chat room and furthering the story of the two supposedly in love.

Remembering Kerry

To those of us who had known and grown up with Kerry, the news of his death came as a terrible shock. The story of his murder, however, came as an even greater surprise. Kerry was a smart, highly intelligent, and computer-savvy individual. He was not the stereotypical 'computer geek' who spent his entire social life in front of a monitor and kept indoors or a 'jock' who would have been ignorant and not understanding of computers and the inherent risks. Instead, he was a sociable individual, an avid track athlete, and a notable engineering student.
Having talked with him on an almost daily basis throughout high school, I can say that Kerry was not a soft hearted, idealistic, or romantic individual. Furthermore, he was one of the brightest minds at my high school, ranked high in the class and one who took a challenging schedule of AP courses and extra-curricular activities. I would never have guessed that Kerry would be one to be tricked into such a deep and deceptive ploy by someone else; if anything, I can recall some of the joking pranks that he had played on others. All of us who previously had read or heard stories of failed online relationships in the media and dismissed them now had to rethink our beliefs. We had to re-examine our online lives and our hollow belief that we were somehow invulnerable to the situations that these stories presented.
Kerry's death forced all of us in the community and schools to rethink our notions of the Internet and the online world. It is too easy to think of the Internet as a collection of web pages and dot.coms, a resource of information and services that exist in a space parallel but separate from the "real world." However, the Internet is as much a community of people as it is a collection of pages and files, and those people very much exist in the same world that we do. And the problem is they can be terribly dangerous.

As the idiom goes, on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When Spring blossoms all around... our heart suddenly seems to sing beautiful lines! It's time once again for spring-time festivities to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
Celebrate Easter with your loved ones and... Happy Easter to you all!!

Visit the following websites for information on Easter customs and traditions:

* http://www.indobase.com/holidays/easter/easter-traditions-around-the-world/easter-in-uk.html

* http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/easter.html

Monday, February 19, 2007
Carnival in England

The Nottinhg Hill Carnival is an annual event which takes place in Notting Hill, London, in August, over three days ( a weekend and a bank holiday ). It is led by the members of the Caribbean population, many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival attracts millions of people each year and is among the largest street festivals in Europe.

Carnival kicks off on Sunday with Children's Day, with a shorter Carnival route for children and young people. The main parade takes place on Monday.

Six disciplines go to make up the carnival as we know it today. Mas' ( masquerade), Steelband, Calypso ( political, social and satirical commentary, set to music ), Soca ( the traditional music of Carnival, a fusion of Soul and Calypso ), Static Sound Systems, and Samba all play their part in this carnival.

The Notting Hill Carnival is now generally viewed as a dynamic celebration of London's multicultural diversity, though dominated by the Caribbean culture in the best traditions of Rio.

Interesting Internet links:

Mardi Gras in the USA

Mardi Gras, which in French translates to Fat Tuesday, is officially the day before Ash Wednesday, and is also called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. It can occur anytime between February 3rd and March 9th, depending on when Easter is held that particular year. In 2007 Mardi Gras Day is on February 20th.
New Orleans Mardi Gras, in the US state of Louisiana, is particularly well-known, often called " the greatest free show on earth". The celebrations draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city, in addition to the celebrating locals for the parties and parades. Most tourists can be found within the French Quarter, especially in a street called Bourbon Street.
Mardi Gras came to New Orleans with the earliest French settlers. New Orleans developed new traditions, including Carnival organizations called Krewes, and the famous Rex Parade, in addition to Mardi Gras Indians and king cake parties.
Officially, the Mardi Gras season begins on the 12th day after Christmas. Most parades, balls and other festivities occur on weeknights and weekends in the 2-week period before Mardi Gras Day. Though each parade is different, there are certain common ingredients:

1) there is a king of each Krewe, picked from among the Krewe membership;

2) gaily colored floats, ridden by masked and costumed Krewe members, who throw various items,
including beads ( necklaces ), metal coins called doubloons and other fun items;

3) marching bands from local high schools and universities, and often other invited guest bands.

Check out the following websites for more detailed information on this topic:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The USA: a melting pot or a salad bowl?
America has traditionally been referred to as a melting pot, welcoming people from many different countries, races, and religions, all hoping to find freedom, new opportunities, and a better way of life. The melting pot methapor is used to refer to "model" immigrant groups of the past. Past generations of immigrants in America, some people argue, became successful by working to shed their historical identities and adopt the ways of their new country. The process of shedding one's native culture and becoming absorbed into the ways of the "host" society is known as cultural assimilation.
Today, however, the trend is toward multiculturalism, not assimilation. The
old melting pot metaphor is giving way to new methaphors such as salad bowl and mosaic, mixtures of various ingredients that keep their individual characteristics. Immigrant populations within the United States are not being blended together in one pot, as it was thought, but rather they are transforming the American society into a truly multicultural mosaic, by valuing and preserving the distinct qualities of their own cultures.

For more in-depth information on this issue log on to :
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This is a picture of the Portuguese smart home ( Casa do Futuro Inclusiva ) on display in The Museum of Communications in Lisbon.

Visit the webpage http://www.fpc.pt/FPCWeb/museu/displayconteudo.do2?numero=18848 to collect more information on our intelligent house!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Did you know?

Constant developments in technology have been responsible for the appearance of many new words that are now entering our everyday vocabulary.

Any idea what these words mean?

- alpha geek

- cyberpark

- entreprenerd

- geekerati

- generation lap

- nerdistan

- posthuman

- technosexual

No clue? Click on them to find out!

Visit http://www.wordspy.com/index/Technology-General.asp to learn other words associated with technology.

The purpose of this blog is to encourage you, students, to use your English, or should we say your Englishes? , to exchange ideas, opinions , materials ... on a variety of topics you have to study at school and on current events. By giving you the opportunity to express youselves freely, we hope to get to know you better and to develop your critical thinking, your autonomy and your communicative skills. Have fun!

Location: Porto
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