Archive for June, 2008

Internet Safety Tips

This information is useful to anyone who is new to the internet as well as parents who’s children are now online.

General Internet Safety Tips

  • Rule number 1: Don’t download free software. There is a reason why it is free. Open source software is an exception to the rule because it is free for the communal good of the project. Many Windows programs can be found by simply searching for “free whatever program”, ie a search for “free pdf creator program” returns eight million results many of which are out there waiting to cause harm to your computer. So stay away from free software. Instead, find a trustworthy computer geek like me, and ask them for a recommendation
  • Rule number 1: Don’t download and run email attachments from people you don’t know, especially if you are not expecting it in the mail. There are a multitude of email viruses that can cripple your computer, and send you off to the fix it shop. Play it safe and use an anti-virus program. I can personally recommend this free version of AVG. They try to up sell you on the paid version, but just go ahead and skip the pro version and run the basic. [AVG Free] (I know these are both rule number 1, but they kinda go together.)
  • Internet Firewall – Do you lock the front door of your home at night? Internet prowlers are active 24-7. An internet firewall locks the open doors of your computer, to keep unwanted guests out. The firewall inside of WindowsXP works fairly well, and is better then nothing so at least turn that on. I recommend a hardware router with a firewall. There are several vendors out their with products in the $60 – $80 range. This device will also allow you to share your internet connection with multiple computer is your home. Additionally, a router with a wireless access point will give you the ability to connect via a wireless expansion device. When installing the router, please make sure to disable the wireless if you do not plan on using it, or turn on the wireless encryption. Most routers come with the wireless wide open, leaving a door open within range of the radio transmitter.
  • Are you feeling safer yet? Well you should! Now you are feeling comfortable and bullet proof while surfing the net — easy there fella! Be careful before entering your personal information on any random site that asks for it. If you re interested in making an online purchase or financial transaction, be on the lookout for suspicious sites. Here is what I like to tell people: If you are not sure how to tell if a site is safe… then don’t do it. Reputable sites, especially ones that have traditional retail stores typically run a legitimate online store. If it is an online only business, see if they list a phone number and call it – see if someone answers. Do a search for their company name in a popular search engine and see if other people online are posting negative experiences with the site. Once you are comfortable with a site and ready to enter your information in, make sure the address says https rather then http. The “s” makes the connection encrypted as long as the lock icon is not broken. If you are not sure how to determine this, have a friend show you. It is a simple thing that can prevent issues. And lastly make sure to use a regular credit card as apposed to a check card. It is no fun having money automatically removed from your bank account without your permission!
  • Additional Safety Tips for Parents

  • Be involved in your child’s internet usage. I can speak from experience, that when not watched kids will attempt to get pornography, illegal music and software, or meet the wrong person online while your not supervising. Kids need to be monitored.
  • Limit the amount of time your child is allowed to use the internet. Don’t let them stay up all night online (refer to the previous tip)
  • Until you trust your son or daughter, I recommend not allowing the child to have their own computer in their private bedroom – see the first parent tip. Keep the computer in a place in the house where you can walk past and casually peek at what they are doing.
  • Feel free to ask your child what they do “online” as if it were a tangible place. Just like asking what they did at school today, what did they do online today. There are many different sites, be sure to check it out after they tell you about so you can speak about it in future conversations.
  • Offer to help find fun sites for your child to visit. Consult your favorite search engine, and enjoy the surf time together!
  • I hope you find these internet safety tips helpful. Please drop a comment and let me know.

Robot Chicken Clips

Check out this short video clip of robot chicken. It is a new series from Adult Swim. Looks like it will be a hoot.

More Robot Chicken Clips Here

Happy Fathers Day to Me

One might think that being fathers day today that I would have had a relaxing day, not doing much of anything. I kept pretty busy. We are on the downhill of a kitchen remodel and I am to the point, where I just want to finish it. So I was up at 5:30am sealing the grout of the tile back splash we put in. After chugging some java, I worked on cutting and fitting molding.

Then I spent some time doing dishes and cleaning up because a friend of mine came over so we could bottle up some home brew we made a few weeks back. That kind of work is usually pretty relaxing, but it is still working. We had made an all-grain clone version of Anchor Steam and all grain clone of Thomas Hardey’s. Of course I had to sample it! Cheers!

Took a nap, did some more work in the kitchen. Took Luke to the grocery store; now that is definitely not relaxing. Made some yummy steaks on the grill. Grilling is much more fun that regular cooking. My mom stopped in to visit. Then it was time for Luke to go to bed, and here we are… blogging away.

Good Night! See you next time.
From this dad, shout out to all the other dads.

Build your own computer – That’s what I do

The only computer I have purchased new, was a laptop (and that was a refurb). There is one simple reason, you can save a lot of money by assembling a desktop computer yourself. As long as you choose good quality components that are compatible, all that is required is a little bit of patience and a screwdriver. All the sockets are keyed so that you pretty much can’t plug something in wrong without forcing it.

over the years I have assembled a lot of computers. I used to do that as a service for people. Nowadays, I steer far away from it, because I don’t have the free time to give the people computer support after the fact.

If you think putting together your own computer seems daunting, there are places that can help. Visit this site to find help when you want to build a computer. Anyone that can follow instructions can do it!


Firefox Version 3.0 RC2 Preview

I downloaded Firefox version 3 last night from the “Sneak Peek” section of the website [firefox v3.0]. If you are not a Firefox user yet… now is a great time to start. This release has some notable improvements in rendering time and performance. Forget other browsers, Firefox does everything it needs to and then some. If you would like to see what else is new check out the [Firefox v3 features]

So far I am very happy with the improved speed. I use the internet all the time, and I get very impatient with slow browsers and slow websites/servers. I highly recommend using Firefox as your primary internet browser.



Free Job Postings In June At Idealist.org

Posting a job on Idealist usually costs $60. Idealist is a nonprofit as well, and this small fee helps keeps them operating. Through the month of June job postings on this site are free for a nonprofit organization. If you know someone who works at a nonprofit org, let them know! If you are not familiar with what Idealist’s job postings are all about… it is pretty much like a regular job posting site, but all the companies are charitable organizations and quite often the jobs are volunteer opportunities. That is how I found the site… and I am working on a volunteer opp for a charity in Minnesota. So their site definitely works.