Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Norton’s Free Safety Tool For Parents

Think you know what your kids are doing online?

I am not a parent. So you don’t need to write to me and tell me cruel and totalitarian and Neanderthal I am for recommending this…

NOF

Because I already know that. I’m heartless. And mean. Grrrrrrrr. See?

As a security-aware techie, I advise parents (when asked) to talk with their children about online dangers – yes. And monitor and limit their childrens’ Internet access. I am not “knocking” the importance of communication nor education, but I do believe in “trust, but verify”.
The Internet is not Rated G. Ha!

Norton Online Family is a free service that has won recognition for excellence, and ease of use. (To see more awards, click here: Reviews & Awards.)

pcm_badge “PCMag featured Norton Online Family in their roundup of Free Security Software Tools and celebrated it as one of the Best Tech Products of 2009.” -Neil Rubenking 

(Click here to read Neil’s full review.)

ip_badge “Unlike many parental control products, Norton Online Family aims to create dialog between parents and kids, not assert draconian control. There’s no surreptitious spying here – it warns the child during the login process that his or her activity may be monitored.”
FC_logo “OnlineFamily.Norton.com Block sites, set a time allowance or make hours off-limits with this free service. Monitor Web searches and IMs from your computer. For an older teen who wants privacy, you can set it to alert you only if he engages in questionable activity, like checking out porn sites.”

From author:

See your kids’ online activities at a glance –

Easy-to-read activity reports give you the inside scoop on what your kids do online. In just minutes, you can find out what sites your kids visit, what they search for, who they chat with*, and what social networking sites they spend time at. You’ll get to know your kids better and gain a deeper understanding of their online interests, so you can protect and guide them.”

The benefits of using Norton™ Online Family include

  • Simple, one-time set up
    Create your Norton™ Online Family account, add and customize your family member accounts, and then easily install the Norton Safety Minder onto all the computers used in your household.
  • Easy to use and access
    Check your child’s activity or modify your child’s profile and preferences anytime and anywhere using any computer.
  • Always stay informed about those you care most about
    Know where your children visit, who they talk to, and what they’re doing while they’re online. Parents can also set and manage time limits, permitted sites, online chat* and social networking preferences for each family member.
  • Engage and communicate with each other
    Take advantage of built-in notification and messaging, providing open discussion with your child about their online activities and better understanding about their intent with visiting specific sites or wanting to spend more time online.
  • Never miss a thing
    Send alerts via email or text message to help you address urgent events. You’ll immediately know if your child has reached their time limits, visited a blocked site, or tried to add an unknown stranger as a chat buddy* wherever you are.

ParentAlert

I would say that a few more know how than admitted it in that survey…

Did I mention this was free? The folks at Symantec get a big tip of my geek hat for this one!

* (chat monitoring) Not available in all regions and for Mac OS.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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October 1, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, kids and the Internet, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Free Long-distance*

Phew, what a morning! I have been troubleshooting practically since I got out of my nice, warm bed. But, I don’t mind: it’s what I do for a living.

This morning, as I was thinking about what to write today (and helping people with their technical troubles), it occurred to me what a tremendous boon two particular technologies are — namely, Remote Assistance, and VoIP/teleconferencing. I simply could not run my business (shameless plug: my online repair shop, Aplus Computer Aid) without them.

Remote Assistance allows me to view my client’s computer screen (and if they permit it, issue mouse and keyboard commands) just as if I were sitting in front of it… basically “transporting” me, across any number of miles, to their computer via the magic of the Internet. This is truly amazing stuff, if you think on it some and.. it saves me quite a bit on gas.

Instead of saying into the telephone, “Okay, what do you see now?” and then trying to decipher the client’s response.. I see on my screen exactly what they see. This saves so much time (and, my client’s money) and miscommunication that a repair that might take an hour can be accomplished in fifteen minutes. Yes, amazing stuff.

But to get to the title of today’s article and the other “distance-eliminating” technology, let’s switch gears to IP telephony (aka “VoIP“). Regular readers of this series know that I am out here on the Lefty Coast, and that I have a young niece and nephew on the other coast — roughly 3,000 miles away.
Loyal Friends and True also know that I do not like to fly.

In the golden olden days, this East Coast/Lefty Coast situation would lead to  large long-distance phone bills and occasional cross-country drives. But thanks to VoIP, and webcams, I can not only talk with (and see) my niece and nephew, but I can do so for free.
Yes, amazing stuff.

What makes this so neat/cool/awesome is (in my mind, anyway) the “webcam”. These cameras (that often look like a plastic tennis ball) can be had for as little as $15 retail, and they make all the difference. Most new notebook computers come with cameras built-in.

These little video devices do a good job at letting you see and be seen, and even the cheap ones have pretty good resolution. No.. you cannot get a hug over a webcam, but you can see a smile.

So if you have a computer, and you have the Internet (how else would you be reading this article?), and you have loved ones who live farther away than next door.. and you don’t have VoIP and a webcam.. what are you waiting for? Get on the bus!
Buy a webcam, insert (and run) the Install CD, and then plug the camera into a USB port. It is basically that simple. Buy one for your loved one’s house — if they don’t already have one — too.

Then, you’ll need some way to contact them (“call” them) and start your Internet visit. If you are already using an Instant Messenger (IM) to “chat” with them, then you already have the method. Most, if not all IMs have video capability as well as “phone” (or “voice”). [Click View >Options if you have difficulty finding these features.] Typically, you have to pay a fee (“subscribe”) to use the phone/voice.

Today’s free link(s): To avoid those fees, both you and your loved ones can download a VoIP client — such as Skype or SightSpeed. You will then set up an account, in very much a similar manner as you do opening a free email account (Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo Mail, etc.).. you set up a User Name/password. Then you add Contacts, or “Search For” contacts, again in a manner very similar to email.
Once configured — and it really isn’t hard — a visit with a distant friend is only a click away. Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

[update: a reader wanted to know how the make the video window larger in Skype; right-click on the video image and from the choice select either “Windowed Mode” (my reco) or “Full screen”.]

*Original posting 12/27/07

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 19, 2008 Posted by | add device, advice, computers, digital Video, gadgets, hardware, how to, IM, Internet, kids and the Internet, PC, tech, VoIP, webcams | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments