24 Jul

Safeguarding Family Internet – Firewalls

firewall

Yep.  Jack Bauer uses them all the time.  Every movie, TV show, novel, and newspaper article talks about them.  Apparently, they exist as some magical device that at one time both renders a “server” impenetrable and throws open secret files to terrorists.  Depending on the character in our little drama, there seems to always hide some trick or pathway around this “firewall” thing, and the description usually relies on pseudo-technical jargon to explain it away.

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09 Mar

Safeguarding Family Internet – Overview

firewall

My wife and I home school our children using excellent videos from Abeka, and it works out very well.  They can travel with me when the opportunity arises, work from the dentist’s waiting room, or whatever.  Except for the problem of how to let the kids get to the Internet safely.  Well, there’s all kinds of thoughts out there on the subject.  Everything from “Don’t” (absolutist) to the school of thought that says “They’re Going to See It Anyway” (defeatist).  Then there are the people who say, “My kids would never do anything like that…”

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12 Aug

Wilbur Curtis and the Warmers

Wilber Curtis and the Warmers broke onto the scene back in 1987 with their first album, “Ready to Brew.” Taste the music the way it was before the commercialism and the “pop” sellout.

This album has percolated around my attic for years without much play, now I find that it’s strong and dark flavors keep me up at night.  Some cuts are sweet and sugary, some are dark and bitter, but the cream of the crop are probably “Up for the Daily Grind” and the nutty-flavored “Rain Drips”.

Man.  I think I like coffee.

 

 

19 May

Use Google SketchUp for 3D Drawings

sketchup-logo

I’ve never claimed to be an architect, but I love great tools that work well.  One such tool belonging to that category is Google SketchUp.  In the past, I’ve fiddled with 3D software before.  I think that Blender is awesome…but it also has a steep learning curve.  Almost a learning cliff.

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04 May

Linux.com Article: Using Windows, Xbox, and iPod as Alternative MythTV Front Ends

mythtv

Originally published at www.linux.com on December 09, 2008 at 09:00 AM; reprinted with the author’s permission.

Digital video recorders (DVR) are becoming more and more mainstream. TiVo, in fact, has passed the truest test of any popular technology — having its name transformed into a verb. MythTV, a free and open source application that lets you turn a computer into a DVR, burst on the scene a few years ago, and has found fans among Linux users. However, with a little effort, it’s possible to run MythTV front ends on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Xbox, and even an Apple iPod Classic.

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28 Apr

Linux.com Article: Protecting Networks with SmoothWall Express 3.0

smoothwall1

Originally published at www.linux.com on December 09, 2008 at 09:00 AM; reprinted with the author’s permission.

Corporations and home users alike need firewall protection. Many choices abound, including some expensive, commercial options that only run on specialized hardware. Others, like SmoothWall Express, are freely downloadable, built on the same technology as the commercial solutions, and even deliver some superior features.

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24 Apr

CCleaner – Clean up your Windows

c-cleaner-logo

Well, if you haven’t been paying attention, apparently Windows will slow down after some time in use…or so they say.  Mine doesn’t.  Mainly because I’m careful about spyware (not such a problem anymore since Google Chrome and Firefox), but also because I use utilities like this.

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