Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Wireless Network Router has "Parental Controls"!!

Recently we've purchased a new router for our home wifi and we've discovered a nifty new feature. We had our old router for several years, so of course the technology and available bells & whistles have changed a lot.

Our new Linksys router offers better coverage in our house as well as better speed.  It also offers a "parental control" feature that lets us set specific times when specific devices may be on the wifi.  This means that I can set it to shut off the wifi to our PS4, iPad minis and any other specific device at bedtime!  We are loving that, although the accompanying moans and groans from our kids were pretty loud at first.  Now if I could just set an automatic "off" time for all of those same devices to make them totally unusable at a certain time, that would be even better...

The router came nicely boxed and it was very easy to set up.  I had it working within just a few minutes.  Some of its other features include:

  • a web-based dashboard to change settings, passwords and use the parental controls
  • an app to give access to those same things on a mobile device
  • it's dual-band, which means that I have two different networks that I can join from my devices - a faster option and a slower option.  It's nice to be able to hook up my work computers to the faster network and give the kids the slower one.  
  • offers "guest" networks, too, with their own passwords, separate from my main network
  • parental controls to turn wifi on/off for any specific device, or set specific times when it is available

Here is a link to a description of the specific router that we purchased (from Staples):

Happy wifi!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

YouTube Videos to Replace Flash

If you'd like to embed a video on your business or personal website, one approach is to link to it on YouTube.  If you load it to YouTube, you don't use space on your website's server, and you don't have to worry about the different devices that users might have when they view it.

Most embedded videos on websites use Flash, which does not work on any Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, etc.).  That's pretty limiting if you know that you have a large audience that will use mobile devices to view your content.

I've recently tried uploading a video to YouTube and it was pretty simple.  Once it was loaded to YouTube, I was able to easily copy the link from YouTube into a client's website.  Now their video will work for anyone, even if they're using an Apple device.  And they're saving storage space on their website, which is a nice bonus.  Video files can be BIG.

Try it out and good luck!

Travel Tips

A while back I mentioned that I was requesting a "Known Traveler Number" from the TSA in order to make travel simpler.  I went through their process, paid my $85 and got my number back within just a couple of weeks.

Since that point I have traveled several times and I've been 'selected' for the pre-check line at security every time.  The pre-check line is always shorter than the regular line.  I also don't have to take off shoes or belts, and I don't have to take my laptop out of my bag.  It's been a huge help to make security checkpoints a much less time consuming part of travelling.  I don't think pre-check is available at every airport in the US but it's been at every airport I've used so far (a handful).

There are other similar programs, so you should see the TSA website for more details on the differences and which one might suit you best.

See this link for more information:

Next I need to renew my passport which expires in a few months.  I found an online form that I could fill out and print, so I didn't have to write the application form by hand.  All I had to do was write my check for $110, put in a passport photo and my original passport, and mail it off.

Please note that there are websites out there that will do the process for you, for a fee.  It's really pretty simple so I don't recommend going that route.

See this link for passport request and renewals information with the US government:

Safe travels!