Archive for the ‘ Computer ’ Category

John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted Addresses Online Safety During Today’s Livestreamed Panel

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Earlier this month Cox Communications released results from their Tweet Internet Safety Survey conducted in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

876 tweens ages 10-13 were interviewed along with their parents and findings indicated that while online safety is a major concern of parents of tweens and parents have done a good job of monitoring internet use on the computers, computers are only one way that tweens are accessing online content.  Mobile devices and gaming consoles are widely used but parental controls are rarely used, therefore leaving kids vulnerable.

What are the risks facing our kids when it comes to online behavior and the real world?

Join me and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted today from 6-7 pm EST for a livestreamed panel where you can submit questions regarding safety issues affecting children and families.  Our conversation during the #CoxTakeCharge panel will focus on what can we do to make sure our kids are not engaging in risky behavior on social sites.

Event details:

  • Internet Safety with Cox Communications & America’s Most Wanted John Walsh
  • Thursday, June 28 from 6-7 pm EST

Panelists:

  • Leticia Barr, Parents.com Tech Savvy Parents and TechSavvyMama.com
  • John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted

Moderator:

  • Jeanne Meserve, award-winning journalist and former CNN anchor

Participate by:

Young girl sitting down and working on the laptop with a surprised look via Shutterstock

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4 Bags for Mom to Tote Her Laptop or Tablet in Style

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The Speck A-Line bag for iPad ($59.95) and MacBooks ($69.95) is a fabulous choice thanks to a super soft lining for her iProduct, lots of organizational pockets, and a modern shape that is comfortable to carry. If you’re already feeling short on time and guilty about not having a gift for mom, order the Speck bag from outfitYOURS.com for super fast shipping to ensure it arrives with plenty of time to spare for the Mac lover in your life.

Speck A-Line Bag

Cuddly Monkey’s line of canvas totes are created by designers who believe that the inside of the tote should be as fashionable as the outside is functional. You can’t go wrong with The Chica ($90), a classic beach tote with a zip pocket on the outside and a fun lining inside that features essential tech gadgets like a smartphone, iPod, and headphones along with sunglasses. The Babe ($90) is a more vertical bag than Chica and has a contrasting body and handles with a cheery watermelon print lining, snap closure, and zippered compartment.

Chica Bag from Cuddly Monkey

The Hannah Laptop Bag ($84.99) is a gorgeous choice for under $100 and has tons of interior and exterior pockets for any organizational junkie.  There’s a padded quilted compartment that fits most 15.4″ laptops, multiple exterior pockets that include magazine pocket on the back, interior pockets to hold a smartphone, glasses, wallet, and water bottle, key fob, and also a coordinating wristlet. The pretty purple pebbled leather adds a pop of color to any work wardrobe and the choice of either a shoulder strap or handles ensures that you are always carrying your laptop comfortably.

Hannah Laptop Bag from Franklin Covey

Instead of throwing your tablet into your purse with just a cover to protect the glass front, the new Leather Tablet Messenger ($179) from Jill-e Designs’ E-Go collection features built in protection for your device and combines fashion and function to keep it safe from the bumps and bruises of a busy modern lifestyle. The Leather Tablet Messenger is a streamlined bag featuring a fold-over top flap, a wide adjustable cross-body strap, and plenty of padded interior compartments that keep everything mom needs right at her fingertips.

Leather Tablet Messenger by Jill-e Designs

 

Approachable woman holding purse via Shutterstock. Product photos courtesy of the companies mentioned above.

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4 Ways to Back Up Your Computer

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Last week’s Mac Flashback virus served as another reminder that hackers are always out there creating malware with the intent to harm your machine.  Using common sense and antivirus software is helpful in eliminating the threat of viruses but it’s also important to back up the data on your machine.

Most often times we don’t think about our data until the computer’s performance starts to slow to a crawl, the blue screen of death appears, or we hear news of a widespread outbreak affecting users.  Documents, files, and your extensive digital photo and video collection could disappear.  If the thought of losing data sounds horrific, consider the various ways you can back up important information well before your computer is compromised thanks to a virus.

DVDs

Burning DVDs are a way to maintain a history of your files and can be a good solution because they’re permanent and fairly inexpensive.  A quick check on Amazon shows that you can purchase 100 DVD-Rs for around $20.  You never have to worry about writing over the data and erasing important files but using DVDs as a backup system isn’t for the forgetful because you have to remember to burn them regularly to be effective.  Each blank DVD has limited space meaning that multiples are required to back up your entire computer and if you have a lot of data, you could be burning lots of DVDs.

USB Flash Drives

These little devices are affordable, portable, and ones with larger storage capacity are becoming more inexpensive.  It’s easy to use USB flash drives by simply dragging and dropping to copy files.  However, the compact form of USB drives makes them easy to lose.  They can fall off a keychain, sink to the bottom of a purse, or take a trip through the wash in your pocket.  Sometimes they can wear out with extended use and die with no notice.  Since they are limited in space, they aren’t the best option for backing up all the files on your computer but a great temporary solution.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are portable drives that can back up all documents on your computer on one small device.  Plugging it into your computer and installing software to perform regular automatic backups ensures that you will never forget.  One drawback to external drives is the price. The bigger the drive, the more expensive. Always buy a bigger drive for room to grow so you can use your investment for a longer period of time.  Just like other backup methods, it can fail if subjected to a power surge or dropped.

Cloud Backup or Cloud Storage

Backing up to the cloud fancy phrase that refers to a web based method of online storage for your files. Mozy, Carbonite, Apple’s iDisk, and Windows SkyDrive provide secure and remote online disk space.  Predetermined pricing payable monthly can make this a more budget friendly solution to automated backup when compared to the cost of purchasing an external hard drive. Just pay, automate, and breathe a sigh of relief that your computer is backing up regularly! Cloud based storage requires a high speed internet connection and since you’re relying on a company, if the company goes out of business, you’ll need to look for another service immediately.

Now that you’re thinking about it, which of the above solutions might work for you and your family’s data?  Choose one and start backing up because you never want to be in the situation where your machine is crashing and you are losing data that hasn’t been properly backed up!

Backup computer key in blue via Shutterstock

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4 Tips for Finding Great Websites for Kids

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When arranging a playdate, you always know where your child is going and who they’re playing with.  You’d never let them go off unattended if there wasn’t a level of comfort and trust.  Just like you’d never let your child go to a stranger’s house for a playdate, letting them visit sites that you haven’t personally previewed isn’t a good idea either.

The internet is a treasure trove of information that is great for adults but not always for children.  Here are 4 things to look for when websites and online games for your child:

Easy to navigate with a user friendly layout.  The first page should always fit on the computer screen and not require any scrolling. The page should be designed so that links to other pages are easy to find.  The site doesn’t need to be complicated with moving images, lots of graphics or tons of text.  Simple is better.

Age appropriate content.  For a preschooler who is just beginning to read, there shouldn’t be an overwhelming amount of text that they will need to read in order to navigate the site.  Activities and games should be just right for the child and not too difficult.

Few or no ads.  With an abundance of ads, children are often enticed by the images such as fast food restaurants logos, favorite television characters, and toys.  Children click on familiar images out of curiosity but can be easily led away from their game and on to another site.  When this occurs, it’s like going down a rabbit hole that is hard to get out of.  Not only is it is nearly impossible for a young child to navigate back to the original website, but the content can be questionable for young children.  In a frenzy of clicking to try to return to the original website, it only takes a couple more clicks for a child to accidentally get to content that’s not appropriate for their young eyes or to a place where one more click will fill your home computer with viruses.

Trusted partner in education. These days companies are partnering to license their content both on and offline.  Licensed merchandise available in retail stores helps young children act out their world with the characters they love and these same characters can often be found online.  Online games with friends from television shows and books can help kids practice their skills in an interactive way.  Look for trusted names in education such as Scholastic and PBS Kids that provide quality educational experiences through their websites.

Even if the sites meet the criteria above, by no means should your child be left unattended while playing online.  Always keep an ear out and an eye on what they’re doing to keep them safe and ensure that the content is fun rather than frustrating.

What are some favorite sites that your kids enjoy using that you feel comfortable letting your kids use?  Do share!

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