How to protect children from harm on the Internet
Editor’s Note: Corey McMahon (pronounced Mac-ma-hon) is an Oklahoma boy who is new to town, but feels right at home amongst the palmettos and beaches. McMahon loves technology - whether it is the next big Apple product, a cutting-edge smart home integration system or an enterprise computer server. He volunteers his time to write “Corey the Tech Guy” in between his full time job, which entails trying to keep hackers out of networks and his true passion of being a husband and father. While family and fun are high on his priority list, he still finds time to moonlight as a tech consultant for families and small businesses.
Corey the Tech Guy: Who is he?
My father was a mechanic. Not just an auto mechanic. He was a mechanic. If it was mechanical, electrical, metal, wood or an organic system – he could design it, modify it, plant it, graft it and fix it. When I was young, I had no idea what it was like not to have every tool in the world. My dad could truly do anything. A normal weekend for him would consist of working on cars, planting a garden, trimming trees, welding together a broken piece of the tractor and parting out broken used computers to make a few that worked.
Growing up with a dad who loved being hands on and having a passion for understanding how things worked is something I will always cherish. He always knew what was best for me and while cars were the cutting edge field to get into when he was young in the ’50s and ’60s, he knew computers were going to be my revolutionary technology to learn and embrace.
One day my dad took me to an auction at a local university. They were selling pallets full of old broken computers and he’d buy them for pennies on the dollar. He loved watching me tear apart those old machines and staying up late trying to get them working again. Seeing that proud smile on his face when I’d get it working was always worth it.
While I grew up in the ’90s and fully experienced the era of a technological revolution, I can also appreciate having exponentially more powerful computers sitting in my hands going at exponentially faster internet speeds then the DOS systems, 286 processors, dial-up modems and even the dreaded AOL that were part of my education.
The reason I write this is to give a small but direct insight into my past and what makes this clock tick — a little of who I am. Hopefully as this relationship develops I will learn more about you and your technology needs and stories.
DNS–An easy way to a safer Internet
DNS – oh how I hate acronyms. DNS actually stands for domain name system. While studying in college, I could not believe how many acronyms there were when it comes to technology. I think they are a made up way for geeks to have a false sense of security when they talk to you about technology — just my conspiracy theory.
What a DNS server does for you is similar to a telephone book. You put in Google and it automatically dials the number which google answers to and puts a page on your screen. The beauty of this is you can choose who you want your DNS service provider to be. Changing the DNS server on your home router or computer is usually fairly simple, but can drastically improve your home network/computer security.
Think about your little daughter coming home after elementary school and surfing the Internet on iPhones or Kindle Fire. Those little eyes at any second could be exposed to images or movies of atrocities that no one should ever see. This could be caused by someone hacking the device they are using, hacking the website they are visiting or just an innocent typo or accidental click.
Sadly, most of us have non-protected Internet-capable devices with the default settings.A good way to protect yourself is to manually set devices to use a secure DNS server that only allows visits to age appropriate sites and blocks most of the malicious websites on the Internet.
A few different partial solutions out there are OpenDNS, Commodo Secure DNS and Norton ConnectSafe – all free for home use.
Here is my request: Send me your questions. I would love to answer any questions you may have. If you have a questions, comments or debatable stances about anything related to Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, HDTVs, Ultra HDTVs, Apple TVs, Rokus, iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys, tablets, iPads, ultrabooks, security systems, smart thermostats, remote controlled helicopters, computer software, firmware, hardware, middleware or anything else out there related to technology, please send them my way. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email address and I will do my best to address your questions in this column.
This column will be much more fun to write and read if I get monthly, weekly, daily or hourly opportunities to address your questions, concerns or general interest when it comes to any kind of technology.
I leave you with a question and teaser for the next column – how are all of these “free” social media sites like Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and so on, which require millions of dollars to operate, free?
Contact me at email@example.com.