Archive for June, 2012

Watch your data allowance!

13 June 2012

Most of has have been there.

The mobile phone bill arrives, you open it up and MAJOR SHOCK!
“how on earth! That can’t be right!”
“but I don’t use my phone that much just for emails?”

Sadly, data allowances tend to be low in the UK and charges for going above your allowance are ridiculously high.

Only recently, mobile phone companies are starting to give customers some help with special bundles like Orange’s “out of bundle bundle” and Three’s “goodbye out of bundle data charges”.

The reason we do not appreciate how much data we use is that there are all kinds of apps running in the background that are using data but they do not indicate how much! For example: weather (updating regularly without you realising), share prices, Twitter, WhatApp, Internet browsing, email (always checking in background), YouTube, online games etc.

Unlike a telephone call which can be identified by a date, duration of call and number that was called, data downloaded cannot be identified and reports on data usage from mobile phone providers are baffling.

There are three solutions to tackle this problem:

1. Contact your mobile phone provider.
Ask them if they can text you when you reach your data allowance limit. If not, ask them if they have any bundles to protect you when you go over your data allowance.

2. Keep your phone connected to wifi – it uses more battery life but as long as you are connected to a wifi connection you will have faster download speeds and your data allowance will not be used.

3. Use an APP to monitor your data allowance usage – we recommend Onavo which is an excellent tool and very easy to use.

 

Raising money for charity

If you found this blog useful, please help me raise funds for Norwood by sponsoring me. In October 2012 I will be cycling 400KM in Sri Lanka for Norwood. Every day, they provide vital support to thousands of people with learning disabilities, and children and families in need, helping them to improve the quality of their lives and achieve their goals.

Thank you!

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Protect your children with parental controls

12 June 2012

Google is NOT for kids!

As your child starts showing an interest in computers and typing there is a massive world out there that they may become exposed to. We see children as young as 2 using computers and tablets (like iPads).

Their exposure to the Internet really needs to be carefully monitored!

We believe that Google is completely unsuitable for children. A totally innocent search from a child could lead them down a completely different alley than the one they intended. For example a search for “toys for boys” will typically result in genuine children’s toys but may also end up sending your son to a sex toy shop!!!

And the risks do not stop at porn. The Internet is filled with violence, racism, terrorism, suicide sites, gambling, social network bullying, financial scams and so on.

Recently a 12-year-old boy from Liverpool borrowed his father’s credit card and lost £7000 of his father’s money on a poker site. http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/06/08/12-year-old-boy-loses-7-000-of-dads-money-playing-online-poker/

Having said all this, there is also a huge amount of positive material to be found online that your children can benefit from.

What can parents do about this?

First off, change the home page and search engine on your browser to something you trust. A parent recommended me http://kids.yahoo.com/ which looks like a great portal for children with properly filtered searches. Friedman IT clients can contact us for help you change your Internet Browser home page.

It is also very important to introduce parental controls to the computer. We currently recommend one excellent product to do the job effectively: K9 Web Protection which is totally free – please contact us for help in installing these types of parental controls.

What do Parental controls do exactly? – quite simply, they block inappropriate websites with sexual, violent, racist, gambling, drugs and other nasty categories. If you want to override the block, this is simple with a password that you set. You can then unlock restrictions for a time period e.g. 5 minutes or several hours.

Here are some claims from the cyberpatrol website:

• 72% of kids don’t tell their parents what they do online

• 61% admit using the Internet unsafely or inappropriately

• 55% have given out personal information to a stranger

• 12% met in person with someone they first met online

• Nearly 50% have been bullied online

Good luck keeping your children safe from the Internet! With the right tools, this should be simple.

Raising money for charity

If you found this blog useful, please help me raise funds for Norwood by sponsoring me. In October 2012 I will be cycling 400KM in Sri Lanka for Norwood. Every day, they provide vital support to thousands of people with learning disabilities, and children and families in need, helping them to improve the quality of their lives and achieve their goals.

Thank you!

Phishing emails

11 June 2012

Here is an example of an email I received in the last week from someone I know:

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Hi,

I really did not want to disturb you with this but I had no one else to turn to. I’m in Madrid, Spain to see my cousin (Alex) who is a missionary there, He was diagnosed with (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) – a type of Blood Cancer in 2005 and had been undergoing treatment since. The chemotherapy treatment was going fine until last week when the doctor noticed that the disease has relapsed and the only way he can survive is by undergoing a BMT (Bone Marrow Transplantation). My sister whose marrow matched his has agreed to be the donor and he shall be undergoing the transplant soon at the USP Hospital San José de Madrid. The estimate for the transplant is $6000 and I have already spent approx. $3000 towards his treatment. Since the amount is huge, I request you to lend out a helping hand and support me. Any kind of help whatsoever will be deeply appreciated. Your help and support will give him a chance to live a normal life once again. There is nothing called a small help when the heart giving it is big. Any amount will be accepted with gratitude. If you can help, please let me know to provide you with the details to get the money to me.

Thanks,

NAME

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Looks a bit ominous doesn’t it?!

If you ever get an email from someone you care about asking for money, my first suggestion to phone the person in question rather than email them! In this case the email was sent by a fraudster who is waiting for a reply to that could eventually lead to a money transfer.

Very simply, the fraudster got access to the email account, changed the password to lock the genuine user out of his email account and then emailed all of the contacts saved in the address book.

You might ask: How did the fraudster get access to the email account? The answer is “through a phishing email”. In this specific case, the person had a hotmail account. A few hours before this email was sent out, he received a fake hotmail email asking him to login to his Hotmail account to verify some details. As soon as he clicked the link and logged in, the fraudster had the details! It is that simple! 

So please be cautious when you are asked to login to your online email account. Rather than click a link in an email, it is always safer to type hotmail.com directly into your web browser.

Keep safe and watch out for Phishing!

Raising money for charity

If you found this blog useful, please help me raise funds for Norwood by sponsoring me. In October 2012 I will be cycling 400KM in Sri Lanka for Norwood. Every day, they provide vital support to thousands of people with learning disabilities, and children and families in need, helping them to improve the quality of their lives and achieve their goals.

Thank you!

 

Favourite Apps

4 June 2012

Many people still ask me “What is a App?”.

An app (short for “application”) is simply a program or software that you use on a “portable device”.  By portable device, I mean a “smart phone” (Primarily referring to an iPhone or Google Android phone) OR a “tablet” (primarily referring to an iPad or Android tablet).

An example of an App many of us use on our smart phones will be a sat nav application, or possibly a social networking app like twitter or facebook.

You will notice that I do not mentioned “Blackberry” or “Windows smart phone” or similar devices. Sadly, in my opinion, these devices are falling way behind in variety of apps available – iPhone and Android are leagues ahead at the time of writing this blog.

Here are some favorite apps of mine that I use on a daily basis:

One of the key requirements for any App these days is that it “syncs with the cloud”, so that whenever you login to your app of a different device, all the relevant information will be there.

1.    Evernote

A fantastic note taker – you can take notes on a tablet or phone and see then on your computer, or even in a web browser. Notes can be written, photos / images and recordings.
It also allows you to password protect notes.

2.    WhatsApp

Unfortunately some mobile providers still charge extortionate amounts  to send text messages (SMS) – a local text message can be 10p and sending one abroad can go above 20 or 30p  a message! WhatsApp is a completely free messaging system. What is more, it can let you message photos and sound clips. It does not limit a message size and you can have a group of people on one message which is fantastic for a group discussion / conversation.

3.     MyFittnessPal

If you are looking to lose / gain weight – this is a great way to keep a diary of your calorie intake and any exercises you do. It helps to manage calorie intake by setting targets based on your desired weight and educates you more about what you are eating. There is a huge food / exercise database – all you need to do is enter the number of portions you have consumed and it even has a bar-code scanner.

4.    Words with Friends

A great social game of scrabble – you play a move against a friend and you are notified when your friend has made their move.

Raising money for charity

If you found this blog useful, please help me raise funds for Norwood by sponsoring me. In October 2012 I will be cycling 400KM in Sri Lanka for Norwood. Every day, they provide vital support to thousands of people with learning disabilities, and children and families in need, helping them to improve the quality of their lives and achieve their goals.

Thank you!