Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keeping Your Child Safe Online

Keeping Your Child Safe OnlineKids are getting online more than ever these days, especially those who are into social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. I've seen kids as young as six or seven years old with Facebook accounts. While these websites can be fun, they can also be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands and as a parent, it's your duty to make sure your child know the risks and how to protect themselves from harm's way.

Kids love to get online and are often more knowledgeable than their parents and teachers. That's why it's important that parents and teachers should take steps to learn about what's happening online and what their kids are involved with. Kids left to their own devices could end up in a number of troublesome situations, from dealing with a cyber-bully or a schoolmate with ill intent, to facing child predators or even con artists.

Communication is important. Talk to your kids about what they're doing online and remind them of the danger they could face and what to be on the lookout for. But there are other things to do to keep your kids safe.

1. Take advantage of parental controls. Children don't want their parents watching every move they make but many websites offers ways for parents to monitor or control their children's online activity while respecting their privacy. Talk to your kids about exactly what you plan to monitor or control and be honest with them to gain their respect.

2. Keep your computer in an area of the house where you can be there to keep an eye out, without hovering over your child's shoulder. Insist computers stay in the kitchen or living room and not in a bedroom or office, where your child can lock themselves away to get online.

3. Don't allow your children to meet random strangers whom they've met online. In the event your child absolutely has to meet someone, make sure a parents or trusted adult accompanies them. Make sure your children know the potential risks of someone not really being who they say they are.

4. Make sure you know the "code" your kids are using online. Acronyms such as "TAW" means teachers are watching and "PA" means parent alert. There are dozens of other ways kids use code to let their online friends know there is an adult around. If you see these frequently, you may want to investigate further what your child is doing.

4. Make sure your child's teacher is monitoring their online usage. Many schools have blocked certain websites but with kids' knowledge of the web, they can find other ways to get into trouble. With computers in almost every classroom these days, teachers should constantly monitor their students' use. If a student is clicking out of a window when you walk by or a group has gathered around one computer screen, chances are, your students are not doing what they should be.

5. Let your child know that they do not have to feel uncomfortable having a conversation online, just as in real life. Whether it's a friend or stranger they're talking to, make sure they know that feeling scared, trapped, threatened, or offended is not OK and it is OK to end that conversation. Talk to them about how they can end the conversation promptly and let them know they can talk to you about how they feel.

6. If you do set up a Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or other social networking website, make sure your child is taking advantage of the privacy settings. Make sure your kids are only adding friends who aren't safe to talk to and keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

7. Make your children aware of malicious information, such as spam or virus threats. Help them understand what it means and what they should and shouldn't open or click on.

8. Google your children's names on a regular basis. Again, you don't want your child to feel like you are spying on them, but you can do this to show them just how easy it is for ANYONE to find out anything about them. If your child has a blog, a social networking site you are not aware of, or have posted any information about themselves online, it will most likely come up in a search.

9. Again, communication is key. Make sure your kids know that not everything they see online is legitimate and talk to them about incidents in the news, so they know the risks.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Intel Profits Up this Quarter

Intel Profits Up this Quarter

In this day and time, we're so used to seeing companies talk about how much money they aren't making and employees they aren't hiring, but for Intel, that doesn't appear to be the case. The world's largest computer chip maker announced last week that it has nearly quadrupled its quarterly net profit and has intentions to hire between 1,000 and 2,000 new employees in 2,010.

In a conference call with analysts, Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said, "The industry has nearly fully recovered." He also accredits the increase in revenue to a higher demand for PC products and the fact that "the average fleet of notebooks is four years old, the average fleet of desktops is five years old." According to Otellini, "it makes business sense" to get new inventory now.

The comapany's profit for the first quarter (which ended on March 27) was about 2.4 billion dollars, up from this time, last year's 647 million dollars. Revenue rose 44% to 10.3 billion dollars. Wall Street had predicted 9.8 billion dollars, while the company itself had predicted 9.3 billion dollars.

Otellini also said in a statement, "looking forward, we're optimistic about our business as Intel products are designed into a variety of new and exciting segments."

The company has predicted 9.8 to 10.6 billion dollars for the second quarter, while Wall Street analysts have precited 9.69 billion.

Intel has already hired 100 employees this year. The company is based is Santa Monica and employs nearly 80,000 people (about 3,000 less than last year.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cisco's New Simple Home Routers

Cisco's New Simple Home Routers If you're looking for a simpler way to customize or control your wireless network, Cisco has announced its new Linksys E-series routers that will do just that. Also, the company's new Valet and Valet Plus, which are designed like the company's Flip Video products, will serve its core consumer base and make wireless network set-up easier than ever. According to IDC, only 1/3 of homes in the United States is set up for wireless internet use and Cisco believes these products will increase that number.

"Consumers have felt powerless and frustrated with the entire process of home wireless, but with Valet we are tearing down the walls and opening it up to everyone. The market for wireless-enabled products is exploding and now mainstream users will be able to take full advantage of all the new opportunities," said Johnathan Kaplan, the Systems Senior Vice President at Cisco.

Valet will ship with he company's Cisco Connect software and getting your home network up and running will only require three steps. All of your information is retained by a USB-enabled setup key that will ship along with it. This will allow you to add computing devices to the network by inserting the key and letting the software do the rest. You can also set parental controls, allowing your children to only be online during certain periods of the day for certain amounts of time, and provide internet access for guests with a special guest network.

Valet will set you back $99.99 and is great for smaller homes with primary wireless devices. Valet plus is better for midsized to larger homes with a mix of wireless and wired devices. It will cost you around $149.99. You can purchase both products from,, and Staples.

The new Linksys E-Series is designed for a more sophisticated user. Once you've set-up and configured your home network, you can add multiple internet-capable devices or set parental controls for each device. The products also allow for more complicated and advanced actions through the router's default IP address. The Linksy E-Series also ships along with Cisco Connect software, which allows you to give visitors password-protected internet access on a guest network, and it will assign a WPA security passkey and SSID automatically. While Valet comes with a USB set-up key, this one comes with CD.

The entry level Linksys E1000 will cost about $79.99 and will supposedly connect at speeds of 300 Mpbs. The middle-range model, the Linksys E2100L, and the high-end model, the Linksys E3000, will use 802.11n and can connect computers, gaming consoles, internet-enabled HDTVs, and Blu-ray players. They will cost $119.99 and $179.99, respectively. All three of the products feature four gigabit Ethernet ports.

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