Category: Reviews

The KoalaSafe Family Friendly Wireless Router

KoalaSafe Family Friendly Wireless Router

I’m a parent, and I like to look at how to keep my daughter safer online, as well as being able to set schedules for when she’s allow to use the Internet, homework (or chore mode), etc.

I spent some time looking at various kids routers before deciding to go with the KoalaSafe and I’m happy with the result.

Once the router arrived, I plugged it into our existing router and used the iOS to pair it. Then I configured family members (in this case, my daughter), first by forgetting our main router from her eletronic devices and then by adding them under her name in the app as she connected. This part took about 10 minutes total if that since it also needed to download a new firmware update to the router.

Once that was done, I played with the settings, and they are nice, simple but nice.

There are various filters you can set for content, such as youtube, facebook, instagram, netflix, etc, and you can also create a schedule. The schedule has two modes:

  1. Primary mode: This is the mode for the rest of the day, and you can schedule when primary mode is active or not.
  2. Homework mode: This mode is used for what is set aside as homework (or even chore) time, during these scheduled blocks of time, the kids can only access certain websites, or even none at all.

You can also set filters for each mode, so if the schedule says homework time, then you can close out access to most websites, and have them open when it is primary time. You can also restrict the Internet ac

All schedules and filters are handled for each family member, or you can choose to use a universal schedule.

It’s also handy being able to hit a button and restrict Internet altogether, and it also lets you choose how often to restrict it for. To the opposite side, there is a parent mode which lets you enable Internet access for a fixed period of time.

What’s most handy though, is you can use the mobile app from anywhere you have Internet, and it will talk back to the KoalaSafe router at your home. So you can change the schedule, block Internet, add new filters from anywhere and it changes the router settings at home for you.

I highly reccommend checking out the KoalaSafe Family Friendly Router for yourself.

The New Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset

The New Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset

Samsung has released a new Gear VR headset. There aren’t a lot of differences, but the differences they have made are nice.

First, they’ve changed the color from white to a blueish-black color, then they made it lighter, you can actually wear it longer and not get a headache.

The darker color also keeps light from leaking in so it’s a better feel overall.

Next, they changed the trackpad on the side to make it into more a touch pad you have on your laptop, rather than the previous design. Another change is a home button beside the back button, so you can exit apps quicker.

But, the big change is that they’ve given it a wider view, a while 110 degrees wider view. This is the change that makes it easier to use, when combined with the thicker, more comfortable foam around the eyes and the darker color. This all helps to make it more immersive, and lets you watch it longer.

The other change is they’ve switched the charging port to a USB-C port to accommodate the cable for the Note 7, they’ve also made a switchable dongle to swap out micro-USB or USB-C adapters to plug your phone into the Gear.

Don’t worry, there’s also an adapter for the USB-c charging port to use Micro-USB but the significant feature here is that this port also support data and not just charging, so this can open things up to plugging in controllers and motion controllers down the road.

Is it worth switching if you already have a Gear VR headset?

That is a good question, while the extra 110 degrees of view does make it a nicer experience over all, it really depends on how hardcore you are into using your Gear VR already. The future potential motion controller support does really make this more promising than the previous model though, and I still recommend some sort of controller for most of the games.

Also, most of my previous tips still stand.

Android Apps on the Chromebook

What can I say, despite being an Apple guy, I’m also a fan of Chromebooks, they are handy and portable for when you want a simple go anywhere laptop.

Using tools like Cloud9 or CodeAnywhere, you can do most of your web coding, and even connect to servers to manage sites via terminal.

Heck, using Appgyver, I recently build an iOS app without needing Xcode at all, as I built it all using Cloud9, then deployed to their site and have Appgyver perform the xcode builds.

Now, Google has released the Google Play Store and let you run Android Apps on it. This lets you do even more.

This is currently a limited release, you need to be in the beta channel in order to access it and also be on supported hardware, as it needs a touch screen to work.

One of the chromebooks that got this early release was the Chromebook Flip. The Flip was one of my favourite Chromebooks even before this, as it’s got a nice looking metal shell to it, and the touchscreen and keyboard are both responsive and quick to work with.

With Android Apps, the Flip can now not only handle dev work with apps like Cloud9, but can also do everything else that an Android tablet can do, including running the Android Slack app, or the Zoom.us app or any other Android app.

GearVR Tips

I’ve been a fan of virtual reality since the early days, in fact I even worked in a VR lab back in the late 90s where we mostly just played games on early VR rigs.

Ever since the Oculus Rift came out, I’ve been a fan of it’s premise, and I’ve owned a couple models, which all worked fine.

My biggest problem with the Oculus was wires though, you sit in a comfortable chair, and move around but the wires can limit you.

That was what brought me to the GearVR, Samsung’s partnership with Oculus to create an Oculus-powered VR rig.

Games are pretty fun with it: you can race against other players in a mario-cart type race environment, build entire worlds with Minecraft VR, fight against enemies in space with End Space, Eve: Gunjack or Anshar Wars 2, solve puzzles with Darknet or go bowling. You can also use a variety of apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Oculus Cinema, or even talk with others via AltSpaceVR. There are other games and apps, but those are the main ones I’ve been enjoying.

Google’s Cardboard initiative follows a similar idea but it’s not quite as nice as the GearVR, though Google has promised a Gear-like headset for all android phones.

GearVR has some handy pieces to it, aside from the lack of wires running to a computer, it’s powered entirely by your phone, and has a touchpad on the side of the unit that lets you control most of the apps.

Obviously, the units that mount to your desktop will have better games, but that’s actually just fine by me, I’ll take portability and wireless convenience anyday.


But there are a few things you need to make this experience better.

1. Enable airplane mode and close background apps.

  • Enable airplane mode on your phone, and then turn wifi and bluetooth on. This helps against some overheating issues that have been reported and lets you use the rig longer.
  • Close all the background apps on your Samsung device before you start GearVR. This will free up resources and make your programs run faster.
  • Connect and enable any devices you plan on using before you start using the GearVR. Once you’re in, you cannot install or connect devices. Also, make sure they are within arm’s reach so you can locate them by touch while you’re using the device.

2. A comfortable place to sit

  • Sit in a comfortable position that allows rotation. A swivel chair is ideal because it will allow you to turn freely while in virtual reality. Stay away from dangerous ledges or sharp objects as virtual reality can be quite disorienting.

3. Headphones

  • You want a nice pair of headphones, I actually enjoy noise-cancelling headphones for this, but any comfortable pair will do.
  • Wireless headphones may sound like a great idea, but they tend to have some lag between device and ear, so wired is the recommended.
  • If you plan to chat with people in apps such as AltSpaceVR, then you also want to get a pair that includes a microphone.

4. Game controllers

The GearVR can be used with any pair of standard or bluetooth headphones. That being said, some users have reported audio lag with bluetooth, so wired headphones are recommended. Additionally, the GearVR can be used with Bluetooth Controllers, and some applications require the use of one (noted in content list). Confirmed compatible controllers include:

Additionally, any standard bluetooth controller should work, as long as it follows standard button mapping and control schemes.

Being Dapper with Dapper Vigilante

The Conrad Navy Blue Silver Anchor Rope Bracelet

I grew up in Newfoundland, some of my earliest memories involve going fishing for your dinner. So when I saw these Dapper Vigilante rope bracelets, I ordered one immediately, the fine folks at Dapper Vigilante actually threw in the fish hook bracelet as a gift, which was a nice thing to do as I was planning on ordering that one next.

The Chuck Grey & Blue Matte Black Fish Hook Rope Bracelet

These bracelets are a nice conversation piece, people ask all the time where I got them. For me, it’s the simplicity of them, they are essentially a piece of rope with an anchor or a fish hook attached to it, but I like it.

If you’re interested in checking them out, Use this link for a $10 dollar off coupon.