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.

Pebble Joins Fitbit, and shuts down operations

Eric Migicovsky:

Dear Pebblers,

Thank you all for being such loyal supporters and champions of the Pebble community and brand. You helped start something fantastic when you backed our first Kickstarter project (and shout-out to the first inPulse users). Since then, we’ve shipped over 2 million Pebbles around the world!

However—due to various factors—Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity. We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices. This news has several major implications, and we hope to answer as many questions as possible here


What you need to know

  • Pebble is no longer promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices.
  • Pebble devices will continue to work as normal. No immediate changes to the Pebble user experience will happen at this time.
  • Pebble functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.

I owned one of the first Pebbles, and loved it, and I later bought a Pebble Time when it came out and loved that too, but as time went on, I moved to an Apple Watch and the Pebbles went elsewhere.

I had no problems with the Pebble watches I owned, I just like the look and feel of the Apple Watch better, which is a common thing for most people I’ve know who owned Pebbles.


Dear Apple: Give Us Control Over Stalkerware

Michael S. Fischer:

If you, like me, would like to convince Apple to help us, please copy and paste this letter into Apple’s iPhone feedback form. Apple does listen!

Dear Apple:

I love that you care about our privacy. You fight hard for us when you refuse to hand governments the keys to our phones. You say that enforcing privacy is a civic duty. It’s important to me and to millions of other users. Your stance on privacy protections is one of the many reasons your customers choose Apple products over those of your competitors.

Today, we need your help in a small but important way.

It’s come to light that Uber and other companies have begun tracking our locations in more circumstances than ever. We’ve always relied on their apps to use our location — to do helpful things like find us a fast and convenient way to get where we want to go.

But this time, they’ve gone too far. They’re now insisting that they provide us our location, when we don’t need them to, or don’t want them to, to use their services.

Specifically, anyone who installed or upgraded the Uber app in the past few weeks and enabled them to view their location is now giving their location to Uber all the time (unless they subsequently manually disabled their access to their location). Uber can now track us after whenever they like — even if we have no intent to use their service anytime soon, or haven’t used their app in months.

And most users don’t even know Uber and others have this ability. It’s creepy and it’s unnecessary, and makes us unsafe.

There’s a word for software that insists they know where you are all the time: Stalkerware.

How have Uber and others developed such stalkerware? Through one small loophole, and one that can easily be remedied by Apple.

As you know, iOS allows users to control how apps can access the user’s location. There are three choices: “Always,” “When using the app,” or “Never.” These are reasonable options. Some users might never want an app to have access to their location. Others might have a strong trust relationship with the app and its authors and allow the app always to track them.

Most of us, though, fall into the middle camp: We want to allow apps to use our location for the purpose of providing a service, but want to control our privacy when the app or its authors cease doing business with us. So what we’re asking is simple:

Don’t allow app developers to disable the “when using the app” Location privacy option.

It’s simply unnecessary for Uber or others to track us when the app isn’t in use. How do we know this? Because these apps worked adequately before they disabled this option. We were able to meet our drivers by opening the app, finding our location, and hailing a driver. We gave them enough information to get the job done, and we were satisfied with the results.

Uber argues that they want to use more location data to improve the user experience — for example, to track a rider’s location between the time the driver was summoned and the time the rider was picked up, even if the rider closed the app. That may be so. But that doesn’t mean I or anyone else should be forced to give up my location to them, at their whim.

So, Apple, we ask you: Help us keep our privacy and safety. If app developers want to know our location, they can ask us. But we should have the right to give Uber and others our location only when they truly need it — and the mechanism for doing so already exists. We shouldn’t have to flip a switch to enable our location so we can use it, then flip the switch back to get our privacy back.

Thank you for your help.

I’ve quoted Michael’s entire letter to Apple so you have better context. Generally if apps Always require my location, rather than simple when I am using the app, I delete the app entirely if it’s not an app I need to have installed. Take the advice at the start of Michael’s post and submit it to Apple’s feedback, maybe with enough complaints, Apple will actually look at fixing this.


Downloads Make It Even Easier to Watch Netflix on the Go

Netflix members worldwide can now download in addition to stream great series and films at no extra cost.

While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited. Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.

About time this feature was added, on trips it was the one thing that made iTunes more useful that Netflix for me.


The Mac App Store and Scammy Apps

You love technology, but not everyone does. For many people computers are confusing, even scary. Malevolent actors know this, and try to deliberately trick people online. From ads that look like download buttons to ransomware pop-ups, the web is full of deception-based design, intended to take advantage of the less technically inclined.

In theory, this is part of why app stores are useful. Users afraid of being scammed on the open web can browse the Mac App Store with confidence, knowing that Apple’s walled garden will protect them.

Except it won’t.


Preventing Spam iCloud Calendar Invites

Aaron Douglas:

How do I prevent this from happening in the future? How the hell did it happen? Turns out it’s Apple again – thinking they know better for how you want to use e-mail and calendars. Thankfully there is an option to prevent the forced invites.

These calendar invites aren’t coming from some magic hacked portal in your phone. The invites are coming as e-mails into your e-mail account and then being automatically converted into in-app push notifications to both iOS and macOS. Once that’s done the original e-mail is deleted. Gone. Poof. Magical, yet stabby.

Let’s turn off this magical conversion so we have the ability to spam the incoming e-mails and never have them hit your calendar.

  1. First, open up in a web browser.

  2. Log into using the account you use on your phone (where your calendars are stored).

  3. Click on Calendar.

  4. Click on the settings gear in the lower left of the screen.

  5. Click on Preferences.

  6. Click the Advanced tab.

  7. Under Invitations set the option for Receive event notifications as to the second option, as an Email to rather than an in-app notification.

This post is just in time as I got hit with a bunch of these today too. After I made the change posted above, I got a few spam emails, but nothing added straight to my calendar.


Why Apple (probably) won’t make an ARM-powered Mac

Jason Snell:

With every release of a new iPhone powered by another cutting-edge processor designed by Apple, the rumbling grows. It’s amplified by the perception that the Mac is being delayed and hamstrung by the moves of the Mac’s chip supplier, Intel. It’s the theory that, one of these days, Apple is going to break from Intel and power its Macs with an Apple-designed processor related to the ones in the iPhone and iPad.

It’s a story with a certain amount of sense behind it. It seems like several Mac models have been delayed because Intel’s chips just weren’t ready in time, or weren’t ready in enough supply. The latest hubbub about the MacBook Pro being limited to 16GB of RAM is due Apple’s choice of a low-power Intel chipset that couldn’t handle more memory.

And it’s true, the Mac is no stranger to a processor transition. It’s happened three times in the 32-year life of the Mac, so roughly once a decade.

Yes, this post came out two days ago, but it’s an interesting read, and I was busy with a few things this week.


Woman’s letter to Halifax MP keeps getting returned by Canada Post

A woman in Halifax sent a letter to her MP after the U.S. election, hoping it would give her concerns more weight than a tweet or an email, but it keeps getting sent back to her.

“My letter was addressed to Andy Fillmore, member of Parliament, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6,” Becca Babcock told CBC’s Mainstreet.

The address isn’t the problem, but the envelope is — it has no stamp.

The thing is, it doesn’t need one.

Babcock wrote the letter to express her commitment to electoral reform and her worries about racism and misogyny.

She thought back to her social studies classes and how she learned that you can send a letter to your MP at that Ottawa address postage-free. She even doubled-checked the Parliament of Canada website to verify this before mailing it off the first time. (Both that website and the Canada Post one make mention of the free postage arrangement.)

I remember learning about this rule in elementary school years ago, we all wrote to our local MP and didn’t have to include stamps on the letter.

This letter has now been returned twice, even when showing Canada Post workers proof of this rule, they still return it with no postage.

I found this interesting and share worthy due to Babcock’s persistence to get the letter delivered.


Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash

Michael Nunez, writing for Gizmodo:

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s decision-making, Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging review of products and policies earlier this year, with the goal of eliminating any appearance of political bias. One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. It’s unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it to be scrubbed.

“They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution from the company. The source added, “there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics,” and that “a lot of product decisions got caught up in that.”


Globe Making in 1955

These days, with more and more products being made by machines, it’s easy to take for granted the craftsmanship of the past. Just look at how much time and care went into making a globe in the 1950s.