Saturday, January 16, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Apps To Spy On Your Kids Without Them Knowing

The best way to know where your teenagers are is to have the kind of relationship with them in which they tell you -- truthfully. But for those whose relationships are a bit strained, well, there's an app for that. Here is a list of some apps that will help protect your cover as you track your teens' online comings and goings:
1. mSpy
mSpy is the top used cell phone tracking app worldwide, according toTopTrackingApps. Its main selling point is that you can monitor multiple things with it -- who they call, what they text, which apps they use, the number of contacts, GPS location, etc. And according to SpyParent's founder Sedgrid Lewis, "it works." While the field of spying apps isn't limited, simplicity of use and reliability are factors to be considered. The average American teen spends up to seven hours a day in contact with others on electronic devices, and a recent survey by online security firm AVG found that by the time they are 16, one in three  has regretted something they did online.
2. The Spy Bubble
The Spy Bubble is another jack-of-all-spying-trades, also suitable for monitoring the phone of your suspected cheating spouse. Its site does offer some cautionary, if frightening, state-of-the-world information you might find useful. We are still reeling from this one about online photos and Photoshop: "Never let your kids share their photos online on an open forum. Why? They will ask. Everyone does that. Yes, everyone does that and about eight percent of those experience harassment due to photoshop effects on their photos. The worst bullying of this sort is seen by the girls, especially because female reputation is one of the most fragile things in the world."
 3. The Phone Sheriff
One nice feature of the Phone Sheriff  is that it allows you to set time limits on your teen's device. Want "OK, you can play with your phone for an hour" to really mean just 60 minutes? This app will shut down and lock the phone when you tell it to.
4. Mobicip
Mobicip isn't so much a tracker app as one that restores a bit of control over your teen's online life. The middle school level blocks online shopping, gambling, dating, liquor, and chat sites. The high school level blocks content that is adult, sexual, or involves weapons and violence. Good luck with your kid not using a friend's phone.
5. MamaBear
For parents of new drivers and parents of teens with friends who have had their licenses for 20 minutes, MamaBear will let you know the speed of the vehicle your teen is traveling in. Just don't text them to slow down, OK?



Eric Marshall
maybe no singular group's right to privacy is violated more often and with less forethought than the young.

think of the millions of images and videos that are on facebook and instagram alone of children ages 1-12 right now, children who did not consent to having their image made public.

then products like this - it's disgusting the way people use their own inability to accept uncertainty in life as an excuse to violate the rights of their children. no, you should not always be with them. yes, that means something terrible could happen in your absence. that's the job you signed up for. if you don't like the terms now that your kid has agency and a little experience, too bad. it's not your kid's problem to deal with - it's yours.
Like · Reply · 127 · Jul 29, 2015 5:40pm
Spencer Pisinski · 
Let's condition people to thinking that spying on your friends and family is OK! Because that's how the police state works.
Like · Reply · 114 · Jul 30, 2015 3:55am
Julia McCall Nachtegaal
the usa is already a police state .
Like · Reply · 3 · Jul 30, 2015 4:50am
Spencer Pisinski · 
I'm aware
Like · Reply · Jul 30, 2015 4:52am
Lynn Spratley · 
Funny the police state you complain of you are not subject to lls
Like · Reply · Jul 30, 2015 6:40am
Laura Cockerill · 
Apps like this are the reason your kids are sneaking behind your back. Kids don't deserve to be spied on when they're not doing anything wrong. Can you say "trust issues"? What on earth did kids in the 90s do without their mother knowing their every move?! Take a chill pill
Like · Reply · 90 · Jul 30, 2015 3:50amEdited
Jennifer Mead
Oh, we did a lot. But the thing is, that's part of growing up.
Like · Reply · 5 · Jul 30, 2015 4:28am
Lacey Eder · 
I'm so glad I had a great relationship with my mom. If I left, she'd want to know where I was going, who I'd be with, and when I'd be back. And I had a cell phone in 8th grade so she could call if need be. You have to give the kids a little slack to be able to show you that they're worthy of your trust and can be allowed some damn privacy.
Like · Reply · 1 · Jul 30, 2015 6:11am
Sabrina Miller
Kids in the 80s & 90s didn't have smartphones & social media. I don't advocate spying... I advocate parents saying no to some of the technology.
Like · Reply · 8 · Jul 30, 2015 7:32am
Christopher J Cotta · 
Big Mother is watching you.
Like · Reply · 47 · Jul 29, 2015 8:01pm
Greensboro Police Public Abuse
Parents who use these apps are 80% more likely to die alone and unvisited in a nursing home says anyone with any comon sense. They are only conditioning their kids to accept NSA style spying in the future. Teens should check their phones and give any "parent" that uses them all holy hell.
Like · Reply · 385 · Jul 29, 2015 2:38pm
James Scott · 
Don't worry, teens don't need a logical reason to give their parents holy hell, that's just the natural way of things.
Like · Reply · 22 · Jul 29, 2015 3:17pm
Courtney Lynn
My kid, my house, my rules.
Like · Reply · 51 · Jul 30, 2015 3:36am
Linda Fernandez · 
Like Courtney said, My kid, my house, my rules!! But it sounds like you either have something to hide, or are just psychotically paranoid Greensboro!!
Like · Reply · 15 · Jul 30, 2015 3:39am
Katie Maverick Parker · 
Parenting. You're doing it wrong.
Like · Reply · 339 · Jul 29, 2015 4:04pm
Sami Nichols · 
What i don't get... If they have such trust issues and feel the need to spy, why do they let their kids have cell phones???
Like · Reply · 11 · Jul 30, 2015 2:05pm
Robert Myers · 
I agree Katie !
Like · Reply · Jul 30, 2015 2:36pm
Heather Marie Applegate
Well I would assume they let their kids have cell phones because they want to be able to contact their kids vice versa at any given time.
Like · Reply · Jul 31, 2015 3:14am
Maureen Soricelli
The rights of young people in this nation are consistently and conveniently ignored by parents, teachers, police officers, and judges. They don't pay taxes, they don't vote, and they have no collective power to oppose this kind of invasion of privacy. If you don't trust your child to do what they are supposed to do, then the problem is with your parenting skills. Checking on someone's safety and well-being is one thing; monitoring their every move is wrong.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Going Off the Grid: More Extreme Than You Think

When you think of living off the grid, you might imagine installing solar panels and/or a windmill so that you're not using energy from utilities. That's what I think of, anyway, and I'm very proud of my solar hot water.
But it can be way more than that. A new web series called "Going Off Grid," appearing on Discovery's new Seeker Network and on Youtube, "highlights the beautiful, strange and wonderful people living disconnected from our modern world; the bold few that live off the grid," according to the show description.
Show creator Laura Ling told me: "It's fascinating to look at different parts of society to see the reasons why people are living off the grid, and how."

PHOTOS: Inside an Alaskan Ice Cave

Ling cites statistics from 2006 that say 180,000 people live off the grid, though it's impossible to say at this point, nine years on, what exactly that number is. But let's assume it's higher and growing.
In her search for subjects to feature in her series, Ling came across some notable people.
One family moved from outside Boston, where the husband worked at Harvard, to the backwoods of Idaho. They built a 314-square-foot yurt with wood from the forest. Two of the three kids go to school an hour away, where there are also stores where the family can buy food and materials.
But otherwise, they're totally off the grid: no running water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no connectivity.
"I think I was most afraid of the unknown," says Esther Emory in the first series episode, which you can watch at the bottom of this blog.
"It wasn't until I got out here and realized that I could survive and have so much happiness and so much satisfaction that I realized that this was the long-term plan," Emory says.

WATCH: This Happened Here: The Disappearing Ice Caves Of Alaska

Ling noted that many people are not living off the grid by choice. She cited a population that lives in the tunnels of Las Vegas, some of whom she interviewed.
"Beneath the glitz and lights of Las Vegas are miles and miles of tunnels where people are living off the grid. Some of them have jobs, but still can't afford to live in apartments," Ling said.
In situations where people are living off the grid by choice, Ling said it was surprising to her that so many were making that choice.
"I see reasons for them doing it and admire them for it, but it is pretty out there," she said. "That whole lifestyle takes a certain personality and it's not mine."

ANALYSIS: Could Our Power Grid Ever Fail?

Another episode of "Going Off Grid" will feature former pro snowboarder Mike Basich, who left a pretty sweet lifestyle behind to build a 228-square-foot home in the Sierra Nevada mountains, named Area-241. It includes a 600-foot chairlift and a wood-fired hot tub, and it's gorgeous, but hey, it's definitely off the grid.
And then there's Laura Singer, who lives nearly off the trash grid. She reduces, reuses and recycles so effectively that her waste for more than a year can fit inside a Mason jar. I do the three RRRs, but there's no WAY my waste is anywhere near that (which might have to do with the chickens, ducks, dogs, birds and humans in my life...).
Ling told me that she hopes "Going Off Grid" inspires people to live more simply.
"I hope that it shines a light on other segments of America that we don't really think about, especially in this day and age where we do have so much. I hope it encourages them to change their way of thinking and have a new appreciation for the things we do have," Ling said.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to Control Your Home with your Cell Phone / Low budget easy tech.

Home automation is still evolving, and getting it to work requires knowledge of both household electrical wiring and computer networking. But once everything is hooked up correctly, it can change the way you interact with your home. We show you how you can use your smart phone as a remote control for your lights, heat and security in your home.

Home automation exists in the curious realm where screwdrivers and drywall meet PCs and routers. The cat­egory is still evolving--there are multiple, incompatible standards--and getting this stuff to work requires knowledge of both household electrical wiring and computer networking, but once everything is hooked up correctly, it can change the way you interact with your home.
Last month, I wrote about installing Insteon networked lighting in my home, which allowed me to link up switches and outlets throughout my house regardless of which branch circuit they were on.
The Insteon system works by sending data signals over radio frequency (RF) waves and your home's power lines. As each device receives a signal, it rebroadcasts it, creating a mesh network that bounces commands instantly from one end of the house to the other. It's an effective system for connecting lighting switches and loads without extra wiring, but it also forms the basis for a more sophisticated home automation network.

Meshed Networks

Insteon's SmartLinc bridges the home automation network with your local area network's Wi-Fi router (left) via an Ethernet cable. The SmartLinc serves up a Web page interface (right) for programming and controlling all of your home-control devices from a PC or cellphone. (Photograph by Brad DeCecco)

Home automation is a broad and even somewhat vague concept. And plenty of companies sell systems that do everything from basic lighting control to full integration of home entertainment systems, motorized window blinds, climate control and home security. Many of these "whole home automation" systems from companies such as HAI and Crestron are geared toward the installer market and can cost many thousands of dollars. Other systems, such as SmartLabs' Insteon and the competing Z-Wave system, tend to be more flexible and aimed at DIYers.
Obviously, since I had already outfitted my house with Insteon's lighting controls, it made sense to build upon that system. The first step was to integrate my networked lighting into my home's data network. Insteon has a variety of different network interfaces, but I went with the $120 SmartLinc controller. The SmartLinc serves up its own Web page on your home network, allowing you to control your system from a browser window on any computer in the house, or via cellphones with Wi-Fi capability.
Installation is simple: Just plug the SmartLinc into a wall outlet, then connect it to your Wi-Fi router via an Ether­net cable. The Web interface allows you to set up virtual On/Off switches for any Insteon controller.
More advanced users can even set up control of their home systems from outside the home network. By enabling "port forwarding" on your household router, you can access and control your systems from anywhere with Internet service.

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