Blockland! – That game where you build stuff.

Help protect your system with HostsFile.org

I have three little kids (6, 4 and 2 years) and they’re becoming very tech savvy. Two have Nintentdo DS’s and they all play the original XBOX, the XBOX 360 and the Wii. They are also eager internet users and although I can filter the games and activities on the game consoles quite easily, keeping control of the wild nature of the net is a far more difficult task. I therefore need to have a few tools in my arsenal to keep my kids innocence in tact and ensure that they’re only leaning how to cook master chef style and enjoying some time with Jay and Justine on Play School. That’s where HostsFile.org comes in.

So you think your computer is secure? Think again! Let us tell you why it is not.

The Internet is full of places you don’t want your computer wandering into. Sites that install spyware, adware, viruses, mass-mailers, and worse. Many of these bad sites are well-known to Internet security researchers. Nothing on your computer should be allowed to connect to these known bad sites. Other sites are more of an annoyance. These are sites that slow your web browser down with advertisements or try to track everywhere you go on the web. Then there are hate, gambling, pornography and other “adult” sites. You might think these types of sites are fine if you’re an adult, but these sites are often used as launching platforms for programs that are aimed at taking control of your computer.

Unfortunately, your computer will go anywhere it’s told. Every time you do an innocent web search, you risk going to a new web page that will tell your computer to go to a half-dozen other web sites to get images, scripts, style sheets, cookies, movies, or controls. Maybe the site you originally went to is okay, but what about the other half-dozen your computer just went to without your knowledge?

You need a leash for your computer! Your existing anti-virus and anti-spyware software will have a much better chance of handling threats if yoiu can stop your computer from automatically wandering into the high-risk areas of the Internet.

via HostsFile.org.

So as you can see a quick change to your hosts file will allow you to block parts of the net that you not only don’t want you kids getting into but also things that you don’t want your computer getting into. With help on how to setup, HostsFile.org is a good start to keeping your system clean.

Toby

How to help users with Problem Steps Recorder.

I spend a lot of time helping people fix their IT problems but I’m located in central Australia and I have the majority of my users in the eastern states as well as users internationally. There are a few tools that I use that makes the task of getting people back up and running on their systems easier and quicker.

The first this to know is what the problem is. And that’s where Problem Steps Recorder comes in.

How do I use Problem Steps Recorder? You can use Problem Steps Recorder to automatically capture the steps you take on a computer, including a text description of where you clicked and a picture of the screen during each click called a screen shot. Once you capture these steps, you can save them to a file that can be used by a support professional or someone else helping you with a computer problem.

via How do I use Problem Steps Recorder?.

This tool gives the user the ability to replicate the problem and send me the details. Neither of us need to be on the phone for hours trying to explain what the computer is doing and I can see exactly what happened to cause the problem. Miscommunications are eliminated and I’m in a much better position to give them the right advice first time.

Problem Steps Recorder is available on Windows 7.

Toby

Google’s Swiffy Converts SWF Files to HTML5 | Techerator

Amidst of all the recent announcements from Google comes a lesser-known feature that’s available now in Google Labs. It’s a small service called Swiffy, and it will convert SWF (the file format for Flash) files into HTML5 versions for use in most modern browsers like Chrome and Safari.

Google says the process works by first converting the SWF file into a JSON file, then rendering it using HTML, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The result is a complete HTML5 file with a size that’s just slightly larger than the original SWF file that was converted.

Of course, we’re all probably thinking that Swiffy would make a great tool for developers to use to develop and port content for iOS and other devices without Flash capabilities. Obviously, Swiffy is still in its early stages, so it can’t convert every SWF file under the sun just yet and Google doesn’t know if it’s going to turn Swiffy into an open-source project. Either way, Swiffy is waiting and ready for you to begin your Flash-converting monstrosity right now.

via Google’s Swiffy Converts SWF Files to HTML5 | Techerator.

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