Showing posts from June, 2013

Internet filtering at home Part 4

If you are just reading this post there is some good (OK, acceptable) background information on this in part one , two , and three . Here is a list of equipment/software/services I use to access and filter the internet at home: Component Name Purpose Modem/Router Netgear 7550 To connect to the internet over a phone line and provide a wifi signal for our internet-ready devices to connect to the internet Service OpenDNS A free service that allows for filtering at the router level. Without this service we would have to filter internet connections on every device that connects to it. A real pain for sure. Software/Service Net Nanny To provide finer-grained filtering for every web browser on our sole computer that has internet access. It allows for the application of different filter settings per user account on the PC. Software/Service Avast Antivirus Antivirus and antimalware service that is applied to all incoming traffic and content. Browser plugin Adblock Plus Filters out ads on websit

He didn't even look at me

The other night at my son's last baseball game he hit a triple. He hadn't been able to hit that well in some of the preceding games, for a variety of reasons, so this was a really big deal for him. And for me. When he got to third and was told to hold up he gave the coach five and jawed a bit with the third baseman... but he didn't even look at me. He was poised on third ready to steal home when the opportunity presented itself. His teammate Jason (#10) strode to the plate and took a few pitches. Sure enough the ball got by the catcher and the third base coach sent him running home. It was going to be close (too close for my comfort) so we urged him on as time seemed to slow down. Determined he fixed his eyes on the goal and slid beating the throw from the catcher to the pitcher who was covering the plate. He jumped up, pants and shirt full of dirt, and gave a single, dust-laden clap as he jogged towards the jubilant bench. He high-fived the coaches managing the dugout and

Internet filtering at home Part 3

Parts one and two on this topic have already been posted. So, after making sure that the wifi capabilities of all of the devices that can connect to the internet are password protected, and making sure that any device that uses the connection the router provides is subject to some sort of filtering, I now turn to the web browser itself. There are tons of applications that provide some sort of filtering for the browser. Some are free and some I had to pay for. I tried and tried to make the free options work, but it was either way too much of a hassle for me to get it the way I wanted or they did not offer the level of filtering I was interested in. I ended up biting the bullet and installing Net Nanny  on the only computer in our home with internet capability. Here is why I chose Net Nanny: It was the highest-rated product out there for internet filtering It has the option to apply a black-list approach or a white-list approach to internet filtering (more on that later) It has profani

Internet filtering at home Part 2

Part one of this series is here . I am not sure if this is going to be a three or four part series. I just thought of a few more things that I would like to post on (including an equipment/software list) so it may stretch farther than the initial three posts I thought it was going to be. This post gets a touch technical, but I tried to explain it the best I could. If there are any questions please feel free to comment with a question and I will do my best to get back to you. When we signed up for Frontier high-speed internet (which I can recommend by the way) we received a device that is a combination of a modem and router. Simply put the modem portion makes it possible for computer data to be transmitted across our phone line and the router takes the data from the modem and transmits it (over a wireless connection in our case) to the computer or other device that wants to connect to the internet. Some people have these devices separated out into two physical boxes, but we happen to ha

Internet filtering at home Part 1

This is the first post in a multi-part series on how we have decided to lock down and filter access to the internet in our home. This is, by no means, the only way to do things and it probably isn't even the best way, but I hope that this information is useful to someone who is trying to do the same thing. With the invitation of high(er) speed internet into our home, and because I have two sons, we have decided on a multi-layer approach to internet filtering that seems to be doing its job. My family is doing more and more online these days and we have numerous devices (computer, Kindle Fire, Wii, phone) that can connect to the internet via the wifi signal we have broadcast through our router. We needed some way to lock those devices down from accessing the internet and, when they do, to make sure that the internet was being used for the purposes we have determined that it be used for. Of course our wireless signal is encrypted and secured with a lengthy password that must be entere

Expression to and thoughts about Him

I have a weakness. Shocking, I know, but let's go with that thought for a moment or two. I like to think about God more than I like to talk to Him. For a long time I would read more books about the Bible than the Bible itself. I have rectified that somewhat, but what I am having a hard time doing is not moving into thought mode when I should be expressing my love to God. Here is how this plays out: When I am singing with the church I may come across a line or even a word in a song that reminds me of a theological truth about God like "everlasting" or "never changing". Now, neophyte theologian and philosopher that I am, I will immediately think "eternality" or "immutability" and then go off on a mental journey into the implications of those attributes of God on His character or on me as a creature of His. And that is where I fail. Rather than taking an opportunity to talk to Him, to praise Him for what He has done or express the wonder of who

Was it a date?

I had a great time last night hanging out with my immediate and extended family at the Barnard Firemen's parade last night. It was good to just be all together and my wife snapped some pretty good pictures of the event. I noticed that our boys were sitting with their cousins about 30 yards away from us...yes, there are that many of us. So, the question I ask myself if these situations is, "How far do my children have to be away from me in order for it to be considered date?" I think that they at least have to be out of sight (they're always out of sight, but me saying that just betrays my longstanding affection for Soul Train). What if they are out of mind while I am sitting with my wife while we are not at home? Does that count? Probably not, but there is a line there somewhere that we cross to make a situation a date and I am obsessed with finding it.

Yet another way they can be like God

I have been enjoying the time that we have been spending in HighPoint this month at our base camp learning about different ways that God is growing all of us in faith, wisdom, and friendship. God has used the verse that we are focusing on this month, Luke 2:52, to take me in a direction that I have never been before. I have been thinking for a while now about my position before God both as a creation of His and also as someone made in His image. In other words, I, as a creature of His, need to resemble Him (bear His image) in every area of my life from husband, to dad, to uncle, to employee, to teacher...and when I do I am at my best. When I imitate Him I am exactly what He has created me to be and I will not be frustrated nor unproductive as I engage the world around me. In meditating on Luke 2:52 I noticed something that relates to this. When my sons grow in faith, wisdom, and friendship they are imitating Christ himself. Even though it is a great mystery, the Bible says that Christ

Why doesn't Bugs Bunny get tired?

Way too much ice cream before bed last night led me to this question at 2:30 AM - Why doesn't Bugs Bunny get tired? You may recall the Looney Tunes episode "Bugs and Thugs" where Bugs Bunny calls a cab and, inadvertently, gets into a getaway car for a couple of bank robbers. There are lots of animated hijinks in the cartoon, but the classic scene that everyone remembers is when Bugs hides the thugs in the oven and they eventually surrender to the chief of police who had ordered Clancy to "take the boys and surround the house". There's a lot of running around in a very short period of time, people are getting thrown into ovens, and his life is even threatened on various occasions. Yet, at the end of the episode, he doesn't collapse in a heap on the couch in front of a DVD filled with his favorite episodes of Tom and Jerry. Why is that?

At our best when imitating Him

I am convinced that I am at my best as a human when I imitate God. Being made in his image and bearing that image to the world is my sole duty and this has implications for my role as a father: God sets his love upon his children.  I need to continually choose to do that. For me it is a daily choice, but for my unchanging (immutable) God it was a one-time choice that he made and continues in to this day. God withholds no good thing from me. I don't often trust him enough to believe this, but it is clear that it is true (Psalm 84:11; Matthew 7:9-11). I need to continually eschew the "decent" things that I gravitate towards and give my children "good" things that they need.   God is both just and merciful.  I can be lazy and let things side that shouldn't or be too harsh and punish or discipline out of anger after being inconvenienced. God holds these in perfect tension and the balancing act is a tough one for me as a dad. God is accessible.  I love the verses

Art as dominion over nature

It is easy for me to see that both the gift and full exercise of the sciences is a means for mankind to begin to restore its dominion over nature, but I am just scratching the surface of the arts as a means toward that end as well. In this world we get sick or we are exposed to the harshness of the weather and science, when it's practiced as such, has the capacity to deal with both conditions. Man is at its best when the scientific method and the knowledge that is attained through it are used to further the Kingdom of God or to fix our minds and hearts onto him. But what of art? I am not an artist, but I am affected by artists each and every day as I look at a painting or am moved by the written or spoken words of people who are more skilled than the average person in their chosen pursuits. They choose to permanently alter the world around them through means of color, sound, or prose to fix my mind on something that is often unexpected. The tools that God has given them through the

Sports in the Town of Greece

Both of my sons are involved in Town of Greece sports this year: the older is in soccer and the younger is in baseball. That means that there is something going on Monday-Thursday nights and Saturday mornings or afternoons, but they love what they are doing so we are happy to help them along. I always enter the season with a bit of fear and trepidation as there is always the potential that they may fall into a team or under a coach that is less than what we want it to be. That, in and of itself, would be a learning experience for them, but the stress of that is not something that I would really want to deal with. Well, to say that we are pleased with the way things are working out this year would be an understatement. My younger son is on a baseball team (the Angels...irony recognized) coached by Coaches Dean, Reggie, and Al. These guys are perfect for him. Their emphasis is on skill building and making sure that the love they have for them game is transferred to their players. They