The easy way to setup an Internet filter for your kids

There are plenty of great internet filters available online however we’re going to give you the two best internet filters we’ve found to date.

Option #1 OpenDNS Family Shield - Free internet filter for Mac, PC & mobile devices - Difficulty level: Easy

 Offering more than just internet filtering - OpenDNS is a completely free service - www.opendns.com

Offering more than just internet filtering - OpenDNS is a completely free service - www.opendns.com

OpenDNS is a technology company that provides a simple solution to allow people to surf the web faster and more safely by using their Domain Name System. SIMPLY PUT, you make one easy change to your computer internet configuration and you’re using the free OpenDNS Domain Name System for faster and safer internet browsing.

For a step-by-step guide on applying family shield internet filtering to your home computer or router click here.

All up it should only take maximum 5 minutes to complete the configuration. If you would prefer a technician to take care this for you, feel free to give us a call on: 0280317759 and we’ll come to you.

Advanced OpenDNS filtering options are also available. For the ultimate filter setup that will protect against tampering from even the most tech savvy kids and adults, we recommend using a combination of applications.

We've found the best solution for filtering is a combination of a DD-WRT enabled router configured with options described in the following guide: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/OpenDNS to feed your dynamic IP address to a free DNS-O-Matic account which then updates your free OpenDNS account with filtering enabled. Using the appropriate configuration mentioned in the DD-WRT wiki it is also possible to force all DNS connections to use the OpenDNS servers. This means users of your network cannot manually change DNS settings on their computer or mobile device to circumvent filtering.

If you require assistance with getting this working please feel free to contact us using our contact form and we'll be happy to help.

Option #2 K9 Web protection - Another free internet filter for Mac, PC & Mobile Devices - Difficulty level: Medium

K9 Web protection is free software that you can install on your Mac, PC, Android or iOS device that will enable you to selectively block any websites or categories of websites you like. The key difference toOpenDNS is that K9 allows internet filtering on the device itself - no matter which network you are connected to.

With K9 you can select from a predefined list of over 70 categories or add your own custom list of blocked or allowed websites, giving you complete control over what you or your family are exposed to online. With one master password that you administer, K9 is completely tamper-proof and can even force “safe search” on search engines like Google, ensuring nobody can bypass the restrictions in place. Reports can also be generated to show what sites have been blocked and when access was tempted. K9 also has a time selection feature, allowing you to block out websites for a selected period of time - Perfect for ensuring work and study get done without any distractions. Whether it’s protecting your children from adult content or risky interactions, yourself from scams and viruses, or your organisation from threats or adventurous users, K9 is an ideal and feature-rich web filter that’s completely free. For more information or to try it out for yourself, click here

Common ADSL internet problems on the Northern Beaches

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Is your ADSL internet slow or unreliable? We’ll help you get it fixed.

Slow and unreliable internet is very common on the Northern Beaches but it doesn’t need to be that way. Over the years we’ve helped countless homeowners tackle this situation.

This article addresses a few of the most common causes to internet problems, starting with two that are very common on the Northern Beaches due to old infrastructure.

Just recently we helped a family who had already tried to engage with Telstra support several times to fix their intermittent internet issues. Needless to say, they weren't getting very far with Telstra overseas support and their technicians who only seem to care about crossing the job off the list rather than actually fixing something.

We've put this blog together to help demystify internet connectivity issues and give Northern Beaches home owners a rock solid process for getting their internet issues solved.

The Process

  1. Test the internet connection two different computers (preferably cabled to the router), sometimes the culprit can be the computer itself.
     
  2. Restart your internet equipment (Modem / Router / Switch)
     
  3. Make sure you haven't gone over your internet quota. If your internet is working but going slowly, going over your quota is a likely cause. You can check your quota over the phone and online as long as you have all of your ISP account details.
     
  4. If none of the above fixes the issue and internet is not working on multiple devices connected directly to your modem, router or switch, it's time to call your ISP. Ask for technical support, tell them you are having problems with your internet and ask them if there are any outages in your area and to test your line from their end. If they aren't able to fault the line, they will likely take you through steps to troubleshoot your internet equipment.
     
  5. This is where it gets tedious and if you're able to understand the accent, more often than not they are able to help guide you through resolving your issue if it is indeed a fault with your equipment.

    If you're at step 5, this is probably the point at which you've spent countless hours on the phone with support and are desperately in need of a Geek For Hire.
Call Center

The most common causes (Step 5 and beyond) are:

#1. Faulty line between the home and he exchange

In many cases a faulty line that is a casualty of ageing infrastructure or erosion by water damage can be the culprit. The good news is that your internet service provider (Telstra, iiNet, internode, Optus etc) will almost always fix this for free within a few weeks of you reporting it. The bad news is that it can be pretty hard convincing them the problem isn’t your own modem/ router equipment. Geek For Hire have the technical knowhow and patience to properly diagnose those tricky to pinpoint issues like line faults. We can test your internet equipment and talk jargon with your internet service provider to find out exactly where the issue is. If it’s a line fault we can generally get your ISP to fix it free of charge if it’s not a fault within the home.

#2. Faulty ports at the telephone exchange

Many internet users on the Northern Beaches experience intermittent internet issues due to the degrading equipment at the exchange. If you’re experiencing internet issues and you’re sure it’s not your equipment of phone line, you may be one of the unlucky users to be on an old port connection at the exchange. If this is the case, you will want to request a port migration. We recently helped a customer who had a Telstra technician out several times to diagnose the issue and every time blamed the fault on the clients hardware. This unfortunately is not always the case and the technicians being time poor just want to mark the job off as done.

If you need help getting through to Telstra and making progress on your internet issues without waiting on hold for hours on the phone only to meet with a technician who isn’t interested in fixing your problem then give us a call.

#3. Faulty modem or router

Networking equipment like modems and routers often degrade and fault over time. The first thing to do in order to diagnose faulty internet is to reset or replace your modem / router in order to rule out an equipment fault.

To keep your modem / modem router combo healthy for years to come, make sure they are well ventilated & are plugged in to a surge protector as they are both very prone to overheating and small power spikes.

[insert image of poorly ventilated router]

#4. Wifi Interference

If you’re using WiFi to connect to the internet and you’re experiencing a slow or intermittent connection it may be that you have another wireless device interfering with your signal. Interference can be cause by other neighbouring networks or other devices in between or close to your WiFi modem router e.g. a radio phone or other media device. To rule out wireless interference you may first want to try connecting your computer via ethernet cable to and turning off your computer WiFi to see if the connection gets any better. If you notice an improvement when using a cabled connection, you may want to try changing the WiFi channel in the setting on your wireless access point and making sure there are no interfering devices near by.


Internet speed issues

Many of our customers are suffering in silence due to intermittent issues affecting their internet speed.  In this post we're going to give you some of the common causes of internet speed issues and teach you how to find out what the heck is eating up all your bandwidth and data allowance.

Some common causes for internet speed issues on a mac:

1. Photostream Syncing

If you're noticing intermittent slow downs in your internet speed it's likely photostream is the cause. The photostream service can hog internt bandwidth for long periods of time while it updates your photostream from your other devices.

2. Buggy programs

If you've noticed your speed problem occuring around the same time as you installed a new program, it's possible that program may be the cause. Try backing up the data for that particular program and then uninstall it. Once done, use the testing methods outlined below to see if your problem has been fixed.

3. Viruses

Viruses can do horrible things to your computer and your network including sending rubbish data over your network. This data can clog up your network causing it to slow down. If using a mac we reccomend using Sophos antivirus to scan your mac for viruses. You may be surprised by what you find!

4. Faulty network cards

Faulty network cards can have the same affect as viruses and send excessive rubbish data accross your netowrk causing it to slow down.

5. A faulty modem or router

Modems, routers and switches can have problems from time to time. Some of the main issues for internet speed issues related to modems and routers are:

+ Improper configuration

+ Faulty network ports

These devices are especially suceptible to power surges and are know to develop issues with age.  

6. A problem with your ISP

Internet service providers have problems from time to time. Some common issues are, malfunctioning network equipment, network overload and maintenance. It's always a good idea to check your ISP's services status for your area before wasting hours on hold.

7. Poor line quality (ADSL)

Phone lines degrade over time - The older the lines in your area the more likely you are to have issues cuase by corrosion and water logging among other things. Test everything you can internally before getting involved with checking phone like quality as it's usually quite a long process.

Tools

So now that you are familiar with some of the common causes of slow internt on your mac, here are some tools to help you diagnose the issue.

1. Rubbernet - Local Traffic Monitor

The rubbernet app allows you to monitor and sort all network traffic coming in and out of your mac based on applicaton. This helps you to see exactly which applications are using data, how much and when. Applications such as photostream upload and download large amounts of data. Using rubbernet at the time your internet is slow ill help you determine if an application is the cause.

2. Ping - Network Utility

Using the ping command found in the network utility application will tell you how quickly your are able to send and receive small amounts of data. Pinging your router will help you determine if there is a slow down within your network. Ping times inside your network should be no more that 3 milliseconds. Ping times to an outside source such as google.com should usually sit around 20 - 30 milliseconds depending on your internt connection quality. Higher ping times suggest active use of your network or a fault between your computer and the device being pinged. Dropped packets suggest a more severe issue.

3. Traceroute - Network Utility

Traceroute is used to mapping the path from one location to another. Like ping, your are contacting a source device and seeing how long it takes to reach it. Tracerout however gives you information on the ping time for every device or hop inbetween your network and the source device showing you the ping times of every relay along the way. This is helpful for finding a delay cause by a device along the way.

4. Speedtest.net

Speedtest.net gives you a readout on your current internt connection speed. This tool is useful for monitorng your internet speed and helping to build a clear picutre of you internt performance over time. 

We hope this information has helped, please feel free to contact us for further help or information on fixing your internet speed.

Tutorial: How to delete all image from iPhone or iPad

Here's a quick and easy tutorial video on how to quickly delete some or all the photos and videos from your photos app on your iPhone or iPad using image capture on your mac. Before doing this, make sure you have a backup of anything you want to keep.

Possible uses for this may be:

1. You want to clear some space for new photos

2. You want to pass on the iphone to someone else without completely erasing it

3. You just want to grab a few specific images or movies without using iPhoto

Click the like button on the video if you find it helpful and feel free to post a comment on further tutorials you would like.