Securing the Web for Your Kids with OpenDNS [Guide]

Note: This is not a “technical” post, any parent can set this up to make the web little more secure for their kids. Read on..

I have three kids, all boys, eldest is 10 years old (Manas), followed by 7 years old (Aihan), and the youngest is 3 years old (Azat). Manas is now able to do his own research for his school assignments. Usually searching for specific topic in Google/Wikipedia. He is also into Minecraft. He follows some Minecraft YouTube Channels like DanTDMCaptain Sparklez, etc. He is almost entirely not watching any TV (he just joins in when Azat is watching some cartoons). He is either at the Home PC playing Minecraft or doing his homework, or on his iPad watching Minecraft videos and playing games. Home PC is located at the living room area, for obvious reasons.

I have talked to Manas and Aihan about basic security on Minecraft and the Web in general, such as;

  • Don’t give any specific info about where you study (school name, school address) and where you live (home address) to strangers in Minecraft. Just tell them general information, like I live in Malaysia etc.
  • I have explained to them that it’s ok to ignore people’s questions, you don’t have to always answer all the questions directed at you.
  • I have explained the possible consequences of the above points and how some people are not as they claim to be on the internet.
  • When you search for something in Google, use phrases instead of single keywords. Because single keywords are more likely to show something other than what you are looking for.
  • Can’t watch / play something that is violent with bloods, PG, PG13 etc.

Alhamdulillah, my kids are also very understanding, and they do their best to be good kids on their own. I don’t have to strictly monitor their browsing, watching or playing habits. In fact, they are the ones sometimes decline to go to cinema, because they perceive the movie to be too violent or not suitable to them..

Ok, these are given. How about those accidental things that might happen on the internet? Like clicking on a link or banner that might open an inappropriate website? You can teach your kids to be responsible (managing the pull factor) but we have to also try to protect them from push factors. And this is where OpenDNS comes to our ‘rescue’. Continue reading

Bitcoin Use Case: Reward System for Content Promotion

One of the advantages of Bitcoin is in micropayments. It’s very convenient to send small amount of funds to others at nearly zero cost. So much so that the funds that you are sending itself could be near to zero. The same couldn’t be done with other electronic payment systems, say; Paypal. Because the transaction fees for PayPal would be too high to run a profitable micropayment system.

Case Study: The Cointelegraph

The Cointelegraph has done an interesting reward system for its website. They have taken advantage of Bitcoin’s superiority in micropayments, combined it with Twitter’s capability to reach wider audience and came up with a reward system for its users to share their content on Twitter and get paid *tiny* amounts for each retweets.

btcretweet

With today’s price of Bitcoin, TC is basically paying you $0.000002 for every retweet your friends retweet your tweet. That means you tweet TC’s content on your twitter account, and if someone retweets that tweet of yours, you will get paid $0.000002. Continue reading

Book Review: How Google Works

howgoogleworksMy Rating: 6/10 How Google Works – Quite boring book to read to say the least. It’s written from 3rd person perspective too – referring to Eric Schmidt – “he did this and he did that..” which was kind of strange for me, since the book was supposedly written by Eric Schmidt himself (& Jonathan. Couldn’t they just write different chapters on their own?). It’s a very general book too, nothing special. It talks a lot about hiring “smart creatives”, so I think that could be the central theme of this book, everything else was just common sense stuff.

Smart creatives – are impatient, outspoken risk-takers who are easily bored and change jobs frequently. They are intellectually versatile, typically combining technical depth with business savvy and creative flair.

Physical Device Counters for your Social Accounts

This is, by far, one of the “nicest to have” (in other words – pretty useless) devices for your startup. It’s a physical device. Pretty portable. It can be connected to your Social Sites accounts and will display how many followers you have on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s a real-time counter too. This is what we call online-to-offline connection 🙂

device_counter

Setup is easy as well, it just needs power plug and wifi connection. Get yourself one at http://www.smiirl.com (not cheap).

Motivation, Ability & Attitude

All things being equal, from my observation success or failure of a startup boils down to three main characteristics of its staff: Motivation, Ability & Attitude. This of course, first and foremost applies to the founder, followed by his/her team that supports him/her behind.

  1. Motivation – is the founder motivated to make his startup-idea a success? Is this his own idea that he is passionate about? Or was he put in charge of this startup by someone else (board, investors..)?

    Level of motivation that a founder has for his startup-idea plays a major role in the success of his startup.

  2. Ability – is he capable, both as a leader and a manager? Does he have the expertise in the field that his startup is operating? How is his execution skills? Is he a doer? Does he have the required experience?

    Well-roundedness is the key characteristic of able people – people who get things done. They understand and appreciate the different complexities of running a company. From product development to HR to Operations etc. And they are able to navigate through the many challenges and still get the things done.

  3. Attitude – does he have the right attitude towards the idea, the startup, the way startups normally operate in a chaotic environment, agile methodology, continuous improvement, continuous customer feedback…? Or is he a 9am – 5pm, corporate type of guy?

    Having a right attitude will produce a right behavior and vice versa. (Definition of an attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.)

    It’s hard to change attitudes, and often times it’s impossible to change settled attitudes. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to have the right person as the founder from the beginning. Same goes to the hiring of team members. Most hiring managers tend to pay more attention to CV credentials than an attitude of a person, which I think is a big mistake.

Often times, people have different combination of these three. I hope that your founder has the highest scores in all three, namely; high motivation, strong ability and the right attitude in order to achieve a fully connected cycle to run your startup smoothly.

full_cycle

But realistically, it’s difficult to find an individual that has a fully connected cycle. And it’s more difficult to build a team that has the full-cycle as well.

disconnected_cycle

Conclusion

This is not some sort of management theory from MBA books. It’s just my personal observation throughout the years. Being both as an entrepreneur myself and an employee of startups and big corporation. I, now can see these three characteristics that are needed in the founder & the team to get a good idea turn into a successful startup.

What do you think?

Snapchat at a Glance

Snapchat is becoming more than just a messaging app between teenagers. It’s transforming itself into a powerful media communication platform not only between users, but also between brands and users.

What’s Snapchat? – Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend. They’ll view it, laugh, and then the Snap disappears from the screen – unless they take a screenshot!

Its LIVE feature has been quite popular recently generating a lot of buzz on the web. This is how you can access the LIVE section and see what’s going on in the world. 1) After you open the app, tap the burger menu 2) Choose one of the LIVE channels 3) And enjoy the videos in that particular LIVE channel.

snapchat_intro

Snapchat has also created a brand new opportunity for News channels like CNN to distribute their content to a new segment of users via their DISCOVER feature. And the way the content is designed and distributed is very unique to Snapchat, unlike the web or normal news apps. If you haven’t experienced it, you should really check it out.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Four Steps to the Epiphany

book_steveblank4stepsMy Rating: 9/10The Four Steps to the Epiphany – It’s a must read book for all Tech Entrepreneurs. Newer version of the book is called The Startup Owner’s Manual. Author of the book Steve Blank, was the lecturer of Eric Ries who popularized the Lean Startup book/movement. This book will teach you how not to build a company, and to avoid many pitfalls that early entrepreneurs normally do. It’s a highly recommended book that will change the way you approach building and growing startups.

Book Review: Don’t Make Me Think

book_stevekrugMy Rating: 10/10 Don’t Make Me Think – This was one of the first books that I read on usability, back in early 2000s. If you are into web usability and user experience (UX), this is a highly recommended book. It’s one of those foundation books that can set a solid base for someone who is foraying into the field of building usable user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for the web.

Newer 3rd Edition is now available, see details.

Incredibly Awesome Fun Toys for Kids

Plastimake

Plastimake is an easy-to-use plastic that you can dip in a hot water and mold it with your hands. It’s non-toxic, super-strong, reusable, lightweight and biodegradable. It’s a great way to have a family fun with your kids.

howto_plastimake

https://www.plastimake.com

Similar products: https://www.instamorph.comhttps://sugru.com

Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand is sand that breathes motion. It’s easy to clean, dust-free and never dries out. Playing with Kinetic Sand gives a moment of relaxation for your kids and it’s great for their fine motor, sensory and cognitive development. Continue reading

Book Review: The Lean Startup

the lean startupMy Rating: 9.6/10The Lean Startup – In his hugely popular book, Eric Ries basically expands on Steve Blank‘s “Customer Development Model“, a formula for building successful and sustainable products and businesses. The main idea of the book is about shortening the product development cycle by way of validated learning. It encourages building MVP (minimum viable product) version of the idea and then adding small iterations and improvements to the product. Each new iteration (i.e feature) has to be tested against the customers. So that, you are absolutely sure that the features you are adding to your products are actually useful to your customers.