Archives September 2017

A Simple Way To Protect Your Kids Online

Domain Name Servers or DNS for short is the Internet’s way to translation computer addresses to easy to remember names. For example if you had to type in 31.13.65.36 every time you wanted to view Facebook it would be a huge hassle.

In order for your computer to know what server address to connect a domain like Facebook.com to, there are servers that your computer connects to to get this information. These are called DNS servers and the most common provider of them is your Internet service provider. There are additional companies that provide this service but add a layer of protection by filtering out sites that are not family friendly.

You can make some simple changes to how your router is configured to take advantage of these services, there is no charge for them and it can be changed back very easily if you don’t want to continue to use them. One of these providers is a company called OpenDNS and you can find information on how to use their services here:

https://www.opendns.com/setupguide/?url=familyshield


The Skinny On Portable Hard Drives

These portable USB drives come in lots of flavors and sizes. Some use a desktop sized 3.5″ drive other use a laptop sized 2.5″ drive. There are now even versions that use a solid state drive. I want to talk about a few of the points on these drives to help folks understand what they are getting.

  • Many of the smaller 2.5″ drives use a controller card that is part of the hard drive itself. This can be problematic if the drive has a problem, as you cannot remove it and install it in another machine to try and recover the data. If you are using one of these drives for data portability the small ones are fine – if you want something for data backup I would suggest the larger 3.5″ drives that have a separate USB interface card from the controller card that is on the hard drive itself.
  • SSD or solid state drives are beneficial in that they have no moving parts, but are much harder to recover data from. So if you are using a drive to make your data portable – then an SSD would work. If you want it for data backup then I would use a conventional drive.
  • If the drive you chose is purely for data backup I would avoid using any encryption on it. If for some reason that drive has a problem it will be difficult if not impossible to recover the data. Furthermore – try to handle a data backup drive as little as possible, especially when running as it will minimize chances of a problem.
  • Just like any hard drive the advertised data capacity of a drive will be less once its formatted. For example a 4TB drive will end up giving you about 3.8 TB of storage space.
  • You can make your own setup by buying a bare drive and then putting it in an enclosure. This route can be a little more expensive that a prepacked combo deal. I good idea when upgrading a laptop drive is to take the old drive out of the computer and use it as an external portable drive. Most cases can be had for under $20.
  • Stick with name brands when buying drives, I recommend Seagate and Western Digital.
  • Finally remember that no drive is fail proof. If you are using these drives as a backup, make sure that you have the data replicated elsewhere.