X3 Watch – WHS 11

Today on The Wired Homeschool I provide you with a feature review of X3 Watch and compare it with Covenant Eyes. While this is not a feature-to-feature comparison I think it will provide you with enough information to decide which product would be best for you to use.

I also reiterate why you should be using an accountability product and the importance of using it with a content filter.

Full disclosure: I’m a Covenant Eyes affiliate and receive payment if you purchase Covenant Eyes using my promotional code embedded in the links. I did not, however, receive any payment for the production of this podcast.

What is X3 Watch?

X3watch is an accountability software program helping with online integrity. Whenever you browse the Internet and access a site, which may contain questionable material, the program will record the site name, time, and date the site was visited. A person of your choice (an accountability partner) will receive an email containing all possible questionable sites you may have visited within the month. This information is meant to encourage open and honest conversation between friends and help us all be more accountable. Source–http://x3watch.com

X3 Watch Free Features

  • Email accountability reports every 2 or 4 weeks
  • Up to 2 accountability partners
  • Single user account
  • Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X

X3 Watch Pro Features

  • Email accountability reports every 1 or 2 weeks
  • Up to 3 accountability partners
  • Multiple user accounts
  • Technical Support
  • Windows XP/Vista/7

Mobile Versions
X3 Watch is also available on the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch for $0.99 and in the Android Marketplace for $6.99. Unlike the iVersions of X3 Watch, the Android version actually runs in the background and monitors all Internet activity on your Android device just like the desktop version. The iPhone version requires you to disable Safari before using X3 Watch.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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Covenant Eyes – WHS 10

On this week’s episode of The Wired Homeschool, I’ll discuss some of the features ofCovenant Eyes and why I only use the monitoring and accountability features of it rather than the content filter.

Full disclosure: I’m a Covenant Eyes affiliate and receive payment if you purchase Covenant Eyes using my promotional code embedded in the links. I did not, however, receive any payment for the production of this podcast.

This episode is not a full feature review of Covenant Eyes. I only use the monitoring and accountability features for reasons I will explain.

Key features:

Provides always-on monitoring of all Internet activity.
Stays out of the way, no annoying pop-ups.
Hotspot access for use when traveling.
Scores pages rather than blocks them so you can teach your children to make wise decisions.
Works great in tandem with OpenDNS FamilyShield
Optional filtering available if you wish to block high-scoring sites.

Pricing for Covenant Eyes’ services:

Accountability:
$9.99/mo. for the first username
$2/mo. for each additional username
Add Filtering to a username or a Filter-only username to your account for just $1.50/mo. (You save $3.49/mo.)
Choose an annual subscription and save $10.89 on the first Accountability username (with or without Filtering).

Filtering:
$5.99/mo. for the first Filter-only username
$1.50/mo. for each additional Filter username
Note: filtering is currently only available with Windows operating systems.

You can find other blog posts and podcasts where I’ve mentioned Covenant Eyes by searching the blog.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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Not Much Feedback – WHS 9

I think I have a bad connection

This week’s podcast was supposed to be a feedback episode but I didn’t receive any. Instead, I decided to cover a few tech news items that I thought would be interesting to homeschoolers. Links are below:

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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Internet Filtering and Accountability – WHS 8

Internet filtering and accountability software are some of the greatest weapons in the homeschoolers arsenal in fighting against the onslaught of objectionable content that sometimes seems to seek out your family and can ruin your homeschooling experience.

Why is this important?

In this episode of The Wired Homeschool I discuss why a homeschooling family should use filtering and accountability tools and what I feel is the best combination of tools to protect your family from undesirable and accidental exposure to objectionable content.

There aren’t going to be a lot of notes for this episode. I was speaking freely and felt it was necessary to convey my feeling naturally rather than script out my passion for this topic. Here are the products and/or websites I mentioned in the podcast:

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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Basic PC Maintenance (Hardware) – WHS 7

PC maintenance is essential for making sure you have a smooth-running computer. Today on The Wired Homeschool I discuss the necessary hardware maintenance that everyone should be doing to keep their computer healthy.

Please note: before cleaning any part of your computer you should make sure it is turned off and unplugged.

Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard and mouse are the two components that you touch the most. Each of these items get a lot of grime and gunk from your hands and the environment.

The first thing you want to do with your keyboard is shake it out every two or three weeks. This dislodge dust, staples, food, and anything else that accumulates inside your keyboard. You may also want to use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner and pass it over the keyboard a few times.

Never wash your keyboard in the dishwasher! There are a lot of stories and anecdotes on the Internet about people washing their keyboards in the dishwasher but this could potentially ruin it.

The mouse doesn’t require as much maintenance as in the past. Older mice have a ball and rollers inside them that needs to be cleaned every once in a while. Now all you need to do is keep the optical sensor clear of dust and dirt.

Monitor

The monitor is the window to your computing world and you’ll want a clear view of the technical landscape as you sit at your desk. Please note: you should never use glass cleaner or any cleaner with ammonia in it to clean your monitor. These cleaners will strip the anti-glare coating from your monitor over time and make it very difficult to view.

Instead you can use a lint-free cloth or paper towel moistened with water to remove fingerprints and dust from the monitor. That’s really all you need. If you have an stubborn fingerprints on your monitor use a cleaner designed for LCD monitors or HD TVs.

Never spray any water or chemical directly on your monitor. You should always apply the cleaner to your cloth before wiping the monitor.

If you have an old CRT monitor you should never stack anything on top of it. This blocks the ventilation slots and can cause your monitor to overheat. LCD monitors have ventilation slots too so make sure those are clear of dust bunnies.

Printer

Printers can get pretty nasty. Laser printers can accumulate toner inside of them, especially if you’re using cheap or refilled toner cartridges (which I highly discourage you from using). Get out the vacuum and gently clean out the inside. Make sure you put your toner cartridge in a box to prevent the light from damaging the imaging drum.

Ink jet printers sometimes need the print heads cleaned. Most printers have the ports built-in to the cartridge itself and don’t require any maintenance other than running the cartridge cleaning utility. If you do have separate inkjet ports you can usually soak them in alcohol or ammonia.

PC Case

Your PC’s case is the most important thing that needs to be kept clean. Dust acts as a insulator and can cook the components inside your computer. You want to be very careful cleaning inside your PC. If you’re uncomfortable with this part. Ask a friend who is a techie to help you.

You’ll want to vacuum out the fans and any ventilation slots. Get that dust out! Be gentle and careful vacuuming the motherboard. You may even want to get an attachment specifically designed for use on a computer for this, possibly even a vacuum cleaner designed for computers.

I do not recommend using compressed air inside your computer’s case. It can shove dust under the components. If you have some fans that vacuuming couldn’t clean, remove them from the case and use the compressed air outside and away from the computer. If you must use compressed air, turn the computer so that any dislodged dust falls out of the computer.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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