Archive for May, 2010

In a house that has 6 computers (so far), I’m asked all the time what do I use to control internet junk like porn, spyware on kids computer and more.

On the internet side there is a free system that I use is called openDNS. This system inserts itself into your network by pointing all internet request to their systems which then provide you the ability to block by category, sites and many many more other functions.

They have a couple of range of services from free all the way to premium for a very low yearly price.

How it works?

Not getting to much into details, when you have a home network all devices need to go out a router, in this case many of us have a “Linksys”,”D-link”,”Belken etc”,  and any other device which allows you to ‘share’  the internet (Cable modem, DSL etc.) connection wirelessly of via physical cable.

One of the task of this device is to provide DNS (Domain Name Services) so each time you type in a address like ‘http://www.google.com’ the DNS (Domain name service) converts the name into the IP Address (example: 12.54.34.35 the browser understands and off it goes!    So with some minor configuration you can point your network DNS server to theirs and your set, you are now blocking your whole home from one location, no need to install individual programs on each computer. 🙂

Note: Unless you are obsessed with ‘one’ more company knowing your IP address don’t read on.  Since they will automatically tie your IP to your profile.

Once you setup your account, you can manage which sites to allow and which ones to always block, by level and more.
Btw: I’ve had this service for the last 3 years.

Below is a list of the types of modems/routers available and how to set them up.

Here is a quick way that I reuse some of my lighting equipment depending on the season using individual components.   For example right now unless you order via the internet you can not find a good purple spot light.  And what I’ve experienced here in our FL weather many times your spot spike can rust and your investment is gone.

Also many of the spots are 100Watts which are real energy suckers and not to mention can get very hot.
So doing some searching and testing here is what I do.

Using a standard spike spot and cheap Daylight CFL bulbs, covered by a aluminum reflector and top it off with a colored lens. 🙂  Simple right?

Disclaimer: I am not a electrician and I only provide this info for entertainment, anything you do is at your own risk.

Here is the list
Light spike, Home Depot, and Lowe’s  and anywhere during holiday season  – $5-7
PAR 38 Spot aluminum reflector http://www.1000bulbs.com/Aluminum-Reflector-Options/31285/ $4.25 each  *
1 PAR 36 Lens Cover you can get these at Amazon.com-  $1.95
1 G/E Daylight 14 Watt bulb – (Walmart) 2 x $5  (Needs to be daylight not cool, bright or any other will not show the true color of the color lens)

Optional:
Green Spray Paint.  To cover the outside of the reflector to hide its appearance.

* Note:You may spend a little up front for shipping ($5-7) but once you have your items you can reuse them over and over.  Only part which may need replacing would be the bulb
or the spike which you can find at any hardware store.
* Also the size o the  aluminum reflector that fits perfect is the one shown above, the site has many others but many dont fit (Trust me)
* Due to the size of the CFL’s, when building you may need to put lens last.


Pros:
Very low power usage when using CFL’s.  For one traditional 100 Watts bulb you can use 6 of these spots. A++
Doesnt get very hot A++
Interchangeable parts, bulb goes out, swap the bulb and your set.  The spike/reflector/lens you can use over and over.
You‘ control the intensity adding the desired wattage bulbs.  If you lights are computer controlled you can even control dimmable CFL’s.

Cons:
For me only one really, No really designed for outdoor use, I used clear shipping tape to secure the top lens and has worked fine so far from water getting in, of course I don’t turn on any decorations or lights if its raining.

Do a search for the following items in Amazon and pick your colors!

PAR 36 Red Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Yellow Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Amber Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Purple Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Blue Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Light Green Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Dark Green Plastic Lens

Here are some pics of the finished setup

Finished product with the outside of the reflector painted green.

Blue – Always perfect for Halloween cemetery

Yellow


RED


PURPLE


AMBER (Mix between Yellow and Orange another Halloween favorite)

Sorry forgot to take the pic of the Green one… 😦  Enjoy!

Just thought I’d post this little tidbit.  When using Flash/action script to call the infamous ‘Loadvariables’ functions I have found that some browsers like IE like to grab cached results, for some reason it worked fine in Firefox but if you try to embedded IE in your programs you will run into the same problems.

In my case I call the same function and the server side takes care of the action.  And if your like me you may be calling the same page more than once quickly.  This issue got me for days, and worked on some computers and other didn’t.

So when calling your pages just add a fictional variable not used by your pages, I called my cache_buster and add ‘date’ and ‘time’  to get a 8-15 character number that should be unique, tricking the browser you are looking for a unique page and not grab from cache

loadVariables("http://192.168.0.2:85/finddata.aspx?show_all_configs=1&cache_buster="+new Date().getTime(), this);

Here is a quick breakdown of a  Insteon TriggerLinc I use for notifying me upon mail arrival using a external ‘normally open’ contact.

Components needed;

Insteon TriggerLinc goes for $34
Normal Open contact (These come in all shapes and sizes) i chose a minuature one which I spray panted black to match the color of the box.
Here is a link to a few, they run for around $2-3.   See here
Small screwdriver.
Double sided tape
Can of spray paint.

And finally the insteon device you wish to link it to (In my case I linked it to my PLM so I can then act accordingly such as notify via flash lights, email, etc.)
You really dont need a fancy Pc system for notification since you can attach this to any insteon device using the tap/tap method if you like but be aware the light will go off when it closes.  But you do need a access point to capture the signal.  In my case the closest access point is a good 100 feet!!!

As seen in the picture, The TriggerLinc comes with its own contact/magnet but you have the limitation that you need to have the base unit near by.  Good news is that the device allows you to attach external contacts like I did here.  The box opens very easily.

You can see the wires coming out from the bottom right hand side. (No special order needed)
Note: I used a rechargeable ‘Solar’ battery which hasn’t failed me yet. You can find this
at places like Home Depot under lighting section.  They run for around $7 for 4 double ‘A”s.

First I spray painted the contact to match the color of the mailbox (Flat Black)

Finished product.  🙂

Connected and ready to go. (I used double side ‘3M-picture frame’  tape which you can find at any
Walgreens or Homedepot store)

For my mailbox the device sits comfortably underneath but you can also use Velcro to hid the device if needed.

The cables I pass thru one of the small holes on the left hand side. I used glue to tape secure the cables on the side of the mailbox
then another quick spray of black paint.  🙂

Finished product.

What you will get on your side will be the traditional ON/OFF insteon commands.
In my case I have a notification sent to a PC console as well as emails sent to myself.