Yes it happened. My 6 yr old spent $450 on apps by mistake. Well not really by mistake, he just didn’t know he was actually buying them. Considering I teach people how to protect themselves and their children while online, this was quite embarrassing.
How it happened: My wife went to buy an app for him and accidentally turned off parental controls (this is what we think happened).
What he did: He bought several apps as well as in game add ons, like fake money, that could be used for in game purchases. There were several $100 charges for in game cash.
How I found out: Google emailed me thanking me for my purchase and then paypal contacted me telling me there was unusual activity
How did I solve the problem:
1. I checked the tablet and turned parental controls back on (they were off)
2. I contacted google who refunded all of the money within minutes
What did we do to my son: We used this as a learning experience for all of them (I have 3 kids). He was 6 so didn’t quite get what he was doing. My 8 yr old would of known full well what he was doing. So we spent some time going through all of the rules (though we have done this many times)
Here is a video where I explain the whole situation in more detail:
Meetings drive me nuts! Why? Because 90% of the time (made up stat) they are a waste of my time. The information could of been sent in an email that would of taken me 5 minutes to read. That is not to say meetings are bad, there are many times they are needed and the best course of action. As a result, I have put together 7 different tips to run a better, effective, faster, efficient, meeting.
Basic tip that nearly everyone does but make sure you always have one.
2. Time each item
This helps your meeting run on time. Do not spend time on 1 of 5 items. Move on! Especially if that one item only affects 1 of 10 people at the meeting.
Just having an agenda and time will help you facilitate. Make sure everyone can be heard not just the one person that keeps asking questions to take you off topic.
4. No recurring meeting
Have meetings when you actually need to have a meeting. Otherwise its a waste of time.
5. Don’t have a meeting to plan more meetings
Use a calendar. Don’t have a meeting to schedule more.
6. Use email
Have a meeting when you need to have a meeting. Use email or talk 1 on 1 when you can.
7. Stand up
Get rid of chairs. This ensures people will make the meeting fast. This gets rid of those all day meetings that waste everyone’s time. Yea maybe its extreme but I love the idea!
Here is my video which goes into more depth for each tip:
This is a video I have been meaning to create for a very long time. I love games! I have been playing video games since I was 3 yrs old when my dad brought home and Atart 2600 and Magnavox Odyssey 2. I still to this day am not sure why he got a 3 yr old a video game system, let alone 2 of them, but they started me on a long journey. So making this video felt like I was reliving a part of my past to the present day. It was a lot of fun to see it. After the atari/magnavox I upgraded to the turbographix, NES, and sega genesis. All 3 were a blast but nintendo was a clear winner for me with mario, zelda, and many others. Here are all of the systems I owned to present day. The video goes into the actual history but this is mine: Atari 2600, Magnavox Odyssey 2, NES, Sega Master System, Turbographix 16, SNES, Gameboy, N64, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox 360, GameboyAdvance SP, Gameboy DS, Nintendo Wii, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch. This doesn’t include all of the Computers, both Mac and PCs I’ve had and game with! I hope you enjoy:
One question I am consistently asked over and over again on my youtube channel is ‘How did you make this?’. The easy answer – I recorded a video of my screen and myself at the same time! The hard answer – I used specialized software to record my screen, a video camera to record myself, a microphone to record the sound, a green screen in the background, specialized lighting, and then video editing software to edit the video and finally publish it.
So as you can see, streaming and recording a video takes a lot of work. It involves specialized software and hardware. It takes a lot of time. But its fun. I love it. If it wasn’t a passion of mine I would not be doing it.
To learn about the software and how to get set up check out the following video which goes through the entire process:
Here are links to the hardware I recommend for streaming:
My son, 8 yrs old, is begging to play this game (fortnite). Apparently he is the only kid in his class that is not allowed to play it, which is ironic considering I am probably the only parent in the class that plays it! Having said that, he will finally be allowed this Oct when he turns 9. I believe he is finally ready. But no way is my 6 yr old allowed. He is not ready. He is not mature enough.
My biggest suggestion to parents – please monitor each game your child wants to play. Here is my 5 point plan for monitoring a specific game:
Ask your child if its appropriate
Google the game and check out some reviews
Look at the game website and/or app store to read the description
Check out the game rating
Play the game yourself
Honestly, I can do all of this in 20-30 minutes. Yes it takes up my time but its well worth it. I have to block about 20% of games that my son asks to play. I enjoy games so I don’t mind learning about them. Plus I can talk to him about the game and see what it is about it that interests him. Check out the following video where I discuss Fortnite and how it is/is not appropriate for kids:
This is a topic I have had a lot of interest in lately. Text to speech is not really a new technology (I used it in the 80s) but its gotten significantly better. Additionally, people want to use it for professional products (ie elearning). Narration is an expensive cost in an elearning product so a good voice could help to really save a lot of money. So is it good? Well, at this point its OK. There is some software out there that really isn’t terrible and some that hasn’t improved since 1985. Overall I am excited to keep trying it out and see if it gets better over the next few years. Here are a few videos I have created which go through some of the current software on the market today. You can be the judge and jury: Would you use it?
This post is for all undergrad and graduate students for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 school year:
I have had several students ask me about buying a new computer and figured I would post to the group…
When I get a new computer I do one of two things…1) I get one that will last me 2 years or 2) one that will last me 4 years. Obviously the 4 yr one is much more expensive.
So my recommendations…
1. Get a student discount. All of the companies offer them. Now is a great time to get back to school deals (for instance they may throw in an ipad). Be sure to check out the main companies, Dell, ASUS, Apple, etc.
2. Get a minimum of 12GB of Ram. Ram matters. This is the first thing I choose to upgrade on a machine. If you are in a tech field (computer science, instructional technology, video editing, etc) I would really recommend as close to 32GB as you can get.
3. For the normal user, I don’t think you need to upgrade anything else unless you feel inclined to spend more money. Ram is the first thing I upgrade, video card 2nd, processor 3rd. In that order. I don’t worry about hard drive space at all as I use the cloud to store my files. I don’t worry about other features either except for making sure they have enough ports such as an HDMI port. If you are going to major in a tech related field, I would strongly recommend you upgrade the RAM, video card, and then processor.
5. I would get a PC over a Mac. Macs are great and work really well but there are some issues I run into with them in my courses. Either will work though! Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine. Again, Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine.
6. As far as brands, they are all fine for the most part. I prefer Alienware and Dell since that is what I have used over the last few years. I currently have an alienware R17 with max upgrades. I like alienware because they already come with upgraded video cards that you won’t even have an option for with a standard machine. A lot of them are VR Ready. In fact, the only machine in the college of education that runs VR is mine. None of the others will do it. But any brand will be ok as long as you (see #7)
7. Get a warranty. Get a warranty for as long as you want to keep the machine. Its worth it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have went through. I have had Macs die. I have had PC die. Many times. Just get the warranty. I think I have a 4 yr warranty on my current machine.
8. Price – Based on the specs I have provided, you can easily find a low end machine for $550. I don’t think you can find a 12GB ram machine for cheaper. I would recommend you spend $700-$1000 if you want this machine to last 4 years. Obviously, if you are going into a tech major you are going to spend more.
9. Size – This is all preference. Please go to a store and try a few different sizes. Common sizes are 13, 15, and 17 inches. I prefer 17 but some thing that is too big. My wife for example, prefers 13, which I think it too small.
If you have other questions, please feel free to ask. – Dr. Pastore
My 2019 Annual Security recommendations. These are recommendations I think you should follow to help keep your data and privacy safe online.
Browser: Firefox – Its open source and is the backbone of tor for a reason. I much prefer firefox to any other browser. Chrome is a close second but I do not like that its not open source. I only use Firefox for email and sites where I login otherwise, I use the next site listed as most secure for all of my searching, research, googling, etc. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/
Most secure browser: Tor. Tor is designed for those times when you don’t want anyone to see what you are doing. TOR blocks your ISP, the government, etc —humblerise.com. from seeing what you are doing online. It keep everything you are searching very secure. Researchers, journalists, the government, and criminals all use tor when they want their tracks to be private. The bad thing about Tor is that its slow because its rerouting your data and some functions on various websites won’t work. https://www.torproject.org
Mobile Browser – Firefox and Firefox Focus are my preferred go to browsers. I mostly use firefox focus 99% of the time. Focus is really fast and simple. If you want more privacy, there are various tor browsers for the web https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/focus
Security add on for your browser/Adblock – uBlock – works for firefox and chrome and keeps away ads and other nonsense. This helps many pages load faster too. It will also prevent youtube ads. This is my goto addon when I install a new browser. https://www.ublock.org/
VPN – Cyberghost and others like NordVPN. If you are using a program like Kodi to watch TV/Movies you better be using a VPN. I used to solely recommend cyberghost because they were the cheapest quality VPN but now many others have dropped prices and offers sales/discounts. Its so much about which company but rather that you have one. When you use a VPN you entire computer is hidden from your ISP vs tor which just hides the tor browser. A VPN is a must when using public wifi like at a hotel or starbucks. https://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en_US/
Email: Protonmail – Anonymous email. Doesn’t track you. Keep your data/emails private and safe. https://protonmail.com/
Malware/adware – Malwarebytes – its free and very powerful. I use this every few weeks to check my machine. I recommend using this whenever your computer is acting slow/funky. Please consider buying the full version to support them. https://www.malwarebytes.com/
Antivirus – Honestly, windows defender that comes on your machine is probably good enough. Its all I personally use. Now on my wife’s machine I use Avira – Its free! She tends to need extra security! https://www.avira.com/
Firewall – I don’t use a firewall anymore now that windows defender does the job for me. But if I were to need the extra protection, I would use Zonealarm. A firewall is designed to stop all traffic you don’t approve to and from the internet – https://www.zonealarm.com/software/free-firewall/
What is the average salary of an instructional designer, trainer, elearning, edtech? What about hourly rates? How much money do Instructional Designers make? What is the salary with no work experience? What is the highest salary?