All posts by Tony

Hello! I’m Tony. I’m a Husband, Father, Friend, Blogger, Country Radio DJ, and proud Dance Dad. Faith, Family, and Technology…this is what matters to me and it’s what I write about here.

Protect Your Phone

If you have a smartphone you need to be smart and keep it protected. That’s why you should always use a lock on it in order to prevent unauthorized access.

For the first several years as a smartphone owner I never used a lock. Mostly this was out of laziness.  I didn’t want to bother entering a code every time I wanted into my phone.  Once I started using one I realized that it really isn’t much of an annoyance and as they say I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Think about how much information your phone holds and the damage that could be done if it got into the wrong hands.  There’s all your contacts and pictures.  There could also be information about where you live and work.   Perhaps you have financial information or do mobile banking.  Then there’s also direct access to all your social media accounts.

I prefer a 4 digit pin lock.  It’s easy to quickly punch in the numbers and get right into your phone.    I’ve taken phone security up a notch by also having it take a picture with the front facing camera after a third failed pin attempt.  That picture is then uploaded to my Dropbox account.  If anyone steals my phone or tries to get in without my permission I’ll have a clear picture of who they are.

Android Pin Lock

There is a cool Android app I use to make it so I don’t have to use a password when I’m at home where my phone is safe.  It’s called SkipLock.  It makes it so the lock is disabled when connected to my home wifi.

If you aren’t using a lock of some kind on your phone I urge you to try one out for a few days.  I think you’ll soon realize that it isn’t that much of a hassle.

Do you use some sort of lock on your phone?  Why… or why not?

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A Random Act Of Kindness

This week I was the recipient of a random act of kindness.  I wasn’t feeling well so I stayed home from work.  That right there should tell you how sick I was.  In my nearly 21 year adult work history I’ve probably taken less than 10 sick days.

I got an appointment with a doctor I’d never seen before.  I didn’t care.  I just wanted to feel better.  She was a very nice doctor.  She took her time and didn’t make me feel rushed like she just wanted to get to the next patient.

Throughout the exam she made small talk about family and kids. Somehow it came up that we were thinking about taking a quick day trip to the Mall of America.  She said her family had recently been there and had a blast.  The exam was over and she said a nurse would be back to give me a work release and a prescription.

A minute later the doctor came back and handed me a ticket for the rides at the Mall of America.  She said there was about $15 credit on it and her family wouldn’t be going back before it expired so she wanted my girls to use it.

How cool is that?  What a nice gesture!  Even though I was running a fever that random act of kindness made me feel a little bit better.

This experience has got me thinking about what I have that I’ll never use that I could give to someone else.

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness?  Ever taken part in one yourself?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about it.

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Who Do You Blame?

It came out this week that Google is facing a class action lawsuit by parents who claim their children were unfairly targeted and tempted to make in-app game purchases.

The one named plaintiff in the suit is Ilana Imber-Gluck, a New York mother, whose 5 year-old kid ran up $68.95 in charges in a game called Marvel Run Jump Smash.

At issue is Google’s current app/in-app password protection.  If you enter your password to buy an app or in-app currency you don’t need to enter it again for 30 minutes.  That is apparently how this kid was able to spend almost $70 in a matter of minutes.

While I agree that Google should update their password policy I think the blame in all of this rests on the shoulders of the mother.

New Google Play Store Password Selections

(UPDATE: Google has recently rolled out an update to the Play Store.  You now have the option to always be prompted to use a password for purchases.)

The game she downloaded for her 5 year-old kid has a content rating of “medium maturity”.  So what does that mean?  According to Google’s Android Developer Support Page these are the qualifications for a “medium maturity” app:

Apps that include references to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

Apps that include gambling themes or simulated gambling.

Apps that include inflammatory content.

Apps that include profanity or crude humor.

Apps that include sexual or suggestive references.

Apps that include mild cartoon or fictional violence.

Apps that include realistic or intense fictional violence.

If an app meets any of these criteria a developer must rate it “medium maturity”.  She downloaded this app for a 5 year-old.  I haven’t played the game in question but I can tell you if either of my daughters asked if they could download the game I would tell them no based on the content rating.

In case you missed it… my kids need to ask for permission before each and every app download.   They don’t know the passwords.  I read the description.  I read the reviews.  I look at how the app is rated.  If it checks out I’ll download it for them.  If it doesn’t, sorry, you’ll have to find another game.

Too often technology is the babysitter and I’m guessing that’s the case here.   I don’t mean to point fingers.  I’ve been guilty of it too but if I were that parent I’d take the $70 hit and have a discussion with my kid.

I also blame the lawyer in this.  There are too many frivolous lawsuits these days and I think this is one of them.

Let this serve as a reminder to parents who let their kids play on their phone or tablet.  Make sure you know the password policy of the app store you use and make sure you’re paying attention to the apps/games your kids are using.

So, who do you blame? The kid, the mom, or the lawyers?

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