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2009 Maryland Home and Garden Show, Friday Saturday and Sunday

March 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Garden Flowers

The 2009 Maryland Home and Garden Show is going on right now at Timonium fairgrounds. The theme this year is “The Joy of Color”. The show this year runs for the following dates: March 6th through March 8th and again the next weekend March 13th through March 15th. There is the Maryland Spring Craft show that runs simultaneously. The show opens at 10am each day and closes at 9pm on Friday and Saturdays and at 6pm on Sundays. The craft show closes an hour earlier than the garden show. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-12, free for children under 6. Free Admission for Active Military, Police & Fire Employees with ID. Pizza Hut has some $1 off coupons.

Hhere is a link to a dollar off coupon: http://www.mdhomeandgarden.com/0_HG/01_HG_coupon.html

Here is the link to the show: http://www.mdhomeandgarden.com/0_HG/01_HG_show_info.html

I always enjoy a visit there, you can usually pick up some interesting primrose pots and some forsythia and pussy willow branches to force and bring spring inside a little early. I still have some Quick n Brite cleaners from a couple of years ago, it’s good stuff, and the home and garden show seems to be the only place to find the kind of mops with the rubber head, great for dust bunnies.

Photo credit, Brian Snelson.

Three free tools for parents peace of mind

February 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Child SafetyDo your children use the Internet?

  • Do you worry about what they will find there?
  • Do you worry about everything getting messed up on your computer?
  • Do you think you should be keeping better track of what they use the Internet for?
  • Do your children find the browser confusing?

Here are three free tools that can be used together, or just pick and choose the ones you like. These tools solve different problems, but they all relate to improving the Internet experience for children. This website is not focused on technical how to instructions, but the HelpShop.com tools are intended to empower our clients, and a safe Internet contributes to that goal. So, I will just describe a bit about what these tools are, and link to other places where you can get more information.

  1. OpenDNS.com
    • Google.com, Yahoo.com, and HelpShop.com are domain names. They are people friendly names that tell your browser how to find the webpages you are expecting. Each time you type HelpShop.com into your browser address bar, a central directory is asked for the computer address which is like the zip code + 4 but for computers instead of homes. That central directory is called the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS system doesn’t know what content you are looking for, it just sends you robotically to the destination. If you have a misspelling or typo in the address, or you are clicking on a link in an email, you have a good chance of finding yourself in the seedier section of the Internet. OpenDNS.com was created as a middleman that tries to correct those misspellings or refuse your request and block your destination when that destination is some place you want to avoid. You can avoid phishing attacks which are mimick websites designed to look like trusted banks and similar sites so as to steel your bank and identity information. And, you can avoid the sites you don’t want your children finding on the Internet. There is a lot of power in this tool. Go to OpenDNS.com and find out more. Also How-To Geek has a tutorial that you may find useful.
  2. Surf Knight
    • Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, etc. They are the browsers that you use to read the web. In many ways they have gotten more complicated over time, as the power of the Internet has grown. The experience for kids has not always improved. Surf Knight (Windows only) aims to be a browser just for kids. I quote: “Surf Knight is a web browser specially designed for kids! It includes a friendly design and parental controls that will empower the younger users with the latest technology, as well as protecting them from undesired content and malicious software.” You can read a review over at Mom’s Daily. You can go to SurfKnight.com to download the software free of charge.
  3. Microsoft SteadyState
    • Once you have your windows computer set up the way you want, you don’t have to dread that your child will wreak havoc and at best confuse your settings. You don’t have to, if you use the free software SteadyState from Microsoft. You can prevent or undo changes. Even the contents of your hard drive are safe. LifeHacker has a tutorial. Go to Microsoft to download the software.

Let us know if these tools helped you, or what tools you like to use, in the comments or feedback.