Ridiculous, Kid-safe Network Setup Attempts

I just finished setting up my home network (again) and thought to document what I did, why, and what needs to be fixed.  It might help someone else who’s kids are fiendishly clever about avoiding safe network endeavors.

My Perfect System

What I really want is a kind of proxy server that manages all our inbound/outbound network traffic and enforces schedules per user, per traffic-type (netflix vs web, etc), and can require a password for some users to access specific kinds of sites.  Parents either don’t need, or else know the password, kids don’t, voila.  But I don’t have a computer running 24/7 to work as a proxy for my network, and don’t want to learn a system like squid to set it up if I did.  Oh, and I want it to be free, and easy to manage.

So I’ve tried other things…

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Netgear WNDR3700v3 Firmware problem –

When firmware version was announced for my WNDR3700 router (v3), I waited a week to see what I could find online about its changes… then got impatient and installed it.

Since then, my router has routinely kept dropping internet connectivity for any wireless device.  Wired connections work fine even while wifi connected devices do not.  My wifi devices had excellent signal connectivity, but no access to the internet – this affected both 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands.  The router itself does not list any log entries for problems.  There were no access restrictions, dns server problems, etc… I tested everything I could think of.

For a short-term fix I could disconnect/reconnect the wifi device, or reboot the router (which does the same thing), and I’d get back on the internet for a while.

I finally got sick of it and re-flashed a previous firmware version and the problem has gone away.

I was considering just putting dd-wrt on the device instead, but it seems that v3 of this router doesn’t have terribly wide support for alternative firmwares.

Anyway.  If you’re having this problem, now you know how to “fix” it.

If I were getting a new router (which I also considered) it would not be another Netgear without having done some serious research on it first.


Podcasts with embedded URLs?

This is an old topic, but I subscribed to a couple new podcasts the other day and it came to mind again.

I don’t understand why podcasts don’t have embedded URLs.

MP3’s have a header section where you can store all kinds of data that is never played.  It’s where ID3 tags are stored that store artist, song, album and album art info.  Seems rather straightforward to build an XML structure in it such as:

     <link from="0:30" to="1:30" url="http://www.broome.us" />
     <link from="1:30" to="2:14" url="http://www.apple.com" />

It declares that from the 30-second mark to the 1 minute, 30 second mark of playtime, the url “http://www.broome.us” should be reachable by some user-click on a button presented in the podcast player UI.  And then from 1 minute, 30 seconds until 2 minutes, 14 seconds, the url reachable should be http://www.apple.com.

This would require an obvious “button” item to be made available in player software when such a linklist is available, but opens some interesting opportunities for podcasts to reach further than audio.  The links can be used for

  • More information on this topic – view the graph, demo, full article, etc.
  • Contact the speaker about this topic
  • FB “Like” this topic
  • Bookmark this info to view/listen to later via a service like Pocket, InstaPaper, etc.

This is, of course, simplistic.  It could be expanded to contain full html, even – such that the podcast itself could embed within it information to be displayed (text/images, etc) in the player at certain parts of the audio… but I’ve kept it simple to start.

I can’t figure out why this hasn’t been built in from the start – but I never see it anywhere.