Jan 01 2017

Don’t Let Kids Eat Lithium Batteries

It may sound obvious but apparently the website Hackaday received a press release about kids eating coin cell batteries, which are made with lithium. Eating said batteries is extremely dangerous. The message is “Don’t let kids eat lithium batteries.” That’s todays DaddyTip.

At first I said “duh”. But then I looked at the little batts. They are EXACTLY the kind of thing a kid might pop into their mouth. Round, small, easy to swallow… frankly, if you’re a little kid and don’t know better, they could easily be mistaken for candy. Now, hopefully you teach your children not to put stuff in their mouths, and/or you keep an eye on them to make sure this doesn’t happen. Still, it’s always good to be reminded.

I do NOT recommend that you show your kids this video, a Canadian PSA about “eating things that don’t belong inside you.” Ah, Canada.

As with most things, the key is to talk to your children and when they are little, and keep an eye on ’em. Better yet, keep the batteries out of reach. Like, don’t leave a box of coin cell batteries next to a dish of candy. There’s the tip.

Happy new year!

Source: PSA: Don’t Let Kids Eat Lithium Batteries | Hackaday


Aug 09 2016

Small Desk Space Tip

Here’s a tip from Lifehacker for those of us with limited desk space.

Also features numerous links to other specific things to do with certain types of desks, and specific ideas, which is always appreciated. Rather than reblog the text from their site, I’ll let you go check it out for yourself.

My computer with desk

My computer with desk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Lifehacker, My workspace isn’t the most spacious or open. In fact, it’s downright small and clutter-prone. Do you have any tips for making the most of what little desk space I have—on the cheap, of course?

Source: How Can I Make The Most of My Meager Desk Space? (Lifehacker)


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Jun 27 2016

Getting a Stylus Unstuck From a 3DS Slot (Tips)

Having trouble getting a stylus unstuck from a 3DS slot? Me too! Not my 3DS, my kid’s. I don’t have a 3DS.

You know what? I did it! It’s a grand day in DaddyLand. How did I do it? Read on, true believer.

English: Two examples of styli that work with ...

English: Two examples of styli that work with the Nintendo DS Lite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So. Something is stuck in the stylus slot of a 3DS, DSi, or any device that uses a stylus. (I would say Palm Pilot but then you would think I was old. Oh wait…)

I was having no luck using a bent paperclip.

paperclip no

This did not work

However! After deciding that my methods (which also included a pliers, screwdriver and a strange tool from my computer fixing kit) were insufficient, I turned to the Interwebs. There I found a post on the site fixya that suggested… a screw.

Success!

screw yes

The screw worked!

 

Here’s what I did that worked: I gently (VERY GENTLY, the opposite of writing in all caps) inserted the screw into the slot (oh, behave) and twisted, again, very, very gently. The goal is to get whatever is stuck unstuck, not break the device. That would be bad. After a bit of twisting and a bit of pulling — all very gentle — I managed to get the thing out of the slot.

Huzzah

Hopefully this tip helps any parents stuck (pun intended) trying to get a stylus or other foreign object out of their child’s Nintendo device.

Shop Nintendo stuff on Amazon

thank you to the fixya users at this post


Apr 25 2016

Fixing a Jumpy Trackpad

You know what’s annoying? Computers. Specifically when something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Like, say, your pointing device. Want to know how to fix a jumpy trackpad on your Macbook?

As they say in The Pajama Game, we figured it out… with some help from The Google.

Macbook Trackpad from Wikipedia

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17″ Trackpad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So your trackpad is just kind of… doing stuff. Without you touching it. That’s really annoying. You’re watching a YouTube video and then suddenly iTunes opens and starts playing, say, the soundtrack to The Pajama Game.

(Hey, it’s in our heads now. “Seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a heck of a lot, seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a thing…” Great song. Also remarkably relevant today — heard about the Verizon strike? Yeah, it’s about more than seven and a half cents, but inflation and stuff. And OK, it’s not a pajama factory. But there were no cell phones in 1954! OK, back to the point… no pun intended.)

To resume after that parenthetical, your trackpad/touchpad, whatever you want to call it, is making it seem like your computer is possessed by a poltergeist. A ghost in the machine, if you will. (Will not… get… sidetracked… again… no pun intended… we mean it…) What do you do? Thanks to someone on Apple Support Forums, we found this possible solution:

Press down on the left side of your trackpad kind of forcefully, and try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook. Apparently it can get kind of stuck on the left side and needs to be unjammed essentially.

You know what? For us, this worked. No more jumpy trackpad. I should point out that in my case, I pressed down on the left side of the trackpad more forcefully than usual but not so forcefully that I would break it. So be careful. While still holding it down on the left side, I then repeated the action on right side. Reading the suggestion quoted above, I’m not 100% sure what “try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook” means. Although now that I’m re-typing the words I suddenly do… maybe.

Whatever you do, be careful not to press too hard, because computers are kind of delicate, at least on the inside (and sometimes on the outside). And as always, caveat doer. That means (a) be careful and (b) if anything goes wrong, it’s not our fault. We’re just (a) repeating what someone wrote on a forum and (b) telling you what worked for us. That’s a disclaimer. Get it? Got it? Good.

Happy computing!

Source: Trackpad is jumpy | Apple Support Communities


Jan 19 2016

Teach Your Children About Proper Passwords (Tips)

This article from ZDNet about the worst passwords of 2015 reminds me to remind you that it’s important to teach your children about proper passwords.

What is a proper password? Pretty much anything not on ZDNet’s list.

PCs All-in-One For Dummies

No, we’re not calling you a dummy. But computer security is important, and it’s never too early to start talking to your children about it. Well, maybe toddler age is too young. But as soon as they have any sort of online account, they need to understand that importance of strong passwords.

(Aside to parents of younger children: don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school with an account on a website you’ve never heard of. Nothing nefarious. But a lot of educators are using online resources these days, and many of these sites require a login, and therefore… a password.)

Not sure what we mean by bad passwords? Here are a few examples.

Good stuff like 123456. Or the still popular password.

Apparently, Star Wars themed passwords became popular last year, because of that movie you probably heard a thing or two about. (Something about a force waking up? You know the one I mean.)

Anyway, bottom line, and our DaddyTip for today is to teach your children to use good passwords. For examples of bad passwords, hit the link below.

Many of the new entries are dictionary-based words, but many of the passwords from the year prior are increasing in popularity.

Source: These were the worst passwords of 2015, and they’re only getting worse | ZDNet


Dec 29 2015

There are Star Wars: The Force Awakens Contrarians

I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the movie has received much critical acclaim. Great! May they make all the money.

However, I also think it’s important that there are other voices out there. People who say “this stinks” or at least “this isn’t as good as everyone says it is”. Otherwise we’re all mindless drones bowing to our corporate overlords. Not to be over-dramatic about it. But it rarely ends well when EVERYBODY agrees.

Star Wars - Sand People

Star Wars – Sand People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And OK, sure. It’s just a movie. It’s just Star Wars. But it’s also more than just Star Wars. It’s entertainment, it’s escapist, it’s fun, it’s all good… as long as we can see the flaws. Or as long as we aren’t blindly devoted to the blockbuster.

DaddyTips readers (and pretty much anyone who knows me) are well aware of my love for the Avengers movie. I am willing to acknowledge that there are parts of the film that aren’t perfect. It’s a thing that makes me happy, and I think those things are important. For example, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures” unless your guilty pleasure is something you should feel guilty about doing, such as clubbing baby seals. Watching a movie that you know isn’t great but you like it anyway? Please. (I do not, for the record, put The Avengers movie in that category. At all. I’ve seen it more than ten times. I might watch it again today.) That being said, I have no problem with someone who doesn’t like the movie, be they a friend or a professional film critic. I enjoy reading/hearing a different point of view than mine. As long as they have more to say than just this:

This article from Vox, titled “Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, written by David Roberts (whose bio says “I write about energy and climate change” — and Star Wars, apparently, which shows how big a deal this movie is, in case you hadn’t noticed), makes some good points, and also has links to other Vox articles that are worth reading, including one that supposedly explains what the heck The First Order is. (I haven’t read it yet, hence the “supposedly explains”. Keep in mind that I did see the movie, but I still don’t really know what The First Order is. For the record, it doesn’t really matter, except that it does. Which is basically my point. If that’s confusing, ask me and I’ll explain.)

Bottom line: you can like a movie and know that it’s flawed, you can dislike a movie and acknowledge what’s good about it, you can hate a movie that everyone says is great — you should make your own decisions. I’ll even go so far as to call this a DaddyTip. In what way? The tip is that you shouldn’t let your kids get sucked into the blind devotion of a movie. I’m not suggesting you hit them over the head with criticism either, especially if they’re young. But let them know that it’s OK if they don’t 100% LOVE every single minute of this new Star Wars movie even if their friends do, or any other piece of entertainment for that matter. Be clever. Be a contrarian. Look at things with a critical eye as well as the eye of a fan. Understand that entertainment is awesome, and that it’s fun to escape from reality. Just make sure that you don’t completely forget about reality when the movie is over.

Or join the crowd and love it. That’s also an option, and probably easier.

Being derivative is not some clever pomo statement — it’s just derivative.

Source: Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Vox


Jun 21 2015

Sopranos for Fathers Day

Last year, HBO recommended an episode of The Sopranos for Fathers Day. It kinda makes sense, as long as you don’t watch it with your kids (depending on how old they are, of course).

The specific episode recommended by HBO is called “College” (Season One, Episode Five).

Sopranos on Father's Day

 

In it, Tony Soprano (played of course by the late and very great James Gandolfini) takes his daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) on a trip to visit colleges. Since this is The Sopranos, Tony gets sidetracked by some unexpected business.

It’s an early episode of the show — it first aired on February 7, 1999, according to Wikipedia —  and is very good. (Sorry! Forgot to say “spoiler alert.”) It certainly deals with father-daughter issues in a unique way, as did the show as a whole. One of the many great things about The Sopranos was seeing Tony try to be a dad while also conducting his, ahem, legitimate business dealings.

If you want to double-down on Gandolfini for Fathers Day, you can also watch the film Enough Said, which stars Mr. Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Catherine Keener is also terrific in a smaller role.) The two have great chemistry, and it’s a nice movie that is also parenting/dad-themed, and it has a fun twist. Here’s the trailer.

There is, of course, an extra note of sadness to the film because it is James Gandolfini’s last starring role.

You can watch The Sopranos and Enough Said via HBO Go and probably HBO Now. (I don’t have the latter and don’t want to say something that isn’t true.)

So if you’re looking for some dad-themed stuff to watch for Father’s Day, here are two solid suggestions… or perhaps we should say… DaddyTips.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there!