Smartphone pictures can allow child tracking

Warning: Your child’s location right down to his/her bedroom or favorite park may be tracked simply through the pictures you post. If your smartphone has location services turned on for the photos you take, the location of the photo is embedded with it.

You should double check your smartphone settings to verify that you are not embedding location information into the pictures you post online.

How to turn tracking information off:

Settings -> General -> Location Services -> Camera : turn off

To turn tracking information off on an iPod touch:

Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> Camera : turn off

Turn tracking off for Android:

If you’re taking pictures with a camera app: In the camera app go into settings, under camera options uncheck geo-tag photos. Other apps that can take pictures (like Facebook) will have their own geo-tagging settings, but they can be turned off, too.


You should also verify your privacy settings for social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, to make sure that you are only sharing information with your friends, not with everyone (including search engines).

For Facebook specific privacy information, visit this post.


Facebook Privacy

Yes, this is a bit complicated. I want to try to make Facebook privacy as easy as possible (as of February 2013). This doesn’t cover everything, but hopefully it covers the main concerns most people might have.

General Tips

1) Don’t ever put something in a Facebook post that you would be humiliated if a friend’s friend saw it. Be especially careful if there could be bad consequences if the general public saw it. Accidents happen.

2) Keep especially private things in private messages, not in social media. If it’s meant for just one person, message that person in a private message (either with Facebook messaging/chat or email). Social media is social, not private.

Understanding Privacy Settings

1) You control the privacy of the material you post. Click the button to the left of the Post button to change who can see your post.

2) To change the privacy of something you already posted (photo: Facebook)

3) The privacy of my comments on others’ posts depends on the privacy setting they chose when posting it, not on my privacy settings.

So if I comment on your post, you already controlled who will see my comment when you posted it. If it was posted as a public comment, my comment can be viewed by all my friends and all the friends of the person who posted it. Check the icon on the post: the icon below represents Friends, so all the poster’s friends will see my comment.

 Friends can see this post and all comments.


A globe means public– be careful with those.


Friends of Friends


Check the privacy setting of a post before commenting on it or liking it. Your comment will be visible to either their friends, friends of friends, or anyone, depending on the setting. (There is also a custom setting that can restrict the post from certain people, show only to a particular group, etc.)

4) According to Facebook, public posts can be found by anyone using an Internet search engine.

5) Any photo marked as a profile photo is viewable by anyone, anywhere.

6) To control what gets posted to your timeline (or choose to review posts before they get posted), see this link. (Your timeline is the info below your profile picture.)

7) If you don’t want your birthday year, etc visible to others, adjust those settings by clicking Update Info (under profile pic) and edit your Basic info.

8) The “ticker” or live feed at the upper right of your home page makes it simple for you to “eavesdrop” when one of your Facebook friends says something to someone you don’t know.  The ticker displays everything that your friends are doing on anyone’s post that is public or friends of friends. So beware that lots of people could be seeing your comment depending on the privacy setting of the post or image you are commenting on.

9) If you tag a photo, the friends of the person you tagged can see the photo, regardless of the photo’s privacy setting (with the exception of “only me”). Note that you can control what photos you are tagged in, and you can choose to review tags before they are published.

10) If you include someone’s name in your post (as a tag–that Facebook creates into a link to that person), then that person’s friends can see the post also (unless you adjust the custom sharing settings to not include that person’s friends.)


Parental Controls

I don’t have experience with Parental Control features, but a little searching online reveals that iOS (Apple) and Windows 7 have parental controls built in but Android does not.

Here are a few links that might help:

For Android/mobile users:

Android / iOS:

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

MAC users

PC Users:

  • Windows 7 Parental Controls 
    • Note: Internet filtering is not available with Windows 7 parental controls.
    • Note for Windows 8 users: there are reports that Family Safety for Windows 8 does not offer proper protection
  • Magic Desktop
  • Qustodio

Please share what works best for you.

Backing up your data

If you have precious data on your computer, you need a way to make sure you have it backed up in case of fire, computer failure, theft, etc. If your hard drive goes bad, you will either have to pay a LOT of money to get the data back, or you just lose the data. (Hard drive failure is common, even with new computers.)

Here are some easy backup options:

Microsoft SyncToy is a free Windows program that allows you to back up files quickly and easily to an external drive or flash drive. You can get small flash drives that are at least 32 GB in size for a very reasonable price. You click the sync option and only the files since the last sync operation are copied over to your backup.

Online Syncing: If you have less than 5-10 GB of data and a good Internet connection, there are a number of online sync options available that automatically back up your user data. See this article.

Make sure you keep installation CDs for any purchased programs you use.

If you can’t read the product key on your Microsoft Windows registration sticker or CD, you should record the key somewhere in case you need to re-install Windows.

Accessing info all in one place

RSS feeds enable you to check new news, weather, “verse of the day” and various blogs or websites, all in one location rather than visiting each site to check for updates. Do a search for feed readers to find one that works best for you.

These can help to eliminate the distractions and defiling images you find on news sites.

Note: I would mention that you can also put RSS feed modules on an iGoogle homepage, but iGoogle is reportedly going to be phased out in 2013.

Helping someone remotely enables you to help another person with their computer problems without being right there with them.

Have the person you want to help:

  • go to
  • click basic
  • click the orange arrow
  • run the downloaded file

Have them tell you the hyphenated number that appears on their screen.

Go to and enter that number under “join” and click the green arrow.

You will see their screen.

The person you are helping can now give you access to their computer by clicking the mouse icon. Now you can operate their computer remotely. Pretty neat!

Note: You will both need a better connection than dial-up for this!

Note taking

Microsoft OneNote (part of the Microsoft Office suite)

  • Scan and organize your notes to remove the clutter of all those papers.
  • Automatic text recognition (and searching) for typed information.
  • Allows you to insert audio in a document, and if you take notes on that audio, it remembers where in the audio your note was taken so you can go back and listen to that particular location again.
  • Notes can be synced online (for free) and edited there as well.
  • There is an iPod/iPhone app for OneNote, but note that the free version allows up to 500 notes and then you can’t add any more notes.
  • You can click and drag whole outline structure sub-trees from one place to another.

EverNote is a popular mobile App.

  • It’s a quick way to take notes and organize them, with search capabilities.
  • Recent changes make you get an account, and I think you may have to have online access to use the free version.

The Word
and E-Sword allow you to create notes that are tied to Bible passages. You can even create your own commentaries. See the Bible Programs section for more details.

Auto-Insert Verses into MS Word

E-Sword has macros for Microsoft Word that enable auto-insertion of Bible texts. Select the reference, press the button, and there you have it. Pretty neat!

Time Management

Google calendar can be used to publicize meetings and events to the world or to the rest of your assembly (not to mention keeping track of your busy schedule). It can be embedded in your assembly website.

Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook have similar calendars, though they are harder to embed in websites.

Toggl works well for time tracking.

File Sharing and Syncing

There are lots of possibilities out there for public or private file sharing and syncing.

Why use it?

File sharing enables you to share files, photos, and mp3 messages with others. For instance, you can upload recordings of assembly meetings to one of these services and then share the files with specific people from your assembly.

File syncing enables you to back up (!) the files on your computer automatically to an online server. If you change a file on your computer that is in a synced folder, the file will automatically be updated at the online server as well.
Then if you lose your computer, you still have your files! If you are away from home and don’t have your computer, you can access the same files online. If you modify them online, they will be updated on your computer when you get home.

Here are some of the most popular options:


Dropbox (2 to 18 GB)

  • Presently, Dropbox might be the most reliable and best liked by people I know.
  • Sharing Dropbox with others gives you more space

SugarSync (5 GB)

  • I generally prefer Dropbox over SugarSync for its ease of use and speed, but both work well.

SkyDrive (7 GB)

  • SkyDrive is useful with Microsoft Office. You can edit your Office documents online if you are away from your computer.
  • Sync Skydrive:

Google Drive (5 GB)

  • Google has its own suite of online programs that function similar to Microsoft Office. They are not a replacement for Office (a bit buggy at times, and all the functionality isn’t there), but they do make online collaboration easy. Google drive is the location where these documents are stored, along with your synced documents.


  • Box has a slick way of displaying and playing mp3 files on your own website.

Warning! If you share your files with someone else, they may be able to delete them accidentally. Settings for giving people permission to do certain things vary between services. It is possible to retrieve deleted files, but Dropbox users (at least) must do this one file at a time (last I knew).