Monday, 3 October 2016

Football In Cider

There's a new blog in town!

Football In Cider

It seems to be betting Dumplings on football matches from around the world. I wonder why?

Actually, it's my new blog. I'm resurrecting an old computer program I wrote to predict football matches. I thought I might see if I can get a result, pun intended.

It's early days, but the plan is to have a dam good crack at predicting a football match by using all the free information from the internet. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations

I recently read a book called crucial conversations

This was the first time I realised I could use a simple strategy in conversations to get results. 

I loved it. 

The impact was immediate. My confidence grew overnight. What were once locked up frustrations quickly became excellent ideas resulting in pats on the back. The positive changes were at work and at home.

This book is a must read for everyone. 

I mentioned all this to a friend at work. He asked me to present my enthusiasm at one of our xTalks. xTalk is our company equiavelent to TED talks. I was flattered and obviously took him up on the offer.

In the talk I used freemind (a mind map tool) and Visual Studio Workflow to help demonstrate how the book's strategies helps with the dynamics of a crucial conversation.

I hope you enjoy it!


The cover of the book Crucial Conversations
p.s. I have no commercial interest in the book btw, but I must credit the authors and the training company that helps people worldwide to use this invaluable skills. Check out their web site here https://www.vitalsmarts.com/











Sunday, 20 March 2016

Metropolitan Division Toastmasters 2015-2016 Conference

Today was my first Division Toastmasters Conference. I had no idea what to expect. If I am truly honest I hadn't really thought about it too much. I wasn't competing. I wasn't helping. I was simply going because life has taught me to say "Yes" before engaging brain. A practice that has resulted in so much fun, and today proved to be up there with the best of them!


Metropolitan 2015 2016 Division Toastmasters Conference
Metropolitan 2015 2016 Division Toastmasters Conference
An 8:30 am start on a Saturday morning made me rethink my life lessons. Fortunately for my brain I only had to be there physically and not cognitively. Others will testify, my brain was still fast asleep on arrival, blissfully unaware I had scheduled in a serious conversation about adding a 'Get Out' clause for any activity beginning before noon on a weekend.

A conversation that was quickly kicked off the agenda by the big mighty boots of our friends Inspiration, Courage and Wisdom. Where else can you get so close to so many amazingly skilled people who face fear in the eye, stand up as tall as a poppy and put their hearts and souls on the line for all of us to do with as we please? In return, we, the collective audience of so many wonderful individuals, put out our caring, helping hands to support and nurture everyone and anyone. Inspiration. Courage. Wisdom! 

Having just read the book Crucial Conversations, which declares 9 out of 10 issues in your life at home or at work can be resolved by a crucial conversation, I was all the more aware of the challenges, choices & courage everyone was willingly putting themselves up against in order to better themselves. I take my hat off to you all.

By learning to listen & speak to one or many people with thought, skill and patience we can all get better at achieving our desired results in life. It's as simple as that. I haven't met anyone who still doesn't have a lot to learn. I have however, at today's wonderful Conference met many good people who are putting their everything to do exactly this. People who want to be better leaders, better spouses, better business people, better volunteers. Being better at communicating under pressure is the best thing anyone can to do to be better at everything else.

I spent from 8:30 am until 5 pm listening to speeches on a Saturday. Let's be honest, on paper this appears painful, mundane and something to avoid at all costs! How so very wrong paper can be! The day was inspiring, educating & rewarding.

Towards the end of the day I found myself wondering why every man and his dog wasn't queuing to be in attendance.  Not just to the Conference, but to Toastmasters in general. It costs me $55 every 6 months, plus $5 each time I attend. For this I get skilled help, support and all the positive encouragement I need to overcome some very personal challenges. I get to make mistakes with no consequence. I get to practice skills I didn't know existed. I get to learn that I can succeed despite once 'knowing' I could only fail.

I left with an overwhelming desire to bring my family and friends along to the next Conference. Come and see how to be happy! However, I am all too aware that everyone must decide for themselves. The people at this conference were there because they wanted to be there. None were there because their friend wanted them to be there. It is for this reason that I found myself overwhelmed with inspiration, courage and wisdom.

Thank you to all the volunteers and to each and everyone involved!

What a fun and rewarding day!


The best of the best!


This article first appeared here: Boyd Park Toastmasters Club

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Surface Pro 4 Versus $99 Pendo Tablet

A picture of a Pendo Tablet
Pendo Tablet
A picture of a surface pro 4 with its keyboard
Surface Pro 4


In the red corner we have a brand new $2750 Surface Pro 4. In the blue corner we have a brand new $99 Pendo 10" tablet. In this David versus Goliath battle can a tablet nearly 30 times cheaper really compete?







Acquired for very different purposes we realised there was in fact an overlap of uses and we wanted to see which one was best.

The SP4's main use was for Photo Shop & Illustrator. It is a (very nearly) top of the range i7 with 8Mb RAM. It handles Photo Shop with ease and has helped produce some pretty dam awesome drawings & photos.

The Pendo was intended use for browsing the internet, checking emails and watching TV shows on Netflix.

Both do their respective jobs well.

At first glance the SP4 does everything the Pendo does but better. No argument there. But the Pendo has one major card up its sleeve; Could it be the Ace of Spades!

Do you remember when you had your first car? After the initial honeymoon period, once the adoration had settled, you drove that car everywhere & anywhere. You were able to park that car outside your friends house, have more drinks than humanely possibly, somehow avoid being arrested and wake up on a sofa belonging to a strange bearded man claiming to be your soul mate. All this without giving one thought to your poor car left behind in the dodgy area of town displaying a virtual sign reading "Please take me! I'm abandoned and lonely".

But no one took your car.

Why not? It worked. It did its job as well as any other car. The reason no one took your car was because it had the sex appeal of dead rat. You had to drive that thing the long way around hills as to avoid being overtaken by a cluster of sloths.

But let's not get too hard on the old banger. Did it get you to your mates house most times? Yes. Did it give you independence from your parents? Yes. Did it give you a worry free night? Of course, and your new soul mate agreed whole-heartedly.

Now imagine your same teenage self driving a Ferrari, or a new Porsche. You drive to your friends house, in the dodgy area of town. Seriously, are you really going to leave it there? Overnight!!! No way!!!!! It wont be there when you get back. It wouldn't be there if you turned away for 5 minutes! Your friend is now upset with you because you are focused on the car and not the night ahead. Truth is, you are so worried about your car that the last thing you want to do is relax and have fun. You decide not to drink, you know you will be stopped and breathalyzed later; who would be driving a Ferrari in that part of town. Dam! You just remembered you left it under a tree. Bird droppings! Acidic bird droppings! Can you take a Ferrari through a car wash? Now you know how Ferris Bueller felt!

There is a place for the Pendo. It's not quite disposable, but not far from it. It does it's job like a "trusty" old Ford Fiesta. There's absolutely nothing sexy about it, but on most occasions it will get you from A to B, and you can park it at B without the slightest of concern. The chances are, if it's not there when you get back, someone will lend you their old one anyway, and they probably wont want it back.

When you are travelling, in unfamiliar public areas, on public transport, at the pub or in a taxi and you have other things on your mind, which tablet do you reach for?

More often than you would think, the winner is the $99 Pendo.

Yes. We used the Pendo rather than the SP4 on many occasions. We have used it a lot. Not only that, we have enjoyed using it. Some may complain it is slow. Some may say it has pixels bigger than an Elf in Lapland, but the Pendo has a place in our hearts and in our bags.

The big discovery and realisation to surface from this unlikely battle however, was not that the Pendo could replace an SP4, but that it was used so often at the same time as the SP4. Often we had both devices in front of us, plus a phone (or 2). Photo Shop running like a dream on the SP4, Tidal on the Pendo doing a sterling job bluetoothed to the amp. Business app on one, Social on the other. One device can do it all, but two devices, two screens, makes it so much less fuss.

We are so glad we invested the $99 on a cheap tablet. It was worth every dollar and then some. The only question that remains is, should we invest again!


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Returning to Work: 3 Week Review

Back to Work


So I have had some time off work due to sickness. I wrote about my return here. Well that was my first day. I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts now that it has been 3 weeks.

A picture of an arm wrestle representing the challenges of getting back to work
Challenges Of Work

Back to Work Plan

I have only returned part time. This is part of my Back To Work Plan that was set up by myself, my doctor, my works HR department and a representative from my insurance company.

The Back To Work Plan is quite simple. It states that I will return on a 3 day a week basis for 4 weeks and then be reviewed to see if we can up the time to 4 or maybe 5 days a week. The plan can also include any ergonomic requirements I have.

Fortunately the company I work for are very helpful. I hope this is because they appreciate that, although I have been sick, my main purpose for being at work is the same as the companies, which is to ensure the customers get the best product they could wish for whilst making a tidy profit at the same time.

Long Lunch Breaks At The Gym


I asked work if I could take a longer lunch break so I could go to the gym every day. Absolutely was the answer, providing I still work my hours and do not impact a client. Working my hours and not impacting a client is not going to be a problem, so 120 minute lunch time gym sessions are on the agenda!

120 minutes the Gym! How long do you need! Ok, here is the breakdown, as advised and agreed upon by my Physio Therapist, my Exercise Therapist and my Psychologist

Daily Gym Routine


  • 20 Minute Meditation
  • 5 Minute Warm Up on Cyclic Trainer
  • Alternate daily between:
    • 30 to 45 minute Interval Training (Cardio)
    • 40 Minute Weights (Following the personalised and regularly updated plan)
  • 40 minute Stretching
With 15 minutes to get there and back and get changed the 2 hours is quickly all gone.

So this fits in perfectly with my new life managing my arthritis, but how doe it affect the company I work for?

If I have a meeting or any work commitment in the 2 hour lunch time, I either move my gym time or I do not go. Not going simply means I have to make time in the evening.

When I get back from the Gym I am excited, keen, happy and raring to go. I'm on a high. I am ready to face the world and win.

Gym Results


I have managed to go to the gym 3 times so far (having worked 8 days). On these 3 days I achieved more after lunch on the days I didn't go. Do I have evidence to back this up? Of course not! I am too busy working. Do my colleagues and bosses agree that a 2 hour gym session is in their interest? I think they do. I think they realise that I still work my hours and that I am far less tired during those hours.

Returning To Work Issues


Returning to work wasn't totally a breeze though. On my first day, when I got home I fell asleep in the hallway. I was mentally exhausted. The nerves of the first day, the anticipation of colleagues reactions and a desire to impress all took its toll on me. 

The days that followed were no different. I was exhausted. Really exhausted. Some days I was asleep by 7 pm having not eaten dinner and leaving my kids to fend for themselves.

It wasn't helped that I caught a cold within days of returning too. Fortunately I managed not to take any time off sick as I was at my worst on a very long weekend. Panadol, Lemsips and Strepsols to the rescue.

I am very wary of this exhaustion. It may sound feeble to those that work hard without hitting these walls, however, to me I am not imagining them, and because I am pushing myself so hard I am bound to hit them. What is important is how I respond and pace myself so that I maintain the strength to keep climbing them rather than collapsing at the bottom and never moving again.

Pain


My pain was also initially worse and it seems to go in fortnightly cycles these days. The first week was terrible, but I have been ok since. Cross fingers it will remain ok for a lot longer. I am hoping pain is a past problem.

Returning to Work Summary


So all in all a success. I am enjoying work immensely. I am tired, very tired and I feel stretched to my limits emotionally, however with the help of the doctors and specialist and a company that is willing fit around me to a large extent, I think the future looks good. 

I am actually glad to be back at work!




TrackR Review

TrackR To The Rescue!


I finally had to buy some TrackR devices. I was forced to simply because my memory isn't what it use to be. Quite what it use to be I can't fully remember, but I'm sure it used to be fine without the help of TrackR.

This is an image of a TrackR device.
A TrackR

What Is A TrackR You Ask? 

A TrackR is a device the size of a large coin that allows you to locate it with your phone. How it works is actually quite simple: The TrackR constantly tries to connect to any smartphone that has the TrackR app running. If it connects then it updates its location to the TrackR servers on the internet. As the owner of the TrackR device you can then look up its last known location at any time.

Also, if your TrackR app is connected via Bluetooth to your registered TrackR then you receive a rough gauge of how near it is.

Make sense? I hope so.

Why Did I Choose TrackR? 

Simple. It has a replaceable battery. The main alternative to TrackR has an un-replaceable battery meaning you have to buy a new device every year. It's a cunning subscription model to keep you coming back with your money every year. I'd prefer to pay a one off charge and have a lifetime usage. Also, TrackR is pushing hard to sell its products knowing that market dominance is worth everything in what will prove to be another Betamax versus VHS battle where critical mass beats all others before it, including technical competence.

I was asked by TrackR to write a quick review on Amazon in return for a free device. However it hasn't been published as yet and I also haven't received a parcel on the post. Early days.

From memory I titled the review "Not Perfect But A Must Have". This still seems to be an appropriate summation.

So What Does The TrackR Do Well?

TrackR's tracks your belongings! Attach it to your keyring and you will know where your keyring was, when it last connected to a smartphone running the TrackR app. A tricky concept to understand?It is important you do understand this so you know what you are, and what you are not, buying. Reading reviews on Amazon it appears many customers did not appreciate the subtle workings of TrackR before they bought, so let's make it clear:

How Does a TrackR Work?

Let's make this clear. TrackR devices do not have a connection to the internet. They can not communicate with you without help. That help comes in the form of a Smartphone. For a TrackR to talk to you, it must connect to a Smartphone running the TrackR app via Bluetooth.

I'm not sure it can be put any simpler than that. If you still don't get it, then maybe wait another year or two until 'connected' devices are available.

So what else do they do well other than  (sort of) track your belongings? Lets be as brief as possible here and have a list so we can keep this as succinct as possible:

  • They have a simple and easy to use app (to a degree)
  • They work even when they get wet (to a degree)
  • They attach to your property well (to a degree)
  • They are reliable (to a degree)
  • They have a long battery life (to a degree)
Why all the " (to a degree)"'s? Well, it is very subjective. I think TrackR's are reliable, however I bought 10 and one of them keeps randomly sounding its alarm. Am I bothered? (bovered!) not really as I haven't had time to figure out whether it is me or the device playing up. Maybe I have set it up incorrectly? Should I have to find time to do this for a simple product? No I shouldn't! However when I contacted support they were very helpful and honest, which calmed me down and gave us all time to concentrate on the working 9 rather than the bad apple demanding all the attention!

It is easy to see that using a tracking device is not as simple as one may think. All of a sudden there are requirements coming out of every nook and cranny! 
  • What happens to my TrackR in the wet? 
  • Will my TrackR get too hot in the car? 
  • Will my TrackR fall off the device I attached it to? 
  • Can I hide my TrackR so it wont get taken off and used by someone else? 
  • Will my TrackR work in the snow? 
  • Does my TrackR have an alarm on it? 
  • Can I swim with my TrackR?
  • Is the alarm loud enough? 
  • Will the alarm go off randomly?
  • Can I get a TrackR in pink? 
  • What happens if my dog sits on my TrackR? 
  • Will my baby swallow my TrackR and die? ... .... ..... 

Everyone will have different needs. 

TrackR Location Accuracy


One last point, one last very important point actually,  the accuracy and granularity of the TrackR reported location is rough. It uses Bluetooth so the accuracy is limited to the ability of a smartphone to detect the strength of a Bluetooth signal. Currently this is about 5 m to 10 m. A good way to put this is that you will know that your lost item is in your house, but you wont know which room it is in.

TrackR Atlas


TrackR are bring out a solution to help with the accuracy: TrackR Atlas. Atlas is a device you can plug into a room which will let you know whether or not your lost device is in that room. Currently in the pre-order stage we are yet to get hands on.

My Initial feelings is that many customers already expect this functionality before having to fork out for another product. With the additional cost, and complications of an additional product I think most people will be exhausted and frustrated before they consider forking out even more for Atlas.

My personal view is that there mus be a simpler solution out there somewhere and if TrackR don't discover it someone else will. Maybe there's a gap in the market to be exploited here!

All in all the TrackR is not perfect but it is still a must have.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, 29 January 2016

First Day Back At Work After A Year Off Sick



Having been off work sick for nearly a year I had been rather anxious about returning. What would my colleagues say? What would they think of me having time off whist they worked? Would I suffer from missing out on recent work? Would I be demoted?

The ultimate question I was worried about was: Would my desk be in urinal number 3, the one that everyone avoids for unspeakable reasons?

It came to that time when I found myself waiting at the elevator to take me up to the office. I was about to step into the unknown.

A large open plan office stretching out for a long way
Walk of Shame


Wondering into an open plan office where you have no desk, no meeting location and no knowledge of where anyone sits is always going to be a little bit awkward. There wasn't a receptionist to greet me. I just had to slowly meander pretending I had somewhere to go. I was very conscious that I was neither new nor old, just totally clueless. Fortunately for me, everyone in the office was extremely busy, which allowed me an uneventful entrance. No staring. No sudden silence. No heads turning in surprise. I just walked slowly but purposely until I saw a familiar face.

A woman working in an office
Back to Work

Awkward? Yes, However, after 15 minutes I was chatting to old friends as if I had only seen them yesterday. It turns out people are much too busy to waste time thinking about my time off. Some colleagues were so busy they weren't even sure if I had been away! They suspected something was different, but they weren't too sure. "Oh you've had sick leave, are you feeling better now? Splendid".

There is currently a costly government advert (below) on television showing an injured tradesman returning to work after a period of absence. We see his work mates patting him on the back and welcoming him with smiles form ear to ear. It is major cringe material and I can't imagine for one second it will motivate a single sick person to return a day earlier. However, I have to admit my back to work day was similar in concept (minus big cheesy smiles)



For the record I was given a desk a good distance from the latrines








Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Google Nexus 6P (Huawei Nexus 6P)

Google Nexus 6P (Huawei Nexus 6P)

Question: Guess what Costco had on sale for $800 AUD?

Answer: Nexus 6P (64 Gb Unlocked!)


Bought and unboxed in a flash! 

Here is a quick 6 minute video showing:
  • Unboxing
  • All box contents
  • Finding Sim Card
  • Setting up Marshmallow
  • Setting up accounts copying from old phone
  • Upgrading to Android Marshmallow 6.0.1

In my opinion the Nexus 6P is currently the best phone on the market. However the price has always been a show stopper. However at $800 for the 64Gb version it has to be worth considering.

Shot using KineMaster on a OnePlus 2, I hope you enjoy it!





Here is a quick run down of the specs for the Nexus 6P:

Display          Size 5.7 inches (~71.4% screen-to-body ratio)
Display          AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~518 ppi pixel density)
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4, oleophobic coating
OS     Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810
CPU   Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57
GPU   Adreno 430
Memory        32/64/128 GB, 3 GB RAM
Camera         12.3 MP, f/2.0, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Video 2160p@30fps, 720p@240fps
Camera front 8 MP, f/2.4, 1080p@30fps
Battery          Non-removable Li-Po 3450 mAh battery
Features       Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
WLan   Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth  v4.2, A2DP, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes
USB v2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Colors Aluminium, Graphite, Frost


Saturday, 26 December 2015

What is it with Teenagers?



Teenagers. Often thought of as:
Threatening
Evil
Eejits
Non compos mentis
Abusive
Gruff
Edgy
Rude
Strange

However, after writing this The best ever Christmas present and it cost nothing
And reading this Inspirational Irish teens STUN homeless people with wonderful Christmas gifts
It turns out Teenagers have a heart to help:
Team Players
Enthusiastic
Ernest
Nice
Altruistic
Gifting
Eleemosynary
Responsible
Supportive

Teenagers on the Town


BTW: What a great word eleemosynary is. Check it out on our big words page.

Friday, 25 December 2015

The best ever Christmas present and it cost nothing

Do you remember about the Christmas hamper volunteering? Well we spent the last two days packing and delivering hampers to those that currently are in need of a bit of help.

I say 'we' because I went with my son. I originally only volunteered myself as I thought the kids would be with the Ex, however, when I was about to go it so happened my son was tucked away in his room for what was maybe his 20th consecutive hour of gaming on his computer.

I thought I would interupt and ask if he would like to join me.


My son has the kindest of hearts, but he is the laziest 14 year old you have ever met. Did you read my Guinea pig post? He struggles occasionally with motivation and was recently suspended from school ultimately because he was bored and started causing mischief. So I wasn't expecting much of a conversation. Anything more than a grunt would be a bonus.

"Hey I'm going now,  to the hamper homeless place. Do you want to come with me,  and help?  We'll have fun. "

Eye contact was yet to happen. He was wearing headphones and still moving his character on whatever game he was playing. I had at least been graced with the muting of his microphone ensuring his friends wouldn't be entertained by hearing his embarrassing parent.

After a thoughtful pause he replied

"no. "

Well I wasn't expecting any other answer to be honest.

So I thought I would try one last attempt. I was running late,  as always, so I couldn't spend too long trying.

In short I told him that he could play games all holidays. He could talk to his friends at any time. However he has only one chance a year to help people that have not had the best of luck and would appreciate some true Christmas spirit.

To my surprise he said "Ok then. " and then got up and got into the car.

Wow.

I know that volunteering your time gives back more than money could ever buy. I have volunteered a few times in my life and I still get benefit from the eternal proper good volunteering vibes you get for free. Yet  it was still with surprise that I had just received the best Christmas present I could ever ever wish for. It wasn't even yet Christmas, I hadn't even left to do the volunteering and yet this present from my son was the best!

My, what I thought was a,  lazy son that barely manages to mutter more than a grunt to me in most conversations, and has a bedroom messier than a Neighbours love plot was actually giving up his gaming time to help unknown homeless people for absolutely nothing in return.

Thank you son.

When you push yourself to do things outside your comfort zone that are aligned with your own values you will be rewarded in the most unlikely of ways.

Summing up, we had a great couple of days. A mini Road trip with lots of bonding and an abundance of feel good Christmas vibes. I hope the recipients of the hampers got at least a hundredth of the happiness we got from giving them.

Here are some pictures of us packing hampers, at Micah Projects in action.








Monday, 21 December 2015

Child Support Agency (CSA) Empirical Financial Facts


Calling All P*ssed Off Child Support Payers


Do you pay CSA? Does it make you fume? Does it really p*ss you off?

I have had many different custody arrangements over the last 16 years. I have never received any CSA payments. Sometimes I have had to pay around $1100 a month whilst having 50/50 care. Sometimes I have had full time custody and received nothing. I've been through the lot and I would like to share some of my financial details to show just how expensive it is to raise kids.

I want to appeal to CSA paying parents that find it difficult to come to terms with the "non user pays" system that is CSA. I am not going to talk or comment about CSA. It is what it is, However what I am going to do is point out how much children cost by using records from my own budget.

Paying CSA is not pleasant


When I was paying $1100 a month to CSA I also had 50/50 care of my kids. I was paying this amount because I was earning a reasonable amount more than the Ex. Lucky me. In my opinion, and I know its not the Ex's opinion, I was not only paying CSA, but in addition I was also paying the bulk of the kids expenses.

(If you are reading this dear Ex, it's just a blog, and it was a long time ago, my opinion matters for nothing)

Paying CSA Brings You Down


I was pretty miffed. Actually I was quite emotional about it all. I couldn't really accept that it was so unfair. I had to pay, often twice in my opinion, and the kids sometimes still went without! However, looking back, I was lucky that I didn't react on this emotion. Unfortunately I would sometimes lose some control when talking to the Ex and I regret this, however generally I continued to ensure that the kids were put first. Looking back now I get so much reward knowing I did my best to sincerely put the kids before myself.

It's important to put the kids first.

Sometimes we all struggle to realise what putting the kids first means. All of us are essentially trying to do our best to survive in what can be a very challenging environment.


Finance Facts


In an attempt to help reduce angst for other CSA paying parents and help everyone to put their kids first I would like to reveal how much money I have spent on my kids. Please note that I am one of the most frugal people you have ever met (this is why I have records of all my expenditure going back 20 years!). I do not like wasting money. However, I do believe I have always ensured my kids have received everything they have needed.

Lets cut to the facts of finance:

Below you will find two pictures of my kids specific budgets for 2005 and 2015.

These budgets cover the expenses I paid for 2 children whilst attending state schools in Australia. To cover myself I have changed and swapped some figures and details so that if you happen to know me you won't have any evidence to frame me. Revealing financial details on the internet isn't a good idea, however the fundamentals remain intact.

All items have been adjusted to be specific to kids costs only. E.g the Petrol cost is only the petrol spent taking kids to and from kids events.

I am only including monthly cash items in the budgets. There are a few one off items missing. For example, mortgage or rent, but also smaller things like braces. Braces will cost anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000. Some holidays are missing too, such as trips to Perth & Darwin for the kids inter state sport events. This budget only includes regular month to month expenses.


2005 Budget


During the 2005 period I had 50/50 shared custody of two young kids. I was not paying CSA however I was informally responsible for the kids expenses mainly because I was the only one working. The Ex did however pay half for many items.

After School Care Baby Sitting Birthday Clothing Doctors Entertainment Food Gifts Holiday small Holiday big Daycare Pharmacy Petrol School Extras Sundries Xmas
Kids Budget 2005

In 2005 you can see I was spending nearly $1500 a month. 


2015 Budget

During the 2015 period I actually had sole custody of two teenage kids and again I was not paying CSA. I was formally responsible to pay for the kids expenses.



Medical Health Insurance Food Misc Kids Entert Petrol School Hols June Hols Xmas Pkt Mon Extra Act Uniform Camp Book Hire Staionery Mobile Bus Xmas Pkt Mon Extra Act Uniform Camp Book Hire Stationery Mobile Bus Xmas
Kids Budget 2015



In 2015 I was investing nearly $1,800 a month on my 2 kids. In fact, regardless of care arrangements, or CSA payments, throughout all my budgeting accounts I can see I was spending up to $2,000 a month on my 2 kids (give or take a couple of hundred).


Conclusions


From this retrospective analysis of my kids budget we can see that each kid cost me about $1,000 each in cash every month. We can see what this money was spent on and how there were many small expenses that added up to a lot.

Therefore based on my very frugal personal experience, regardless of your care arrangements, if you are paying less than $1,000 a month per a child in monthly expenses then you should probably be paying more. You can take this one of two ways:

You can think: Wow aren't I lucky, my CSA is only $1000 a month for my two kids and I only spend $400 a month so I'm going to spend the extra $600 on my kids from now on.

Or, you can think: Wow, aren't I lucky, my CSA is only $1000 a month for my two kids and I only spend $400 a month so I'm $600 better off!

Although you should put your kids first (option 1 above), it really doesn't matter which option you take as long as you realise that to bring kids up properly you need to be spending bucket loads of cash.

Your kids are only children once. You only get one chance. They only get one chance. A child's job is to learn and transform into an honest and wise adult. If you don't give them every opportunity they deserve then they will suffer forever, and more to the point, SO WILL YOU.

When you get to my age and your kids are leaving home you will only remember your kids being kids. You won't and shouldn't remember the money.

If you do pay CSA and you do fume and you do get down then try to genuinely realise the huge sums of money that needs to be spent on your child to give them the best chance in life.


Give your children a starting chance in life


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Psoriatic Arthritis Acceptance

Previously....

In previous articles I wrote about:

How I found out I had psoriatic arthritis 
How I originally didn't realise the scale of the issue.
How I decided I could take control of arthritis through diet

Accepting Psoriatic Arthritis

In this article I am going to write about Acceptance and how long it takes for some people, namely me, to truly accept that our life has changed forever.

So I was somewhere between the 3 and 4 year point after being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I had been through an 'Ignorance Phase', then a 'Denial Phase' and now I was about to enter the Acceptance Phase.

Up until this point I could only imagine life without Psoriatic Arthritis. Everything I did regarding my health was in someway an attempt to cure myself. I had tried a sugar free diet, a gluten free diet, a paleo diet. I had tried prescribed drugs. I had tried meditation and many many other attempts to irradicate this persistent, painful and pointless disease from my body.

Yet it was only now, after many years of ignorance and denial, that I actually began to accept that the rest of my life would have to take into account the many struggles of arthritis.


A photo of a coloured persons hand holding a white person hand

Accpetance 


Amputation


I remember my Doctor, Dr Francis, refusing my request to amputate my foot. I wasn't totally serious, but I did want to consider it. If he had agreed that an amputation would fix the Psoriatic Arthritis once and for all and that I would never suffer from it again then I was genuinely at the point where I would have signed on the dotted line. (Not the dotted line on my ankle saying 'cut here'!) However, he simply told me that if I left with one less foot, then the arthritis would quickly appear somewhere else.

Eeeeeuuuuuuureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeka!!!!

It turned out that this simple, half serious, half joking conversation was my last known contrived plan to beat the disease. Having had it dismissed, and with no more items on my solutions agenda, I was forced to realise, once and for all, that this stupid, mutant and pointless right royal pain in the arse, sorry foot, disease wasn't going away.

Divine Intervention


No diet, no drugs, no divine intervention was going to happen.
I didn't have a cold,
I didn't have a broken bone.
I couldn't even cut my stupid foot off to solve it!

Plain and simple, it wasn't going away.

Arthritis Anonymous


My name is NakedMidLife and I have Psoriatic Arthritis, an incurable condition where my immune system continually attacks my joints and wont ever stop. I do not have any control over this condition. I have made many past errors and I would welcome the chance to make amends for them. I look forward to a new life where I can live harmoniously with this condition and I look forward to helping others overcome their own struggles with Psoriatic Arthritis.

(I've never been to an AA meeting as I don't drink very often, but I imagine this is what it would be like if it was for arthritis)



F&*( off 


"Will it ever f&*( off ?" I asked Dr Francis staring blankly through his face.

"Well in some cases it disappears at 65 years, or thereabouts." answered Dr Francis causally politely ignoring my sudden lack of formality.

"Well lets sit and wait then." I said stubbornly.

We both knew that wishing the next twenty something years away was by no means any way to live ones life.

Is Acceptance a Good Thing?


My eureka moment had arrived. I had turned the corner. I was resigned to being a Psoriatic Arthritis sufferer. It had taken nearly 4 years, but I was there.

Now, you may think that my acceptance of Psoriatic Arthritis was a good thing, and you are somewhat correct, After my eureka moment I was able to refocus my efforts on drugs, medications and exercises which would make my life better. I am looking forward to an upcoming article on Biologics for example.

Facing Fears


However acceptance of a debilitating disease can not simply be described with a eureka moment. The eureka moment is just the start of a journey. A long, lengthy and difficult journey. A journey where I was challenged at every corner. A journey where I was forced to face my darkest fears.......

To be continued....




Saturday, 12 December 2015

Psoriatic Arthritis. Get Help Early

Previously....


In my previous two articles I mentioned how I found out I had psoriatic arthritis and how I originally didn't realise the scale of the issue.

A persons hands that have deformed because of Arthritis
Arthritis

Arthritis: I Can Beat This!


In this next post I am going to explain how I didn't accept what my doctors told me and insisted I was better than this disease.

Arthritis: The Never Ending Battle


After about 12 months having been diagnosed the pain had spread from my toe to the balls of my foot. This resulted in a noticeable limp. Each and every step required effort, stamina & perseverance. My leg always ached, day and night, morning to dusk, and it throbbed as if I had just climbed Mt Everest. Each and every day was the same. Slowly, like a rock being dripped on in a cave, my tolerance eroded. I didn't notice the change, I certainly wouldn't have expected anyone else to. After a few months, possibly longer, I began to get desperate.

Arthritis: Relentless

It wasn't the pain I couldn't cope with. It was the relentlessness of the pain. Quite a different beast. Simple tasks became an effort. I know that we all get tired. We all get drained. But everyday, without fail, to have your leg throb with tiredness, with pain, sending messages to your brain such as

  • "Hey, lie down"
  • "Hey, there's damage down here!"
  • "Hey, this leg can't do much more!" 
  • "Hey, get some help, go to the doctors"
  • "Hey, stop working and rest"
  • "Hey, this is serious!"
  •  on and on and on...

Arthritis: Seclusion


Mostly you can ignore such signals, not through skill or because you were once trained to be a Green Beret, but because you have no choice. If you did listen, then that would be the end:
  • No work
  • No social life
  • No friends
  • No hobbies
  • Nothing

So instead you push through it.

We all push through pain and suffering at times, Sometimes it goes on for years before you get help. With arthritis it won't stop until you die. It's like the Energex Bunny, it goes on and on and on. Possibly anyway. The doctor told me often it disappears when you get to 65. Only 20 something years to go then.

Arthritis: Take Control!


So with this gloomy state of mind I decided to take control. The drugs weren't doing much, or so I thought. The doctors didn't realise how mentally low I was. The only person to help me was me. So I setup a plan:

1. No negativity
2. You can do anything if you put your mind to it
3. Acquire knowledge: Read books on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

So I read a few books including but not limited to:

  1. Healing Psoriasis : The Natural Alternative By John O. A. Pagano
  2. One Cause, Many Ailments: Leaky Gut Syndrome: What It Is and How It May Be Affecting Your Health By John O. A. Pagano
  3. Sweet Poison by David Gillespie

Arthritis: Leaky Gut Syndrome


With all this knowledge I decided to:
  • Quit drugs (as they were ruining my immune system) 
  • Quit sugar (ditto)
  • Quit gluten (ditto)
  • Quit processed food (ditto)
And I started to
  • Meditate
  • Walk daily (limping)
  • Cycle
  • Eat yoghurt
  • Have colonic irrigation!

When I do something I do it properly. There's no point putting in effort unless you aim to hit the bullseye.

I kept this diet and lifestyle up for 12 months.

a chopping board with food on it and writing that says "No Gluten"
No Gluten


I lost a lot of weight. I also had hope. I believed totally that I was going to beat this. I knew I could do it. My mental state improved. I had a certain bounce in my limp. It was going to be alright. I knew it was.


The Results of My Plan to Beat Arthritis


After 12 months my arthritis had got worse. The pain was spreading, gaining intensity and the swelling was getting bigger and bigger.

I decided to go back and see the doctor. I went in with my tail between my legs. I had tried to take control and I had lost. I needed help.

I had an x-ray of my foot. It showed that I had sever bone damage. I was at a loss.

It was time to go back on the drugs. I had achieved nothing other than serious, permanent, damage to my bones.

My plan had failed. I was at the mercy of this disease. It was doing it's thing regardless of my efforts. For the first time in my life, I was not in control of my destiny. My mid life crisis had begun.

Time for Plan B: Drugs.

To be continued....


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Supermarkets Giving Free Food To Customers

You may recall this previous post about Tesco's in the UK offering free healthy banana's to kids so their parents can shop in peace.

Well it looks like Woolworths has taken notice. I saw this today!

Free Fruit! 

Hooray for the internet!




Monday, 7 December 2015

Psoriatic Arthritis: Initial Stage - The Phoney War


Psoriatic Arthritis: Initial Stage - The Phoney War

After being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis I had a twelve month period where I was oblivious to the seriousness and extent this disease would effect my life. It was my phoney war. The war before the real causalities started to come home.

Previously I wrote about my Introduction to Psoriatic Arthritis. In summary I had just been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. It was occupying my toe. In response I had made a new friend, Dr Francis, an arthritis specialist. Together we had declared war on the Arthritis.

A picture of a lady walking along the beach. She is walking away and leaving footprints. The title soul has a double meaning
A Journey Of The Soul

Sickness Life Cycle

I was just beginning stage 5 of the "Sickness Life Cycle":
  1. Feel sick
  2. Enjoy sympathy if available (sometimes there isn't any. if not,  see Mum)
  3. Visit doctor
  4. Get drugs 
  5. Feel better (or die. Game over)   <<<<<  I was just starting here (or so I thought!)

As I was in stage 5, it was just a matter of time until this sorry affair would be over and forgotten. Yeah right! I wasn't aware yet, but this new enemy cared nothing for my sickness life cycle. It was playing a new and different game.


A Quick Review of Stage 2: Sympathy

Let me indulge myself in some self pity, just for one paragraph.

The pain initially led me to incorrectly believe I had a broken toe. My toe was swollen. My foot was swollen.  Some days I couldn't even put my shoe on. Some nights I had to crawl to the bathroom. The sheet touching my toe would wake me up in pain. During the day I walked with a limp. I was in constant pain. Not a pretty picture, but I always kept a smile on my dial!

Biding Our Time


With Dr Francis on board I just had to wait and let the drugs build up in my system and soon, I believed, it would all be over.

I was slowly working my way up to 6 tablets of Sulfasalazine a day. If you take too many at once to begin with your body gets confused and you can get nauseous. Dr Francis advised we needed 6 to 8 weeks before they would become effective and in the meantime to enjoy some relief from our good friend Naproxen.

Propaganda

Naproxen was a bit like dropping harmless propaganda leaflets directly onto the occupied toe. It sent a message to the Arthritis saying "look how easy it is to reduce your swelling" in the hope that the arthritis would realise we had a direct, unimpeded, path to the source and proper bombs were on the way.

I didn't know it then, but the arthritis didn't give a rats about the Naproxen. Yes it reduced the swelling temporarily, but the arthritis didn't care about swelling. It was busy in the joints, gnawing away bit by bit. Some said the Naproxen was possibly doing more harm than good. Stomach bleeding can result in death after all, so the stories go.

From my point of view however, I liked the Naproxen. It did the job.

Without Naproxen? I limped my way along in pain. If I had to walk more than 100 meters my hobbling body would tire and wilt. With Naproxen? I could play golf (9 holes not 18!). It still hurt, but it was in the background.

A Strange Time


This is how it stayed for about 12 months. Sulfasalazine & Naproxen. Building up, waiting and lots of hot air propaganda.

It was a strange time. All I knew about arthritis was the pain. Pain was something I didn't enjoy, but it was manageable. I was yet to come across the real weapons of this unknown evil.

Me, Dr Francis, and his drugs were friends. We lived in hope, yet as time ticked on I was all too aware that I had been in stage 5 for nearly 12 months. To assume nothing was happening in this time would have be wrong. There was plenty of action going on inside my foot, however the action was all internal and unknown to me. Was it good action? I didn't know. I just hoped the drugs, which obviously started a considerable time after the initial invasion, were building up slowly getting ready to take on the enemy when the time came.

A point of view shot dome a man standing on a cliff looking out over the sea
Trouble in the Distance?

The End Of The Phoney War


One day everything changed.

Unexpectedly the pain made a move. In an instant, like a hot knife through butter, it marched on in and spread itself to the balls of my feet.

The phoney war was over. It was a bald, audacious and foolhardy move that Dr Francis and I could not ignore. We needed to step things up immediately. The arthritis was now well and truly marching into our land and we knew it wouldn't stop. Where next? The knee? The hip?

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Worse


My reaction ended up failing so badly I would lose contact with Dr Francis for a long period of time and end up with permanent pains that would last a lifetime. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but the truth was that I was clueless and facing an enemy that had experience and had only know success. I was to be outclassed and out witted.


To be continued.......

Friday, 4 December 2015

An Introduction To Psoriatic Arthritis

I Genuinely Thought I was a Leper


I am going to start blogging about my personal battle with psoriatic arthritis with the hope that it may offer some comfort to others.

I suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis. I have had the arthritis for about 5 years and it is unfortunately still active. 10 year previous to this I had psoriasis, the accompanying skin condition.

I was typical in that the psoriasis came first. I consider myself very lucky that it was only on my hands and feet. I looked like a leper, but I could mostly hide it. At the time I had no idea what is was. The internet was a lot smaller in those days and medical mysteries were still common place. I went to many different doctors all to no avail. Samples of my skin were taken and analysed under the microscope yet no one could enlighten me as to why my skin was falling off my bones. About 4 years later it cleared up and was nearly forgotten about.

Arthritis Specialist


The answer arrived some years later when I was sitting on a doctors bed with what I thought was a broken toe. The doctor was an Arthritis specialist. It had taken 3 months of pain before I went to my local doctor, and then another 3 months on a waiting list to get booked in with the specialist. The specialist didn't say much to me. She had a student with her which she described my symptoms to one by one. I sat there and listened whilst thinking "Yes Yes, I do have that". Yes, my nails do have dimples. Yes my toes are splayed a bit.

Being Labelled as an Arthritis Sufferer


I was at the start of a slow process that would change me from being 'just another middle class person' to 'an arthritis sufferer'. I was quick to accept my toe was not broken and that it hurt because it was swollen as my body was attacking it. I didn't yet realise my immune system was attacking it every second of every day, and that my only chance, and a remote one at that, was to make some huge changes, otherwise, like a relentless terminator, it simply wouldn't ever stop.

A photo of a woman's slender hand that appear to have arthritis yet still looks rather beautiful. It is holding, or rather balancing, a magnificent red apple.
Arthritis
.

So I was finally diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. At last a label. Something I could fight. Something tangible I could attribute the pain and suffering to. No longer was I literally falling apart for no reason, I was falling a part for a reason! I was so happy. They even gave me a script for some drugs that would make it all better.

If Only I Knew


I look back to that point of time now and realise if I knew then, what laid ahead, I would have been petrified. Totally petrified. So petrified I may not have continued.

Instead I was smiling ear to ear, I limped in to the pharmacy, ordered my drugs and excitedly told friends and family that my painful toe was not broken, rather I had arthritis but it was okay because I had some drugs.

Being polite to myself I was just very ignorant. Being harsh I was a total and stupid idiot.

This was the beginning of a new chapter that would lead me to face my biggest fears again and again and again.

To be continued....


Following this short introduction I'm going to write a number of post about psoriatic arthritis (PA). Me and PA have been through a lot together so I have a lot to say. I feel cursed for being introduced to it, but I also feel lucky that I live in such a wonderful country when it comes to health care. As long as you have insurance and some money that is.

At a guess, the insurance has cost our family about $5000 a year (for 10+ years) and the out of pocket expenses specifically for my arthritis has been between $1000 and $4000 a year for the last 5 years. Of course this doesn't include all the money the insurance company, and the government, has paid. If I hadn't had the insurance, which I only took out by chance, then I simply wouldn't have received the medical help due to costs.

So here's the first tip: Get health insurance whilst you are healthy. Do it now. Don't wait.




Free Banana's For Children When Shopping


This is the sort of simple idea that appeals to NakedMidLife.

It is simple
It is fun
It saves money
It makes money

There's little to do with technology, other than using the power of the internet to propagate the message across the globe so that everyone can benefit. So Share!!!!!

A sign in a UK Tesco's store reads "Hi Parents Please feel free to take a piece of fruit on us for your children to eat whilst you shop. We would like to encourage healthy eating and make your shopping trip that bit easier. Enjoy your day and thank you for shopping at Tesco Colchester"
Tesco's is Offering Free Banana's

If you can't read it it says:

Hi Parents feel free to take a piece of fruit on us for your children to eat whilst you shop. We would like to encourage healthy eating and make your shopping trip that bit easier. Enjoy your day and thank you for shopping at Tesco Colchester.

Thanks to the Lisa Giles and her original posting here:

If you read the comments it appears some supermarkets around the world have been doing it for free for a while. Why are we missing out?

The Only Way To Control A Teenager

Taming The Teenager

There's only one punishment teenage kids care about: Loosing the Internet.

How else can we get them to do their homework, tidy their rooms, help set the table, speak politely and with respect. Sometimes, in fact nearly all the time, such basic requests are far too much to ask for.

A Teenager with heiad head on the table
Naughty Teenager
Let's face it, it is always, without fail quicker and easier to unpack the dishwasher yourself rather than ask your teenage son (or daughter) to do it. Forcing them to peal themselves away from their PC, Xbox or PlayStation. Forcing them to hang up their Skype call to one of their Skype buddies. Making them to walk the whole 9 yards from their room to the kitchen and to see them laboriously remove each item one by one from the dishwasher into random cupboards without being told, again one by one, where each item goes. It's like having your teeth pulled out. It's quicker to do it yourself.

Well I have a proven solution that will change your moping, procrastinating and selectively deaf juvenile into a responsive, proactive and obedient youngster at little to no effort. Do you believe me? Read on!!

Two little dickie birds, Sitting on a wall;

A Teenager on the phone looking Grumpy
Grumpy Teenager
Knowledge is power. Knowledge, of technology that you already own, can give you all the leverage you need to get your child back under control, remove the shenanigans and start making your teenager dance like a kangaroo. Depending on your internet hardware all you may need is knowledge. No purchase necessary!

You see, the amazingly simple solution that converts brumbies (wild horses) into Stallions almost overnight, is to reconfigure your internet router (also called a modem) so that it has one wireless network per a teenager. If you were lucky/clever enough to buy a router that can enable multiple wireless networks then the green light is shining and you are ready to go!

Sometimes a second wireless network on a router is called a 'Guest Network'. If you are unsure whether your router can enable multiple wireless networks then google your router name look for 'Guest WiFi Network' in the specs. Or, it may even mention that it can handle 'multiple networks'. Have a quick look at the two screenshots below, these routers have 2 wireless networks, and 6 respectively.


This is a part of the spec for an N600 TPLink showing it has 2 wireless networks
2 Wireless Networks

This is a part of the spec for an Asus RT-AC68U showing it has 6 wireless networks
6 Wireless Networks

One named Peter, One named Paul.


An Idle Teenager sitting ina park bench
Idle Teenager
Let me explain how this works with an example. Our internet router happens to have the ability to create 4 WiFi networks. There also happens to be 4 members in our household, excluding the dogs. Quite simply we have created one wireless network for each child. That leaves one for guests and one for mum & dad.

A Teenager Glaring into a mirror
Glaring Teenager







If we are fortunate enough for you to come round to our house for tea, when you arrive and check your phone to connect to the internet, as you always should, you will see a choice of 4 wireless networks. One called 'Peter', one called 'Paul', one called 'MumDad' and finally one called 'Guest'.

You can join the Guest network. The password is on the fridge.

Paul, however, can't join the Guest network (see later), he can only join the 'Paul' network. likewise, Peter can only join the 'Peter' network.
Now let's assume Paul starts procrastinating, as he will, about tidying his room, He's moping, He's lost his ability to say complete sentences. He's upset that the whole world is pitting against him and all he wants to do is play a simple game on his cheap PC with he never gets to use.

All we have to do is a simply log in to the router, a casual flick of the Paul network switch and:






A Tank pointing its big gun straight in to the camera
BOOOOOOOM
BOOOOOOOOOOM



Fly away Peter! Fly away Paul!


The 'Paul' network is down! Its gone! Nada, Nyet, Nista!

And guess what Paul, it won't be back up until the cups and saucers are removed, the bin is emptied, the dirty clothes are in the washing machine and the bed has been made. Not to mention the vacuuming!

A Teenager looking very Concerned
A Concerned Teenager

How good is that! Turning off their internet, without affecting anyone else, certainly gets their attention.

Obviously Peter, Mum and Dad and any guests are still free to browse the internet at will. As along as they behave of course.

Once Paul has recovered from being on an enforced Digital Diet and realised that the only way out is to obey the almighty powerful ones, then the 'Paul' network can be re-enabled as quickly as it was disabled in the first place.

Oh so simple, and oh so effective!

An old fashioned sign that says The Internet
Browse Browse Browse 


Setting It Up - The Easy Way


So how easy is it to set this teenage trap up in the first place?

Well it's not difficult at all if your router already has the ability to handle multiple wireless networks. It's just a case of logging into your router, finding out where the button is to create a new wireless network, typing in a new name and password and hitting the Go button! Bob's you mother's brother. You can now go and join the Elite Parent Group where all the parents are so amazingly perfect that they have happy trouble free teenagers that are just full of love and a strong single minded desire to study. ... ... A quick message to such parents: You are delirious, all teenagers are trouble, you just don't know about it yet!

Setting It Up - The Hard Way


If your router is old or at the bottom end of the market as some people's are, then there is an option to use two or more wireless routers to achieve the same result. It is a little more complex to setup (far more complex actually) but achieves the same result. An old modem/WiFi can be used as you only need the WiFi part of it? Otherwise new wireless only routers can be bought for peanuts.

In my opinion it's a shame to spend good money after bad. Firstly because there are so many old WiFi modems lying around collecting dust in everyone's 'old wires and crap' drawers that surely a quick Facebook message will soon catch you one. Secondly because if you are spending money then you should really consider investing in an upgrade to a more modern and functional router. Did you know transistors degrade after 5 years so a new modem will give you quicker speeds. Everyone wants quicker speeds.

If you do buy a new router that can handle multiple wireless networks it will also have parental control on it. Parental control normally allows you to configure when a particular device can access the internet on your network. This means Peter and Paul can not use their phone, tablets, PC's, Xbox's to connect to the internet after 11 pm for example. Unfortunately it doesn't stop them using 3G on their phone, but it's usually enough to make them go to bed.

In the setup I mentioned earlier I have to configure the router to disallow each of the kids machines access to the 'Guest' WiFi network. This is because they know the password. It's on the Fridge!

Come Back Peter! Come Back Paul!


A photo of the back of 3 teenagers jumping up in a start jump on a hill on a sunny day
Happy Teenagers


In summary, a simple bit of time spent learning about your router can give you a huge amount of leverage when it comes to rude and procrastinating teenagers. Before you know it you may just get a smile and a thank you next time you taxi them to and from their friends party!

If you need any help setting this up please do leave a comment, I will be more than happy to help :-)