As I’ve always said, I prefer to do things from the terminal when I can. When taking care of my many computers, it’s handy to have a file manager that will work over an SSH connection. Enter Midnight Commander.
Midnight Commander is a text based file manager, that is very powerful and simple to use. I’d found it a few months ago, when I was trying to easily find some media files on my son’s computer, without him knowing I was poking around. This of course meant I couldn’t use VNC.
To install Midnight Commander, simply open a terminal and type the following:
sudo apt-get install mc
Of course, if you have connected to a remote computer, you can do the install on that remote machine with the same command.
Once installed, running Midnight Commander is as simple as opening a terminal, either locally or remotely and typing: mc
Midnight Commander includes an internal editor with syntax highlighting and an internal viewer with support for binary files!
If you have kids at home using the web, it’s important that you know what they are doing! One of the easiest ways to do that is to actually look at their screen.
Youngsters really should not be using the net in their own room, but rather in a central location in the house so you can keep an eye on them. But if they are using a laptop or desktop in their own room, it’s important to keep an eye on what they do. While my remaining child at home is 28, he is also profoundly autistic, functioning on the lever of a 4 year old. Here’s how I keep track of his net usage:
First, I use VNC. He is using a Dell laptop running Linux Mint 17. Running on Mint of course is the VNC server called vino-server.
Looking at the following screen grab, you can see the desktop sharing dialogue.
In the final section of the setup screen, you want to change the selection from where you see it, to Never. This will prevent the computer running the vino server from alerting the user that it is being connected to.
As you already know I’m sure, this lets me peek in and see what he’s looking at, and if it’s something he should not be looking at, I can block the site in my router.
In the example above, he was watching a Little Mermaid cartoon on Youtube while drawing one of his cartoons. *(He loves drawing cartoon characters sitting on the potty, I don’t know why!)
Other things you should do to protect your youngster include:
- Using Opendns.org for their wonderful parental controls. They do a good job at blocking all the porn out there.
- Use your routers built in filtering system. Block by keyword or specific URL to prevent your offspring from accessing them. *(keep in mind that if the site has a security certificate, then this can be bypassed by a clever kid, hence looking in on them from time to time!
- Watch your router logs. My router logs tell me every site that has been visited for the last hour. It can be tedious, but checking the logs for sites you don’t want your kids going to.
- Talk to your kids! Let them know what your expectations are where their network use concerned.