Aug 30

Kid Friendly Minecraft Realms Server

Minecraft is an incredible game that brings out creativity, teamwork and simply exploration play that really engages kids in ways I haven’t seen with other online games.  One of the best things about this is that kids create their own world and literally can do whatever their imagination can come up with, this can be simply playing the game on Survival or Operators can do some amazingly complex rules and create Survivor Games or other type of PvP arenas.

However, I really need to find a more kid friendly server for my 8 year old Oliver to play and after playing on dozens of servers online the mix of bad language and older kids just didn’t bring him the experience playing with other kids around his age that we really wanted.  Hence I decided to purchase an official Minecraft Realms server and my son who is 8 is running it as OP.

This will be an application based Minecraft Realms server, that is only for kids between 6 and 12 who want to play, explore, create and not have to deal with older teenagers, trolls or harsh language.  Now, at 8 years old there still may be some PvP and battling as they tend to sometimes have competitions with friends, they have been friendly to younger players.   The other thing to help enforce only kids play is voice, my kids play via Skype so they can talk to each other while playing, this gives them real time communication and learning to talk and engage each other but also this helps ensure that they are actually all playing with kids instead of risking an adult impersonating a kid.

If you are looking for a Kid Friendly Minecraft Realms server and want your son or daughter to be invited to have some good times playing Minecraft in a friendly atmosphere with other kids who are between 7 and 12, then feel free to fill out an application.  If accepted you will receive an invite to the Minecraft Realms server, and be given the Skype username of Oliver who is the Moderator and Admin.

Apply for Access to Kid Friendly Minecraft Realms Server

Apply for Minecraft Realms Server Access

Apply for Minecraft Realms Server Access

First Only required
First and Last name
Parents email
Childs username to receive an invite to Minecraft Realms
Skype username of child who wants to participate in group Skype conversations (not required)
By accepting you are agreeing to abide by terms of service which includes no using foul language, inappropriate behavior while playing on the Minecraft Realms server or account will be banned. This agreement also is stating that you are allowing your child access to join and play Minecraft Realms and accept full responsibility for their actions and behaviors. This is a fun and safe Minecraft environment, we just want kids to be able to play together and be kids without inappropriate forms of communication.


I will personally overlook and audit all applications, this is a mission to keep things kid friendly and safe for the kids who just want to play and keep to a younger audience.

-Justin Germino


Aug 05

Windows 10 Upgrade and Dominance

You probably have seen all the reports about the success of Windows 10 already having more installs than every other Linux distro just based on the free upgrades. With over 14 million installs and very few, though some problems report Microsoft is likely going to have an OS that will finally eat and expand upon a larger user base than Windows 7, Windows 8 and possibly even the former Windows XP.  There is however a caveat to everyone who gets their free upgrade and that is the fact that Microsoft isn’t making money by giving away free upgrades.  They are making money now on your data that is being shared as a result of the free upgrades.

Windows 10 more so than any previous OS and with Cortana ties into their Windows Online Services, to have the functions work fully you need to be connected to a Windows Live / Xbox Live account and this is where data gets stored, tracked, consumed and shared for the same purpose that one would see with any service including Google, Facebook or others and that is to serve you better and more targeted ads.  To build more information for the big data engines to make sure you are presented with the stuff more likely to get you to click and buy.

The privacy settings by default, Wi-Sense and more are simply ways to subsidize and offset the fact that they are giving away the OS.  Do I see at some point in the future targeted popups on your Windows 10 OS like the free editions of Office applications or a Ad supported Kindle Fire?  Maybe, Maybe not.

Of course it makes a lot of sense to have a single OS, Microsoft says Windows 10 will be the last Windows Upgrade and version, meaning all future updates will just continue to update the existing Windows 10 adding features, functions, bug fixes…etc.  Though you still can use an offline user account in Windows 10 you lose access to many of the features like Cortana that depend on the Windows Live account.

So far the biggest issue that I have with Windows 10 is the removal of Recent Places from the Save As menu, it makes it harder if you frequently like to put files in your recent folders to do this.  Frequent Folders isn’t the same and not as good, and I can’t find a permanent work around to this so is just something to get used to unless Microsoft fixes it.

Overall though I do like Windows 10, disabled a lot of security features, including the Wi-Sense which is where Windows would automatically connect to common public trusted networks (trusted) being the key word here as in it isn’t you trusting it, it was a partnership deal where Microsoft says it’s trusted.  So this is worth disabling and this video tutorial shows you how to do that.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet?  What are your favorite things so far, or what do you hate about it? Share your story!


Jul 17

WordPress Issue Due to htaccess Misconfiguration

Had several issues on this site and most of my smaller sites that were traced back to a misconfiguration of my .htaccess file which most likely was caused by a WordPress plugin that updated it.

The error I saw in my errors file for Apache was Either all Options must start with + or -, or no Option may [closed]

In digging through my .htaccess file I found this line:

Options ExecCGI Includes IncludesNOEXEC SymLinksIfOwnerMatch -Indexes

And this was the line barfing, it said basically every OPTIONS has to have +, – in front or none of them can.

This must be something different with later Apache release or something as this file was untouched for months, but either way it was a simple fix.  Just moving Options -Indexes to a separate line without it being part of the same line resolved the problem and I was able to have the issue resolved.

Meanwhile, I had some issues with PHP and ION Cube Loader which is required for my Author hReview plugin so I had to have that setup which require a support ticket to InMotion hosting as they don’t allow you to check the module in PHP Configuration, but they were fairly quick to just load the Option and get this site back up and running again.

Overall I haven’t found the reason for the change, but suspect it may be related to Wordfence Security plugin which occasionally can update the .htaccess file I think, this seems like something the plugin would do and it was recently updated though I can’t prove it caused the issue.

Jul 03

Off to Visit Temecula

Having lived in San Diego County now since January, my wife and I decided to take a short Anniversary vacation up to Temecula to celebrate the July 4th weekend.  We had such fond memories of our Napa trip a few years back and wanted to see how Temecula was which happens to only be about an hour and a half drive from our house compared to the 11 hour distance of Napa.

Looking forward to some relaxing days with just my wife and I exploring the Wine country and enjoying fine dining and alone time without the kids for a few days.  Meanwhile, I hope everyone who follows me has a Happy July 4th!

We are staying at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and are enjoying a package deal.

Jun 10

How Gaming Can Translate into Real World Skills and Lessons

So I run into a situation very similar to many parents out there of children who are even more consumed by gaming than when I was a kid, and trust me when I was a kid I had NES, Atari, Commodore 64 and gaming was very much a part of my everyday life but it pales to the access of amazing gaming opportunities that they have now.  My kids have taken gaming to the next level with wanting to broadcast, record and establish online personalities for their video game play which I encourage and will grow during summer vacations but there are some things I help them implement to lay down the foundation of getting some skills and knowledge that will help them other areas of professional life later on as well.


All it takes to realize about a MOBA or MMO game where you run a guild or league is to realize that this requires coordination and teamwork.  You have your gamer be in charge of a group or lead and tell them that they set the strategy and issue commands, take advice and help run it and they are going to start establishing themselves as a leader able to give orders, re-assign team members to other responsibilities, call out mistakes and help showcase or assist where needed.  As long as done in a friendly and helpful fashion without raging or disrespect this can help deal with disappointment when a team fails, lack of coordination from lack of trust, and allows different personalities to help mesh or determine what works and what doesn’t.  Encourage your kids who are gamers to speak to their ‘group’ on teamspeak or another chat group so they can do more careful coordination of strategy and this works particularly well for League of Legends, Smite, DoTA2 or Heroes of the Storm for example.  The same thing was applied for WoW Guild Raids and GW2 Dungeon runs as well however.

Public Presentation

Here I admit is something that some people abuse and turn to disrespect or childish behavior on camera, but if you encourage and provide proper encouragement your child may use the webcam and live streaming to be comfortable talking to an audience they can’t see, being able to issue instruction, call out what you are doing as you are doing it, thinking ahead and getting into the mindset of explaining things can help them become better presenters, be better on conference calls and may assist with public speaking later on (though doesn’t address the in-person anxiety).  This also helps kids who don’t like their own voice, appearance, or are generally uncomfortable on camera get more comfortable with being on camera or having a presence but be cognizant of the risks and how they handle it.  My kids were so riddled with embarassement when making mistakes on camera video doing unboxings and used to have trouble talking when the camera record light was on, but they with practice became so much more comfortable on camera and relaxing.  I don’t encourage people to just become screamers, ragers or disrespectful swearing for the sake of attention grabbing.  It is important they find a personality or persona they like being or presenting while recording but try to encourage they keep it more PG rather than R rated, particularly if they are already under age and their target audience is under 18.

Think About Your Audience

Asking your gamers who want to record or showcase their triumphs and gamecast about who they want to watch and see, how they should react what reaction or response do they want from viewers gets them thinking about “customers” and the viewer is a consumer of their entertainment offering, put these ideas in their head to treat themselves as a source of entertainment or a service with consumers and these terminologies will help them later on as well.  They should also consider if they want to potentially find a way to monetize their service in the future, subscriptions like a TV show, do you want to try and sell the games you are showcasing, or merchandising like T-Shirt, branding…etc.  Or is it purely for fun and no intention on doing anything further.


Consider using a fake identity or a “Hollywood Name” for your gamecasting so that should you ever want to stop or even have someone else take over, you can offload that entertainment offering.  Tying it into your real name has permanency online long after you quit and want to stop people will find that you used to do this, so consider where you want this to be in your history.  Though if you use a webcam and not just a voice it is likely friends and people you know will find out so don’t ever assume you can do any casting or streaming anonymously forever if you are using a webcam, they need to know that exposing who you are is leaving yourself open to anything and this is where parents should take an active involvement too.  Encourage them to come to you if they get any comments, concerns or feedback that is trolling, flaming or may even fall under hate speech.  It is important you don’t flip out as parents and know some of the people who comment on YouTube and Twitch can say the most childish and hurtful things but you shouldn’t penalize the kid, use it as a learning experience to point out the lack of manners, etiquette and help teach them how to block and report offensive comments showing them how to handle these things and not dignify with a response, never get into a flame war with a commenter.  This will teach them patience as well as the ability on how to handle a difficult personality provided it isn’t physically hostile in person but something done via email or online later on too.

Have your kid experiment with OBS (Open Broadcast Software) and they get familiar with creating inputs, channels, output, codecs, bitrate and other terminology to help learn how to take feeds from multiple sources and combine them into a broadcast whether it is to Twitch or to an output file they can upload to YouTube.  Encourage them with other video editing software to create titles, transitions, video intro/logo’s and teach them how to create YouTube thumbnails, do some editing and they can develop skills that delve into video authoring and editing later on.  There are a variety of free and paid tools that help and are worth learning here and it all leads to learning something new and software to help support the gaming as well.

In Summary

Done right and encouraged, your gamers can be developing skills that will help them outside of the field of gaming and this is even if they don’t end up being the next big YouTube Star!  One thing I like to do is help my kids use an Amazon affiliate tag on all their videos and donation buttons on their Twitch as just ways to encourage them to build a business model around their creation of media content as well.

Older posts «