Gertrude: from the Creator of ProPhoto

Hi there! I’m Jared Henderson. If you’ve been with ProPhoto for a long time (and have a good memory) you may recognize my name. I was the original creator and founder of ProPhoto, and I worked on it full time for 11 years before I eventually left it in good hands in 2018.

I’m writing this guest post to let you all know about a brand-new software product I created — a Mac app called “Gertrude”. It’s similar to ProPhoto in one sense: I started both of them because of a problem I had.

In 2005 my wife was getting into the photography business, and we couldn’t afford a high-end custom blog. With Gertrude, I was frustrated trying to ensure that my teenage kids only had access to the parts of the internet they needed for school.

More and more these days, kids are doing a large part of their school or homework online. The internet is fantastic for education, but we all know it has many dark corners. A widely-cited statistic says that 37% of the internet is pornography.

There are many parental control or internet filter apps out there, but the vast majority of them work by trying to block certain categories of websites. This is a great idea in theory, but it has a fundamental flaw: there are just too many websites. 1.9 billion last time I checked, and that number grows by 250,000 every day. Sadly therefore, trying to block categories of the internet will never be truly effective, there will always be huge loopholes that a motivated kid can and will find.

The only way to really be safe with the internet is to take the opposite approach: block everything by default, and safe-list just the sites you specifically want to allow. Unfortunately, this approach also has a fundamental problem: it’s really hard to do. A couple years ago, I started using the best of the few options I could find that allowed me to do this, and it was almost unbearably hard to use. And it intermittently failed. That’s when I started working on Gertrude.

The core idea of Gertrude is that it should be possible for parents with average computer skills to lock down the internet entirely, except for the sites they have specifically allowed. Like I said, this is harder than it sounds, but instead of giving up and settling for the illusion of safety, we’re digging in and tackling the problem head-on with a suite of tools aimed at making this manageable, and hopefully easier every day.

Right now it’s available for early access. You can try it for 60 days with no credit card, and then after that it’s just $5/month for an entire family. You can start a trial or find out more at our website: