Hack-Proofing Apps on Smartphones and Tablets

leovdworp  (freeimages.com)

leovdworp (freeimages.com)

Did you know that your smartphone and tablet can be infected with viruses and malware—just like desktop and laptop computers? This typically happens when you download a malicious app.

Once it is on your device, hackers can steal sensitive material such as account details, passwords and photos. They can cause your operating system to crash, rendering your device useless. They even can hijack your contacts list and send spam texts to your friends, family and associates. From 2013 to 2014, mobile app malware targeting Android phones rose by 600% globally to more than 650,000 different varieties.

How to protect your devices…

Get apps only from official websites. The official Apple iOS and Android app stores each offer more than a million apps to choose from. They do an excellent job of scrutinizing new apps and quickly weeding out malicious or infected ones. Nonofficial sites that offer unique apps or free versions of popular paid apps often have low security ­standards, and some may even be fronts for hacker groups. This is especially true for Android, which is installed on more than half of all mobile devices in the US. Unlike iOS, Android has an “open” operating system—smartphone and tablet manufacturers can alter the software to work on their devices. These altered systems can be more susceptible to hackers.

 Helpful: If you have an Android device, make sure you don’t accidentally install unofficial apps. Go to the Settings menu, tap “Security,” then uncheck the “Unknown Sources” option. Also, avoid clicking on any link to an app that you receive in a text or an e-mail.

Install an antivirus/malware app. The Apple and Android app stores offer Lookout and other antivirus apps for free.

Source: Kim Komando, who has been providing technology tips for more than 20 years. She hosts the Kim Komando Show, a weekly national radio program, and she writes a technology column for USA Today.   Komando.com 

How to Break Big Bad Habits


Nearly everyone has at least one bad habit that he/she would just love to be rid of—maybe it’s eating too much, losing your temper or putting things off. But why is it so hard to break a bad habit even though you clearly know that the behavior is harmful to you?


A Powerful Force That Resists Change

Bad habits are often created by unconscious motives, beliefs and feelings. Of course, you can make a conscious effort to stop these practices, but that won’t help when the powerful unconscious or automatic part of your brain makes you reach for another helping or tells you to tailgate that driver who isn’t going as fast as you’d like. The unconscious brain holds on to what has always been done and reacts, over and over again, without thinking about consequences.

The good news: The unconscious mind can be rewired so that making the right choices and withstanding temptation become second nature. Then you don’t have to struggle to do what’s good for you—you just do it because it has become your new habit. The key is to engage in behaviors or practices that reprogram the unconscious brain. How to break common bad habits… Read the rest of this entry »

Toothaches can be Dangerous

SadToothA Toothache Can Turn Deadly

Choosing a Roadside Assistance Plan

openmindad (sxc.hu)

openmindad (sxc.hu)

AAA  May Not Be Right for You

A Missouri woman had a minor auto accident on her way to church earlier this year. She was billed $913 for a five-mile tow. Most but not all roadside-assistance plans would have covered the towing and prevented the extreme overcharge.

Years ago, roadside-assistance plans, which tend to provide several other kinds of assistance as well, such as jump-starting a battery and changing a tire, used to be available only from auto clubs such as AAA and the Better World Club. But now these plans are offered by many types of companies, including auto dealers, insurers, credit card issuers, cell-phone service providers and warehouse clubs.

Although all the plans tend to cover some basics, the full roster of what you get from each plan, how well it delivers services and how much it costs varies widely. Choose unwisely, and you will end up paying a lot more than you need to and/or getting much less than you expect.

How to choose… Read the rest of this entry »

Smoking Tabacco from a Hookah Water Pipe

thiagors (sxc.hu)

thiagors (sxc.hu)

My college-age son is no dummy, but he started doing a very dumb thing. The fact that he wasn’t the only one—an estimated 22% to 40% of all US college students have done the same stupid thing in the past year—was scant comfort. What was this idiocy? Smoking tobacco from a hookah.

Hookahs are water pipes, and they can be simple or quite elaborate-looking. Typically they stand several feet tall and have a long hose attached to a mouthpiece. Hookah smoking is a social fad—it’s often done in groups, with the mouthpiece being passed from person to person. The practice originated centuries ago in Persia and India and has recently become all the rage among American teens and young adults.

The problem: Hookah fans often claim that this type of smoking is basically benign, especially compared with other types of smoking. But that’s a load of BS…as you’ll see below.

If kids you care about are in their teens or 20s, there’s a good chance that they have fallen for the hookah hype—or soon will. Though hookahs are slightly more popular with boys, lots of girls smoke them, too. Arming yourself with information can help you convince youngsters to stay away from hookahs. How do I know? My own son swore off the water pipe parties when I shared the following facts with him… Read the rest of this entry »

Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes and Ticks


majasimenc (sxc.hu)

majasimenc (sxc.hu)

Spring has sprung, and that means it’s the start of mosquito and tick season. For protection, about one-third of Americans rely each year on the chemical N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, better known as DEET. But prior to the late 1950s, when DEET was introduced to the public, we mostly used natural bug-fighting methods. For example, when my dad went fishing, his bug-protecting gear included a thin canvas hat with a mosquito netting “veil” and a drawstring collar. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists DEET as “safe” and the most effective insect repellent on the market, many people don’t want to use it because of lingering concerns about toxicity.Safer bets… Read the rest of this entry »

Who Invented the Smiley Face?

jaylopez (sxc.hu)

jaylopez (sxc.hu)

Smithsonian.com; posted by Jimmy Stamp, MarketingPop Culture

In the 1994 Robert Zemeckis film, Forrest Gump stumbles into the history books as he runs across the country.

At one point, he meets a poor T-shirt salesman who, Gump recalls, “wanted to put my face on a T-shirt but he couldn’t draw that well and he didn’t have a camera.” As luck would have it, a truck drives by and splashes Gump’s face with mud. He wipes his face on a yellow T-shirt and hands it back to the down-on-his-luck entrepreneur, telling him to “have a nice day.” The imprint of Gump’s face left a perfect, abstract smiling face on the bright yellow t-shirt. And thus, an icon was born.

As you probably expect, that was not how the iconic smiley face was created. There was no cross-country runner or struggling t-shirt salesman, there was no truck or mud puddle. There was, however, a graphic designer, some devious salesmen, and an ambitious newspaper man – all add up to a surprisingly complex history for such a simple graphic. Read the rest of this entry »