FreeAppFriday for 8/28/15: Word Games

Posted August 28, 2015 By Mom
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Free App Friday!
Today, the spotlight is on word game apps.

Remember that free apps may include in-app purchase (IAP) options or be ad-supported, but given that these apps have been given very high ratings by MANY consumers, where IAP links or ads are present they must be pretty unobtrusive. Descriptions below are from the apps’ product pages.

Just Jumble – The wonderful puzzles you love in newspapers!

WordBrain – Find the hidden words, slide your finger over them, see the puzzle collapse. Do it all in the correct way and order and you will be able to clear the grid.

Word Streak With Friends Free – A fast-paced, exciting new word game from the makers of Words With Friends!

Word to Word – Challenge yourself with this fun and addictive free word association game.

Red Herring – Group the words into categories, but look out for the red herrings, pesky little words whose sole purpose is to mislead you.

7 Little Words – Find the mystery words by deciphering the clues and combining the letter groups.

Word Chums – FAMILIAR CROSSWORD GAMEPLAY — Word Chums stays true to the classic word building gameplay you know and love.

Jumbline 2 Free – Scramble and twist your brain to make words from jumbled lines of letters.

AlphaBetty Saga – Link letters in any direction to form words – up, down, diagonally, in fact, any way you want – even multiple directions!

Bonza Word Puzzle – Bonza is a new type of crossword that has become an instant classic. It mixes word search, jigsaw and trivia knowledge to create something completely fresh.


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Other Dating Sites Targeted By Hackers

Posted August 27, 2015 By Mom
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It seems that when the recent, massive hack of Ashley Madison exposed how weak security was on that site, hackers were motivated to take a closer look at online dating sites in general. What they and online security experts are finding is that most online dating sites are highly vulnerable to attack.



PlentyOfFish Hacked – AGAIN
TechCrunch reported a Plenty Of Fish hack in January of 2011, and three days ago news came of a new attack.

This latest hack isn’t an attempt to steal user information, but to install malware on their computers. reports:

An ad run on the website last week may have muddied the waters of the dating pool by dropping malware on users’ computers.

Plenty of Fish claims to be the largest online dating site with more than 3 million daily active users and if any of those users did not have antivirus software installed, they are at risk of malware infection.

The malicious advertisement was distributed by an ad network placing ads on, and used Google’s URL shortener to redirect visitors to a series of websites that ended with the Nuclear browser exploit kit, which infects systems (mostly Windows PCs) through vulnerabilities in widely used browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player, Silverlight, Adobe Reader and Java.

Notice the reference to Adobe Flash, which I’ve been warning users away from for years.



Adult FriendFinder Network of Sites Hacked
In May of this year, Adult FriendFinder was hacked in an attack that did target users’ private and financial data. MakeUseOf reports:

Users of online dating site Adult FriendFinder – and the various alternative sites in its network – have been left with concerns after it emerged that the database of almost 4 million records has been hacked and leaked.

Adult FriendFinder…it’s essentially a dating website…with a number of sub-websites within the umbrella, each catering for different bedroom interests. These include, Senior FriendFinder,,, and others.

Those sites’ member profiles and credit card details were all exposed in the hack.


Online Daters Past and Present: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
As the Ashley Madison hack revealed, it’s typical for dating sites to keep their members’ data indefinitely, even after a given member has quit the site and deleted his or her profile. So even if you’re not currently an online dater, any embarrassing dating profile details, pictures, and message exchanges from the past may yet come back to haunt you.

Even if you feel pretty confident there’s nothing too embarrassing among those items, there’s still good reason for concern. The AM hack also revealed that dating sites may be hanging on to your credit card information long after you’ve quit the service.



How Can I Protect Myself?
With respect to past online dating activity, I’m sorry to say there isn’t really anything you can do to ensure your private data never becomes public. Recent class action lawsuits against Ashley Madison may inspire other dating sites to get serious about deleting past members’ records, but it’s impossible to say for certain.

Going forward, I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to give up on online dating altogether. But it IS very necessary to be aware of what you’re sharing on these sites, and make sure you never post or share anything on them that would cause major embarrassment or difficulty for you if the site were to be hacked.

You can still pay for premium dating site services too, but use a service like PayPal (which never providers its users’ login credentials to outside sites) or a special, separate credit card account for this purpose. If you only ever use that card for premium dating site services, even if your payment data is leaked you will only have one card to report stolen, and the potential financial damage will be minimal. No matter what, NEVER use the debit card that’s tied to your main, household checking or savings account, because a hacker who’s gotten your card number can drain the account in a matter of minutes.


Like I keep saying, there’s no such thing as online privacy. And online dating sites are no exception.


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Fire Tip of the Week: Tips & Tricks: Use 1-Tap Archive To Free Up Space On Your Fire Tablet

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If you’re feeling less than confident about helping your kids stay safe online, you’re not alone. Kids today are often much more tech-savvy than their parents, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing all they should to protect themselves on the internet. From the youngest kids all the way up to the octogenarians, most consumers could use a plain English guide that hits all the important points about online security in a way that’s both easy to understand and fun.


Microsoft’s Free, Online Youthspark Online Safety Site
As part of its “Corporate Citizenship” program, which is intended to provide public services to help consumers better understand and use technology, provide technology to at-risk communities at a reduced or no cost, as well as to encourage more young people to consider future careers in tech, Microsoft has included a Youthspark area specifically geared to young people.

However, the information provided there can be just as important and useful to adults as to kids and teens. Case in point: Youthspark Online Safety.

This terrific, FREE site is filled with valuable, clear tips and advice for staying safe online. From social media to online purchasing, from email to posting images, this colorful page actually makes learning about online security and best practices fun.

Consider taking a half hour or so to sit down with your kids, teens and older relatives to go through the information together. Even if you don’t have any young people in your home, the time you’ll spend reviewing this page yourself will arm you with all the most important things to know about protecting yourself online.


If you have any questions or concerns about online safety, visit Microsoft’s FREE Youthspark Online Safety page as soon as possible.


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And now, a word from our sponsor…

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Fire Tip of the Week: Tips & Tricks: Use 1-Tap Archive To Free Up Space On Your Fire Tablet

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What Do We Want?
The ability to specify what shows up in our Facebook News Feed!

When Do Want It?
We have ALWAYS wanted it, and in fact we have ALWAYS thought this is how it should work by default.



Facebook’s New News Feed Preferences Tools
Yes, Facebook is finally giving you the power to specify whose shares, posts and updates, whether from humans or fan pages, show up first in your News Feed on the Facebook home page. Sort of. Read on for full details.

The changes were added to the iOS mobile app first, last month, and are now being rolled out to Facebook website users in groups.

Don’t get too excited though, because this new feature probably isn’t quite what you were hoping for.

Note that this post is only applicable to the full Facebook site that runs in a browser, not the mobile apps.


No, they don’t make it easy.
Here’s how to change your News Feed preferences.

1. Click the downward-pointing arrow in the top menu ribbon (may be at the far right, as below, or the far left, next to your user icon), and select News Feed Preferences (tap or click on images in this post to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window).

Note that the “Use Facebook as:” section is grayed out for privacy purposes; I don’t have a bunch of fake Facebook profiles or anything like that, but I do administer several fan pages and details of those are listed in the hidden section.


2. On the pop-up window that loads, select Prioritize who to see first. The other two items here are just shortcuts to the existing unfollow and re-follow functions.


3. Now scroll through the non-alphabetized, non-searchable, non-sortable list of every person you’ve ever friended or followed, and every Fan Page you’ve ever liked and click on those you want to “see first” in your News Feed. Click Done when you’re done.

The only possible pattern I could see here was that any pages you own or administer are listed first, followed initially by the friends or pages you interact with the most—which is kind of stupid, because those posts/updates/shares are already showing up more often in your News Feed based on Facebook’s existing “organic reach” formula.

Beyond that first, small group of frequent interaction people and pages, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the order. This makes it impossible to quickly find the people and pages you’re looking for, you have no choice but to scroll through ALL of them. For people with a lot of friends, follows or page likes, this is going to take a while.

Click on the icons for those you want to “see first” in your News Feed. Note that I’ve put gray boxes over the icons for privacy.


No, this does not actually guarantee you will see every share, post and update from your specified list. It does seem to weight that content more heavily, making it more likely you’ll see it than before, but that’s all.

Since making some changes here myself, there have definitely been times when one of my ‘show first’ picks shared something and it didn’t show up in my News Feed immediately, or even at all. Maybe I’m seeing their stuff more often, but it’s so hard to tell.

I can tell you this, though: ever since I expressed preferences this way the number of ads in my News Feed dramatically increased, and I started seeing lots of updates from people and pages with whom I rarely interact. Either specifying News Feed preferences doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, or else it works exactly the way it’s supposed to. Which do you suppose I think it is?

Once I was satisfied that changing my News Feed preferences not only didn’t give me the results I wanted, but actually junked up my News Feed with more stuff I don’t want to see, I went back and un-selected all my News Feed preferences.


Hey, what did you expect? It’s still Facebook, after all.


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Fire Tip of the Week: Tips & Tricks: Use 1-Tap Archive To Free Up Space On Your Fire Tablet

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Welcome To Free Music Monday!

Today I’m sharing a great find: Five Seven Presents: Tour Odyssey (4/5 stars, currently FREE) includes two tracks each from just five artists, but they’re all pretty strong: Dirty Heads, Shiny Toy Guns, Nico Vega, Oh No Fiasco and Midi Matilda.



Dirty Heads play ska- and reggae-flavored indie rock.

Shiny Toy Guns favor electronica mixed with indie rock, and are best known for their smash single Le Disko.

If you love Shirley Manson and Garbage, then Nico Vega will most definitely be your cup of tea.

Oh No Fiasco’s vocalist has a range and style that’s similar to Ariana Grande, but the subject matter has a little more depth.

Phoenix fans (Lisztomania, 1901): give a listen to Midi Matilda.


Five Seven Presents: Tour Odyssey: don’t miss out on this terrific free sampler!


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And now, a word from our sponsor…

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Fire Tip of the Week: Tips & Tricks: Use 1-Tap Archive To Free Up Space On Your Fire Tablet

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