Free Music Monday For 3/23/15

Posted March 23, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by Sony CFDS50 Portable CD, Cassette & AM/FM Radio Boombox. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Welcome To Free Music Monday!

Today we’re hitting both extremes of the musical spectrum: first I’ve got an album of some easy-grooving ambient and electronica, then an album of hard-rocking heavy metal.

Ghostly 2013 Selected (4/5 stars)

This album includes tracks from some electronica majors, like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tycho, and Choir of Young Believers. 10 tracks total on this album.

 

Divebomb Records Digital Sampler (4/5 stars)

Love Dio? Check out Dimage’s Running For Cover. Iron Maiden fans: try Casanova’s Don’t Talk About Love. Elysium’s track Inspired Hatred has a Queensryche-ish feel. 17 tracks in all.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

Regular readers know I am all about the digital, but I still have a lot of CDs on the rack and I’m betting a lot of you do, too. That’s why the Sony CFDS50 Portable CD, Cassette & AM/FM Radio Boombox is still a handy item to have on hand. It has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars across over 690 reviews, is currently the #1 bestseller in Boomboxes on Amazon, and it’s currently priced at $49.99 (with Prime Shipping eligibility)

 

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Free App Friday For 3/20/15

Posted March 20, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is again brought to you by Digital Media Mom’s Spring Break Special: Half Off ALL DMM Apps on Amazon. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Free App Friday!

Here are some of the top 100 most downloaded AND highest-rated apps (4/5 stars or better) from Amazon’s Android App Store as of this writing. Note that where a given app has already been included in a Free App Friday post, a different one (still with a minimum 4/5 star rating) will be subbed in. 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.

Magic 2015 – Wizards of the Coast’s hugely popular card battle game, in app form.

Hidden Object: Blackstone Mysteries – Become an ace detective and investigate puzzling mysteries in an exciting new hidden object game!

Zombie Road Trip – In Zombie Road Trip the rules are simple – escape the zombie horde or have your brain eaten. Are you up for the challenge?

Casino Joy Video Slots – Start your journey to gaming joy with Casino Joy: Video Slots! $1,000,000 STARTING CREDIT!

Mahjong Titan – Mahjong Solitaire Titan is a free mahjongg matching game. This premium quality game is your perfect match for playing some relaxing Mahjong.

Speed Reading Tutor – This speed reading app is a fun, effective and FREE way to increase your reading abilities.

Intuitive Life Coaching Oracle Cards – Intuitive Life Coaching Oracle Cards offer you guidance in regard to any daily issue or emotional challenge you may be facing.

Collapse! Blast – Our popular Facebook puzzle game, Collapse! Blast is now available for Android.

Diamond Dash – 60 action packed seconds to match as many colorful diamonds as possible.

Plant Nanny – Plant Nanny combines health with fun to remind you to drink water regularly. The cute plant keeps you company every day by living in your [device]. In order to keep it alive and help it grow, you must give it water at certain periods of time.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

Digital Media Mom’s Spring Break Special: Half Off ALL DMM Apps, is running on Amazon through Monday, 3/23/15 at midnight PST and until then, all DMM apps are priced at just 99 cents. Take advantage of this opportunity to check out Digital Media Mom’s high-quality apps that are each designed to do one thing and do it very well, with no In-App Purchases (IAPs), no fishy permissions, no ads, no data gathering and no internet connection required. Note that the discount is not available on Google Play, as Google Play doesn’t provide developers with a means to temporarily discount their apps.

 

 

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Premera Blue Cross Hack + Google Feud

Posted March 19, 2015 By Mom
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Another Day, Another Scary Hack…

I’m getting really tired of having to be the bearer of bad news, but if I have information that could help some of my readers I feel a responsibility to share. But since this hack affects a relatively limited population (consumers whose healthcare provider is Premera / Premera Blue Cross), I’ll keep it short and just provide some links for those who may be affected and need to know more. On 3/17/15 Wired reported:

In the case of Premera… the attackers not only had access to birth dates, member ID numbers, bank account info and Social Security numbers, they also may have obtained medical claims records and possibly even sensitive clinical information, the company reported on its web site.

Click here to read the full Wired story.
Click here to see Premera’s own web page with details and updates on the hack.
Click here for Slate’s coverage of the story.

 

And Now, Let’s Have Some Fun: It’s Time To Play The Feud!

Google Feud, that is! You know how Google likes to autocomplete when you’re entering a search phrase or word? Well, it occurred to enterprising web developer Justin Hook that since Google’s autocomplete choices are based on the popularity of various search terms and phrases, Google searches are a lot like the game show Family Feud.

On Google Feud you choose a category, then try to guess the ten most popular ways Google users have completed a given search phrase or term. For example, for the search “Can you milk a…”, I guessed “cat”. And it turned out to be the #1 most popular/common search for “Can you milk a…”:

GoogleFeud

This game is a lot of fun, and the results can be downright shocking at times. For example, the #6 most popular search for “What is the number for…” is 911! You get to keep guessing until you’ve gotten three answers that don’t appear in the ten most popular autocompletes, and you can switch categories at any time by clicking on the Google Feud logo.

Click here to try Google Feud for yourself — but beware! It’s so much fun, it can become a real time sink!

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

Digital Media Mom’s Spring Break Special: Half Off ALL DMM Apps, is running on Amazon from now through Monday, 3/23/15 at midnight PST. Take advantage of this opportunity to check out the high-quality apps that are designed to do one thing and do it very well, with no In-App Purchases (IAPs), no fishy permissions, no ads, no data gathering and no internet connection required. Note that the discount is not available on Google Play, as Google Play doesn’t provide developers with a means to temporarily discount their apps.

 

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Fire Tablet Tip of the Week: Prime Members: Never Miss Your Kindle First Books Again

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Which File Storage Type Lasts The Longest?

Posted March 18, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by the Kingston Wi-Drive 32 GB USB 2.0 Pocket-sized Portable Storage. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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No One Lives Forever…and neither does any currently-available form of digital media storage

Remember when CDs first came out and consumers were told they were virtually indestructible and our grandchildren’s grandchildren would still be able to listen to them? And for the most part, we bought it. Until the first time one of our discs got a scratch. Or embedded dust. Or slight warping from heat exposure in the car. Or a chip so tiny you had to whip out a jeweler’s loupe to see it. So much for the immortal CD.

Now we know the same is true of ALL currently-available digital media and data storage methods: none of them will last forever. What most consumers don’t know is that lifespans of various types of storage media and methods vary widely. This means that when it comes time for consumers to decide what kind of media to invest in, whether for purposes of buying pre-recorded entertainment and programs (e.g., music, movies, videogames, software) or for use as a backup method, most of them don’t have the answer to the most important question in the equation: “How long will this last?”

Today I’m answering that question.

 

Different Storage Media Types & Their Lifespans

The Storagecraft blog has an excellent and highly detailed post that covers this topic in greater depth, but here I’m just going to hit the crucial information with a list of storage types and typical lifespans. Note that all of these estimates assume the media is being stored away from hazardous conditions like extreme heat or cold, moisture, magnets and magnetic fields, dust, et cetera.

Magnetic Tape (used for VHS, Betamax, audio, data, more) – up to 30 years in ideal, climate and humidity -controlled environment, otherwise 10-20 years.

NES Game Cartridges, similar game system cartridges – ten years on average.

Floppy Disk – not a terribly reliable media even when new, under ideal conditions the most optimally-manufactured disks can last 10-20 years.

Writeable CD / DVD – 5-10 years.

Writeable Blu-Ray – not yet certain, but as these are an optical disc media like CD and DVD, it’s safest to assume a similar lifespan.

M-Disc – manufacturer claims this media lasts 1,000 years or longer, but as it’s a media type that’s not in wide use (due to being much more expensive than other disc media and the fact they can only be used in an M-disc compatible DVD drive) and has only been around a short time so far, it’s impossible to test the claim. Storagecraft states there’s some impressive documentation and research backing the 1,000 year claim however, so it’s possible.

Hard Disk Drive – as I wrote just recently about them, hard drives’ average lifespan is 3-5 years.

Flash Storage – the lifespan of flash memory (the type of media used by/in SD cards, flash drives, SSD drives) is dictated by quality of manufacture and how often the drive or card is written. In other words, assuming you have a correctly manufactured flash memory card or drive and only write to it once, in theory the card or drive will never degrade further and whatever you wrote on it should still be there for the indefinite future. Of course, small errors in manufacture are typical and most people use their flash memory media over and over again.

Still, having good reason to believe my current laptop is nearing the end of its days, I chose to back up to a flash drive. It’s a drive I rarely use and since I’ve only actually written to it three times (including my backup session), I’m confident the files I backed up will still be there when I need to restore them to a new conputer—whether that’s a few months from now, or a year or longer.

 

More Good Reasons To Go Digital With Pre-Recorded Entertainment Media

This post has primarily been about the use of digital media for data storage and backup, but media that’s already been recorded won’t last forever, either. Limited lifespan is one of the major reasons I’ve abandoned discs for digital media when it comes to video, ebooks, audiobooks and music. I was getting sick and tired of having to buy new copies of movies and CDs every so many years.

So long as my digital library is being regularly backed up by the vendor I bought it from (Amazon, for the most part), my movies, music and books will always be there for me in the future—and maintaining the backups is no longer my problem.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

The Kingston Wi-Drive 32 GB USB 2.0 Pocket-sized Portable Storage is a flash drive that can be used for data storage or backup, but it’s also designed to be a wireless streaming server than allows multiple devices to connect to it and use/view/play digital music, video, photographs and the like. I have the 64GB model, but since it only allows for streaming and sharing of non-DRM content when you connect to it and most of my entertainment media does have DRM, I never use that function. Rather, I’m using it purely as a flash backup drive.

 

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Magazine Fanatics: Check Out Next Issue

Posted March 17, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by the Fintie Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case, currently on sale at 37% off. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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If You’re Spending More Than $15 A Month On Magazines, You Need To Know About Next Issue

I recently came across a mention of Next Issue in a Wired article that was actually about something totally unrelated, but the description of a huge catalog of top-flight magazines available in digital format online or through an app for $14.99/mo piqued my interest, so I got to Googling. Once I found the Next Issue site and checked out the pricing and FAQs, I thought, “I’ve got to share this with my Digital Media Mom readers!”

Note that I don’t get any kind of compensation from Next Issue or any of its publishing partners for sharing Next Issue with you, this is just me letting my readers know about an amazing digital media value.

 

Yep, You Read That Right: Fifteen Bucks A Month For Unlimited Access To Current AND Past Issues Of Magazines You Know And Love

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true: for $14.99 a month you get unlimited access to digital editions of current and past issues of a HUGE catalog of magazines. And these aren’t obscure titles you’ve never heard of, no. We’re talking Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Details, Consumer Reports, Rolling Stone, Time, Sports Illustrated, Better Homes & Gardens, ESPN, Essence, Esquire, Forbes, GQ, Macworld, Outside, National Geographic and LOTS more!

NextIssue

There’s an even more economical option available, too: Next Issue’s $9.99/month subscription plan includes unlimited access to all monthly magazines. You only need the $14.99 subscription if you want unlimited access to the weeklies. Click here to view full details of Next Issue’s pricing plans.

 

Read Your Next Issue Magazines Online Or In The Next Issue App

While there’s no Next Issue app available for Amazon devices (Fire tablets, Fire Phone, Fire TV), Amazon device users aren’t cut out of the Next Issue equation because they can still access the Next Issue site (and their magazines) through the Silk browser that runs on Amazon devices. Of course this means the device must have internet access at the time, but that’s a non-issue for anyone with a WiFi connection.

For others, there’s both an Android and iOS app for accessing Next Issue content, and they’re both free.

 

If I had more time to read magazines, I’d sign up for Next Issue in a heartbeat.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

Fintie has made a name for itself as a purveyor of high-quality and attractive tablet and e-reader cases and covers, and their Fintie Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case is no exception. Note that while the full title of this product says “leather cover”, details provided in the full product description state it is synthetic leather. Nevertheless, I myself own two synthetic leather cases from Fintie and have found them to be durable and well-made. Any vinyl odor that may be present when you first take the cover out of its bag or box dissipates very quickly. The cover pictured below has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars and normally sells for $25.99, but as of this writing you can get it for just $18.99—37% off. It’s also eligible for free Prime Shipping. Click through on the link or image to view many other color and pattern options, as well as cases for other tablet and e-reader models from Fintie.

 

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