Join us on September 15, 2013 for an educational and fun afternoon at Gibbs Butterfly Park in Huntington Beach. Enjoy the music and have fun with face painting, puppet show, crafts, games and more…
Your Facebook Life: Less is More
“Less is best,” is Alexis Moore’s mantra when it comes to privacy and sharing information on Facebook.
According to Pew Research Center’s “Internet & American Life Project,” the fastest growth among social networking users has come from those who are 74 and older. If you’re among that group and you’ve started using Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends and network with people who share common interests, take some time to explore and understand the dangers the site poses for privacy and safety and understand how to protect yourself and your identity.
Though this list is far from comprehensive, here are some key safety measures to keep in mind when you’re using Facebook.
Facebook is a scammers’ playground because they often can find a wealth of information–that you provide voluntarily–that helps them to steal your identity.
For instance, you don’t want to announce your exact birthday to the world. “It’s a key piece of information scammers and identity thieves use to harm you,” according to Moore, an expert on cyber stalking, a risk management consultant, and vice president and broker of Blackstone Realty Group in El Dorado Hills, Calif. “One of my friends is always 40 on Facebook,” she jokes.
Also be wary about revealing your mother’s maiden name because it’s a vital bit of security information used by banks and credit card companies.
“Facebook isn’t the government,” according to Moore that means you don’t have to put your full, legal name on Facebook. Instead, use a nickname.
You also don’t have to list your precise hometown. So if you live in a tiny community, Moweaqua, Illinois, for example, consider listing a bigger city–Decatur, Illinois or even Chicago–as your home town. That makes it harder for wrongdoers to collect vital bits of information about you that they can later use to hijack your account, steal your identity, or track you down in the virtual or physical world.
Lock down your privacy settings. Review the privacy settings and keep in mind Moore’s “less is best” advice when you’re responding to the most basic Facebook set-up questions, such as:
- Who can see my stuff?
- Who can see your future posts?
Pick the settings that allow only friends to see your updates and reach out to you.
“When you’re establishing your account, get someone to help you with it so you’re not setting yourself up for trouble,” comments Moore.
I’m on vacation!
Post pictures and comments about your vacation adventures only after you’ve returned home and not during your trip. Why? “You’re announcing to the world, ‘I’m not home,'” says Moore.
That means you’re potentially leaving yourself vulnerable to thieves who can figure out exactly how long they’ll have to rob your house.
The same goes for event invitations. Facebook is a convenient way to invite people to parties and celebrations, but once you say yes to a Facebook invitation, keep in mind that you’re also broadcasting that you’ll be at a certain place on a certain date.
Picture my house, expensive toys.
Get familiar with geotagging if you’re uploading photos to your Facebook page using GPS-equipped Smartphones and digital cameras. Depending on your device’s settings, you could be including the location of where the images were taken. When you upload images, that information can be embedded in the photo and miscreants can find out exactly where a picture was shot.
So that means, if you take pictures of your house and fancy electronics, thieves can find your address. Or if you’ve taken pictures of your grandchildren in their backyard, people can figure out where your little one lives. For more about geotagged photos, see www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/technology/personaltech/12basics.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
1234 isn’t tough.
Yes, it’s hard to remember the passwords to all the sites you visit, and if you lean toward using your dog’s name combined with a couple numbers, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.
It’s pretty easy for someone trying to hijack your Facebook account by just testing out Fido1234.
Create beefy passwords that contain upper and lower case letters, punctuation marks, oddball characters (@%*^), and numbers.
Also, using the same password for multiple accounts is a no-no.
For some surprising insight on passwords, see www.npr.org/2012/09/20/161502081/your-pin-may-not-be-uncrackable-after-all. In the story, Nick Berry, president of the data mining consulting company Data Genetics, points out just how unimaginative people are when choosing passwords and how easy that makes life for identity thieves.
I don’t want to be rude.
Maybe you feel like it’s impolite to reject someone’s offer of friendship. But if you don’t know the person or don’t like the person, ignore the friend request. Ask yourself whether you’d be willing to share your personal details, opinions, and family reunion photos with the guy sitting next to you on the subway. If your answer is no, practice being rude.
In addition, if someone in your Facebook circle of friends scares you or makes you uncomfortable, you accidentally accept a friend request from a stranger, or you no longer want to keep in touch with someone, Facebook allows you to unfriend people. Here’s how: www.facebook.com/help/172936839431357. For more safety advice, see https://www.facebook.com/safety.
In addition, if there’s a stalker in your past or you want to be certain that an ex-spouse or ex-friend can’t reach you on Facebook, look into the blocking feature, which denies those people permission to reach you.
Things change, and Facebook is notorious for changing its privacy parameters. So check your settings periodically to be certain that you’re still guarding the information that you want to keep safe.
Sure, it’s tempting just to park yourself on a lounge chair and just gaze at your burgeoning garden. But with a little extra effort, you can get more out of your late-summer garden.
Here are seven ways to make the most of your August garden.
1. January herbs. Take the time to pluck some choice herbs and store them for the winter. On the day of a January blizzard, you’ll be able to whip up some pesto that will give you a taste of summer and remind you of the better weather to come. You can freeze or dehydrate herbs. Find tips here:
2. Instant gratification. If you’re looking for some instant gratification, consider planting some easy-to-grow vegetables, such as mesclun lettuce and radishes, in containers. They’re a cinch to plant, they’re low maintenance, and you can harvest them before it gets cold.
3. Bumper crops. Gardeners are always anxious to hand off their overload of zucchini. Plan ahead by finding great ways to use the surplus. Recipes abound for breads, salads, pasta toppings. And don’t forget about saving it for later (ponder that January snowstorm again) by freezing or canning it. Here are spots for recipes:
4. Share the bounty. Donate excess produce to local food pantries. Find nearby pantries that accept vegetables.
5. Gleaning. Consider getting a group together to do some gleaning or join an existing group. Gleaners volunteer to pick and distribute produce that would otherwise rot on the vine. Learn more here:
6. Harvest your seeds. Especially if you’ve enjoyed some particularly tasty tomatoes or vegetable, pluck and save the seeds for next year. Learn how here:
7. Meals in a jar. Enjoy your bounty in a creative way by jumping on the meals in a jar trend. You basically layer fresh ingredients in a Mason jar and tote them to school and work. Or you can go the canning route for longer-term storage.
Either way, you’re eliminating plastic, reusing glass, and the lunch fare looks pretty enticing. For recipes and info, see:
You’ve likely read all the dark news about people’s thin retirement accounts and about how so many feel like they’ll never be able to retire.
If you’re among those who are over 50 years old and are hunting for a job, look to companies that will treat you best.
In determining which organizations would receive the award, they looked at an array of topics important to the over-50 set. Among them were employers’ recruiting practices; opportunities for training, education and career development; alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling, job-sharing and phased retirement; and retiree benefits.
Consider the list when you’re looking to change jobs. The top three employers were:
See the complete list here: www.aarp.org/work/on-the-job/info-06-2013/aarp-best-employers-winners-2013.html
Qualifying For a Refi
If you’re a retiree and you’ve had trouble qualifying for a mortgage or refinancing a home loan because of insufficient income, you might want to try again.
A rule change at Freddie Mac allows Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k)s, and other such income to be considered for underwriting purposes.
Though you’re not required to tap that money to qualify for a mortgage, such accounts are taken into consideration when measuring your debt-to-income ratios.
Little gardens tucked in between apartment buildings and on abandoned urban lots have become ubiquitous.
A lush, manicured lawn, long a staple in boosting a home’s curb appeal, likely will be a turnoff to buyers schooled in the basics of sustainability.
If your house is eco-friendly, be certain that the first impression telegraphs sustainability to prospective buyers.
1. Natural landscape. Swap turf for low-maintenance, drought-resistant native plants that don’t demand chemical intervention.
Get up to speed on sustainable design principles and creating water-wise outdoor environments that are attractive and require little maintenance.
For information and resources: www.lawnreform.org and www.finegardening.com/blog/sustainable-landscaping.
2. Don’t fake it. If someone takes a peek into your garage and finds it loaded with weed killer, fertilizer, and an array of gas-powered mowers and tools, they’ll know that your eco-friendly curb appeal is just for show. Prospects’ next question might be: What else are these homeowners faking?
3. Light lights. Energy-hungry flood lights hooked to motion sensors send the wrong message. Instead, install solar-powered or LED lighting. And it’s all the better if you can quantify the energy savings of these eco-friendly alternatives.
4. Easy living. Create a sense that a house is in move-in condition. Help buyers to imagine themselves ensconced in your yard and show them they don’t need to do the heavy lifting.
Consider installing a drip irrigation system and have attractive rain barrels and composting bins in place and get gardens and planter boxes in shape with low-maintenance plants, vegetables and herbs, and colorful flowers. Also, create a haven for birds with appropriate plants, shrubs and water. For tips, click here.
5. Color me green. When repainting your garage, front door, trim, shutters, and fences, opt for low-VOC paint. The same approach–non-toxic stains and sealants– applies when you’re rebuilding or freshening up your decks.
6. Outdoor decor. Don’t let your porch and deck be an afterthought. Sustainable decking material and furniture and decorations made from recycled or renewable sources reinforce your sustainable curb appeal.
7. Door decor. Think organic when it comes to door wreaths and introduce fresh, natural scents, such as lavender, rosemary, and cinnamon, and use natural materials, such as dried leaves and fresh balsam.
8. Trash or treasure? Sure salvaged wood and repurposed tires and industrial materials can go a long way in the hands of a skilled artist. But an artistic vibe also can seem junky. Ask a friend–someone who’s honest and has good taste– to cast a vote. Trash or treasure?
9. Talk it up. Be certain to share all your eco-friendly outdoor upgrades with your real estate practitioner so he or she can point out the subtle green features, along with the time, energy and water savings those features will offer to future homeowners.