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Chromecast Audio Unboxing

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwQDVItKTqc?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this next set of videos, Handyguys Brian and Paul will unbox and setup a Chromecast audio. Over the past few videos, The Handyguys went over how to setup a Google Home device.

Chromecast Audio

The Chromecast audio is a little device that you can fit easily in the palm of your hand. The device costs around $30-$35 depending on where you buy it. The device is used to cast audio from the Google Home, a smart phone, or a tablet to something that has an audio input such as a boombox, stereo system, or power speaker. This device is easily set up by simply sticking it somewhere right on your device. However, the Chromecast audio does need power to function. You can power the device by simply connecting it to an audio input on your device with standard USB power.

Unboxing the Chromecast

The Handyguys unbox the device in this video and prepare the listener for the setup of the device over the next few videos. Within the box for the Chromecast audio there is the device and a power cord. The set up is fairly simple but will be talked about more over the next few videos.

This video is all part of a larger series about home connectivity, home audio devices, and Google products. Stay tuned over the next few videos to learn more about Chromecast audio as well as other Chromecast devices.

The post Chromecast Audio Unboxing appeared first on The Handyguys.

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The Best Reusable K-Cups for the Ethical Coffee Fiend

Espresso machine filling a cup with empty K-cups and coffee beans scattered around it.
Davizro Photography/Shutterstock

All K-Cups last forever—and not in a good way. Why not help out the planet and get one you can use more than once? This list of reusable coffee pods will help you mitigate your polymer purge.

Someday, hundreds of years from now (or, probably, more like 20), people will gather ’round burning tires to spin oral yarns about what life was like in the “Before Times.”

“These little cups,” an elder will explain. “Made from strange, immutable materials, were left to us by the Gods to use as currency.”

At least, that’s what we hope they’ll think. The reality is we just want coffee. Fast. And, by God, if you can think of a better way to do it that doesn’t create eternal trash, then, by all means, have at it, Einstein!

But there is now a way you can keep using your Keurig without the guilt. There are loads of reusable K-Cups out there you can use with whatever variety of coffee grounds you like.

We’ve narrowed down some of the best options for you.

A Note on Compatibility

This list is comprised specifically of Keurig-compatible reusable coffee pods. But, that’s not a single category, considering the range of Keurig machines out there.

There are two generations of Keurig machines: 1.0 and 2.0. All of the below single-serve pods are compatible with both. The exceptions are the Carafe-size pods—these only fit in the 2.0 Keurigs, as they’re so dang big. That includes the Fill N Save Carafe listed below, and the Di Oro carafe pod that gets an honorable mention under the Di Oro Maxbrew.

“But what if I have the Keurig Vue?” you might ask. This black sheep of the Keurig machine family was discontinued in the summer of 2014, crushed under the freshly treaded wheels of the Keurig 2.0 rollout. We don’t talk about the Vue anymore. If you must, you might be able to wrangle an adapter, but no promises on compatibility with any of the below.

Best Budget Option: GoodCups ($11)

Six Goodcups.

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Chromecast Audio Setup Part 1

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEQ5jJ7S-VQ?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul begin to setup a Chromecast Audio. In the previous episode, The Handyguys unboxed this device and gave a brief overview as to what it does. The Chromecast Audio is a small square device that has the ability to cast audio. In the next few episodes, The Handyguys will further expand on the Chromecast Audio. They will also teach viewers how to use the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast as well.

Chromecast Audio logistics

The Chromecast Audio is powered through a USB chord that can either be plugged into a device or can be plugged into a wall adapter. The Audio also comes with an aux chord that should connect to whichever device it is casting onto. You must also have access to wifi as well as the latest version of the Google Home application in order to use the Chromecast Audio. After you have installed the Google Home application, you must find the audio device that you wish to cast onto. If your desired device does not show up automatically in the application, then click on the triple dots in the corner and choose a device.

Troubleshooting and Setup

The application will then initiate a test sound to ensure that the Audio is synced with your audio device of choice. Continue un the app, and accept the terms and conditions screen that will appear. The application will then ask if you want to allow for guest mode. Guest mode is a feature of the Chromecast Audio that allows individuals to cast without being on your wifi network. You can also disable this feature.

Finally, connect to the network as well as your google account in order to stay aware of when your software needs an update. The application will finally switch to the cast buddy that will teach you how to cast. In each streaming function on your smart phone device, there should be a cast button that allows you to cast from the sound application on your phone, through the Chromecast Audio, to the audio speaker of choice.

In the next video, The Handyguys will teach users how to cast video on their device. Stay tuned for more tips and tutorials on Google and Chromecast devices.

Chromecast Audio

The post Chromecast Audio Setup Part 1 appeared first on The Handyguys.

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Chromecast Audio Setup Part 2

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uOLav1bDrI?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this video, The Handyguys do a brief tutorial of the Chromecast Audio. Previously, The Handyguys unboxed and setup the Audio for viewers. This is part of a greater series of videos looking at the Google Home, Chromecast, Chromecast Audio, and Chromecast Ultra. These devices are all compatible with one another yet have different functions. Specifically, the Audio has the ability to cast sound from your smart phone device onto the speaker of choice for the homeowner.

How to use the Chromecast Audio

After the initial setup of the Chromecast Audio, the application allows for the option of a cast buddy. This feature teaches users how to cast and from what applications they can cast. On most streaming applications, there is a cast now icon in the top corner that allows you to automatically cast to the Audio. This feature occurs, of course, after you have downloaded and setup the application. For the purposes of this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul use the streaming application Pandora and cast onto their jobsite radio. You also have the ability to rename your Chromecast Audio device from the given manufacturing ID.

In addition, you can control the volume of the audio from the speaker that you are casting on as well as your mobile device. Look for the cast icon in the application and then control all the subsequent sounds. Furthermore, you have the ability to control the Chromecast Audio from your laptop or other smart devices as well.

In a future show, The Handyguys will explore the question of whether you can use the Google Home as an assistant to cast directly onto the Chromecast audio. The Handyguys will also see if you can go from the phone to both Google Home and the Chromecast device. Stay tuned for more tips and tutorials on the Google Home and Chromecast devices.

The post Chromecast Audio Setup Part 2 appeared first on The Handyguys.

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Adopt These 4 Reasonable Summer Fitness Goals to Avoid Burnout

Woman stretching in the summer sun
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

For many people, the onset of summer means the start of grandiose fitness goals to get in shape for swimsuit season. It’s a lot easier and more productive to set reasonable goals though—here’s how.

Lots of us set new fitness goals every year in preparation for the summer. The problem is we tend to set rigorous goals with the expectation of seeing results within a very short amount of time. By the time we realize our bodies can’t keep up with our ambitions, disappointment sets in. However, goals can be much more attainable and inspiring than that.

The good news is that all it takes to have a more positive personal experience over the summer is a small change in mindset. The moment we realize instant gratification shouldn’t be applied to fitness goals, and that good things take time, we’ll be more receptive towards the achievement of smaller objectives, and our success rate will inevitably increase. 

Whether it’s giving jogging a try, becoming more flexible or getting stronger, there are a variety of objectives you could easily work on over the summer to keep your spirits high and your self-confidence strong and healthy. If you’re looking for inspiration for reasonable summer fitness goals for this year, read on to find out about four options you can easily adopt into the lifestyle you’re ready to embark on.

Become More Flexible

If you’re not particularly active, deciding to increase your level of flexibility is a good way to ease into a more active lifestyle. For as simplistic as this activity may seem, the benefits are significant and involve both body and mind. 

Post-workout dynamic stretching and yoga, for instance, can help improve range of motion and muscle elasticity and even lower the chances of muscle injury. Furthermore, they help in stress and tension release, making you feel re-energized and more agile at the end of every session. 

Whether you decide to work on being able to touch your toes or do a specific yoga pose, all you need to do is practice for a few minutes every day. That’s part of the beauty of stretching: it doesn’t take up much time of your day, it doesn’t require a lot of space, and it comes with a variety of benefits. 

Consistency and determination are key. The more often you practice, the faster you’ll notice a change. This mindset is at the core of any fitness goal, which is why starting easy with something as simple as improving your flexibility can be the driving force behind greater goals. 

Hold a Plank For A Certain Number of Minutes

Planks are another easy way to test your fitness level. Holding a plank, whether it’s by standing on your elbows or your hands, requires a fair amount of core strength to last for longer than a few seconds. Holding one for longer than one minute is already a clear indicator of a strong core, the set of muscles located around your abdomen that can help with good posture and prevention of lower back pain. 

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How to Score a Cheap Amazon Prime Subscription for Prime Day

Prime Day banner showing July 15 and 16

Amazon normally charges $120 a year for Prime. But you don’t have to pay that much to get access to the sales this Prime Day on July 15 and 16. There are some cheaper (even free!) ways to score Prime.

Anyone: Get 30 Days of Free Amazon Prime

If you’ve never signed up for Amazon Prime before—or maybe even if you have—you can get a free 30-day subscription. That’s enough time to shop the Prime Day deals on Amazon and then cancel the subscription later, if you don’t want to pay.

We’ve seen reports that Amazon offers this free trial to people who haven’t paid for Amazon Prime in the last 12 months, too. If you have a lapsed Prime membership, visit the Prime sign-up page and see if Amazon offers you a free trial once again.

After your 30 days, Amazon will automatically upgrade you to a paid subscription. Be sure to cancel auto-renewal if you don’t want to keep it.

Prime 30-day free trial

Students: Get Six Months of Free Prime

Amazon offers six free months of Prime for students. Amazon will verify you’re a student by sending an email to a .edu email address you control.

After that, the Prime Student membership will renew at either $59 a year or $6.49 per month—about half the cost of a standard Prime subscription. You can keep it at this lower price or cancel auto-renew to prevent Amazon from billing you.

EBT or Medicaid: Get Prime for Half Price

If you have an EBT or Medicaid card, Amazon will let you sign up for a cheaper Prime membership. You’ll get the same 30-day free trial anyone else can get. Amazon will then bill you $5.99 per month for Prime.

That’s about half the cost of a standard Prime subscription, which usually costs $12.99 a month or $119 a year.

Anyone: Pay For a Month Instead of a Year

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Tuesdays with a Twist #272 LINKUP

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party!

It’s a warming up!!  It was in the 90s here yesterday and they garden is GROWING delicious veggies.

If you’re interested in planning your next garden (or your first garden), check out Mary’s 2018 Planting Guide for the US

Are you ready for the party?   We’re your hosts 

Add our button if you’ve been featured!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and “like” your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

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Why you get more acne in winter?

winter skin care, acne in winter
Image Courtesy : Brigitte Tohm via pexels.com

Winters are lovely! But, there are few things which come with the season which can make it a little difficult to live with. Be it excessive dryness or increase in inflammation of the body or static electricity, winter has its own share of skin problems to deal with. One of the major grouches for some is combating more acne in winter, surprisingly! Usually we associate acne and breakouts with summers when it is hot, sweaty and humid but winter dryness is no less irritating for the skin. There are a few things however you could take care of in the season to keep acne in winter at bay.

Why you get more acne in winter?

1. Excessive Dry Skin.

Humidity levels drop significantly during the season especially in the drier climates leading to loss of moisture through the skin. Not using correct skin care products and taking too hot showers are also why your skin is getting excessively dry.

The result being our skin produces more sebum to counter the dryness and one tends to apply excess of moisturizer or use a heavy moisturizer instead which leads to clogged up pores resulting in acne in winter.

There are usually few long term treatments which work for acne except keeping your diet right and using the correct skin care products but AskApollo is offering photodynamic therapy for acne.

2. Dead Skin Cell Buildup.

Another cause for excessive dry skin is dead skin cell buildup which is comparatively higher during the winters. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in proper absorption of the skin care products reducing in skin dryness.

However, it is advised to use salicylic acid for acne prone skin for exfoliation instead of physical scrubs which are abrasive and cause worse damage to the skin by spreading the bacteria across the face.

3. Lack of Vitamin D.

Surprising, yes! But, true. If your body is deficient of this essential vitamin, it can flare up your acne. In fact, lack of Vitamin D is one of the reasons why you are suffering from cold and flu as it affects your immunity.

4. Eating Rich Food.

Well, we are guilty of that pleasure! It being the holiday season and a season of indulgence, we all gorge on rich, oily and comforting foods which affects our metabolism and digestive system. Excess sugar and alcohol is also not helpful for the acne-prones. All of these result in excessive acne in winter.

5. Not Changing Pillow cases

The oils from your hair and skin gets accumulated on the pillows every night. It is advised for those prone to acne to change their pillow cases at least once to twice a week to avoid letting the old pillow case break you out. Also, keep a separate face towel and do not touch your face repeatedly or at all, if possible!

So, these may be just the few reasons why you get more acne in winter. Keeping the food light and detoxing the body once in fifteen days will help with your metabolism and the so dreaded holiday weight as well. Do not let your skin get excessively dry and keep away the harsh winter winds from your skin and you are good to go. Happy holidays!

The post Why you get more acne in winter? appeared first on Perfect Skin Care for you.

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Choosing the Right Kitchen Flooring for Your Home

Kitchens are often a busy place in your home. From making big family breakfasts to hosting dinner parties, your kitchen — especially the floor — has been through a lot.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xSnHIBuD0M?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

Once you’ve decided to replace your kitchen flooring, you might come to realize there are a lot of new flooring options to choose from. Watch as home maintenance experts The Handyguys discuss some of the new choices you have in kitchen flooring.

Thanks to Allstate for sponsoring this episode

The post Choosing the Right Kitchen Flooring for Your Home appeared first on The Handyguys.

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Using Google Home and Chromecast To Play Videos On Your TV

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNQZoPc9eJo?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul use Chromecast and the Google Home to cast a Handyguys video onto a TV. In the past few episodes, Handyguys Brian and Paul have been exploring the home improvement benefits that can come through the Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. They have successfully also installed home automation between the Google Home or Alexa and other devices. Before attempting to cast a video onto your TV, you must sync and name the TV with your Google Home and Chromecast device. Watch The Handyguys’ video on Chromecast TV for step by step instruction!

Using Google Home to Cast a Video Onto Your TV

Handyguys Brian and Paul attempt to have the Chromecast cast a Handyguys show onto the TV in the Handyguys studio. Handyguy Brian then instructs the Google Home to play the Handyguys Youtube on the TV. The device then casts the video onto the studio TV as that is the only TV synced to the Google Home. If one was to have multiple TVs synced with the Google Home, they may have to name each TV so that these process would work seamlessly.

The Chromecast is an incredibly useful tool that homeowners should consider investing in for their home automation needs.

The post Using Google Home and Chromecast To Play Videos On Your TV appeared first on The Handyguys.

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How to live with irregular working hours?

irregular working hours, working at night, night shifts,
Image Courtesy : Startup Stock Photos via pexels.com

I should have done this post long long ago, especially living with someone with irregular working hours for almost four years now! Since the new job four years back, Mr. P has been working irregular hours and I know the pain of having a messed up routine first hand. As a spouse, even my routine was pretty disturbed till a year back when I put my foot down.

I had to make the decision of not living according to his irregular working hours but creating a routine of my own for the sake of my health and sanity. Even now, the routine does go haywire but it is a lot better than what it used to be!

Working in irregular hours messes up the entire body clock, right from your sleep to your meal times. It can get so bad that you either stop eating or stop sleeping as per your body’s requirements.

Well, irregular work schedule or not, it is your job and stress is inevitable so you have to take charge of your own schedule and work around your timings to make sure you stay in your best shape mentally and physically.

How to live with irregular working hours?

Create a Workspace at Home

Many times you tend to work from home due to odd working hours since it is easy and more comfortable. I would say being in a work environment helps in being more focused but each to their own. If staying and working from home, create a workspace for yourself. Do not work from bed. Get a study table or at least a corner in your living room where you would not get disturbed. In fact, it is said that wearing formal clothes and getting ready for office also works pretty well to bring yourself into the working mode. This will at least help your body and mind to differentiate between your working mode and relaxing modes.

Disconnect after your Work is Over

Resting and relaxing is extremely important when you are working irregular hours. Make sure you disconnect from technology totally. I would even suggest to avoid social media, browsing or even television since they provide entertainment but they do not really relax you! Make sure you spend time with yourself and your family. If you are staying alone, try to spend time playing something or pursuing a new hobby or going for a walk instead. Get your priorities right if you would like to live a healthy life.

Also Read : How to Sleep Well?

Make sure you get adequate sleep. First, disconnect. Disconnect from your laptpop, ipad, mobile and even television. Do not carry any of your screens to your bed. Close off all the curtains and doors to make sure the room gets minimal light, especially if sleeping in day time. And, if sleeping at a stretch is not possible, getting naps at regular intervals is a better idea to refresh yourself and avoid sleep lag. This is something I would advise for working moms as well so that you do not over stress yourself.

Eat Regularly

Another major hit is your meal schedule. Your body refuses any kind of fuel at odd hours or you end up with digestive disorders. Either you do not feel like eating or get terribly hungry and start having cravings or gorge on carbs if low on energy and sleep. To avoid this, eat at regular intervals even if they are small meals. Eat protein and carb rich foods so you do not get sugar rushes. Nutrition bars, healthy snacks, fruits and fruit shakes or juices are all great options for a quick pick up.

There is hardly anything we can do to control our irregular working hours. So, it is better to adjust our routines accordingly and work our way towards being as healthy as possible under the circumstances. So, happy new year, happy working and a very healthy year to you!!

The post How to live with irregular working hours? appeared first on Perfect Skin Care for you.

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Chromecast Audio and Google Home Integration

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6l86YjVMiQ?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul explore how to cast from the Google Home device onto their studio jobsite radio. The Chromecast Audio is a casting device. This device allows an individual to cast audio from an application on their smart device onto an audio device of choice. This is part of a larger series of videos exploring how to use the Google Home and Chromecast devices.

Changing the Audio name in the Application

In the previous video, the manufacturing ID named the Chromecast Audio. Handyguys Brian and Paul change the manufacturing name to be reflective of where the Chromecast Audio is located in their house. You can change the name of the Audio by going into devices of the Google Home application and choosing the Chromecast. You can then click on the chosen device, delete the name, and rename it. For the purposes of this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul rename the Chromecast to shop radio. This is the device that the Chromecast is casting onto in the Handyguys studio.

Google Home Integration with Chromecast

After this, Handyguy Brian then asks the Google Home to play music on the shop speakers. An individual can easily cast from the Google Home to the Chromecast Audio via voice command. You are also able to ask the Google Home to turn down the music and stop at any time. Furthermore, if you are familiar with the audio levels of the Google Home, you can instruct the Chromecast Audio. The levels range from 1-11.

Therefore, the Chromecast Audio is a useful device in casting audio from a smart device or the Google Home onto your home audio speaker. In the next videos, The Handyguys will unbox and explore home to use the Chromecast. Stay tuned for more handy tips on Google and Chromecast devices.

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Chromecast TV Unboxing (Video) – The Handyguys

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUTvKIq2748?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

In this video, Handyguys Brian and Paul unbox a Chromecast TV. The Chromecast is a device that enables you to stream from a smart device onto a TV easily through casting. Previously, Handyguys Brian and Paul unboxed ands setup for the Chromecast Audio. The Audio has the same functions as the Chromecast TV except exclusively for home audio devices. This is part of a larger series of videos in which The Handyguys unbox, setup, and teach viewers how to use Google Home and Chromecast devices.

Unboxing the Chromecast TV

The Chromecast TV hooks up fairly easily to your TV. On the initial flap of the Chromecast, there are a set of 3 instructions on how to use the device. First, plug the Chromecast into the TV and a power outlet, switch the input, and go through the setup process. The Handyguys will go through this entire process in later videos.  The box for the Chromecast TV also includes a USB and an HDMI on Chromecast itself. If your TV has a USB power outlet, then you can easily power the Chromecast through your TV itself.

Stay tuned for more tips and tutorials on how to use the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.

The post Chromecast TV Unboxing (Video) – The Handyguys appeared first on The Handyguys.

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Tuesdays with a Twist #273 LINKUP

It’s been hot!!  The garden is GROWING delicious veggies and we’re harvesting almost every day.

If you’re interested in planning your next garden (or your first garden), check out Mary’s 2018 Planting Guide for the US

Are you ready for the party?   We’re your hosts 

Add our button if you’ve been featured!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and “like” your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

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Create a Summer Bucket List to Make the Most of the Season

Two people kayaking with steep cliffs in the background.

Have you ever reached the last day of summer, only to realize you squandered most of it? It’s all too easy to let the season slip away without doing the things you wanted to—but a summer bucket list can help.

You’re probably already familiar with the “bucket list” concept. It’s a list of things you plan to do, and you cross them off as you complete them. Some people make bucket lists for a trip, or for all the things they want to do in their lifetime. But a summer bucket list addresses the problem of feeling like the season is over before you got a chance to make the most of it.

Here’s how to make a summer bucket list that will maximize your time, and give you memories that will last for years to come.

Choose Your Format

First, pick the best format for your list. Oh, that’s right! This isn’t a metaphorical list; this is an actual list you’re going to fill up with summer fun and goals.

If you love writing on paper, buy a notebook or planner to keep your list. If you prefer to keep things digital, start a note on your phone or a Google doc. As you accomplish things on your bucket list, you’ll get the dopamine boost that comes from achievement—and having your list written down lets you see those accomplishments all in one place.

Keep It Realistic

Now, you can start writing down ideas for your list. However, try to be realistic about how easy or difficult these things are. Remember, you only have one season to get them done! You might want to spend a month in Europe, but if you haven’t even started planning yet, that might not be a realistic goal for your summer bucket list.

Rather than adding unrealistic items to your list, consider what might be a simpler version of it. For example, instead of a month in Europe, maybe you could spend a week at a closer vacation destination. Or, put things on your bucket list that bring you closer to that more challenging goal. Maybe “saving for a trip to Europe” should go on your bucket list for this summer so that you can go next year.

Your bucket list items don’t all have to be purely “fun” things, especially if they’re bringing you closer to a future goal.

Add Plans for Each Item

RELATED: Interested in Yoga? It’s Easy to Get Started at Home

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Tuesdays with a Twist #274 LINKUP

It’s been hot!!  The garden is GROWING delicious veggies and we’re harvesting almost every day.

If you’re interested in planning your next garden (or your first garden), check out Mary’s 2018 Planting Guide for the US

Are you ready for the party?   We’re your hosts 

Add our button if you’ve been featured!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and “like” your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

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How Criminals Order Phones in Your Name (and How to Stop Them)

A gloved hand stealing a phone from someone's back pocket.

A new type of phone theft is on the rise. Instead of stealing phones directly from you, thieves impersonate you to get brand new smartphones from your cellular carrier and stick you with the bill. Here’s what’s going on.

What Is Account Hijacking?

Outright smartphone theft is getting harder to pull off and less lucrative. We’re more careful with our phones than we used to be and—starting with the iPhone—more smartphones offer encryption and lost phone tools out of the box. So, some criminals have adopted a new tactic. Instead of messing with stolen phones and worrying about activation problems, they pose as you and order new phones on your account.

The scam works well for a variety of reasons. The criminal gets to take advantage of any phone deals your account is eligible for, paying as little as possible up-front (perhaps, even nothing at all), and you may not notice until it’s too late. Upgrading your existing lines is the more noticeable method because your phones stop working, so some criminals add new lines, instead. With that route, you may not realize what’s happened until the next bill comes. And, if you have your phone bill set up for automatic payment, you could miss it for longer than that.

In some cases, the point isn’t to steal phones. Criminals may upgrade your lines as a means to take your number through SIM swapping. Your phone number is transferred to a phone they have, which they can then use to hijack any accounts that rely on your phone number as a recovery option.

How Criminals Hijack Cell Phone Accounts

The words "Identity Theft" over $100 bills.
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At this point, you might wonder how a criminal can buy smartphones with someone else’s account. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered more than one answer to that question.

Sometimes, the perpetrator steals your identity, creates a fake ID with your name and his photo, and then goes to a retail store to buy the phones. You might think that method could only occur close to where you are but, as Lorrie Cranor, a former chief technologist for the FTC found out, that’s not the case at all. She discovered her phones turned off after someone posing as her, multiple states away, upgraded her lines to new iPhones. You can find similar complaints on phone carriers’ forums as well.

In 2017, Cleveland police arrested three men after linking them to $65,000 worth of cell phone theft, mostly through the use of fake IDs.

In other cases, simple phishing tactics are at play. In early 2019, Verizon customers in Florida started receiving calls about suspected fraud. The representative told the victims they needed to verify their identity and, to do so, Verizon would send a PIN. They would then need to read the PIN to the person on the phone.

But the person on the phone wasn’t an employee from Verizon. It was the fraudster the victim had just been warned about. In this case, the thief generated an actual Verizon PIN, most likely by using the account recovery process. When the victim received the PIN and handed it over, they gave the criminal the very details they needed to get into the account and order new smartphones. Thankfully, Verizon employees noticed other red flags and called the police, but that doesn’t always happen.

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How to Encrypt and Decrypt Files With GPG on Linux

Linux terminal window on a laptop
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Protect your privacy with the Linux gpg command. Use world-class encryption to keep your secrets safe. We’ll show you how to use gpg to work with keys, encrypt files, and decrypt them.

GnuPrivacy Guard (GPG) allows you to securely encrypt files so that only the intended recipient can decrypt them. Specifically, GPG complies with the OpenPGP standard. It is modeled on a program called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). PGP was written in 1991 by Phil Zimmerman.

GPG relies on the idea of two encryption keys per person. Each person has a private key and a public key. The public key can decrypt something that was encrypted using the private key.

To send a file securely, you encrypt it with your private key and the recipient’s public key. To decrypt the file, they need their private key and your public key.

You’ll see from this that public keys must be shared. You need to have the public key of the recipient in order to encrypt the file, and the recipient needs your public key to decrypt it. There is no danger in making your public keys just that—public. In fact, there are Public Key Servers for that very purpose, as we shall see. Private keys must be kept private. If your public key is in the public domain, then your private key must be kept secret and secure.

There are more steps involved in setting up GPG than there are in using it. Thankfully, you usually need only set it up once.

Generating Your Keys

The gpg command was installed on all of the Linux distributions that were checked, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and Manjaro.

You don’t have to use GPG with email. You can encrypt files and make them available for download, or pass them physically to the recipient. You do need to associate an email address with the keys you generate, however, so choose which email address you are going to use.

Here is the command to generate your keys. The --full-generate-key option generates your keys in an interactive session within your terminal window. You will also be prompted for a passphrase. Make sure you remember what the passphrase is. Three or four simple words joined together with punctuation is a good and robust model for passwords and passphrases.

gpg --full-generate-key

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