Facebook Game Ads and Facebook News Feeds, taking control of your options, with pictures – HaliPawz

One of the joys of writing about a Facebook game such as Candy Crush Saga, like I did yesterday led to my news feed on Facebook having game ads.  This is different than the game requests we get from friends I wrote about before.  These ads show us what games our friends are playing.  I don’t fault someone for playing games on Facebook, I just don’t want my news feed filled with advertisements about all the games I can play.  This post will show you how to minimize them and how to control some of the options of your Facebook News Feed so you see what you really care about and not everything else.

As with most things on Facebook, if you want to make adjustments and changes, the easiest way is to do it from a desktop or laptop.  If you don’t have access to those, open Facebook up in your web browser on your smart phone or tablet, not in the app, click on your options (my pictures show on IOS so it may be different on another phone or tablet but it should be in a similar location) scroll all the way to the bottom, and click on Desktop Version.

Accessing Desktop Version on an IOS system

Accessing Desktop Version on an IOS system

Accessing Desktop Version on an IOS system

Accessing Desktop Version on an IOS system

This is what Facebook will look like after you switch it to Desktop Site Option

This is what Facebook will look like after you switch it to Desktop Site Option  Shoutout to “Smokey the Pony” featured in this pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, it is pretty small, so it is a lot easier to do on a desktop or laptop computer but if you don’t have it, then make the best of it!

 

 

So, now we are ready to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

****To just see how to edit News Feed Options, scroll to the bottom to the Bonus Tip****

Step 1 – Determine you do not want to see a particular game’s advertisement on your feed anymore. I have chosen Vegas Downtown Slots.  I will never play it and I don’t want to continue seeing it.

Selecting a Game you no longer want to see on your newsfeed in Facebook

Selecting a Game you no longer want to see on your news feed in Facebook

Step 2 – Click on the Select Options button (Looks Like a V in the right hand corner of the post) Then click on the “Hide All” Option

Two steps, first the option select button, then the hide all optio

Two steps, first the option select button, then the hide all option

You will see a screen like this

Facebook Game Advertisement is now hidden

Facebook Game Advertisement is now hidden

The next steps are optional.  You can go and enjoy Facebook like before or take control of your News Feed

 

Step 3 – This is to have better control of your news feed.  Click on News Feed Preferences

Facebook Game Posts 3b

 

Step 4 – Go through each option, look to see which groups, people, etc you want to “follow”.  If you don’t want them showing up on your news feed but you don’t want to remove the group or the person, just click the “following” box.  All the ones with a check mark next to them are ones you have showing up in your news feed.  If they have a ” + Follow” box then they are not showing up.

Looking through each category to see who you want to follow or unfollow to determine what shows on your news feed

Looking through each category to see who you want to follow or unfollow to determine what shows on your news feed

Step 5 – Click on any you do not want to show up in your news feed.  Once you have gone through each category, you can just close it and you are done!  Your news feed will be more of what you WANT to see and less of what you don’t!

Make sure the ones you do not want showing up in your news feed have and + before the word follow.

Make sure the ones you do not want showing up in your news feed have and + before the word follow.

****Bonus Tip****

If you just want to edit your News Feed Preferences, you can do this at any time.  On a desktop or laptop, Move your mouse over the News Feed option on the left hand side (under Search Facebook)

A little gear shift icon will appear to the left of News Feed

Click on it and then click on Edit Preferences

This will take you to the same options as listed before

Facebook game Post 9 Facebook Game Post 10

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive the graininess of these pics, I couldn’t hover and do a screen shot at the same time so I had to take with my iPhone.

 

 

I hope this helps you have a better experience with your Facebook News Feed!

 

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shopping Safely, Online and In Person – HaliPawz

Online Auction
Shopping can be a sport to some, a pain to others.  I have to admit, I’m not a shopper except at Christmas time, then I love to shop!  When I do shop, for the most part, I will do a lot of it online.  Sometimes it is easier to find what I am looking for online.  For example, Luke, my horse, is a draft horse, so I can’t just walk into any tack shop & buy stuff for him.  Sometimes, it is easier to purchase items from smaller companies than it is from a big box company.  Because of this, you want to make sure you are being SAFE and SMART with your purchases.
Here are some tips:
1.  Whenever possible, look for the little padlock icon in the URL (where it says  http://www…..). That padlock tells you the company is using a secure website.  It is more secure, your information is more protected.
padlock icon
Notice the padlock next to the word “PayPal”
2.  If it’s not a secure site, use PayPal or Google Wallet. Both of them offer the consumer protection against fraud.  Make sure you read their terms and conditions.  Understand there are time limits to request your funds back.  Scammers know the terms and conditions better than you do, so if they are dishonest, they will try to stretch it past that time or try to catch you up and get you to do something that goes against the company policy.  You are responsible for knowing all the details.  I wish I could say everyone is good and honest, but in reality, they aren’t.
3.  Never Never Never wire someone money.  If they don’t use the above, you don’t want what they are selling.  I wish I could say this more than once or have you repeat it over and over.  They will come up with great reasons why you should wire the money.  DO NOT LISTEN!   The same is true for using money orders.  Keep the same mindset.
4.  The old adage “If something is too good to be true….” Definitely applies here.  Sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best.  Make sure to look for hidden “maintenance” fees or outrageous shipping.  One example of this happening is with online contact lens companies.  They will advertise crazy inexpensive pricing for their contacts, when you go to check out, there will be ridiculous shipping charges or a “maintenance fee” tacked on.  It might have another name, like “processing fee.”  No matter what cute name they put on it, it adds to the price and it might not be cheaper.  Too often, by the time you get to that point, you see the amount but you have already put in your information and you don’t want the hassle of starting over.  They capitalize on the psychology of some behavior and still get the business.
4.  Auctions are another great way to get something for a good, or even great, price. I use them often, but again, use only secure sites or PayPal, etc.  Do your homework. Don’t get so caught up in the bidding that you end up spending more than you can find it elsewhere for.  Take a minute, look up the item online, see what price you can get it for, then pick a price you’re willing to spend and don’t go over it.  A lot of the better auction sites offer proxy bidding so you can put in the price you’re willing to spend and then walk away. Have the mindset you might lose, but you’ll be happy if you win.  One of my favorite online auction is Samsclub.com.  This is a fun one because you know the product, you know it’s backed by the company, and, for the most part, it is all brand new merchandise.  It made it to the auction because the item is low in the club or the on hand numbers on-line are too low to keep it on their website, so they move it to the auction to clear it out. For the dog and horse owners, another great one is Horseloverz.com.  One nice feature is you can wait up to four days to actually purchase your winning items, so if you’re bidding on quite a few items, you can pay for them all at once and have them shipped out with less shipping costs.  It is a little messy to wade through all of the items, but once you get comfortable with it, you can learn to use the filters to find what you are looking for.  It’s not as easy to find the dog stuff, but they have it from time to time, so keep checking back, items vary all the time.  Another tried and true site you can find a variety of items is ebay.com.  If you have any other favorites, please put them in the comments below to share with the readers.
5.  When I do shop in person, I like to support small businesses so I always make sure to grab their business card the first time.  Some of the them now use PayPal Here, square trade, or some other form of mobile credit card processing.  Sometimes these are connected to a smart phone or tablet.  It doesn’t mean they are not safe, but if you don’t recognize the company they are using, it is OK to ask them.  Pay attention to your credit card statements.
6. If at a Brick & Mortar (Wal-Mart, Target, etc) always always run your card as credit, not debit (even if it is a debit card).  By doing this, you are protecting yourself from someone seeing you key in your pin.  The person standing beside you on their phone “texting” could be snapping pictures of your credit card and memorizing your pin.  It also protects you more as a consumer.
7.  Make sure you have complicated passwords for anything and anyplace you would be putting your personal info into. This includes social media. If you use a smart phone to shop, always lock it (you should anyway) and don’t use 1,2,3,4 as a password. Make it something only YOU know, not family & friends. Don’t use birthday!  LOL  It is important to use something unique.
8.  Trust your gut! If something seems shady, don’t buy! No purchase is worth it.
9. Last, but not least, if you are truly concerned, get a second card / account that you use for online shopping / small business purchases.  Be careful of the fees that are involved.  I don’t do this because I follow the above steps. I probably purchase 60+% of non food / household items online.  It saves me time & allows for me to find the best price.
Oh….bonus tip….if you find something online that you really like from a larger company, put it in the shopping cart but don’t purchase.  A lot of times, within 24 hours you’ll get a “Did you forget something?” Email and they’ll offer free shipping with a code.  I hardly ever pay for shipping or very little.  Also check the site “RetailMeNot” for specials or just google the Business name with the word coupon after it and you may find some online. They don’t always work, but it’s worth a shot!
I hope these tips help! Happy shopping!

Internet Tutorial: Minimizing Game Requests on Facebook – HaliPawz

All too often, I hear the complaint about game requests.  I have mentioned in previous posts it is not always easy to stop a game from sending a request to someone you know doesn’t play, or even more accurately, it is impossible to know who really plays and who doesn’t.  This blog is going to help you minimize the requests because it will stop the recurring requests from your friends who play games you do not play.

This is easiest to do from your desktop / laptop.  You can do it from a mobile or tablet, but you have to switch it to desktop mode.  I have found it to be so much easier to do from the desktop or laptop though.

First step is to go down to the Apps on the left hand side and click on games.

FB Game 1st block

Once there, it will show you the games you play (if any) first, you don’t want to do anything with them.  Under that, there will be your game invites.  You click the X or Ignore next to the games you do not want and then it will ask you if you want to ignore the game.

FB Game Block 1

FB Game Block 2

Then you will click confirm.  Once you click confirm, it will stop that particular game from sending you requests.

As you scroll down, you may see it also listed like this, when you do, just click “Block” and then “Confirm” again.

FB Game Block 3  FB Game Block 4

By doing this, the friends who play the games will not annoy you by sending you continuous game requests and everyone will be happy!

Internet Safety Tutorial #3; Internet Explorer Pop Up Dangers – HaliPawz

I realize it has been a while since I have done one of my “internet safety” blogs and this one is long overdue.  This blog is not for the computer savvy for more for those who play with their computer, using it mostly to connect to family and friends, look items up, mostly using it for fun.  You may not realize how easy it is to get fooled into clicking something which could put dangerous spyware; (to learn more about spyware, click here) on your computer.  Those attempting to infiltrate your computer to get your information are getting better.  Think about a criminal in general, the more they perfect their craft, the better they are.  Well over time, that is what those trying to put spyware on your computer are doing…each and every day.

This tutorial is more for those using desktop or laptop computers.  First, I can not stress enough how important it is to have some type of anti-spyware, anti-virus software on your computer.  There are a variety of good ones.  I am not an expert on them, so I will turn to the experts.  PCMag wrote an article on the best ones for 2015.  It is definitely worth the read.

Today I am sharing a very common problem you will see on a lot of desktop and laptop computers running on Windows.

Have you ever seen a notice like this pop up on a screen when you have internet explore (the internet) open?

Media Player HD Spam

The first thing to notice is it looks legit.  Before you click anything, take a minute and think; Did I request anything that would open my media player (in case you don’t know, your media player is what plays songs, videos, etc.)

The next thing to do is to look at the URL and see where it is from.  The URL is the area at the top of your screen that you type in the .com you are going to.

Internet Safety Tutorial Feb 2015

As you can see, this one says “ad120” so it is a clear guess it is some type of advertisement or spyware, but they are not always this clear.

Another example of attempted spyware:

20150219_181021213_iOS

Just because you have an alert does not mean it is from your computer!  It does not mean your computer is outdated.  Again, make sure to look at the URL.

Internet Safety Tutorial Feb 2015 2

If you are not sure, CLOSE the screen.  Run a computer check if you feel you need to.  Run a virus check.  Bottom line, don’t take a chance, you don’t need to give a hacker access to your computer.

Staying safe when on the internet isn’t difficult, you just have to take a minute and THINK about what you are seeing on your screen before clicking “ok”. Use this thought before clicking on anything on the internet, not just on internet explorer but on social media links and emails.

Childrens Pics on Social Media-HaliPawz

We live in a world where it is not always easy to see the bad person lurking behind the bush.  I feel bad for parents today.  I don’t think the world was as dangerous when we were growing up as it is for the children today.  Then again, if you think back over time, danger has always lurked for children, just in different ways.

For example, if you were a parent back when the west was just beginning to settle, your child had to sometimes walk long distances just to go to school. Those dangers could be in the form of weather, animals, or other humans.

Times change, dangers change, but sometimes we should use caution when it comes to sharing on social media.

The first thing you want to do is make sure that not everyone has access to you photos.  What social media sites do you use that you post pictures on?  Do you have your sites set up where they cross-post?  Meaning, if you post something to Facebook, does it automatically post to Twitter?  To Instagram?  To Tumblr?

One thing I have found is that a lot of people post to Twitter and Facebook at the same time.  That is great.  Makes it easy to get your picture or post out to all platforms at the same time.  The problem is that a lot of times, we may change our privacy settings on Facebook, but not on Instagram or Twitter.

Let us imagine a scenario for a minute……..

You have a daughter in 6th grade.  You post pictures of her, commenting on the pic using her name, and include a hashtag that indicates the school she goes to or an event that is taking place at that school.  A child molester is scouring twitter searching JUST hashtags of the school or the current events of the school and sees the picture of your daughter.  He then goes to your twitter account and scours all your posts and pictures.  He learns that you live someone close to the school so he assumes your daughter walks home.  He learns about your day-to-day activities.  He goes to the school, sees your daughter walking home, calls her by name…..she responds because he KNOWS her name……then proceeds to act like he ran into you at Starbucks earlier (or wherever you tweeted you were) and is able to give her enough information about you for her to believe he actually knows you.

It could happen that quickly!

Parents and those that are close to parents…..be careful of your hashtags!  It is so easy to pull up information with them.  Check ALL your social  media settings, not JUST Facebook, especially if you link the accounts.  If you have friends that add anyone that requests (we all have them) then don’t choose “Friends of Friends” choose “Friends Only”.  Make a special album for any pictures your children are going to be in and put a stronger setting on them if you want but make sure to choose that album when uploading and not just “Mobile uploads” or whatever default album you have on your phone.  Do not use your child’s actual name.  You can use an initial.  You can be creative and come up with a name that you only use on social media.  That way, your child will know that if someone uses that name, they should not only NOT respond but get away as soon as possible.

It is also important to go in and look at the settings your children have on their accounts.  If they have a twitter account or an Instagram account, what are their settings on?

Plan ahead, discuss things with your children, and minimize the amount of risk whenever possible!

Internet Security – Security Questions-HaliPawz

If you are anything like me, you HATE the dreaded security questions when you go to register on a new site. They can be confusing sometimes, they are like those word problems we had in school. Sometimes worded just right that they trip you up!

I noticed that financial institutions have gotten even more complicated with their questions. “who was the best man at your patents wedding?”, “What was the house number of the house you lived in 3rd grade?” I read some of them and thought, wow, I don’t know an answer to over half of these….imagine someone who came from a broken home or moved around a lot. What about someone in and out of foster homes? The questions could get a little ridiculous. They could even sink a depressed person into deeper depression!

I know the questions are there to protect us. To make sure that only we are accessing that site, no one else. For that, I am appreciative. Not all of them are that complicated.

Today’s post is about helping you protect yourself, even with these security questions. With the social media ever-present in all our lives, a lot of the basic security question’s answers could be found using your photo album and your friends list. You want to be able to answer the questions but not let anyone else be able to answer them.

1. Use formal answers instead of shortened. For example, if the question is, “What is the name of the High School you attended?” Don’t put “GVHS” if it’s all over pictures, you might want to put Green Valley or even Green Valley High (leaving out the word High or High School).

2. Use Various punctuation. Most security questions are case-sensitive; meaning upper case and lower case must be how you typed your answer. Remember that most people are lazy with their security question answers and leave them all lower case or only capitalize the first letter of the first word. Do not do this! Mix it up a little as long as YOU remember what you did. You could even reverse it. For example: gREEN vALLEY hIGH sCHOOL

3. Try not to use just numbers. Even when the security question is your date of birth, try spelling it out instead of just numbers or using the punctuation associated with your number on a keyboard. For example, instead of putting 28, put ]*

4. Do not answer things that put all of your most basic questions in one spot! I have seen this going around Facebook a couple of times and cringe when I see it.

20140730-092145-33705038.jpg

It is giving a potential hacker so much key information. All they have to do is sit and wait for your friends to comment on them. Over a few days they will have almost all if the answers at their fingertips. Maybe not to your most secured sites, like those crazy financial institutions, but it might give them enough to hack into your computer and then access all that information.

5. Use past pet’s named instead of current or use the name you call them instead of what you type. For example, I might put “ZipZip” instead if “Zipper”. A name only I use. That way, when someone is going through my photos and see “Zipper” or even “Zip” on all my photos, they still don’t have the answer to: “What is your pet’s name?”

So remember, the next time you are signing onto a new site, don’t blow through the security questions. Take a minute to really answer them. Use some creativity but not so much that you won’t remember what you put! You may even want to go in and update some of your old ones.

Have fun on the internet but also stay safe!

Internet Safety Tutorial #2 – Opening Email-HaliPawz

So it is time for another Internet Safety Tutorial. I know that our email in boxes can get inundated with email and we don’t always have the time to go through them, especially for those that just have one email address (or addy for short). I will address that in another tip. Today is just about keeping yourself safe when you are opening email.

The first thing I want to say is that if you EVER receive an email from a “family member” saying that they were traveling overseas and their wallet was stolen, please send money….DO NOT SEND MONEY!!!!! EVER!!!!! What happened is somehow, their Social Media site (generally Facebook) was hacked and they are email everyone in their friends list. I know for those of you that are reading this that are not internet savvy, it is difficult to understand how this all happens, but trust me, it does. A family member would NEVER contact you this way. I know that it seems like it is coming from their email and you want to help a loved one, but it would never happen that way. Do not do it. PLEASE!!!! Side note, even though this is about Internet Safety, the same would go for a phone call from a third-party. Never send money because you think a family member is stranded somewhere unless you talk to THAT family member directly! Even overseas, if something like that should happen to a family member, there are places they could go, their hotel would let them contact you, the police, US Embassy, etc. It would not be through a third-party that you do not know!

Now, that leads me to opening email in general. For the most part, the email you receive is safe and you do not have to worry about it. The ones I am focusing on in this blog are the ones that seem to trip some people up.

The first one I am going to focus on is when it looks legitimate at first glance but it shows up in your junk email. Use the filters in your junk email for a reason! They catch things internally that you might not always see at first glance.

I recently received an email Titled “expedited Shipping” Now, I have been ordering a few things lately, so I thought, maybe it isn’t really junk mail, it’s a notice of something arriving. Then I opened it and I realized right away that it was junk. Not everyone would though.

This is what it looked like:

Screen shot of potential dangerous junk mail

Screen shot of potential dangerous junk mail

If you notice, it has USPS on it, so you would think that it was sent from them. But it wasn’t the typical logo and style of USPS so that had me on alert. If you weren’t familiar with their style of email or if you didn’t catch subtle things like that, it might have you fooled.

With my notes

With my notes

Now, here are some basic steps to help keep you safe. The first thing you want to do is look for the email address of the sender….not just what they listed as the title. For example, “Expedited Shipping” isn’t their email address, all email addresses end in XXXXXXXX@something.com always look at the name AFTER the @ sign. That is the key to who it is from. If you are looking at the email from a tablet or smart phone, you may have to click more or click on the name to see the email address. It is IMPORTANT that you do that! In this case, this was the email address:

The Email Address

The Email Address

It was clear that it was not from anyone at the USPS. If it was, the email would have been something like
XXXXXXXX@USPS.com At this point, you would be best to just delete it and move on.

For those that like to go the extra step to prove that it isn’t the right thing to do….If you notice in the pic up above, I said that you could right-click on the “Print Address Label” and copy the path. If you are looking at the email on your computer, you can also often click properties after you right-click and it will show you the path. For this blog, I am showing you a sample of what it would look like on an iPhone. I held down over the “Print Address Label” and then clicked “copy”. From there, I opened up a blank text message screen, held down over the area you text in, and clicked “paste”. This is what it showed me….

The path

The path

The sender’s whole goal is to get you to click on “Print Address Label” In doing this, it may have allowed them to put a virus on your computer, it may have allowed them access to your computer to get into your files. There is no telling WHY and WHAT they had in mind. By doing these few extra steps, you can save yourself a lot of headache.

Another popular trick that is happening is that the sender’s name may be a name you recognize, maybe even someone you have emailed in the past, and the spelling is the exact same….do not be fooled! If it ended up in your JUNK or SPAM folder, there is probably a reason. Or if it just says “Web Page for __________ (your name)” BE SUSPICIOUS!!!! Chances are, it’s SPAM.

Junk or spam from a name I know

Junk or spam from a name I know

Now, because it was in my junk email AND it was just a generic title, I took the one extra step and click to see the email address. This is what I saw:

Email Addy not right

Email Addy not right

These are just a few of the examples of how to protect yourself from opening bad emails or causing damage to your computer or your personal information.

I hope this helps.