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Tips For Shopping Online

April 16, 2014

It’s important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online.

From the convenience of making purchases at your fingertips and next-day Shiply delivery to getting great deals and an the endless catalogue of purchasable items, online shopping has only grown in popularity. While the increased availability of online shopping is convenient, it also makes it more lucrative for scammers to trick buyers into paying for goods they won’t receive or obtain their personal information for financial gain. The same can be said for casino spill gratis. There are just so many troublesome sites around. So, what can you do about it?

Being a safe and secure shopper starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™: Take security precautions, think about the consequences of your actions online and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online.

Online Shopping Tips
Conduct research: When using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, posts and texts are often how cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.
Personal information is like money: value it and protect it: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
Use safe payment options: Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.
Don’t be disappointed: Read return policies and other website information so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
Protect your $$: When shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with https:// indicating extra measures to help secure your information.
Shopping on the Go
Now you see me, now you don’t: Some stores and other locations look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are within range. Disable WiFi and bluetooth when not in use.
Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct over open public WiFi connections, including logging in to key accounts like email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
Basic Safety and Security Tips
Keep a clean machine: Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.


The Entertation Index: May 20

May 20, 2013
I am an artist, dammit!  Take me seriously!

I am an artist, dammit! Take me seriously!

Bieber, Justin – The pop singer was recently booed at the Billboard Music Awards, and responded by saying that he is no flash in the pan: “This is not a gimmick.  I’m an artist and I should be taken seriously.”  Sure, why not.  McNuggets are also technically considered “food.”

Link: Bieber Booed (Huffington Post)

Furlong, Edward – The Terminator 2 actor has been arrested for violating a restraining order filed by an ex-girlfriend.  Furlong has also had such orders filed by an ex-wife and other ex-girlfriends—and has been arrested for violating some of those orders—proving that, unlike Skynet, he does not learn at a geometric rate.

Link: Furlong Arrested (E! Online)

Miguel – The singer made an impression at yesterday’s Billboard Music Awards by miscalculating a jump and landing on two audience members.  The fans didn’t think anything of it, and just figured that’s how they’re supposed to feel after listening to “Adorn.”

Link: Miguel Falls (Billboard)

Robsten – Actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have reportedly called off their relationship, again.  Twilight fans, take heart, though—they will be willing to get back together if need be to drum up press for any upcoming projects.

Link: Robsten Off Again (Us Magazine)

Stodden, Courtney – Teen reality TV star and child bride Stodden admitted last week that she made a sex tape.  Since Stodden has so far existed only to create and promote her a media persona, it would be more surprising if she didn’t have a sex tape.

Link: Stodden Sex Tape (Examiner)

Watson, Emma – The 23-year-old Harry Potter actress says she was in no rush to get to adulthood: “[I] never wanted to grow up too fast: I wanted to wear a sportsbra until I was 22!”  This is in contrast to a lot of her fans, who have wanted her not to wear anything immediately after she was 18.

Link: Watson Young (W Magazine)

TBTS Music Reviews: Patty Griffin –American Kid

May 17, 2013

PattyGriffin_GuitarYou can’t get much more real than Patty Griffin. She’s down to Earth, mostly melancholy and organic. Lately she’s been “hanging out” with Robert Plant. They spent a great deal of time together recording and touring with Plant’s Band Of Joy, and are currently living in Griffin’s South Austin home, when the pair can be found stateside practicing in their oustanding electric guitars. American Kid (New West) is peppered with Plant’s influence. In spots where that might not be overly evident, Cody and Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi All Stars add their home brewed flavors. Flavors that are in abundance at their family’s Zebra Ranch studio in Memphis, where the majority of American Kid was tracked. The Dickinson’s were along for the ride to support many of the Band of Joy’s tour dates, so they would have been the logical choice, considering the intention for this disc to be presented in as natural a way as possible, free from modern studio tricks and over processing. Read more…

The Entertation Index: May 16

May 16, 2013

Arthur, Bea — This week will see Christie’s Auction House sell a 1991 painting by artist John Currin entitled “Bea Arthur Naked” and hypothesizing what the Golden Girls star may have looked like sans clothes. It is expected to fetch between 1.8-2.5 million dollars, which is bullshit because for years I’ve been giving away sketches of Rue McClanahan nude for free. Where’s my payday?

Link: “‘Bea Arthur Naked’ Could Sell for $2.5 Million (The Daily Beast)

Brothers, Joyce — Psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers, one of the modern mass media age’s first “celebrity” doctors, passed away on Monday at her New Jersey home at age 85. She’ll long be remembered for her astute observations on psychology and her many self-help books, but perhaps just as much for her self-effacing manner and willingness to have fun at her own expense, from Steve Martin’s The Lonely Guy to Saturday Night Live. Our thoughts go out to her family.

Link: Dr. Joyce Brothers Talks Naughty Parts on Conan O’Brien (YouTube)

Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby"

Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby”

Gatsby, The Great –– It was merely passed over when F. Scott Fitzgerald first penned the novel, but over the years the success of The Great Gatsby as one of the great American books has led to countless adaptations, including Baz Luhrmann’s lavish retelling that clocked in with over fifty million dollars this past weekend at the box office. HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS TAKE NOTE: safe signs that your student only watched the movie and did not read the book include but are not limited to the following mentions: Tom Buchanan’s twerking, West Egg going HAM and Meyer Wolfsheim “popping mollies.”

Link: “Great Gatsby Surprises Box Office with Fancy $51M Debut (MTV)

Island, The Lonely — With a new album due in June, parodists The Lonely Island has announced “Wack Wednesdays,” in which each humpday will see the debut of a new video from Andy Samberg and company. Like this one, which begins as a beloved “Between Two Ferns” episode and quickly devolves into a Spring Break anthem, and then devolves into something very, very different. See for yourself.

Link: “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis – James Franco” (FunnyOrDie)

Smith, Jaden —’s entertainment section, aptly titled OMG because it has all the subtlety of an excitable eighth grader, has written that fifteen year-old movie star Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett, has made a request known that he’d like to be “emancipated” from his parents and live on his own. Oh, that special coming of age, that time-honored tradition when a young son stars in a Karate Kid remake, acts alongside his father in a giant-budget summer tentpole space movie and then heads out to live on his own wisdom at age fifteen. Am I right, Dads everywhere? Seems like just yesterday you were making The Pursuit of Happyness, and visiting mom on the red carpet of the Madagascar 2 premiere. Time flies.

Link: Jaden Smith Wants to be Emancipated from Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith (Yahoo OMG)

Underwood, Carrie — Multiple Grammy-winner and ex-American Idol champ Carrie Underwood claims to have predicted her own fate in her high school yearbook when, in an interview with Marie Claire, the singer revealed that her plan was to be “rich, famous and married to a hot guy.” Other predictions that have come true from Underwood’s yearbook is that she “stayed the same and went far,” “never changed,” “kept on bein’ CRAZY” and “always remembered those funny times in Mr. Henderson’s class.”

Link: Carrie Underwood’s Yearbook Predictions Come True (Yahoo OMG)

TBTS Reviews: Savages, Silence Yourself

May 15, 2013

Savages' debut album Silence Yourself, out now on Matador Records.

Savages’ debut album Silence Yourself, out now on Matador Records.

It’s difficult to discuss the buzzy new London band Savages without delving a bit into what they represent culturally and socially along with what they do musically.

First, unfortunately, the fact that Savages consists of four women and no men is still at least somewhat noteworthy. Savages certainly isn’t the first “all-woman” band to achieve renown, but my knowledge of rock history is sufficient to know that the precedents are relatively few among actual instrument-playing bands, leaving aside a long lineage of singing-only “girl groups” from the Supremes to the Spice Girls. Savages is by no means a “girl group” (or “girl band”) attempting to cultivate a glamour-based image alongside their musical and gender identity. That lack of concern with manufactured cuteness and/or sexiness is beyond refreshing; it’s a vitally important stance to take.

Second, and equally significant, Savages has taken on the self-appointed task of rebuking the hyper-mediated, information-saturated, stimulus-seeking culture that has led to the visibility of more smart phone screens than eyes and faces at live music events these days. Savages is already gaining notoriety for demanding otherwise, with signs posted at their shows insisting that audience members put away their devices and engage with the actual moment and space that they have chosen and paid to occupy. The text on the album cover above also speaks to this imperative.

Here’s the thing — when a band makes such a demand as a precondition for playing live, it then absolutely has to deliver on the implicit promise that its performance will be worthy of such close attention. Assuming Savages’ debut album Silence Yourself is an indication of their ability to deliver, then I find it likely that they make good on that daunting promise every time they take the stage.

Read more…

TBTS Reviews: Mud

May 14, 2013
Mud poster

I went into this movie almost completely blind, which I almost never do. I don’t do well with movies that I know absolutely nothing about. I need a basic structure, an outline, something to help me manage my expectations. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Mud starts off enigmatically. A boy in his early teens sneaks out of a run-down boathouse and meets his friend in the woods. We learn that this is Ellis, and his friend is “Neckbone;” two poor boys who live a hardscrabble life on the   Arkansas River. On an island some distance upriver, Ellis and Neck find a boat lodged in a tree, likely placed there by the last major flood. The boys decide to claim it as their own, a “secret hideout” of sorts, but Ellis soon discovers that someone else has been staying there. Back on the beach, they encounter a mysterious dude (Matthew McConaughey). Though nonthreatening,  this dude is definitely someone to be wary of. Ellis, being a sympathetic lad, agrees to bring some food back. Thus begins an uneasy friendship between dude, who later self-identifies as “Mud,” and the boys. They help him get the boat out of the tree and restore it to working order, and he spins a life story that intrigues our two impressionable heroes. Mud is on this island because he’s a fugitive. He killed a man in Texas, ostensibly in defense of his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Not only are the State Police looking for him, but the wealthy family of Mud’s victim has put hired killers on the trail as well.

Despite the movie’s title, it’s clear that Ellis is our main character. As the story unfolds, we find out that Ellis has an unhappy home life. His parents are on the verge of divorce. He’s a sensitive young man, with high, romantic ideals about love and commitment. Ultimately, the story is about his disillusionment with these ideals. Through Mud’s personal story, and the later revelations about the truth (or lack thereof) in his yarn, Ellis loses some of his innocence. Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland (Ellis and Neckbone, respectively) do a superb job for such young actors, especially Sheridan.

And, of course, McConaughey takes his shirt off.

Physical UnFitness: What Does an Inguinal Hernia Look Like?

May 13, 2013
what does an inguinal hernia?

Who wants to go to the hospital?