Archive for month: September 2017

13 Subscription Packages You Might Not Have Heard Of

13 Subscription Packages You Might Not Have Heard Of

Monthly subscription packages have been all the rage for years now. There are makeup boxes, gaming boxes, fandom boxes, book boxes, and who knows what else. There are so many options out there that it’s difficult to know just what’s available. Most people have probably heard of Loot Crate, ipsy, and BarkBox, but that’s barely scratching the surface. Below you can find thirteen subscription boxes that are particularly interesting or even strange!

(It’s important to note that you should read subscription box reviews carefully before subscribing. Some of the boxes below have a lot of reviews and high ratings, but others have fewer reviews. These reviews could change regularly. Be sure to check recent reviews before deciding!)

The 90’s Box

This box promises “epic toys & gear,” with five to eight items from the 90’s sent every month. The website says their boxes can feature products from companies like Nerf, Hasbro, Mattel, and more. If you’re a fan of the 90’s (and it sure seems like we all are), take a look at their website and see if it’s for you: The 90’s Box
($17 to $24.99/mo.)

Apocabox

This subscription box is for survivalists and anyone else interested in survival gear. Every two months, subscribers are sent tools, accessories, and information meant to teach about surviving in difficult situations. This includes a “skills challenge” that teaches a specific survival skill. If you’re interested in preparing for an apocalypse (I hear zombie apocalypse is most likely), or if you just want to feel safer during outdoor adventures, check out the website: Apocabox
($50/every other mo. + shipping)

Box of Challenge

Box of Challenge is a monthly box that includes a mix of challenging items, like instructions and puzzles. Each box has a theme—the website lists themes like “Crazy Circus” and “UFOs.” Box of Challenge is meant for ages 8 and up and for 2 to 6 players. If you think your friends or family might want to join in on the challenge, visit their website: Box of Challenge
($24.90/mo.)

Dapper Sasquatch

This subscription box is centered on a theme: steampunk. Steampunk is an alternate history genre that explores what the world would be like if we had continued with steam power, creating a different world branching off from the Victorian era. Dapper Sasquatch sends books, items, and gifts in the steampunk genre; continues the Dapper Sasquatch storyline; and helps build a year-long mystery. If you’re an alternate history, fantasy, or sci-fi fan, give Dapper Sasquatch a look: Dapper Sasquatch
($35/mo. + shipping; other subscription plans available)

Dirt of the Month Club

This subscription box sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, it’s certainly more interesting than the name implies. Subscribers are sent dirt from mines each month, and that dirt can be panned to look for gold. The website says you’re guaranteed gold each month. There are very few reviews for this subscription box, so it’s hard to tell what your real experience might be, but if you’d like to try your hand at panning for gold, visit their website: Dirt of the Month Club
($39 to $255/mo.)

Dungeon Crate

Dungeon Crate is a subscription box for RPG (role playing game) enthusiasts. Each box has a theme (one past theme was “Mother of Dragons”) and includes accessories like dice, miniatures, coins, and digital content. If you’re a fan of RPGs and want to expand your inventory, look over their website: Dungeon Crate
($29.95/mo. + shipping)

Escape the Crate

This box is meant to be a less expensive way to enjoy the popular escape rooms without having to actually go to one of those businesses. Every other month, subscribers are sent a box of items that are used to solve a mystery and complete an adventure with your friends. You are given clues, like puzzles and riddles. The current adventure is called “Escape the Lost Colony.” If you want to solve clues and work through a mystery with your friends, head over to their website: Escape the Crate
($29.99/every other mo. + shipping)

Hunt a Killer

This terrifying-sounding subscription box lets would-be detectives solve a chilling mystery. The box includes information that tells a story about a killer and gives clues for you to work through so you can figure out who the culprit is. Hunt a Killer is a creepy, dark box with items and letters from the killer that subscribers must examine. If you like true crime or reading about serial killers, visit the website: Hunt a Killer
($25 to $30/mo.)

Kawaii Box

Kawaii Box is described as a “box full of cuteness!” The subscription box is filled with ten kawaii items and has previously included brands like Pocky, Hello Kitty, and Totoro. Items could be keychains, stickers, hair accessories, edible treats, or anything else kawaii. If you want a monthly subscription package that’s almost overwhelmingly cute and huggable, hop over to their website: Kawaii Box
($18.20 to $19.90/mo.)

Macaron of the Month Club

This subscription box sends subscribers—you guessed it—macarons. Every month, you will receive a variety box of macarons from Dana’s Bakery, including a macaron that’s the “flavor of the month.” The website’s “Macaron Gallery” shows macarons like chocolate covered pretzel, fruity cereal, champagne celebration, and cotton candy. Some past flavors have included watermelon, mint julep, and waffle cone sundae. If you’re a lover of macarons and you want to try next month’s variety of flavors, give their website a visit: Macaron of the Month Club
($33/mo.; other subscription plans available)

Moss of the Month Club

The Moss of the Month Club sends subscribers a monthly bag full of different moss and lichens. The subscription box is unlike the others in this list, because it’s run through an etsy user’s shop. The shop owner promises each month’s items are worth at least $10 to $15 dollars. The page suggests this earthy subscription box is particularly enjoyable in the winter when it’s dark and gloomy outside. If you’re a lover of moss and lichens, head over to their etsy page: Moss of the Month Club
($30/3 mos.; 6 mo. and 12 mo. subscriptions available)

Supply Pod

Supply Pod is a subscription box with a science and science fiction theme that’s sent every three months. Boxes include books, collectibles, clothing, and a science kit (examples include Star Trek books and a solar rover kit). This box combines a love of science fiction and a love of real-life science. If you’re a fan of either of the two, check out their website: Supply Pod
($39.99/every three mos.)

VNYL

VNYL is a subscription service the sends curated vinyl records to subscribers every month. VNYL learns about your music taste and sends three records every month. The service can learn about your likes through the information you give it manually, and you can connect your Spotify account and other music accounts. Music-lovers can check out this subscription service at their website: VNYL
($39/mo.)

CCleaner’s Malware Problem

CCleaner’s Malware Problem

Just this past Monday, Piriform announced in a blog post that their CCleaner software had been released with malware. CCleaner is a program that cleans unwanted junk, including browser histories, off of computers. The software had illegally been tampered with by an outside party to add malware that would take certain information from the affected computers and send it to a server—the information included IP addresses and details about which other software was on the computer. At the time of the blog being posted, Piriform had already gotten the server shut down that was collecting the information and begun the process of further resolving the issue by having the software’s users upgrade to a new version. It seems by the point it was discovered, the malicious software was likely downloaded by 700,000 people—Avast had previously suggested it might have affected 2.2 million.

Now it’s becoming clearer that the people who added the malware weren’t just trying to get random victims’ information. It seems that the attack was an attempt at “industrial espionage.” The malware was working to specifically find computers that would give the attackers access to some well-known companies by searching for some specific domains. Though other companies may have been targeted, some of the companies include Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and Sony. And according to Wired, some of the infected computers actually were part of targeted companies’ networks, which led to even more malware being added to the computers. Out of the main companies initially listed, eight of them were effectively targeted, though it’s not clear yet exactly which ones were affected.

With this news, the situation surrounding CCleaner seems to have gone from bad to worse, moving from a straightforward (but still bad) attack on personal computers to what some are suggesting could be a particularly malicious attempt at spying on major companies. More information is still being uncovered, and it’s a little bit unclear how much damage has really been done. Don’t forget, if you have CCleaner installed on a computer, check now to see if you have an important update waiting.

Now Facebook’s Ads Connect to Your Offline Shopping

Now Facebook’s Ads Connect to Your Offline Shopping

Facebook is in the news again, and like last time, it’s got to do with their targeted ads. As you may be aware of, Facebook has targeted ads that let advertisers direct their ads toward specific users based on things like their profile information (age, location, interests, etc.) and browser cookies (meaning your Facebook ads might be targeted to you based on websites you visited). There has previously been some wariness toward these targeted ads, particularly the ads that pop up based on previous web activity. But many people pay this advertising no mind and aren’t particularly worried about how these ads are being directed to them.

Now Facebook is upping their ad game. In a recent announcement, Facebook described how some businesses are now able to target their ads toward people who physically visit their brick and mortar stores. Businesses can do this because of Facebook’s ability to follow the location of a user that has location enabled in their app. Facebook’s announcement suggests that these ads might be used to target recent store visitors and suggest new merchandise or that it could be used to exclude store visitors if they’re running a promotion that’s exclusive to new buyers. Whatever the reason, though, some Facebook users are sure to find it unsettling seeing ads based on where they’ve recently been.

There are ways to avoid unwanted targeted ads. Though you can’t go into Facebook’s settings and completely turn off all ads, you can stop them from targeting you in the some of the ways mentioned above. You can stop targeted ads based on your website activity by visiting the Facebook Ads page. Where it says “Ads based on my use of websites and apps,” just click Edit and select Off from the dropdown box. You can also use a page linked from Facebook Ads to edit what information they use in their other targeted ads. Clicking Edit next to “Ads based on my preferences” displays a button that reads “Visit Ad Preferences.” On the page it takes you to, you can change which interests and pieces of personal information targeted ads are based on, among other things. This can be a bit time consuming, but it may be worth it if you’re interested in cutting back on your targeted ads.

Most importantly, if you don’t want the new aspect of Facebook’s targeted ads to affect you, make sure you don’t have location enabled in your Facebook app. In the app’s menu, navigate to “Account Settings” and tap on “Location.” Where it says “Location History,” press the button to switch it to “OFF.” After doing this, you can also go to your phone’s settings, go to your apps, choose the Facebook app, and change the app’s permissions to no longer allow it access to your location.

To be clear, these new targeted ads are very likely exciting to many people, and if you’re one of those people, that’s fantastic! But if you’re wary of ad targeting and access to your location, be sure to look carefully into your Facebook and phone settings.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is Coming to TV

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is Coming to TV
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In the “What—seriously?” moment of the week, it has been announced that Sabrina Spellman (sometimes known as Sabrina the Teenage Witch) will be coming back to television in 2018 or 2019. With Riverdale—the Archie-based drama—already on the CW, the new show, called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, will be a new companion for the already-running show. And it’s clear it will be a much darker TV series than the original Archie comics or the late-90s/early-2000s sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart and a talking cat.

In case you’ve forgotten, the previous television incarnation of Sabrina Spellman was a funny, silly, often cheesy sitcom character. Sabrina lived with her aunts (who are hundreds of years old) and the talking black cat named Salem. Sabrina the Teenage Witch featured a young Sabrina dealing with typical teen issues, like problems at school, while also struggling with finding out she was a witch. The show was often pretty funny, especially considering Salem’s dry humor. And while it did tackle teen issues, it wouldn’t be too off to call it a bit goofy.

But the more recent depiction of Sabrina in the comic book world is much darker than the now-dated sitcom. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics are published by Archie Horror and feature a villain brought back from Hell. The comics have been fairly successful, with IGN rating the first issue as 8.9 out of 10 and calling it “twisted”. The Sabrina Spellman in this world is dealing with a much more horrifying world than previously seen.

There’s not a lot of information released about the newly-announced show yet, but here’s what we know: this Sabrina show will be much heavier on horror, witchcraft, and evil. The show will be run by the same showrunner in the lead for Riverdale, connecting the two shows through more than just their shared (dark, grim) Archie universe. Though it’s hard to tell exactly how accurate the current information is, particularly since the show’s release is so far in the future, it is obvious that The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will bring some serious creepiness to Sabrina’s story.

The first season of Riverdale is now available to stream on Netflix.

(Featured image: Archie Horror)

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iOS 11 and Snapchat: Who’s Saving Your Snaps?

iOS 11 and Snapchat: Who’s Saving Your Snaps?

In case you missed it, the iPhone X has been in the news pretty much every day recently, and so has iOS 11, the new update for the iPhone operating system. iOS 11 has a number of new and updated features, but the one a lot of people are talking about is its easy-to-use screen recording feature. It was possible to record your iPhone’s screen before, but iOS 11 makes it much easier to do—a fact that has had some people excited, but some people pretty worried.

Being able to record the phone screen on an iPhone can come in handy for many different reasons. Some people may want to record themselves going through a process on the phone so they can upload it and teach people how to do something. Others might want to use it for viral video purposes. Or someone might want to record themselves doing something big, like sending an important message and getting a reply, applying for college, or anything that might be a memorable moment. People have had plenty of reasons to record their phone screens in the past, and iOS 11 just makes it much more accessible.

Mixed in with the positive response, though, was a huge concern: what would happen on Snapchat? Rumors began to swirl that the screen recording feature would allow iPhone users to record peoples’ Snaps secretly, bypassing Snapchat’s feature that tells users when their photos have been saved and who saved them. One huge draw for Snapchat is that the photos aren’t permanent, and if someone screenshots something, the original photo-taker can know who saved their photo onto their device. The idea of people being able to save photos and videos without identifying themselves had some people panicked.

It seems there’s good news and bad news. Fortunately, it’s been shown that Snapchat does, in fact, notify users when their direct messages have been recorded with the iPhone’s screen recorder. It doesn’t specify how it was saved, but it does still say that the Snap has been screenshotted. However, MacRumors tested the screen recorder on Snapchat and found that while it does notify for private messages, it doesn’t quite work with Stories, so be aware that you might not know if your Stories are being recorded.

Also important to note is that MacRumors also tested on Instagram Direct—a feature of Instagram that lets users send non-permanent photos—and the screen recorder did not alert the other user that a screenshot had been taken of their content. So while the issue with Snapchat is not much of a concern, be careful with your Instagram Direct messages until more is known about their screenshot alerts.

Nest Adding a New Line of Smart Products

Nest Adding a New Line of Smart Products

If you’re pretty interested in smart products, you’ve probably heard of Nest. Nest has made a number of smart devices, and they’ve recently announced some pretty big upcoming products. Up to this point, Nest has been best known for their smart thermostats and their smart smoke detectors that also send alerts for carbon monoxide. In an announcement on September 20th, Nest gave a glimpse of their upcoming smart devices that will expand their product line and take them into new territory.

One of Nest’s new products is a complete home security system. The security system includes Nest Guard, Nest Detect, and Nest Tag, as well as the Nest app. Nest Guard is a small device that will work like the base of the security system. You can use it to enter a passcode or otherwise tell Nest that an authorized person has entered or is leaving. Nest Tag will work with the Nest Guard to arm or disarm the system quickly. The Tag is a small device that is pictured being kept on a keychain and that will be placed on the Nest Guard to essentially sign in and sign out when coming and going from your home. And Nest Detect is a thin bar that can be placed on windows, doors, and walls for several purposes: it has a motion detector, it can tell when a window or door is being opened, and it can shine a light when it detects your movement during the night.

With the Nest app, you’ll be able to control this smart system from your phone. You’ll get security alerts and be able to call the police. If you have one of Nest’s security cameras, you’ll be able to check the video to see what’s happening and, with an added subscription, provide the video to police if necessary.

Also announced was the Nest Hello video doorbell. This doorbell will let visitors ring you using a smart device. You’ll be able to see them in HD, and you’ll be able to speak to one another. It will also alert you if someone sets off its motion detector, even if they don’t ring the bell.

These announcements, and the announcement of new outdoor security cameras, are certainly good reason to keep an eye on Nest in the future—2018, specifically, when these products are meant to come out. If all goes well, Nest will soon be known for much more than their thermostats.

(Featured image: Nest)

Press Release – September 17, 2017 – EIN Announces New Plans and Expansion of Service Area

Press Release – September 17, 2017 – EIN Announces New Plans and Expansion of Service Area

A new service tier and the addition of thousands of new locations to the EIN service area

Oklahoma City, September 17, 2017:  Easy Internet Now is excited to announce the launch of three new plans and the rebranding of our service tiers. Customers will now be able to select from six plans, each designed to perfectly meet the unique needs of our residential and business customers. EIN understands that Internet connectivity needs vary from home to home and business to business, and that’s why we’ve expanded our plan options and increased our maximum speed by over 4X the previous top tier plan. Not only have we launched three new Unlimited Fiber plans, we’ve also expanded to thousands of new homes across all 21 states in our service area.

New Plans

EIN customers can now select from up-to six plans, each designed to meet their specific needs. The serviceability tool only shows the plans that match a realistically expected speed at each location. Unlike other ISP’s we don’t offer a blank selection of plans and expect our customers to pay for unrealistic speeds, we try to show them right up front what they can receive at their location and let the customer make the selection that matches their needs. No one knows the Internet usage needs of a household or business better than the customer themselves.

Customers will be able to select from our original three plans, now renamed our Unlimited Tier, or if available they will be able to select from our new three plans in the Unlimited Fiber tier. The Unlimited Fiber tier includes speeds from 24Mbps to 75Mbps, greatly expanding our speed availability and giving customers the range they deserve to make a smart choice. As always, all EIN plans are Unlimited with no data caps or unnecessary throttling of speed. EIN is also a no contract, no credit check, lifetime price lock guarantee company.

New Service Locations

Everyone who has checked their address for service with EIN, and found at that time we could not service their location, is encouraged to check again now. Thousands of new locations have been added to our system in all 21 serviced states. Our Address Serviceability Tool is located online at https://easyinternetnow.com/check-for-service/.

States that EIN services:

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin

More Information

For more information about Easy Internet Now, please visit: https://easyinternetnow.com

For more information about EIN Service Plans, please visit: https://easyinternetnow.com/plans/

To contact EIN, please visit: https://easyinternetnow.com/contact/

Kody Frazier

Vice-President

Easy Internet Now

press@easyinternetnow.com

Facebook Watch Has Arrived

Facebook Watch Has Arrived

If you happened to be watching Facebook’s sidebar carefully, you might have noticed the new tab that just appeared. Facebook has now officially launched the Watch tab for Facebook users. Videos have become a huge part of Facebook, News Feeds becoming filled with viral videos, how-tos, trailers, and all kinds of video content. If a friend or page you follow posts a video, you can watch it, save it, share it, etc. Facebook Watch ups the social media site’s game by creating a hub specifically for discovering new video content and following up on your favorite content creators.

If you click on the Watch tab (near the top of Facebook’s left sidebar), you can find episodes from different series, individual video content from pages all across Facebook, and several different categories to flip through. You even have a watchlist that helps you stay up to date. You can find episodes from series like “Humans of New York: The Series” and “Hala Madrid.” You can scroll through content from popular pages like Rolling Stone, ATTN:, and The Dodo. And if you want to get some suggestions for what to watch, there are plenty of categories to choose from. For instance, the Popular Now category shows some of the videos other Facebook users are watching. The What Friends Are Watching category is a fun way to flip through some of the videos your friends and family recently enjoyed. With the 10 Minutes or More category, you can trade in the typical brief viral video for longer, more engrossing video content. And the Suggested For You category compiles a bunch of videos Facebook thinks you might like.

When you find something you like, you can save the video and even start following the series. After clicking on a video, look in the top right corner of the page. Clicking on the Follow button gives you the option to show new posts from the series at the top of your News Feed. If you click the menu next to the follow button—the three dots—you can save the video to watch later. What’s really nice is that accessing these videos later is easy! On the Facebook Watch page, you can click on the tabs called “Latest Episodes” and “Saved Episodes.” Underneath these tabs, there’s even a list of shows you’re Following. Clicking on one of these shows brings up the videos in the series.

While Facebook users will certainly still discover new videos by scrolling through their News Feeds, Facebook Watch brings a new dynamic to Facebook’s platform. With plenty of new content to check out, you’re certain to find a new series to follow, located right on your favorite social media site. To go straight to Facebook Watch, click here.

Avoiding Online Fundraising Scams

Avoiding Online Fundraising Scams

The web has become a wonderful place to join together and help people in need. Sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring have risen in popularity as years have passed, to the point where it might be difficult to scroll through Facebook or read your news online without seeing a link to a donation website. These websites give us all a chance to send money to people struggling with funeral costs, home damage, cancer, adoption fees, and any other pressing need. As we all know, though, the web is not always a trustworthy place, something that has been highlighted once again during the recent bout of hurricanes. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were accompanied by numerous fraudulent (or vague and likely deceptive) online fundraising campaigns created by people trying to take advantage of the chaos. For instance, one fundraising campaign said it was run by Jason Derulo and that he was raising money for Irma victims, but there was no proof Derulo was involved, and the campaign no longer exists. And before that, as Harvey hit, there were plenty of suspicious, unverified fundraisers drawing suspicion. In response to the potentially fraudulent campaigns, GoFundMe set up pages specifically for Harvey-related campaigns and campaigns for Irma victims.

Does this mean you shouldn’t give? Of course not. But when you decide to help, you should always be a little bit critical of who you give to. When it comes to things like natural disasters, you can always take the safe route and donate to charities like Convoy of Hope, UNICEF USA, and even local food banks in the affected area. You can also check to see if a fundraising site has set up a specific page for the event, like GoFundMe has done. However, the types of fundraisers we see on GoFundMe or YouCaring typically address issues that aren’t really covered by major charities. And sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which fundraisers are really worth donating to. If you don’t actually know any of the people involved in the fundraiser, but you find their story touching, you simply need to look out for some warning signs.

One type of fundraiser to be wary of is the kind that includes minimal details. If a story is vague, or if there’s hardly anything written about the issue, consider searching for another fundraising campaign that is more detailed and believable. You can also message the person running the campaign and ask them questions, or even ask them for any kind of source that backs up their story (like a local news article that might link to their fundraiser). Take note of whether it sounds like you’re talking to a real person who’s giving believable details.

And always check the websites that the campaign (or campaign runner) provides as proof. To avoid accidentally visiting virus-ridden websites, you can always go to Norton’s Safe Web website and enter a URL before actually clicking on it. Be sure to check that news articles are being hosted on real news websites; you can go to the news article’s homepage, and you can do a Google search for the news station to see if it’s legit.

Also keep an eye out for fundraisers run by celebrities. As the Jason Derulo story shows, people might pose as celebrities to gain more traction. Try visiting the celebrity’s Twitter, Facebook, website, or other social media to see whether they posted a link to the fundraising campaign.

Keep in mind, though, that being critical doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself off from all opportunities of online giving. There are plenty of perfectly legitimate online fundraisers run by people who are in serious need. It’s important to note that GoFundMe has a guarantee that promises to return your money if a campaign ends up being a scam. So if it looks like a fundraiser is legitimate after you’ve looked it over carefully, go ahead and follow your heart.

iPhone X’s Camera Incorporates Face Tech

iPhone X’s Camera Incorporates Face Tech

There’s been a lot of hype about the upcoming new iPhone X, and with all the hype has come plenty of news tidbits. One major piece of information has been the discussion about Apple’s Face ID technology. Face ID will, among other things, allow iPhone users to unlock their phones simply by using their face. Face ID can recognize a face and use it as a security measure, sort of like unlocking with a fingerprint or a PIN. It will also let you do things like make payments by verifying your face. Face ID is implemented using the iPhone X’s TrueDepth Camera. The TrueDepth Camera incorporates a number of technologies in order to “accurately map and recognize a face,” says Apple. While Face ID sounds exciting, another interesting and fun application of the TrueDepth Camera will be the new iPhone’s Animojis. You heard that right—Animojis.

Using the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X, you will be able to send customized and animated emojis to your friends. Right now, of course, texters are usually limited to the typical pre-chosen emojis. These emojis have a limited range of emotions, to some peoples’ frustration. I myself have often found myself irritated when I couldn’t really find the right emoji to accurately express what I was feeling (because of my ability to send texts with unbelievable typos, I really need an emoji to better display my embarrassment). And considering how often people replace full-blown sentences with simple emojis, having more options could be great fun.

Animojis will allow you to use your TrueDepth Camera to choose from a set of different Animoji styles, like perhaps a panda. You will then be able to make different faces—Apple says there are “over 50 different facial muscle movements”—and display that emotion on your chosen style. You will be able to send these Animojis to your friends as short, looping animations. This should let you feel more like you have properly expressed your true emotion, though of course, you’ll probably be doing so as a unicorn or a fox. Still, Animojis should bring some fun to the world of emojis for owners of the iPhone X.