The Hidden Facebook Settings You Should Be Using

Find out who Facebook thinks you are, and how to stop them from telling everyone else

by: Cat Coode

The Hidden Facebook Settings You Should Be Using

Enable Safety Settings on Facebook | YummyMummyClub.ca

Facebook is still my favourite social network; I love the connection with long distance family, friends (new and old), and the curated list of articles for me to read. This is a service I am happy to pay for. Of course no money is exchanged to use Facebook. You pay with personal information.

Facebook uses your data in two ways:

  • First, they use it to tailor ads to your interests. Arguably, I’d rather have ads for yoga pants (which I wear) than food for a pet cat (which I don’t have). The ads are going to be there anyway and Facebook already has access to your data so I view this as a win-win for the you and the company selling the product.
  • Second, Facebook allows third party companies (not owned by Facebook) to use your data. This is the fishy one because you don’t know who has your data or what they have taken.

Beyond your basic privacy controls that dictate who sees your timeline information ( which can be found in the Privacy Settings), these are the settings you can, and should, use to protect everything else.

App Settings – I agreed to what?

The Apps Settings page in Facebook allows you to control how third party applications interact with your data. It also controls how external sites use your data when your friends log in. This is key so I will repeat it, even if you have never visited the site, these settings also indicate what a site can take from your profile via your friend who has signed in.

Inside the App Settings, you will find a setting called Apps Others Use. This is the area where you decide what information websites and apps can take from you through your friends. Uncheck anything you would not want an outside party to know without your knowledge. My humble opinion: if your profile privacy is set to “Friends”, you do not want any of it shared outside that circle so probably best to uncheck it all. Make sure to save changes.

Cookies … and not the chocolate chip kind

Networks like to track what you are doing online. This is often done via cookies, or files that contain information about you and your computer use. If you have logged into Facebook on a computer and not logged out (even if you have closed the tab), a Facebook cookie can be shared with every other site you visit. In turn, that site shares information about what you have searched back to Facebook.

The Ads page has a setting called Ads based on my use of websites and apps which allows you say no to what they call “internet based ads”. Turn this off so that next time you are shopping for a dryer you won’t see those ads show up on your Facebook sidebar. This limits the information shared from site to site.

I do NOT like Justin Bieber… ok maybe just his new album

Researchers say Facebook probably knows more about us than we do ourselves. They are probably right. Though many people would deny liking taboo articles or websites, Facebook knows if you have clicked on them or not. Want to know who Facebook thinks you are? Check out your Ad Preferences for a full list of topics targeted at you. If you don’t like an item you can remove it. Or you can leave it there to confuse the system.

In Summary

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What the Heck is the New "Peach" App, Anyway?

The new social network that everyone is suddenly talking about

by: Cat Coode

What the Heck is the New "Peach" App, Anyway?

What is the New Peach App | YummyMummyClub.ca

Every week a new social network is announced but rarely do they even make a wave in today's digital landscape. Not so with Peach. Peach showed up on the Apple App Store and then gained massive popularity through mentions on Twitter. The new networks touts itself as "a refreshingly fun and simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself."

To best explain it, Peach is Facebook-like in that it has a 'friend' relationship to other users. The feed looks like Twitter. The content is more like a Snapchat Story. You can post images, videos, text or GIFs (moving images, pronounced 'Jiffs'). Basically a mash-up of cool features from other networks. What makes it different is that you can also draw your own images or use Peach to find GIFs to post. It also has a set of 'shortcut' words that fire off other features. For instance, type 'Weather' and the weather appears in your post, type 'Shout' and the text increases in size, or type 'Move' and it will activate your devices pedometer. And you can do a set of actions to your friends like 'make a wave' or 'put a ring on it'. Bottom line; it is confusing as hell, which makes it fun.

No real news yet on the privacy features so be wary of what you are posting and as always, do not post private information.

Wired put together a great video where you can see the app in action.

Only time will tell if this one is a keeper but for now? It's a good distraction.

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Coolest - and Weirdest - New Tech for Kids & Parents

From gotta-have to you-gotta-be-kidding-me

by: Cat Coode

Coolest - and Weirdest - New Tech for Kids & Parents

New Tech for Families in 2016 | YummyMummyClub.ca

Every year in January there is a massive conference in Las Vegas called CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show. This is an opportunity for companies to showcase their latest in tech gadgets.  Big trends for this year include wearables, health tech and ‘smart’ home products. There is also an entire area of the show dedicated to technology for kids and parents, as well as a set of awards called the KAPIs (Kids At Play Interactive).

Most of the products are awesome, but let’s be honest, there is also a lot of weird shit in there. Below is a summary of this year’s hits and misses for kids and parents. [Prices in USD and availability are included when known].

Great Products for Kids

Many of these are KAPI award winners but all are sure to delight kids, young and old.

  • Fisher Price’s Code-a-pillar If you are in to electronic toys, this one is a great way to teach young kids to code and keep them busy. The Code-a-pillar is a modular design with body pieces that each represent a different command for the toy (forward, turn, stop). Kids assemble the pieces and start the sequence. Then they can reassemble in any pattern they like. [$50, available in June]
  • Lego’s WeDo  This small robot set was originally designed for school use but is priced low enough for personal use. It comes as a basic body with add-ons. An app controls the programming. Plus it’s Lego so you can build on it. [$160, available now at Lego Education Store]
  • Zing’s Stikbot Winner of the KAPI Creativity Award. I am a big fan of this one. Remember those stop motion films we did as kids? This allows kids to do the same thing with their own devices.  You can purchase one Stikbot or a whole set. The app lets you shoot a stop motion movie with them and then later add in backgrounds and music. [starting at $8, available at Amazon and Toys R Us]
  • Mattel’s View-Master Winner of KAPI Best Product for Older Children. The easiest way to foray in to Virtual Reality (VR) without breaking the bank. The Mattel View-Master will actually allow you to turn any smart phone in to a VR device. It is based on the Google Cardboard platform, which I have used and it works surprisingly well.  [$30, available now from Mattel]
  • WonderWorkshops’ Dot and Dash Winner of KAPI Best Hardware. This was the robot toy of the show. Dot is a camera and Dash is a moving robot with wheels. You can buy them separately or in packs. They use sensors and lights. Kids can program them to do almost anything, except maybe their homework. [starts at $50, available now from Amazon and direct from Wonder Workshop]

Dot and Dash

Great Products for Parents

Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but these tech tools are all designed to make the job easier, and safer.

  • 4Moms Self Installing Car Seat Who would think installing a baby seat in a car would be so difficult? If you’ve done it correctly, you know it is. This new car seat for infants will self install in the right way and monitor itself to make sure it stays that way. [$500, available in June]
  • First Alert Baby Monitor First Alert has a series of smart home monitors including cameras and sensors for security and safety. Their new camera has functionality that allows you to monitor someone’s breathing and alerts you when it changes or falls outside a given threshold. They will be marketing this camera as a baby monitor for parents worried about their baby’s breathing. Honestly, if this works, it would be great beyond babies and for anyone with respiratory issues including carbon monoxide poisoning. [unknown release price and date]
  • Diet Sensor CES Innovation Award winner. This is what science fiction is made of. The new DietSensor is a small device (about the size of a credit card but thicker) that ‘reads’ the molecular cells of your food, looks them up in a database in the cloud and returns the information to your device. More simply, you point the laser device at your broccoli and it tells you how many calories, carbs and fat it has. It is being marketed for diabetics and people on controlled diets. As the tech evolves, I am hoping it will be able to let you know what allergens are in the food as well. Not yet, but it’s a start. [unknown price, available mid-2016]
  • Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator  Several companies have made versions of a ‘smart fridge’ in the last few years but this one looks like it may actually work. It includes a screen on the outside and cameras on the inside. Next time you are at the grocery store and are wondering if you need milk, you can log in and check pictures of your fridge’s interior. Better, you can use the external screen to tie in to grocery delivery so that when you notice the milk is low, you just hit one button and it automatically orders it for your next pre-set delivery date. The screen also has a family calendar and other useful apps. [$5000, available in spring]
  • Fitbit Blaze – For all the fans of the FitBit who wished it was also a watch, your wish has been granted.  [$250, available from FitBit and other retailers online]

FitBit Blaze

Great Products to mock at your next dinner party

You either love these or hate them but these products really make me wonder what these companies were thinking.

  • Sen.se’s “Mother” Monitor She sees you when you’re sleeping, she sees when you’re awake. The new “Mother” sensor comes with 4 motion cookies (you can buy more) that you can affix to anything in your house from your kid’s toothbrush, to your coffee machine to the front door. Basically it’s like having a nagging mother around. “Did you water your plants?”. “”Are you sure you about that coffee? You’ve had 4 today”. Though it sounds neat to be able to monitor everything, there are way less invasive and less creepy ways to do it. [$300, available from their website]
  • First Response Bluetooth Pregnancy Test  This one was clearly designed by someone who never used a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests already worked, no app needed. The features are so mind-blowingly awful that it got its own blog post here. [$20, available spring 2016]
  • Laundroid Many people have a pile of clean laundry somewhere in their house that needs folding. Why not introduce a 6ft tall and 3 ft wide machine to do it for you? Because that’s silly, that’s why. The Laundroid takes your pile of clean and unfolded laundry and folds it all for you… at several minutes per piece. [Assume expensive, not available yet]
  • CleverPet Treat Dispenser Do you remember the electronic game Simon? Think this.. for dogs and cats. Now I have 2 dogs so I value having them entertained during the day but buying an electronic device that dispenses treats when they succeed at a game seems odd to me. What happens when they run out of treats? What if the device runs out of batteries? Hell, what if your pet is not clever enough to solve it? Another product solving a problem that doesn't exist. I’ll stick with Kongs. [price unknown, later 2016]
  • SensorWake alarm  This product was one of the most talked about products at CES. Rather than waking up to the sounds of an alarm clock, SensorWake offers you a sensory experience like no other. You can wake up to the smell of coffee, chocolate, mint, croissants, seaside or jungle. My question is, has anyone actually tested that a smell would wake you from sleep? Even if you smell it every day? Not to worry, if you don’t wake to the smell, an alarm will sound after 3 minutes anyway. Yup, now you get to pay a premium for scent cartridges and an alarm that’s just like the free one you probably already have. [$89 US, pre-order now on their website for June delivery]

Sensor Wake

The future looks bright... and a little weird.

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