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Thursday, February 4, 2016

How to Prevent the Fake Friend Scam on Facebook

Most RVers make good use of Facebook. It is such a quick, easy, and effective way to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends. If you’ve ever received a Facebook Friend request from someone you know is already a friend, you’ll know what we’re talking about here, and learn how to prevent it happening to your friends.

The Scam:

Three friends of mine have had imposters make up Facebook accounts using their names, profile picture, and other information that was public on their page. Then, they harvested my friends' public list of friends, and sent fake friend requests to them, instructing them to delete the "old" (REAL) accounts due to some phony made up computer problem. In the most recent, the imposter claimed the real account was lost to a Trojan on her Facebook. There is no such thing as a Trojan on Facebook but many people fell for it anyway. In every case...the imposter took the profile of a female friend in her late 50s or early 60s who is very trustworthy, admired, and who has friends who also look trustworthy (trusting!) and in every case, was able to convince people to befriend the imposter account. Once the imposter has trusting friends, he or she can send spam or scam posts out to them.

The easy way to prevent the above scam from happening to you is to make your Friend List private – the default is public which is how the imposters get the names.  This must be done on a computer, the option doesn’t exist on phone and tablet Facebook apps. Here's a tutorial video for Geeks On Tour members: 398. Facebook – Keeping Friends Private

  1. View your Profile and click on the tab for Friends
  2. At the top right of your friend list, you’ll see a pencil icon – click on that and choose Edit Privacy
  3. Under “Who can See My Friend List” click the dropdown arrow and choose anything but Public.  I recommend “Friends except Acquaintances”, but you may even want to make it “Just Me.”
  4. Here is the official Facebook help page on “Who can see my Friends Section of my Timeline?

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This article is by Chris Guld, of GeeksOnTour.com. To learn more about this and many other programs of use to travelers, visit her website and consider becoming a member in order to view all the tutorial videos.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fuel cell lantern gives light and charges USB devices

Since 2000 a lot has been said about fuel cell technology – a lot of promises made – and not so much on a practical scale delivered. Maybe industry has been trying too hard to come in and deliver BIG without starting out on something small and working up the scale. We're not sure, but maybe, just maybe, somebody is working on starting small. They haven't reached the production side yet, but things at least look somewhat promising for an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for a little lamp called Hydra-Light.

Envision a camp lantern about the size of the old white gas Coleman lantern you put on the picnic table when you were a kid. Not nearly as heavy, certainly not as smelly, and in terms of running cost, the Hydra-Light is an upcoming contender for not only lighting up your picnic table by night, but recharging your cellphone or e-tablet as well. And instead of pouring highly volatile (and seemingly expensive) white gas in the tank, you dump in a few ounce of salt water. Salt water? Yeah, free if you're camping near the ocean, or relatively inexpensive if you have to "mix your own."

Hydra-Light's PL-500 utilizes a salt water energy cell. Says the company: "The EC-250 EnergyCell is the game changing compact salt water cell that is the power source for Hydra-Light products. Each cell consists of two easily replaceable parts, a PR-250 PowerRod and a main body. PowerRods are inexpensive alloy cylinders that can be stored dry indefinitely. When placed in the EC-250 body with salt water, a steady flow of electric current is produced. Over time the rod will slowly become consumed and shrink in size, turning into harmless mineral sediment. Unlike batteries, the power output remains constant throughout the lifetime of the rod. When a new rod is needed, the used rod is unlocked & removed and a new rod inserted."

How long does this PowerRod last? The company says you can expect 250 working hours from the rod. Of course, the catch is "How much is the 'inexpensive,' alloy cylinder?" That's yet to be announced. However, in a couple of weeks the company says it will start its fund-raising campaign to move development. Those who commit a $50 bill will get a brand-new PL-500 lantern when they roll off the production line. Another money-saving promise: The 250 hours on the power cell is said to be equal to the 85 alkaline batteries. That's a lot of batteries -- maybe we could use that as a comparison factor.

But wait, there's more! Yep, in addition to illuminating your way through the darkness and recharging your USB device, an accessory AL-100 accessory light allows you to leave the little power-plant lamp on the table, and via a 30' plug-in cord, carry away a hand-held unit to illuminate your path elsewhere. The actual lantern sports 16 LEDs, while the portable (well, OK, corded but still kind of portable) hand light fires up 3 LEDs.



Is it a gimmick? Too early to tell, but the cute little video with the too-noisy soundtrack makes it look interesting. Here's a link to the company website.