published Friday, October 21st, 2011

The Strip

THINGS I WISH MY KIDS WOULD ASK ME

Editor's NOTE: Barry Courter has a 22-year-old son who recently graduated from college and an 18-year-old daughter who is a senior in high school.



Q: Dad, I just turned 18. What does that mean exactly?

A: It means that you are now an adult, and you now have certain privileges, rights, expectations and responsibilities. A lot of people forget that last part. It means you can, and should, vote. You are responsible for taking that seriously. It also means a good number of the built-in excuses that come with youth are gone. You are now an adult, and you are expected to act like it. You always have, so just keep doing what you are doing.

-- By Barry Courter



TOP 10 GAMES

Game Informer Magazine ranks the top PC games for October.

  1. "Deus Ex: Human Revolution"

  2. "FIFA 12"

  3. "Rage"

  4. "The Binding of Isaac"

  5. "Limbo"

  6. "Driver: San Francisco"

  7. "Bastion"

  8. "Dead Island"

  9. "Tropico 4"

  10. "Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine"



THRIFTY TIPS

From overspending on Halloween treats to renting a costume, the Oct. 31 event and weekend parties can get expensive. Here are some ideas from nonprofit debt management firm GreenPath to make your Halloween costs less scary.

  • Buy candy you don't like. In 2010, Americans spent nearly $6 billion on Halloween, including an average of $20, according to the National Retail Federation. Buy your least favorite before the holiday, so you won't be tempted to eat it and then go running back to the store to get more -- maybe not on sale.

  • Make or borrow a costume. It's fun to dress up for trick-or-treat or parties, but buying or renting a costume can be pricey. Put together your own, accessorizing with less expensive party-store items, or borrow a costume for your child from family or friends. "It's a good habit to share your costumes, as the ones that aren't handed down, likely are only worn once," says Dorothy Barrick, a GreenPath counselor.

  • Avoid using a credit card to make purchases. New credit cards are often offered during holidays. Excessive inquiries for new lines of credit, higher balances compared to credit limits and large amounts of debt can all be harmful to credit health, GreenPath says.

-- Florida Sun Sentinel



GERM MAGNETS

Forget about cell-phone radiation, it's the bacteria users need to worry about. In addition to all those apps and music, a study reveals that many mobile phones are contaminated with fecal matter. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London shared the results to highlight Global Handwashing Day. The research conducted in Britain found that hands of one in seven users and one in six phones were contaminated with hazardous E. coli bacteria, which is found in feces. That is something to think about the next time you lend or borrow a phone.



ONLINE PRIVACY

It's not just Facebook that's actively tracking your movements on the Web without your consent: Google, LinkedIn and others do the same, although most other services make it easier to opt out. If you wantes without trading your privacy for the privilege, Priv3 is a Firefox extension that gives you back the ability to choose. Priv3 (http://priv3.icsi.berkeley.edu) is the result of researchers at Rutgers University and the University of California at Berkeley. The extension doesn't completely block all third-party data transactions, but it does selectively stop social services like Facebook, Google (specifically Google's +1 button,) Twitter and LinkedIn from dropping their tracking cookies on your computer and reading them when you're on other sites. That means you can use all of those services without worrying that every site with a Facebook Like button is transmitting your information. If you do decide to click the +1 button or the Like button, the extension will reload your session cookies and let the interaction through. It essentially lets you opt out of tracking unless you specifically click to share with your friends.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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