Are deaths in the US slowing down?

Time to think out of the box according to the CDC on average 56000 people die each week in the United States below is the latest sample of people dying

Week ending date in which the death occurredAll Deaths involving COVID-19 (U07.1)1Deaths from All Causes
Total Deaths2138952347341

As you can see the number of people dying each week since 9/19/2020 is below average?  The last number could still be adjusted higher but people dying is below expectations and as you see on week 10/17/2020 that number is 1,768 people less dying that week then normal.  Could a lot of people that were going to die just die sooner or what do you think?

The Best Credit Cards for Car Rental Insurance Coverage [2020]

When renting a vehicle you’re faced with several decisions. Should I get that GPS, prepay for gas, or take that automatic toll-paying sensor? Should I spend a few extra dollars and get the full-size car?

The decisions are many…and the salesperson is a professional at the up sell.

One of the most expensive decisions to make is whether to opt for the rental car company’s collision/loss damage waiver coverage.  This coverage can cost as much as $30 per rental day, and you may have a difficult time opting out of it.  In the worst-case scenario, you might opt out and have something happen to your rental. You could be out thousands of dollars until you resolve the issue between the rental car company and your insurance company.  Even then, you could be left with a high deductible to pay.

However, there is some available relief to this — and you may already have access to the solution! By knowing the extent of any car rental coverage, you have on your credit cards, you can save yourself stress and a lot of money.

While the collision damage waiver (CDW) (or loss damage waiver/LDW, as it is sometimes called) is not technically insurance, it functions similarly. And it can also be just as confusing!

In this article we’ll cover:

  • What is collision damage waiver coverage
  • Which credit cards offer the best protection
  • What you need to know to file a claim

Let us get started with our overview of credit card rental car coverage and look at some of the best credit cards to use when renting a vehicle.

What Is the Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver?

The Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is coverage that reimburses you for damage to your rental car or theft of the car while the vehicle is in your custody.  It can also cover “loss of use” of the rental car, which car rental agencies can charge you if the vehicle is damaged or stolen. (Since the vehicle would not be available to rent out, the agency could be losing revenue and pass this loss on to you.)

Car rental companies require you to purchase CDW/LDW coverage before you take possession of the rental car unlessyou have the coverage elsewhere.  And sometimes they want to see it, or they make you take their insurance.

Primary vs. Secondary Coverage

While many credit cards offer CDW coverage, there can be a significant difference in how the coverage functions.

  • Secondary CDW Coverage: If your credit card offers secondary CDW coverage, you will need to first file a claim with any other available insurance before the secondary coverage kicks in.  This means your car insurance carrier
  • Primary CDW CoverageProvides coverage without the need to file a claim with other insurance. If an incident happens, the primary coverage applies.

Hot Tip: Note that coverage on the same credit card can be secondary in certain countries and circumstances while primary in others. Check with your card’s benefits administrator for specific questions.

Requirements to Ensure Coverage

For the CDW coverage that is offered on credit cards to be valid, most credit card coverage requires the following:

  • Reserve and pay for your rental car with the qualifying credit card
  • Decline the rental car company’s CDW/LDW coverage
  • List all drivers on the rental agreement

Make sure you know the requirements before you rent a vehicle and call the benefits administrator if you have questions.  You can even ask for a letter showing your CDW coverage to show when renting a vehicle.

Bottom Line: Your credit card guide to benefits will be awfully specific in explaining the definition of the card’s particular CDW coverage. It will also provide clear information on where and when coverage is secondary or primary. 

I use Personal Amex Gold credit card for car rental insurance coverage.   The cost is $250.00 a year and to get the insurance you must call American Express and ask to be put on their rental program.  The fee for Florida is $15.00 per rental up to 40 days. For Texas, the fee is $25.00 per rental for 40 days. (check this if renting for more than 30 days with American Express as it can change.

American Express Car Rental Coverage

American Express is unique in its offering of CDW coverage on its credit cards. The card issuer offers both complimentary secondary CDW that comes with their credit cards, and primary Premium Car Rental Protection that can be purchased.

  • Standard complimentary secondary CDW coverage included with its credit cards
  • The option to enroll your credit card in advance for primary Premium Car Rental Protection that is automatically applied when you use the card to rent a vehicle

American Express Complimentary Secondary CDW Coverage

Complimentary CDW is included on most American Express credit cards. But for the complimentary CDW coverage to be effective, the following must be done:

  • Reserve and pay for the entire car rental with the qualifying American Express card
  • Decline the car rental company’s CDW/LDW coverage

To find out if your American Express credit card has complimentary CDW coverage, review your benefits and find out I do not recommend any complimentary insurance.

What’s Covered

  • Damage or theft of a rental vehicle up to a maximum of $50,000
  • Loss of use, appraisal fees, towing
  • Rentals of 30 days or less

Who’s Covered

Drivers covered for CDW under the complimentary coverage on your credit card include:

  • Primary cardholders and additional drivers listed on the rental agreement
  • Authorized users and additional drivers listed on the rental agreement

For CDW coverage to apply, the car rental must be reserved and paid for with the American Express card.


  • Cars rented in Australia, Italy, New Zealand, or any OFAC listed country (due to economic or trade sanctions)

American Express Optional Primary Premium Car Rental Protection

To purchase Premium Car Rental Protection, you will need to enroll your American Express credit card in advance of your car rental. Once you use your card to reserve and pay for the car rental after enrollment, the coverage is charged to your card and becomes effective for that rental term.

This coverage is primary when purchased, meaning you do not need to submit a claim with another insurance company first. There are 2 levels of Premium Car Rental Protection available, and they range in price from $12.25 to $24.95 depending on the state you reside in and the limits of coverage you select.

The price you pay is for the entire rental period (up to 40 days), not a per day charge!

What’s Covered

  • Damage or theft of your rental car for up to $100,000
  • Secondary medical coverage and accidental death benefit for driver/passengers
  • Personal property coverage

Who’s Covered

  • The primary cardholder and drivers listed on the rental agreement
  • Authorized users and accompanying drivers listed on the rental agreement

What’s Not Covered

To access the terms/conditions of the basic CDW coverage that comes with your American Express credit card, view the guide to benefits for all 58 cards here. To register your American Express card for Premium Car Rental Protection, visit the registration page.

Hot Tip: If you are renting a vehicle for more than 30 days, the Premium Car Rental Protection for purchase with your American Express credit card is a great value. You receive primary CDW coverage for pennies per rental day and are covered for up to 40 days. 

American Express offers both complimentary CDW coverage with their credit cards and premium coverage you can purchase. Image Credit: American Express

Best Personal Chase Credit Cards for Car Rental Insurance Coverage

Chase excels in offering car rental coverage by providing worldwide primary CDW coverage complimentary with its credit cards.

Receive complimentary Hertz elite status with the United MileagePlus® Club Card. Image Credit: Hertz

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

What’s Covered

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and any Chase credit cards offering CDW coverage come with primary coverage. This means you will not have to worry about filing a claim with your auto insurance company if something should happen to the rental vehicle.

You can expect the following coverage worldwide with your Chase credit card:

  • Reimbursement for damage or theft of the rental car up to the actual cash value of the vehicle
  • Valid loss of use charges assessed by the rental car company
  • Reasonable towing charges
  • Rentals are covered for 31 days or less

Who’s Covered

  • Primary cardholders and authorized users
  • Additional drivers listed on the rental agreement

Hot Tip: There is no charge for adding an authorized user to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and they receive the same primary CDW coverage when renting a vehicle with their card! Keep in mind that authorized users driving a vehicle rented by the primary cardholder do need to be listed as a driver to be covered. Read more about maximizing car rental insurance benefits with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

What’s Excluded

  • Certain luxury, antique, and exotic vehicles
  • Cargo vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles
  • Certain countries may be excluded where prohibited by law
  • Liability coverage

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with the same worldwide primary CDW coverage as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but with a maximum of $75,000 coverage for the rental vehicle.

The most compelling reason to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve for your rental car is that you can pay for the rental with Ultimate Rewards Points and receive 50% more value for your points!

With this card, you also receive elite status with National Car Rental and Avis, plus a 30% discount on Silvercar rentals.

Bottom Line: Chase credit cards are a great choice to use when renting a car because they offer complimentary worldwide primary CDW rental car coverage for rentals of 31 days or less. 

General Tips for Filing a CDW Coverage Claim

The first step when your rental car is in an accident or stolen is to call the benefits administrator.

You’ll be asked some questions and sent a claim form to complete.

Be aware that when submitting a CDW claim, you will have deadlines to meet, documentation to gather, and a responsibility to follow up.

Hot Tip: Since most claims will be processed on a reimbursement basis, you will likely have plenty of incentive to get your claim processed quickly!

Know the Deadlines

There will be specific deadlines at each step of the process, which you should familiarize yourself with. Here are a few to look out for:

  • Reporting the claim
  • Submitting the completed claim form
  • Submitting all required documents

Gather All Relevant Information

Don’t forget to gather information when the accident/theft happens — some items may be difficult to obtain later. Here’s what you might need:

  • Copy of the entire rental agreement
  • Copy of the accident report from the car rental company showing the amount you owe
  • Police report
  • Photos of the damage

Follow up With Additional Needed Documents

If the claim administrator asks for anything else, make sure to provide it right away. For example, they might request:

  • Copy of your credit card statement showing that the rental was paid for with your qualifying credit card
  • Repair estimates

Ask for Assistance

If you have trouble getting the required documents, ask the claim administrator for help.

Final Follow Up

It is your responsibility to make sure all of the required documentation is received by the claim administrator on time and is completed to their satisfaction.

Generally, if you have primary CDW coverage or secondary CDW coverage with no current auto insurance, the claim process will be straightforward.

But if you have secondary CDW coverage that applies to the rental car incident and you have auto insurance as well, you will need to report the claim to that company first.

Hot Tip: Be aware in advance of what you will need to do in case of a rental car incident, so you’ll be prepared to gather as much documentation as possible when the incident happens. Photos, police reports, and documentation from the rental car company can be impossible or difficult to obtain later.

Final Thoughts

If you have your own car insurance, the best CDW coverage for domestic car rentals is primary credit card CDW coverage.

This is because it is best to avoid filing a claim with your own insurance company, which could mean potentially having to pay a high deductible and having your rates increased.

Generally, those who carry auto insurance can get by with secondary CDW coverage when renting a car out of the country — chances are your U.S. policy will not cover you there.

The secondary CDW coverage on your credit card would then become primary.

If you do not carry auto insurance, you can get by with secondary CDW coverage, since it will act as your primary insurance in nearly all rental car situations (foreign or domestic).

You may, however, be responsible for a deductible on the car rental company’s coverage.  Call your benefits administrator for clarification of coverage before renting any vehicle.

In all cases, you should purchase liability insurance from the rental car company or be sure it is included in your rental agreement, as it is not included in CDW coverage that comes with your credit card.

If you frequently rent a car, you can save time, frustration, and money knowing the type of coverage you have with your credit cards!

Frequently asked questions

Which is the best credit card to use for car rentals?

Having a credit card such as those issued by Chase that offer primary CDW insurance is ideal.

However, if you are renting a vehicle for more than 30 days, purchasing Premium Car Rental Insurance as a cardholder of an American Express card can be a wise choice.

The Premium Car Rental Protection covers you for pennies per day and can be valid for up to 42 days.

What does primary and secondary coverage mean?

Primary CDW coverage covers you without having to file a claim with another insurance company first.

Secondary CDW coverage requires that you file a claim with your own auto insurance company (or other insurance company that applies) and exhaust any coverage there before the secondary coverage kicks in.

CDW coverage that comes with your credit card is frequently secondary, but some credit cards (such as those issued by Chase) offer primary coverage.

Additionally, some business credit cards offer secondary coverage for personal car rentals in the U.S. but primary coverage internationally.

Which credit card has the best car rental coverage if I do not have auto insurance?

If you do not have current auto insurance, ideally you should secure a credit card that provides primary car rental coverage.

With this said, many credit cards with secondary CDW coverage allow the coverage to become primary when you do not have current auto insurance.

However, when renting a vehicle, if you want to decline the rental company’s CDW/LDW coverage, you may have to show proof that you have other coverage.

You will want to contact the benefits administrator in advance to confirm that you would indeed be covered and that the coverage would default to primary.

Can I pay for the car rental with points and still have rental car coverage?

Yes. If you use points to pay for all or part of your car rental, use your qualifying credit card to pay the remainder, and then present your card at the rental car agency, you will be covered.

Keep in mind that you need to use points from the qualifying credit card to reserve and/or pay for the car rental.

Search engines you can use besides Google

1. Bing

As of January 2020, Microsoft sites handled a quarter of all search queries in the United States.One could argue that Bing actually outperforms Google in certain respects.

For starters, Bing has a rewards program that allows one to accumulate points while searching. These points are redeemable at the Microsoft and Windows stores, which is a nice perk.

Bing carries that same clean user experience to video, making it the go-to source for video search without a YouTube bias.

2. Yandex

Looking for a search perspective outside of the United States?Yandex is used by more than 45% of Russian Internet users. It is also used in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine.Yandex is an overall easy-to-use search engine. As an added bonus, it offers a suite of some pretty cool tools.

3. CC Search

CC Search should be your first stop on the hunt for nearly any type of copyright-free content. This search engine is perfect if you need music for a video, an image for a blog post, or anything else without worrying about an angry artist coming after you for ripping off their work.The way CC Search works is simple – it draws in results from platforms such as Soundcloud, Wikimedia, and Flickr and displays results labeled as Creative Commons material.

If privacy is important to you, consider:

4. Swisscows

Swisscows is a unique option on this list, billing itself as a family-friendly semantic search engine.They also pride themselves in respecting users’ privacy, never collecting, storing or tracking data.It uses artificial intelligence to determine the context of a user’s query.Over time, Swisscows promises to answer your questions with surprising accuracy.

5. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store any of your personal information.That means you can run your searches in peace without having to worry about the boogeyman watching you through your computer screen.DuckDuckGo is the perfect choice for those who wish to keep their browsing habits and personal information private.

6. StartPage

StartPage serves up answers from Google, making it the perfect choice for those who prefer Google’s search results, but aren’t keen on having their search history tracked and stored.It also includes a URL generator, a proxy service, and HTTPS support.The URL generator is especially useful because it eliminates the need to collect cookies.Instead, it remembers your settings in a way that promotes privacy.

7. Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a private search engine that uses local encryption to ensure your searches remain private.It uses a combination of encryption methods that include Secure Sockets Layer encryption and AES-256 encryption.When you input a query, Search Encrypt will pull the results from its network of search partners and deliver the requested information.One of the best parts of Search Encrypt is that your search terms will eventually expire, so your information will remain private even if someone has local access to your computer.

8. Gibiru

According to their website, “Gibiru is the preferred Search Engine for Patriots.”They claim their search results are sourced from a modified Google algorithm, so users are able to query the information they seek without worrying about Google’s tracking activities.Because Gibiru doesn’t install tracking cookies on your computer they purport to be faster than “NSA Search Engines.”

9. OneSearch

Verizon Media launched its privacy-focused search engine, OneSearch, in January 2020.It promises:

  • No cookie tracking, retargeting, or personal profiling.
  • No sharing of personal data with advertisers.
  • No storing of user search history.
  • Unbiased, unfiltered search results.
  • Encrypted search terms.

Looking for crowd sourced search results? Then try…

10. pulls its results from thousands of wikis on the net.It is the perfect search engine for those who appreciate community-led information as found on sites like Wikipedia.

11. Boardreader

If you’re interested in finding a forum or message board about a specific subject, Boardreader should be the first place you turn to.This search engine queries its results from a wide variety of message boards and forums online. You should be able to find the forum you want with just a few keystrokes.

Prefer search engines with a mission of doing socialgood? Check out:

12. giveWater

GiveWater is a self-described “social impact search engine” which aims to have a positive impact on the world by empowering users to solve the issue of poor quality water and ineffective sanitation across the developing world.It was founded after the company’s CEO met the founder of Charity: Water, Scott Harrison and was inspired to try to make a difference through his own work.

13. Ekoru

Ekoru is taking on the ever-present threat of climate change by donating 60% of its monthly revenue to one of several partner charities, ranging from those focusing on reforestation and climate action to those who are dedicated to animal welfare and conservation.They also aim to select a different charitable cause every month.Interestingly, Ekoru puts its money where its mouth is, using renewable energy sources for its data centers and taking a stand for civil rights by not storing any user or search-related data on their servers.

14. Ecosia

Looking to save the planet, one tree at a time? Then check out this environmentally friendly search engine! his may come as a surprise, but your Google searches actually contribute to the creation of quite a bit of CO2.To battle this issue, Ecosia uses the revenues generated from search engine queries to plant trees. Typically Ecosia needs around 45 searches to plant a new tree.

15. SlideShare

SlideShare allows you to search for documented slideshow presentations.You can also search for ebooks and PDFs, making it an excellent tool if you have a business presentation to prepare for.SlideShare also allows you to save slides and even download the entire slideshow for use on your local computer.

16. Internet Archive

As the name implies, this search engine queries a massive collection of documented material, including millions of free videos, books, music, and software.Essentially, the Internet Archive is a vast online library where you can access just about anything you could imagine.

China’s ‘Belt and Road’ mega-project

China is undertaking what it considers the largest project of the century — linking itself with more than 100 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania through trade.

The main focuses of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — also known as “One Belt, One Road” — are in infrastructure, transportation, and energy. The initiative was first announced in 2013, and is seen to be President Xi Jinping’s pet project.

Most BRI deals involve China lending vast amounts of money to other countries to build new railroads, shipping lanes, and other ventures in those countries. Investment from China alone in the project is estimated to be between $1 trillion and $8 trillion.

Proponents of the BRI say it’s a way for China to invest in emerging markets and strengthen its ties with them. However, the inner workings of the BRI are shrouded in secrecy, and some projects have already been abandoned due to host countries being unable to pay back their loans.

Critics also say that by creating these loans, China is engaging in debt-trap diplomacy — a strategy of extracting political concessions out of a country that owes it money.

As of November 2019, 138 other countries are part of the project, according to China. They include New Zealand, Russia, Italy, and even Syria.

BRI partnerships typically come in the form of joint memoranda of understanding to support future projects. But these contracts are typically shrouded in secrecy, so it is hard to understand how they work.

China has invested between $1 trillion and $8 trillion in projects along the Belt and Road, mainly in infrastructure, transport, and energy.

These include gas pipelines in Pakistan; a port in Kazakhstan; and a rail route linking Yiwu, China, to the United Kingdom

Here are workers building a natural gas pipeline linking China and Russia — one of the landmark BRI projects between the two countries.

Workers at the construction site of a natural gas pipeline in Heihe, northeast China, on October 16, 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin — whom China’s President Xi calls his “best and bosom friend” — has propped up China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the past.

China’s ambitions have even reached the Arctic, with plans to build a “Polar Silk Road” with infrastructure projects and shipping routes between the Arctic and Asia.

China — which has led action on climate-change policies in recent years— has pledged to build environmentally sustainable BRI projects in the past, but has not given much detail on how it would do so, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.

Activists and locals have spoken out about the potential environmental damage of various BRI projects.

In 2018, activists in Kenya managed to halt, via judicial order, the construction of a Chinese-financed coal plant because it would destroy the environment and human health.

Environmental groups in Indonesia have also warned that the building of a $1.6 billion dam on Sumatra island could wipe out a species of orangutan, the Financial Times reported.

A villager in Bom Or, Laos, told the Financial Times that Laotian and Chinese officials had visited more than 30 households asking them to make way for a building, without offering them financial compensation or other housing.

In March 2019 China claimed one of its biggest victories for the BRI by signing a memorandum of understanding with Italy, the 8th-biggest economy in the world.

The two countries’ MOU, reportedly to support a joint infrastructure project, is non-binding — meaning there will be no legal ramifications for Italy or China if either withdraws from the agreement.

The exact details of what the memorandum aims to achieve are also unclear, further shrouding the BRI in secrecy.

The US isn’t a part of BRI but recognizes and deems it a threat. In November 2019, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it will invest and trade more in Asia to counter China’s economic power in the region.

The Trump administration in November launched the “Blue Dot Network,” a US-led public-private initiative to increase “financially sustainable infrastructure development” in Asia.

The organization wants to “promote market-driven, transparent, and financially sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,” it said in a statement.

It appears to be directly targeting countries concerned about the BRI’s opacity.

In 2016, China established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a regional development bank to fund infrastructure — like an Asian version of the IMF. The UK, Germany, and France all joined despite the Obama administration warning its allies not to.

Though China typically stays out of other countries’ politics, the BRI has given it reasons to get involved in some of them. When Turkey invaded northeastern Syria — a BRI partner nation — in October, China told Turkey to stop (and was ignored).

The project has also amplified feuds between other countries. India is suspicious of the BRI because of Beijing’s plans to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Projects along the CPEC include a coal-fired power plant, schools, and solar energy facilities, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

Tensions between India and Pakistan, meanwhile, reached a height this year when India claimed the disputed region of Kashmir as its own federally-administered territory.

China’s backing of Pakistan-based infrastructure projects has also appeared to encourage it to support Beijing in other political issues. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has routinely ignored criticism of China’s abuse against its Muslim minority.

Khan has repeatedly claimed not to know anything about China’s oppression of the Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority in its west.

Critics told Business Insider earlier this year that through the BRI, China had bought Pakistan’s silence.

It’s an example of what critics call Chinese “debt-trap diplomacy” — the strategy of extracting political concessions from a country that owes money. Another example of this can be seen in BRI countries shunning Taiwan.

Taiwan has been self-governing for decades, but Beijing continues to call it a Chinese territory. Tensions between the pair have ramped up in recent years because the island nation’s incumbent president is particularly critical of China.

A handful of countries, which are also BRI partners, have formally severed ties with Taiwan in recent months, leaving the island nation with just 15 allies left globally — all of whom are relatively impotent on the world stage.

Taiwan’s allies include the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Tuvalu, and Eswatini, a southern African nation of 1.4 million people

Many of those countries have also restored or improved ties to China after cutting off Taiwan.

Not everyone agrees with that characterization, though. An Australian think tank found that China’s actions in the Pacific do not, at this point, show any sort of debt-trap diplomacy.

“The evidence suggests China has not been engaged in problematic debt practices in the Pacific as to justify accusations of debt trap diplomacy, at least not to date,” the Lowy Institute said in October 2019, according to The Guardian.

The think tank did warn, however, that the “sheer scale of Chinese lending and the lack of strong institutional mechanisms to protect the debt sustainability of borrowing” could still bring risks for the borrowing nations.

One thing is clear: China has poured a lot of money and effort into the BRI, and is unlikely to stop. The US — the only world power strong enough to take on China — will have to step up if it wants to be taken as a serious alternative in Asia.

How to protect yourself from Facebook!

Don’t put your date of birth on your Facebook page

Yes, it’s nice to have your friends all wish you a happy birthday, but it’s not worth the serious security risk that it presents.  Any extra piece of information that you put in your profile is something a thief can use to access your account or even steal you identity.  Besides, your close friends will know when it’s your birthday anyway.

2. Get more than one contact email

Often hackers will be able to get into your Facebook account as well as your email account, so if you only have one email account you will be left stranded.  Also, you don’t have to put your email address on your profile for all to see.

3. Don’t use the same password on Facebook as you do for email or other accounts

This may seem obvious, but people still use the same passwords for everything.  This presents a huge security risk, as a hacker only needs to get enough hints to figure out your password before they have access to your entire life.

Use different passwords for every account you have online, and make those passwords hard to guess.  Use a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols.  If it’s hard for you to remember your own password, it’s probably a good thing because a hacker will not be able to guess it.  Also, never share your password with someone.  You might think it’s safe but you never know who is listening or who will see that piece of paper or email with your password on it.

4.  Be suspicious of anyone asking for money on Facebook, even friends

Scammers are hacking user’s accounts and using their friends to get money transfers.  Some will even make it sound urgent, but there are many Nigerian scammers that are using this tactic to fund their schemes.  Try to call your friend who is asking for money and see if their account has been hacked before you do anything.

5. Change your privacy settings to control who sees your private information

You really should not even allow your friends to see your private information because you never know if they are really your friends or not.  In fact, most identity thieves end up being friends or family.  But under privacy settings in Facebook you can control who sees your email address, age, relationship status etc.  Make sure you are not allowing everyone to see any of your personal data.

6. Only accept friend requests from people you know

Often hackers will pretend they are a friend of yours from high school so they can get more access and information to your account.  They may even steal your current friend’s picture and start another account with that picture and then request you as a friend.  Before you accept that next request just send a private message to them and ask something only they would know.

7. Do not allow Facebook to use your personal information for advertising purposes

This one has a lot of people upset.  Have you seen those ads on the sidebar with your friend’s pictures and some product?  By default Facebook allows advertisers to be able to target their ads according to the user’s profiles, but you can change this is you want.

These are some basic steps to help protect your Facebook account and identity from hackers and thieves.  A lot of this involves common sense, but the internet is always changing and new threats are coming up all the time.  Be sure to protect yourself and your family from these security threats so you don’t become another statistic.

7 Netflix hacks you’ll use all the time

Copied from Komando site

No doubt since the coronavirus pandemic hit, you’ve spent more time than you’d care to admit watching Netflix.

Netflix is the streaming standard. Take a look at this list of hacks and I’m sure you’ll find a few you’ll wish you knew about a few months ago.

  1. Hide what you’ve watched

you can delete your Netflix viewing history. Open Viewing Activity and on the Activity page, click the icon next to the episode or title you want to hide. If you are hiding an episode, you’ll see the option to hide the entire series. To hide your viewing activity, select the Hide all option at the bottom of the page and confirm.

  1. Find new discoveries with secret category codes

Netflix has thousands of programs you can watch from the main browser. As if that weren’t enough options, there’s even more that you might not know. I am talking about secret menus and codes. The downside to the codes is that you cannot access them through your TV. You must use a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone browser. The codes are listed below!

  1. Download shows to watch offline
    Not all titles are available for download on Netflix, but most of its original content is. You can also download content from providers that Netflix has an agreement.
    Once you have downloaded the Netflix app, open the application and navigate to Downloads to discover what titles you can download. Alternatively, search for your favorite title and look for a downward-facing arrow next to the title

4. Be a tester

Netflix is continuously working on new features. You can be part of the testing and roll-out. Simply sign in, go to Account, Settings and turn on Test Participation.

5. Use special browser extensions

If you watch Netflix on your laptop or computer, there are several Chrome extensions you can use to streamline Netflix functions. If you are not sure what an extension is, these are just programs that help you customize your browser experience — in this case, using streaming video. To find them, go to and search for extensions by name.

can be part of the testing and roll-out. Simply sign in, go to Account, Settings and turn on Test Participation.

6. Use special browser extensions

If you watch Netflix on your laptop or computer, there are several Chrome extensions you can use to streamline Netflix functions. If you are not sure what an extension is, these are just programs that help you customize your browser experience — in this case, using streaming video. To find them, go to and search for extensions by name.

Here are a few Netflix favorites.

Super Netflix
This extension allows you to pick the quality of video streaming, rather than using Netflix’s default setting. Why would you want lower quality?
Well, you can use less bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network or data on your phone. That way, you do not slow down the other devices in your home, and you don’t have to worry about buying extra data from your carrier.

Never Ending Netflix
With this extension, you can automatically play the next episode of whatever series you are binge-watching, skip title sequences and search more than 3,000 genres.
Best of all, you can disable that “Are you still watching?” prompt, so series will continue to play until they run out of episodes (or you hit pause on the remote).Create multiple profiles based on your tastes
I often look at my recommendations and wonder whether Netflix knows my tastes at all. Most people like more than a handful of genres, actors, and directors, which is why some of these recommendations seem limited or off-base.
This hack may seem like extra effort, but if others have not commandeered all your profiles, create new profiles that reflect your likes. One profile could be for action-adventure, another for horror films, and so on.
While you are at it, update the profile pics. I just changed my mother’s profile icon to Queen Elizabeth from “The Crown.”

Play Reelgood Roulette

Reelgood Roulette will offer new movies and shows when you are ready to go off the beaten path. Go crazy and turn off all the filters and see what you get. Or, if you are really in the mood to see the works of a certain actor or director, you can use those filters and spin the wheel again to see what’s available.
Besides being fun, it can help you decide what to watch. Also, if you do not want to play roulette, the site is a one-stop place to see what is on your services, what’s leaving and what’s new.

BONUS: Use a streaming media search site
With all the video streaming options out there, are you struggling to find all the good content you want to watch? You need to use a specialized search site to find what is new and popular on the various streaming services from Netflix to Amazon and beyond.
Best of all, you can see where your favorite movie or show is available for free before buying it on another service.

Get to the secret Netflix menus and start watching

Netflix has nearly 14,000 programs you can watch from the main browser. As if that was not enough options, there’s even more that you might not know about.
The number one streaming service has a secret menu that can be accessed through a variety of “Secret Codes”.

Accessing different categories from the secret menu is as simple as typing in the regular website URL.
If you type in code insert number from below), a new Netflix world comprised of thousands of titles is at your disposal.

Secret codes on Netflix can open a whole new world
NetFlix Streaming by Alternate Genres (Main List)
Extended List here
An external comprehensive list (?) of 27,000 alternate genres

Action & Adventure (1365)

     Asian Action Movies (77232)

     Classic Action & Adventure (46576)

     Action Comedies (43040)

     Action Thrillers (43048)

     Adventures (7442)

     Comic Book and Superhero Movies (10118)

     Westerns (7700)

     Spy Action & Adventure (10702)

     Crime Action & Adventure (9584)

     Foreign Action & Adventure (11828)

     Martial Arts Movies (8985)

     Military Action & Adventure (2125)

Anime (7424)

     Adult Animation (11881)

     Anime Action (2653)

     Anime Comedies (9302)

     Anime Dramas (452)

     Anime Features (3063)

     Anime Sci-Fi (2729)

     Anime Horror (10695)

     Anime Fantasy (11146)

     Anime Series (6721)

Children & Family Movies (783)

     Movies for ages 0 to 2 (6796)

     Movies for ages 2 to 4 (6218)

     Movies for ages 5 to 7 (5455)

     Movies for ages 8 to 10 (561)

     Movies for ages 11 to 12 (6962)

     Education for Kids (10659)

     Disney (67673)

     Movies based on children's books (10056)

     Family Features (51056)

     TV Cartoons (11177)

     Kids' TV (27346)

     Kids Music (52843)

     Animal Tales (5507)

Classic Movies (31574)

     Classic Comedies (31694)

     Classic Dramas (29809)

     Classic Sci-Fi & Fantasy (47147)

     Classic Thrillers (46588)

     Film Noir (7687)

     Classic War Movies (48744)

     Epics (52858)

     Classic Foreign Movies (32473)

     Silent Movies (53310)

     Classic Westerns (47465)

Comedies (6548)

     Dark Comedies (869)

     Foreign Comedies (4426)

     Late Night Comedies (1402)

     Mockumentaries (26)

     Political Comedies (2700)

     Screwball Comedies (9702)

     Sports Comedies (5286)

     Stand-up Comedy (11559)

     Teen Comedies (3519)

     Satires (4922)

     Romantic Comedies (5475)

     Slapstick Comedies (10256)

Cult Movies (7627)

     B-Horror Movies (8195)

     Campy Movies (1252)

     Cult Horror Movies (10944)

     Cult Sci-Fi & Fantasy (4734)

     Cult Comedies (9434)

Documentaries (6839)

     Biographical Documentaries (3652)

     Crime Documentaries (9875)

     Foreign Documentaries (5161)

     Historical Documentaries (5349)

     Military Documentaries (4006)

     Sports Documentaries (180)

     Music & Concert Documentaries (90361)

     Travel & Adventure Documentaries (1159)

     Political Documentaries (7018)

     Religious Documentaries (10005)

     Science & Nature Documentaries (2595)

     Social & Cultural Documentaries (3675)

Dramas (5763)

     Biographical Dramas (3179)

     Classic Dramas (29809)

     Courtroom Dramas (528582748)

     Crime Dramas (6889)

     Dramas based on Books (4961)

     Dramas based on real life (3653)

     Tearjerkers (6384)

     Foreign Dramas (2150)

     Sports Dramas (7243)

     Gay & Lesbian Dramas (500)

     Independent Dramas (384)

     Teen Dramas (9299)

     Military Dramas (11)

     Period Pieces (12123)

     Political Dramas (6616)

     Romantic Dramas (1255)

     Showbiz Dramas (5012)

     Social Issue Dramas (3947)

Faith & Spirituality (26835)

     Faith & Spirituality Movies (52804)

     Spiritual Documentaries (2760)

     Kids Faith & Spirituality (751423)

Foreign Movies (7462)

     Art House Movies (29764)

     Foreign Action & Adventure (11828)

     Classic Foreign Movies (32473)

     Foreign Comedies (4426)

     Foreign Documentaries (5161)

     Foreign Dramas (2150)

     Foreign Gay & Lesbian Movies (8243)

     Foreign Horror Movies (8654)

     Foreign Sci-Fi & Fantasy (6485)

     Foreign Thrillers (10306)

     Romantic Foreign Movies (7153)

     African Movies (3761)

     Australian Movies (5230)

     Belgian Movies (262)

     Korean Movies (5685)

     Latin American Movies (1613)

     Middle Eastern Movies (5875)

     New Zealand Movies (63782)

     Russian (11567)

     Scandinavian Movies (9292)

     Southeast Asian Movies (9196)

     Spanish Movies (58741)

     Greek Movies (61115)

     German Movies (58886)

     French Movies (58807)

     Eastern European Movies (5254)

     Dutch Movies (10606)

     Irish Movies (58750)

     Japanese Movies (10398)

     Italian Movies (8221)

     Indian Movies (10463)

     Chinese Movies (3960)

     British Movies (10757)

Gay & Lesbian Movies (5977)

     Gay & Lesbian Comedies (7120)

     Gay & Lesbian Dramas (500)

     Romantic Gay & Lesbian Movies (3329)

     Foreign Gay & Lesbian Movies (8243)

     Gay & Lesbian Documentaries (4720)

     Gay & Lesbian TV Shows (65263)

Horror Movies (8711)

     B-Horror Movies (8195)

     Creature Features (6895)

     Cult Horror Movies (10944)

     Deep Sea Horror Movies (45028)

     Foreign Horror Movies (8654)

     Horror Comedy (89585)

     Monster Movies (947)

     Slasher and Serial Killer Movies (8646)

     Supernatural Horror Movies (42023)

     Teen Screams (52147)

     Vampire Horror Movies (75804)

     Werewolf Horror Movies (75930)

     Zombie Horror Movies (75405)

     Satanic Stories (6998)

Independent Movies (7077)

     Experimental Movies (11079)

     Independent Action & Adventure (11804)

     Independent Thrillers (3269)

     Romantic Independent Movies (9916)

     Independent Comedies (4195)

     Independent Dramas (384)

Music (1701)

     Kids Music (52843)

     Country & Western/Folk (1105)

     Jazz & Easy Listening (10271)

     Latin Music (10741)

     Urban & Dance Concerts (9472)

     World Music Concerts (2856)

     Rock & Pop Concerts (3278)

Musicals (13335)

     Classic Musicals (32392)

     Disney Musicals (59433)

     Showbiz Musicals (13573)

     Stage Musicals (55774)

Romantic Movies (8883)

     Romantic Favorites (502675)

     Quirky Romance (36103)

     Romantic Independent Movies (9916)

     Romantic Foreign Movies (7153)

     Romantic Dramas (1255)

     Steamy Romantic Movies (35800)

     Classic Romantic Movies (31273)

     Romantic Comedies (5475)

Sci-Fi & Fantasy (1492)

     Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy (1568)

     Alien Sci-Fi (3327)

     Classic Sci-Fi & Fantasy (47147)

     Cult Sci-Fi & Fantasy (4734)

     Fantasy Movies (9744)

     Sci-Fi Adventure (6926)

     Sci-Fi Dramas (3916)

     Sci-Fi Horror Movies (1694)

     Sci-Fi Thrillers (11014)

     Foreign Sci-Fi & Fantasy (6485)

Sports Movies (4370)

     Sports Comedies (5286)

     Sports Documentaries (180)

     Sports Dramas (7243)

     Baseball Movies (12339)

     Football Movies (12803)

     Boxing M10499ovies (12443)

     Soccer Movies (12549)

     Martial Arts, Boxing & Wrestling (6695)

     Basketball Movies (12762)

     Sports & Fitness (9327)

Thrillers (8933)

     Action Thrillers (43048)

     Classic Thrillers (46588)

     Crime Thrillers (10499)

     Foreign Thrillers (10306)

     Independent Thrillers (3269)

     Gangster Movies (31851)

     Psychological Thrillers (5505)

     Political Thrillers (10504)

     Mysteries (9994)

     Sci-Fi Thrillers (11014)

     Spy Thrillers (9147)

     Steamy Thrillers (972)

     Supernatural Thrillers (11140)

TV Shows (83)

     British TV Shows (52117)

     Classic TV Shows (46553)

     Crime TV Shows (26146)

     Cult TV Shows (74652)

     Food & Travel TV (72436)

     Kids' TV (27346)

     Korean TV Shows (67879)

     Miniseries (4814)

     Military TV Shows (25804)

     Science & Nature TV (52780)

     TV Action & Adventure (10673)

     TV Comedies (10375)

     TV Documentaries (10105)

     TV Dramas (11714)

     TV Horror (83059)

     TV Mysteries (4366)

     TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy (1372)

     Reality TV (9833)

     Teen TV Shows (60951)

Odds of catching novel coronavirus on an airplane

The odds of catching novel coronavirus on an airplane with infected passengers appear to be relatively small, though still possible, according to a new report.

German researchers told of the health outcomes for more than a hundred passengers on a flight in a report recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The German researchers reported on the health status of 102 passengers who boarded a Boeing 737 flight in Tel Aviv, Israel, on March 9, according to the study. The flight, just over 4.5 hours, was going to Frankfurt, Germany, before strict COVID-19 protocols were in place, such as mandating masks for crew and passengers as well as the restriction of congregating in aisles. (Airlines have since instituted those policies in an effort to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.)

Several days before taking the flight, seven members of a 24-person tour group on the plane came unknowingly in contact with a hotel manager who tested positive for COVID-19. The group was notified upon landing and tested, according to the study. Seven members of the group were positive for COVID-19 and referred to as index cases in the study. Four were symptomatic, two pre-symptomatic, and one was asymptomatic.

The study’s investigators followed up with 71 of the other 78 passengers aboard and stated in the report that two passengers who were seated within two rows of an infected tour member tested positive, likely due to an onboard transmission of COVID-19.

The team of researchers also noted how the plane’s airflow system may have limited the number of potential COVID-19 cases. (iStock)<br data-cke-eol=”1″>

“We discovered 2 likely SARS-CoV-2 transmissions on this flight, with 7 index cases,” researcher Dr. Sandra Ciesek, of the Institute for Medical Virology at Goethe University in Frankfurt, stated in the report. “These transmissions may have also occurred before or after the flight.”

“The risk of transmission of droplet mediated infections on an aircraft depends on proximity to an index case and on other factors, such as [the] movement of passengers and crew, fomites, and contact among passengers in the departure gate,” the researchers explained.

The team of researchers also noted how the plane’s airflow system may have limited the number of potential COVID-19 cases.

“The airflow in the cabin from the ceiling to the floor and from the front to the rear may have been associated with a reduced transmission rate. It could be speculated that the rate may have been reduced further had the passengers worn masks,” they wrote.

Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of Infectious Diseases of Mount Sinai in New York, said the report is consistent with other research findings.

“Airplane trips, especially if they are of a longer duration, have the potential to transmit infection from an infected person to the people sitting in their immediate vicinity,” he said.

“The good news, however, is that even with no attempts to prevent spread, [the] spread was limited to only those in close proximity. Plus, nowadays with a better understanding of viral transmission, and recognizing the importance of masking and social distancing as possible, the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19 to someone on an airplane is very low,” the epidemiologist added.

If one chooses to fly during the pandemic, “I recommend that people mask and social distance as possible in the airport and on the plane. Certainly, someone ill or recently exposed to COVID should not be traveling on a plane,” Glatt said.

Glatt, also a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, concluded: “It is our responsibility to make sure that not only are we are safe but everyone else is safe as well. The more people that wear a mask on the plane trip, the better everyone will be.”

Web browsers and the Internet

to download click here

A web browser is a type of software that allows you to find and view websites on the Internet. Even if you did not know it, you are using a web browser right now to read this page! There are many different web browsers, but some of the most common ones include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.

I am also be introducing Tor a browser that is owned by Mozilla Firefox and is becoming popular to go to sites including the dark web and it can go to the deep dark web.  I will explain the different as we go over Tor in the class later.

No matter which web browser you use, you will want to learn the basics of browsing the Web. In this lesson, we will talk about navigating to different websites, using tabbed browsing, creating bookmarks, and more.

You can use any browser you want. Keep in mind that your browser may look and act a bit differently, but all web browsers work in basically the same way.

Why are there so many browsers and why are they free.

The link below shows how web browsers make money.  We do not cover this, but it is good reading, the answer is advertising revenue.    Everything you click on in a browser makes money for that company.

Names of some popular browsers

  1. Microsoft Edge and Bing (same search engine)
  2. Chrome (In chrome you can enable duckduckgo as an extension for private browsing)
  3. Firefox
  4. Opera (you can enable vpn and duckduckgo in settings)
  5. Apple Safari
  6. Internet Explorer
  7. EPIC
  8. Tor

URLs and the address bar or how to get around the internet

Each website has a unique address, called a URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator). It’s like a street address that tells your browser where to go on the Internet. When you type or click on a URL the browser’s address bar and press Enter on your keyboard, the browser will load the page associated with that URL.


Bookmarks or links to pages you go to on a regular basic or for special pages you might want to see again without searching the internet.

To mark a document or a specific place in a document for later retrieval. Nearly all Web browsers support a bookmarking feature that lets you save the address (URL) of a Web page so that you can easily re-visit the page at a later time.  This is useful so you do not have to type the address just click on the link

How do I create an internet favorite or bookmark? 

Link to instructions below

How do I manage internet favorites or bookmarks? 

We will do a show and tell in class. 

This is also where the bookmark manager is, and the manager lets you make folders and move bookmarks around.


What are cookies?

An HTTP cookie (also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie, or simply cookie) is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. The main purpose of a cookie is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages or to save site login information for you.

How cookies are used

Upon each return visit to that site, your browser passes that cookie back to the server. In this way, a web server can gather information about which web pages are used the most, and which pages are gathering the most repeat hits. Cookies are also used for online shopping.

How to delete cookies

What happens when you delete all your cookies

You will have a hard time finding a web page and you have to resign in as the site will not know or remember you.

Just remember that if you choose to clear your browser’s history or browse privately, you’re on your own to find a Web page again. That could haunt you when you’re looking for that ONE recipe you saw the day before for chocolate cake that was the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen. Good lucking finding it out of the other 10,300,000 recipes for chocolate cake.

The Tor browser and why is it different from other browsers

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”.  Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”.[11] Tor’s intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

What is Tor? Tor is a free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business -activities and relationships, and state security.

Why Anonymity matters

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

This link is what happens when people search for Tor.  It shows a lot of browser and some good tools that can be used

This link is to a manual on using TOR browser

There is a new battleground in the browser wars: user privacy.

Firefox just made its Enhanced Tracking Protection a default feature, Apple continues to pile privacy-focused features into its Safari browser, and people are more aware than ever before of the sort of information they can reveal every time they set a digital footprint on the web.


What is a Browser History?

Every time you go online from your computer, your browser saves a copy of every page that you visit. That’s right: Your computer and Internet browser—whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or something else—keep track of where you’ve been and a history of what pages you’ve seen.

That’s not something they’re hiding from you and it’s not a conspiracy or invasion of privacy. It’s there for your convenience. And unless you are doing something you don’t want someone else to see, such as planning a secret birthday, it makes your online experience easier.

On all browsers, “History” is one of the drop-down menu choices across the top of the page, along with other choices such as File, Edit, View, Bookmarks and a few others. The History feature keeps tabs on your Internet browsing for as long as you’re online.

Browser application designers realized that people needed a way of knowing where they’d been and what they’d read or seen online over a long Internet session. And over time, they added helpful features to the History feature.

Still, a surprising number of people (more than you’d think) have never explored their browser’s history menu or learned about some its special features. And some people are a little leery of having their Internet history on display.


Whenever you see a word or phrase on a website that is blue or underlined in blue, it’s probably a hyperlink, or link for short. You might already know how links work, even if you have never thought about them much before. For example, try clicking the link below.

Hey, I’m a link! Click me!

Links are used to navigate the Web. When you click a link, it will usually take you to a different webpage. You may also notice that your cursor changes into a hand icon whenever you hover over a link.

If you see this icon, it means you have found a link. You will find other types of links this way too. For example, many websites use images as links, so you can just click the image to navigate to another page.

Navigation buttons

The Back and Forward buttons allow you to move through websites you’ve recently viewed. You can also click and hold either button to see your recent history.

Tabbed browsing

Many browsers allow you to open links in a new tab. You can open as many links as you want, and they’ll stay in the same browser window instead of cluttering your screen with multiple windows.

To open a link in a new tab, right-click the link and select Open link in new tab (the exact wording may vary from browser to browser).

Downloading files

Links do not always go to another website. In some cases, they point to a file that can be downloaded, or saved, to your computer.

This is a link to this file to download

If you click a link to a file, it may download automatically, but sometimes it just opens within your browser instead of downloading. To prevent it from opening in the browser, you can right-click the link and select Save link as (different browsers may use slightly different wording, like Save target as).

Saving images
Sometimes you may want to save an image from a website to your computer. To do this, right-click the image and select Save image as (or Save picture as).


Plug-ins are small applications that allow you to view certain types of content within your web browser. For example, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight are often used to play videos, while Adobe Reader is used to view PDF files.

If you do not have the correct plug-in for a website, your browser will usually provide a link to download it. There may also be times when you need to update your plug-ins

Revising history.

The history feature on our browsers is there to make our online experience simpler and to provide convenience. But it can feel a little strange, knowing that someone can peek into your browser history to see what you’ve been up to. Most of us would not like that.

Still, it does not happen that often. Also, it is only an invasion of your privacy if someone gets access to your computer and actively (or accidentally) searches your history. If you have nothing to hide, then it does not matter.

Still, if your privacy is a concern, regardless of what you look at, there are a couple of things you can do, by exploring two options in the browser’s History menu.

Clear Recent History. This allows you to clear the history record and start browsing with a clean slate. If you do decide to clear your history, all your website visits will be wiped from your browser’s memory, and after you hit “Clear,” it’s gone. You’ll even get a warning before you hit “Clear Now” button that says, “This action cannot be undone.”

Private Browsing. When you select New Private Window, you are turning off the history feature—that means whatever you look at won’t be tracked or won’t appear on the list of websites on your history list. Private browsing is not just about being sneaky online. It offers special benefits:

  • Private browsing is helpful if you use a shared computer, bank online, check medical records, or look at personal or private subject matter you want to keep private.
  • Security experts say that websites will not be able to use “cookies” to track your behavior when you use private browsing.
  • You can prevent Facebook and other social media websites from tracking your online activity while you are on their websites.

When a website places a cookie on your computer, oftentimes part of what they do is track your history to see what you are interested in. That is why it is not a coincidence when you look up an article about France and then see an ad for Air France show up when you visit another website.

Change this one browser setting to book a cheaper vacation or buy things without the price jumping up. Go to INCOGNITO MODE or change to a different browser such as Opera or Tor.

This is the trick that most people never think of. Most airfare tips have to do with the airline itself, and the way these fares change over time. But this trick has to do with your browser, and how it communicates with flight-booking websites. When you upload a page, the website remembers that you visited before. Many bargain-hunters believe that this awareness causes the prices to steadily climb because you have already expressed interest in each itinerary.

Browsing incognito

Google Chrome: There are a few ways to open an Incognito browser if you are using Google Chrome. The first is to right click on the Google Chrome icon before you launch the application. This will bring up a menu with the option, “New Incognito Window.”

The second option is easy to use if you are already browsing in Google Chrome. Simply open a new tab, then hit (and hold) the following keys down: Control, Shift, N (Command, Shift, N for Mac users).

Firefox: In Firefox, this private browsing option isn’t called “Incognito Mode,” it’s called “Private Window.” To access this, just open a new browser and click the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner. There, you’ll see a drop-down menu that lists an option called “New Private Window.”

Safari (on desktop): When using Safari on your Mac, you can open a Private Window in the same way as Google Chrome. Just right click on the icon, and select “New Private Window.”

Safari (on mobile): On mobile, opening a Private Window is a little bit different. While in the browser, tap the Pages icon in the bottom right-hand corner. This will show you all of the windows you have open, and at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the + sign to open another window. Tapping the + sign will open a regular browser. If you’d rather browse privately, be sure to tap “Private” right beside it.

Android: To prevent the website from recognizing your IP address, Android users can employ their “incognito mode.” To use an incognito window on your Android device, open Chrome, then click More (the three vertical dots), then hit Incognito Window. When the new window opens, you’ll see the incognito icon, which looks like a face with a fedora and glasses.

Not every device or browser has an incognito-like feature, but there’s another way to get a similar effect: Most websites recognize your returning visit because of the cookies they install on your computer. Just delete all your cookies and browsing history, and these online services won’t recognize you.

There is some debate on whether using Incognito Windows and eliminating cookies don’t have a substantial impact on airfares. Each website works differently, so it’s hard to say. But feel free to tinker with a regular window and an Incognito Window and see what happens. When it comes to travel, it isn’t the destination but the journey.



Increased state surveillance, countless security breaches and widespread concern about data sharing have spooked many of us into wanting to protect our privacy more than ever.

Despite bubbling almost under the radar for nine years, anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo is now finding its stride in this current climate. In January, it announced it had passed ten billion searches, with four billion occurring in 2016.

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo describes itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. It promises not to use cookies to follow users and says it doesn’t collect any personal information on those who use it. Even your IP address is hidden.

DuckDuckGo’s ambitious plans to be more than a search engine

How is it different to Google and Bing?

DuckDuckGo’s ambitious plans to be more than a search engine

When you click on links from Google and Bing, even in private mode, the search terms are sent to the site you’re visiting in the HTTP referrer header. When you visit that site, your computer automatically shares information, such as your IP address. This information can be used to identify you.

DuckDuckGo calls this “search leakage” and prevents it happening by default on its search results. Instead, when you click on a link on the site it redirects that request in such a way to prevent it sending your search terms to other sites. The sites know that you visited them, but they don’t know what search you entered beforehand, nor can they use personal information to identify you.

DuckDuckGo additionally offers an encrypted version that automatically changes links from a number of major sites to point to the encrypted versions, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Private browsing is not totally private.

Private browsing is not the same as secure browsing. And it is not completely private. It simply hides your activity from being viewed on your computer through the history feature.

  • If you use private browsing on a computer at work that is connected to a network, the network administrator can always see what sites you’ve visited (if they want to).
  • If there is spyware on your computer, your online activities could still be tracked.
  • Internet protection software, used by families to filter and monitor Internet content, can track even “private” viewing sessions.
  • Your Internet Service Provider also has access to your online history, but they could search it and report it only if they were directed to through a legal action.

How to clear your history in any browser

One last thing.

Just remember that if you choose to clear your browser’s history or browse privately, you are on your own to find a Web page again. That could haunt you when you are looking for that ONE recipe you saw the day before for chocolate cake that was the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen. Good lucking finding it out of the other 10,300,000 recipes for chocolate cake.

Pushing back against online tracking

If you want to push back against online tracking, you have got several options to pick from when choosing a default browser. These are the browsers that put user privacy high on the list of their priorities.

DuckDuckGo (Android, iOS, browser extension)

You might know DuckDuckGo as the anti-Google search engine, but it’s also branched out to make its own mobile browsers for Android and iOS. Not only do they keep you better protected online, they give you plenty of information about what they are blocking.

DuckDuckGo starts by enforcing encrypted HTTPS connections when websites offer them, and then gives each page you visit a grade based on how aggressively it’s trying to mine your data.

To keep you anonymized online, DuckDuckGo blocks tracking cookies that are able to identify you and your device, and even scans and ranks sites’ privacy policies. You can clear tabs and data automatically at the end of each session, or you can wipe this data manually with a single tap. You can even set a timer to automatically clear out your history after a period of inactivity.

The browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox do a very similar job, so you don’t have to abandon your favorite desktop browser to take advantage of DuckDuckGo’s tight privacy controls. Again, the extensions rank sites for their privacy features, and block attempts to track your activities online.

What really appeals about the DuckDuckGo apps and browser extensions is how simple they are to use. You do not really need to do anything except install them, so it’s a good pick for getting maximum protection with minimal effort.

Ghostery (Android, iOS, browser extension)

Get Ghostery for Android or iOS installed, and straight away it gets to work blocking adverts and tracking cookies that will attempt to keep tabs on what you’re up to on the web.

Like DuckDuckGo’s mobile apps, the Ghostery browser tells you exactly which trackers it’s blocking, and how many monitoring tools each website has installed—if you find certain sites that are well-behaved, you can mark them as trusted with a tap.

Or, if you find a site that’s packed full of tracking technology, you can block every single bit of cookie technology on it (for commenting systems, media players and so on), even if the site might break as a result.

Ghostery also develops an extension that works with just about every desktop browser out there—again, you can view the trackers on each site you visit, then take appropriate action on them or let Ghostery decide and its AI smarts decide what needs blocking.

Ghostery’s tools are a little more in-depth and advanced than the ones offered by DuckDuckGo, so you might consider it if you want to take extra control over which trackers are blocked on which sites.

Tor Browser (Android, Windows, macOS)

Tor Browser stands for browsing “without tracking, surveillance, or censorship” and is worth a look if you want the ultimate in anonymized, tracker-free browsing—unless you’re on iOS, where it isn’t yet available.

The browser app for Android, Windows and macOS is actually part of a bigger project to keep internet browsing anonymous. The Tor Project routes your web navigation through a complex, encrypted network of relays managed by its community, making it much harder for anyone else to work out where you’re going on the web.

As well as this additional layer of anonymity, Tor Browser is super-strict on the sort of background scripts and tracking technologies sites are allowed to run. It also blocks fingerprinting, a method where advertisers attempt to recognize the unique characteristics of your device across multiple sites, even if they can’t tell exactly who you are.

At the end of each browsing session, everything gets wiped, including cookies left behind by sites and the browsing history inside the Tor Browser app itself. In other words, private browsing mode is the default.

Because of the extra encryption and anonymity measures, Tor Browser can run slightly slower than other browsers, but in terms of staying invisible on the web, it is the best there is. It can even help you get online in countries where the internet is blocked or censored.

Brave (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)

Brave is a project from Brendan Eich, once of Firefox developer Mozilla, and its mission includes both keeping you from being tracked on the web and finding a better way to serve you advertisements. It is a dichotomy that doesn’t fully fit together just yet.

There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of its tracker blocking technologies, though. The browser apps block ads by default and put tight restrictions on the information sites can gather on you through cookies and tracking scripts.

You can block trackers, scripts, and fingerprinting technologies—where sites attempt to identify your particular device—individually, but unlike DuckDuckGo and Ghostery you don’t get a detailed breakdown of what’s been stopped.

Brave also tries to block phishing attempts over the web, and will force HTTPS encryption where it’s available. It’s a comprehensive package that strikes a well-judged balance between simplicity and power.

Time will tell whether Brave’s attempts to create a new privacy-respecting ad platform are successful, but it’s testing the idea of paying users to watch ads and splitting the revenue with content creators. You can also give micropayments to sites you like directly, though all of this is completely opt-in.

Firefox (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)

As we mentioned at the outset, Firefox now blocks third-party cookies by default—those are the bits of code left by advertisers that try to piece together what you’re doing across multiple sites to build up a more detailed picture of who you are.

It also gives you a ton of information on each website you visit regarding the trackers and cookies that pages have attempted to leave, and which ones Firefox has blocked. Permissions for access to your location and microphone can be easily managed as well.

All this is on desktop—the mobile apps haven’t quite caught up yet—but whichever platform you install Firefox on, you’ve got a raft of privacy-focused features to take advantage of. On mobile, you can again take control over tracker and cookie blocking, and clear out stored data every time you close the app.

For even stricter tracker protection and ad blocking to boot, there’s Firefox Focus for Android and iOS. It is a stripped-down version of the main browser, without all the bells and whistles of the full Firefox, but if speed and privacy are your main priorities, it’s definitely worth a try.

The main Firefox apps for desktop and mobile hit the sweet spot as far as balancing privacy and convenience. There is plenty to please those who want to take more control over how their data is collected, along with having all the usual browser features (like extensions and password syncing) as well.

Safari (iOS, macOS)

Apple continues to add anti-tracking tech to Safari with each successive release on iOS and macOS, though this isn’t an option for your browser of choice if you’re on Windows or Android of course.

How Coke and Pepsi Make Millions From Bottling Tap Water

How Coke and Pepsi Make Millions From Bottling Tap Water, as Residents Face Shutoffs
The beverage giants were allowed to keep bottling in Detroit, despite substantial uncollected water bills

In recent weeks, on a quiet stretch of Detroit’s west side dotted with vacant homes, a 262,000-square-foot Coca-Cola manufacturing facility has buzzed with activity, even as many businesses in Michigan were ordered by the state to temporarily close to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Coca-Cola churns out a number of beverages here, including Dasani bottled water, which generated more than $1 billion in U.S. sales in the past year, according to market research firm IRI. It’s a good time to be in the water business: As the coronavirus pandemic spread in the U.S. throughout March, bottled water sales increased 57 percent over the same time period last year.

But among the products, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer, that Americans are panic-buying, bottled water is unusual: There is no shortage of safe drinking water, and health officials have tried to assure people that public water supplies are not contaminated by the coronavirus. Hoarding bottled water simply isn’t necessary for most people.

What’s more, most bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from the same municipal sources that supply tap water—a fact that might be unknown to most consumers. Coca-Cola makes Dasani at the company’s Detroit plant by purchasing, treating, and bottling municipal water before selling it at a significant upcharge to consumers. Pepsi bottles its Aquafina water brand in Detroit the same way.

The business model is hugely profitable. The cost to buy that municipal water is exceedingly low—and once bottled, the markup can be around 133 times greater, a Consumer Reports analysis of company water billing and usage records found.

But what’s good for businesses isn’t necessarily good for consumers, according to CR’s review, which included the examination of hundreds of pages of billing and other records obtained through public records requests, and interviews with environmental law experts, industry consultants, residents of Detroit, and consumer advocates.

For starters, bottlers and consumers aren’t always treated as equals by water utilities, CR found. In Detroit, whose policy prior to the coronavirus crisis called for shutting off water to residents if they fell $150 behind in their water bills, 2,800 homes were estimated to be without running water at the start of the pandemic. (Read more about cities that have not restored water to residents during the coronavirus crisis.)

But bottlers in Detroit have also racked up tens of thousands of dollars of past-due water bills that went unpaid for months, CR found. Not once has their access to water been shut off over the time period we examined. When asked why, the city cited the companies’ strong payment history and an ability to pay their bills. The city said in a later statement that it had made errors collecting past-due balances.

Google being sued for tracking people in private mode “incognito”

Google has been sued in the US over claims it illegally invades the privacy of users by tracking people even when they are browsing in “private mode”.
The class action wants at least $5bn (£4bn) from Google and owner Alphabet.
Many internet users assume their search history isn’t being tracked when they view in private mode, but Google says this isn’t the case.

The search engine denies this is illegal and says it is upfront about the data it collects in this mode.
The proposed class action likely includes “millions” of Google users who since 1 June 2016 browsed the internet in private mode according to law firm Boies Schiller Flexner who filed the claim on Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.

Incognito mode within Google’s Chrome browser gives users the choice to search the internet without their activity being saved to the browser or device. But the websites visited can use tools such as Google Analytics to track usage.

The complaint says that Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone”.
Vigorously denying the claims Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said: “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity”.

The search engine says the collection of search history, even in private viewing mode, helps site owners “better evaluate the performance of their content, products, marketing and more.”
While private browsing has been available from Google for some time, Boies Schiller Flexner said it recently decided to represent three plaintiffs based in the US.

“People everywhere are becoming more aware (and concerned) that their personal communications are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for gain by technology companies they have come to depend on,” it said in the filing.

One option is for visitors to install Google Analytics browser opt-out extension to disable measurement by Google Analytics, it says.