Screen Time – How much time do I spend playing games on my phone?!

Several months ago I checked out the beta version of the newest Operating System for my iPhone. (Check out my blog on the subject.)  I did this primarily because I had heard about Screen Time, a new app that helps you track the amount of time you are spending on your Apple devices.  I only signed up for the trial on my iPad, because, if they were to release a beta OS that crashed the system, I didn’t want to be without my phone.

Although Screen Time says "Gail's iPhone", it's really data from both my phone and tablet.

Although Screen Time says “Gail’s iPhone”, it’s really data from both my phone and tablet.

Well, now that they’ve fully tested the software and released it to the public, I’ve installed it on my phone, and updated my tablet. (By the way, I’m using iOS 12.0.1 on my iPhone and 12.1 on the iPad.) So, now there’s no getting around it.  I spend a LOT of time on my devices playing games and checking social media.  But, I’m also happy to see that I do actually spend more time reading, researching, and other productive activities.  (Check out the grey bars!)

How often do I…

The App also tells me how many times a day I pick up my phone (54 times a day), and how my notifications I get (71 per day).

How to install Screen Time:

Screen Time is easy to activate and use once you’ve upgraded to the newest iOS.  Simply go to Settings, and scroll down about one screen until you see Screen Time.  Click on Screen Time, then “Turn on Screen Time”.  Read the introduction, then click on “Continue”.  Next it will ask if this phone is yours or for a child.  It will allow you to set up a downtime for the phone, and other parental permissions. (You may also notice that I have VPN activated on my phone.  Here’s my blog about that subject.)

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here for access!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Pwned? How Do I Find Out If This Impacts Me?

Although this website has been around for a few years, I’ve only just found out about it.  It’s called Have I Been Pwned and it lets you know if your email address has been compromised in any way.

A little history about the word Pwned:

The Urban Dictionary postulates that Pwned came into use after one of the designers for the game Warcraft typo’d “has been pwned” instead of “has been owned”. Another Urban Dictionary contributor says it is actually a commonly used chess term, where you use your pawn to check your opponent. Regardless of the various definitions, the word essentially means that you have been owned or dominated.

Have I Been Pwned?pwned?

Head over to Have I Been Pwned to find out if your email and other personal information has been hacked by bad operators.  They will also tell you on which websites or apps the data breach has occurred.  For example, I found out that my both my personal and business emails have been pwned.  I immediately changed the password for both accounts.  It also told me that the breach came from my Dropbox account.  I then changed my login information on Dropbox as well. Another breach occurred on my LinkedIn account so I changed my info there too.

What can you do to keep your information safe?

  1. Change your password frequently. I change my passwords every 3-6 weeks.
  2. MOST IMPORTANT: Use a password that is hard to guess.  Make sure you use at least 10 characters.  You should use one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and one special character.  I always end with punctuation too. Lately I’ve been using book titles to craft secure passwords.  So “The New Relationship Marketing” would become “th3NewRel@t1onshipMarket1ng;”  (Check it out.  It’s a great book by Mari Smith.)
  3. Next, always keep track of your passwords using a secure system.  I use a password protected spreadsheet. (I’ve recently heard of two people who lost access to their online password tracking system. They had to go to each of their apps and change their passwords!)

Let me know if you have a great tip for setting up great, secure passwords.

Here’s some more reading on the whole pwned subject:

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Flash Drive – They’re All The Same, Right?

“If you need to copy files to a flash drive or memory stick, and don’t care how long it takes, get the cheapest one.”  ~Chris Eddy

Every once in a while, Chris is asked to copy data to a flash drive. The person has one that they purchased from above the candy rack at Target, or has a huge logo that the person received as a freebie from a trade show.  He does a silent groan, and prepares to make casual conversation.

Flash Drive – They’re all the same, right?

That’s what I once thought.  The only variable I thought, was  how much storage it had.  Do I have just a few pictures of the kids to give to my Dad?  Then I’ll get an 8g flash drive.  A handful of videos of the grand-kids? Well then I’ll get a 128 gig flash drive or even a 2Terabyte external hard drive!

Speed Matters:

Flash Drive insides from Wikipedia

Flash Drive insides from Wikipedia

It turns out it’s not just the size that matters with Flash Drives, speed matters too. Most of the readily available flash drives at the checkout counter will transfer around 5-8 MBps (MBps = Million Bytes per second).  Head into the back aisles of your favorite electronics store though, and you’ll see Flash Drives that are speed rated at 50 to 200 MBps.  So, if you have a lot of data to copy, you won’t be sitting around twiddling your thumbs for an hour or more while it does it’s thing.  (I’ve written about this before.  Check out this blog from last year.)

Flash Drives that Chris likes:

  • This Samsung transfers at 150 MPps and holds 128g.
  • This Flash Drive from Kingston transfers at 100 MBps and holds 64g.
  • Chris especially likes the price of this Samsung which transfers at 200 MBps and holds 64g.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Fitbit Silent Alarm

The other day I had an appointment with my primary care Doc, and showed him my resting heart rate from the Fitbit app on my phone. He knows I’ve been working on getting more healthy and provided the appropriate “oohs” and “ahhs” for the markedly downward trend of my resting heart rate.  He politely showed me his Fitbit. It was a Charge 2 and has way more bells and whistles than my Charge HR. He then said he wished the Fitbit was able to set alarms.Fitbit Silent Alarm  “But you can!”, I exclaimed and proceeded to show him how to set a Fitbit Silent Alarm.

How to Set your Fitbit Silent Alarm:

  1. Open the Fitbit app on your Smartphone.
  2. Click on the icon in the top right corner
  3. Select your device
  4. Scroll down to “Silent Alarms” and select
  5. Then click on “Set a New Alarm”
  6. Set the alarm to the correct time, and then decide if you want to repeat the alarm or not.  If you don’t want it to repeat, it will only set the alarm for that day, not for a future day.
  7. FYI – the time of your next Fitbit Silent Alarm will also appear on your wrist display

I have found that the Fitbit Silent Alarm is not always successful in waking me up in the morning.  It provides a quiet vibration on my wrist.  That works well when I’m already awake and aware.  If I’m really sound asleep, it sometimes takes me a while to be aware of the vibration.

By the way, I’ve been wearing my Fitbit Charge HR for the past 3 1/2 years.  (That’s a lot of health-related data!)  I was just starting to think about an upgrade when I heard that Fitbit was coming out with a new  Charge 3 in mid-October.  I’ve pre-ordered it and can’t wait until it arrives!

Are there other other things you’d like to learn how to do with your Fitbit?  Ask a question in the comments below!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Leaf Peeping in Colorado

It’s that time of year again folks.  In Colorado we call it Leaf Peeping Season.  The aspen are really popping with their autumn colors! We took a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park last weekend and OH! the colors! Pick a scenic drive anywhere in the mountains of Colorado and you’ll be amazed as well!

I don’t know about you, but I like to do a little bit of research before I go.  Here are some of the things I think about before heading out:

Where to find the best leaf peeping?Leaf Peeping in Colorado

I like driving along some of Colorado’s Scenic Byways.  These roads offer some of the best views during leaf peeping season, and really, all year long!  Here’s a link to the Colorado DOT official map.  And if you want to print their colorful guide before you head out, here is a link to that.

There are a couple of articles with lists of some of the best places and times.  Here’s one by the Coloradan.  Here’s another with an Aspen Report at Rocky Mountain National Park.  And, finally, the Denver Post published this article in early September with the wheres and whens.

What will the weather be like on your Leaf Peeping Day?

My favorite weather site is Weather Underground.  I like that I can use them to check the weather on my computer before I leave home.  They also have a great app that allows me to check the weather for where ever I am.

Can I post on Social Media?

Sometimes it is frustrating to drive along the mountain roads and not have a cell signal.  You want to share those wonderful photos on Instagram or another Social Media site, but can’t.  I haven’t been on all of Colorado’s Scenic Byways, but here is a guide I wrote to cell service along the Peak to Peak Highway.

Also, here’s a link to my post last year about leaf peeping websites.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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WiFi Calling

Did you know that you can use WiFi calling to make phone calls with your SmartPhone even when there is no cellular service available?

Like many of us, I have one friend who lives in the mountains where there is really spotty cell coverage, at best. When I arrive, I quickly connect to her WiFi so that I can receive phone calls and text messages from our customers. (Hey, just because I’m having lunch, doesn’t mean your computer will continue to work perfectly.  If you need us, I like to be available!)

Why you should use WiFI Calling:

But even if you don’t have friends with sparse or non-existent cell service, you still want to know about WiFi calling.  We’ve all gone to that coffee shop with lots of brick and metal and maybe one bar of cell service.  Or that place in the shopping center whose entrance faces north, AWAY from all the cell towers. Or, true story, the wind blows down the primary cell tower at your house and it WiFi Calling - setting up on your iphonetakes them three months to put it back up.  Where ever you have WiFi, you can continue to make phone calls.

How do I turn on WiFi Calling?

  • On your iPhone, head over to Settings -> Cellular -> WiFi Calling -> then toggle the button to “on”.
  • On an Android, tap on Settings, then “Networks”, and then “Call”. You can turn on WiFi calling from there.

Anything else I should do?

I wouldn’t recommend updating your Emergency Address unless you ONLY use WiFi at home.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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NoScript – Another Key to Staying Safe

My NoScript stopped working yesterday so I had the chance to peek over Chris’ shoulder as he was reinstalling it.  I almost felt naked without it.  I know that NoScript protects me and ensures that I’m not sharing private data with entities that shouldn’t have it.

What is NoScript?

NoScript is a free extension that works with Firefox, Chris’ browser of choice. It blocks all web content that requires Javascript, Flash, and Silverlight in order to fully display content.  In order to display that content, you must specifically allow it by adding the website to your “white list.”

Why would I want to block Javascript?

Many of the bad actors out there use Flash and Javascript to install malware onto your machine.  There have been times when I have clicked on a website without realizing what it was.  Once the site opened, I realized I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  If I did not have NoScript installed, it would have run all of the scripts on that site without asking permission ahead of time.  Once the scripts start running, they can install all sorts of stuff on my machine.

How do I get NoScript?

Start by opening your Firefox browser and then follow these easy steps:

  1. On the top menu bar, click on “Tools”, and then “Add-ons”
  2. A new tab will open. Then click on “Extensions”
  3. In the search box, enter “NoScript”
  4. Click on “NoScript Security Suite”
  5. Then click on “Add to Firefox”

My websites look all weird now!

Once you’ve installed NoScript, you’ll notice right away that pages won’t load as you expect them too.  You’ll need to spend some time training NoScript about which web sites you trust.  Notice that at the top right of your Firefox window, you’ll see a red “S” that looks like this:

NoScript

Now What Do I Do?

Click on that button and you’ll see a list of websites that NoScript is not allowing to fully load. Then click on “Temp TRUSTED” or “TRUSTED” for each site that you want to load.  You’ll be surprised at the number of scripts that want to load for each web page!  Sometimes, you’ll need to do this another time or two until the page loads to your satisfaction.  Here’s an example for Facebook:

NoScript

Note that if you select “Temp TRUST”, you’ll need to redo this step each time you load that page.  Once you’ve selected which sites you’ll trust, click on the green circle to “reload”.  Once you reload, there may be additional pages that the website wants to load.  I’ve noticed that these are generally for tracking and ads.

I hope this keeps you safer on the Internet!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Secure Texting with the Signal App

I know I’m a little behind the times, but I just found out about Signal, a secure texting app that provides a higher level of data encryption than any of the other texting apps out there.  I’ve been looking for something different ever since I found out that Facebook acquired WhatsApp.  (And, again, a little behind the times since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014!) But, then again, even the founder of WhatsApp thinks that it is time to dump Facebook as this tweet reflects from earlier in the year.

Secure Texting with Signal

What’s wrong with WhatsApp? I thought it had secure texting:

And, while WhattsApp says it provides secure texting, it is still owned by Facebook.  From the WhatsApp website:

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.”

And, in my view, a for-profit company known to sell private data to the highest bidder is not on my “to be trusted” list.

Why is Signal better:

When I found out about Signal a few weeks ago I downloaded it right away.  I was surprised to see who of my contacts are already using Signal.  Even some of my family are in that list!  Signal is a secure texting messaging app.  It is free for the download from iTunes (you’ll need iOS 9.0 or later), or the Google Play Store (you’ll need Android 4.0 and up). Because it provides end-to-end encryption no one can view the messages you send except you and the recipient.

From the Signal website:

“Signal messages and calls are always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered to keep your communication safe. We can’t read your messages or see your calls, and no one else can either.”

“Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first.”

In addition to secure texting, you can also use Signal for phone calls and video chat.

Here’s what Mashable has to say:

“By allowing you to have truly private conversations, Signal changes that equation. Why is this so important? This year, perhaps more than ever, we’ve seen just how asleep at the wheel tech giants are when it comes to nefarious actors using their platforms to sow discord and incite violence. Taking your conversations, and, by extension, valuable data about your so-called social graph off those platforms is one way to fight this.”

And more from Wired about secure texting:

“There’s one messaging app we should all be using: Signal. It has strong encryption, it’s free, it works on every mobile platform, and the developers are committed to keeping it simple and fast by not mucking up the experience with ads, web-tracking, stickers, or animated poop emoji.”

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Secure WiFi on Vacation

secure wifi on vacationGrowing up with a Dad who was a psychiatrist, August was always the month for vacations.  (As I got older I used to worry about his patients who were left alone for an entire month!)  There are some things you can do to make sure you have secure WiFi wherever you are in the world.  The most important is keeping your WiFi use safe and secure.

Here are some steps to take before and during your vacation:

  • Set up a throwaway email before you leave.  While you are gone, you will be asked numerous times for your email address.  Lots of times, they just won’t take “no” for an answer.  Head over to Google’s Gmail sign up page for a new (free) account. Remember the password, and be sure you set up auto-forwarding to your main email address.  You’ll want your smartphone to be able to receive any access codes that may be sent.
  • When you’re going for free WiFi, try to use well-known companies.  For example, Starbucks or the Hilton are well known for their secure WiFi and aren’t likely to steal your info for a nefarious use.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to connect to WiFi with names like “TellMy WiFi LuvHer”, or “FBI Surveillance Van” or  “Hacker 547”.  (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)  Remember the old adage – “If it’s free, YOU are the product”.  Think about what they might be getting out of the transaction to provide you with free WiFi.
  • Sometimes the rest stops on the Interstate highways will have free secure WiFi, but only if you provide them with your email address and zip code.  This is where that new throw-away email comes in handy.  If they do ask for your name and zip, remember that you don’t have to give them your real info.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Ed

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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5 Easy Steps To Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone

You know how we always tell you to delete the history on your web browser on your computer?  Well, you need to delete browsing history on your smartphone too.  It helps speed up your interactions with the servers.  But it also helps keep your data more secure too, since it deletes any installed cookies as well as your entire history.

If anyone is able to hack into your phone they may be able to gain access to your login information for any number of websites.  It may also help to make you look like a new user to websites that track the number of times you’ve visited.  You’ve gotten that message – “You’ve logged on ten times for free.  Subscribe now!”  I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to provide my email address to another sales organization and an easy way around that error message is to delete browsing history.

It is really very easy to delete your history.  Just follow these 5 steps.

5 Easy Steps to Delete Browsing History on your iPhone

  1. Open up your SettingsHow to Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone
  2. Click on “Safari”
  3. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page
  4. Click on “Clear History and Website Data”
  5. Confirm that you truly want to delete browsing history.  It really will delete all of the open web pages on your iPhone. This means that every page you’ve opened in your iPhone’s browser will be gone!  This was a surprise to me because I tend to save my open tabs so I can reference them again.  If there are tabs that you have open on your phone that you would like to keep, it’s best to save them first, then wipe the history!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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