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Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

Thu, 29 Mar by Pauline Relkey

Giving your home a spring cleaning is a great way to get rid of winter and look forward to spring. You don’t have to arm yourself with a wide array of expensive, chemical-based, store-bought cleaning supplies to get the job done. Instead, try these eco-friendly, all-natural cleansers – they’re powerful and versatile.

In many instances, you can use them on their own, mixed together (be careful) or with other products. You can find all sorts of recipes online for do-it-yourself, all-natural cleansers using these core products. Try them in inconspicuous areas first to see what works best for you and adapt as necessary.

White Vinegar
Incredibly resourceful as a cleaning ingredient, it cuts through dirt, grease, mildew and water deposits. It’s also a natural deodorizer as it absorbs odours and an effective mould killer. The acidic smell disappears when it dries. Use it to clean countertops, ceramic floors, your toilet bowl, shower walls, mirrors and windows. You can even use it as a fabric softener!

Baking Soda
This magic ingredient is useful for much more than baking yummy treats. Like vinegar, it has great smell-diffusing capabilities which is why it’s recommended to absorb odours in your fridge. It’s also a key ingredient in many toothpastes, but it can clean and whiten a whole lot more than your teeth! Use it as a scouring powder. For tougher jobs, make a paste with water and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. And as it flows down drains, it keeps them clean and smelling good. 

Citrus
Use in place of, or in addition to, white vinegar. It’s powerful acidic properties not only lend itself well to cleaning, but is a great way to use up old citrus fruit you have on hand and cut down on food waste. Citrus is also effective against most household bacteria – and it smells great! 

Salt
A terrific flavour booster sprinkled on food, salt can also be used to clean stains from your coffee/tea mugs, shine metals such as copper, pewter and brass and even remove perspiration stains. No need to get fancy – just plain old table salt will do. 

Rubbing Alcohol
Use isopropyl alcohol wherever you’d use a commercial glass cleaner, including mirrors and chrome. A terrific degreaser, it’s also an excellent disinfectant. And it dries instantly! Keep in mind, though, you are cleaning with alcohol so only use in well-ventilated areas and keep far away from heat. 

Cornstarch
Whether it’s dusted over surfaces or used to make a paste, this cooking mainstay has excellent odour-absorbing and grease-lifting properties. Use it to clean windows, polish furniture and silverware, shampoo carpets and rugs. It can even be used to help remove candle wax from wood. 

Happy green spring cleaning!

How to Find Out Who’s Tracking You Through Your Smartphone

Thu, 08 Mar by Pauline Relkey

Safety should always be our top priority. With the help of just a few short codes, you can find out more about the settings of your phone and work out whether or not your messages and information are protected and whether you’re being tracked.

Bright Side has gathered together some of the most useful and important codes for smartphones all in one article, together with some instructions for those who’re worried about being tracked.

*#21# With this code, you can find out whether your calls, messages and other data are being diverted. The status of the different types of diversions that are taking place along with the number the information is being transferred to will be displayed on your phone’s screen. This function is most often set up by either jealous partners or parents who are trying to protect their kids from spam or criminals. Elderly people often become victims of this practice when they lend their phone to a stranger to make a single call. If they do so, they risk having information about where they live, who their friends and family are, their habits and daily activities and even their financial circumstances passed on to criminals. I just tried this and my screen showed the following message 4 times – Setting interrogation Succeeded. Voice call Forwarding on all calls Disabled. Dismiss.

*#62# Dial this code if you want to find out where calls, messages and data are being redirected to if it seems that no one can get through to you. The chances are in this case that your voice calls are being redirected to one of your cell phone company’s numbers. I tried this and my cell showed Setting Interrogation Succeeded Voice Call Forwarding When Unreachable Forward to +13065804001 Enabled. This took me to my voicemail and I had to then enter my password.

##002# This is a universal code for switching off all forms of redirection away from your phone. It’s a good idea to use this before you have to use roaming. In this case, money won’t be taken from your account for calls that are redirected by default to your voice mail. I didn’t do this because I didn’t want to lose the call forwarding when I am on the phone or don’t answer because it is set up to go to voice mail.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
*#06# With the help of this code, you can find out your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier). If you know this number, you can find your phone if someone steals it. When switched on, its location is automatically conveyed to the network operator even if a different SIM card is inserted. If someone knows your IMEI number, they can find out the model and technical characteristics of your phone. I tried it and it showed my IMEI number.
The James Bond code  Special codes exist that allow someone to track your location and also to determine whether someone is following you. For this, you need the utility net monitor. Type in one of the following codes:
for iPhone:*3001#12345#* I tried this but got an error message Error performing request. Unknown Error. Dismiss. So I can’t say if this works or not.
for Android:*#*#4636#*#* or *#*#197328640#*#*

Step 1. Go to the section called UMTS Cell Environment, then UMTS RR info and write down all the numbers under Cell ID. These numbers are the basic stations located nearby. Your phone will connect by default to the one that emits the best signal.
Step 2. Go back to the main menu and click on the MM info tab, then on Serving PLMN. Write down the numbers under Local Area Code (LAC).
Step 3. With the help of these two numbers and an ordinary website (the fourth tab to the left), you can determine the location on the map of the basic station that your phone connected to.
The ones to be suspicious of are mobile basic stations— this could be a truck or small bus with a large antenna. These kinds of vehicles are used at rock festivals and in places where Internet coverage is poor. If there’s one of them nearby, seemingly without any logical reason, it’s just possible that someone is engaged in spying.

If you use android, use anti virus software, you should periodically check your phone for viruses. PlaceRaider is one of the most dangerous ones that can infect your device. Developed by American experts, it was meant to show how vulnerable our devices are. Once it gets onto a phone, this Trojan takes a series of photographs of the surrounding area, creates a 3D model of the building you’re in and then takes advantage of any Internet connection to send the data that it’s gathered, adding along with it all the data on the phone and your passwords.

How do the secret services listen in? National security agencies in virtually all countries now cooperate with cell phone operators, who often provide the former with access to information on any of their customers provided they have a warrant from a court. As a minimum, they provide data from the last three months.
If your phone has been tapped by a security agency, the chances are you won’t even notice. If a phone makes odd noises during a conversation, loses battery power rapidly, overheats or unexpectedly restarts, this is merely an indication that you need to get it repaired rather than a telltale sign that you’re being listened to.
People generally don’t reveal all that much in phone conversations, so from the point of view of those who want to listen in it’s much more worthwhile to set up special devices (“bugs”) in someone’s home. Radio wave detectors can be used to work out whether such bugs are present in a building.

How can you protect yourself from criminals and spies?
Use messaging apps that are completely closed to outsiders, such as Telegram, Chare, Wickr, or Signal.
Determine what information it’s safe to make accessible to all. Should everyone really be able to find out your phone number or have access to information about your family, loved ones, or your lifestyle? Be very careful when posting photographs of children.
Don’t install unknown programs on your phone, keep close track of the apps you have installed, and use multiple security locks wherever you can. Don’t click on unsafe links and don’t connect your phone to suspicious “free” charging points.
Only your cell phone company should ever offer you tracking services and they should only turn them on with your explicit agreement. Websites and applications that offer to find out the location of other people are almost certainly acting with criminal intent. Be careful!

Based on materials from pikabu, droidgeek

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.