8 Incredible iOS App Store iPhone Apps Worth Their Price

Most people don’t want to pay for apps and prefer to go the free route. After all, why pay for something you can get for free?

But there are some apps you should seriously consider paying for. We’ve surveyed the iPhone App Store and come up with the following list of paid iOS apps that are worth every penny.

1. Sky Guide

sky guide sky view

Wondering what that bright light in the sky is? Just ask Sky Guide.

Sky Guide is a phenomenal app for astronomers, curious stargazers, and people who just want to kick back and watch the night sky. Just point your iPhone at the sky, and you’ll start seeing loads of stars, planets, and constellations.

These correspond exactly to where you’re pointing at, thanks to the built-in compass. Now you’ll know if that light is Jupiter or star TYC 6812-00306-1. Yep, it’s that precise.

The app also houses mythology-inspired art for every constellation, so you can learn and memorize them in no time. And to make the experience even better, there’s soothing cosmic music in the background.

Rounding out the experience are lots of cool extra features, like the power to travel back in time with the stars and the ability to spot satellites. Sky Guide is your gateway to the heavens, all in the palm of your hand.

Download: Sky Guide ($2.99, in-app purchases available)

2. Forest

Do you have an addiction to constantly checking your phone? Does this keep you from staying productive?

If so, Forest wants to help you out. For a small fee, this cute and effective app will help you stick to what you’re supposed to do. It assists you in fostering good habits and breaking bad ones.

When you want to focus, all you need to do is set a timer. Once that timer is running, a plant will start to grow on-screen. As time progresses, the plant will slowly become a lush forest filled with critters.

But be wary: if you leave the app, all your progress will disappear, and your forest will be chopped down. That’s a lot of wildlife gone! The longer you stay on task, the greener and more beautiful your forest will turn out.

Download: Forest ($1.99, in-app purchases available)

3. Apple Music

apple music subscription options

Apple Music regularly receives new features to improve the service. Its time-synced live lyrics function is great for funny (or totally embarrassing) karaoke sessions. The app also looks stunning with iOS 13’s dark mode.

Even better, Apple Music boast way more songs than competitors, coming in at 45 million songs vs. Spotify’s 35 million. You can also import your own library of music through iTunes. Furthermore, Apple Music has native Siri support, seamless transitions between Apple devices, and much more.

In a nutshell, we think that Apple Music is the best music app worth paying for if you own an iPhone or iPad. Check out must-know Apple Music features to make the most of it.

Download: Apple Music ($9.99/month subscription required, free trial available)

4. WaterMinder

Water is so essential to life that there’s a dedicated app for it.

WaterMinder gives you a healthy intake goal to meet and reminds you to drink water on a regular basis. This is super useful, especially if you’re dehydrated, exercise a lot, or are looking to shed some pounds. All the water you drink gets added to your daily Water Log.

The process of logging your water is quite fluid. All you have to do is press a simple button, or you can tell Siri to log it for you.

Moreover, when you meet your water requirements, you can earn achievements. Not just in the app, but in real life, too. Just wait until you unlock your all-new glowing skin!

Download: WaterMinder ($4.99)

5. Alto’s Odyssey

Endless surfing awaits in Alto’s Odyssey, a game with no bounds. In this award-winning experience, you control Alto and surf down sandy destinations while performing aerial tricks to avoid obstacles.

As you cruise through the desert, the weather changes and the sun sets, resulting in stunning, picturesque backgrounds. But it’s not all about pretty graphics—mastering Alto’s Odyssey has a learning curve.

It’s really a one-of-a-kind experience, with beautiful music and relaxing landscapes to boot. And if you have a recent iPad Pro, the ProMotion display will make the experience even more immersive and relaxing. We recommend Alto’s Odyssey to anyone who enjoys games.

Download: Alto’s Odyssey ($4.99)

6. RoboKiller

The robocall and spam epidemic finally has a cure: it’s called RoboKiller. With a RoboKiller subscription, you can put an end to the endless spam calls you receive. You’ll be notified of any blocked spam calls as soon as they come in.

Through your carrier, RoboKiller analyzes calls and accurately decides if they’re garbage or not. What’s more, you can record a custom message (or use an already recorded one) to waste the caller’s time and get some sweet revenge.

Although Apple introduced a built-in method to stop spam callers in iOS 13, it’s not as smart as RoboKiller, since it blocks every caller that’s not in your contacts. Using it could result in you missing an important call from a doctor or similar entity.

Download: RoboKiller (Subscription required, free trial available)

7. Minecraft

For just a few dollars, this timeless game is a steal. If you’re somehow not in the loop when it comes to Minecraft, here’s a quick rundown of how it works.

Minecraft is like a virtual LEGO set, except it has an infinite amount of bricks. It’s an endless, blocky adventure in which you can create to your heart’s delight. Create cities, spaceships, castles—anything you can think of. But creation isn’t the only component of this sandbox safari.

In survival mode, you must avoid zombies and other macabre monsters in a vast, open world. And with online support, you can join up with your friends for awesome co-op escapades.

Minecraft is truly a gem (a diamond, if you will). It’s been going strong with a long lifespan full of constant quality and feature updates.

Download: Minecraft ($6.99, in-app purchases available)

8. Dark Sky Weather

Dark Sky Weather

What makes Dark Sky better than Apple’s vanilla Weather app? It all comes down to its uncanny ability to precisely predict the weather.

While the default Weather app tells you what the weather looks like for the day, Dark Sky gives you a forecast by the minute. It can tell you if it’s going to start raining in six minutes, or if the skies will stay clear for just a few hours.

It’s like having a fortune teller for the weather. And if that wasn’t enough, Dark Sky’s interface is beautiful and contains gorgeous satellite animations. In all, Dark Sky is much more informative and precise than any other weather app, and it’s definitely well worth the cost.

Download: Dark Sky Weather ($3.99)

A Small Price for Great Apps

These are a few highlights among the great iPhone apps and games worth spending your money on. We think that all of them offer great value for the price, and will serve you well for just a few dollars.

In case you can’t pay for these apps, take a look at the best free mobile games with no annoying microtransactions

The 10 Best Free Mobile Games With NO Ads or In-App Purchases

The 10 Best Free Mobile Games With NO Ads or In-App Purchases

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What Is “Find My App” in iOS 13? Everything You Need to Know

What do you get when you combine Find My iPhone with Find My Friends? According to Apple, you get a useful feature with an awkward title: the new Find My app in iOS 13 presents a simple interface that lets you locate friends, family members, and Apple devices.

It splits this information across three tabs with options to play a sound from missing devices, load directions in the Maps app, or set up notifications to go off when your spouse leaves work. And all of this from a single app!

Let’s dive in and learn how to use the Find My app for iPhones in iOS 13.

How to Find Your Apple Devices

Tap the Devices tab at the bottom of the Find My app to see a map of your compatible Apple devices. Find My puts a pin on the map at the location of any iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or AirPod linked to your Apple ID. It even shows your family members’ devices as well.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see more devices, each with its exact location and distance from you. If Find My can’t locate a device

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, it shows an icon with a black screen along with the last known location instead.

Get More Details About Each Device

Tap on a particular device to see its current address and battery level, along with a set of controls to help you retrieve it. If you think you’re within earshot, tap Play Sound to make your device ring out. Otherwise, tap Directions to open up a route in the Maps app.

Get Notifications for Missing Devices

One of the best advancements in iOS 13 is the ability to locate Apple devices even when they aren’t connected to the internet. Apple offers this by creating an encrypted and anonymous Bluetooth network that links nearby Apple devices together.

That said, there’s still no way for Find My to locate your device if it has no internet connection and doesn’t have Bluetooth turned on, which might mean it’s powered off. In this case, turn on Notify When Found to get a notification with its location as soon as Find My tracks it down.

Mark as Lost to Protect Your Data

If one of your Apple devices is lost or stolen, turn on Mark As Lost to protect your data and make it easier for people to return your device to you. You can also enter a phone number with a personalized message asking whoever finds it to call you.

When you activate Mark As Lost, Find My disables sensitive services like Apple Pay on your device and locks it using your passcode. If you didn’t already have a passcode, you can use this opportunity to create one.

Lost iPad with message and phone number on screen

Only Erase Your Device as a Last Resort

Beneath the other options, there’s also a button to Erase This Device. I suggest you only consider this as a last resort, if you’ve given up all hope of retrieving your device, because after you erase it you can’t track its location anymore.

That said, an erased device is still protected by Apple’s Activation Lock

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, which prevents other people from using it as their own. If you turned on Mark As Lost, it also still shows your personalized message telling people how to contact you.

How to Find Your Friends and Family

Tap the People tab in the bottom-left corner of Find My in iOS 13 to see a map of all the people following your location or sharing their location with you.

Much like in the Devices tab, you can then tap each person to get more information about where they are. This also gives options to view their details in the Contacts app or get directions with Maps.

Start Sharing Your Location

If you haven’t shared your location with anyone yet, tap the button to Start Sharing Location. Otherwise, swipe up to see the full list of people you’re following and tap Share My Location at the bottom.

Find the contact you want to share your location with by searching their name, phone number, or Apple ID email address in the search bar. When you tap Send you can choose how long you want to share your location for:

  • Share for One Hour
  • Share Until End of Day
  • or Share Indefinitely.

Ask to Follow Someone Else’s Location

You can’t follow someone else’s location using Find My unless they choose to share it with you. The easiest way to encourage this is by offering to share your location first. When you do this, a notification prompts your contact to share their location back.

Otherwise, you can directly ask to follow anyone who is already following you. Tap their name from the People tab and use the option to Ask to Follow Location. When they agree, you’ll get a notification from Find My saying they accepted your friend request.

Notification saying a friend accepted your request to follow them in Find My

Set Up Notifications When Someone Changes Location

You can choose to send or receive notifications in the Find My app whenever you, or one of your contacts, change location. This is useful if you want to let a loved one know you’re on the way home or if you want to find out when your friends arrive at the meetup spot.

From the People tab in Find My, tap the name of the person you want to set up notifications for. Tap Add beneath the Notifications header and decide if you want to send or receive the notifications, then set the location you plan to leave or arrive at. You can set the location radius to anything from 300 feet to 150 miles.

If you’re choosing to send notifications to someone else, an option at the bottom of the screen lets you repeat the notifications. This way you can alert your spouse you’re on the way home every time you leave work, without needing to do anything.

How to Change Your Find My Settings

In the bottom-right of the Find My app is the Me tab. Use this to choose which device you want to share your location from along with deciding whether to allow friend requests or location updates.

The Me tab also lets you reclaim your privacy with the Share My Location toggle. Turn this off to temporarily hide your location from anyone you previously shared it with. This is a good thing to remember if you’re on your way to a surprise party or a secret getaway!

Change Your Location to a Different Device

If you own multiple Apple devices, you can use the Me tab to choose which one to share your location from. It’s only possible to change your location to the device you’re currently using, so make sure to open the Find My app from that particular device, then tap Use This [Device] as My Location.

Help a Friend Find Their Device

At the very bottom of the Me tab is a small button saying, Help a Friend. Use this if a friend or family member has lost their Apple device. When you tap it, a page on the iCloud website opens for your friend to sign in to. This page lets your friend play sounds, mark their device as lost, or erase it remotely.

Rumor Has It, There’s More to Come

Now you know how to track down your missing Apple devices, get directions to your friends and family members, or set up notifications to let people know where you are. But rumor has it, Apple is planning even more features for the new Find My app.

MacRumors discovered fragments of software in iOS 13 that hint to a physical Apple Tag accessory. Theoretically, you could attach this tag to your keys, luggage, bicycle, or other valuables and keep track of them from the Find My app. You may even be able to play a sound or display a message with the tag as well.

This isn’t a new concept. In fact, we already covered our top tracking apps and accessories

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! But I’m excited to see what Apple’s unique approach is. Are there any features you want Apple to add to Find My?

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The 8 Best YouTube Channels for Kids to Watch

Do you need to entertain and inform your children, but want to avoid the trash on TV? Then YouTube is the answer. If you want a blend of informative and entertaining programming, here are the best YouTube channels for kids. All of which are suitable for younger children.

Described as “Catchy kids songs and nursery rhymes to get children up and bouncing,” Bounce Patrol is one of the best YouTube channels for kids to learn colors, animals, numbers, alphabet and more.

Five presenters, Jacinta, Will, Jackson, Alyssa and Rachel, accompany children through dancing and singing as they learn. This is a fun, colorful show aimed at preschool and kindergarten children, and is guaranteed to entertain and educate in equal measure.

There’s certainly enough here to get your kids up and bouncing first thing after their nap.

There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard of Peppa Pig. Broadcast in 170 countries, the adventures of the titular pig, her family, and their friends and neighbors have thrilled children since its launch in 2000.

Whether it’s George uttering his single word (dinosaur!) or the athleticism of the overweight Daddy Pig, the show is jam-packed with colorful characters. Peppa herself is a slightly knowing voice in proceedings but most episodes compensate for this by throwing the Pig family into their happy space: jumping up and down in muddy puddles.

Look out for Miss Rabbit, who as one of many running jokes, has several jobs she appears to do simultaneously. If your little ones like Peppa Pig a lot, the channel features a “live” feed that plays endless episodes all day long.

A family-targeted YouTube channel hosted by a family, Art for Kids Hub features a wonderful collection of videos demonstrating how simple art can be. The usual format is one adult accompanied by one of three children, one younger, one aged 11-12, and the other one older.

This affords a wealth of content options, with projects covering everything from colorful messes to expertly drawn haunted houses.

You’ll find the parents are knowledgeable and personable hosts. Thanks to an overhead camera, kids can watch as each art project is completed, and even copy along at home.

You probably didn’t realize it, but just 15 live action episodes of Mr Bean were made. The last episode was recorded in 1995, but since then the Rowan Atkinson-voiced animated Mr Bean series has taken the reins.

With a massive 130 episodes of hilarious misadventures, Mr Bean suits the animated adventure format. Little ones absolutely adore Bean and his relationship with Teddy. These days, he has a fearsome landlady, Mrs. Wicket, accompanied by a sinister cat, Scrapper. It’s reassuring to know that Atkinson records voice parts for each episode, helping to keep it fresh.

The Mr Bean channel on YouTube is one of the most generous, with so much free (and occasionally original) content. Like Peppa Pig, there’s a Mr Bean Animated Series feed on the YouTube channel that plays videos all day long.

From the same stable as Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom features many of the same voice artists. This time around, however, the roles are very different.

Ben Elf and Fairy Princess Holly are best friends, running into problems caused by their families and differing cultures. Most events are complicated further by Nanny Plum and the Wise Old Elf, who (like Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig) is a dab hand at all trades.

Peppered with dry humor that parents will appreciate, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is guaranteed to keep little ones quiet.

Watch out for the Wise Old Elf, played by veteran voice actor David Graham. You may recognize his voice from Peppa Pig (Grandpa Pig) as well as classic shows like Thunderbirds (he voiced Parker) and Doctor Who (various Daleks).

Speaking of Doctor Who, here are the best Doctor Who episodes of all time

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Most of what little children watch on TV is either studio-bound or animated. Nature Play Kids is different. Here, the action takes place outdoors, with small children exploring nature.

Kids love exploring woods, country parks, even allotments and flower beds. But if you’re trapped in the city and want your children to appreciate the wonder of nature, things can be tough. Nature Play Kids provides an on-screen alternative.

A vast collection of videos will reveal the fun and intrigue of exploring woodlands, meeting creepy crawlies, getting mucky, and interacting with animals.

The mission statement here is clear: “kids playing in nature, rather than with toys.” So if you want your offspring to gain some appreciation of the outdoors, Nature Play Kids is perfect!

Narrated by Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi, In the Night Garden stars characters Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy. Your kids will also encounter Macca Pacca, the Tombliboos, and many other unusual creatures.

Everyone lives in a large wooded garden—the “Night Garden” of the title—and episodes include a lot of repetition. Aimed at preschoolers, it feels as though every episode of In the Night Garden is the same. In truth, they’re not, but the familiarity is welcomed by little ones, as are the songs.

A dark thought for parents… There’s a chance that each episode is the result of a fevered dream experienced by an adult Iggle Piggle, set adrift upon the ocean. Just watch those opening titles and tell me I’m wrong.

Many people complain that children don’t get the chance to learn and enjoy traditional childhood experiences, like nursery rhymes.

Swooping to the rescue is the Mother Goose Club Playhouse, a fantastic YouTube channel for younger children. Featuring excellent renditions of nursery rhymes and sketch-like storytelling sections, this channel features older children teaching younger ones.

All of the old favorites can be found on Mother Goose Club Playhouse, and the channel has its own website at This ties in nicely with the YouTube channel, with more fun stuff including crafting activities and printables.

The Best YouTube Channels for Kids Inform and Entertain

With these YouTube channels for kids you should be able to educate and entertain your little ones through the medium of television. However, don’t leave your kids unattended, as they may want to ask you questions about what they’re watching.

And if you have also got older kids to entertain then check out our list of the best kids shows to watch on YouTube

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The Redragon M711 Cobra Is the Best Gaming Mouse $20 Can Buy – Review Geek


  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $20

Redragon gaming mouse
Eric Schoon

Purchasing budget items can always be a toss-up—you never know just how many corners they cut to offer such a low price. Redragon, however, aims to deliver a mouse that has all the features you want without breaking the bank.

Here’s What We Like

  • High customization
  • Comfortable to use
  • Color-accurate RGB lighting

And What We Don’t

  • Might be too small for some users
  • The software can be difficult to understand

I bought the Redragon M711 Cobra earlier this year when I was looking for a cheap replacement for my previous mouse. I simply wanted a mouse that works; I didn’t care about getting a top of the line product. So, when the M711 arrived at my door, I was impressed with the number of options it has.

Tried and Tested

Redragon M711 Side View
Eric Schoon

The M711 uses the popular “shooter” style mouse design. It’s reasonably slim (5 x 2.6 inches) and quite short (1.6 inches), so anyone who prefers larger mice might find it uncomfortable to use. The mouse has a curved, soft-feeling top that’s nice to the touch. The bottom part of the mouse is mostly made of smooth, hard plastic with slightly textured sides, which adds some grip to the mouse and a premium feel you wouldn’t expect at this price point.

Weighing in at 7.2 ounces, the M711 is easy to move around and ideal for games that require quick movements. The included USB cord is braided and feels durable. Because cords aren’t typically replaceable, an included high-quality one always gives some peace of mind.

Two thumb buttons are on the left side of the mouse. The front thumb button is made of the same material as the top of the mouse while the back thumb button is made of textured plastic. This helps with identifying which button you’re pressing without the need to look down.

Redragon mouse thumb buttons
Eric Schoon

Three plastic buttons on the top of the mouse are used for switching between lighting and DPI profiles. The scroll wheel has a rubber finish on it and scrolls in increments, making it hard to accidentally scroll further than intended—great for games with hotbars.

Fully Featured

As previously mentioned, the M711 has many additional features you can fine-tune in Redragon’s website. Really, any form of programming software is a luxury at this price point, so one as in-depth as this is especially appreciated.

The program allows for full reprogramming of each button on the mouse to do a wide range of actions. Whether you want the scroll wheel to act as a pause/play shortcut or the thumb button to execute a fine-tuned macro, you’re able to make those changes here. You can also fully control the DPI with a range of up to 10,000, which, frankly, is too high for most people, but having the option is nice regardless.

The M711 has full RGB lighting you can customize as well, but it’s limited. Only three of seven available lighting effects give you full control of the colors. Any effects that have multiple colors cannot be changed at all, which can be frustrating if you want to use them but aren’t a fan of the standard rainbow pattern.

Redragon Software

The program itself can be a bit hard to use due to its garish design. Once you learn your way around, however, it becomes an invaluable companion tool to the mouse.

Bang for Your Buck

With its plentiful customization options and comfortable design, the M711 feels like a mouse worth more than $20. It has served me well over the past six months and shows no signs of dying anytime soon. I can comfortably say it’s the best budget gaming accessory I’ve ever used.

top view of RedDragon mouse
Eric Schoon

Whether you’re low on funds or just want a spare mouse, it’s hard to think of a better value than the Redragon M711 Cobra.

Here’s What We Like

  • High customization
  • Comfortable to use
  • Color-accurate RGB lighting

And What We Don’t

  • Might be too small for some users
  • The software can be difficult to understand

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Can Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency survive the exodus?

After the withdrawal of seven of the 29 founding members of the Libra Association, the governing council for Facebook’s planned global cryptocurrency, the project’s fate  looks increasingly uncertain.

PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, Mercado Pago and Brooking Holdings have backed away from participation on the Libra Association; their hands were forced when  all members met Monday in Switzerland for formalize their commitment to the project.

“In many ways, PayPal, Visa and all the others took the only decision they sensibly could take under the circumstances,” Forrester Vice President of Research Martha Bennett said via email. “Given the continued lack of regulatory engagement…and continued lack of detail on key points around Libra (the coin), governance of the network, management of the fund, etc., the risk of reputational damage was simply too great.”

Beyond those immediate concerns, there is also the potential of inadvertently being drawn into compliance violations in the future – something none of the companies that withdrew would countenance, Bennett added.

The Libra Association did not respond to requests for comment.

Industry experts and research analysts have speculated that the departures are the result of regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency, especially over whether it can thwart money-laundering efforts and adhere to know-your-customer (KYC) government rules.

In separate statements after their departure, eBay and payment software provider Stripe said they “respect” or “support” the vision of the Libra Association.

“However, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers,” the company stated.

Calibra Facebook blockchain libra Facebook

Images of the Calibra digital wallet app that would store Libra cryptocurrency for users.

In September, French and German regulators argued that Libra could threaten the Euro’s value and unlawfully privatize money. Last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, announced a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies by any regulated financial entity because of risks associated with it.

U.S. lawmakers, including members of the House Committee on Financial Services, have also voiced concerns that Libra could enable money-laundering or other nefarious activities. Shortly after Libra was announced in June, the committee wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking that he “cease implementation plans until regulators and Congress have an opportunity to examine” the issues and take action.

Other lawmakers encouraged Libra Association members to reconsider support of the project.

In an ongoing effort to allay U.S. regulatory concerns, Zuckerberg is now expected to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23.

Unlike bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies that aren’t backed by fiat currency or other forms of stored value, a Libra coin would be backed 1:1 by real money.

“This means that for any unit of Libra to exist, there must be the equivalent value in its reserve,” Facebook’s crypto chief David Marcus wrote in a series of tweets defending the project. “As such, there’s no new money creation, which will strictly remain the province of sovereign Nations.”

Katie Haun, a partner with the law firm Andreessen Horowitz – a Libra Association founding member – reiterated that existing members would forge ahead with the project, tweeting after the meeting: “Even though some of the original members have changed, we remain committed to Libra’s mission.

“It’s also important to look at this project in the global context,” Haun tweeted in a separate post. “By attempting to block Libra before it’s even built, U.S. policymakers risk ceding leadership over one of the most important emerging technologies.”

Libra is currently scheduled to go live in 2020.

“I think between Zuckerberg’s statements and that the staff there are consumed with regulatory pushback, it’s not clear to me what direction they’ll take moving forward,” Avivah Litan, a vice president of research with Gartner, said in an earlier interview. “I think Libra could be delayed or trimmed down. I’d hope they can move forward in nations where there is no regulatory pushback.”

After the departure of Mastercard, Visa, and eBay last week, Marcus tweeted: “Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”

In a follow-up tweet, Marcus wrote there are now 22 official Libra Association members with “many more to come.”

The latest news of departures, however, has prompted people following the issue to create their own charts of who’s left the non-profit organization.

Libra Association Twitter

A chart created by a Twitter member using Facebooks original graphic depicting its Libra Association members.

Wayne Chen, CEO of fintech firm Interlapse Technologies and co-founder of digital platform Coincurve, said the “snowball effect” of Libra Association departures is not helping the cryptocurrency.

“With over 2 billion global users on Facebook, issuance of a new digital, global currency by a centralized corporation can seem overpowering. This comes with a big social, economical and financial responsibility,” Chen said. “Cryptocurrencies have faced bigger challenges in the past, so Libra, being unique in its own design, may not affect the current market to the extent people think.”

When Facebook originally announced its cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet plans in June, it had 27 backers. Those companies were expected to not only accept Libra as a form of payment, but also serve as payment processors; MasterCard and Visa were expected to convert national fiat currencies into Libra and back again.

With the loss of key financial services supporters, the Libra project faces, at a minimum, new hurdles.

“I wouldn’t write off the initiative yet, but the Libra Association’s work has become much, much harder,” Bennett said. “Given that the key concerns from PayPal and the other payments firms were around the lack of meaningful detail around regulatory compliance, a real step change is needed here.”

Recent statements from Marcus and Libra Association spokespeople have been short on detailed plans

and have amounted to reiterating that Libra won’t pose a systemic risk to the monetary system.

“If regulators and governments have concluded that it does, a more comprehensive and in-depth response is called for,” Bennett said.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Why Ethical Hacking Is Legal and Why We Need It

It’s hard to not imagine hackers as hooded, shady figures typing away on unintelligible code in a dark room. But not all hackers are malicious. Some are even working for the benefit of humanity under the umbrella of “ethical hacking.”

Are these hackers operating legally? And if so, how do they keep things above the law?

What Is “Ethical Hacking?”

It may seem like an oxymoron, but ethical hacking is very much real. If “regular” hacking is cracking security protocols without the owner’s permission, then ethical hacking is cracking security with permission.

It may seem odd that someone would permit you to hack them; it’s like someone asking you to burgle their home. However, there are two good reasons why someone would ask you this; for educational purposes, and security purposes.

What Is Educational Ethical Hacking?

A website for ethical hacking practice

Educational hacking is when someone permits you to hack their security to teach you something. This is usually a website you can hack

5 Websites That Teach You How to Hack Legally

5 Websites That Teach You How to Hack Legally

To learn ethical hacking, you’re going to have to hack like a criminal. Get started with these websites you can legally hack.
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, so you can learn the basics of cracking network security.

At first glance, these may seem like websites that teach malicious skills. While it’s true that someone can use the knowledge they gain from these websites for immoral purposes, that’s not the intent of the service.

The website will often state that their exercises are to teach website developers on how to hack. This educates them on how hackers can exploit their code, and gives them the knowledge to defend against these tactics.

What Is Security-Based Ethical Hacking?

In this modern era, everything takes place across the internet. The need for a reliable cybersecurity solution is now higher than ever. As such, companies either hire security firms to set up defenses for them, or they’ll code something in-house to defend themselves.

Once the company’s security is ready and deployed, they need a way to put it to the test. The best way to ensure everything is secure is to perform a dummy attack and see how the security holds up. This use case is a “hire a thief to catch a thief” situation, where the only way to know is to hire a hacker to attempt to crack the system.

Should Hacking Be Taught as a Class?

Ethical hacking courses

If you’ve taken a look around the educational space, you may have discovered classes and courses related to ethical hacking. How can these courses take place from a legal standpoint? Surely they’re teaching people how to crack people’s accounts and systems?

These courses, however, have one focus; to teach people how to hack ethically. Of course, someone can very quickly take what they learn and use it for their own needs, but these classes aren’t to teach people to commit cybercrime. They’re set up to teach people how to fight cybercrime so that they can go on to be professional, ethical hackers.

How Do People Make a Living From Hacking?

You may have noted that we said “professional” ethical hackers. Hacking isn’t just a hobby for some—it’s a livelihood. You can take a course and earn certification as proof to employers that you’re fit for the job.

Businesses often pay ethical hackers to test their security, and the pay isn’t bad either. Information security educator and evangelist Infosec reports that ethical hackers earn an average of $71,000 a year, which is an excellent way to turn a hobby into a paying job!

Of course, the hacker doesn’t crack the system and then ask for payment; that’s a one-way trip to jail. Instead, the company will advertise the job, and ethical hackers will apply and hack with permission. The company may ask the hacker to attempt to breach their defenses, or they may post bug bounties that pay out as people discover flaws in the security.

We went into more detail on how to earn a living as an ethical writer

How to Earn a Living as an Ethical Hacker

How to Earn a Living as an Ethical Hacker

You can earn money legally as a hacker. It’s called ethical hacking and helps to keep software safe, stable, and secure.
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, so be sure to take a look if this sounds like something you’d like to do.

Will Malicious Hackers Fade Without These Classes?

Let’s assume that some students in a hacking class will, eventually, use their skills for malicious purposes. If we stop teaching people how to hack ethically, will it also reduce the number of malicious hackers in the world?

The problem with this idea is how malicious hackers get their information. Yes, getting rid of ethical hacking classes will also remove the hackers that turn to the dark side. However, you won’t final all malicious hackers sitting behind a desk in class. There’s a thriving dark web community where people can trade tricks with one another, forming their own kind of hacking classes.

So, as a result of canceling ethical hacking classes, those with malicious intent can head to the dark web to get their lessons. Meanwhile, those who do want to learn for defensive purposes would have nowhere safe to learn. They’ll have to do their jobs with weak training, which means they’ll be less efficient in defending companies from well-versed hackers.

Why Ethical Hacking Has to Be Legal

People may feel uneasy about teachers educating people on how to crack security, but it’s a necessary evil. Without these classes, the people wanting to protect and help businesses will be ill-equipped to tackle the methods that underground hackers will try.

Businesses have a unique need for ethical hackers. They can hire people to test their security, creating a culture of hackers that work tirelessly to report any flaws they find directly to the company for fixing. As such, in a way, ethical hacking has to stay legal.

Otherwise, good-intentioned hackers are unable to do their job correctly and can’t demonstrate their skills with recognized certification.

Learning How to Hack Legally

While people typically imagine shady, malicious people when they think of hackers, not all of them want to do damage. Some want to use their skills to assist companies by testing their security with their permission. Such people need the courses and lessons available; else they’ll be left behind by malicious agents who distribute information around the dark web.

If you like to think of yourself as a potential white-hat hacker, why not enroll in an ethical hacking online class

Why You Should Learn Ethical Hacking with These Online Classes

Why You Should Learn Ethical Hacking with These Online Classes

Hacking is a legitimate career choice now. The cybersecurity industry is always on the lookout for good ethical hackers. These five Udemy course introduce you to this world.
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How to Turn 5 Basic Foods into Spooky Halloween Props – LifeSavvy

whole roasted cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate, made to look like a brain
Lauren Sakiyama

If you’re seeking ghoulish grapes to haunt your next fruit salad, or if you’re craving spaghetti with a side of eyeballs, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of five everyday eats that, with a little creativity, become a frightening feast.

One of the best parts of Halloween is the blood-curdling buffets. People have discovered all kinds of ways to make their food a little freaky, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. So, we put together a list of our five favorite ways to spook-ify your dinner. Whether you’re serving it at a party or just want to terrify your next-of-kin, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you.

Cauliflower Brains

Whole roasting cauliflower has become a common sight with the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets. It’s also quite stylish for Halloween. Just look at a cauliflower and try to tell us it doesn’t look like a brain.

To really make things freaky, roast your whole, cored cauliflower to tender at 400 F. This will take about an hour. Then, frost the roasted cauliflower with tahini and drizzle with pomegranate molasses. If that doesn’t look like blood and brains, we don’t know what does. Be sure to leave a chef’s knife coming out the top for a truly gruesome set-up.

Spaghetti & Eyeballs

Forget the meatballs and make eyeballs instead. This one’s very easy to create. Simply use your favorite spaghetti and meatball recipe. You can even use pre-made, store-bought meatballs—we won’t tell!

To turn meatballs into eyeballs, you’ll need mini mozzarella balls, sometimes sold as bocconcini, and sliced black olives. Make and cook your meatballs as you normally would. Then, during the last five minutes of cooking, add a mozzarella ball to the top of each meatball. This gives the mozzarella time to melt, but not brown, so it can form the whites of the eyes. Then simply press a sliced olive into the melted cheese to create a pupil. For an extra scary scene, serve your eyeballs with black, squid-ink pasta.

Spooky Spider Pizzas

Want to make a pizza spooky? Cut a few sliced olives into pieces. Use those little black bits to create eight-legged creepy crawlies, and throw them on top of your pizza. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Olive spiders are most effective on individual pizzas. English muffins work well here. To complete the look, use string cheese to create a spider web under each olive spider.

Shrunken (Apple) Heads

Baked Apple Carved into a shrunken head for halloween
Lauren Sakiyama

Baked apples are a fall classic, and easy to make Halloween ready. You can use any baked apple recipe for this one. The only change will be to carve a face in the front of each apple before baking.

As the apples bake, they naturally shrivel up, creating your “shrunken heads.” To truly frighten your friends, try pouring a sweet and simple custard over the top and be sure to let everyone know it’s brain goo.

Freaky Fruit Salad

We’ve all seen the carved melons that appear to be vomiting perfectly good fruit salad. That’s one way to make a salad freaky, but it requires some legitimate carving skills. Here’s an easier way to make a spooky side dish.

Cut and prepare your fruit salad exactly as you usually would. Then, grab some candy eyes. Stick those eyes into random pieces of melon, and you instantly have a super freaky fruit salad. To take things up a notch, use less familiar fruits. Dragon fruit and lychee make for especially scary salads if you can find them.

Whether you’re throwing a Halloween bash or just want to give the kids a little scare, making food freaky is really fun. So, grab some candy eyes, cut some olives into spiders, and savor the many ways you can turn everyday eats into a spooky feast!

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How to Use LinkedIn Skill Assessments to Stand Out

LinkedIn Skill Assessments help connect recruiters with job hunters by having job hunters prove their knowledge and skills.

The tests are run through the LinkedIn website. In this article, we’ll show you how to use LinkedIn Skill Assessments to stand out from the crowd.

What Are LinkedIn Skill Assessments?

LinkedIn Skill Assessments Give You a Verification Badge

LinkedIn Skill Assessments are a series of multiple-choice exams that allow you to prove the skills that are stated in your profile.

If you “grade in the 70th percentile or above”—according to LinkedIn—you officially pass and get a LinkedIn skill badge. The social media site will display your badge on your profile.

If you fail the quiz, you can take the test again in three months. Your profile will remain the same. No one will know that you took the test and failed.

To construct these tests, LinkedIn contacted multiple experts and peer-reviewed their answers. Each test is time-based, so people cannot cheat by looking for clues.

While LinkedIn Skill Assessments are available internationally, it’s important to note that not all tests will be available to all users. In addition, these tests are only available in English. However, LinkedIn plans to expand the Skill Assessments program over time.

NB: LinkedIn are consistently innovating in order to keep the platform fresh. So much so that in February 2019, LinkedIn launched its own video streaming service

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LinkedIn Launches a Live Video Streaming Service

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called LinkedIn Live.

What Skill Assessments Are Available?

What LinkedIn Skill Tests Are Available?

There are lots of tests currently available through LinkedIn Skill Assessments. Topics range from coding to office-based applications like Adobe Acrobat.

According to the LinkedIn Help Pages, the following tests are available. However, as previously noted, availability depends on your location:

  • Angular
  • AutoCAD
  • AWS
  • Bash
  • C
  • C#
  • C++
  • CSS
  • GIT
  • Hadoop
  • HTML
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • JSON
  • Maven
  • MongoDB
  • NodeJs
  • Objective-C
  • PHP
  • Python
  • R
  • React.js
  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Scala
  • Swift
  • WordPress
  • XML

When it comes to other skills, you can be tested on:

  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Maya
  • MS Excel, MS Word, and MS Outlook
  • MS PowerPoint, MS Project, MS SharePoint, and MS Vision
  • QuickBooks
  • Revit

Once you finish a test, you’ll be give a score. If you Pass, you’ll need to renew your LinkedIn skill badge on an annual basis. Please note that if you delete your badge by accident, you cannot take the test again for another three months.

If you Fail, LinkedIn will advertise LinkedIn Learning products to you, to help you prepare for the next test.

What We Learned From Taking a Skill Assessment

How to Start a Skill Quiz for LinkedIn Skill Assessments

We took a couple LinkedIn Skill Assessments to see what they would be like. And here’s what we learned:

  • LinkedIn tells you right away what to expect for time allowance, and what you need to do in order to successfully complete a test.
  • LinkedIn also explains how these multiple-choice quizzes will be broken down into sections.
  • Once you press Start, you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll be asked your first question. You’ll have a bunch of multiple choice options below that.
  • You’ll also see a timer in the bottom left-hand corner, along with a blue bar that shows you your overall quiz progress.
  • After you answer each question, you’ll press the Next button in the right-hand corner. This will move the test to the next question, and then the next, and the next. Once you reach the end, you’ll be told if you passed the assessment or not.
  • If you didn’t pass the LinkedIn skill quiz, you’ll be given the opportunity to delete the test results from your profile history.

Our Verdict on LinkedIn Skill Assessments

After taking several of these tests, we can testify that they’re very straightforward. If you prefer multiple-choice quizzes or exams, you’ll do well. However, if you’re a visual learner, you may find them frustrating, as they don’t really accommodate for different learning styles.

The full range of LinkedIn Skill Assessment tests also veers heavily towards coding. This leaves little leeway for people who desire LinkedIn skill badges in other areas of expertise.

It should also be noted that these tests are not a great way to determine if a person is truly “skilled” at a task. Some people do great at a task in execution, but perform poorly in written tests, or vice versa.

Hopefully these areas of conflict will be improved with future updates.

A LinkedIn Skill Assessment Can Give You Credibility

The Reason You Should Take a LinkedIn Skill Test

LinkedIn is one of the best websites for job searching. While its size makes it crucial to create and maintain a LinkedIn profile, it can also make it harder for you to stand out, as there are just too many applicants.

Which is where LinkedIn Skill Assessments come into play. Taking one of these tests (and passing) can help confirm you’re the real deal, and help you stand out from the crowd as a result. And recruiters will use any tool at their disposal to zero in on the best candidates.

Do You Need to Complete a LinkedIn Skill Assessment?

You may be sent a request by a company to complete one of these Skill Assessments, especially if you apply to a job posting through the LinkedIn website. It’s good practice to have one done ahead of time on the day of your choosing.

However, we should stress—as LinkedIn does—that these tests are not mandatory. They’re just another way to add a secondary level of verification. So, don’t feel obliged to take one, but know that doing so could help you stand out from the crowd.

Use LinkedIn Skill Assessments in Your Job Search

It’s important to note that LinkedIn’s tests will be refined as the company receives more feedback. Taking a test—or getting a LinkedIn skill badge—is also not a guarantee that you will land your dream job.

However, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking a LinkedIn Skill Assessment. Especially if you know you’ll pass first time.

Are you looking for other ways to stand out in the job market? LinkedIn Premium can help give you a headstart, and here are the reasons why LinkedIn Premium is worth paying for

3 Reasons Why LinkedIn Premium Is Worth Paying For

3 Reasons Why LinkedIn Premium Is Worth Paying For

Should you upgrade to LinkedIn Premium? If you aren’t sure what the benefits are, or whether they’re worthwhile, here are reasons why LinkedIn Premium may be worth it for you.
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Buying a New Phone? You Can Probably Skip the Screen Protector – LifeSavvy

woman using a smartphone with no screen protector
Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

Once upon a time, screen protectors were an absolute must for phones because screens were about as sturdy as chilled butter. These days? Not so much.

Full disclosure: I used to be religious about putting a screen protector on my phone. It got to the point that I would buy the protector ahead of purchasing the phone, so the second the cling film came off the screen, I could pop on the protector.

Today though? I haven’t had a protector on my screen in a couple of years. The glass technology has advanced so much there’s little to no chance the screen protector you buy will be harder, more durable, or have better anti-fingerprint technology than the super-strong Gorilla glass screen on your phone that’s coated with far more advanced anti-fingerprint and anti-glare coatings.

If your phone spends 90% of its day tucked safely in your pocket, what exactly are you protecting it from?

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Although my iPhone spends all day in my pants pocket, away from anything that could harm it. My wife’s iPhone spends all day in her purse, which is more like a wood chipper filled with makeup compacts and keys than the soft, secure pouch that is my pocket. In that case, we’re willing to use screen protectors to serve as ritual sacrifices to protect the actual screen of her phone.

For more info about why you can probably ditch your screen protector (and when popping one on is a good idea), check out our full treatment of the topic over at Review Geek.

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How to Download Books From Google Books

Google offers a vast repository of ebooks via Google Books. There’s the Google Books search engine and Google Play Books store. Both services let you save copies of books so you can read them offline. So here’s how to download books from Google Books.

Google Books Search Engine

Firstly, let’s look at how to download a book from Google Books for free.

What Is the Google Books Search Engine?

The Google Books search engine has been around since 2004. It lets you search more than 30 million titles, each of which Google has scanned and converted into text using OCR. Several magazines are also included.

When you click on a search result, you’ll see the scanned pages, information about the book (such as author, publication date, and blurb), and links to buy the title in either ebook or print form.

You can also add your own review and save the book to your library.

Can You Download Any Title on Google Books for Free?

No. Each title on Google Books is assigned one of four access levels. They are:

  • No Preview: If Google has not yet scanned the book, you will not be able to see any of its text. You will, however, still have access to its metadata and ISBN.
  • Snippet: If Google does not have the necessary copyright permissions, you will be able to see up to three snippets of text. The snippets show a few sentences on either side of a specific query. No snippets are shown for reference books like encyclopedias and dictionaries.
  • Preview: Most books on Google Books fall into the Preview category. They are available for books that are still in print and for which Google has expressed permission from the copyright owner. If a book is in the Preview category, you will be able to browse a variable number of pages. All the pages are watermarked, and you cannot download, save, or copy them.
  • Full View: Google assigns the Full View category to books that are no longer in print and which are in the public domain. A small number of in-print books are also included. This is the only category from which you can download books from Google Books.

How to Download Books From Google Books

So, how do you download books from Google Books that are in the Full View category?

Unless you know which out-of-print title you want, we’d recommend using the Google Books Advanced Search feature. It lets you enter several specific parameters, one of which is the category of the book. Obviously, you need to choose Full View.

You can also enter keywords, preferred publishers, authors, ISBNs, ISSNs, and titles. When you’re ready, hit the Google Search button in the upper right-hand corner.

download google books free ebooks link

From the list of results, click on the title of the book you’re looking for. The book’s information page will load. You can find the download link in the upper left-hand corner. It is labeled as EBOOK—FREE.

By hovering over the link, you can see which devices you can read the book on, and which additional features (such as flow reading and scanned pages) the book supports.

download google books for free

When you click on the link, you’ll receive an additional prompt to confirm your decision. Select Read, and the book will become available in the My Books section of the Google Play Store. To download it, click on the three dots on the listing and select Download PDF or Download EPUB (depending on availability).

Google Play Books

Google Play Books is Google’s ebook store. It’s the second-largest ebook shop on the web behind Amazon. It offers more than six million titles for purchase. You can also use the platform to buy audiobooks and rent textbooks.

How to Download Books From Google Play Books

Google Play Books lets you download any book you own so you can read it offline. The options available to you will vary depending on whether you bought the book of if it was free.

If you have free ebooks in your library (either because you saved them using from Google Books using the previous method or you took advantage of a free ebook offer on the store itself), you can download a PDF or EPUB version of the file. You can then copy, reproduce, and share the file as you wish.

For paid books, however, you can only download a copy onto your device for reading when offline. You will not be able to access the PDF or EPUB file.

To download the books, you will either need the Google Play Books smartphone app (for mobile devices), or the Chrome browser and the Play Books extension from the Chrome Web Store (for desktops).

Download Google Play Books on Android or iOS

To download a book onto your mobile device, follow the instructions below:

  1. Grab a copy of the free Google Play Books app from the appropriate app store.
  2. Ensure your device has an internet connection.
  3. Tap on the Library tab at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Tap on the book you want to save for offline reading.

The download process will start automatically. When it’s finished, you will see a tick appear on the book’s thumbnail.

To see which books you have already downloaded from Google Play, go to Menu > Downloaded Only.

Download: Google Play Books for Android | iOS (Free)

Download Google Play Books on Windows and Mac

google play books extension download ebooks offline

If you’d prefer to download a book on your desktop machine instead, use these instructions:

  1. Download Google Chrome for your preferred operating system.
  2. Download the Google Play Books web app for Google Chrome.
  3. Open Chrome and access the Google Play Books app.
  4. Find the book you want to download for offline reading.
  5. Hover your mouse over the book’s thumbnail and click on Make available offline.

If you want to remove the book in the future, just untick the same checkbox.

Download: Google Chrome (Free)
Download: Google Play Books for Google Chrome (Free)

Other Ways to Download Free Books Online

The methods described in this article will help you to ensure you always have plenty of reading material to hand, even if you’re going to be offline for an extended period of time.

And remember, Google Books is not the only place where you can find free ebooks. If you’d like to learn more, here are some websites with free ebooks that don’t suck

5 Sites With Lots of Completely Free Ebooks That Don’t Suck

5 Sites With Lots of Completely Free Ebooks That Don’t Suck

If you know where to look, you can snag free ebooks to read online, download to your computer, or transfer to your Kindle.
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and the best websites to get free ebooks

7 Free Ebook Download Sites

7 Free Ebook Download Sites

Want free ebook downloads? This article lists seven of the best sites for downloading free ebooks.
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