Make a New Year’s resolution to stay safe online

(NC) This is the time of year when we take stock of the year that was – and then make our resolutions for the year to come. When it comes to new technology and using the Internet, here are two easy resolutions you can make right now:

1. Think before I app. 2. Keep a clean machine.

Just like resolutions to improve our daily diet or to add more exercise, both resolutions aim at improving the quality of your life. The following ‘cyber safe’ resolutions, for example, could have an impact on your personal identity, on your online accounts, and they could even affect your financial activities:


Keep a clean machine

• Make sure the software is up to date and use the most recent versions of your mobile operating system, security software, apps and Web browsers. Resolving to do these simple things is among the best defenses against malware, viruses and other online threats.


• Protect your personal information: Check privacy settings on your online accounts. Use strong passwords, and be careful of what you share online including your name, location, and other personal details like where you go to school or your age.

• Secure your device: Use a passcode to lock your smartphone or tablet.

Think before you app

• Before you download it, understand what information the app would access and share like your location, your contacts, social networking profiles, etc. Always download apps from trusted sources.

• Back it up: Sync your contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data with another device or ‘cloud’ service on a weekly basis.

Making these resolutions will help to keep you safe online. More information can be found at


Pet friendly outdoor space makes pawfect gardening

Pet friendly gardening

Pet friendly gardening

(NC)—With sweet summer in our midst, it’s time to gear up the green thumb and get gardening. This season keep your pet in mind while planting your garden and create a truly enjoyable outdoor oasis that’s also safe for your four legged friend. Clarine Lee-Macaraig, an eco-expert with Evergreen – a national organization committed to building sustainable green cities – offers the following tips for passionate pet owners to take action in their own backyards and beyond:

Planting Prowess – Choosing the right plants is key to a safe garden. Avoid Lily of the Valley, Yew, Rhododendron, Oleander, Azaleas, Foxglove and Deadly Nightshade, which can be just as toxic to humans as pets. If you prefer a green space to garden beds, consider white clover seeds instead of grass seeds. White clover is more tolerant of dog and cat urine. And it can grow in shade, sun and it fixes nitrogen back into your soil!

Roaming Rover – Know your pet’s personality and design accordingly. For an energetic pup create a raised garden, which can protect some of your prized plants , keep your pet safe and keep help your pet stay. Raised garden beds are also good solutions to pets that are chewers. Be sure to allow plenty of space for your pet to run in and don’t forget a shaded area under which they can enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Safe solutions – Keeping it organic is the safest way to garden for everyone in the family. Avoid pesticides and fertilizers, which can be dangerous for four legged family members. Because pets regularly clean themselves the chemicals can irritate and harm a cat or dog. Know your pet! If your pet is sensitive and has allergies even natural or organic pest and weed controls can aggravate them. Try companion planting for the best pest control!

Rein it in – Be sure to keep your pets (cats and dogs) leashed when walking on unknown trails to protect plant life and wildlife in forests and wetlands. Remember that cats can be wildlife conscious too by wearing a leash and collar bell to alert and protect birds and other wildlife.

Lee-Macaraig points out that since Purina is committed to enriching the lives of pets and the people who love them, Evergreen has partnered with them to support local green space restoration initiatives across Canada. As part of the initiative pet owners have a chance to win a pet-friendly backyard makeover. Little acts can make a big difference, so to learn how you can win one of three backyard makeovers, and help Purina support Evergreen’s Stewardship and Restoration program, visit

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