Beware mobile games with ads.

A growing trend with mobile game producers, in an effort to generate revenue, is in-game-ads, and in-game-purchasing.

In regards to in-game-purchasing, the game is free to install and play, and one can purchase gold coins, or jewels i.e., some form of game currency which you then use to purchase upgrades, new levels, new characters etc. Typically one can also play to unlock these features, but paying is much faster.

From a family safe perspective in-game-purchasing is an acceptable form of generating revenue.  A few popular examples:

  • Pixel Gun
  • Clash of Clans

In regards to in-game-ads, the game is free to install and play, but one must watch randomly placed ads to continue playing the game, and/or unlock new features.  Sometimes these are full page ads that open in a browser, and in many cases play a video.  Most in-game-ads give you the option to skip or close the ad, but not before you’ve basically seen the gist of the ad, and closing it isn’t always easy, especially for kids.

So what’s wrong with in-game-ads? As recently noted in the Independent.co.uk:

Examples of games with pop-up ads one must watch to play:

  • My Talking Tom Tom
    • On their appstore page, they state the are PRIVO certified to protect your childs privacy and personal information. Apparently this doesn’t include protection against adult content.
  • Star Wars Rebel Alliance

Are some games with in-game-ads better than others? Not really because the developer(s) creating the game use third party companies to generate the ads, and there are only a few companies that create the ads, like AdMob.

App developers are looking to get paid for their work, and their options for generating revenue are:

  1. Sell the game outright with no ads
  2. Give the game away for free, but generate revenue by selling in-game-currency / items
  3. Give the game away for free, and place ads through out the game
    1. The ads are outsourced to third party companies like AdMob

So all in-game-ads are actually controlled by a few companies, much like the Mainstream Media we deal with today. I.E., if one game is showing objectionable content ads, then they are all suspect.

Kibosh.net

How to secure Windows 10

Microsoft introduced a lot of new features in Windows 10 such as Cortana. However, most of them are breaking your privacy. For example if you’re using the default settings, each time you start typing in search box in taskbar , your local search terms and location are sent to Microsoft, some of which advertise to you. To make matters worse, who knows what web results will be returned?

Also, by default (default = if you don’t change this then it will do it) Windows 10 has permission to report a huge amount of data back to Microsoft. By clicking through “Express Settings” during installation, you allow Windows 10 to gather up your contacts, calendar details, text and touch input, location data, and a whole lot more.

By default, Windows sends a lot of your information to their servers sometimes without asking you to opt-in.

However we can turn most of these tracking features off. Follow these guides to fix Windows 10 and restore your privacy.

How to disable Cortana (it’s always on and listening) and the search online features (which will show web results along with local files/folders):

  1. Right click the Windows icon (i.e. the start button)
  2. Select Search
  3. Select Settings (the cog-wheel) on the left
    1. Turn off Cortona
    2. Turf off Search online and include web results

 

Kibosh.net