RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Crafting Shelter for Birds, Spaces for Spring Singers – Pt. 1

March 24, 2016 1:48 am

The quintessential sign that spring has sprung is the boisterous singing of backyard birds. Sure, there's always a crow's caw or sparrow's chirp around the backyard in winter, but we're talking about singers!

According to Audubon New York, protecting birds is a critical environmental mission—and who wouldn't like attracting a few more springtime song birds to their yards?

Whether your yard is large or small, you can use it to help birds, according to the organization's website, by providing food, water, shelter and potential nesting places, you can help birds thrive and survive.

And with a few simple steps, you can create a haven for both migratory and resident birds. For attracting birds, Audubon New York advises:

• Take inventory of what you already have and consider ways you can supplement what’s already there with native plants that help mimic natural habitats;

• Incorporate plants that offer shelter, food, nesting material and even a singing perch;

• Add a bird bath and additional foods, such as sunflower and suet, to help round out your offerings.

And if you're already equipped to welcome song birds back, it's time to clean feeders and diversify:

• Hang hummingbird feeders in April or May, and orange halves to attract orioles.

• Remove last year’s nests from nest boxes, install new ones as needed and provide short lengths of string, wool and other materials for nest-building.

• Plan your plantings. Native species provide the best year-round shelter and food resources.

The National Wildlife Federation (nwf.org) also offers some great advice on reinforcing or establishing a songbird-friendly yard: birds often seek protected places to roost or sleep. Dense vegetation found in thickets or the interior branches of evergreens serve as a windbreak and conceal the birds from night-prowling predators.

In winter, a few species of songbirds—the ones that nest in tree cavities or birdhouses in spring—will also use roost boxes to stay warm. Among them: bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, screech owls and some woodpeckers.

In Part 2 of this segment, we'll focus on other environmental factors to keep songbirds thriving on your property.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Own an ASUS Router? FTC Says 12,000 Users Were Hacked!

March 23, 2016 1:48 am

To borrow from a popular commercial tag line: what's in your router? We recently learned, along with 12,000 consumers, what wasn't included with their ASUS brand Internet router: appropriate security infrastructure.

Recently, the Taiwan-based computer hardware maker ASUSTeK Computer, Inc. agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that critical security flaws in its routers put the home networks of hundreds of thousands of consumers at risk.

The administrative complaint also charges that the routers’ insecure cloud services led to the compromise of thousands of consumers’ connected storage devices, exposing their sensitive personal information on the Internet.

The proposed consent order will require ASUS to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program subject to independent audits for the next 20 years.

With millions of consumers connecting smart devices to their home networks, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, says routers play a key role in securing home networks.

ASUS marketed its routers as including numerous security features that the company claimed could “protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking, and virus attacks” and “protect [the] local network against attacks from hackers.” Despite these claims, the FTC’s complaint alleges that ASUS didn’t take reasonable steps to secure the software on its routers.

An FTC release states that in 2014, hackers used readily available tools to locate vulnerable ASUS routers and exploited these security flaws to gain unauthorized access to over 12,900 consumers’ connected storage devices. According to the complaint, hackers could exploit pervasive security bugs in the router’s Web-based control panel to change any of the router’s security settings without the consumer’s knowledge.

In addition, ASUS’ routers also featured services called AiCloud and AiDisk that allowed consumers to plug a USB hard drive into the router to create their own cloud storage accessible from any of their devices. While ASUS advertised these services as a “private personal cloud for selective file sharing” and a way to “safely secure and access your treasured data through your router,” the FTC’s complaint alleges that the services had serious security flaws.

Keep up to date on loads of important consumer topics right here and at consumer.ftc.gov.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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