Good Karma From Credit Karma?

Lifehacker - Free credit report services are often rife with scams, but Credit Karma is the real deal (I'm a user of the service, I don't pay a cent for it, and I'm happy.) The company previously offered credit reports on a monthly basis, and refreshed your TransUnion credit score and VantageScore (along with your overall account data) every week. Now they've partnered with TransUnion to do a weekly soft inquiry on your full report (meaning it won't actually ding your credit.) You'll get an updated full report with activity and balances, alerts for new accounts or major changes, and contextual information to help you understand what the whole thing means.


If You *Really* Must Have iPhone 6 Bragging Rights...

The iPhone 6 should be with us in a couple of months, with a bigger screen and I'm sure all sorts of other features that will make Apple fans and others salivate. If you really, really must be at the very front of the line (but don't want to go through all that folding-chair-and-thermos-of-coffee nonsense) you can pre-order a customized Lux iPhone 6 from luxury retailer Brikk for .... well, if you you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.
Oh, okay - they start at around 4 grand and going up to over $8,000 for the big boy (shown below covered in 24ct gold).


Trying To Reduce The Cost Of Prescription Drugs

Those of us who need to use prescription drugs on an ongoing basis know that in some cases, the cost can be crippling - hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars a month; yes, really. Even with insurance the costs can be high. Apart from approaching your physician to perhaps prescribe an alternative treatment, or a generic version of a specific drug, some are turning to overseas pharmacies as a way out of the poor house. Can or should you do this, even if the alternative seems bleak? This MoneyTalks article runs the numbers and goes through the legalities of the process.


Nothing Is Really Secret, Is It?

One can't help but notice that our personal data has become a pretty hot commodity these days. One one hand, the desire to profile users for advertising and other purposes has made collectible knowledge of our like, dislikes, habits and quirks a valuable commodity to many companies. On the other, the stated desire or need to keep us safer from terrorists and other kinds of danger has seemingly swept aside assumed Forth Amendment protections for the moment - or at least made it a bit of a cat-and-mouse game for the various government agencies. 


Money-Grubbing Politicians? There's An App For That!

"Money is the mother's milk of politics" a familiar quote from Jesse M. Unruh. Speaker of the California State Assembly, 1961-1969. It's actually a bit disheartening when you actually dig in just a wee bit and see how true that is. It seems that everyone is if not "on the take" then at least standing with their hand out and a smile on their face; but, it was ever thus. You can now readily get the goods on your own Congressional Representative using the browser plugin "Greenhouse", which simply picks out that politician's name from an article you may be reading, and dishes up the dirt right then and there.
It is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and is completely free. As you can imagine, reading about how your member of Congress voted in a recent health bill becomes all the more enlightening if you know how much money the health industry showered him in at the last election.


Forty Minutes Of Facebook

Facebook users in the US spend an average of about 40 minutes per day indulging their social media needs. While that's a pretty good engagement, I actually thought the number would be a bit higher. Personally, I spend maybe 15-20 mins on those days when I do visit the site (about every other day, most times), but then I don't currently use a smartphone and 62% of Facebook's revenue comes from mobile device usage.
[Facebook CEO, Mark] Zuckerberg said that the 40 minutes a day on Facebook account for one in five minutes spent on mobile in the US. Yet Facebook’s CEO sees plenty of room to grow, as he said “overall people in the US spend nine hours per day engaging with digital media with TV, phones and computers” and called this a “Big opportunity to improve the way people can share”. With 204 million monthly users on Facebook in the US and Canada, it could earn a lot of money by inching up that engagement time per day.