Flappy Bird grounded, but may be dangerous

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Flappy Bird went extinct last Sunday, when developer Dong Nguyen deleted his popular and addictive game app from the iTunes and Android app stores.

The game's objective was to guide a little bird in flight through an infinite obstacle course of pipes. It was difficult and frustrating and had become a chart-topping app in its short life.

More than 50 million downloads later, Mr. Nguyen decided it wasn't what he wanted for Flappy Bird: "Flappy Bird is a success of mine," he tweeted last week. "But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it."

But the grounding of Flappy Bird whetted consumer appetites, and gamers started swooping in on clones to fill the void. This week, four of the top 10 free apps on iTunes, and one of the top 10 paid apps, are variations on the game with similar names.

But several security firms are warning that some fake versions of Flappy Birds found on Android's third party marketplace contained malware. The fake app asked the user for permission to send and receive text messages, which the real Flappy Bird did not. The malware sends out messages, causing unwanted charges on the user's mobile phone. Security firm Trend Micro recommends not downloading any Android app that calls itself Flappy Bird.

eBay has hundreds of listings for used phones with Flappy Birds installed, but that goes against the online auction site's policy. eBay is telling sellers they can't sell the phones until they're restored to factory settings, with all content removed. Still, there are many for sale there: The highest is starting bidding at $35,000, or one can buy it outright for $52,000: there are no takers so far.

An audio book version of Truman Capote's classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" has just been released by Audible.

Capote's tale of the free-spirited Holly Golightly is narrated by "Dexter" star Michael C. Hall.

It's the latest in Audible's series of literary classics read by celebrities, which include Claire Danes reading Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," Elijah Wood reading Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and David Hyde Pierce reading Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels."

Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon, offers audio books that can be downloaded to Kindle, iPhone/iPad and Android devices.

Audible's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is $8.71 (or free for new members starting a 30-day free trial).

Young parents -- especially dads -- will find one of the funnier Web series around on the Parents Magazine website.

"Lords of the Playground" stars Matt Servito, who "The Sopranos" viewers will remember as FBI agent Dwight Harris, and Jason Kravits, as two young dads.

The short episodes feature their comic exchanges on the pitfalls of parenting while seated on a playground park bench. Eleven episodes will post weekly.

It comes from multiplatform production company Meredith Originals and Parents Magazine.

"Lords of the Playground" is the first in a collection of Web series Meredith plans to launch in 2014. They include "Rosie to the Rescue," with advice on pregnancy and parenting from Rosie Pope, "Baby Sleep 911," with tips on getting babies to sleep, and "Stager Smackdown," described as "a decor war between professional home stagers."

Adrian McCoy: or 412-263-1865.

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