Tech Talk And Innovation

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From fun themes to top technology: Here's what you need for an epic backyard movie night

(BPT) - Canceled camps, postponed trips, closed pools and more — summer 2020 is shaping up to be very different for families across the country. While you may not be able to do some activities, that doesn't mean you can't make lasting memories while enjoying time together. You just have to think creatively and plan unique events at home!

  • icon Updated: 2:31 am

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Recent Headlines

Tuesday 06/30/2020
Desk Booking System & Room Scheduling Software Helps Offices Open Safely
Updated: July 09, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - As offices gradually reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, caution is key to supporting employees as they return to work safely.

Wednesday 06/24/2020
Putting Your Home to Work: 5 Things to Know About Solar Panels
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - As people have been spending more time at home and watching their utility bills increase, solar energy is becoming a topic of interest. In fact, even with more constrained purchasing practices in many households in the current environment, a recent Harris Poll research study revealed a 13 percent increase in consumer interest in solar energy since mid-March.

Impressive design gets the word out
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - First impressions matter now more than ever. If you can create a visually impactful, emotional connection with your branding, customers will respond. In today’s world, eye-catching design can be the difference between winning the sale or losing a potential client.

Monday 06/22/2020
How to get paid sick leave if you fear you have COVID-19
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers everywhere have struggled with what to do about their jobs if they have symptoms they fear may be due to the coronavirus.

7 ways technology can help you make the most of your summer
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - With summer upon us and travel plans likely on hold, it’s time to figure out what’s on your family’s summer bucket list. Whether it's learning a new language, reading one book a week or exploring your culinary skills, there are many different ways a smart home with Amazon Alexa can make this summer your best one yet. From enabling Skills to setting up Routines, here are seven different ways Amazon Devices and Alexa can help:

Friday 06/19/2020
Bidet seat innovation: How it became the luxury hiding in plain sight
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - The coronavirus inspired shoppers to load their carts until they overflowed with toilet paper. However, the shopping frenzy and the shortage of supplies also inspired many to take a fresh look at a bathroom appliance they long ignored: the bidet seat.

Make the Most of Virtual Meetings
Posted: June 19, 2020

(NewsUSA) - The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has accelerated an adoption of online work, video meetings, and virtual conferences that will likely continue.

Thursday 06/18/2020
How to keep your cool all summer long
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - With summer comes plenty of sunshine, and with it lots of heat — sometimes more than you enjoy. Are you lacking central air conditioning in your place? Don't sweat it. There are many easy things you can do to help keep yourself and your whole family cool as the summer starts to heat up.

Wednesday 06/17/2020
How teachers can prepare for successful distance learning this fall
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most disruptive event in the history of K-12 education, closing 120,000 schools and affecting 55 million students in the U.S.

Tuesday 06/16/2020
Residential Solar + Battery Storage Solutions Protect Against Utility Outages
Updated: June 18, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NAPSI)—The market for energy storage is growing—and with good reason. With power disruptions from electrical utilities driven by wildfires, storms, hurricanes and the continued decay of the power grid across the country, homeowners have turned to new solutions to keep the lights on.  

At the center of the upswing in interest, solar power continues to rank highly with energy-conscious homeowners nationwide. However, as residents in California have discovered through Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2019, their current photovoltaic (PV) solar systems do not power their homes during utility outages, primarily because safety shut-off protocols are designed into the systems to protect utility workers. This has boosted the appeal of battery-based energy storage and software systems that can harness the sunlight and store it for later use.

The Public Safety Power Shutoffs were put in place to mitigate wildfire risks that could be caused by sparking power transmission lines when high winds and dry conditions create dangerous circumstances. The state of California recently earmarked $675 million under a new round of its Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), one of the first state-level incentives for battery energy storage in the country. The program—which now has a cumulative historic value of over $1 billion—has helped California lead the nation in residential energy storage. The SGIP Equity Resilience incentive program could essentially offset the entire cost of a battery storage system by providing up to $1/watt of backup power for qualified homeowners.

Hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts also have inspired many homeowners to consider battery storage as an addition to their solar power systems or to add natural gas or propane-powered home backup generators in place of or in addition to the solar assets. This demand has helped backup generator giant Generac move into the clean energy arena with its PWRcell Storage System, which is considered an ideal solution for resilience to utility grid outages and a way to significantly lower energy bills by avoiding the utility company’s peak rates. Generac is the only company that offers both battery storage systems and whole home backup generators. Its dealers can provide “touchless virtual quotes” for both systems that let homeowners make the best decision for their specific needs. 

The PWRcell storage system is an all-in-one platform that offers 8 kilowatts of continuous power and a 10 kW surge capacity to start heavy loads such as 2-ton air conditioners and well pumps, but what sets this apart from other options is its ability to scale up to 17.1 kW of usable capacity. The system is equipped with an energy monitoring technology called PWRview, which offers smart device linkage to track household energy consumption, monitor battery usage and track energy spending and savings.  

Such residential clean energy solutions bring smart home energy storage and management into the mainstream for homeowners, cutting energy costs and providing protection from electric utility disruptions. As a result, people have more options when deciding where to get their power.

 

Friday 06/05/2020
Top Things To Know About Economic Impact Payment Cards
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our lives in unprecedented ways, more and more consumers seek secure, reliable solutions for making purchases in-person, online or over the phone. For the millions of Americans who receive government payments, including emergency relief funds from the U.S. government, one such solution is Government Payment Cards, or prepaid Visa debit cards.

What Are Economic Impact Payment Cards and How Do They Work

Recently, nearly 4 million prepaid Visa debit cards were mailed to eligible Americans as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). These prepaid Visa debit cards are pre-loaded with Economic Impact Payment (EIP) funds and are sent in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

EIP cards offer a fast, convenient, safe way for Americans to receive government and emergency relief benefits. These prepaid cards look and work like traditional debit cards; however, these cards arrive preloaded with funds and are not linked to a bank account.

Using an EIP card is quick, easy and secure. It can be used to:

  • Pay for purchases online, in-person or over the phone everywhere Visa is accepted;
  • Pay many bills and get cash back at participating merchants;
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM or a bank/credit union teller
  • Transfer funds to a personal bank account

How To Get Started

The first step when you receive your EIP card is to activate it by calling at 1-800-240-8100.

During activation, you will be asked to validate your identity by providing, at minimum, your name, address, and last 6-digits of your social security number. You will also be asked to create a 4-digit PIN required for ATM transactions and automated assistance and to hear your balance. For your Account security, do not use personal information as your PIN. For Cards with more than one name, only the primary Cardholder (listed first on the Card) may activate the Card.

Keep your PIN number handy for automated telephone assistance and secure future transactions. For example, when withdrawing cash from an ATM – preferably an in-network, surcharge free ATM that carries the AllPoint® brand – enter your 4-digit PIN and select “Withdraw” from “Checking”.

Discarded or Destroyed Cards

If your EIP card was accidentally discarded or destroyed, you can call the Customer Service number at 1-800-240-8100 and report it “Lost/Stolen”. Your EIP Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement card will be ordered. You do not need to know your card number and your first reissued EIP card is free. Any additional reissued cards are subject to a replacement fee, so review the Fee Schedule and Cardholder Agreement at EIPCard.com for more information.

How To Keep Your Card Safe and Secure

It is important to know that the IRS, MetaBank, Money Network and Visa, like other financial institutions, do not contact cardholders directly requesting their personal account information. That said, cybercriminals and fraudsters are constantly counting on individuals to be distracted and let their guard down. If successful, they can trick people into handing over personal or financial information using a tactic they call phishing.

Here are some common forms of phishing that one may encounter and warning signs to look out for:

Phone Call Phishing

  • Consumers should look out for a phone call from “your credit card company” or “financial institution,” the caller will typically identify themselves as some who works in the “Security and Fraud Department.”
  • They will note that your card has been flagged for suspicious transactions and will ask for you to prove that the card is in your possession. You may then be asked to provide the three-digit security code on the back of your payment card, your pin, or a verification code that was just sent to you.

Email Phishing

  • Be on the lookout for spelling and grammar errors in the subject line or body of the email. It also may be a warning sign if the email does not address you by name or if the email address does not match the organization (e.g., irs.net).
  • Scammers will also sometimes include deadlines or threaten account suspension to add urgency and override your normal sense of caution. If the sender does not provide contact information, or if something feels suspicious (e.g., asking you to click a hyperlink) please contact the card issuer at 1-800-240-8100.

Text Message Phishing

  • Be aware if the sender sends a link rather than a phone number to call. Scammers may also ask that you log onto your account to verify a transaction by providing your pin or three-digit CVV code.

Website Phishing

  • It may also be a red flag if there is something slightly off about the website or the address or if there are misspelled words or odd logos.
  • Look out for unusual pop-ups on the site that request you enter personal account information. Also be wary of HTML links that do not match their destination.
  • If you are unsure about a link, you should manually enter the full website URL or address into your browser instead of clicking on a link provided to you.

Social Media Phishing

  • Warning signs include friend requests from someone you do not know, or a post asking you to click on a link and provide personal information.

For more information on Economic Impact Payments, visit EIPcard.com.

Tuesday 06/02/2020
5 ways to help prevent home cyberattacks
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Being home 100% of the time has become the new norm for many Americans, as social distancing is implemented in communities across the country to slow the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Connected devices are being used virtually nonstop, as the homebound stream shows to binge watch and video chat with friends to help pass the time. Unfortunately, most residential computing networks aren’t regularly maintained and monitored to protect against security breaches. This presents hackers with a virtual playground of which to take advantage.

Monday 06/01/2020
Communities assist frontline medical workers: How you can help
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - During the pandemic, healthcare workers are being challenged like never before. Coping with this emergency has taken a toll on hospital staff around the country — and communities are stepping up efforts to help with donations of goods and services that provide immediate support, sometimes in surprising ways.

Wednesday 05/27/2020
4 ways a smart home can save you money
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Over the course of the last several months, hundreds of millions of people have sheltered in place as governments issue executive orders to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, many homes are becoming a fortress against the virus, a makeshift school, an office outpost and a daycare facility. As summer approaches and homeowners continue to spend more time at home with the air conditioner and the lights on, they are looking for ways to optimize the efficiency of their homes.

Thursday 05/21/2020
Bathroom remodel: 4 questions to ask before you customize
Updated: June 26, 2020 - 2:33 am

(BPT) - Choosing a home is strongly influenced by the layout and appearance of its bathrooms. But no matter how long you’ve lived in your home, there are bound to be improvements you’d love to make. And almost everyone needs options for optimizing bathroom space.

Digital Strategies Help Small Businesses Compete
Posted: May 21, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Now more than ever, building relationships is important to small businesses so they can compete in the global marketplace.

Tuesday 05/19/2020
What we’ve learned from working at home
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - The recent transition to widespread working from home has shown that the experience has been both educational and eye-opening for many. Working at home means learning to cope with distractions, space constraints, managing time with family and learning new skills. And, according to new consumer research, it has also meant reassessing what is most important.

Find ways to stay connected while social distancing
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic presents daunting challenges for many seniors and other vulnerable populations. Social distancing and shelter-in-place requirements are necessary for their continued health and safety. But with it comes the risk of social isolation, and the mental and physical tolls this can take.

Monday 05/18/2020
How to Boost Your Business in A Digital Environment
Posted: May 18, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Now more than ever, businesses need to explore how to best serve their customers in the digital marketplace. That means finding ways to stay relevant and keep their audiences engaged. A professional development webinar series from the National Kitchen & Bath Association shows businesses how to develop and maintain a strong online presence.

Friday 05/15/2020
Going digital is a powerful tool for small businesses in the new normal
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - If you own a small business, or frequently shop at one, you know that COVID-19 has instantly changed everything. As brick-and-mortar shops have had to temporarily close to customers, the need to adapt has never been greater.

Wednesday 05/13/2020
Game-Changing Connectivity
Updated: May 15, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NAPSI)—Technology is essential for any small business, whether a landscaper, retail establishment, consulting firm or just about anything else. Below are five technologies to strengthen and support your business.

Five Types of Tech to Try:

 

1.BUSINESS INTERNET: Internet services bring the power of ultra-reliable, secure, gigabit-ready connectivity directly to your doorstep—or anywhere you do business. Great connections are an everyday thing.

2.BUSINESS VOICE: Stay connected with customers, employees, vendors, business partners—everyone. From single-line solutions to high-capacity trunks, you can connect with the right voice-and-messaging solutions necessary to maintain and grow your business.

3.BUSINESS VIDEO: Captivate customers by providing on-screen entertainment wherever they want it: in hotel rooms, in customer waiting areas, in restaurants and bars, in bank lobbies, anywhere people gather.

4.BUSINESS NETWORK: Secure multi-location networks to dedicated fiber links, the spot-on solution for any size business or growing enterprises. Experience a private fast lane for secure connectivity, backed by expert support and guaranteed uptime. Delight your customers with WiFi that’s convenient, easy to identify and always easy to use.

5.LOCAL SUPPORT: Reliable and local support readily available when needed. Equipped with a dedicated IT partner, local cable support allows you to focus on managing your business and taking care of your customers.

When you power your business with a local cable connectivity provider, you can rely on dependable, affordable and secure communications. Learn more about what cable has to offer and how to connect with a provider by visiting, www.businessservicesconnect.com.

Tuesday 05/12/2020
Tips for Staying Safe and Connected During a Move
Updated: May 14, 2020 - 2:33 am

(NAPSI)—Planning a move can be stressful, but planning a move in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic brings a new set of challenges. Stay safe and connected with some smart pre-move planning; here are some tips:  

Follow Approved Protocols—If you can’t postpone your move, take extra precautions before moving in to ensure your new place is clean. Follow general disinfecting guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among other surfaces, disinfect doors, door handles, bathrooms, kitchen appliances, countertops and—something many people don’t really think about—cabinet and doorknobs as well as light switches. 

Safely Stay Connected—New work-from-home protocols and online schooling mean reliable Internet connectivity is more important than ever. Prior to your move, SmartMove can connect you to your local provider and help arrange new Touchless Installs that let you safely connect your tech services yourself. Cable companies deliver equipment with step-by-step activation information so you can set up your system on your own, or with support over the phone, online, through chat functionality or video tutorials. In most cases, no technician will need to enter your home. 

Keep in Touch & Maintain Daily Routines—You may be staying in more, but don’t forget to take a break from unpacking boxes. Use your new online connection to find delivery services to help stock your pantry and fridge and refill prescriptions. Your new house will feel more like home if you take time to watch your favorite shows, maintain your exercise program or explore online courses that can help you discover new talents or resume old hobbies. Don’t forget to connect with friends through group video chats or viewing parties—you can even take your friends and family on a virtual tour of your new place! 

 

Monday 05/11/2020
How to preserve your treasured memories, and use them as a tool to stay connected to your loved ones
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - While spending so much time at home, you may find yourself becoming more connected online than ever before. To communicate with the people you care about, you strive to find community and connection by posting personal photos and videos on social media daily — making it increasingly important to protect your online privacy and safety.

Friday 05/08/2020
How to make the most of your gaming console
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Ready to level up your entertainment game? With a little creativity, you can use the everyday items in your home to transform your gaming space into the ultimate entertainment zone. We’re talking game room, dance floor and classroom all in one.

Wednesday 04/29/2020
College Board Offers Online AP Courses and Exams During Coronavirus
Updated: June 17, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - In the wake of unprecedented school closures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the College Board is supporting students and schools with free, live review sessions and online exams taken at home.

Tuesday 04/28/2020
How communities are connecting during the COVID-19 crisis
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, people are searching for ways to connect with experts, co-workers, friends, neighbors and their community. They are accomplishing this by using technology including virtual meetings, webinars and conference call services.

Thursday 04/23/2020
Screen Time App Sets Safe Boundaries
Updated: May 29, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - A consequence of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is that children are spending more time with screens than ever before. Schools request online class meetings, while working parents find themselves turning to other educational sites and games to keep kids entertained during extended time at home.

Working from home? Great gear for solving top telecommuting problems
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - The coronavirus pandemic has altered life dramatically across the world. For millions of Americans, their new quarantine routine includes working remotely 100% of the time. Telecommuting makes work possible, but it's not without challenges. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions you can use to work effectively from home now and in the future.

Tuesday 04/21/2020
Keeping Personal Information Safe During a Pandemic
Posted: April 21, 2020

(StatePoint) Americans are spending more time at home, which means they’re likely spending more time online. While their attention is focused on staying healthy, they shouldn’t forget to stay vigilant about cybersecurity either.

Monday 04/20/2020
How Communities Can Fight The Coronavirus Pandemic And PPE Shortage
Updated: April 22, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—As devastating as Corona­virus (COVID-19) is, there are some bright spots. Consider this: With healthcare workers facing critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), Synchrony, a premier consumer financial services company, is leading a new initiative with businesses, consumers, employees, and non-profits called #GearUp that aims to equip frontline public health personnel and first responders in local communities around the country with protective gear. 

What’s Being Done 

1.Creating 3D-Printed Face Shields—Marshalling assistance from the technology, manufacturing, and philanthropic communities, Synchrony and the Synchrony Foundation—which supports communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic—is partnering with Stephens Direct and Protoduction 3D as well as global charity Brother’s Brother Foundation to produce and distribute thousands of face shields to serve communities in need. In addition, the company’s employees around the U.S. are creating face shields and face masks using its 3D printers and even their own. They’re sharing templates, providing coaching, and coordinating distribution. 

2.Sewing to Save Lives—In collaboration with 14,000 small to medium-sized sewing businesses, Synchrony is encouraging its 140,000 “Sewing and More” credit cardholders to create protective masks, gowns and gloves. Cardholders who make purchases automatically receive a statement credit to help them defray the costs of purchasing materials needed to create the protective gear. The company is also teaming up with small business partner Jenny Pollard Nobile of Pollard’s Sew Creative to provide volunteers with sewing patterns and logistical details for handmade face masks.

3.Enabling a Network of Donations—Synchrony has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and first responder organizations around the world. The company also enhanced its employee matching gifts program to temporarily triple employees’ donations to non-profits supplying PPE for health care providers and frontline workers as well as local food banks, matching employees’ giving 2:1. 

In addition, Synchrony and the Synchrony Foundation have committed $5 million to support hunger-relief organizations and local communities in the wake of the pandemic. 

What You Can Do 

Be part of the solution by participating in the #GearUp program. Learn how at www.synchrony.com/gearup.html.

In addition, you can help protect yourself and the people you care about. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests taking everyday preventive steps:

•Staying home, especially if you’re sick

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

•Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds

•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue

•Wear a cloth face covering when you go out 

•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

For more information, visit www.synchrony.com/coronavirus.

 

3 telehealth tips connected to COVID-19
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to mount, many Americans may be considering where to go for care if they develop potential symptoms. One important — yet potentially overlooked — resource is telehealth, which may enable people to connect 24/7 with a health care provider via a digital device and avoid potential exposure risks associated with in-person trips to health care facilities.

Tuesday 04/14/2020
4 ways to support your community that take less than 10 minutes
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Whether it’s reprieve for families in self-isolation, support for those on the frontlines of healthcare and essential businesses, or keeping at-risk populations safe, now is the time to come together — while staying apart — to support one another.

How to Get Wages to Your Workers Immediately
Updated: April 16, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—Amid the economic fallout stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, many lower-income and hourly workers need access to their earned wages immediately, versus waiting the traditional two-week pay cycle. PayActiv, the leading provider of employee earned wage and tip access, has been committed to solving this problem since 2013, and today has waived its access fees until further notice to help employers compensate their workers on-demand. 

More than 1,000 employers across healthcare, retail, food services, and business processing services have signed up for the PayActiv financial wellness platform to manage their cashflow challenges and cut costs, while lifting employee morale for the more than two million workers already enrolled. The PayActiv platform helps essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in America’s hospital systems, senior living centers, and recovery clinics. The workers get timely access to their wages and tips, the ability to purchase supplies, and a means to avoid overdraft fees, late fees or payday loans. Payout is immediate on the PayActiv prepaid card and other debit cards. Additional options include direct deposit, cash pick up, and more. Employees can also pay bills within the app or order an Uber® from the app using earned-but-unpaid wages.

In a sign of how dire the COVID-19 crisis is for many workers, a recent PayActiv survey found that 82% of workers said their greatest concern is their finances, 60% have no sick leave, and 58% have seen their expenses rise since the outbreak. Even before the crisis, studies found that 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. This problem is compounded by many workers now facing new medical costs. PayActiv has seen workers enroll in its services at a 200% increase week-over-week since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, with much of that increase stemming from the healthcare and delivery industries.

“The ongoing situation isn’t sustainable. People need access to their earned wages without having to wait two weeks,” said Safwan Shah, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PayActiv. “Our fundamental mission is to get earned wages into the hands of workers when, and how, they need them most.”

PayActiv is a certified B Corp and Public Benefit Corporation, committed to the public good. The company offers a range of other benefits, including prescription discounts, financial counseling, and budgeting advice. PayActiv has recently partnered with Paychex, a leading provider of HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, to offer $250 to every Paychex business customer that signs up for the PayActiv platform, and with OnShift, a leader in human capital management software for post-acute care and senior living, to provide more than 175,000 healthcare workers with earned wage access. Additional PayActiv clients include Walmart, American Senior Communities, Pizza Hut, and Subway, as well as many small businesses forming the backbone of the U.S. economy. 

Companies or employees wishing to learn more can visit www.PayActiv.com

 

What the 50th anniversary of Earth Day means today
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - To say these are challenging times is a vast understatement. In the course of just weeks, everyone’s lives have been completely disrupted, routines have been upended and the world is still reeling as everybody struggles to figure out what it all means — both in terms of their daily life, and for the future. But one thing hasn’t changed — everyone still lives on planet Earth. This makes it even more important today for everyone to be pulling together.

Stay safe from COVID-19 scammers
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - While you take care to limit social interactions and wash your hands to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, you also need to take steps to protect your finances and identity. Scammers are now taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to lure victims in with new phishing scams.

Monday 04/13/2020
A Simple Recipe For Successfully Digitizing Your Business
Updated: April 15, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—Technology can accelerate business outcomes virtually overnight. But today, with so many options available, choosing what to buy can be a daunting task. Even at big companies, IT departments can spend up to 22 months researching, testing and vetting software only to discover their selection doesn’t end up meeting expectations or needs.

So, how do resource-strapped small businesses find the best technology for their operation, fast?

Consider it like baking a cake—follow a few steps in the right order, and an appealing option can appear.

Step 1: Pinpoint your flavor profile. Start by outlining the exact issues you hope technology can help to solve. After all, the last thing you want is to serve the equivalent of chocolate cake to someone who is gluten intolerant. Work with your colleagues to identify the scope and drivers of your business challenges. If customer engagement is low, why and when? If inventory is high, what is not selling and why? Once you have this baseline data, pull together everyone involved in the process you’re trying to optimize. From frontline staff to back-room accounting, anyone touching any part of the problem can help flag solvable issues.

Step 2: Pull together your software ingredients. Once you’ve crystallized your challenges, you’re ready to see if software can help. If the answer is “yes,” proceed as follows:

First, and potentially counter-intuitively, start with prioritizing the functionality you need (not price). There can be big price differences between what are called “point” versus “platform” solutions, so shopping with a clear understanding of must-have features will allow you to right-size your investment level. Don’t buy more than you need—just as with adding sugar, sometimes less is more.

Next, look at reviews, screenshots and videos to get a sense for the product’s user friendliness. This is important because if the “cake” doesn’t look appetizing, people might not choose to eat it without a lot of extra support.

Speaking of support, know that this can sometimes be an extra charge, so it’s important to compare products with apples-to-apples service-level scenarios in mind. Especially if you’re looking for finance, CRM, HR or compliance software, think about the support level you need to be successful. 

Reporting capabilities are next. All investments—products, people, technologies—must add value. Make sure you outline what is an appropriate level of insight into the software reporting capabilities to ensure you can measure a return-on-investment once it’s in use.

Finally, bring pricing into the mix. Because digitizing your business involves folding technology into your existing operations, you need to think about more than just the software’s sticker price. Your total cost of ownership will include licensing costs and potentially service and extra staffing costs to ensure the technology runs smoothly.

Step 3: Prep your station by making a “shortlist.” Now comes the time to lay out all your software options. Just like baking, it’s important to bring all the things you need together in one place before you begin. 

There are many resources you can use to identify options, from social media and online forums, to asking your own business networks. My company, Capterra, provides businesses with access to all this information in a single platform. We’ve gathered more than one million validated reviews on thousands of software options so buyers can sort by their needs, quickly identify software categories and read testimonies from others in their exact situation. Regardless of how you conduct your research, though, make sure you use validated sources and probe into experience discrepancies where possible. Your goal should be to identify three to five potentially viable options, known as a “shortlist.”

Step 4: Bake, with care. Now is the time to involve specific software companies. Reach out to vendors whose products are on your shortlist to get demos and determine an “all in” cost based on your predefined “ingredient list.” Be sure to evaluate all options against the same criteria, no matter how exciting or “easy” a solution looks at the start. You’ll find that different vendors have different selling styles and can potentially cut different types of deals. The more specific you are about your needs and priorities, the more fruitful your negotiations can be.

I’m confident that any business—regardless of size, geography or focus—can reap the benefits of modern technology. Remember, the most important part is in the prep: Work with your colleagues to ensure your problem is one that can be solved by technology; take advantage of resources (such as Capterra) to help identify, compare and contrast options all in one place; and structure your conversations with multiple vendors to make sure you negotiate a great deal. Then your cake can taste great.

• Alexander is GM at Capterra. For further advice, go to www.capterra.com.

 

Wednesday 04/08/2020
Quarantine routine: 4 smart screen time tips for families today
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Social distancing has transformed life in countless ways, especially for families that are now tasked with working remotely and homeschooling simultaneously. From work and school to entertainment and social connection, screens have become an essential tool, leaving parents contemplating screen time rules in a new light.

Thursday 04/02/2020
Seeking a cure for cabin fever? How about free TV and movies?
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

Wednesday 04/01/2020
How to get complaints resolved without using customer service
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Have you ever received an unfair bill and dreaded the typical fight with customer service to get it resolved? It might be a surprise charge from your cellphone provider, a bill from the cable company that just keeps increasing, or confusing contracts from your internet provider that renew inexplicably.

Get Stronger Every Day With At-Home Workouts
Updated: April 03, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—These days, people are navigating unprecedented times that have them rethinking how they live and work. While big shifts to normal, daily habits can be unsettling, this also provides an opportunity to start new routines and make positive changes. 

Many are spending more time at home, so adding structure is more important than ever—especially when it comes to staying active. Studies have shown that exercise can help boost your mood, productivity and immunity. 

According to Tom Holland, exercise physiologist, Bowflex fitness adviser and host of iHeartRadio’s Fitness Disrupted podcast, it takes most people a minimum of two months to form a new habit. He recommends making the most of your time at home to establish healthy routines. 

To help you get started, Holland offers these simple tips to add at-home fitness into your daily routine: 

Connect with a Coach: When motivation wanes, there are plenty of subscription services and online resources. For example, there’s the Bowflex JRNY app (https://www.bowflex.com/jrny-app.html), which features a personal fitness coach who gives spoken instruction and encouragement as you push through your custom workouts—available on the Bowflex Max Total (https://www.bowflex.com/max-trainer/) and Bowflex BXT216 treadmill (https://www.bowflex.com/treadmills/).

Start small: You don’t have to commit to an hour or more; aim for several micro workouts of 5, 10 and 15 minutes throughout the day; those add up and count as much as one long workout.

Put it on the Calendar: Keep exercise at the top of your to-do list by scheduling a daily walk or run or streaming a yoga class. 

Multi-task: Connect to streaming content and sweat through your favorite daytime show, or catch up on the news.

Home Gym Essentials: Holland recommends including one piece of cardio and one piece of strength equipment in your home gym.

If space is limited, two good cardio-strength options are the Bowflex Max Total (https://www.bowflex.com/max-trainer/) and Bowflex 840 kettlebell (https://www.bowflex.com/selecttech/).

Creating healthy habits now can carry you through the current times, and help set you on a path to finish up the year feeling healthy and stronger than ever. 

 

Tuesday 03/31/2020
Three Ways AI and Smart Tech Can Help Us Work More Efficiently at Home
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Common Dilemmas of Working from Home and How AI Can Help

Tips for launching a career in agriculture
Updated: July 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Whether you’re in high school or college, here's some big news — there are many more opportunities in the agriculture industry today than you may even be aware of. And the demand for skilled, educated professionals throughout the industry far exceeds the number of qualified candidates.

Thursday 03/19/2020
Is Your Technology Doing Enough to Improve Your Life?
Posted: March 19, 2020

(StatePoint) Whether you’re at home relaxing or an adventure, you can use your technology to optimize the experience. Here are five ways to harness your gadgets, apps and more to improve your life:

Thursday 02/20/2020
2020 Is A Year for Savings - 8 in 10 People Plan to Save More
Updated: March 28, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - Most Americans don't have $400 saved to cover for an unexpected emergency, but a recent poll from Chase found that consumers may be ready to change that this year. 80 percent plan to save more and 51 percent say emergency savings is their goal.

Wednesday 01/15/2020
How to Troubleshoot Your Technology Issues
Posted: January 15, 2020

(StatePoint) If you’re like most people, you’ve spent more time than you’re willing to admit troubleshooting a technology issue with any one of the many devices in your connected home. Did you know that the average person owns at least 10 connected devices from Macs and PCs, smartphones, tablets and printers, to voice assistants, video doorbells and even home automation systems? 

Thursday 12/12/2019
Home Theater Tips for the Big Game and Awards Season
Posted: December 12, 2019

(StatePoint) From the Big Game to awards shows, you’ll want to ensure that you are prepared to host all the greatest television events of the season.

Tuesday 11/26/2019
Tips for Families Gifting Kids Mobile Devices This Holiday Season
Posted: November 26, 2019

(StatePoint) Buying children mobile devices this holiday season? You’re in good company. Fifty-three percent of children own a smartphone by age 11, and 84 percent of teenagers have their own phones, according to Common Sense Media.

Thursday 11/14/2019
4 Ways to Protect Yourself From ID Theft This Holiday Season
Posted: November 14, 2019

(StatePoint) ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. When making purchases online, be sure to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft -- it’s more common than you may think.

Saturday 11/09/2019
Delivering Connectivity to Deserving and Underserved Consumers
Posted: November 09, 2019

(StatePoint) With wireless connectivity, the possibilities are endless. Wireless empowers consumers to learn, connect and find their way, strengthens economies and keeps communities healthy and safe. Unfortunately, when it comes to high-speed internet access, there are millions of people that lack connectivity and accessibility.

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