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Friday, July 13, 2012

The Twitter revolution

 Is Twitter a breakthrough in personal communications or a colossal waste of time?  Are you on the bandwagon?

Thanks to Twitter, millions of people are obsessively updating ‘friends’ on their most mundane activities. Is Twitter a breakthrough in personal communications or a colossal waste of time?

What exactly is Twitter?
It’s a form of electronic networking designed to instantly answer the  timeless question, “What are you doing?” At first glance, Twitter is not much different from e-mail or text messaging; you simply sign up for a free account at Twitter’s website and start sending and receiving “tweets” via computer, cell phone, or other hand-held device. But unlike text messaging or IMs, a tweet can reach potentially thousands of pre­approved “friends” at once, and there is a space limit of no more than 140 characters per tweet. “It’s the water cooler of the 21st century,” says Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power.
Read more at The Twitter revolution

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Technology News: Microsoft to offer Windows 8 upgrades at a discoun...

Considering an upgrade when Windows 8 is released? Good news!

Technology News: Microsoft to offer Windows 8 upgrades at a discount:  Posted by David Bernstein


As you may or may not know, Windows it is on its way and Microsoft is really pushing for it since it will run on PCs as well as tablets. If you are running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then you will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 8 pro for just $39.99...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Compromised: Stolen numbers and passwords

So a call today from my husband's credit card company.. someone tried to use his card number to make a couple of large ticket purchases. Although appropriate steps were taken by the card company, if it had been smaller amounts, would they have noticed?  How about if it was local?

Add to that a recent article I read about stolen passwords from another website that were used to try and access BestBuy customer accounts.

Unfortunately, in this digital age, we have a security risk with corporate computer systems, credit and debit cards. If you have a credit or debit card, your accounts may have been compromised in the past.  

There are steps you can take to protect yourself:
  1. Review all your charges on every bank or charge card statement. If you didn't receive your statement during the month, check online or contact them for a replacement statement. The longer a breach goes undiscovered, the more costly it becomes.
  2. Keep your passwords for each account unique!  If someone get's a hold of your generic password, even if a really good one, you may have given them the combination to your personal "safe" of information and accounts.  The result will be hours, days, and maybe even years trying to clean up the mess.  Don't use your personal information as a password. Mix your password with numbers, upper and lowercase letters.
  3. Protect your computer with antivirus and a firewall. Keep it updated and run the scan regularly.
  4.  Remove all unnecessary cards and information (such as social security cards) from your wallet. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 14% of identity theft is a result of stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit cards.
  5. A recent study suggests that you are in greater danger from identity thieves rummaging for important papers in your trash or breaking into your mailbox. Invest in a shredder. Shred your old mail and lock your mailbox.
For more information on Identity Theft, check out these Federal Trade Commission articles:
Identity Theft: What to Know, What to Do 
Deter: Minimize Your Risk

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SightSeeing: Travel Websites

Considering a vacation? Maybe a get-away to the ocean or a cabin for a weekend?  Well, the best deals can often be found online... if you know where to look.

You can keep tabs on air travel prices via a site like Airfarewatchdog.com or FareCompare.com so you'll know a deal when you see one.


I prefer to read the reviews of destination hotels at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ where you can check pricing at hotels.com, Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com and the hotel chain website if applicable.


For last minute deals check the hotwire.com, and priceline.com.  For some other options to save a few dollars try these new sites:
  1. Hotelsweep.com - Support small businesses. Hotel Sweep scours smaller, independent properties not listed on major online travel agencies. 
  2. Backbid.com  Let hotels know you are looking to book and other hotels can counteroffer, typically saving you over 20% (or getting you upgrades).
  3. Tingo.com checks rates for your reservation after you book. If prices drop for any night of your stay, you get a refund.
 You can get some great deals on cruises these days. They cover food, entertainment and housing at bargain rates. Search SmarterTravel.com and Travelzoo.com for deals.

Ever consider full time travel with your earthly posessions in your travel bag?  Nora Dunn shows that it can be done inexpensively in this interesting article.