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Online Program Leads To Fast Weight Loss

(NAPSI)—Paul Hart, 26, a single father in Las Vegas, struggled with his weight for years. As he passed the 250-pound mark, Hart decided it was time for a change. He didn’t want to develop Type 2 diabetes like his parents and he wanted to be active and healthy to enjoy playing with his 6-year-old daughter. So when Hart stumbled on an ad looking to test a new online personalized health tool for weight loss, he decided to give it a try.

Hart joined nearly 1,000 people across the country to try ph360, a new online wellness program that provides a personalized guide to the best food, fitness, environment and lifestyle for each person based on individual body measurements, family history and other health information.

Matt Riemann, CEO of ph360, explained: “ph360 uses scientific calculations of gene expression and epigenetics—the external factors that affect our genes—to determine the specific diet and exercise regimen most likely to work for each person’s unique body chemistry. ph360 harnesses the latest technology to turn complex science into a simple guide for each person’s optimal weight loss and wellness.”

Hart was nervous at first to measure his body but found that the process was easy with just a tape measure and he only needed to answer a few health questions. He was shocked when in less than 30 minutes he received a personalized list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, a tailored exercise plan and lifestyle tips created specifically for him.

“I couldn’t believe how easy it was. ph360 told me exactly what and when to eat, what exercises to do, and offered specific advice, such as going to bed before 11 p.m. so my hormones could regulate,” said Hart. “I made some simple changes, such as cutting out beef and soda, drinking more water, adding asparagus and garlic to my diet, and changing my weight lifting routine so I was lifting less weight and doing more reps. I was amazed by how quickly I lost weight—30 pounds in just six weeks.”

Other testers like Hart were asked to follow their personalized health plans for one month while reporting weekly health changes. The results were surprising: The testers who listed weight loss as a primary goal experienced rapid, healthy weight loss of an average of 15 pounds in one month. Their bodies changed shape, too, often going down one to two sizes.

ph360 was developed over the course of a decade, with research and input from 10,000 patients. The results of the recent test group have been encouraging, with users reporting fast weight loss, better sleep, clearer skin, more energy, less bloating, and resolving health complaints such as headaches and joint pains. The majority of testers had frustrating experiences with traditional diet and weight loss programs in the past.

As Dr. Phil Wuth, a family physician who is recommending ph360 to his patients, puts it, “Weight loss trends are exactly that—trends. I tell my patients that the best way to lose weight is to discover what works for them. That’s truly preventative health. And ph360 is leading the way.”

About his experience with ph360, Hart said, “The program helped me believe in myself. I look in the mirror now and think: I feel good, I look good and I’m healthy. That’s real self-worth.”

Plans start at $19. Visit www.ph360.me for more information.

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How To Spot A Phishing Scam And Avoid Getting Hooked

(NAPSI)—It could happen to you: You open your e-mail and see a message that seems to come from your bank asking you to reconfirm your online banking profile because of “some unusual activity on your account.” Reading it, you notice a couple of things, however. The e-mail begins with a simple “Hello,” not a personal greeting. A couple of words are misspelled and the grammar is a little off. Next, you roll your mouse over the link you’re asked to connect to and you notice it’s clearly not from your bank, because the link misspells the bank’s name.

Nice work. You’ve just avoided being hooked by a phishing scam, where online thieves use false website links and other schemes to gain access to people’s private information or install harmful software on their computers.

“This is what comes to mind when you hear ‘phishing’ and these low-skill attacks definitely still exist,” says Peleus Uhley, lead security strategist at Adobe. “However, phishing attacks have improved and have become more sophisticated over the years. In order to be less obvious, they will often illegally include corporate logos and messaging. They will even use recent events to make the e-mail seem more legitimate,” he adds.

For example, at least 2 million people received an e-mail notifying them that an order they had placed on a large U.S. retailer’s website was being processed, though none of them had actually done so. Still, thousands of people clicked on the link in the e-mail, and they downloaded malware that infected their computers, putting them in the control of the hackers.

Some phishing scams purport to offer the latest updates to popular software such as Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player. “These scams can mislead some users to install malware that harms their computers and attempts to capture their sensitive personal information,” says Uhley. In truth, updates to Adobe products are available only on its website. The company never makes software updates available through third parties.

“If you think you have been a victim of a phishing e-mail claiming to be from Adobe, then send a copy of the offending e-mail to our customer support team so that we can investigate,” Uhley advises.

Recognizing Phishing E-mail

• A request for personal information. No legitimate company will ask for personal or account information via e-mail. For example, a recent phishing scam, this time supposedly from a major bank’s customer service group, warned recipients that someone tried to log into their accounts and they must now “confirm” their account info. The phishing spam took recipients to a very convincing copy of the bank’s log-in page, including a Web address that looked like it ended with the bank’s website link, but in fact went to a website in Russia.

• Urgency. Don’t ever feel pressured into divulging personal information. While there are legitimate reasons for a company to ask you to do something right away—there’s been a security breach, for example—phishers often use scare tactics to fool you into updating certain information. Contact the company directly to confirm the authenticity of the request.

• Incorrect spelling and bad grammar. Phishers often use misspelled words on purpose to get around spam filters that check for the legitimate spelling of a brand name, for example. Another reason is that many scams are run from overseas, where English isn’t the first language.

• Impersonal greetings. Legitimate companies will use customer names or user names in the e-mail and banks will often include part of an account number. Phishing e-mails typically offer generic greetings.

• Your e-mail is the “From” address. This is a sign of a fake e-mail message. Similarly, if the “To” field is a long list of recipients, you should also be cautious. Legitimate e-mails will most likely be sent directly to you and you only.

Be Smartphone Smart

You should be just as wary on your smartphone as you would be on your desktop. Never give away a password or any personal information. If you’re unsure, go to the site directly or e-mail customer support directly. Never use the links or contacts within the e-mail itself.

Learn More

For further facts and tips on phishing and how to protect yourself, visit www.adobe.com/security/prevent-phishing.html.

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Red-Hot Black Friday Tips

(NAPSI)—Savvy shoppers know the holiday shopping season begins in earnest on the day after Thanksgiving. According to a recent consumer survey, more than 85 percent of shoppers typically plan to hit the stores on Black Friday.

To get the most bang for your buck this holiday season, consider these salient tips from seasoned holiday shoppers polled by the mobile couponing app Shopular:

• Deal hunt. Lots of sales will be available—if you know where to look. Check out the ads in this publication and also via mobile.

• Browse early. Do research early using your PC or smartphone to map out desired purchases ahead of time so you don’t go in cold.

• Hit stores when they open. The best deals are often gone within the first 30 to 90 minutes on big sale days.

• Consider alternate venues. Outlet stores can be great holiday shopping sites.

• Be prepared. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, bring some water and take plenty of breaks.

For more deal-finder tips and bargains, visit the Shopular site at www.Shopular.com and download the free mobile app from iTunes or Google Play.

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How To Attract Top Talent—And Keep Them

by Dave Hilbe

(NAPSI)—While many businesses are decrying the mainframe skills shortage, there are steps you can take to keep your company out of their company.

The Problem

With many mainframe specialists retired or nearing retirement, the race is on to figure out how to fill their shoes. While some universities are adding limited mainframe topics to their curriculum, mainframe skills are no longer widely taught at the university level. At my company, we’ve taken the approach of developing mainframe talent in-house. Attracting the right talent isn’t enough: It’s also important to plant it in good soil, water it adequately and let it grow.

A Solution

Ultimately, you need your mainframe college hire to become a productive and talented mainframe technician. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Define a career development plan: Identify the job functions you want your new hires performing in the first two years. For example, the first year may focus on general mainframe, software development or database skills. In the second year, focus more on deep technical knowledge covering a narrower scope as you prepare them to take full responsibility for a project.

Next, break it all down further to one-year and six-month milestones. It’s essential to define these milestones for two reasons. First, you have skills clearly defined by which you can measure how well the college hire is progressing. Second, you can use the expected job functions to define your training plans. A development plan lets you evaluate various education, training and assignment opportunities in light of where the college hire is in his or her overall career development. This also brings some level of structure to their development.

Have the professional development talk: Meet with each new hire, review the two-year development plan and stress:

• Challenge/push yourself.

• Make sure you are always learning.

• Focus on always making a worthwhile contribution.

• Understand your career growth opportunities.

• Feel you’re fairly compensated.

Managers should regularly review this list with the college hire and confirm that everything is being addressed appropriately.

Assign mentors: A mentor should have strong skills in the area in which you want the college hire to grow. The mentor is there for questions, to help with assignments and company-specific processes and procedures, and to make and evaluate assignments.

Recognize success: Receiving acknowledgment for a job well done can be a huge boost to employee confidence and morale. At BMC, we have a quarterly awards program and several of our college hires have won the award. We push our college hires and, when successful, promote them fairly quickly.

Create a comfortable work environment: One way is by having several employees who are at the same stage in their career development. Even workers who are happy inside the office building may want to cut short their tenure with the company if they’re miserable once they leave the building, missing friends and family.

Offer top-notch training: Several computer-based training self-study programs are available that cover many mainframe topics: operating systems, programming, JCL, network, databases and so on. Give college hires opportunities to attend an industry conference periodically; say, every 18 months.

Many vendor software packages incorporate mainframe expertise. Automation, exception-based analysis, and business policy-based software packages are examples of tools that can help your mainframe talent become productive more quickly.

Expose your college hires to many different aspects of your business. You might discover fresh, new ways of looking at problems and recognizing opportunities.

Reap the business benefits: My firm’s training program for college hires has proven to be overwhelmingly positive both from a business perspective and from the perspective of the college hires.

• Mr. Hilbe is senior director, Product Development, BMC Software, www.bmc.com.

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For Many, There’s No Place Like A Hotel For The Holidays

(NAPSI)—Before you go over the river and through the woods this holiday season, you may care to consider these facts and tips:

• Plan ahead and plan for problems. Know more than one way to get to and from your destination.

• Pack healthful snacks for the plane or car and plenty of water.

• If your family is like most, you plan on being together on Thanksgiving—maybe even a bit more together than you’d like. According to a recent survey, 63 percent of travelers are planning to stay with family during Thanks giving, but 59 percent would rather stay in a hotel. When asked why, their reasons ranged from wanting their own space (44 percent) to not wanting to inconvenience family (38 percent).

Fortunately, for those travelers who do stay in hotels, finding one that best fits their needs can be a quick and easy process, done on any mobile device. That’s because Skyscanner, a leading global travel search engine, now offers a free app that lets travelers compare all of the available hotels in and around their destination.

With the app, you can scroll through a list of hotel options, and view images of the hotel and rooms, without having to leave the search results page. For added convenience, there are a number of search filters so that you can sort search results, choose a price range and filter available rooms according to star rating, location, distance from different attractions and other factors. Once you’ve found the best option, click through and Skyscanner will send you directly to the hotel or online travel agent to book.

Learn More

For further facts, visit www.skyscanner.com.

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Classic Holiday Tradition Gets Modern Update With Help From Beloved Furry Friends, The Care Bears

(NAPSI)—It’s a familiar scene in homes around the globe this time of year: The anticipation of the season is building and family traditions are coming alive. Children are on their best behavior waiting for Santa to arrive, mantels are decorated with monogrammed stockings, Christmas trees are filled with meaningful ornaments and decorations, parents are wrapping and hiding gifts, and lights are twinkling both inside and out. For many, these family preparations and traditions also include unveiling an Advent Calendar, a special calendar used to count down to Christmas with 25 doors or windows that house special little surprises when opened each day leading to Christmas.

This year, American Greetings, the U.S.-based greeting card company, is taking this long-standing family tradition and updating it for 2014 with a self-published app developed for children. The Care Bears Advent Calendar app stars the lovable and friendly Care Bears and invites children to count down to Christmas with all the sights, sounds and anticipation of the holiday. With wholesome themes and fun activities, the app is a great way for parents and grandparents to connect with children during the season.

The Care Bears live in Care-a-Lot, a magical place where love, caring and sharing flourish. They are counting down to Christmas and need a lot of help to get their home ready. In the app, which begins on December 1, children can start the countdown by “unlocking” activities like holiday-themed puzzles, videos, coloring pages and more, returning each day to unlock another activity to get them closer to December 25. Kids can color with Tenderheart Bear, do a puzzle with Share Bear, wrap a gift with Cheer Bear and much more. And just like the traditional Advent Calendars, on December 25, the app gives users a sweet surprise with a full-length Care Bears video episode. When not visiting the Care Bears each day, the app also provides activities for kids. Children can design hundreds of snowflakes and create their own white Christmas with the Care-a-Lot Snowflake Maker, decorate the Care Bears Christmas tree with special ornaments found within the app and enjoy other wintry fun activities.

This is the first holiday-themed app from American Greetings, which owns the beloved, classic children’s brands Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. The app is available now for download on iPad and can be found on iTunes for $2.99. There is also an app for PC and Mac desktops that can be found on the American Greetings website, www.americangreetings.com/care-bears-advent-calendar.

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Faster At The Pharmacy


(NAPSI)—There are five steps you can take to get in and out of the pharmacy faster:

1. Time your visit right. Pharmacies are generally less busy and lines may be shorter mid-mornings and late afternoons.

2. Scan to refill. Many pharmacies now have secure apps that let you scan the bar code on a current prescription when it needs refilling.

3. Keep all your information together. CVS/pharmacy customers have 24-hour access to their prescription records, can view and order refills, and stay up-to-date with health needs via the mobile app and at CVS.com.

4. Don’t waste time going to pick up a prescription that’s not ready. Many pharmacies offer text, e-mail or telephone alerts.

5. Avoid unnecessary issues. The CVS mobile app has a Drug Interaction Checker that checks medications and their reactions with other medications, foods and so on. A Pill Identifier takes the guesswork out of which pills are which, so you take the right one.

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Four Tips To A Stress-Free And Organized Holiday Season

(NAPSI)—The holiday season is quickly approaching, and though it may be called the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful. But with some advance planning and simple organization, you can be ready to enjoy a flawless, stress-free holiday season.

There are a number of holiday shortcuts that can create a personalized impact with just a home printer and a little creativity. And to make sure the season goes smoothly, HP Instant Ink is here to help save you time and money. With the HP Instant Ink service, your eligible printer tells HP when your printer is low on ink and Original HP Ink cartridges are delivered to your door before you run out, keeping one less item off your shopping and “to-do” lists. So where do you start?

1. Gift Wrapping: Print gift tags at home.

Your packages are wrapped right down to the bow, but you forgot the gift tags. Not to fear. Instead of running back to the store in the midst of the holiday rush, use your HP Instant Ink-eligible printer to create your own customizable gift tags. And if you run out of tags, just print some more!

2. Holiday Cards and Letters: Customize your family photos and holiday greetings by designing and printing at home.

This is yet another thing you can do from the comfort of your home. You can easily create and design your own customized photo cards and letters on your computer and then print for just pennies apiece. HP Instant Ink plans start as low as $2.99 a month for up to 50 printed pages, and because plans count printed pages and not the amount of ink used, you can print high-quality color photos or black-and-white documents, all for the same low cost.

3. Table Decorations: Add some flair to your table by printing out personalized place cards.

The tree is decorated and you’ve hung a wreath on the door, but the decorating doesn’t have to stop there. Creating your own table place cards is a simple and easy project that can be done from your home printer to impress your dinner guests. While you’re at it, consider creating customized labels to highlight the famous family recipes you prepare.

4. Holiday Cooking: Print out your grocery list, baking schedule and recipes.

During the hustle and bustle leading up to your holiday dinner, it is important to have a plan and stick to it. Mapping out your appetizers, entrées, drinks and desserts, and printing out recipes and ingredients lists, will save you return trips to the store.

The HP Instant Ink service works with a wide variety of new HP printers and includes everything you need to keep your printer working hard for you—including ink, shipping, and cartridge recycling.

From planning your holiday events to putting the finishing touches on your table, these simple solutions can save you time, money and headaches this holiday season.

To learn more or find a participating retailer, visit www.hp.com/go/newinstantink.

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