Computers

Infant Monitoring

Affordable Broadband Virtual Yard Sale Traveler Technology Technology in the Classroom Keep E-mail Private Health Transactions Messaging Safety Tips

New Device Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Infant—From Your Smartphone Or Tablet

(NAPSI)—If you’re a new parent to any of the nearly 4 million babies born in the U.S. this year, a new device may help make your life easier, and your infant safer and happier.

While most parents are up-to-date when it comes to using new technology, the latest in baby monitoring technology is a new arrival. D-Link recently introduced the Wi-Fi Baby Camera (DCS-825L), a complete baby monitoring solution that works with iPhone or Android devices to provide a clear view of your little one from the palm of your hand.

Following are five ways the camera helps new moms and dads keep an eye on the little one:

1. See more than two cameras from multiple devices: While most baby monitors on the market today allow parents to keep track of one camera (sometimes two) from a monitor, the mydlink Baby Mobile app keeps tabs on up to 99 camera feeds from the same monitoring device and is also accessible from a smartphone or tablet.

2. Check in on your little one from anywhere, anytime: Today’s on-the-go parents now have the flexibility to check in while away with an instant view of what’s happening at home from any 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi connection via mydlink’s Baby Mobile app.

3. Get a clear view with HD resolution: Many parents are all too familiar with the grainy video quality of the typical baby monitor. Offering 720p resolution, the camera provides a clear and sharp HD picture and automatically transitions to night vision mode when the room gets dark.

4. Monitor the nursery’s temperature from your smartphone: Receive instant alerts when the baby’s room gets too hot or cold, making it simple to keep the nursery at the ideal temperature.

5. Soothe your baby with lullabies: Sometimes, all a fussy baby needs is a comforting song to lull him or her to sleep. The device comes preprogrammed with five classic lullabies to soothe your little one off to sleep.

Made by the global leader in connectivity for home, small business, mid- to large-sized enterprises, and service providers, the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera is available at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, and the company’s retail and e-tail outlets.

Learn More

For further facts, go to www.dlink.com/babymonitor or www.dlink.com.

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Keeping Broadband Affordable For More Americans

(NAPSI)—The nation’s small, independent telecommunications providers are eager to implement service improvements for their customers. These mostly rural and small town Americans may soon get more and better communications services, but the key is keeping costs affordable. That’s because these carriers, which serve areas left behind long ago by other companies because of the substantial economic challenges of serving sparsely populated areas—they cover more than 40 percent of the nation’s landmass and less than 5 percent of telecom subscribers—are now striving to upgrade their communications networks while at the same time keeping rates affordable for their customers.

The Situation

Because of the way Federal Communications Commission (FCC) universal service rules are currently structured, some consumers in rural America are being forced to select services they may not want-like traditional landline telephones—to get services more and more consumers do want: high-speed broadband at an affordable rate. Most people who live in urban areas have a variety of communications options to choose from, including telephone, broadband and wireless, and these rural carriers believe all Americans—no matter where they live—should have reasonably comparable choices in terms of the services they can receive.

To help, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association is working with the FCC and lawmakers to update the rules in a targeted way so rural America can enjoy a sufficient support system for broadband communications services.

Explains Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield: “All Americans, regardless of who they are or where they live, deserve to have a reasonable opportunity to participate in our increasingly interconnected and online society. Universal service policies need to be updated to adapt to a more broadband-oriented world, but we need a solution that promotes affordable rates and sustainable networks that will stand the test of time and provide consumers with choices.”

For decades, the providers relied on consumers paying reasonable rates, universal service support and fees collected for use of their networks to justify the investments and operating expenses necessary for multiuse networks in some of the hardest-to-reach corners of the United States. Rather than cutting these critical cost recovery mechanisms or leaving them tied to outdated rules, NTCA believes policymakers should sustain and update these programs.

Washington Wants To Know

Americans can ask legislators where they stand on this or any issue at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov or www.ntca.org or call (703) 351-2000.

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Finding Yard Sale Bargains Just Got Easier

(NAPSI)—More than $4 million is generated every week at yard sales, and the number of yard sales continues to increase each year by almost 60 percent. So whether you’re a buyer or a seller, with a yard sale, everybody can be a winner.

For buyers, it can be a chance to enjoy the thrill of the hunt by finding a bargain or vintage item at a greatly reduced price, sometimes as much as 90 percent off retail.

For sellers, it can be an opportunity to generate some cash—either for yourself or a charity. The good news is that thanks to two online resources, managing the world of yard sales just got easier.

The Virtual Yard Sale

If you love a good bargain but don’t want to leave your house, there is an online community that makes it possible to have the yard sale experience whenever, wherever you want, from your computer or mobile device.

Bookoo.com is a free online destination where visitors can buy and sell things within their local community. Sellers post what they have for sale, buyers indicate their interest and they meet and exchange the items for an agreed price. It’s that simple.

No need to wait until the weekends or for peak yard sale season this summer. Bookoo.com features items for sale from toys, furniture and home decor to the more obscure. You never quite know what you will find!

Finding A Yard Sale

As a buyer, if you want to venture outdoors and hunt for great deals in person, Yardsalesearch.com is a great resource where you can find a list of upcoming yard sales in your area by searching by zip code and date.

If you want to host a yard sale, simply post a free ad on the site using its easy step-by-step instructions, and it’ll be live in minutes.

If you are a newbie to the world of yard sales, the website provides tips for success, from scheduling your yard sale to local advertising to how to display and price the items you have for sale. For example, items priced under a dollar tend to sell the fastest.

To help buyers prepare for a successful day of shopping, it features useful advice, such as wear comfortable shoes and carry cash in small bills. To learn more about yard sales in your community, visit www.Bookoo.com and www.Yardsalesearch.com.

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“Must-Haves” For Travelers

(NAPSI)—Most people know the basic necessities to pack, but what about ways to enhance the travel experience, not just make it happen?

Americans will take more than 2 billion trips for business and pleasure this year, the U.S. Travel Association estimates. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing for your next trip:

Technology for Travel

• Electronics accessories. Keep your devices charged and running with power converters, adapters and transformers. These tools will come in handy, especially for international travel. Converters are used to fit the plug-in on the wall, while adapters and transformers help prevent battery damage. This power can be useful for items such as hair dryers, shavers, laptops or cell phones.

• Access to news. One of the most important aspects of taking a trip is knowing about the area you’re traveling to—but it doesn’t hurt to stay updated on what’s happening at home as well. PressReader provides travelers full-content access to more than 2,500 newspapers and magazines worldwide, so they can keep up on the latest news from their smartphone, tablet or laptop.

This digital newsstand gives you the option to translate any article into 16 languages, so you can read local stories in your native language. With an engaging and interactive reading experience, travelers can do everything from reading local restaurant reviews to understanding the current political landscape.

PressReader is available at various hotels and resorts, airport lounges and cruise ships around the world. For more information or to try PressReader, visit www.pressreader.com.

• GPS trackers. Ever worry about losing your valuable items when traveling? Constantly checking your pockets for your cell phone or passport? With GPS trackers, travelers can add tags to their cell phones, passports, luggage, car keys and more. So when they lose something important, they can find it using the GPS remote.

Healthy Travel

• A first aid/emergency kit. Keep a small bag in your carry-on luggage for when unexpected situations arise. You can load this up with the typical items, like bandages and aspirin, but go beyond that by packing an empty water bottle, snack, sleeping aid, vitamin C and more.

• Hand sanitizer. One of the best ways to ruin a business trip or vacation is falling ill. While many people try to protect themselves with alcohol-based sanitizers, what they don’t realize is that these types of products don’t reduce illness.

There is a product, however, that is effective and works for hours: Zylast. Studies show this revolutionary new hand sanitizer kills germs on contact, but is also persistent for six hours—unlike alcohol-based sanitizers that stop working after 15 seconds. Zylast is the only sanitizer effective against the common cold, flu and norovirus, which are the main bugs infecting travelers.

That’s not a risk that travelers want to take, considering the recent national travel survey that revealed 63 percent of travelers get sick on vacation and spend more than $1,200 per trip.

For more information and to receive a 10 percent discount on your order, visit www.zylastdirect.com and enter the code travel10.

• Motion sickness medication. If you’re prone to motion sickness or not a seasoned traveler, motion sickness medication can help while on an airplane, boat or in a car. You can also add some ginger to your emergency kit, as studies have found it alleviates the nausea associated with motion sickness. Green apples and crackers are other natural remedies.

Keep these tips in mind as you embark on your next business trip or leisure travel adventure.

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Four Steps For Technology Success In The Classroom

(NAPSI)—The rise of the high-tech classroom has been clearly documented. Districts and schools in the area and around the country are incorporating new technology into the classroom, and technology companies are investing millions in programs providing technology to schools, most in the forms of tablets or laptop devices.

However, oftentimes, this is happening without specific plans or road maps for successful transitions away from traditional pen and paper. In emerging digital environments, technology can expand the impact of education and accelerate the growth potential of every student, educator and school, but only when it is used correctly. The question all schools must now grapple with is whether the technology they are bringing into the classroom is impacting student achievement or simply digitizing textbooks and worksheets.

“Technology has the potential to make significant impacts in education, but we’re not there yet,” said Cameron Evans, chief technology officer, U.S. Education, Microsoft. “Today, technology has advanced to a stage where devices are broadly available and cost effective. The challenge now is to help educators reimagine what learning can look like, and incorporate new tools in a meaningful way.”

There are four steps to implementing a successful digital environment in the classroom, according to Evans:

1. Lock on your vision, then your device

The first thing school personnel need to do is ask themselves, “What world are we preparing our students for?” They need to determine their needs, their educational goals and their learning objectives, then find the right devices that will achieve that vision. Schools must evaluate numerous device options to find the device that meets the needs of students to both consume and create content. For instance, laptops may be better suited for high school students than tablets based on learning objectives. Devices need to be better than a pencil and paper and more than a fancy Web browser.

“Schools should not have to compromise on devices due to costs,” said Evans. “With efforts like Microsoft’s low-cost device options for schools, they have access to full-feature devices, helping accomplish the goals set by President Obama’s ConnectED initiative: to connect 99 percent of the country’s students with technology by 2019.”

2. Teach the teachers

Training is essential if educators and their students are going to use technology correctly. Teachers need to learn how to effectively engage students and bring innovation and analysis into the classroom setting. Teachers can’t be handed a new tablet and automatically be expected to know how to work with students in new ways to achieve learning objects.

3. Provide meaningful content

Lesson plans that incorporate technology are critical. A recent IDC study scanned 16.4 million job postings and found high-growth/high-wage jobs want employees with good communication, detail orientation and problem-solving skills. Building these business and productivity skills is much easier with the right tools. Additionally, teachers are facing pressure to align their teaching to state assessments while also ensuring that elements such as creativity and verbal skills are not lost. The right content can connect these dots.

4. Create a safe learning environment

Finally, schools need to ensure that technology is used in a safe environment. Schools and districts have a mandate to ensure that data collected about students is applied for the benefit of the student, not being mined for advertising. This includes personal data on students that might be stored long term as well as search history and online activities that tech companies may have.

The transition to a digital classroom should not be taken lightly. The teachers of today are laying the runway for the future of our students, our nation and our ability to compete globally. A fundamental change in education this profound will not happen overnight. Just as teachers and students across the U.S. are entering a new type of learning environment, so must our society support them in new ways by partnering with companies, organizations and communities to help them succeed.

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Your E-mail Is Your Business: Here’s How To Keep It Private

(NAPSI)—It’s been said that anyone who can watch you will watch you. Governments, service providers, advertisers and cybercriminals all want a piece of the hottest currency around—your data. Most consumers have gotten used to trading their privacy in return for free services like e-mail. But public awareness and concern are shifting. People are starting to question how their data is being used by others and what tools, if any, are available to help them easily manage their online identity and digital privacy.

A company called Virtru has set out to fix this imbalance, or the trade-off of privacy for convenience, putting control back in the hands of consumers. Virtru’s free, encrypted e-mail service works with your existing e-mail account and provides total privacy from the moment you hit send. With Virtru, people can send secure, encrypted e-mail messages and attachments to anyone and control how messages are distributed, who sees them and for how long.

Using patented technology, Virtru encloses messages in a secure envelope that can only be opened by the intended recipients. After a simple download, the Virtru “send secure” icon appears in the message window of your regular e-mail. A quick click of the button and Virtru is turned on, automatically encrypting your message and its content.

E-mail Regret—Can I Take That Back?

Most e-mail users have, at some point in time, sent a message to the wrong person or had a private message intended for one forwarded to many. In addition to security and encryption, Virtru offers first-of-its-kind privacy controls like the ability to revoke a message after it’s been sent and determine who can view forwarded messages. When you have a conversation in real life, it doesn’t follow you forever. Why should e-mail? Virtru also allows users to set an expiration date for sensitive e-mails to self-destruct. Now consumers have the ability to control their information wherever it travels and change their minds about how much access they grant to others. With this level of security and control, people can share freely without compromise or self-censorship and have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their private communications will be kept private. Plus, they can avoid embarrassing blunders and the regret that comes with sending an e-mail message to the wrong person.

E-mail Encryption For Everyone

Encrypted e-mail has been around for decades. But it’s never been available to the general, non-technical public. Virtru was founded on the belief that every consumer and business deserves access to this technology and has invested years of engineering to ensure that anyone who can send a regular e-mail message can send a secure, encrypted one using their existing e-mail provider. No special expertise is required and users don’t need to be within a closed community or even on the same platform to trade secure messages.

According to the company’s co-founder and CEO, John Ackerly, Virtru’s key innovation is putting true digital privacy within everyone’s grasp.

“We believe most people have nothing to hide but everything to protect. Our technology is opening up new channels of communication, empowering people to protect their digital communications on their own terms and to share ideas, thoughts, opinions and data with confidence, knowing their private information will be kept private.”

To learn more, visit www.virtru.com.

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The Valuable Meaning Of Health Transactions

(NAPSI)—In this digital age, the U.S. health care system has also become digital. Every day, millions of people interact with it. During these interactions, data is collected, processed and stored, creating a seemingly infinite amount of information—yet each single data point has meaning. The collection of data for any given individual offers valuable insight into his or her health behavior patterns. This data can be used to support individuals in their efforts to live healthier lives. For example, when a person participates in a health screening, the resulting transaction can generate a response that reinforces this positive activity. The response can be provided in the form of gift cards, co-pay adjustments, even encouraging text messages.

Data Can Accelerate Healthier Choices

“Data writes a rich story of healthy actions and provides a road map for behavior change. Data transactions trigger a cascade of events that, through technology and behavioral science, can help improve health at the individual and population level. As a result, people are able to become engaged in the process of living healthier,” says Dr. Josh Klapow, Chief Behavioral Scientist at ChipRewards. ChipRewards is a behavioral science−based technology company that uses its proprietary Web-enabled platform to assist health plans, employers, providers and other industry stakeholders in developing and implementing large-scale health incentive and engagement solutions. The company adheres to established privacy standards, and uses technology created by BMC Software to build a secure environment for its data where it processes millions of transactions to reward and encourage healthy behaviors.

For example, an aging steelworker had an annual physical for which he earned an insurance premium reduction. He also completed a biometric screening, making him eligible for a disease management program. Because he walked 8,000 steps in a day, he needs just 5,000 more to get a bonus incentive for the week. He also receives a reminder that after one more prescription refill his co-pay will be waived and that he can earn $50 in his health savings account if his child is vaccinated.

Then there’s a busy sales executive who has not yet had an annual mammogram. The system sends a reminder on her mobile device to schedule the appointment. After the mammography, she gets a reinforcing communication and an incentive. Later, after an unhealthy glucose reading at a biometric screening at work, she is prompted to enroll in a diabetes management program and learns she can earn additional incentives for each program session. Upon completion of all sessions, she is sent a congratulatory e-mail and a reminder of the incentives available in the next quarter if her glucose levels return to a healthy range.

Delivering Incentives

For both the steelworker and the sales executive, the transactions take on real meaning. The data drives a self-monitoring system capable of delivering communications and incentives that support them on a daily basis. Originating from thousands of data sources, millions of health and wellness transactions are processed every day—and every transaction has the potential to improve the health of an individual.

Learn more at www.chiprewards.com and www.bmc.com.

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Messaging Safety Tips

(NAPSI)—Mobile messaging applications have been called one of the most exciting and fast-growing spaces in this increasingly digital world. There are a myriad of services to choose from, including BBM (which is now available for iPhone and Android smartphones), WhatsApp, iMessage and more. While it is certainly a fun and easy way to connect, parents and children must be vigilant about using messaging services in a safe and appropriate way. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind for safe messaging:

Chat only with people you know personally

Billions of messages are sent each day and user numbers are skyrocketing as more and more messaging apps hit the market. While it’s wonderful that so many people are connecting and interacting, it also means users must be careful about with whom they connect. As a rule, message only those people you know personally. Unless you have met the person you are chatting with, it’s wise to end the conversation. Avoid posting your PIN or user ID on social networks.

Know the appropriate time to message

It’s important to be aware of appropriate and inappropriate times to message. Hanging out at home? Fire away. Out meeting up with friends? Not a problem. Times when your phone should stay tucked safely in your pocket include behind the wheel of a car; walking in a busy part of town; sitting in a crowded bus; and many other instances in which it is important that you remain aware of your surroundings. Message only when it’s safe and your attention is not needed elsewhere. For those times when you have to send a quick note in a pinch, features such as group chats can help you quickly reach multiple people at once, reducing the time you spend focused on your phone. With BBM’s Glympse feature, you can simply share your location with friends and family so they see how close you are in lieu of typing out a detailed message.

Send only the content you would be comfortable becoming public

If you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing the message publicly, think twice about sending it at all. Once you press send on a message, it’s officially out of your control and the recipient can do with it what he or she pleases. So always be aware of what you’re putting out there.

Whether you’re using BBM, traditional SMS or any other chat service, it’s important to approach messaging with a healthy dose of common sense. Always be aware, know to whom you’re talking and be cautious when sharing sensitive information.

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