Computers

Website for Heart Failure Sufferers

Year-Round Learning Website New Learning Opportunities How Small Businesses Can Adapt College's Quest for Popularity Cloud Apps Block Annoying Ads Online Identity Thieves

A New Website For Heart Failure Sufferers To Learn, Connect And Get Empowered

(NAPSI)—Aleta Kellam, 55, was an active medical professional living a full life when heart failure started to make even the simplest tasks, like walking up a flight of stairs, almost unbearable. Concerned she wasn’t receiving the full story about treatment options, she turned to several online resources, where she learned about how the HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device, or LVAD, was giving heart failure sufferers a second chance at life.

“It was very empowering to educate myself about my treatment options,” said Kellam. “The research I did led me to the HeartMate II, which has truly taken me from the brink of death to a life I never imagined I could have again.”

While a diagnosis of heart failure is difficult, the numerous medical advancements for the treatment of heart failure offer sufferers hope that did not exist even 10 years ago. For people with advanced heart failure, an LVAD is one such medical advancement that has redefined how heart failure sufferers live their lives. More than just adding years to their lives, LVADs get recipients back to an active lifestyle that most thought was long gone and, more important, allow them to share their lives again with the people they care about.

Resources Are Available

For patients like Aleta Kellam, education is a powerful tool in helping to choose the right therapy. By visiting www.HeartMateII.com/empower, users will learn about LVAD therapy and find a community of advanced heart failure sufferers who chose HeartMate II. These HeartMate II recipients are sharing their stories and providing support to one another, enabling visitors to learn about their experience firsthand from patients just like themselves.

The site also includes numerous resources, including medical centers and a network of cardiologists around North America specializing in LVADs, questions to ask your doctor, and a self-test to see if advanced treatment options like HeartMate II may be a viable treatment option.

Today, Kellam is setting a new course for her future, having returned to college. “I am part of this amazing community of people who all share a special bond, because HeartMate II has given us more years to live, more memories to make, and more celebrations to share with family and friends. How great is that?”

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Online Education Can Mean Year-Round Learning

(NAPSI)—While summer can be a great time for family fun, it can also pose a challenge to many students. That’s because students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning. This is commonly known as the “summer slide.”

Without the continuation of education online virtually year-round, children can lose knowledge and skills. This is particularly true for those in low-income families who may not have access to enrichment opportunities such as camp, tutoring and regular trips to the library.

The good news is, there’s a wealth of educational resources available online for free, so families can turn the “summer slide” into a chance for academic growth. Unfortunately, about 30 percent of Americans, many of whom live below the poverty line, don’t have Internet access at home.

To help connect these families to the Internet, Comcast designed the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. Called Internet Essentials, it provides families that have a child who is eligible for the National School Lunch Program with Internet service for $9.95 a month, the option to buy a laptop or a desktop computer for less than $150, and access to digital literacy training online, in person and in print.

With it, kids can use the Internet at home to take advantage of online activities such as Khan Academy and Discovery Education. Khan Academy is a non-profit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Through www. khanacademy.org, children can explore a library of thousands of videos, tutorials and interactive challenges covering a wide range of topics for all interests and ages, including basic math, programming, art history and college-level biology. In the last two years, Khan Academy has delivered more than 440 million lessons and 2 billion exercise problems.

Discovery Education, at www.discoveryeducation.com, also has free digital resources and educational media covering math, science, social studies and more, all of which support Common Core State Standards. With just the click of a mouse, kids can access virtual science labs, summer STEM activities, engaging videos and summer challenges.

In addition to educational tools, children can use the Internet at home to access summer reading books online, download assignments, play online educational games and take virtual vacations. This way, when it comes time to return to the classroom in the fall, they will be ahead of the game, instead of behind.

To learn more, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or, for Spanish, www.InternetBasico.com.

Educators and third parties can visit www.InternetEssentials.com/Partner. Parents looking to enroll children can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

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Four Keys To Maximize New Learning Opportunities

(NAPSI)—Although technology and innovation mean there are more ways to learn than ever, some things about education remain the same.

Whether you’re in a traditional, in-class atmosphere, an online setting, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) or one of any number of other options now available, one element will serve you well: motivation.

“If you come in motivated, really knowing why you’re choosing to pursue your degree, you’re that much closer to success,” said Stephanie Jackson, who serves as a “coach” in Bellevue University’s Flexxive program.

“It’s important to have a plan and to stick to it,” Jackson said.

Jackson endorsed some basic tips to help students achieve success within the new learning models or anywhere, for that matter.

• Know your limitations and set attainable goals. You may be able to finish your degree faster by taking four classes at a time, but can you handle that workload? Will you be getting the most out of each class? Set up a schedule for how much you want to read and study on a given day with enough downtime to absorb and appreciate the information.

• Find your comfort zone. Just as there are many learning models, there are also more than a few ways to study. Type your notes onto your computer or take handwritten notes, whichever works best for you. Create a space that’s conducive to studying. That might include an area that is completely silent or one with a certain level of background noise. Again, customize the space to your individual preferences.

• Review the material shortly after reading a chapter in your textbook or reviewing a video for an online course (or both). That short review can help you absorb information for the long term.

• Study once a day, rather than once a week. Break your study sessions into short daily habits, rather than waiting for the weekend or trying to cram it all into a single day. The shorter sessions generally lead to a better understanding than a sometimes overwhelming marathon session.

Students in the University’s program are reaping the benefits of her advice. “The feedback from students has been very gratifying,” said Sharon Rea of Bellevue University. “By creating a plan and sticking to it, you’ll reach your goals.”

Learn More

To see if you might be a good fit for one of the new learning models, visit www.Bellevueuniversity.smartermeasure.com or Twitter @BellevueU or call (800) 756-7920.

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How Small Businesses Can Adapt To The New World Of Work

(NAPSI)—Just as social media and mobile technologies are changing how individuals connect with friends and family, they are also changing how consumers and businesses interact. For small businesses to respond faster to change and deliver better customer experiences, they need to work like a network so they can listen, adapt and grow in new ways.

Gone are the days when customers would write a letter to a company if they weren’t pleased with the service they received. Now they just take to posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels to vent their displeasure. Today’s customers demand better service, and companies need to adapt to this changing world.

There are four trends driving the transformation of the workplace:

• Information overload. Data is abundant, and employees need to make sense of it all and translate to action.

• Power of the network. Network technology enables people to access information and insights from both internal and external sources in real time.

• Flexible work styles. Companies and employees are adopting more flexible and mobile work styles, making physical workspace less important and collaboration tools more important.

• Distributed teams. People work across organizational and geographical boundaries to get things done.

At the center of it all, social technologies are making it easier for companies to stay ahead of these trends and become more responsive organizations. Social technologies are transforming businesses for the better in many ways, by enhancing the way employees work together, as well as how companies interact with clients and customers.

For example, companies that want to do a better job of communicating with employees and enabling employees to share information and insights with one another in real time are choosing to roll out social network solutions. One such option is Yammer, a private social enterprise network for businesses that’s designed to help employees connect and collaborate across departments, locations and business apps to get things done.

Businesses that want to do a better job of managing customer relationships are turning to customer relationship management over the Internet—such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, software that provides customer insights so businesses can serve them better. It helps businesses of all sizes to manage contacts, monitor social media activity, and manage the sales cycle with new and existing customers.

Finally, companies that want to create a more flexible work environment are turning to cloud productivity solutions such as Office 365. It was created to make it possible for businesses to connect people to information and each other more quickly than ever before.

To learn more, visit https://about.yammer.com/product/office365.

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How To Be Popular—As A School

(NAPSI)—While most students hope to be popular while at college, for many colleges, the quest for popularity can take an intriguing turn.

These days, universities often struggle to draw prospective students and alumni donations in an extremely competitive environment. Some, however, have discovered a solution. Consider the case of historically black college Jackson State University (JSU). It needed a strategic marketing plan, help combining more than 100 websites into one, and an honest evaluation of the brand platform.

To achieve all that, JSU had to engage students, faculty, alumni, and community and business leaders. The process included a comprehensive survey that compared the perception of these groups to reality, an analysis of its marketing and communications strengths and weaknesses, advertising and social media. There was also the launch of the new logo during halftime of a JSU home football game while the school’s legendary band, the Sonic Boom of the South, generated excitement.

The result: record student enrollment and alumni giving.

The experts behind this turnaround, vitalink, a branding and marketing firm, and AndiSites, a web design company, work as part of the HBCUgrow team to create results-oriented programs for colleges and universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). They offer these suggestions:

1. Define what your university or other organization wants to accomplish. Make a list of specific goals and objectives and measure success.

2. Do the research. Have an unbiased party look at existing research, conduct market and competitive research, survey stakeholders (mini-focus groups and Perception vs. Reality survey) and do an objective brand audit. Use a third party to encourage honest responses.

3. Engage your stakeholders from day one. They’ll give you a 360-degree view of reality—not just how you see your brand. If your website is not working, you can be certain they’ll let you know. A collaborative approach also gains the buy-in you will need to roll out a new or updated brand.

4. Create a flexible strategic plan with measurable results, update as you learn and move forward. Don’t let it sit on a shelf.

5. Get your creative and brand right. It’s not just the logo or pretty graphics. Your brand platform’s messages, voice and tone all need to represent your school accurately for better results. Again, input from an unbiased party helps ensure you’re on track.

6. Communicate from beginning to end, using the methods your stakeholders prefer. Personalized, multitouch, multichannel automated campaigns make this easier and free up your staff to focus on high-value tasks. Bonus: Results are trackable.

7. Follow through with your brand promises. If you don’t live up to your brand, people turn away and you don’t get a second chance.

Learn More

Sign up for tips, facts and whitepapers at www.vitalinkweb.com/hbcugrow/, e-mail info@vitalinkweb.com or call (919) 850-0605.

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How To Keep Cloud Apps From Raining On Your Profits

(NAPSI)—According to a new study by Intermedia and Osterman Research, small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are losing time and money to cloud apps. These can include e-mail, phones, collaboration and file sharing, CRM, identity and access management, security and so on.

What’s The Problem

The report, “Death by 1000 Cloud Apps,” found that the average SMB is juggling more than 14 cloud apps, with an average of 5.5 apps per user.

This fragmented cloud-scape causes four main problems:

1. Too much choice—Teams can spend months of valuable time vetting and deploying all the cloud apps, distracting them from more important goals and responsibilities.

2. Too much to manage—Once deployed, these apps must be managed. Fifteen people using the average of 5.5 apps each means 82.5 accounts that must be managed.

3. Too many log-ins—It takes an average of 20 seconds to log in to an app; a 75-person SMB can rack up more than 570 wasted hours and $13,900 per year in lost productivity.

4. Too much risk—When forced to choose between security and productivity, security usually takes a back seat. This leads to risky password selections that are easily breached, leaving companies at risk.

What To Do

Fortunately, there can be several steps you can take toward a solution.

• First, centralize access. It’s estimated that three out of four network intrusions exploit weak or stolen passwords. A “single sign-on portal” lets users access all of their apps with just one secure password. You can also enforce two-factor authentication-and your admin can easily cut off access to the SSO portal in just one step. For instance, Intermedia AppID offers a strong, simple SSO solution.

• Next, consolidate providers. A small number of companies now act as a one-stop shop for cloud IT. You get multiple services with one control panel, one bill, one source of support. Security and integration are built in. Providers include Intermedia’s Office in the Cloud and others.

• Finally, cut back on apps. Inventory the apps you have and eliminate overlapping functionality. Combine a few similar apps and slash your cloud footprint.

Learn More

For further facts on reducing cloud apps, go to Intermedia.net/1000CloudApps or call (877) 228-5381.

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New App Blocks Annoying Ads Online, Helps Save Battery Power, Bandwidth

(NAPSI)—When it comes to advertising, consumers have the right to fast-forward through commercials on television, or simply mute the TV until the show comes back on. In print publications, readers can just skip over ads with their eye, staying focused on the next article. For Internet users, it’s a much different playing field and advertisers know it.

However, all hope is not lost. There is a way to block ads while surfing the Web on your PC or mobile device. It’s called Adblock Plus.

ZenithOptimedia predicted that online advertising would outpace print advertising by 2015. In recent months, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have experienced impressive growth fueled by their ad revenues online.

Enjoy Ad-Free Content While Surfing The Web

By installing this free program for the most popular web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer or Opera, users can enjoy ad-free content while they surf. The same goes for Android or iOS mobile users. Download the Adblock Plus app and you don’t have to put up with those in-video ads before you watch the latest YouTube video. It also blocks ads in your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

When users block ads, they save battery life on their mobile devices because there are fewer things that will pop up for them to view that drain the battery. On a PC or a mobile device, no ads means less bandwidth hogging content that just gets in the way of watching what you really want to watch.

Adblock Plus even asked users to join them by signing an Acceptable Ads Manifesto. Adblock Plus began Acceptable Ads to allow advertisers who offer ads that are not annoying the opportunity for their ads to be seen. Of course, if users want to see zero ads, they can do that with no problems.

In the 21st century, it is now possible for consumers to block ads online, a welcome trend for those who value privacy and clean content on the Internet.

Where To Go To Install Free Adblock Plus App

For more tips on blocking ads while surfing the Web or to install Adblock Plus on your PC or mo_bile device for free, go to www.adblockplus.org.

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Identity Thieves Can Steal Your Financial Stability

(NAPSI)—All your hard work to become financially stable can unravel if you become a victim of identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information such as your Social Security number, birth date or mother’s maiden name. Many people don’t know they’ve been victimized until a collection agency comes knocking on their door.

Identity theft is a growing problem but there are steps you can take to prevent it.

• Never give out personal information over the phone, on the Internet or through the mail unless you initiate the transaction or know whom you’re dealing with.

• Don’t reveal any personal information before you find out how it will be used and shared with others. When someone requests your Social Security number, ask if you can provide alternate information. At medical offices, use an identifier that is not your Social Security number.

• Ensure the passwords to your credit card, bank, phone and all other online accounts aren’t easily available and can’t easily be guessed. Avoid using obvious information such as your birth date, digits in your Social Security number or your mother’s maiden name. Change your passwords periodically, particularly those associated with financial accounts.

• Keep items with personal information in a safe place, such as a locked storage device or password-protected electronic file. Tear up or shred all unnecessary papers containing Social Security numbers, account numbers and birth dates before discarding them so “dumpster divers” can’t retrieve them.

• Protect your mail. Keep your eyes open for bills and statements. If you think one of your statements is missing, quickly call that company to let it know. Take outgoing mail to a postal mailbox or the post office. If your mail suddenly stops, go to the post office. Thieves sometimes submit change of address forms to divert mail to their address.

• Check your bank and credit card account activity promptly upon receipt of a written statement. If you see any problems, immediately report them to your financial institution. The Federal Trade Commission offers guidance on immediate steps to take to limit the harm.

For more tips and resources, visit www.SaveAndInvest.org/LearnMore.

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