Back - to - School Trends University Programs Online Online Faxing Boosts Business Connect With Family and Friends Tips On Wi-Fi Hotspots Palm Scanners Help Hospitals Family History Online Home Phones Cost - Cutting

Trend Spotting: Beyond The Basics

(NAPSI)—If there is one thing scholars and bargain hunters agree on, it’s that it’s never too early to spot the next big back-to-school trends. Here are some early contenders:

• Laptops are a core essential for college. Students can save big with a variety of amazing deals on laptops.

For example, when students purchase select laptops and show their student ID or college accep-tance letter, they will receive a $100 Visa prepaid card via Staples’ Easy Rebate program.

Laptops include specific models from Dell, HP, Samsung and Toshiba and are all portable, stylish and high-performance, making them perfect for students.

• Tablets take their place at the table. Tablets and e-readers are quickly becoming the must-have accessories for today’s tech-savvy students.

These new tech tools serve as great computing companions while the e-readers give new meaning to the term “hitting the books.”

• Tech is everywhere in the classroom. Technology for back-to-school does not just include laptops and tablets. Even items like flash drives are becoming increasingly more popular and necessary for students. This year, these must-have tech items come in unique designs such as animal shapes, surfboards and skateboards, making transporting files more fun.

• Be bold—in color and prints. From animal print backpacks, pens and erasers to notebooks with dramatic 3-D treatments to scissors, pens and binders that sparkle with style, students can express their fashion sense with a wide assortment of unique designs. For example, the Staples® BETTER Binder features amazing quality and this year comes in bold two-toned colors, glitter treatment and minisizes.

• Being socially conscious can be cool. For the second straight year, Staples is continuing with its line of products with designs that students can use to keep organized and learn about important issues impacting their communities.

Some of the designs were developed by contest-winning students with the result of showcasing their creative artwork on products such as planners, notebooks and pencil pouches.

Visit for more information.

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Qualifications Look Good. But Are You T-Shaped?

(NAPSI)—To land or keep your dream job, you may need to change your “shape.”

Employers are increasingly looking to hire “T-shaped people,” according to an expert webinar on future work skills conducted by the University of Phoenix Research Institute.

To know if you are “T-shaped,” consider that the vertical line of the T represents depth and the horizontal bar, breadth. A T-shaped person has general knowledge in a variety of areas and deep competence in a specialty area.

So, for example, if you are a software engineer, you might benefit by developing related skills in graphic design, project management, marketing and even a foreign language. At the same time, you need to specialize in a specific area of software engineering.

Thought leaders from IBM, Manpower, Stanford University, the University of Phoenix Research Institute and the Institute for the Future recently comprised the expert webinar panel that discussed technical and societal shifts that will require new job skills in the next 10 years. The event, sponsored by the University of Phoenix Research Institute and hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, drew attention to skills for future workforce success.

To illustrate how businesses can apply these forecasts, panelist Jim Spohrer, director of IBM University Programs Worldwide, spoke about transdisciplinarity—the ability to work across multiple areas of expertise.

“At IBM, we talk a lot about hiring T-shaped people who are both deep problem solvers (experts) and broad communicators who can work well on teams of experts,” said Spohrer. “Transdisciplinarity also implies people who can learn and adapt more quickly, who are better lifelong learners.”

Panel moderator Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, vice president and managing director of the University of Phoenix Research Institute, says many of today’s problems are too complex to be solved with one discipline. For example, a typical job at a technology firm might require knowledge of technical, financial and human-relations aspects of the business.

“Based on multiple studies by the University of Phoenix Research Institute,” said Wilen-Daugenti, “today’s workforce may not fully understand the skills they will need to be employable in the future.”

By paying attention to the future work skills identified in the webinar, workers can start to position themselves as crossfunctional contributors to the workplace.

Read the full report at

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New Way To Boost Your Business

(NAPSI)—Even in the age of online messaging, emails and PDFs, faxing remains an important part of business—as contracts still need to be signed, legal documents still require hand notations and signatures, files must be transmitted securely, and purchase orders must be signed before goods or services are shipped. And a faxed document (because of the time stamp on the send and receive end) is considered as good as the original when presented as evidence in a court of law.

Faxing remains a vital tool for many businesses, but you no longer need to have an actual fax machine or phone line to send and receive faxes. Businesses and individuals are discovering that it is far more efficient and cost effective to use an Internet fax service.

There are several advantages to faxing online. To begin with, it can make a business greener by eliminating the need to ever print received, sent or signed docs. It also saves money as it eliminates fax equipment and supplies, extra phone lines, upkeep and paper costs.

Getting rid of the finicky fax machine creates room in the office by reducing physical cabinet space. And online faxing makes document management a snap as important faxes can be stored “in the cloud,” then searched and retrieved using keywords and/or tags. Companies like eFax® offer unlimited storage of sent and received faxes, providing an excellent online backup solution for important documents.

And now, a digitized signature can be used to sign and authorize a document without ever having to put pen to paper. Digitized signatures will save costs while eliminating the time involved in printing, signing, scanning and sending. All you need is a computer or smartphone and an Internet connection.

An online fax service enables companies and individuals to cut the cord to the fax machine by allowing faxes to be sent and received via email, anywhere an Internet connection exists. Some companies, like eFax, offer an iPhone app that uses the iPhone’s built-in camera and wireless connection to point, shoot and fax.

“eFax makes faxing move as smoothly as email. It’s simple, easy to manage our workflow, saves us time and, most importantly, doesn’t let anything fall through the cracks,” said Todd Morris, CEO, BrickHouse Security, New York City.

eFax is a registered trademark of j2 Global Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:JCOM). You can go to and sign up for a free 30-day trial.

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 Connect With Family And Friends At Home

(NAPSI)—The months ahead are sure to be filled with many reasons to call your family members, whether it be a celebration, a special moment or holiday, and talking with loved ones, especially those who live outside the U.S., is now far easier and costs less than you may have imagined.

That’s because new options make it easy to add minutes to the mobile phones of family and friends in other countries.

Prepaid cell phone users can “top it up” to add more minutes for calls. A number of new international services are now available to let users top up the cell phones of friends and family members who live far away. To give mobile phone time to any family member or friend far away, you can:

1. Go to a top-up service website.

2. Select the country where the person lives.

3. Type the person’s name and phone number.

Choose how much to spend in topping up that person’s phone and click the mouse. The service tells you right away that the transfer went through and the phone has been topped up.

When deciding on a top-up service, look for one with no extra or hidden charges, such as service or processing fees. Such services make it easy to send as much as you want, whenever you want. As long as your loved ones have cell phone service with a mobile provider covered by the top-up service, you can make sure they always have time available on their phones—including time to talk with you.

If you talk to your sister every week, you can make sure her phone is always ready for your calls. If there is a big soccer game and you want to keep up with the score, you can top up the phone of a nephew who will be watching. If your mother’s birthday is coming, you can top up your mother’s phone so she can talk to everyone she wants to. And if there is an emergency, you can be sure that everyone you need to stay in touch with has phone time available.

One mobile top-up service, Aryty (pronounced ah-RIE-tee) offers international mobile phone top-up minutes in more than 25 countries. A free trial delivers up to $3.40 in free minutes, depending on country and service provider, to the loved one of your choice. To try the top-up service, visit The website is available in both Spanish and English.

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Tips On Using Wi-Fi Hotspotst

(NAPSI)—Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities and other public places offer free access to the Internet.

However, public Wi-Fi networks often are not secure. You’re sharing the hotspot with strangers, and some could be hackers.

Experts at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) say that when using wireless hotspots, it’s best to send only personal information that is encrypted—either by an encrypted website or a secure network.

Encryption scrambles information sent over the Internet into a code so that it’s not accessed by others. An encrypted website protects only the information sent to and from that site. A secure wireless network encrypts all the information you send while online.

To tell if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the Web address (the “s” is for secure), and a lock icon at the top or bottom of the browser window. Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of the session isn’t encrypted, the entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https and the lock icon throughout the site, not just at sign in.

Is this hotspot secure?

• If a hotspot doesn’t require a password, it’s not secure.

• If a hotspot asks for a password through the browser simply to grant access, or asks for a password for WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption, it’s best to proceed as if it were unsecured.

• A hotspot is secure only if it asks the user to provide a WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) password. WPA2 is even more secure than WPA.

For a safer Wi-Fi experience, the FTC recommends:

• When using a Wi-Fi hotspot, only log in or send personal information to websites that you know are fully encrypted. The entire visit to each site should be encrypted—from log in until log out. If you think you’re logged in to an encrypted site but find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.

• Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. After using an account, log out.

• Do not use the same password on different websites. It could give someone who gains access to one account access to many accounts.

To learn more about protecting your privacy online and what to do if your information is compromised, visit

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Patient Identification Secure "In The Palm Of Your Hand"

(NAPSI)—Advanced technology helps increase patient safety and security in a handy way. Patients at NYU Langone Medical Center can now register for health care services by simply scanning their hands using a new vein recognition technology. This can minimize the need for them to publicly share personal information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers.

The palm scanner uses a safe, near-infrared light to read the palm's vein pattern, which is 100 times less likely to be duplicated than fingerprints. The digital palm image is then converted into a unique patient identifier that interfaces with the medical center's electronic health record system and securely links to the patient's electronic health record. At each visit, a patient simply places his or her hand on a small black box to automatically register.

"PatientSecure provides a safe, secure, easy and fast way for patients to register for care. It not only protects privacy and enhances quality but transforms the patient experience," said Bernard A. Birnbaum, M.D., senior vice president and vice dean, chief of hospital operations.

According to Dr. Birnbaum, it is common for patients at a large urban medical center to share the same first and last names. For instance, at NYU Langone alone, two or more patients share the same name more than 125,000 times. The new technology significantly reduces the chances of misidentification.

The palm scanner also provides enhanced protection against medical identity theft. The number of medical identity thefts more than doubled in a year, with more than 275,000 cases reported, and experts expect the problem to worsen. In addition to unexpected medical expenses, medical identity theft can result in altered personal medical and health insurance records information such as blood type, history of drug or alcohol abuse, and test results. This could mean inappropriate treatment, injury, illness, even death.

Additionally, quick identification in time-sensitive situations can lead to faster treatment and better outcomes. If a patient without identification arrives at the medical center unconscious or unable to communicate, a quick palm scan can immediately identify him or her and the medical professionals can be alerted to crucial information, including medical history, allergies and current medications.

According to NYU Langone patient Michael Baldwin, 55, "PatientSecure makes my doctor's visit faster and keeps my personal information secure. This technology makes you feel like a VIP. You just put your palm on the scanner and you're done registering at your doctor's office--no clipboard, no hassle of paperwork to check in, plus, it's absolutely secure."

You can learn more at and (212) 263-7300.

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Bridging The Past To The Present

(NAPSI)—An exciting and fast-growing hobby enjoyed by millions worldwide could be your route to learning more about yourself and your family.

Tracing back your family history as far as possible into the past and finding new living relatives in the present can be a rewarding experience, introducing you to family members you never knew and helping you learn about your ancestors and what they may mean to you today.

To help you on this journey, the most popular family network on the Web,, has a new and free advanced technology that can automatically discover long-lost relatives and ancestors. Called Smart Matching, it’s a unique search technology that discovers matches between the people in your family tree and more than 800 million people in 19 million other family trees around the world. Smart Matching can help everyone, from beginners to advanced genealogists.

The technology is sophisticated enough to overcome differences in spelling, phonetics and relationships that may exist between the trees. You can confirm or reject any matches and discuss them with family members. It works in real time as you enter new information and you will be notified by e-mail of new discoveries made by the system. The site’s huge global reach and support of 38 languages help you find and reunite with family members all around the world.

For example, David Greenberg, a user from Buffalo, N.Y., had been exploring his family history for over 40 years when a Smart Match reunited him with his long-lost cousin, whom he believed had perished during World War II. Another user, Jeff Ausmus from Michigan, built his family tree and through a Smart Match discovered that one of his friends from high school was, in fact, his cousin.

Learn More

All it takes is a quick visit to to begin building your family tree online for free—then sit back and let Smart Matching discover relatives for you. The site also helps you keep in touch with family and preserve special family photos and memories. The site is free of ads and spyware and all data is private and secure.

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Cost-Cutting Ideas

(NAPSI)—You may be able to reduce the cost of your home phone, if you heed a few hints.

What the Experts Say

The best place to start your money-saving quest is to evaluate your purchase decisions. For example, research the various types of home phone services on the market, such as digital voice (which plugs into your Internet and existing home phone, so you can call anywhere in the U.S. for free) vs. a traditional landline. Read newspaper articles on the subject and professional reviews in magazines and visit websites you trust. These resources can help you create an inventory of features that are and aren’t important to you. Keep this “features” and “service options” list handy for the next step.

What Others Think

Read user reviews, keeping track of the services that people like and don’t like and map them back to your “features” list. Keep in mind that some of the features with negative reviews might be ones you don’t need or care about. For example, the No. 1 thing on your list is call quality, right? Look for a service with good reviews on sound, maybe even one a professional reviewer praised for voice-enhancing technology, such as Ooma, which is known for its high-definition (HD) voice quality. Or maybe you have small children or elderly parents at home and need a service that will alert you to any 911 situations when you’re away. Once you’ve narrowed your “features” list even further, move on to the most important evaluation step.

Time vs. Money

How much time and effort does it take, exactly, to change to a new service? Is it easy to install and use? How does its setup compare to others? Check out user reviews of the setup process and compare the feedback to how much money you’ll save over the course of a year. Watch out for pitfalls, such as having to leave your computer on all the time if switching to certain kinds of digital voice. Then, look for perks like a home phone service that will let you keep your phone number or one offering unique and advance features that still lets you save without sacrifice.

Once you’ve done your research and determined what you want from your home phone, finding and getting the one that’s right for you should be much easier.

You can learn more online at


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