Expert Answers At Your
you’ve ever needed expert help at an inconvenient moment—in the
middle of the night, when you’re too broke for a consultation or
when you can’t leave the house without an answer—you may
appreciate hearing about a helpful resource.
While there are plenty of experts around, few people can
afford the amount of money it takes to consult them. Online
question-and-answer sites allow you to access expert answers for
a minimal fee.
Such sites allow access to doctors, lawyers and other experts
on a variety of practical concerns relating to legal, health,
cars, pets, and other categories. Such sites have:
• Helped a homeowner save his house from going into
• Saved a car owner more than $7,000 and the person’s old
Lincoln from the scrap yard;
• Helped a person fight an IRS
audit and win.
With a little help from the experts, people have improved
their career opportunities, saved money and gotten answers to
pressing questions when veterinary or doctors’ offices were
The fee is usually minimal. For example, the average answer
sup-plied on the JustAnswer site costs around $18 and questions
are answered 24/7/365. The average response time is nine
Many visitors to the site have saved money by avoiding trips
to the car mechanic shop or getting step-by-step instructions on
how to fix an appliance. One feature many visitors appreciate is
the ability to ask questions from the privacy and comfort of
their homes. The site has an A+ rating from the Better Business
For more information, visit
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How To Get
More Work Done In More Places At Once
believe one key way in which business culture is changing is
that work on a specific project can now be conducted from
various locations—in some cases simultaneously.
As a result, businesses are looking for ways to become more
flexible and agile. Agility, in this case, refers to a
business’s ability to collaborate either with distributed teams
or customers and rapidly respond to change—delivering on
projects in a timely manner anywhere in the world.
Agility has a cost
Having experts travel to central locations to work out
solutions is the only means many companies see of delivering
what their clients need. With multiple offices and a culture of
flexible working, coupled with dispersed teams and clients, they
see no alternative to in-person, despite the expense and time
lost to travel.
Recently, a number of technologies have emerged, all trying
to offer innovative solutions for organizations to simulate a
single meeting environment from multiple locations.
Teleconferencing, videoconferencing, Web conferencing and
telepresence all promise to meet this demand, giving people the
opportunity to communicate with one another.
An interactive solution
Re-creating the dynamism, interactivity, information sharing
and productivity within meeting spaces, interactive whiteboard
displays produced by SMART Technologies are replacing
traditional tools like dry-erase boards and flip charts. These
solutions are transforming the way businesses collaborate,
problem-solve and share data. The technology is ideal for
companies that want to increase productivity, reduce travel and
offer staff creative and timely ways to share information.
Coupled with SMART’s Bridgit™ conferencing software, this
technology has been used to create connected virtual “meeting
rooms,” where people working across multiple locations can share
computer desktops, use touch-screen commands, simultaneously
write in digital ink over any application from Adobe Reader to
Microsoft PowerPoint, generate and integrate data as well as
write, save and e-mail notes immediately with colleagues or
customers anywhere in the world.
Solutions from SMART Technologies have been adopted by
organizations of all sizes, with such companies as BT, Cisco,
Microsoft, Turner Construction and the U.S. Army reporting
For more information on SMART, please visit
See SMART’s latest videos on the SMART Collaboration YouTube
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Tips On Online Deals
clever consumers seeking online bargains, four tips can help:
1. Visit blogs that focus on couponing and personal finance.
These often share unique discount codes and printable coupons
and host contests for free products from popular retailers.
2. Search community coupon sites such as
Groupon and LivingSocial.
They’re constantly updated with new, localized offers. Pay
attention to expiration dates; many promotions are only
available for a limited time.
3. Connect with retail brands on social networks such as
Facebook and Twitter.
4. Register for retail loyalty programs. They let you know
about sales promotions and send you updates about new deals and
printable coupons. For example, CVS/pharmacy e-mails bonus
savings to members of its ExtraCare
rewards program, including in-store coupons and discount codes
for CVS.com. You simply sign
CVS.com/email. The company also shares exclusive offers and
updates about upcoming deals with members who “like” it at
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Technology Has Changed The Way We Eat
food for thought: When they want a good meal, more Americans
look to their laptops and mobile phones than their cookbooks or
recipe boxes. A recent Yahoo! survey found that 75 percent of
people are replacing cookbooks with online resources and they’re
also using the Web to get restaurant recommendations, make
dinner reservations and share photos of family dishes.
“The Web is revolutionizing the way we dine. It allows
everyone to be a food critic and provides a platform to learn
about new cuisines and share ideas,” Yahoo! Web Life Editor
Heather Cabot noted. She offers these facts and tips on Web
resources for foodies:
• E-mail is the new recipe box: Like to experiment
with new recipes? Your e-mail makes a great recipe box. When you
find a recipe online that you like, copy and paste it into an
e-mail, make direct edits and then send it to yourself. Create a
folder where they can all be stored. When you’re at the grocery
store, you can simply pull up the recipe on your mobile phone to
make sure you have all the necessary ingredients.
• Share and critique: Recipes are not only meant to be
cooked, they’re meant to be shared. Every day, new blogs and
websites are popping up for this very reason. On Yahoo!’s
photo-sharing site, Flickr, for instance, there are nearly 8
million photos “tagged” with the word “food.” Tens of thousands
of these showcase family recipes and traditions—families
preparing each step of a recipe together, showing the way they
remember their relatives made the dish—the special touch or
secret ingredient that makes all the difference—even taking
photos of recipe cards in Grandma’s original hand. Snap a
picture the next time you’re making a dish; you, too, can
preserve it online.
• Digital concierge: Mobile phones are practically
becoming personal concierges. There are many great apps that can
help you find a restaurant in a particular neighborhood or based
on a cuisine. Some great apps to check out, whether exploring
your own neighborhood or venturing out, include:
• Urbanspoon: This app lets you find a restaurant the way
you’d play a slot machine.
• Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search: This app lets you draw an area with
your finger on a local map and retrieves all the restaurants
within the area you’ve outlined. With the new “dish” filter, you
can even sort choices by specific dishes you might be craving.
• OpenTable: This app shows you reservation availability
right from your handheld.
So foodies rejoice: The Web can be your ultimate food tour
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Makes Finding Recipes And Meal Planning Easier
new website offers cooks of every skill level an easier way to
plan meals and find recipes they will love. Drawing on a
database of more than 500,000 recipes, the site, called Yummly,
uses unique search algorithms to better understand food, users
and their tastes, and makes it possible for people to find
delicious meals based on their nutritional and dietary
That’s good news for busy home chefs and those
with food allergies and special diets to cook for or picky
eaters to please; whether planning a midweek meal or a festive
holiday feast, it can be difficult to find recipes that will
please the whole table. Yummly is user friendly and is
convenient to use on any computer or touch-pad device.
Find Recipe Ideas Based on Your Tastes
The site’s search function makes it possible for users to
find recipes that suit their unique tastes based on a variety of
factors such as • Ingredient likes and dislikes • Type of
cuisine • Food allergy restrictions • Dietary restrictions •
Nutritional preferences • Price per serving • Taste •
Preparation time • Meal course • Recipe source • Specific
Publish and Share Recipe Favorites
Yummly now offers users the chance to save and publish their
own recipes, whether it’s to keep in their private digital
recipe box or share with the website community. The site, which
is fully integrated with Facebook, also offers a variety of ways
for people to save, share and e-mail recipes with friends and
Plan Weekly Meals or Dinner Party Menus
Users can now sort and save recipes into specified folders
that will help in the planning and organization of dinner
parties, special events or weekly meals. Users can also share
their menu ideas with friends, family or the website community.
Recipe Suggestions and Video Tutorials
Registered users can now receive recipe recommendations
delivered right to their e-mail in-boxes. The site dispatches a
weekly e-mail of seasonal recipe selections tailored to meet the
food likes, dislikes and dietary specifications set in each
user’s profile. For those who are still learning, the site also
offers a series of short and helpful instructional videos that
demonstrate the basic cooking and food preparation techniques
called for in most recipes. To learn more, visit
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Smartphone Can Be A Smart Way To Get Organized
time of year can be the right time to take a self-inventory and
identify changes we would like to make.
For some, it’s
embracing a healthier diet; for others, it’s a new workout
routine or balancing their checkbook. The good news is that with
the latest smartphone technology, chances are there really is an
app for that—and possibly even on a 4G system.
Since 4G can be up to 10 times faster than 3G, the apps that
really take advantage of 4G capability include those that are
data intensive, such as video chat, live streaming video, and
music and gaming.
Here are some useful applications that are easy to download
and are designed to help you meet five common goals. Remember,
some apps are designed to be used on certain phones and not
Manage Your Money
• Mint.com Personal Finance: An easy way to manage money on
the go, this Android app lets users see all their accounts in
one place—all for free.
• Sprint Mobile Wallet: This app gives users an easy, secure
way to buy physical and digital products using their Sprint
phone. Customers use a universal PIN to make purchases easily
using their Visa, MasterCard and Amazon Payments accounts at
participating online merchants, right on their phone. Sprint
Mobile Wallet is available to download through Sprint Zone on
most Sprint phones.
Whether hitting the gym or pounding the pavement, these
Android apps are designed to help you get active and get in
• CardioTrainer: Whether they choose to break a sweat indoors
or outdoors, users can take advantage of this app to track
walking, running, biking and other activities. It features a
pedometer, calorie counter, music player, schedule and reminders
and more. Users can also set up and follow a two-month fitness
routine, and even stake some money to be donated to charity if
they don’t meet their goal. It’s available for Android phones.
• Instant Heart Rate: By placing their finger gently over the
camera lens and holding it steady for 10 seconds, users can see
their heart rate and keep track of how well that workout is
working no matter where they are.
Save time and keep organized on the go with Sprint phones
such as HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Epic 4G and BlackBerry Style. These
phones can regularly sync contacts, calendar and e-mail with the
user’s business and personal accounts. Downloadable apps for
Sprint phones provide additional organization features:
• Astrid Task/To-do List: This to-do list/task manager is
designed to help users get stuff done. It features reminders,
tags, sync, a widget and more.
• Springpad: Users can save the things they want to remember
with this app, including notes, tasks, lists, wines and recipes.
Users can scan barcodes, take photos and search nearby places.
The app automatically organizes and enhances what users save
with useful links and relevant news and offers and then syncs
with springpadit.com for universal access. Available for Android
and BlackBerry smartphones and through GetJar for basic phones.
Keep in Touch
These days, there are more ways than ever to keep in touch
with loved ones, no matter how much distance separates them. Of
course, there’s text messaging, picture mail and social
networking on Sprint phones. For anyone who’s already a pro at
those, there’s now a whole new option: video chat.
In fact, in a recent survey of well-known movie, TV and
sports stars, Sprint found that many celebrities are looking
forward to using video chat to keep in touch with friends and
family. For example, Vanessa Williams, currently starring in
ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” said clear and reliable video chat
“would be an awesome feature for a cell device!” and expressed a
desire to mobile chat with her “daughter in college to stay
connected at any given time.” Amanda Beard, Olympic champion
swimmer, said, “If I could video chat with anyone in my phone,
it would be my son. I really get sad when I have to leave him
even for a day, so it would be nice for him to see me and I
There are two programs available for the HTC EVO 4G and the
• Fring: This app allows free two-way video calling over 3G,
4G and Wi-Fi.
• Qik: Users can see and hear each other with two-way live
video chats over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, plus record and share videos
with friends, family and social networks with this app. All
videos are stored to the users’ account at
• Wireless Recycling: When you purchase or upgrade to a new
device, remember to responsibly recycle old/unused wireless
devices through a trusted take-back program.
To learn more, go to
www.sprint.com/responsibility or follow
@SprintGreenNews on Twitter.
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Your Basketball Savvy May Win Thousands In Online
things are as challenging as picking winners in the NCAA
tournament. In fact, of the thousands of people to submit an
online bracket in Yahoo! Sports’ free Tourney Pick’Em game last
year, none did better than a guinea pig named Buttons.
The rodent’s improbable selections, which included a perfect
West Region and Duke beating Butler in the championship game,
earned her owner the $10,000 grand prize and proved you don’t
need to know college basketball to cash in on the tournament.
“That’s what’s great about college basketball,” said Angela
Sun, who will be providing daily updates on the tournament on
the Yahoo! Sports Minute. “Anyone—from the die-hard fan to the
office mate picking games at random—can end up a winner.”
So before you study box scores or seek expert opinions,
consider some of these creative ways to fill out your bracket
and perhaps win some money to pay those postholiday bills:
Academic reputation: Consult the latest university
rankings and choose the team in each pairing whose school has
the better overall academic standing. Just don’t be surprised if
your Final Four includes a team from the Ivy League.
Mascot fight: Have you ever wondered who would win if
a Badger fought a Blue Devil? Perhaps not, but that’s beside the
point. Use your imagination. Then, pick the mascot in each
pairing you think would prevail.
Party-school rankings: Rowdy student sections are part
of what makes college basketball so much fun. Grab the latest
party-school rankings and pick the team in each pairing whose
students best know how to have a good time (responsibly, of
School colors: We’ve all known somebody who roots for
teams based on uniforms. Channel that person. Then, choose each
pairing based on which color combination you think looks best.
Warning: Three of last year’s four No. 1 seeds had some
combination of blue and white.
Coin flip: Surrender your bracket to chance. Flip a
coin to determine each game. Hey, at least you’ll have a 50-50
chance in the first round.
Height: Test a tall theory. Pull rosters and rank
teams by cumulative height. Then, pick the tallest team in each
pairing. Hint: Last year’s champion, Duke, stretched 91 feet, 5
Of course, you can always resort to more traditional methods.
Whatever you decide, have fun. Yahoo! Sports makes it easy to
fill out your bracket. Simply visit
tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1 and sign up for the
free Tourney Pick’Em game to get started; you’ll automatically
be entered to win the grand prize.
Who knows? You might even beat Buttons.
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Smartcard Just The Ticket For Transit Riders
mass transit systems are being asked to find ways to grow the
number of riders they serve while cutting costs.
As a consequence, these systems often face the challenge of
implementing better financial management while, at the same
time, offering riders more convenience, particularly when it
comes to schedules and fare collection.
Fortunately, there is new technology in the form of a
smartcard that may benefit both riders and transit systems.
The Seattle Experience
Those who use mass transit in the Seattle, Washington area
can ride everything from ferries to buses and rail lines. Often,
they have to change from one mode of transportation to another.
These varied forms of public transportation are managed by
seven main transit agencies, each with its own fare structure,
schedules and business rules.
In an effort to improve both service and financial
management, an international company called
Vix ERG was engaged to establish a Regional Fare
Coordination System (RFCS).
The project involved the design and implementation of a
seamless smartcard system that some in the industry believe may
be the wave of the future. The system operates across four
counties, linking 12 ferry routes, approximately 17 miles of
light rail and 73 miles of commuter rail. The RFCS connects 62
cities and towns spread out over 6,500 square miles.
The key to the system is a smartcard called ORCA. The card,
when purchased by riders, provides access to the coordinated
elements of the transit system. Riders can move seamlessly from
one part of the system to another with just a single fare card
that they never have to take out of their wallet. The card also
provides the system with a record of rider use and revenues.
ORCA: A Whale of a Success
Public response to the system has been so positive that ORCA
became the most requested item on the Google search engine in
the Seattle area. The system is ultimately expected to handle
around 190 million passenger journeys per year.
Vix ERG, part of the
Vix Technology group of companies,
is a global leader in the design, supply and operation of
automated fare collection technology for the mass transit
industry. It delivers everything from magnetic stripe systems
for small bus companies to large
multioperator smartcard and credit card solutions that
support large cities or entire countries.
To learn more, visit the website at
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