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Expert Answers Online  Interactive Whiteboard Tips On Online Deals Recipes Online Meal Planning Website Smartphone's 4G System Fantasy Sports Online Smartcard For Transit

Expert Answers At Your Fingertips

(NAPSI)-If 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 foreclosure;

• 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 closed.

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 minutes.

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 Bureau.

For more information, visit www.justanswer.com.

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How To Get More Work Done In More Places At Once

(NAPSI)—Many 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.

Tangible benefits

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 measurable benefits.

Learn more

For more information on SMART, please visit www.smarttech.com.

See SMART’s latest videos on the SMART Collaboration YouTube page.

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Tips On Online Deals

(NAPSI)—For 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 up at CVS.com/email. The company also shares exclusive offers and updates about upcoming deals with members who “like” it at Facebook.com/CVS or follow Twitter.com/CVS_Extra.

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 How Technology Has Changed The Way We Eat

(NAPSI)—Here’s 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 sidekick.

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New Website Makes Finding Recipes And Meal Planning Easier

(NAPSI)-A 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 preferences.

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 holidays.

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 family.

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 www.yummly.com.

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A Smartphone Can Be A Smart Way To Get Organized

(NAPSI)—Any 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 others.

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.

Get Fit

Whether hitting the gym or pounding the pavement, these Android apps are designed to help you get active and get in shape.

• 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.

Get Organized

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 him.”

There are two programs available for the HTC EVO 4G and the Samsung Epic:

• 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 qik.com.

Go Green

• 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 Contest

(NAPSI)—Few 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.

It’s true.

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 course).

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 inches.

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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New Smartcard Just The Ticket For Transit Riders

(NAPSI)—Increasingly, 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 www.vixtechnology.com.

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