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Budget-Friendly Gifts For Dads And Grads

(NAPSI)—One thing many dads and grads have in common is their love for the latest and greatest gadgets. Fortunately, you may be able to give them the hottest gadgets and stay within your budget.

Less than $50

A prepaid iTunes or iBook gift card is an affordable and convenient gift that is likely to please-it’s a great gift for the dad or grad who seems to have everything.

Less than $200

Book lovers can now find the Amazon Kindle with Special Offers for $114 at various retailers. At in-store trial stations, such as those at Target, you can experience it firsthand before buying it. The Kindle replaces bulky books and magazines with a sleek, featherlight design and a glare-free screen. It can store up to 3,500 books, so your dad or grad can always have favorite reads at the ready.

For the music or movie lover on your list, you may need to look no further than the Soundfreaq Sound Platform, a breakthrough Bluetooth wireless sound system that plays audio from any iPod, iPhone or iPad. At $199, the sleek design of the Soundfreaq Sound Platform can give a smart, modern feel to any home or dorm room. It also charges the device as it plays music and delivers a home-theater-quality movie experience right to your iPad.

Less than $300

The compact design of today’s netbooks makes them great gifts for graduating students, whether they’re off to their first postgraduate job or continuing their education. The Acer 10-inch Netbook is one option that retails for under $275. With a stylish look and considerable computing power, this lightweight, handy laptop is conveniently powerful-yet portable-for those always on the go.

To make your gift giving even more affordable, look for retailers that offer trade-in options for used gadgets. For example, select Target stores andwww.Target.com offer store credit on the spot for used video games, cell phones or iPods and iPads. Electronics trade-in services provide an easy way to recycle unwanted electronics items, saving a little green for both you and the environment as you shop for the dads and grads on your gift list.

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Nostalgia Is Better Than Ever

(NAPSI)—If you can remember the Kennedy administration, the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Sandy Koufax pitching or the first moon landing, chances are you’re a baby boomer.

Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers are some 80 million strong. The generation, often referred to as the hardest working, has played a significant role in shaping the cultural, social and consumer-focused society of today. Spending more than $2 trillion on consumer goods each year, this group knows what it wants and where to get it.

Increasingly, boomers are re-embracing the good old days, searching out content and products that remind them of a better time: the television shows they watched, the breakfast cereal they ate, the songs they listened to.

Major companies are taking note and reintroducing classic items. TV shows from “Hawaii Five-O” to “Charlie’s Angels” are back in the mainstream entertainment lineup while “Mad Men” has capitalized on the glory days of 1960s advertising.

Nowhere is the popularity of nostalgia as evident as on the Internet. A wide array of websites has surfaced to supply boomers with classic content ranging from vintage prom attire to family photos.

In response to the nostalgic bent of its 55 million members, venerable social networking site Classmates.com acquired a huge assortment of vintage content to transform itself into Memory Lane.com. The new website features the largest archive of nostalgic content on the Internet, letting boomers relive six decades of Americana from the 1940s through the 1990s with over 100 million pieces of content.

The site now offers vintage magazines such as SPORT and The Saturday Evening Post, historic Universal newsreels and clips to the music that provided the sound track to so many boomers’ lives. Boomers can also explore over 70,000 digitized high school yearbooks covering over 30 million people who graduated from a U.S. high school before 1989.

A visit to MemoryLane.com has been compared to stepping into an Internet time machine where visitors can explore, discover and connect with the iconic moments that formed America’s history—and their own. Boomers can relive the events that helped shape their lives through the tremendous amount of images, videos, music, magazines and other content preserved atwww.MemoryLane.com with a simple click of a mouse.

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Quick And Easy Fix-its For Common Kitchen Mishaps

(NAPSI)—All cooks have less than desirable results from time to time. The good news is that whether it’s the recipe’s fault or your own, most cooking disasters can be fixed in a few easy steps.

Whether the soup is too salty, the sauce is too spicy or the veggies are a mushy mess, making a mistake in the kitchen doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch, throwing out expensive ingredients and wasting precious time. With these tips from restaurateur, “Top Chef” contestant andDinnerTool.com blogger Ariane Duarte, you can easily fix mistakes and save your meal.

Too Salty

If you accidentally dumped the contents of your saltshaker into your soup, a medium-sized potato can save the day. Simply peel and slice the potato, cook for 20 minutes and discard. The potato will release some of its liquid and soak up some of that extra salt.

Too Spicy

Ouch! Perhaps you overestimated your heat tolerance for jerk-rubbed chicken or you used peppers in a sauce that ended up hotter than you expected. In sauces, adding sweet ingredients such as tomatoes can serve to dial down the spice factor. A touch of butter, yogurt or another creamy dairy product can also tame the flames. If you’ve over spiced your meat, whip up a sweet, creamy sauce and serve it on top.

Mushy Vegetables

While it’s not possible to undo an overcooked, mushy serving of broccoli or asparagus, you can give it a new life in a soup. Puree the vegetables in a blender with some butter and chicken stock, then simmer in a pot with milk or cream. Season with white pepper and you have a delicious, nutrient-rich meal. If you have overcooked sweet potatoes or carrots, throw them in a blender or food processor with milk and butter to make a yummy puree. If you have soggy potatoes, fry them.

Overcooked Pasta

Good news. There is a simple cure for overcooked pasta. Sauté the noodles in a hot pan with some butter and olive oil—the pasta will be revived and take on a little bit of a crunch. Serve as planned or simply add a touch of wine, cream and Parmesan cheese and you’ll have a great dish.

For tons of great tips on how to fix common cooking blunders, including scorched soup and too sweet sauce, and for ingredient- saving tips like what to do with hardened cheese or stale bread, go to www.dinnertool.com/tips.

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 Tips From “The Online Mom” To Keep Kids Safe

(NAPSI)—Chances are, if your child isn’t at school or sleeping, he or she is online.

According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American youth ages 8 to 18 spend nearly eight hours a day online. Other studies have shown that 75 percent of children ages 3 and older are using the Internet. While much of this time is likely spent doing harmless activities such as IMing with friends, watching videos on YouTube or posting on Facebook, children may be exposed to inappropriate content, viruses and other risks. In fact, 65 percent of children ages 11 to 16 report having received an inappropriate e-mail, IM or text within the last six months.

It’s not practical to keep kids off-line entirely, so it’s important for parents to prepare their children for a digital future. That means developing rules and guidelines that both the parent and child can embrace.

Monica Vila, also known as “The Online Mom,” has spent the last 15 years focused on consumer technology and empowering families to make good decisions regarding their use of technology. Vila advises parents to stay in touch with their children, keep communication open and, when necessary, monitor online activity.

• Be informed. Find out what your children like to do online, which sites they like to visit and which games they play. Spend time together online.

• Start a dialogue. Talk to your child about online safety and be specific about your concerns. Let him know there are safe and unsafe websites, just as there are safe and unsafe places to go in the real world. Install a top-rated suite of parental controls to protect your home computers and monitor your child’s use. All-in-one solutions, like Kaspersky PURE Total Security, include blocking features to restrict or filter inappropriate content, time-management controls to limit screen time, and tools to monitor your child’s communications. Let your child know when you install parental controls—trust is the foundation of good decision making.

• Protect personal information. Teach your children to respect personal information, both their own and others’. Teach them never to share passwords, phone numbers, addresses or other personal information.

• Click smart. Teach your children not to open files or click on links unless they are from a trusted source. Talk about the dangers of malware and how viruses can harm your computer.

To learn more, visit www.pureprotection.com.

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Build A Better Browser With The Bells And Whistles You Want

(NAPSI)—When going online, most people don’t give a second thought to their browser—the software that lets you read websites—but maybe they should. Your browser can make a big difference in how you use the Web.

All browsers are not the same. And there’s no reason to settle for the browser you already have if it’s not the best available. It can be easy—and free—to download a faster, more efficient browser.

The latest browsers have plenty of innovations to offer. For example, the latest version of Opera, a leader in browser innovations, now has new features that can streamline your daily use of the Internet.

The latest version, Opera 11, offers features such as tab stacking, visual mouse gestures and Opera extensions.

Almost everyone uses tabs to manage open pages in the browser—but with the new tab-stacking feature, you can organize your open tabs by stacking them just like sheets of paper.

Mouse gestures let you control your browser using only movements of the mouse. In Opera 11, a new visual guide helps you learn and master all the different ways of using your mouse.

Extensions are fun, and with the latest version of this browser, they are easy to download and install. There are almost 500 extensions to try.

Some of the most popular extensions let you download videos directly from YouTube, block ads and translate foreign Web pages automatically.

Protecting your computer from viruses is an important consideration when using an extension. To ensure your security, Opera thoroughly checks every extension before it is released.

To download the free browser, visit www.opera.com.

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Survey Reveals Women’s Facebook Opinions

(NAPSI)—More than 400 women revealed their secret Facebook habits and opinions in a survey that showed there’s a fine line between friend and “frenemy.”

The survey was conducted by Eversave, a company offering daily deals called “Saves,” to better understand the effect of social networking on deals. However, results also uncovered the surprising love/hate relationship women have with the social networking site.

The survey found one reason women like Facebook is because they can receive alerts on daily deals, one of the fastest-growing online activities today. Eighty-seven percent of the women said they find out about deals by “liking” daily deal companies on Facebook and 45 percent learn about savings through their friends’ posts.

However, the data also uncovered some interesting things about Facebook friendships.

The survey revealed that while women use Facebook to keep their friends informed about what they are up to (79 percent) and share interesting and/or funny links and videos (64 percent), they have little tolerance for friends who use the site to brag or overshare.

In fact, 85 percent of those surveyed claim they have been annoyed by their online friends, and that the following bothersome behaviors topped the list:

• Complaining all the time (63 percent)

• Sharing unsolicited political views (42 percent)

• Bragging about seemingly perfect lives (32 percent).

Despite the occasional annoyances, women appreciate Facebook for allowing them to see friends’ photos and videos (91 percent) and helping them search for long-lost friends (76 percent).

“Most people regard social media, like Facebook, as a place to gripe or boast because they often can’t do it in real life,” said Charlene DeLoach Oliver, JD, CISR, an attorney turned blogger at CharleneChronicles.com. “They also use it as a tool to connect with people, stay abreast of breaking news and find great deals, contests and giveaways.”

“I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook,” commented one respondent, Jennifer Brocato of Raynham, Mass. “On one hand, it keeps me in contact with friends and family I rarely see and get to talk to. On the other hand, it can be a huge time waster. All in all, I am glad Facebook exists.”

Eversave offers local daily deals on fun things to do in and around cities, including restaurants, spas, activities and more.

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A Little Help From The Cloud Makes A Big Difference To Small Businesses

(NAPSI)—From Hong Kong to Hawaii, Argentina to Austria, small-business owners everywhere are looking to grow their business by revenue, geography, number of employees or customers—and want the best technology available to become more productive.

Often, that means searching for a cloud service (similar to desktop applications, but online) to organize daily tasks, collaborate with others and get work done, all while operating on a slender budget.

IDC, a technology market research firm, recently reported that spending on public cloud services increased 34 percent in 2010, and spending by small to medium businesses represents almost half of this.*

If you’re a small-business professional, you don’t want to be bogged down with technology issues even for a second. When it comes to working with the best technology tools, you can tap into cloud productivity services and work with ease from almost anywhere on virtually any device, without the need to manage servers.

If you’re looking for a cloud productivity service that’s perfect for your small or medium business, make sure it meets the following criteria:

• Is easy to use. You’ll want to be able to create an account in minutes and be up and running in no time. More importantly, why not use the applications you already know and love? Look for a service provider that works beautifully with the e-mail, document and communications solutions you already have.

• Works the way you do. A good online productivity service will allow you to find and connect with colleagues and customers virtually anywhere. It should show you when others are online and available, no matter which application you’re working in. It also should let you make PC-to-PC voice and video calls or hold online meetings on the fly. And you’ll want to be able to share your desktop, online white board and presentations with colleagues as if you’re in the same room, even if you’re a city or continent away.

• Stays true to content. Insist on a service that frees you to work where and when you choose, so you can respond to important requests from almost any location. You’ll want both Web-enabled and offline access to email, important documents, contacts and calendars even when you’re out of the office, and you’ll want a consistent experience regardless of whether you’re working from a PC, Mac or smartphone. You’ll want the ability to edit spreadsheets, presentations and documents with others in real time and to access and view files in high fidelity from your browser or mobile device-so others can see files with consistent content and formatting while using their Web applications, mobile devices and desktop applications.

• Is supported by a single, trusted source. An online service should help safeguard your data with business-grade reliability and disaster recovery capabilities, with data centers in multiple locations and a strict privacy policy. Insist on a financially backed guarantee; if you experience an interruption in the service, the best services will compensate you.

• Is designed to minimize the need for IT staff. Look for a service you can easily set up and use without the need for internal IT support. Let the online service take care of the details, so you can focus on your business. Pay-as-you-go pricing is beneficial because it allows you to change your services according to your evolving needs, adding value over the long term and saving your business money.

Cloud productivity services, such as Microsoft Office 365, make it possible for small businesses to access the best productivity technology at a predictable monthly cost while leaving the IT management to the technology experts. Office 365 brings together familiar software such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service for businesses of all sizes. The public beta is now available, allowing people to try Office 365 for the first time.

Today, you can secure a spot in the Office 365 public beta and learn more about the service at http://www.Office365.com, follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), like Office 365 on Facebook (Office 365) and read the Office 365 blog at http://community.office365.com for the latest information. Small businesses can also enter the Office 365: Ready for Work contest athttp://www.facebook.com/office365. By sharing their stories, small-business owners can win Office 365, $50,000 in advertising and business services, and a Microsoft executive to work for them or their charity of choice, for a day.

*IDC, Worldwide Small and Medium-Sized Business 2011-2015 Forecast: How Changing Needs and Priorities Will Impact SMB IT Spending by Company Size and Region, Doc. #227277, March 2011

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Five Ways To Better Share With Friends Online

(NAPSI)—Sometimes you want to share photos and updates with just a few of your friends rather than your entire list of social network friends. Facebook Groups are the perfect way to do just that. Start a Facebook Group for your family or friends who share a common interest or hobby and get the most out of your experience by following these five easy tips:

Add Any Friend

You can start up a group on Facebook quickly by adding any of your friends instantly. Have a book club? Planning a family reunion? Want to keep up with your five best friends you've known your whole life but who live far away? Create a group for them to post photos and links, ask questions, whatever you want to use that space for. And if you're not friends with someone you want to be in it, don't worry. Since members can add their friends, you can rely on other people in the group to add them to it.

Add An Icon and a Picture

Once you've created a group, you should add an icon or picture to help organize your group among the several you may be part of. You can pick from the icons beside the group name to choose something that characterizes the group. For instance, if you've made a group for your flag football team, you may want to pick the icon of a football. You can also upload a picture for the group. Maybe you have a great picture of the entire team or the trophy you won that can represent your group's identity.

Set Up an E-mail Address

You don't have to always have access to Facebook if you want to stay in touch with your group. You can create a group e-mail address by going to "Edit Group" in the top right-hand side of your group's page. You can choose any name you like and it will be attached to @groups.facebook.com. Now you can e-mail an update to your group at any time.

Use Your Docs

You may have updates and information that require input from the entire group. For instance, if you are on the planning committee for your high school reunion and want to provide updates on the bands you've checked out to perform, Facebook Groups' Doc is a word processing document that anyone in the group can update at any time so someone can chime in and provide his or her feedback on the bands you suggested. You can also see what has changed and who made the change.

Edit Your Settings/Notifications

If you want to stay on top of what is happening in your favorite groups, you can make sure they always appear on your home page by going to the "Edit Settings" link in the top right-hand corner of the Group page. From there, you can also edit your notification settings for specific updates you receive when content is posted to the group.

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