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How to Stay Safe Online – General Advice and Tips

Viruses, ransomware, scams, identity theft and loss of digital information are becoming more and more common as we move towards a digital age.

With digital security becoming more apparent, it is very important to adopt a good habit in keeping yourself and your family safe online. Below are some basic tips and hints to protect your identity, files and your personal device.

Keep your computer, smartphone and tablet clean

  • Keep your device up to date with the latest software
    Software updates provide enhancements and security updates.
  • Keep your security software (anti-virus) up to date
    Security software needs latest virus definitions to identify new and emerging virus/malware. Yes, even Mac’s and smartphones needs security software.
  • Scan external devices (USB)
    USB and external devices can carry virus from infected devices onto yours. Make sure you enable external device scanning to ensure it doesn’t get onto your computer

Be very web savvy online

  • Watch out for dangerous links and attachmentsWhen there is doubt, delete it. Links/attachments in emails, tweets, SMS, posts and advertising are way cyber criminals can compromise your device. If its suspicious or too good to be true, delete it, block or mark it as junk.
  • Check for trusted websites
    When banking online or shopping, ensure they have SSL (secure socket layer) security. SSL protects passwords and your banking information securely.
  • Beware of Phishing
    Phishing is a way for cyber criminals to mask legitimate website with their own to steal your confidential login. Do not click on any requests to verify your password unless you requested it.
  • Risks with public Wi-Fi Hotspots
    Adjust your security level on your device when accessing public networks. Your device firewall and anti-virus can detect and adjust automatically when connecting to different networks. Turn off your Wi-Fi to public networks when you don’t need to use it anymore.

Protect your personal information

  • Keep your password complex
    Don’t use generic password. Keep it complex with the combination of upper case/lower case characters, numbers and symbols. If it’s too hard to remember, use a secure password manager to keep track.
  • Use Two Step Verification
    Two step verification will make it more difficult to access you online presence. If a cyber criminal has your password, they will be stopped if they don’t have access to your other devices and accounts.

Back it all up

Backup your data, photos, documents, video and other digital information and store it securely.…

Your Brain – The Ultimate Smart Bomb

One of the first things I learned when I opened my direct marketing business was that I am my own worst enemy. It is not the recession or my product line that sabotages my business, it is me; first my thinking and then my habits. In a society where the media makes its income mostly on bad news and a world that competes, many of us have no idea that we are constantly inputting negativity into our lives.

The Brain is an amazing organ. In my research to find out why so many people seem to sabotage the very success they are about to reach. I ran across the comparison that the brain is like a smart bomb. A smart bomb is given a target and then as wind and resistance take it off target, it self corrects to hit its target. The difference is, the subconscious takes for truth what it hears the most.

The conscious mind can set 1000 goals but if the daily thoughts are negative; the subconscious mind will self-correct. Just like that smart bomb, it will hit the real target believed. For example, the goal may be 100k income online a year. But if there is that little voice saying "I always fail" or "I do not deserve success" you will NEVER hit the goal. You will self sabotage your successes every time. So what do you do? You change how you think.

Affirmations are the way that one can reprogram the brain. Napoleon Hill wrote, "When you kindly feed your mind with good, wholesome thoughts and information, and keep your proper frame of mind, you are supplying the subconscious mind with nourishing material to feedback to you. give it. "

To use this skill, you pick the qualities you need to have in life. Start with the most important one you wish to have. Let us say that it is organization. "I am an organized person." Say this to yourself for one week as you look in any mirror. The more times you say it, the more that "smart bomb" is programmed to the new target – organization. Then second week, add the next skill or quality you wish to have. "I am a motivated and enthusiastic person." Keep adding one every week till you have all that you wrote down memorized. Remember, you MUST word them as if you have already acquainted them. Then just keep saying them daily. The brain will make this your reality. Think that this is to easy to be worth anything? Almost every motivational speaker out there teachers affirmations. People pay 100's of dollars to "get motivated" but they never apply it.

Zig Ziglar wrote, "Are you willing to commit yourself to invest fifteen minutes every day for immediate results and long-term benefits?" Seriously, are you? The simplest thing you can do to reach your goals and most of us will not take the five, ten or fifteen minutes it would take to do so. This article, for …

8 Tips to Save Money on Car Insurance

Since car insurance is costly, most consumers don’t want to use it. Buying the right coverage is important, but it costs more to get a new car insured. Give below are a few tips that can help you save money on your car insurance. Read on.

Annual Rate

You can check out some websites to compare different insurers online. While you can’t get a quote immediately, you will get a reply soon from the agents of the company. You may want to consider making a relationship with a good independent agent. They will help you check rates of tons of carriers.

Pick a Good Insurer

Saving money is not about looking for the lowest premium. Actually, some providers offer lower rates of premium. However, they end up charging you more at the end. As a result, you pay more for replacing the parts of the original equipment. In some cases, the provider may increase your premiums post an accident.

The Deductible

With a higher deductible, you will have to pay lower premiums. The reason is that you will be paying more in case of a claim. For instance, if you increase your deductible to, say, $500 from $200, you can cut down on your premium by 15 to 30{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}. So, if you choose $1,000, you will be able to save as much as 40{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}.

Review Your Coverage

Liability coverage will pay for your property damage and bodily injury in an accident. It’s not a good idea to reduce your liability to the minimums set by the state. While buying more coverage can seem a strange way of saving a lot, you can enjoy this benefit only if you have a big, expensive claim. As a result, your life savings are at risk. What you need to do is consider your personal injury medical payments and protection coverage.

Use the Discounts

Keep in mind that car insurance providers offer discounts based on the fact that the client has a low-risk lifestyle, such as students, new drivers, experienced drivers and affinity members, just to name a few.

Multiple-Policy Holders

Some providers offer hefty discounts provided you buy your renters, homeowners or life-insurance policy as well. However, make sure that you consider total costs of single-insurer packages and premiums of various providers.

Good Credit Score

Some states let insurance providers use your credit rating to set your premiums. What you need to do is check and fix errors on your credit report. If your rating has been affected by job loss, divorce or any other reason, you may ask your provider for an exception.

Choose Your Car Carefully

For auto insurers, vehicle damage may cost a lot. Therefore, the premiums are set based on the auto model. You may want to ask your provider for estimates on different car models.

So, we suggest that you check out these 8 tips if you are going to buy car insurance and want to save some cash with the purchase. Hopefully, you will be able to …

Equity Financing: The Accountants’ Perspective

Growing up it has always been said that one can raise capital or finance business with either its personal savings, gifts or loans from family and friends and this idea continue to persist in modern business but probably in different forms or terminologies.

It is a known fact that, for businesses to expand, it’s prudent that business owners tap financial resources and a variety of financial resources can be utilized, generally broken into two categories, debt and equity.

Equity financing, simply put is raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise i.e. the sale of an ownership interest to raise funds for business purposes with the purchasers of the shares being referred as shareholders. In addition to voting rights, shareholders benefit from share ownership in the form of dividends and (hopefully) eventually selling the shares at a profit.

Debt financing on the other hand occurs when a firm raises money for working capital or capital expenditures by selling bonds, bills or notes to individuals and/or institutional investors. In return for lending the money, the individuals or institutions become creditors and receive a promise the principal and interest on the debt will be repaid, later.

Most companies use a combination of debt and equity financing, but the Accountant shares a perspective which can be considered as distinct advantages of equity financing over debt financing. Principal among them are the fact that equity financing carries no repayment obligation and that it provides extra working capital that can be used to grow a company’s business.

Why opt for equity financing?

• Interest is considered a fixed cost which has the potential to raise a company’s break-even point and as such high interest during difficult financial periods can increase the risk of insolvency. Too highly leveraged (that have large amounts of debt as compared to equity) entities for instance often find it difficult to grow because of the high cost of servicing the debt.

• Equity financing does not place any additional financial burden on the company as there are no required monthly payments associated with it, hence a company is likely to have more capital available to invest in growing the business.

• Periodic cash flow is required for both principal and interest payments and this may be difficult for companies with inadequate working capital or liquidity challenges.

• Debt instruments are likely to come with clauses which contains restrictions on the company’s activities, preventing management from pursuing alternative financing options and non-core business opportunities

• A lender is entitled only to repayment of the agreed upon principal of the loan plus interest, and has to a large extent no direct claim on future profits of the business. If the company is successful, the owners reap a larger portion of the rewards than they would if they had sold debt in the company to investors in order to finance the growth.

• The larger a company’s debt-to-equity ratio, the riskier the company is considered by lenders and investors. Accordingly, a business …

Marketing Strategy and Movie Distribution Plans

It's too easy to neglect having a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan when producing on an indie film budget. Producers are focused on fleshing out a tight screenplay, firing cast and crew while keeping track of every dollar they spend. Studio budget movies hire goliath companies to develop a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan for their latest blockbuster.

Indie filmmakers have to get creative with their marketing strategy and movie distribution plan so their creative hard work does not just disappear after it's done. I've been learning a lot of good stuff by following what other filmmakers are doing to market a movie in order to make film distribution money.

One movie with a sexually driven theme created artwork and an attention grabbing marketing package that included condoms with the name of the film printed on them. I read they stand out at film festivals with this creative approach. There are also rare indie produced movies that are so damn entertaining they secure meaningful movie distribution without a strong marketing strategy to promote them.

But why take the gamble that your movie will be one of the rare ones? Thinking about a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan early as possible is what successful indie producers do. I do not read entertainment industry trades like The Hollywood Reporter or Variety because they do not have information based off the real life indie cinema scene.

I've been turning to blogs more and more that are ran by indie producers and filmmakers that share what marketing strategies and movie distribution plans have worked for them. I really like reading Indie Slate Magazine and MovieMaker Magazine because they spend time focusing on the business of indie filmmaking not just the creative part of the process.

Creating an online buzz for an indie feature is one of the most effective ways to market a movie without having to spend money you do not have. It only takes personal time to run a movie blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, Google +1 and other popular social networking outlets. Crowd funding for indie movies has really shown that people do respond to online marketing. The effort to keep a movie blog fresh and stay connected with people pays off in the end. Building interest for a movie online is the way to go.

Having an idea of ​​what the movie distribution plan is going to be will depend on what you want as a producer. Are you going to self-distribute or look to land a distribution deal with a company?

Movie self-distribution makes financial sense for smaller budget indie films. Self-distribution allows the creators to keep control of the rights to their movie. Less money has to be made from direct sales to make a real profit from a movie because there are not distribution fees and percentages taken out by a distributor. Many filmmakers have made money for their film investors and themselves from their work through self-distribution combined with an aggressive online marketing …

I Am What I Am

I can not hear those words without thinking about the old Popeye cartoons, or the Robin Williams version from the big screen. I am what I am , as a result of the thoughts, feelings and actions I've had so far in my life. I also believe we come into this world with a specific purpose that plays a huge role in differentiating us from each other.

In the past few years I certainly feel I've gotten closer to re-discovering what that purpose is. For the first 30+ years of my life, I think I was living up to expectations. I was raised to have great manners, respect my elders, be respectful, be seen – not heard, and a number of other beliefs that my parents instilled in me. Most of those, I most grateful to have learned and adopted. Sometimes though, I wonder how my life would be different if I was not discouraged from speaking up when I had a question, or wanted to voice my opinion.

Now that I'm a parent myself, I'm very conscious of the fact that most of our beliefs that we hold through our lives are formed in our early years (I've heard everything from before the age of 5, to 7 to 10, but regardless of it's at an early age). While I do my best to teach my children to follow their passions, be independent and strong worship, I also by default follow my own programming instinctually.

Did you ever once say "I'll never talk like that when I have kids" and then find yourself sounding like an exact clone of your parents? I know there have been a number of times when I've done myself saying something exactly the way I remember my Dad saying it to me. The challenge is those programs are running automatically on a subconscious level, so replacing them takes a concerted effort.

A big part of that process for me has been following a path of personal development, reading, asking questions and tapping back into who I really am. I've learned to listen to my gut and my instincts more closely. I've done the goal setting and life planning exercises numerous times, and while they all vary slowly I now have a pretty clear picture of what I want my life to look at – and thankfully it's not that much much different than the one I'm living now.

I'm not saying everything about my current life is perfect, but I can definitely see that things are coming together the way I envisioned them, and I know I'm on the right track. The key now, is for me to stay the course. I believe if I'm persistent and committed to creating the life of my dreams, I will achieve it.

Some of the beliefs I've begun to question and challenge over the past couple of years are things like "you must work hard for money" and "money is the root of all evil". I'm not …

How To Provide Some Personal Time Management Skills To Moms

With more mothers stepping out from the kitchen to the desk top workplace, the need to have an effective time management skills are ever increasing important.

Each and individual dad has to perform some tasks for their children, be it being their driver after school, a manager for them and sometimes being a provider for them all. You children have their pals whom their parents picked up for swimming lessons as well. Besides that, you have many chores such as housecleaning, scheduled appointments to take care of.

Your life are totally hectic, there are no shortcut about it. Thanks goodness, there is hope to this problem. You can use some personal time management ideas as one of the ways to effectively manage your day. You simply do not have much time for yourself if you are among one of the busy working moms I have just mentioned.

You might be thinking how you are going to be able to accomplish this. It seems that we know we cannot change the amount of time in a day. There is a good news you can simple start using free personal time management tips, to manage your day better and ending up being a much relaxed person while executing the same work during the working day. First, you have to take a step backward and watch your life. What do you feel is happening to the 24 hours you get everyday? Take a look at exact items on your daily listing that take up a lots of time and try to figure out how to cut down on that time.

Organising pickups and dropoffs point for your kids can really cut down your driving thus making your time well spent. This is in fact a good personal time management practice. There are many little ideas that can be done to help get your time in better perspective. You may have too many appointments. How about watching if you can get them close together or scheduling one day once a week just for appointments and nothing else. If you have kids that are old enough, maybe directing them some workload would reduce yours. This also falls under personal time management practice.

Have to draw a line somewhere

You have to take a stand against any hurdles, when making a change to your life. In the point of view of personal time management for mothers, this describe that you as a mom has to stop all those things that are not so important that prevent you from working towards your objectives. A fast check to dropping those tasks from your appointments is to ask yourself two questions – “will the World stop working if you did not do it right now?” and “does this assist me further my goals?” If the answer is no to both questions, you can safely drop that job from your list.

Take some extra time to perform the job that you would already wanted to do on another day, if …

Workplace Violence – Detect the Warning Signs & Triggering Events

Our other articles on workplace violence describe its nature and scope, our POSTAL formula and behavioral profile, and defusing techniques. Here we describe the warning signs and triggering events … and what to do when you detect them.

The POSTAL Formula for Workplace Violence Prevention:

Profile + Observable Warning Signs + Shotgun + Triggering Event(s) = Always Lethal

The Profile is most useful during the hiring process, to screen out potential perpetrators. For your existing workforce — and when dealing with outsiders — we turn to the…

Observable Warning Signs

These warning signs, which can be newly acquired negative traits, parallel and overlap the profile, but now we focus on current behavior. So, instead of a previous history of violence, our first warning sign is observed…

  1. Violent and Threatening Behavior
  2. For Patrick Sherrill (the first postal worker to “go postal” in 1986), it was tying up neighborhood dogs with bailing wire and a strong fascination for weapons.
    In general, this also includes:

  • Destruction of property or threats of sabotage
  • Disregard for the safety of others or violation of safety procedures
  • Threats, intimidation, bullying, e.g., Seung-Hui Cho of Virginia Tech and Harris and Klebold of Columbine (as both perpetrators and victims)
  • Violence against a family member, e.g., Mark Barton murdered his wife and children just before his Atlanta day-trading massacre
  • Stalking or harassing others. Cho was involved in at least three stalking incidents, the first occurring 18 months prior to his rampage. Also, he placed harassing phone calls to his roommate and took cell phone pictures of female students’ legs under their desks.

  • Strange Behavior
  • Patrick Sherrill’s neighbors noted his strange behavior in the neighborhood — mowing his lawn at midnight and peering into neighbor’s windows while wearing combat fatigues. His coworkers said he preferred his own company and described him as enigmatic. Cho was known as the question mark kid. He had an imaginary girlfriend who lived in outer space.

    In general, strange behavior can include:

    • Becoming reclusive, e.g., a sudden withdrawal from friends or acquaintances
    • Poor personal hygiene or a deteriorating and unkempt appearance
    • Inappropriate dress, e.g., Cho never took off his sunglasses, even indoors
    • Bizarre or paranoid behavior
    • Erratic behavior or an extreme change in behavior

  • Emotional Problems
  • For example, Patrick Sherrill was often angry and frequently depressed. A district court found Cho to be: “an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness.” Professors described him as insecure and depressed, as were the boys of Columbine. This also can include:

    • Drug or alcohol abuse
    • Appearing to be under unusual stress; signs of depression or despondence
    • Inappropriate emotional display, e.g., screaming, explosive outbursts, rage, crying

  • Performance Problems
  • Sherrill’s coworkers perceived him as a problem employee and a consistent non-performer. Virginia Tech declined to divulge details about Cho’s academic record, but Cho’s mother was increasingly concerned about his inattention to class work and his time spent out of the classroom. Performance problems also can include:

    • Inability to concentrate … decreased energy

    Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

    I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

    Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

    1. Know what makes you unique.

    Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

    2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

    Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

    3. Manage that communication.

    If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

    Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will …

    Web Hosting Bandwidth – How Much Bandwidth Will You Need?

    Bandwidth in its simplest terms refer to the amount of data that sent to and from visitors across your website during a period of time, usually measured in a month. As many website newbies are confused about how network bandwidth works and many of them asked me many times about how much bandwidth will his / her website need, in this article, I will explain this technical term plainly.

    What is bandwidth?

    When you visit an online website, you are actually downloading a file, which can be an HTML web page, a gif image, a video files, a flash files or a combination of all of these. With the download of these files to your computer via web server, users are able to view your website through web browser. Any time when a user downloads a file, it can be translated into the data is transferred via the server. And according to the size of your web page, the data being transferred various. For instance, the size of your homepage is 1 KB, every time people view this particular page will cost you 1 KB data transfer. If there are 100 visitors get through your homepage every day, then 100 KB of data will be transferred per day, 3000 KB per month. Of course, calculate how much bandwidth will your website requires is not that simple.

    How much bandwidth will your website need?

    When comparing different web hosting packages from different web hosting companies, you may notice that the allotted bandwidth variously very, from a very small amount of bandwidth to large or even unlimited bandwidth. Therefore, it may be difficult for you to choose the right solution with the appropriate bandwidth. How much bandwidth is most suitable for you anyway? Well. I think you should take these following three factors into accounts: a. How many visitors will visit your website? B. How many pages will the visitors view? C. The size of your web page files, especially if there is big images file or video file in your website. For example, if an average size of a web page (images included) is 50 kilobytes and each visitor to your website viewed an average of 4 pages per month, 5,000 unique visitors to your website every month, then the total amount of bandwidth will be 50KB * 4 * 5000 about 1GB. This figure is reasonable, however, it is also a wise choice to go for provider who offers at least 2 GB and prepare for any eventuality. And this is also a rough estimate, ie it is not required to download images every time the visitor make a hit to your website, since the browser will store the duplicate images in the computer. You should think carefully about your situation, if you expect to launch a forum, then it will cost your more bandwidth than the ordinary websites.

    Website offering files download is most bandwidth consuming
    Although 2GB bandwidth may be enough for average personal blog website with simple …