9 Smart Ways to Save on Car Insurance

Understanding Auto Insurance Basics Liability Collision Comprehensive

Much like having to pay for utilities or car repairs, paying for car insurance is one of those annoying expenses that we all have bear, even if we don’t really want to. But while purchasing auto insurance may be unavoidable, paying too much to insure our vehicles are something to watch out for.

Although most of the time we simply just pay the bill without really thinking about it, there are actually some clever ways most of us can decrease our car insurance rates, at least a little.

Don’t believe me? Here are nine smart ways to save on car insurance that are well worth reviewing. Even if you’ve heard some of them before, taking the time to make sure you are following them could save you hundreds with just a phone call or two:

1. Review Your Policy Annually

Like with home insurance, it is important to be vigilant about reviewing your auto insurance policy on an annual basis to make ensure you are getting the best rate and to find out if there are any new or additional discounts available. Your insurance agent will not do this for you, at least not without you asking him to. Instead, you must be your own best advocate when it comes to paying less for insurance.

2. Shop Around

While it is easy to get attached to a particular agent or agency, particularly one who has served your family for years, it always pays to shop around.  Even if you decide to stick with your current provider, comparing prices and getting multiple quotes will give you a much clearer idea of what you could or should be paying, and will also give you more leverage for negotiating rates.

Interestingly, according to the Allstate policy specialist I spoke with, choosing the cheaper premium may not always be the best route to take. He suggested determining what coverage you need or expect to require as well as researching claims procedures (such as time to respond, special benefits, etc.), and then determining what type of relationship you want (face-to-face, web only, etc.) Once you’ve researched all these factors, and created a list of companies that offer what you are looking for you will have a much better way of comparing cost to value.

3. Combine Insurance Policies

While shopping around is important, it can also payoff big time to carry all your various insurance policies with the same carrier to take advantage of a multiple-policy discount.  Furthermore, bundling policies can not only cost you less money, it can also make life easier by giving you one reliable contact (your agent) for your insurance needs and questions.

4. Be a Safe Driver

One of the most effective ways to pay less for insurance is to be a safe and conscientious driver, as the best premiums and rates are offered to those without speeding tickets or accidents tarnishing their records. On top of that, many insurance companies give bonuses and credits for every additional year of safe driving.

But what if your record is already tarnished? Is there any way to redeem yourself once you’ve made a mistake?

Surprisingly, yes. While you can’t magically erase a bad driving record, you can vow to become a better driver from now on, and the longer you can go without any driving infractions, the more likely you will be to get a discount. Turn off your cell phone before getting in the car, eliminate other distractions as much as possible, and obey the speed limit and other traffic signs. Furthermore, it is sometimes possible to go to traffic or driving school to keep tickets from appearing on your driving record. Be sure to inquire if this is a possibility in your area!

5. Increase Your Deductible

Increasing your deductible is a quick and easy way to get a lower rate. Yes, your deductible will cost more if you ever need to file a claim, but as a good driver you may never need to. Even increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can save you thousands over the long run. Of course, as our Allstate policy expert reminds us, just make sure it’s still an amount you can afford in case there comes a time that you do have to make a claim. Remember too that changes you make don’t have to be permanent—if the deductible feels too high you can always lower it again later on.

6. Drive an Older or Safer Vehicle

Insurance is often the last thing we think about when shopping for a new vehicle. We become distracted by all the beautiful colors and the shiny bells and whistles, and it isn’t until we actually have to write that first insurance check that we consider how much our pretty new car is really going to cost us.

Thus, before purchasing a new or used vehicle it is important to do a little research in order to factor in the cost of insurance. Older vehicles are generally much cheaper to insure than new vehicles because their value is greatly reduced. But, according to our Allstate analyst, age and value are not the only factors that come into play: The type of car could impact your insurance rates. For example, safety aspects of certain vehicles may end up costing less, while an expensive car could cost more to insure because it can cost more to replace. You also may be eligible for discounts if your vehicle includes certain safety features or is deemed an economical car.

7. Drive Less

Most auto insurance companies will offer discounts for vehicles that incur low annual mileage, which means that if you own a car that doesn’t get driven much or if you can find a way to drive less, you can save a bundle. There are many ways to do this, including carpooling to work (which can also provide additional carpool discounts), moving closer to work, walking, bicycling, or taking public transit when possible, or becoming more efficient with your errands by bundling them as much as possible. The added benefits of driving less include less wear and tear on your vehicle, significant gas savings, and less risk of accidents. 

8. Install Safety Features

While most newer vehicles come pre-equipped with standard safety features, installing additional safety features to older cars can help greatly decrease your insurance premium. Vehicles equipped with safety features such as automatic seat belts, running lights, an alarm system or anti-lock braking system can all save you money on your policy.

If your car doesn’t already have ABS installed in it, check to see if it would be worth the cost of installation. Insurers love the anti-lock braking system because its been tested thoroughly as a safety device and has a track record for effectiveness. Anti-lock brakes are highly effective in driving conditions where you may need to brake hard. You can keep control of the vehicle better especially when it comes to stopping on ice in a pinch.

Likewise, installing an anti-theft device may also help reduce your premium. Check with your insurance agent to be sure.

9. Take Advantage of Special Discounts

In addition to safe driver discounts, most insurance companies offer a variety of other discounts on auto insurance. While these do vary by state and company, just a few of the discounts that you may be able to take advantage of include Good Student Discounts, Senior Discounts, Retired Discounts, and Resident Student Discounts. At Allstate, Teen drivers can even take a TeenSmart driving class to lower their premiums.   There can also be significant discounts available for paying early, paying in full, or paying through automatic withdrawal.

Furthermore, while some occupations are not at all favored by insurance companies, others may qualify for discounts. You can end up with a higher rate of insurance for jobs in such fields as journalism, real estate agents, sales representatives and even entertainers, but giving your insurer information that is as specific as possible can help lower your rate. A journalist for example may get a high premium but if she is listed as an editor then she can get a lower premium. In any case do NOT be dishonest about your occupation or you may hurt your chances of qualifying for future claims. The occupation you state has to be reasonably close to what you do for a living.

While taking the time to review your auto insurance policy may not be the most enjoyable hour of your life, the thrill of saving a couple of hundred dollars should more than make up for a few minutes of tedium. These nine smart discounts are certainly a great place to start, but always remember be your own advocate and to seek out the best possible rate no matter what.

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A Blog For My Step Son

This article is based on the free eBook

My nine year old stepson Felix is filled with creativity, quite more than energy, but I love that he has a creative side. We spoke  about starting a blog made by him for other kids who share similar interest or just like to explore into other thoughts and ideas, but we have yet to begin one. Im thinking of allowing him to express freely to the free world about random subjects or stories that comes to his mind including recipes and crafts. Of course I’ll  be monitoring his sharing and interaction with others, but maybe an audience greater than our household would give him more initiative to use and share his creativity in writing format as well as also help him with his computer, syncing, coding and writing skill. For all my fellow wordpress artist and writers, like this post if you believe a child should be able to create thier own site and blog , but even better, leave a comment with ideas or thoughts you have towards this subject or ideas about what he should blog about.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

X-out E-Cig Reliance

X-out E-Cig Reliance

vapor

The terrible health and social consequences of being a smoker are convincing more and more people to make the switch to smoking electronic, or e cigarettes. E cigarettes provide smokers with a means to avoid the agonies associated with nicotine withdrawal, without the harmful side effects caused by tobacco usage. Unlike using snuff, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, or other ways to obtain nicotine without smoking cigarettes, e cigarettes completely free former smokers from the toxic and carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke. Within a few weeks of switching to e cigarettes, smokers find that they stop coughing, regain lung capacity, and generally feel much healthier. Even though the carcinogenic effects disappear, the carcinogen matter doesn’t. A recent study claimed hidden high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde were found in e-cigs, potentially increasing lifetime cancer risk by 5 to 15 percent.

People using, or considering using electronic cigarettes should acknowledge that they are not healthy for you. Using them entails inhaling a highly addictive, somewhat toxic compound – nicotine – into your lungs. Hence, just like cigarettes are highly addictive, so are electronic cigarettes. As a result, all of the side effects associated with nicotine use are associated with electronic cigarette use.

That said, electronic cigarettes are certainly preferable to traditional tobacco products, because even if they contain nicotine and entail its side effects, they do not contain the thousands of other toxic compounds in tobacco that cause other health issues. For instance, nicotine, on its own, is not known to be a carcinogen. This means that nicotine alone does not cause cancers; the many other tobacco compounds found in cigarette smoke, as well as additives that cigarette manufacturers add, cause cancers. Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing carcinogenic compounds and 400 other toxins.

Chemicals in a Cigarette

So, though electronic cigarettes are admittedly, somewhat negative for your health, it seems that they are far less risky or unhealthy than using tobacco. Some doctors and researchers even suggest that switching from tobacco use to e cigarettes is an effective implementation of a strategy known in the medical world as “harm reduction”.

The idea behind harm reduction is that though addiction (such as that of a smoker’s to nicotine) and other issues will lead some people to participate in behavior that is detrimental to their health, that these people should be encouraged to engage in those behaviors that are of the least harm to themselves and others as possible. Harm reduction only reduces, but does not cure nor put an end to habit.

 

Therefore, a smoker switching to e cigarettes does not help he individual quit the habit of smoking or addiction to the nicotine or tobacco, but ONLY represents harm reduction for two reasons:

  • It minimizes the smoker’s exposure to toxic and carcinogenic compounds while satisfying their physiological and psychological cravings for nicotine.
  • The switch to e cigarettes also reduces the health impact that smoking has on bystanders near a smoker.

while a smoker will pollute the air around them with side stream and second-hand smoke, a person using an e cigarette inhales harmful products, but exhales a harmless vapor that dissipates nearly instantly. Though this vapor looks like smoke, it is odorless, and contains none of the chemicals that are so harmful in secondhand smoke via cigarettes. As a result, bystanders have nothing to worry about whenever someone smoking an e cigarette is nearby. If more people switch to e cigarettes, the negative public health effects of secondhand smoke will be reduced, but the harm done to its host and addiction does not completely disappear.

 

Smoke by gorky

The nicotine that is contained within electronic cigarettes is known to have certain side effects. But first, a few facts about nicotine: first, it is highly toxic. Doses over 30 mg have the potential to be fatal to human beings, who have a fairly low nicotine tolerance (however, ingesting this much nicotine at once would require smoking at least a pack of cigarettes simultaneously, affixing dozens of nicotine patches to the body at once, or drinking the fluid from e cigarettes – as a result, death by nicotine poisoning, like many other substances, is a very difficult thing to achieve by accident). In the lower doses that are administered by tobacco products (measured in single milligrams), nicotine has various effects. It is a mild stimulant, and like most stimulants, it affects the cardiovascular system. It elevates heart rate, and constricts the blood vessels in the body. As a result, the use of nicotine is strongly related to the development of heart disease, high blood pressure, and vascular diseases. Given that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death of people within the United States, this is certainly a serious concern to be aware of.

In addition to nicotine, the liquid that is used by e cigarettes contains two or more other compounds: the base compound (propylene or vegetable glycol), and one or more food flavoring compounds (which give the vapor a flavor). The base compound, usually propylene glycol, is listed by the United States Food and Drug administration as a compound “generally recognized as safe” for use in products that humans use. Hence, it’s used in foods, medicines, cosmetics, and other products quite regularly without ill effects. The food flavor compounds used are the same compounds that one would find in candies and other processed food products on a regular basis, and as a result, are recognized as safe. Neither is known to cause side effects.

So regardless of the much popularity amongst potential quitting smokers, electronic cigarettes are not intended to be used as a smoking cessation aid. Some people find that it is helpful to kick the tobacco habit before working on kicking the nicotine habit so don’t expect to rely on E-cigs to do the job of quitting smoking. Cigarettes may have been an addiction you are fighting to quit, but E-cigs can become your next.  X-out E-Cig reliance.

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Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Coding, The New Literacy

Coding, The New Literacy

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

“Every era demands, and rewards different skills of that generation”….Samantha Jonas-Rongo

All of us, including our children are connected to technology unlike when we were kids. It’s now part of our lives and our young ones are born into it. Teaching them to code is like playing with LEGOS, which itself is a great introduction to the concept. They want to make things and making a Lego house and building an app or a game is about the same concepts.

In earlier generations, including today, parents including stepmoms such as myself, teach their children how to grow plants, cook meals, separate laundry correctly, iron clothes, wash dishes, take care of animals and plants, make their bed and take vitamins daily, brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day, wash hands, speak proper and respectfully, use manners, do their homework, study hard, enjoy reading read, write a story, shoot hoops, ride a bike, the list goes on and on.

Our world has morphed and so many of the things we once did with elements such as fire and iron, or tools such as pencil and paper, are now wrought in code. We are teaching coding to help our kids craft their future. Isn’t it amazing to see a baby or a toddler handle a tablet or a smart phone? They know how technology works vaguely already.

Kids absorb information so fast. Languages, spoken or coded, can be learned in a matter of months. Recently, there has been a surge of importance and poplularity emerging about teaching kids to code.

Programming is viewed as a strict logical stream only available to the brainiest. In fact, coding is within the grasp of everyone. It teaches creativity, strategy, solving puzzles, and even cooperation. I want to expose not only my stepson to coding, but hope that  other parents understand the importance of programming because it’s a great skill and a powerful way of thinking.

As much as kids spend enough time playing Angry Birds and Cut the Rope on a smart phone, I figure they should get a peek behind the curtain at how the programming works. In fact, developing the codes that tell computers and devices what to do is now a vital mainstream skill. With that being said, everyone should learn to code in my opinion, but something’s getting lost in translation between technologists and parents of students around the country.

Let’s get this out of the way: Not everyone needs to learn how to code. Coding is just one part of the constantly evolving technological landscape. It produces all computer programs, from games to social media sites and online calculators. Some experts call it “the new literacy” and say that to survive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to code.

There’s a big difference between learning how to code and having a fundamental understanding of how technology and software operate. Of the two, the latter is way more important for some people including myself, while many in the U.S. don’t understand the tools and software they’re using and are settling for just knowing how to function the program.

“The cloud” is still one of those misunderstood technical terms that gets thrown around far too often, and yet people don’t understand what it means. Even CNN couldn’t educate their viewers appropriately about where and how data is stored in cloud services like iCloud.

I believe that offering programming electives for students who want to learn Python or scripting won’t solve the underlying problem of digital illiteracy alone. In order to teach all students to code, schools will first need to introduce computer-science concepts that help students learn how to stack the building blocks themselves.

Also, digital literacy won’t be a part of a students’ required curriculum until parents acknowledge it’s presence, understand its meaning and importance, and thus demand, that their children be taught it. Parents need to realize that this is an intellectual gap in the elementary school curriculum that’s going to be useful no matter what their kids are going to do in the future.

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They don’t need to learn how to build the next Dropbox or Facebook, but they should understand how the cloud works at least. Instead of just knowing “its a storage space on the web for your stuff”, or something related to that, they should know the fundamentals and meaning behind it. For students with access to more advanced technology, dovetailing computer science concepts with courses that students are already studying can benefit both subjects.

Bootstrap, for instance, teaches students programming concepts by using algebra and geometry to create a video game. The materials are open source, and math teachers of students aged 8 to 13 can download and introduce Bootstrap to the classroom, but finding and enabling qualified instructors to teach concepts of technology and computer science can be difficult.

The “learn to code,” movement has almost as many skeptics as supporters—in part because coding, and understanding how coding works, are two very different things.  When you understand how things work, it changes your perception of the world, and the Internet is not this thing that’s separate from you any more. You can be part of it.

 A growing list of educational startups are teaching programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to people without technical backgrounds. Universities, colleges, and continuing education programs are getting into the act, too. I support and understand the value of it’s success, because you have to stay on top of the technology of the present that is the beginning of the future. You have to stay on top of the technology, because it’s very competitive in the job market.

Coding, that’s the future. Many creative professionals are going to need to know how to do the technical stuff. Even if you or your child are not planning to become a programmer or developer, knowing and understanding computer code can enhance resumes and help careers.

Programming really is literacy for the 21st century. Which computer languages that should be learned depends on the goals. As a general rule of thumb, learn HTML and CSS for the Web; JavaScript for games or apps; and Ruby or Python if you want to process data or explore databases. For the college graduate, having the ability to put HTML and CSS on a resume is a real perk.

So how do you, yourself become code literate? Learning computer languages has been compared to studying foreign languages, so a lot depends on your style of learning. Some people prefer working independently at their own speed, so online programs such as Codecademy, Codagogy, or Code Avengers work best. Others may learn better in traditional classroom settings. An array of meetup groups can also help newbies get coding.

As a parent with the knowledge and understanding of coding and having the capability to code, helping teach your child learn those same skills and matters is much easier. If our children can learn how to abbreviate their text, text with emoticon, they can learn the fundamentals behind their device and its programming.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Children and Social Networks

Children and Social Networks

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Social media, the world where the socialites and others alike, along with those non socially active can be whomever they like, meet, greet, chat and even build relationships and/or friendships. It is the nesting ground for friends, family and even predators. As a parent and an educator, this topic is near and dear to my heart. Every week that passes, the social media landscape changes, and keeping up with it can be a nightmare.

If you’re a parent or guardian of any child or teenager, you have to keep up with it. You have to be savvy enough to know what social networks your kids are using. You can’t use the excuse: “I don’t understand this stuff!”, for example: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Google+, Facebook etc. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s time to start doing some research. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should know how these networks operate. These are the platforms your teenagers, or soon to be teenagers are probably using right now or are interested in doing so.

What if your child asks you if they can get a Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, etc… account?

Don’t start with NO! You want to start this journey with them knowing you’re there for them. That doesn’t mean you have to say yes either but hear them out first. Start with questions like these:

  1. Why do you want a Facebook account? They’ll probably answer with something like “Because ALL my friends have one”.
  1. Which of your friends are on Facebook and are allowed by their parents? Hopefully they tell you. If not, maybe they’re not ready to be on social media.
  1. Are these the only people you would be friends with on Facebook? This might be a good time to talk about only interacting with people they know in real life.
  1. What do you know about Facebook? They may say something like “You talk to friends and share photos”.
  1. What kind of photos would you be sharing? My guess is they’ll say something like “I don’t know. Me and my friends.” This is a great time to talk about what types of photos are appropriate to share online and why.

social media tips for law firms

After you’ve had this conversation with your child you need to make a decision as to whether they’re ready for social media or not. If you’re on the fence about letting them you can always say “Yes, but under one condition. You have to share your password with me. If you’re being honest about why you want to be on Facebook then you have nothing to hide from me”. You can also tell them you’ll only use the password if you feel like they’re hiding something from you or not using the network responsibly. A written agreement between you and your teen might serve as a reminder of rules that are not to be broken and consequences that will happen if they are. Refer back to it often and review the rules when appropriate.

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Here is some advice to get you started on educating yourself and your children on how to use social media safely:

  • Teach your child about respect. Respecting themselves and respecting others. If you stop them from being on Twitter or Facebook, they’ll just move to WhatsApp or Instagram or SnapChat or Google+ or … you get the point. Give them the skills to make good decisions first and foremost.
  • Teach your child that whatever they put online is permanent, this includes Emailing! Private is not always private. The photo or video they post online is not owned by them anymore. It’s owned by Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc…whatever site they posted on, and they can do what they want with it. Not only are certin things crimes, they can be persecuted not only by their peers, but even the law if it is reported. Certain photos even make them easy targets for bullies and predators as well.

SocialMediaPostRemorse

  • Some day your kids may apply to a high school or college, or submit a resume for a job, and I can assure you they will most likely be researched online. An employer, or school may still conduct a background check, but it is very common that a simple Google, and then social network search is part of the process. Ask yourself, what will their impression of my child be when their done? Therefore, teach them to also share their accomplishments like academic awards, sports awards, volunteering, community events, school club activities etc. online when they are involved in them and keep the negative outlook off of the web.
  • Tell your child to never take seductive photos and text them to her “boyfriend”. It’s incredibly risky and foolish because at some point her boyfriend probably won’t be the only person to see those photos. The same is true for girlfriends. They share pictures of ‘hot guys’ around as well. ‘Sexting’ should be a subject discussed before any smartphone is purchased. All this applies to pictures of under-age drinking, doing drugs, or any other illegal activity due to the negative outlook on their personality and being, your parenting, as well as their future job and school inquiries.
  • Explain to your child that communicating verbally is completely different than communicating online. If you happen to say something verbally that you later regret you can fix this over time. If you happen to post something online that you later regret, that content may never disappear and you may never be able to fix it. It is easy to press delete, but let’s be real, the internet does not erase, and everything sticks to the IP address. With technology allowing screen shots and downloads to occur, it may be deleted on your end, but still exist on another. So besides it still available on the IP address, the other party still has the physical evidence available at hand.
  • Trust goes as far as they trust their friends! ‘Private’ or “Protected’ accounts give teens a false sense of security, since those ‘trusted friends’ might post pictures of you, tag you, or leave accounts open and accessible to parents or worse, peers. This is where ‘Don’t say ANYTHING you wouldn’t say out loud’ applies most!

  • Make sure your child knows to come to you with a problem right when it occurs, so you can help fix it. Things can get out of hand quickly online, as pictures, texts and posts can go viral within hours! Whether something is happening on their accounts, or an a friends’ account they need to know to report it to you. Let them know coming to you is their only option and that you will always listen.
  • Be present and aware of what your children are doing online. Don’t give a laptop/iPad/iPod etc and let them go to their room for the night if you don’t plan on keeping an eye on them. Know what apps they have. Know their password to these devices. You have to find a balance between trusting your child and parenting. If you don’t give them some space they’ll never learn to make good decisions (even if that means making a mistake here and there) and if you’re completely oblivious to their online activities you’re making it far too easy for them to potentially make an unrepairable mistake as well as making it difficult for them to open up and share their online world with you. You are their parent/guardian, not their friend…some things just shouldn’t be tolerted not accepted.
  • Review the privacy settings of each app with your child. You’ll probably want to make sure that they’re not sharing their current location due to the potential ifs of bullies and/or predetor.

 Location matters Spatial standards for the Internet of Things

  • Teach your child not to interact/follow people they don’t know in person, tech them that having many friend on social network doesn’t mean that everyone is their friend in real life. Now a days, following a celecrity can even be a risk dur to the scam artist protrying to be them.
  • Start this journey into social media by making your teenager responsible for their hardware as well. Paying for their own smartphone and monthly bill will quickly teach a teen responsibility and accountability. No work, no money, no phone. It’s how the real world works. As a parent, I have a $10 pay-as-you-go phone as a back-up in case my stepson hasn’t paid his bill. He’s too young to work but allowance is given and that is his source of income. If your child is in the same predicament and your child is using your device, I will give you the same advice I have shared with many of my closest friends: “A parent’s device means all time-limits, usage rules, passwords are completely dictation by the parent”.

My favorite tip is lead by example. Practice what you preach if you want them to navigate their digital life safely.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Why A Case and Screen Protector Are Not Enough

Why A Case and Screen Protector Are Not Enough

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Protecting the data icon Royalty Free Stock PhotoNo matter if it’s a new Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows laptop, traditional desktop computer or the latest IPhone, your device needs to have protection. More than often, we are more focused on protecting the outside of our device by plastering screen protectors and spending more than enough money for a single case. We tend to ignore what really matters which is it’s processing and the protection of our personal data.

We live in a time of age where there’s almost an APP for everything, but what you’re really installing can be something vicious. In 2014 alone, there have been millions of hacks and viruses floating through the air waves. There are a few steps in which you need to do in order to have protection of not just the operation of your device, but your personal information.

It is important to update your antimalware program for one. The last thing you want to do is infect your computer with malware. Don’t know what malware is?

“Malware” is a broad term that covers a host of malicious software. It is, but not limited to viruses, spyware, worms, adware, cookies and Trojans. At its simplest, malware is software that’s been designed to harm networks and range from an act of simple annoyance, network crashes, to identity theft. People often use the term “virus” to mean “malware”, because viruses were really the first kind of malware. Once downloaded, certain malware allows cyber criminals to attempt, and gain access of your personal information by scanning, and monitoring your device’s activities, and log your key strokes to access passwords, etc.

Any device can even be controlled to visit random websites or perform other actions such as running the camera of your device and even record without the owner’s knowledge. Scary!

Another suggestion to save your device from further destruction is to not only have antimalware, but also an antivirus and keep the program updated. An antimalware which consist of protection for specific malware, may not locate all of the viruses that are in motion since viruses are only one section under the large malware umbrella.

Due to there being over 74,000 new viruses every year, good antivirus companies continuously update their software throughout the year, but need permission from the user to do so on their device. It is very important not to ignore or decline the software to update, because it gives you the up-to-date protection as the threats are being created. Adobe Flash, Java, Microsoft Windows and your internet browser are often updated and will send notification when there is an update available.

However, it is best to set them to update automatically. In case you receive a pop up requesting for you to update something you are unfamiliar of, contact your IT and ask what is being updated and its purpose, because it could cause potential harm if in case it is malware.

Sometimes the “free” antiviruses are actually a source of viruses and/or other malware. They can be concealing themselves as a professional free service so there is a higher possibility for them to be downloaded. It is best to purchase known antivirus software from their legitimate retail sources. Normally when you register, you have protection for a year and have to renew your subscription, but it is well worth it to have up-to-date protection at all times. Due to the annual cost, majority of companies will offer their members discounts when renewing subscriptions.

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Another precaution is not opening email attachments or downloaded files without first scanning them with your antivirus/malware programs. Email is the majority way that viruses are delivered to devices. The emails are normally called spam which is why it is important to have your spam protection on.

firewall protection for your networkIf you use a computer or any other device at home on your home network, the most effective and important first step you can take to help protect your computer is to enable a firewall. When in an office or home setting, the firewall, which is the first line of defense, scans all traffic before it allows the traffic through the network. If you have more than one computer or device connected at home, or if you have a small-office network, it is important to protect every computer and device.

You should have a hardware firewall (such as a router) to protect your network, but you should also use a software firewall on each computer and device to help prevent the spread of a virus in your network if one of the devices becomes infected.

Your Router's Role

When in a “shared network”, remember that the keyword is “share”, so therefore your information is vulnerable to those on the same network such as an open Wi-Fi or public hotspot. It’s upsetting to know that someone sitting nearby in a public area drinking coffee, eating a fast food burger, or studying at the campus library, who is connected to its open network, could be stealing valuable information right in front of you.

Not only do you have to protect your devices while using other networks, but also protecting your network from others it. It is nice to share, but share your network with only those you trust. When you have internet and Wi-Fi at home or, as a hotspot, lock it and only give the key to those you trust to use it. With an open network, anyone within the area can use up your available data usage through your internet provider, and/or infect your devices with malware to later infect and maybe gain access of your personal information.

If in fact your device’s hard drive crashes, it can be a big loss to lose important data, photos, etc. There are easy solutions to back up your system and while some may cost, it is well worth it. Depending on the network’s provider, you may be offered a certain amount of free storage, but depending on how much data you need to store, will differentiate the cost.

So the next time you purchase that new stylish case, accessorize for convenience or to express fashion,  think about how you can protect your device’s productivity and personal information.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Xiaomi Growth

A New Beginning

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

They are targeting these markets with large populations, weak telecom carriers and a developed e-commerce infrastructure. Those countries all have large populations that have not yet bought their first smartphone…..Samantha Jonas-Rongo

There are already a lot of speculations regarding the upcoming iPhone 7. However, Apple is still hoping to sell a few millions of iPhone 6 units until they will release their next iPhone. However, the analysts are already gathering information about the upcoming iPhone that will be released in 2015. While we continue battling the war of Samsung V. Apple, that battle is old news in China.

Beyond our iPhone and Samsung frenzies, a new company may be making its way towards us in the United States soon. Not only is Xiaomi a new techno trend, it is making its way as the next global phenomena in the smart phone world. They are focused on not only having a successful business venture, they are working towards making their mark and cementing their place as one of the most powerful phone makers in the world.

Founded in 2010, founders Lei Jun, and former Google executive, Lin Bin began their success story as a start-up to sell smart phones at cheaper prices online. They were essentially late in the game with their first hand set being released around the same time the iPhone 4S was brought to stores.

After an intelligent social media strategy and successful launch, Xiaomi became well popular amongst the young and trendy Chinese population. In 2015, an estimated 500 million smartphones will be sold in China. According to the Research Firm IDC, that total is more than three times as many as those sold in the United States. Even though they aren’t as well-known as its largest western rivals, Xiaomi still successfully reached sales of 12.5 billion in the first 6 months of 2014.

Xiaomi’s international sales have already begun, but next year will reflect whether Xiaomi can continue to rise beyond China. Being that they do not have much of a patent portfolio, they are vulnerable to lawsuits from their competitors.

To recreate their Chinese success, Mr. Lei and Mr. Lin are looking to use e-commerce networks to sell cheap, high-quality phones to markets like the United States and Europe, and developing countries such as Brazil and India. They are targeting these markets with large populations, weak telecom carriers and a developed e-commerce infrastructure. Those countries all have large populations that have not yet bought their first smartphone. Based upon Xiaomi being these countries first telephone providers, they have an extreme chance at global success in the smart phone race.

Mr. Lin made a point that the developed countries with strict controlled carrier networks are not in his top five selected locations to do business. He has placed China as his potential number one clientage, India two, Indonesia 3, then hopefully follow with both Brazil and Russia.

Besides the money made on phone sales, Xiaomi plans to increase its profitability by selling services like entertainment and apps. Business has also increased for Xiaomi after it introduced products such as a smart television, fitness band and tablet.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Sam Sung, Miss Mary Mac

Sam Sung, Miss Mary Mac                                                                                             By Samantha Jonas-Rongo

 

“If I do not protect myself, am not handled appropriately, or am placed in hazardous situations, I can be harmed. The harm done may be repairable, but there are still the chances that I can be permanently damaged or destroyed, and there is no coming back once all goes black”…..Samantha Jonas-Rongo

I see myself something similar to a computer. Not any specific model, made in any exact year, or running on any specific system; just a basic functioning computer. It has a memory ram as a brain with the need of electricity as it’s oxygen, and a strong but delicate body with an attractive screen as its face, broadcasting only what it chooses.

I’m in sync with the computers resting in the classrooms we dwell in. Its ability to connect to the internet and right to access information is similar to my American right to read and learn. It’s my personal ability to download that info in my brain and share it with whom I choose. Technology of the computer allows it to mainly respond by itself with numbers and letters, creating the same form of communication as myself. Depending on its user(s), such as my company in reflection; the results given are reflections and reaction of what they are in search for when in ones company.

I was born with a personality that is shy, but strong and filled with curiosity which has helped with my ability to gain information. More than often, that attribute of being able to provide knowledge to others mainly shows only when someone is requesting its presence. I interact when I am acknowledged. Those conversing with search engines have in fact also witnessed how a computer suffers from this similar shy software bug. I interact when I am acknowledged, but turn mute and sometimes automatically turned off when I am ignored. If I am overly bored, I tend to fall asleep. My mindset is then something of the monitor’s screen saver while my unconscious trance is one with the computer’s hibernating mode.

Over the years I have gained more information on various subjects and my ability to grasp, understand and share it has advanced over time. Given the experience, including the support of others who worked on helping me achieve success has benefited my performance in that matter, and in life overall. All similar to a computer’s production and performance after the years of gained knowledge and advanced abilities.

At times, Some of the knowledge I have is correct while some I withhold isn’t. That is due to people providing me with inaccurate information, such as those liars scrimmaging the web with the intentions of manifesting its lies. Or it could be those who are misinformed themselves, but too vulnerable to not know to stop spreading the wrong information.

A keyboard is used as a tool to spread and request more information, something like my mouth used for speech. In a unique way, it is like my ears as well. It just takes in what is being pressed and being said by its enforcer, traveling to my brain and to its memory ram. I have to be careful and take precautions with actions and travels I choose to make, similar to the sites one chooses to view, as viruses can contaminate my body and cause harm to not only my functioning but physical appearance.

I need to care for my body and its well-being by providing all the nutrients needed for its survival as a computer needs energy from an electrical source. If there is no source of energy, I cannot function properly and without any necessary nutrients for a certain amount of time, it may cause my body to just shut down as a computer dies overtime if not charged.

If I do not protect myself, am not handled appropriately or am placed in hazardous situations, I can be harmed. The harm done may be repairable but there are still the chances that I can be permanently damaged or destroyed, and there is no coming back once all goes black.

-Samantha Jonas-Rongo