Morgan County Herald: Tech Talk & Innovation

Tech Talk & Innovation

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Unlock nostalgia on your favorite music and podcast streaming app

(BPT) - There’s something about songs and stories that have the power to stick with us through the years. There are certain tracks that make us feel good no matter how many times we listen, and certain conversations that we can’t seem to get out of our heads.

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Recent Headlines

Thursday 09/17/2020
3 Ways To Boost Your Business During A Crisis
Updated: September 19, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—If you’re a business owner and you haven’t already pivoted your business model to accommodate the pandemic, you could be missing out on higher revenue opportunities. A June 2020 survey found that 92% of small businesses in the U.S. had already done so, adding elements such as online sales, takeout and to-go orders, virtual offerings and more. Such companies were three times more likely to report higher-than-expected revenues than those that didn’t. That’s a significant number, and it’s incredible news considering the far-reaching economic downturn. 

If your company has already made changes, it’s not time to take your foot off the gas just yet. Many businesses went into emergency mode after the crisis and put a quick solution in place. This is great and necessary for the short term, but it’s not enough. It’s crucial to keep adapting as the crisis continues. It’s now time to think about the long term. Do you have the right technology in place to support your business goals for the next five years? What about the next 10? Technology is such an important part of the recipe for business success as we move into a more digitally connected world.  

If those numbers about higher-than-expected revenue have convinced you it’s time to add more digital revenue streams, take a look at three of the most common business pivots made by business owners we surveyed and how you can build on them for long-term success.  

Pivot 1: Adopt a new online delivery channel. Most people we spoke to have incorporated more digital elements to their business, such as online ordering for restaurants or using eCommerce software to set up online product sales. While many small businesses may have already wanted to go digital, COVID-19 forced them to change quickly and rush to get a minimally viable product up and running.

How to build on this: Small businesses that have invested in IT and software since the pandemic and see technology as a driver right now are able to thrive. Take restaurants as an example. Before COVID-19, many only had an online booking system. Now, having a point-of-sale (POS) platform that enables curbside pickup and local delivery is essential.  

Pivot 2: Develop a new virtual service. Two out of five survey respondents added a new virtual service to their offerings. Think of a fitness class offering training or a craft cocktail bar offering mixology classes online using a video conferencing platform.  

How to build on this: Don’t feel limited to recreating an in-person experience online. The video conferencing technology available now opens the doors to a lot of innovative ideas. For example, while some virtual workout attendees may enjoy meeting at the same time as their classmates, there’s no reason fitness centers couldn’t record a class and offer it on demand for those who aren’t able to make a 6 a.m. workout. Think of it as the ability to reach even more customers than you may have been able to with in-person offerings.  

Pivot 3: Create a new offline delivery channel. Business owners are also adding new offline offerings. In our survey, this was the third most popular business model change. Yes, digital transformation is incredibly important for your business, but offline channels work hand in hand with your software tools. How to build on this: eCommerce and POS software vendors are moving quickly to ensure their platforms include curbside, takeout and online ordering as an option. Find a vendor that allows this as an add-on or included as part of your software so you can keep revenue up during a time of social distancing. Once you have a solid platform in place, ensure it’s backed by an offline process and marketing plan so customers know about your new services.  

Next steps: You may not have the right software in place to grow your business. Whether you’re still thinking about changing your business model or have already added new offerings to your lineup, it’s important to have the right software in place. It’s always easier to scale once you have a solid foundation. The right software can help support your business model changes to ensure you’re able to not just survive the current economic downturn, but grow your business for years to come.  

For more tips about how software can help grow your business, visit ­


Wednesday 09/16/2020
Helping People With Hearing Loss Connect
Updated: September 18, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you care about is among the 48 million Americans who experience hearing loss, here’s some news for you.  

Access to communication is especially vital during national emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many Americans isolated due to physical distancing. Fortunately, services such as Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) empower people to connect.  

How It Works 

IP CTS, also known as captioned telephone service, allows people with hearing loss to use their residual hearing and speak during a phone call and read captions on a telephone or mobile app when the other person responds. Speech recognition technology, along with skilled transcribers, are used to provide this live service.  

The Clear2Connect Coalition is a group of disability and veterans service organizations working together to preserve the quality of and access to captioned telephone service through advocacy and education, as well as meeting with Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. The coalition is committed to protecting the right, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act, for Americans with hearing loss to communicate using a phone.  

Learn More 

For further information, visit  


Pro tips for leveling up your battlestation
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Whether you’re an avid or casual PC gamer, chances are you could improve your gameplay set-up. Most people develop their gaming station gradually, over time. The result? A hodgepodge of equipment and furniture that often falls short. The more you play, the more you may notice your set-up isn’t ideal — and could be throwing you off your game.

Monday 09/14/2020
How to help your teen balance screen time in a virtual world
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The new school year is here — and it may look a little different. Teens are gearing up for more homework, more papers, and especially this year, more screen time. As of March 2020, teen use of apps and digital services is up 70% in the U.S.(1), and 70% of kids ages 12 to 15 get more than the recommended hours of screen time per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thursday 09/10/2020
New Hope for People With Spinal Cord Injuries
Updated: September 18, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you care about is among the 48 million Americans who experience hearing loss, here’s some news for you.  

Access to communication is especially vital during national emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many Americans isolated due to physical distancing. Fortunately, services such as Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) empower people to connect.  

How It Works 

IP CTS, also known as captioned telephone service, allows people with hearing loss to use their residual hearing and speak during a phone call and read captions on a telephone or mobile app when the other person responds. Speech recognition technology, along with skilled transcribers, are used to provide this live service.  

The Clear2Connect Coalition is a group of disability and veterans service organizations working together to preserve the quality of and access to captioned telephone service through advocacy and education, as well as meeting with Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. The coalition is committed to protecting the right, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act, for Americans with hearing loss to communicate using a phone.  

Learn More 

For further information, visit  

 "The Americans with Disabilities Act states that people with hearing loss have the right to communicate using a phone. Captioned telephone services make this possible."

Wednesday 09/09/2020
How Cool Tech Can Inspire Your Child
Updated: September 11, 2020 - 2:32 am

(StatePoint) Many kids gravitate toward technology, leaving parents looking for ways to introduce it to them in a safe, age-appropriate way. Here are three examples of how kids can turn to their gadgets and gear to inspire their creative side, build new skills and even get outdoors and on the move:

Tuesday 09/08/2020
How to save money on monthly bills, with the help of your smart home
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Hundreds of millions of people have sheltered in place as governments issue executive orders to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, many homes are becoming a fortress against the virus, a makeshift school, an office outpost and a daycare facility. As homeowners continue to spend more time at home with the appliances and lights on, they are looking for ways to optimize the efficiency of their homes.

Thursday 09/03/2020
Hungry for entertainment? Blockbuster films available for free [Video]
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

Wednesday 09/02/2020
6 questions to ask when taking your business online
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Whether you run a solo small business, or your business is moving from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, you’ve likely got a long to-do list — and you may not know where to start. Or if your business is already online, you may be trying to improve your website and stand out from the competition. Do you have the skills and know-how to make that happen?

Monday 08/31/2020
How to shop and make money online during a pandemic
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Canceled plans. Working from home. Financial stress. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruptions in many lives. Each day, people are getting more and more creative in discovering ways to stay productive and hold on to a sense of normalcy.

Sunday 08/30/2020
Porch piracy: How to stop package theft during COVID-19 and beyond
Updated: September 01, 2020 - 2:33 am

Thursday 08/27/2020
3 ways to break out of your echo chamber this election season
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - At a time when the nation is more divided than ever over politics, race and whether to wear a face mask, the opinion of one side is often not just opposed to that of the other side but incomprehensible.

How desk booking software can help colleges go back to school and businesses return to work
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Since the COVID-19 pandemic, university administrators and employers alike are searching for ways to welcome people back safely. Their needs are complex: Higher education institutions must schedule for multiple buildings and even multi-campus environments while trying to maintain social distancing, and businesses need to find ways for employees to safely return to the workplace, along with visitors, vendors, and clients.

Wednesday 08/26/2020
Innovation behind what’s in your mailbox
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The past century has seen technological advances no one anticipated. Take the simple act of sending mail. While the ability to send material to the next town or across the world has been around a long time, the methods have completely transformed. It once took days, weeks or months to receive a letter or package from afar, but now everyone expects to shop online one day and receive products the next.

Monday 08/24/2020
New Guitar Show Goes Virtual, Crowd Goes Wild
Posted: August 24, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Guitar fans, mark your virtual calendars., a media leader in all things guitar, has announced a three-day virtual guitar show to be held on October 2-4, 2020.

Social distancing brings us closer to a virtual universe
Posted: August 24, 2020

(BPT) - It’s unlikely anyone could have predicted all the effects of social distancing on our lives — especially our social lives, friendships and relationships. One thing is certain, however. Human beings crave connection, so people worldwide who have been forced to limit their social activity are turning to technology to recreate that feeling of social connection everyone needs.

Covid Pandemic Highlights Value of Transportation Techs
Posted: August 24, 2020

(NewsUSA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered many preconceived notions about careers and technology. In particular, demand for transportation technicians is surging as the government has declared transportation technicians (mechanics) to be essential workers.

2020 Hurricane Season Is In Full Swing—Eight Ways To Prepare Now
Updated: September 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(NAPSI)—Hurricane season officially runs through November, and while no one can predict what lies ahead, there are things you can do to prepare. Here, T-Mobile offers eight ways to stay connected.

1.Make a disaster kit: Include things such as batteries, snacks, water, a first aid kit, a flashlight and device chargers. 

2.Update your family, friends and emergency services contact numbers. Make sure they’re saved and backed up in your devices AND written down someplace accessible. 

3.Subscribe to official text alerts and connect with official social networks to learn about new developments before, during and after a disaster. 

4.Keep your mobile devices fully charged. Have charging cables handy and consider picking up a car or portable charging device. 

5.Protect your technology with waterproof re-sealable plastic bags. 

6.Download emergency-assistance apps from the Red Cross and FEMA. 

7.Make sure your phone supports Wireless Emergency Alerts and that you have enabled notifications on your device. Visit for details on how to set up alerts on T-Mobile and Sprint devices. 

8.Set up Wi-Fi Calling on your phone if you have a phone that supports it. For Apple phones, go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling; for Android phones, go to Settings > More Connection Settings > Wi-Fi Calling. 

Managing Service Interruptions 

Even with the measures T-Mobile and other wireless operators take to prepare their networks against disasters, there is still the potential for power outages and other communication service interruptions. 

If your mobile service is interrupted or spotty immediately following a hurricane, try the following: 

•If you have home broadband and power but no mobile service, try Wi-Fi calling, which lets T-Mobile and Sprint customers with capable devices text and make and receive voice calls via any capable Wi-Fi connection. IMPORTANT: If you have to call 911 using Wi-Fi, be sure to give your address to the operator. 

•If you have a connection to the T-Mobile and Sprint networks, keep calls to a minimum and as short as possible. This helps reduce the load on the network so others can get through. 

•If you are a Sprint customer on the Sprint network, you can automatically roam on the T-Mobile network if the Sprint network is affected and T-Mobile is not. 

•Send a text instead of making a call. Text messages get through more easily during times of congestion. 

More Information 

There are many options for staying up to date on response and recovery efforts: You can check the T-Mobile Newsroom at; visit Twitter at @TMobile and @Sprint; follow T-Mobile’s President of Technology, Neville Ray, on Twitter; or call 611 from your T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile handset. In addition, Sprint customers can call 888-211-4727. You can also get the latest storm forecasts online from NOAA’s National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. 

For further facts and tips on how T-Mobile prepares for and responds to disaster events, visit  


Wednesday 08/19/2020
Become A Gaming Superstar: Top Tips From A Professional Gaming Team
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - You’re more likely to be a gamer than you think! Do you match gems, launch birds, farm gold for virtual gear, or create words with your friends? You’re a gamer — one of the estimated 2.5 billion in the world! Streaming gaming content is now nearly as popular as binge watching your favorite series.

Thursday 08/13/2020
Tips to create the ultimate backyard movie night
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Backyard movie nights are trending in summer 2020. Whether you want a romantic evening with your partner, a fun family activity for all ages or a memorable event with friends, backyard movie nights are a great option that can be planned again and again.

Monday 08/10/2020
Creating connections in a high-tech world: 3 tips to improve customer service
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - In customer service, as in many other areas of life, as technology becomes more sophisticated, relationships get more complex. While technology makes it easier for customers to interact with businesses, an action as simple as finding an auto repair shop can quickly overwhelm consumers with multiple channels, opinions, advertisers and behind-the-scenes engagement systems.

4 ways to get ready for school no matter where you’re learning
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The new school year will look different for everyone this year, but whether students are gearing up for an in-person, online or hybrid learning experience, the right school supplies can help keep them motivated and productive all year long.

Friday 08/07/2020
4 simple ways to keep indoor air fresh at all times
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Americans today are more focused on cleaning and sanitization — not to mention the air they breathe — than ever. Indoor air quality has already been a growing concern in the United States for some time. According to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, indoor air quality can be worse than the air outdoors. You may not realize that simply by doing normal things like cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene or enjoying a hobby, invisible pollution is being added to the air.

Thursday 08/06/2020
Want to Impact Cancer Care Beyond Medicine? 5 Reasons to Apply for the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Sponsored by Astellas Oncology

Ease budget burdens by switching cellphone carriers — here's how
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Access to cellular service during the COVID-19 pandemic has become more essential than ever, whether for staying connected to family and friends as you remain socially distant, getting the latest news, or reaching medical providers.

Combatting Cybersecurity Threats of the COVID-19 Era
Posted: August 06, 2020

(StatePoint) New data reveals that in uncertain times, consumers and businesses need even greater vigilance when it comes to their cybersecurity.

Wednesday 08/05/2020
How Internet From Space Brings Faster Internet To Rural Areas
Updated: August 07, 2020 - 2:41 am

(NAPSI)—For many in the American countryside, signals from space have been most welcome for some time. That’s because, in many places, that’s the best way to get Internet service: via satellite.

Then and Now

While early systems may have been only a little better than dial-up, enormous improvements in high-capacity satellites mean they can deliver faster speeds and more data at a more affordable price. 

How It Works

Satellite Internet doesn’t rely on terrestrial connections. That’s why it can keep people connected every day and even during disasters when other systems may be down. Instead, the Internet signal is delivered to a connection, which then sends the signal via radio waves up to the satellite over 20,000 miles in the sky. The signal comes back down to your home or office and is captured by a dish-shaped antenna, outside your home, which is connected to the Wi-Fi modem.

The Benefits

•Closing the digital gap: Even though the technology is complex, Viasat’s goal is simple: to make high-speed internet accessible just about anywhere, even the most hard to reach places. Many people are seeking the joys of rural living, but remote communities may not have the infrastructure needed to access traditional Internet service at home. Viasat is available where traditional internet service providers don’t go. 

•Keeping people connected: This is more important than ever these days with so many working and attending school from home, accessing telemedicine, watching videos, playing games and connecting remotely with family and friends. You can use Viasat Internet to email, chat, collaborate on documents, pay bills, do research, and much more. 

•Continuous improvements: More satellites are under construction, Viasat will add even more capacity throughout the U.S. in the next few years. That means faster speeds and the ability to handle more and more data from applications such as video streaming.

•Availability: In many places where cable and fiber don’t go, satellite is there. For example, Viasat reaching some of the most remote parts of the country.

Learn More

For further facts about the only satellite ISP to make U.S. News & World Report’s Best ISP of 2020, visit


Saturday 08/01/2020
Bidet Seat 101: A guide for newbies
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - When it comes to buying a personal care item like a bidet seat, you should be choosy. Maybe you like the idea of using water for better cleanliness, or using an appliance that lets you be gentler on the environment, or you want to bring a luxurious element to your bathroom retreat.

Friday 07/31/2020
For Businesses, Being Offline Is Not An Option—Satellite Can Reach Almost Anywhere Your Business Is
Updated: August 02, 2020 - 4:43 am

(NAPSI)—Modern satellite Internet means small and medium businesses can get a connection no matter where they are. Satellite is driving innovation across industries as diverse as construction, nonprofits, agriculture, retail and more in even many of what may seem to be the hardest-to-reach places.

How It Works

The Internet signal is delivered via radio waves from the satellite. The signal comes down to your office, store, farm or work site and is captured by a small dish-shaped antenna outside connected to a modem inside.

Satellite Internet streamlines operations with fast speeds and reliable connectivity. It doesn’t need an existing address to connect customers—it can, for example, service a mobile construction trailer via latitude and longitude. And it can be available within days instead of the months other systems can take.

Satellite internet has come a long way in the past 10 years. It now provides broadband speeds of 25 Mbps or faster with monthly rates that are just as affordable as other internet services. In fact, it has become a lifeline for many local auto repair and maintenance shops that are using internet to order parts, answer customer questions, and process payments. Viasat Business Satellite Internet has given those types of businesses and many others a new affordable and faster connection, with the flexibility to set up shop in the community of their choosing, not having to worry about the existing infrastructure. 

For other small businesses, such as independently owned farms, Satellite Internet has given them a competitive edge to compete with the big guys. Helping them use Internet of Things (IoT) and smart farming tech, such as sensors that detect when crops need water or a cold front is coming. 

From the factory floor to the farm, satellite Internet enables businesses of all types to connect to game-changing services from almost any location. As daily business tasks continue to move online, knowing that your business is connected is more than a convenience—it’s practically a requirement.

Satellite Internet supports a business’s critical applications: email, video conferencing, point-of-sale, inventory, security and more. Being offline even for a few hours can cost a business a great deal, which is why satellite is also regularly used as a back-up connection to ensure business systems never go offline. A reliable secondary service is excellent insurance against service interruptions from a primary ISP.

As the digital economy expands, businesses need to adopt an online strategy to remain competitive. That’s one reason more and more businesses across the U.S., including rural locations, need a reliable Internet solution to ensure they’re able to serve their customers and their community. Satellite Internet delivers a primary or secondary connectivity option for small and medium businesses to remain competitive. 

Learn More

For further facts about the only satellite ISP to make U.S. News & World Report’s Best ISP of 2020, visit


Tuesday 07/28/2020
Nano-Silver Masks May Be Helping to Control Covid in Vietnam
Updated: September 10, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Face masks are becoming the "new normal" to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, but how does yours measure up? Recent studies have shown that standard, single-layer cotton bandanas are not effective at preventing virus transmission between individuals in close contact if spread by a cough or sneeze.

Monday 07/27/2020
Technology Spending On A Tighter Budget
Updated: July 30, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NAPSI)—Though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake the worldwide economy, with the right guidelines and continued social distancing, many Americans are cautiously optimistic about a better future. For now, however, personal and business budgets are still tight, and a number of people are looking for where they might be able to save a few extra dollars. For example, you could cut your cable and watch TV free with an antenna or stream on your computer. Buy generic rather than name-brand computers and accoutrements. Unsubscribe from online shopping sites you can’t resist. Also, ask your service providers and utilities if they’re offering any special deals and discounts you may not have known about.  

One really good solution may come from a surprising place: your wireless service. Though wireless systems are more essential than ever for staying connected to jobs, friends and family, you could save money by switching to a new plan or operator. Here are hints on how:  

First, decide what you’re willing to pay for in a rate plan. There are monthly wireless plan options to fit just about every need. If you’re looking for the basics and don’t need extra services such as free Netflix or Disney+, or mobile hotspot data, you may be able to find a less expensive plan. There’s a reason some unlimited plans are more expensive than others—the extras add-up.  

Four things to consider when you’re looking to switch providers or plans: 

• Streaming services: Many plans today include free subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix, Quibi, Hulu and Amazon Prime. If you’re already paying for a streaming service, then consider a wireless plan that includes your favorite.

• Hotspot data: If your phone is your primary connection to the Internet, you may want a plan with hotspot data so you can connect your laptop or tablet. It can be an additional cost, but worth it if you have a specific need.   

• Rewards programs: If your wireless provider offers a rewards program, joining can help you score nice discounts or freebies—perhaps meals or movie rentals—to help keep some money in your pocket.  

• Taxes and Fees: Some providers, such as T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile, include taxes and fees in the plan price. This, users say, could mean saving an estimated $71.00 a year, per line. 

Next, look into prepaid options. If you’re seeking to switch and save, give another look to prepaid providers such as Metro by T-Mobile, Boost Mobile and Cricket. Those services all operate on nationwide networks, so the network service quality is on par with major carriers like T-Mobile or AT&T, but prices are generally less. Many prepaid providers also offer affordable or free device promotions to new customers, which can help keep your costs down. 

Finally, for further facts and tips, visit


Digital Resources to Play a Big Role in Education this Fall
Updated: September 04, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - The upcoming school year will be like nothing teachers, students, and families have ever experienced, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic steers school systems to embrace online learning and incorporate it in new ways.

Friday 07/24/2020
Tips to Combat Robocalls and Scammers
Posted: July 24, 2020

(StatePoint) Spam and scam calls are the #1 complaint to the FCC. Americans were barraged by over 58 billion scam and unwanted robocalls last year, costing them over $10 billion. This year proves things are only getting worse. As the coronavirus began making news, scammers made an estimated one million or more COVID-19 related calls per day to Americans’ smartphones, and they were just getting started. Scammers are poised to prey on consumers’ growing health and financial fears in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Americans have already lost over $80 million to COVID-specific scams this year, with related losses having increased by 70% from May to June, according to the FTC.

Wednesday 07/22/2020
Offshore Wind Power Prepares to Set Sail
Updated: September 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(NewsUSA) - Wind power can be a breath of fresh air for many communities in the form of creating jobs and lowering energy costs.

9 Ways to Become a Weather Expert
Posted: July 22, 2020

(StatePoint) Weather impacts a range of decisions we make throughout the day, from what to wear, whether to bring an umbrella, when to head out for a jog, or even if you should evacuate the area in an emergency.

Wednesday 07/15/2020
Say Hello to Peacock!
Updated: August 26, 2020 - 2:35 am

(NewsUSA) - What is Peacock?

Wednesday 07/01/2020
From fun themes to top technology: Here's what you need for an epic backyard movie night
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Canceled camps, postponed trips, closed pools and more — summer 2020 is shaping up to be very different for families across the country. While you may not be able to do some activities, that doesn't mean you can't make lasting memories while enjoying time together. You just have to think creatively and plan unique events at home!

Tuesday 06/30/2020
Desk Booking System & Room Scheduling Software Helps Offices Open Safely
Updated: August 25, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - As offices gradually reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, caution is key to supporting employees as they return to work safely.

Wednesday 06/24/2020
Putting Your Home to Work: 5 Things to Know About Solar Panels
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - As people have been spending more time at home and watching their utility bills increase, solar energy is becoming a topic of interest. In fact, even with more constrained purchasing practices in many households in the current environment, a recent Harris Poll research study revealed a 13 percent increase in consumer interest in solar energy since mid-March.

Impressive design gets the word out
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - First impressions matter now more than ever. If you can create a visually impactful, emotional connection with your branding, customers will respond. In today’s world, eye-catching design can be the difference between winning the sale or losing a potential client.

Monday 06/22/2020
How to get paid sick leave if you fear you have COVID-19
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers everywhere have struggled with what to do about their jobs if they have symptoms they fear may be due to the coronavirus.

7 ways technology can help you make the most of your summer
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - With summer upon us and travel plans likely on hold, it’s time to figure out what’s on your family’s summer bucket list. Whether it's learning a new language, reading one book a week or exploring your culinary skills, there are many different ways a smart home with Amazon Alexa can make this summer your best one yet. From enabling Skills to setting up Routines, here are seven different ways Amazon Devices and Alexa can help:

Saturday 06/20/2020
Bidet seat innovation: How it became the luxury hiding in plain sight
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The coronavirus inspired shoppers to load their carts until they overflowed with toilet paper. However, the shopping frenzy and the shortage of supplies also inspired many to take a fresh look at a bathroom appliance they long ignored: the bidet seat.

Friday 06/19/2020
Make the Most of Virtual Meetings
Updated: August 25, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has accelerated an adoption of online work, video meetings, and virtual conferences that will likely continue.

Thursday 06/18/2020
How to keep your cool all summer long
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - With summer comes plenty of sunshine, and with it lots of heat — sometimes more than you enjoy. Are you lacking central air conditioning in your place? Don't sweat it. There are many easy things you can do to help keep yourself and your whole family cool as the summer starts to heat up.

Wednesday 06/17/2020
How teachers can prepare for successful distance learning this fall
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most disruptive event in the history of K-12 education, closing 120,000 schools and affecting 55 million students in the U.S.

Tuesday 06/16/2020
Residential Solar + Battery Storage Solutions Protect Against Utility Outages
Updated: June 18, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—The market for energy storage is growing—and with good reason. With power disruptions from electrical utilities driven by wildfires, storms, hurricanes and the continued decay of the power grid across the country, homeowners have turned to new solutions to keep the lights on.  

At the center of the upswing in interest, solar power continues to rank highly with energy-conscious homeowners nationwide. However, as residents in California have discovered through Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2019, their current photovoltaic (PV) solar systems do not power their homes during utility outages, primarily because safety shut-off protocols are designed into the systems to protect utility workers. This has boosted the appeal of battery-based energy storage and software systems that can harness the sunlight and store it for later use.

The Public Safety Power Shutoffs were put in place to mitigate wildfire risks that could be caused by sparking power transmission lines when high winds and dry conditions create dangerous circumstances. The state of California recently earmarked $675 million under a new round of its Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), one of the first state-level incentives for battery energy storage in the country. The program—which now has a cumulative historic value of over $1 billion—has helped California lead the nation in residential energy storage. The SGIP Equity Resilience incentive program could essentially offset the entire cost of a battery storage system by providing up to $1/watt of backup power for qualified homeowners.

Hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts also have inspired many homeowners to consider battery storage as an addition to their solar power systems or to add natural gas or propane-powered home backup generators in place of or in addition to the solar assets. This demand has helped backup generator giant Generac move into the clean energy arena with its PWRcell Storage System, which is considered an ideal solution for resilience to utility grid outages and a way to significantly lower energy bills by avoiding the utility company’s peak rates. Generac is the only company that offers both battery storage systems and whole home backup generators. Its dealers can provide “touchless virtual quotes” for both systems that let homeowners make the best decision for their specific needs. 

The PWRcell storage system is an all-in-one platform that offers 8 kilowatts of continuous power and a 10 kW surge capacity to start heavy loads such as 2-ton air conditioners and well pumps, but what sets this apart from other options is its ability to scale up to 17.1 kW of usable capacity. The system is equipped with an energy monitoring technology called PWRview, which offers smart device linkage to track household energy consumption, monitor battery usage and track energy spending and savings.  

Such residential clean energy solutions bring smart home energy storage and management into the mainstream for homeowners, cutting energy costs and providing protection from electric utility disruptions. As a result, people have more options when deciding where to get their power.


Friday 06/05/2020
Top Things To Know About Economic Impact Payment Cards
Updated: September 21, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our lives in unprecedented ways, more and more consumers seek secure, reliable solutions for making purchases in-person, online or over the phone. For the millions of Americans who receive government payments, including emergency relief funds from the U.S. government, one such solution is Government Payment Cards, or prepaid Visa debit cards.

What Are Economic Impact Payment Cards and How Do They Work

Recently, nearly 4 million prepaid Visa debit cards were mailed to eligible Americans as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). These prepaid Visa debit cards are pre-loaded with Economic Impact Payment (EIP) funds and are sent in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

EIP cards offer a fast, convenient, safe way for Americans to receive government and emergency relief benefits. These prepaid cards look and work like traditional debit cards; however, these cards arrive preloaded with funds and are not linked to a bank account.

Using an EIP card is quick, easy and secure. It can be used to:

  • Pay for purchases online, in-person or over the phone everywhere Visa is accepted;
  • Pay many bills and get cash back at participating merchants;
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM or a bank/credit union teller
  • Transfer funds to a personal bank account

How To Get Started

The first step when you receive your EIP card is to activate it by calling at 1-800-240-8100.

During activation, you will be asked to validate your identity by providing, at minimum, your name, address, and last 6-digits of your social security number. You will also be asked to create a 4-digit PIN required for ATM transactions and automated assistance and to hear your balance. For your Account security, do not use personal information as your PIN. For Cards with more than one name, only the primary Cardholder (listed first on the Card) may activate the Card.

Keep your PIN number handy for automated telephone assistance and secure future transactions. For example, when withdrawing cash from an ATM – preferably an in-network, surcharge free ATM that carries the AllPoint® brand – enter your 4-digit PIN and select “Withdraw” from “Checking”.

Discarded or Destroyed Cards

If your EIP card was accidentally discarded or destroyed, you can call the Customer Service number at 1-800-240-8100 and report it “Lost/Stolen”. Your EIP Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement card will be ordered. You do not need to know your card number and your first reissued EIP card is free. Any additional reissued cards are subject to a replacement fee, so review the Fee Schedule and Cardholder Agreement at for more information.

How To Keep Your Card Safe and Secure

It is important to know that the IRS, MetaBank, Money Network and Visa, like other financial institutions, do not contact cardholders directly requesting their personal account information. That said, cybercriminals and fraudsters are constantly counting on individuals to be distracted and let their guard down. If successful, they can trick people into handing over personal or financial information using a tactic they call phishing.

Here are some common forms of phishing that one may encounter and warning signs to look out for:

Phone Call Phishing

  • Consumers should look out for a phone call from “your credit card company” or “financial institution,” the caller will typically identify themselves as some who works in the “Security and Fraud Department.”
  • They will note that your card has been flagged for suspicious transactions and will ask for you to prove that the card is in your possession. You may then be asked to provide the three-digit security code on the back of your payment card, your pin, or a verification code that was just sent to you.

Email Phishing

  • Be on the lookout for spelling and grammar errors in the subject line or body of the email. It also may be a warning sign if the email does not address you by name or if the email address does not match the organization (e.g.,
  • Scammers will also sometimes include deadlines or threaten account suspension to add urgency and override your normal sense of caution. If the sender does not provide contact information, or if something feels suspicious (e.g., asking you to click a hyperlink) please contact the card issuer at 1-800-240-8100.

Text Message Phishing

  • Be aware if the sender sends a link rather than a phone number to call. Scammers may also ask that you log onto your account to verify a transaction by providing your pin or three-digit CVV code.

Website Phishing

  • It may also be a red flag if there is something slightly off about the website or the address or if there are misspelled words or odd logos.
  • Look out for unusual pop-ups on the site that request you enter personal account information. Also be wary of HTML links that do not match their destination.
  • If you are unsure about a link, you should manually enter the full website URL or address into your browser instead of clicking on a link provided to you.

Social Media Phishing

  • Warning signs include friend requests from someone you do not know, or a post asking you to click on a link and provide personal information.

For more information on Economic Impact Payments, visit

Tuesday 06/02/2020
5 ways to help prevent home cyberattacks
Updated: August 06, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Being home 100% of the time has become the new norm for many Americans, as social distancing is implemented in communities across the country to slow the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Connected devices are being used virtually nonstop, as the homebound stream shows to binge watch and video chat with friends to help pass the time. Unfortunately, most residential computing networks aren’t regularly maintained and monitored to protect against security breaches. This presents hackers with a virtual playground of which to take advantage.

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