Helpful tips for May 2014

Hello there and welcome to our weekly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our weekly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at
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Helpful tips for May 2014

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

Some interesting info about our beloved turtles:
They need to come up every 15 minutes for air so that if they get trapped in
the net of a fisherman, it is vitally important to free them as soon as

So you’re interested in finding those ever popular discount fares?
Here’s a tip for you.
Best time to find them is at around one minute past midnight on a Wednesday
morning and why is this?
Well, here’s the secret.
Most travelers book discount fares on a Monday and if they do not follow
through they let them go or have to do so before one minute to midnight on
the Tuesday. Accordingly, these fares come flooding back into the system at
one minute past midnight on the Wednesday morning.
Give this a try!

Want to know a bit more about the beautiful island of Barbados?
Well, here goes!
There are about 1500 Churches on this lovely island and at the same time,
there are also about 1500 bars!

Okay, there is definitely something called adult achne and what are the main
Stress and hormonal changes.

Did you know that browser cookies can undermine your privacy?
Yes, any snooper can use your browser cookies to build a profile on you!
You need to be careful!

So this is the latest about something interesting in France:
A law has been passed that employers are prohibited from asking their
employers to do any work related task through email.
What this means is that employers are prohibited from communicating with
employees through emails or through any sort of i device for about 11 hours
daily starting at 6 pm.

Now for something interesting about cats!
True! These lovable pets sleep for about 16 hours per day!

Which day of the week do we tend to nod off the most on?
Why, it is Wednesday!


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

Credit card data can be stolen with a wave and an app

Certain smartphones allow potential fraudsters to get sensitive info, with
minimal effort

CBC News, April 24, 2013.

A CBC News investigation has found that it’s not difficult to do.

Within five minutes, the app can be ready to go – and in the wrong hands,
criminals could easily steal credit card information, without the victim

“It’s always a concern when a stranger could obtain my personal information
and my banking and financial information just from a simple walk by,
particularly the fact that that worked so quickly,” said Mandy Woodland, a
St. John’s lawyer who specializes in technology and privacy law.

Mandy Woodland is a lawyer with Cox & Palmer in St. John’s. She specializes
in technology and privacy law. (CBC)Woodland says most of what she’s read
about near-field communications skimming indicated it took 30 seconds to
download information from the card.

“And that’s clearly not true since you were able to do it much quicker than
that,” she said.

CBC News showed Woodland just how easy it is to steal the information – even
from a card inside a wallet or inside someone’s pants.

The whole process only took about one second, not 30.

Technology aimed at aiding consumers
The technology is supposed to make life easier.

MasterCard calls it PayPass, Visa calls it payWave.

It allows customers to simply tap and go – quickly pay for that coffee
without the hassle of a PIN number.

But it’s not just easier to pay – it’s easier to steal a card-holder’s
personal information.

CBC News used a Samsung Galaxy SIII and a free app downloaded from the
Google Play store to read information such as a card number, expiry date and
cardholder name simply holding the smartphone over a debit or credit card.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is one of the most popular smartphones available in

A thief can simply walk by, pause and read the information through an
unwitting person’s coat and wallet.

Then the information can be sent to another phone.

CBC News used it to buy a Coke.

‘They don’t even need to talk to you or touch you, they can get information
about who you are. That may make you more of a target for certain types of
-Michael Legary of Seccuris Inc.But it could be just as easily used to buy a
tank of gas or a new computer.

Michael Legary says his company, Seccuris Inc., has investigated cases where
phones paired with these apps were used to commit credit card fraud.

Legary says the information read can be used to buy “anything from a $1.50
drink from a machine to a $4,000 to $5,000 laptop.”

He says the app has become a tool for organized crime in Europe.

“They don’t even need to talk to you or touch you, they can get information
about who you are,” he said. “That may make you more of a target for certain
types of crime.”

Credit card companies say not to worry
Credit card companies declined interview requests from CBC News.

But in written statements, they say consumers shouldn’t worry.

Visa says there been no reports of fraud perpetrated by reading its payWave
cards, in the manner shown by the CBC.

Companies such as Visa and MasterCard are defending the security of
tap-and-pay credit cards. (CBC)”Multiple layers of security and advanced
fraud detection technologies that protect every Visa transaction have helped
keep Visa’s global fraud rates near historic lows,” Visa Canada said in an
e-mailed statement.

MasterCard, meanwhile, also says its customers are protected.

“Though it’s rare that a fraudulent transaction would take place, in the
event that unauthorized use of your MasterCard card occurs with fraudulent
cards or devices, MasterCard cardholders are protected by MasterCard’s Zero
Liability Policy, which means they are not held liable for unauthorized
transactions,” the company said in a statement.

CBC News asked Google why apps capable of skimming credit card information
were available on the Google Play store.

Google said in an email it would remove any app that violated Google’s
developer distribution agreement or content policies.

But Google would not comment on specific apps when asked by CBC News if they
violated that policy.

The apps tested by CBC were still available following Google’s comments.



Seven tips when considering a Cheap Laptop

Not everyone wants to spend too much on a brand new or top of the line
laptop, fortunately there are many cheap laptops available. Wondering what
the difference is between refurbished and recertified? Below will explain
and offer some tips when buying these laptops.

1. Refurbished Laptops

These are practically better than new, usually a customer has returned the
product after using it briefly and deciding it’s not exactly what they
wanted or the laptop may be an off-lease if it is a much older model.

Buying a refurbished laptop can possibly be better than buying new because
flaws have been found and fixed by the manufacturer and once it is deemed to
be in good working order it is repackaged to be sold at a lower price.

The warranty on refurbished laptops can vary widely from 90 days to 3
years(including extended warranties). Check the warranty conditions when
buying a refurbished laptop.

If the laptop is a much older model sold as refurbished, check to see if the
battery is the original or has been replaced. A 2-3 year old battery may be
on its last legs even though it still holds a good charge. Beware of is
stores or retailers listing or selling returned items as refurbished when it
hasn’t been looked at by the manufacturer or a certified repair/warranty
center for that model/brand. Returned items should actually be labelled
“open box” or “used” or something similar depending on how old the item is.

2. Recertified Laptops

Recertified usually means the product was returned unused for various
reasons such as shipping error or incomplete transaction(not accepted on
delivery). The manufacturer inspects for damage and missing items and offers
them as recertified.

Although recertified laptops can be considered “like new” the warranty
period may not be as long compared to a new one. There are times where
resellers may used recertified and refurbished interchangeably, either way
these laptops should have been tested little more thoroughly than a brand
new one to be labelled this way.

3. Budget Laptops

New laptops made with fewer features or slower/smaller/older components but
carry the important longer warranties available with new purchases.
Components may include:

. Smaller and/or slower hard drives

. Slower range of mobile processors (Core i3, Celeron, Atom,
Sempron, V series)

. Less RAM

. Smaller screen size such as 10 inch or 12 inch

These type of laptops make great tools because of these components, they are
also usually thin, light, and have long battery life.

4. Used Laptops

Although there are great deals when buying used laptops, you must keep an
eye out for a few things. The saying “if it is too good to be true.” should
be kept in mind.

5. Warranty

When buying from an individual person the laptop will likely not have any
type of warranty or a very weak warranty that goes only as far as working
condition upon receipt. This is an important consideration because the
mobile nature of laptops can really inflict some wear and tear and having to
spend $50 or more every time you need repairs done will eat into any savings
you may have made in the first place.

6. Condition

When you buy a used laptop online and all you get to see are pictures
showing a great looking exterior there still are a few things to be wary of:

. maybe the battery lasts only 15 minutes because of age.
Replacement batteries are not cheap!

. what is the condition of the hard disk, any funny noises, how many
bad sectors and has it been increasing?

. does the screen have many dead pixels or any other problems?

Unless you can inspect the laptop yourself I would be very careful about
buying used laptops from individuals, especially if they are sold “as is” or
do not have a “dead on arrival”(DOA) warranty. Ask as many questions as you
can about the condition of a used laptop before purchase.

7. Software & Drivers

There is the issue of not having drivers available for components specific
to the laptop when you need to re-install the operating system. Check to see
if you can get these drivers online from the manufacturers web site or if
the seller will provide original driver disks or CD.

Make sure the software you plan to use falls within the hardware specs of
the used laptop you’re looking to buy (check software requirements).
Sometimes there may not even be anything installed so you have to install
your own operating system and software.

If the used laptop does include an operating system and/or several programs
be sure to get all serial numbers or registration keys and disks or CD’s
each program may require for re-installation.

Exercise some caution when buying online and you may find a great used
laptop for a fraction of what you would pay normally. If the price
difference compared to a similar brand new laptop is marginal then consider
buying the new one for the warranty, tech support, newest operating system,
and software bundle.


From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
The hotel that got it just right
By Donna J. Jodhan

As a regular traveler I am always happy whenever I can stay at a hotel that
has gone out of its way to be accommodating to me as a blind customer and I
am always more than delighted to put in a plug for said hotel.

In late April 2013 I had the pleasure of staying at the Cambridge Suites
Hotel on Richmond Street in down town Toronto. I was there to attend the
2013 AGM of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and I stayed from
April 25 to April 28.

This hotel went out of its way to accommodate our group and their facilities
and amenities were extremely accessible. They went out of their way to
ensure that Blind persons were made comfortable. Their elevator buttons
were well labeled in Braille. The doors of our luxurious suites were also
labeled in Braille and guess what! All of the bottles containing the
various liquids in our bathroom were also labeled in Braille. The shampoo,
body wash, body lotion, and conditioner bottles were all labeled.

This hotel really got it when it came to accommodating us as a group of
Blind persons. Their conference rooms were also very accessible and their
waiters and waitresses were absolutely top class when it came to serving the
Give them a try the next time you visit Toronto and tell them that I sent
Kudos to the Cambridge Suites on Richmond Street in down town Toronto

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.
On your next trip you could enrich your down time with some of my audio
mysteries. Take them with you wherever you go!
In the car, on the plane, on the bbus or train, at the beach, anywhere!
Affordable, portable, (computer or i device) and you could either purchase
or Subscribe for unlimited access to my library at

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