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Children and the Technology Explosion

Anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s can testify to the mind-staggering growth of technology that has occurred over the past 30 or more years. What was once an amazing hand-held calculator has now been incorporated into a “phone” that can perform hundreds of actions that would have once required a computer that filled an entire room.

Growing Up in a World Flooded with Technology

Gone are the days when electronic entertainment consisted of a daytime television lineup of soap operas during the week, Saturday morning cartoons and golf on the weekends. Today, children are exposed to an excessive amount of electronic stimuli in the form of video games, computers, social networking and 24-hour television programs that are comprised of almost every genre.

The Information Age

We live in a fast-paced world that requires us and our children to stay updated with current technological advances in order to stay competitive and ensure success. As a result, we find our families spending less time interacting on a personal level and more time communicating through technology by texting, email messaging and talking on the phone. According to an article published by SFGate, the toddlers and pre-school age children of today make up the first “digital generation.” It is not uncommon to witness a child, who is still in diapers, successfully navigating through his or her parent’s cell phone or tablet.

Encouraging Creativity in Our Culture

It is easy to spend our leisure hours immersed in beautifully designed electronic games that capture and keep our attention for hours. It is important as humans, though, that we develop and foster creative skills in order to properly develop our minds. If children are not encouraged to engage in activities that promote individual expression, an important part of their minds will fail to be developed. It is important for parents, extended family and educators to make a concerted effort to pull children away from the magnetism of electronics and introduce them to the joy that is found in creative expression.

Limiting Exposure to Electronics

It is easy for both adults and kids to become preoccupied with electronics and neglect other activities that promote relaxation and exercise. Limiting exposure to games, entertainment and hand-held devices is a good way to keep individuals from spending too much time disconnected from the physical world. Parents and caregivers can set rules that work well for their families such as turning off all electronics at a certain time and banning devices from the dinner table.

Taking Breaks from Technology

Scheduling trips to a local museum, the beach or to other fun places is a great way for families to rediscover the joy that is found in simple activities. Many communities sponsor festivals that have a specific theme, and some areas have day camps such as Fitness By the Sea that embrace the unique, inquisitive nature of children and engage them in educational activities. Making a commitment to schedule an outing once a month is a great way to encourage anticipation and excitement in children for an upcoming, exciting event.

 

Science:

5 Ways the Smartphone Can Help in Physical Therapy

Accidents can happen frequently when you subject yourself to extensive physical activity. Sometimes, physical therapy is needed in order to regain your range of motion and strength in the limbs. During your therapy, there are several ways that your smartphone can play an active role to increase your rate of healing. Although it may not be a medical device, the apps and capabilities of this phone can help keep you focused and on task during your therapy.

Nutrition Apps

One of the most important aspects to physical recovery is through monitoring your diet. As mobile devices continue to develop across the planet, many developers have created some of the most intricate applications for monitoring your food intake. These apps can show you what you shouldn’t be eating compared to what edibles are ideal for a speedy recovery. You may even find yourself using the app after your therapy has been a success in order to maintain nutritional fitness.

GPS Tracking for Movement Monitoring

Many apps will utilize the GPS functionality of the smartphone in order to track physical movement. Apps such as Run Keeper will calculate your movement and time lapsed in order to provide an accurate portrayal of your physical activity. Some therapy may require you to walk a certain distance per day. This kind of software can display all of the pertinent information that you and the physical therapist may need for developing a treatment strategy.

Receiving Messages About Therapy

Mobile marketing is developing at an astounding rate and can help you find affordable physical therapy regardless of your needs. Facilities may use SMS marketing that can send you coupons or discounts for therapy through texts should you sign up for these kinds of offers. According to this post, discounts and deals are often used by therapists to encourage visits allowing you to maximize the experience at an affordable rate.

Email Notifications

One of the most utilized pieces of technology ever created is email. Setting your smartphone up for receiving these messages can help you keep your day organized regardless of where you are. It can help you stay in immediate contact with your therapist while scheduling sessions. According to this post by Mike Vardy, email is efficient through your smartphone because it’s a device that you have with you and use on a regular basis.

Weight Training

Another aspect of some physical therapy is monitoring weight training. There are many apps that can integrate with each other for enhancing the experience of lifting weights that can make it fun as well as therapeutic. Apps such as WeightTraining.com use points to compete with others to become number one. However, you want to check with your therapist regarding weights and exercise to make sure you don’t over exert yourself while you heal.

Smartphones can be used for far more than searching for nearby restaurants or chatting on social media channels. This unit can be one of the most profound tools for everyday life ever conceived for the 21st century. Explore the possibilities of what the phone in your pocket can help you achieve and become more efficient throughout your day.

 

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last update: March 31, 2015

Lifestyle:

5 Tools To Increase Your Lending Potential

Small businesses were hit hard by the recession and they have still not fully recovered. However, there has been a slow and steady climb in the right direction and lending numbers for small businesses are on the rise. ImperialAdvance.com states that with the close of 2014, demand for working capital loans surged and, with the CRA-reporting that lenders have $206 billion worth of loans out to small businesses, the outlook is optimistic. Here is what small businesses can do to improve their lending potential in a still semi-hostile environment.

Be Financially Prepared

One of the most important places to start in the pursuit of a small business loan, according to David Mielach writing for BusinessNewsDaily, is getting one’s personal finances in place. Banks will, as part of their process, take a look at the personal credit history and financial conditions of the parties applying for the small business loan. Running a credit check preemptively will help any applicant be prepared and handle any red flag issues that may hurt their chances. Getting credit card debt in check and having any assets appraised, such as a home, are also two things that can be done to make one more attractive to lenders.

Have Financial Documents Prepared

It’s not just having one’s personal finances in place, the business also needs to be completely prepared before beginning the application process. Some of the papers the lenders are sure to want to see include the business plan, existing financial statements, tax returns and bank statements. The business plan should include projections for future sales, profits, cash flow and income that can be compared against the balance sheets and income statements of the preceding years. Any additional research on similar businesses that can be handed in with the documents that prove the viability of the business in the market can also be a big boost.

Consider SBA Loans or Financing

Looking outside of the traditional big banks and into the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs are another way to increase lending potential. According to the SBA, it doesn’t loan money directly, but it does help small businesses get funding at low interest rates and add somewhat more flexibility, as the lending standards are somewhat lower. That being said, applying for this type of loan still requires thorough documentation and is much easier when the applicant has healthy personal finances.

Make the Business Compelling

Making a compelling argument for why the business is relevant can also aid the loan application process. The story needs to be fast, compelling and easy to communicate with lenders. Being able to come up the business and define the mission/vision in a few sentences, like pitching a movie, is key. This should include how and why the business will grow, what makes it stand out against the competition, and ultimately why a small business loan is necessary and why the lender should jump on board. After all if the applicant doesn’t know why they deserve a loan, why should the lender give them one?

Have an Attractive Internet Presence

The Internet plays a huge role in business these days and having an active and attractive presence is a good way to appeal to lenders. Having an established and well built website with an active blog and social media pages can be ways to demonstrate consumer appeal and engagement. There are all manners of business promotional tools available, from video interviews to analytic services, and they can help prove to lenders that a business is worthy of a loan.

Lifestyle:

3 “Comforts” Techies Need

When you’re hunkered over a computer all day coding, building websites or otherwise being geeky, it’s easy to get in the zone and “just deal” with an aching back or subpar diet. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle can only be sustained for so long. The digital era is impacting everyone, but techies are especially at risk of putting their health on the line in the name of their work. Luckily, there are a few easy accoutrements from pillows to wrist rests that can keep geeks geeking out happily for even longer.

Whether you’re a geek yourself or you want to surprise one in your life with a little comfort, check out these options for those who are sedate for long hauls. It’s a lot easier to improve posture, alignment, and health than you think:

1. Lumbar support pillow

The best ergonomic chairs can be incredibly expensive, but a great lumbar support pillow isn’t and is a fantastic back support for those who are in chairs all day. You can see a breakdown of the types of lumbar support at Spine Health and get a refresher course on why it matters. Remember: You only have one back, and when it’s not healthy it can impact pain in every other part of the body. Lack of lumbar support is one of the most common complaints chiropractors hear.

2. Sun lamps

Geeks are known for the pasty complexion, and it can be tough to get outside when there’s a big project looming. However, all that unnatural light is stressful on the eyes and can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has guidelines on sunlamps, and reiterates the importance of wearing SPF when they’re in use (UV rays are still the leading cause of skin cancer). However, when coupled with SPF, sun lamps can be a great way to energize geeks and give them that all-important D.

3. Wrist rests or an ergo-keyboard

Today, new carpal tunnel diagnoses are often due to poor typing conditions. A number of people spend hours clicking away each day and even more hovered over their tiny smartphone screens. Without proper wrist alignment, this can lead to pain in the arms that extends throughout the body. Ultimately, carpal tunnel can even set in.

Being comfortable and taking regular breaks when working on a computer is critical. There’s no reason luxury and geekdom can’t go hand in hand.

Lifestyle:

10 Best Construction Apps

Smartphone and mobile device apps are playing a huge part in a number of major industries, including the construction industry. There are now several apps that make projects simpler, faster, and more convenient for contractors, architects, and engineers working in all different types of construction to build with the high-quality construction products. Here are some of the best apps currently on the market.

1. BIMx

Compatible both with Android and Apple devices, BIMx is a free, interactive 3-D tool that is used mainly for the communication and presentation of architectural designs with hyper models. The handiest feature of this app is the ability to work in 2D and 3D simultaneously.

2. Home Builder Pro Calcs

Designed by Double Dog Studios, this app facilitates quick and easy calculations for several different types of building projects. This app can be picked up for less than $5 for both Apple and Android devices. The multiple calculators and unit conversions makes cost and time estimates simple.

3. Snapseed

This app is a little unusual, in that it isn’t a construction app at all: it’s a photo editing app. Many construction professionals find that sharing images is the most powerful way to communicate ideas. Snapseed has been the mobile app of choice for photographers for years; its features like selective focus, filters, vintage effects, and even tilt-shift make this a powerful tool. Both Android and Apple users can take advantage of this excellent app for manipulating and sharing images and can even share them quickly on Twitter or Facebook.

4. PlanGrid

After trying PlanGrid out for free, contractors and architects are sure to be pleased with the app’s collaboration tools that allow teams to automatically sync work in real time. It makes tracking of projects simple from any location, and according to Joe Yovino at the Daily Reporter it has already been part of high profile projects like the $750 million construction of the Sutter Medical Center in California.

5. Architect’s Formulator

This app is the ultimate tool for architects, featuring over 500 formulas that span electrical, carpentry, plumbing, concrete and excavation formulas. Architects can find out all they need to know about supplies required to complete nearly any task from building a wall to sidewalk design. It can be downloaded directly from the Apple Store.

6. Construction Master Pro

Perfect for use on Android smartphones and iPads, this app offers an advanced, award-winning calculator for completing layouts, plans, bids, and estimates. It has the ability to convert between different units and includes features for areas, volumes, square-ups, arcs, circumference, and much more that helps saves time and money on projects.

7. Green Pro

Leading the construction apps in the environmentally friendly category is Green Pro, a tool that helps architects, engineers, owners, and contractors check the green requirements of USGBC LEED guidelines for New Construction and Major Renovations.

8. Aconex Mobile
Available for both Apple and Android devices, Aconex allows contractors to access and capture essential project information on-site. This includes features for videos, images, project documents, and storing records. The multiple useful features have kept Aconex Mobile on construction “best of” lists consistently.

9. SmartBidNet

SmartBidNet is built around the concept of keeping vendors and subcontractors connected, allowing them to track financial data of bids and measure statistical information on related projects. It is available at the Google Play and iTunes stores.

10. Home Inspection

For completing a project, LPM Enterprises Inc. offers this app to provide users the ability to go through a project room-by-room and visually inspect its progress. The app can even help identify any visible flaws or defects before closing the deal on real estate, such as a charming deck with no railings, which according to home safety experts presents a safety risk. It is available on Apple devices.

 

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Lifestyle:

5 Best Apps For Money Management

There are an incredible number of money management apps for smartphone users. As more and more of individuals’ information is stored on mobile devices, developers have created an expansive array of apps designed to facilitate money management. These apps not only make payments easier to track, but facilitate accounting as well. The following are some of the most popular apps available today to help users make the most of their money.

Expensify

Expensify, first on DailyList’s Alicia Eler’s list of money managment apps, is a full-featured accounting app which allows for real-time tracking, not simply of purchases, but of related accounting. Expensify, available for free on iOS, Android and Windows devices, has a number of features which make it unique, such as receipt scanning, which allows purchases to be added directly with the click of a button. The app will also track if expenses are billable or reimbursable to simplify tax preparation later. Expensify can even track distance covered for traveling businesspeople and freelancers who are reimbursed by the mile for traveling expenses. This app is closer than any of its competitors to a full-featured accounting system for mobile devices—the app even offers debit and credit card integration to keep track of actual versus recorded expenses.

Mint

While BusinessBee’s Alexia Chianis rated Expensify over Mint on a couple of categories, it’s important not to sell this contender short on the basis of more features in certain areas. Mint, a free web-based personal financial management service, is designed for overall budgeting, something which isn’t Expensify’s strong suit, and it contains robust features in those areas. Whereas Expensify is ideal for business budgeting for an individual, due to Mint’s superiority with budgeting, it has a strong advantage for household budgeting and goal-setting. While handled differently, Mint’s security is on par with Expensify’s, as is its customer support.

DailyCost

While not as robust as either of the options above, DailyCost (free, iOS) is designed for something a bit simpler: tracking purchases during the day. With easy pull-down menus, DailyCost is for the user who simply wants to keep track of their expenses. Far more hands-on than either Expensify or Mint, DailyCost’s main advantage is simplicity. For those just starting out using a budget, AppAdvice’s Aldrin Callum notes its simplicity in simply recording costs. If a full-featured accounting app is a little too much, DailyCost is useful for just tracking expenses during the day.

PrintChecks

With the help of customized check stock, users who prefer printing their own checks can do so with PrintChecks ($4.99, iOS). According to experts in the industry, printing checks is more efficient and less expensive than buying them from a bank or a third party. Users not only can print directly from their phone when needed, but also can keep track of their expenses through PrintChecks’ customized online checkbook, which automatically keeps track of debits and credits. For those who like to keep track of expenses while using checks, PrintChecks does the job admirably, according to Mark Bangs of AppPicker. For those who like having a check-based record of expenses, PrintChecks is ideal.

QuickBooks

Ever the standard, QuickBooks for mobile acts as an extension of the larger desktop QuickBooks program. Because it is designed for users already using QuickBooks on their desktop, QuickBooks Mobile is a way to integrate with the desktop system online through an iOS or Android mobile device. While not designed for standalone usage, QuickBooks is ideal for users who are already part of the QuickBooks ecosystem.

Mobile:

Minding Your Tech Manners At a Special Event

One of the greatest things about modern technology is that people are always connected to the rest of the world. They can discreetly send text messages to anyone at any time, access the Internet with a device that fits in their pocket and share photos and videos on social media at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this is also one of the worst things about modern technology.

It’s so easy to connect with smartphones and tablets in public that people tend to forget that there are certain situations when they should just put their devices down. There are rules of etiquette that people should be expected to follow, especially when they’re at upscale event venues for weddings or special presentations. Special events deserve a higher level of formality and respect than the average get together, suggests the GrandView, and tech etiquette should be made to fit the occasion. Here are just some things that everyone should keep in mind before they take their smartphones and tablets out at a special event.

Ask for Permission Before Taking Photographs

Phones on cameras and tablets make it very easy to snap a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram, so much so that many people think nothing of posting pictures of a wedding for all the world to see before the actual wedding party is ready for the professional photographer. Capturing a special moment and preserving it on a Facebook wall is fine, but not when it’s done without permission. Many would say that it’s in poor taste, so it’s always important to ask for permission before taking out any device with a camera, says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert.

Don’t Text at the Dinner Table

Sending a text message usually isn’t a social faux pas when one isn’t engaged in a social activity, but many people these days will take out their phones to text or tweet during formal dinners and presentations. Not only is the texter distracted from what is going on around them, but it’s incredibly rude to whoever may be speaking. Proper etiquette when responding to a text message, says Kevin Daum writing for INC., should be to respond at a later time or to excuse oneself if the message cannot wait.

Be Careful When Using a Tablet to Take Pictures

Tablets are capable of taking photos and videos as well as smart phones, but people tend to forget how large some of these devices can be. It’s no fun to be seated behind someone who is trying to record a video by holding up something the size of a picture frame. At best, it’s distracting and can block people’s view. Anybody who wants to use a tablet for this purpose should make sure they aren’t inconveniencing anybody near them. Otherwise, a smartphone or small camera is much better in these situations.

Turn Down the Volume

Although people are going to be less likely to carry on a loud phone conversation or use noisy apps at upscale special events, it still happens. Anybody who must take or make a phone call should go someplace away from the crowd and speak at a reasonable volume. Meanwhile, any apps or functions that make a lot of distracting noises should be muted. Nobody likes to hear loud conversations or irritating noises, especially at weddings, formal dinners and important business meetings.

 

Science:

5 Methods of Beating Infertility

Having a child in today’s world isn’t as easy as it may seem for a lot of people. Infertility can be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic complications. If you’re trying to have a child with your spouse, there may be some things you can do that can vastly increase your chances of successfully conceiving. Although some may be more drastic than others, it’s a small price to pay for enlightening your future.

Chemical Interactions

Toxic chemicals can do a variety of damage within the body. A large portion of this damage is silent and may not manifest itself immediately. In many situations, pesticides and petroleum-based products can cause infertility for both men and women. If you’re trying to conceive a child, it may be best to stay away from harsh chemicals and eat more organic foods.

Foods and Beverages

It has been found that food can greatly impact the ability to reproduce and has been discovered in both men and women alike. Some food products are more potent at improving fertilization than others and can affect the results of conception for up to 90 days. According to Hethir Rodriguez C.H. at Natural Fertility Info, women who ate more proteins from plants than animals were more likely to reproduce. A major factor in this Harvard study was the reduction of consuming trans fats.

Avoiding Allergens

Reducing your interaction with things that produce allergic reactions can improve your chances of having a baby. It’s believed that your immune system may be capable of doing its job all too well leading to a miscarry upon fertilization. Allergies to food have also been linked to anti-sperm capabilities reducing the male’s capacity to fertilize an egg.

Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Some STDs have the capacity to render a person’s reproductive system inert. For instance, Chlamydia infections can cause abnormalities and sperm antibodies in men while scarring and blocking fallopian tubes within women. Even though you may not be showing signs of various diseases, these could be wreaking havoc on you internally. Getting regular checkups is very beneficial especially since many of these complications could lay dormant for several years before manifesting themselves.

Sperm Donors

There are a lot of men that are affected by low motility and decreased sperm counts. If all else fails, donor programs are available to help conceive a child. According to this page, you can purchase vials of sperm and have them quickly shipped to you. This provides social anonymity and helps keep the process private, which is helpful if you feel embarrassed by having complications such as these. In short time, you can begin the process of having your own child while using a donor’s sperm.

There are many complications that can prevent someone from conceiving a child. While some can be circumvented easily, others may require a more in-depth analysis into reproductivity. These methods are substantiated by scientific evidence, but there is no guarantee that they will work for you. Each person is different and what works for one may not work for another.

 

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