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Common Home Security Mistakes You Can Avoid in 2016

by Cassie January 26, 2016

Home Security Mistakes

Every year, we promise to do better and every year, at least some of those promises fall through the cracks.

Your security cannot be one of those things. Not this year. Burglars have gotten downright savvy, so if you’re still making home security mistakes that were barely acceptable in the 90s, it’s time to up your game.

You Still Have a Hide-a-Key

Go outside and get it, right now. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s well hidden, it’s not. Thieves know all the tricks. All. Of. Them. Instead, give your spare key to a neighbor. Better yet, install smart locks so a key isn’t even necessary.

You Haven’t Upgraded Your Locks

Builder-standard door and window locks (or worse, locks on older homes) are often light-duty. Burglars eat light duty for breakfast. Consider upgrading your locks from standard to heavy duty, to make breaking in as hard as possible.

You Forget to Lock Up

We see this a lot. You live in a safe neighborhood. You love your neighbors. And so, you sometimes (almost always?) forget to lock your doors. Or, you lock your doors but leave the windows cracked for Fido. Or, you lock your doors and windows, but routinely forget to lock the garage. Folks, 2016 is the year for better locking-up.

Your Still Have Fake Surveillance Cameras

Dummy cameras were a great idea 20 years ago, but it’s 2016 and thieves are hip to this trick. Most burglars know when you’re faking them out and, what’s worse, your non-working surveillance equipment signals that you probably haven’t secured the rest of your home, either. You’ve just become a burglary target.

You’ve Let Your Landscaping Grow Wild

Did you know that trimming your trees, shrubs and bushes is important to your home’s security? That’s because burglars usually stake out a home in advance, and they use overgrown landscaping to hide while they peep. Cut back your plants, and thieves will have no place to lurk.

Your Perimeter is Dark

Speaking of, shadows are another good place to hide. Ban them with plenty of outdoor lighting and floodlights, preferably on motion sensors to save on your energy bill.

 Your Home is Dark

If you don’t get home until late, or if you’re going away for the weekend, or if you have a big business trip planned, don’t leave your home in the dark. Don’t leave just one light constantly on, either. Instead, automate your home’s lighting: create custom schedules, use the app to turn your lights on or off, and create rules to flip lights on if certain sensors are activated. In other words, create the appearance of someone at home.

Announcing Your Departure via Social Media

We know how tempting it is to post your excitement about an upcoming trip, or to check-in to Facebook at the airport, or post vacation-in-progress photos. But don’t. Wait until you get home, so the wrong person doesn’t catch wind that you’re away.

You Forget to Arm Your Alarm

This is such a common mistake, and it’s a bad one. This year, make sure to arm your security system every time you go out. (That’s why you bought it, right?) Stick a note on the doorknob until you get into the habit or, better yet, install smart features that auto-arm your system (or let you remote arm/disarm it via app, in case you forget).

Here’s to a safer, more enjoyable 2016!

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New Trends in Home & Garden for 2016

by Cassie January 5, 2016

Home & Garden Trends for 2016

One of our favorite things about each new year, is planning our gardens and tweaking our design style.

This year, the Pinterest 100 – 100 of the most-pinned trends from the last few months – has clued us in to some of the hottest, most shared trends in home and garden:

2016 Home Trends

Is your home ready for an update?

Color Palette: Neutral Duality

What do you get when you mix black and white, geometric patterns, gentle accent colors, and organic elements? The favorite home interior palette for 2016, which chicly blends black and white to achieve a look that manages to be both warm and welcoming.

Gray is King

If black and white are hot, then so is their lovechild: gray. Home décor experts are calling gunmetal, slate and other dark grays the hot color of the year – as long as you dress it up with some seriously bold, seriously punchy accent colors. The overall look is cool, calm and collected, but your personality will still shine through in each accessory. 

Bold Accents

And speaking of pops of color, statement-making bold accent pillows will continue to be a trend in 2016. (They were already hot in 2015.) Choose stunning prints or bright graphics, and don’t be afraid to mix ’em up depending on the mood, the season or any other excuse you can invent.

Clean, Scandinavian Design

Were clean lines and minimalist design ever out of style? Maybe not, but they’re on the fast-track to super-star status this year.

African-Inspired Textiles

By now, the trend is becoming clear: 2016 will be a year of neutral backdrops, spiced up with bold accents that could only work with minimalist everything else. And one of those accents: artwork, décor and textiles either hailing from, or drawing inspiration from countries throughout the African continent.

Smart Space-Saving

You know those micro-homes you see all over the TV and Internet? We may not want to live in one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from their tiny spaces: smart, space-saving organization that means more efficient, more enjoyable living.

2016 Garden Trends

Now we really can’t wait for spring to bloom!

Trend We Can’t Quite Love: Fire Escape Escapes

Let’s get this one out of the way: fire escape escapes made the list this year, and while they’re beautiful we can’t quite get on board. Why not? Well, there’s a reason that building codes prohibit putting anything on a fire escape: they’re escape routes. Any obstruction could be dangerous. That said, we love the idea of filling small spaces with flowers and greenery. Our suggestions? Try a window box, a ledge, or hanging planters.

Native (aka Low-Water) Gardens

Drought-prone areas have long been hip to this trend, but now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon. (And we love it.) Basically, the idea is to populate your gardens with plants native to your area. The rationale: they know how to survive under normal, year-round conditions, so once they’re established you won’t have to waste water on your landscaping. Plus, they’re beautiful. Win-win.

Raised Garden Beds

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lovingly and painstakingly tended your garden (especially a veggie garden) for months, only to lose your produce to stray and wild animals. Us, too. Enter raised garden beds: pretty boxes that will protect your seedlings and plants, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Clever Garden Hacks

Have you ever hacked your own garden? We’re talking things like pot-in-pot landscaping, easy container gardens, upcycled seed starters, and grinding leftover eggshells to infuse your earth with calcium. Welcome to 2016.

Growing, Then Preserving Your Own Herbs

What gardener hasn’t worried over how to use pounds of fresh rosemary, sage or oregano? This year, don’t sacrifice your too-much-to-use-immediately herbs to frost; preserve them!

What home & garden trends are you most exited for this year?

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The Weekly Roundup 12.25 Edition

by Cassie December 23, 2015

Cybercriminals to Target Apple in 2016

For the longest time, Apple has enjoyed relative safety from cybercriminals and malware creators. With their continued growth and brand reach, however, it was inevitable that they would eventually become a target for cybercrime. In just the last year, the amount of malware and hacks targeted at Apple devices has doubled. Additionally, with Apple’s new endeavor into mobile payment via Apple Pay, researchers predict that there will be increased threats to their payment system in the coming year. Still, far fewer Apple computers are infected on a monthly basis compared to other software providers such as Windows. 96% percent of malware targeted at mobile devices is aimed at Android products. Nevertheless, it is important for Apple users to be weary of potential threats and refrain from installing applications and other software that has not been vetted by Apple. With the popularity of Apple devices, an effective hack could have far reaching implications.

For the full story on BBC.com, click here.

Audi to Use Headlight Lasers

From navigation systems, to automated vehicles, technology is modernizing the way we use automobiles. Audi aims to to go in a new direction in their new vehicles by changing the way our headlights are used. Everyone is aware of the current function of headlights, but Audi wants to employ a new system to allow your lights to be brighter without blinding other drivers.  The new system keeps the headlights bright on the road in front of your car but detects where other cars are on the road and is able to dim part of the headlight so as not to reduce their ability to see. Pedestrians are also protected by the new system, with marker lights that indicate when a person is standing in close proximity to the road. Another safety feature is the Audi’s camera that prevents brighter beams from shining on signs, which eliminates glare that impairs a driver’s visibility. While Audi seems to be leading the industry in headlight safety technology, we can expect this new light system to make its way to new cars from other companies.

For the full story on TechRadar.com, click here. 

Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is a favorite time of year for most people. Use these tips to ensure that you and your family have a safe and happy holiday:

  • Lock your doors when you leave for holiday parties
  • Take holiday cards that contain cash or checks directly to the post office
  • Don’t leave empty boxes from expensive items out by the trash, as it attracts thieves
  • Shut your blinds when you leave the house so thieves can’t see that your house is decorated and may contain gifts.
  • Have a neighbor watch your house if you are going away for the holidays
  • Make sure outside of your home is well lit at night so that thieves can’t sneak onto your property

For the full list of safety tips, click here.

Malvertising, the Latest Hacking Threat

One of the most menacing threats to personal online security is malvertising. Unlike other cybersecurity threats, malvertising doesn’t require any action on the part of the internet user to open oneself up to the hack. Instead, malvertisers buy advertising space on other webpages and can infect your computer when you visit the webpage. Malvertising software looks for vulnerabilities in your computer to find a place that is easy to attack. While many reputable webpages use malware detection tools to try to prevent malvertisers from posting ads on their webpages, the system is not without flaws. To fully ensure safety from malvertising, the barrier to entry for ad buying is going to have to increase so that malvertisers are less likely to be able to afford online ad space.

For the full story on Wired.com, click here.

 

 

 

 

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The Weekly Roundup 1.1 Edition

by Cassie

Target Halts Hoverboard Sales

Borrowing its name from the mode of transportation made popular by the Back to the Future movie franchise, the hoverboard has become massively popular in the last year. The two wheeled toy that responds to the leaning of its rider has been featured all over social media and has found its way into various aspects of pop culture. Unfortunately, there have been a myriad of safety issues surrounding the product that are certainly cause for concern for both retailers and consumers. Following reports of up to 10 hoverboards catching fire, Target has pulled the popular hoverboard brand, Swagway, from its shelves. Amazon has also removed the popular holiday gift item from its site. If you received a hoverboard over the holidays, or gave one as a gift, it is important to look into safety precautions to make sure that you, or the person you gifted the toy to, are not in danger.

For more information, click here

Cities Unprepared for Driverless Cars

Driverless cars are certainly the automobile trend of the future, and have been championed by prominent companies like Google and Tesla. While these companies are prepping their vehicles and improving their autonomous-driving technology, it seems that cities are not getting prepared to handle these new vehicles. In fact, a study conducted by the National League of Cities revealed that 94 percent of the world’s cities have not made plans to accommodate these new cars. Audi has promised driverless cars for consumers by 2016, but it seems their plans may be stagnated by ill prepared cities that lack the necessary infrastructure to make driverless cars plausible. Hopefully, cities will eventually realize the need to make adjustments for these vehicles. The study also showed that the vast majority of cities’ planning also did not acknowledge driving services such as Uber that account for a significant amount of transportation.

For the full story on TechRadar.com, click here

Vulnerability Found in Popular Antivirus Softwares

The popular antivirus softwares AVG, Kaspersky and McAfee have all been found, by a cyber security start-up, to contain the same weakness. The coding issue, when exposed, allows hackers to gain access to a person’s Windows system and potentially steal personal information or infect the computer with malware. The biggest issue with this recently exposed flaw is the fact that hackers would be able to actually use the antivirus software as a tool to access the computer. Additionally, researchers believe that this vulnerability is not only present in antivirus software and could be in other software and applications that access a large amount of your computer’s information. Since the hack was exposed, the antivirus companies have taken steps to patch the hole in their system and protect customers from potential future attacks.

For the full story on SCMagazine.com, click here

Online Shopping Safety Tips

The holiday season may be coming to a close, but plenty of people are still shopping online and taking advantage of post-holiday discounts. Keep your personal and financial information protected with these e-commerce safety tips:

  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card for online purchases
  • Choose trusted retailers to buy from
  • Only buy from encrypted sites
  • Delete any old retail accounts that you no longer use
  • Utilize strong passwords that contain letters, numbers and symbols
  • Avoid using the same password more than once
  • Refrain from clicking on ads, as they could be malvertisements

With these tips you can ensure a safer online shopping experience.

For more tips from IBTimes.com, click here

 

 

 

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It’s Been “A Long December,” and This Year Will Be Better Than the Last

by Cassie December 22, 2015

2016 My Alarm Center New Year's

Well, well, well. You’ve almost made it: Just a few more days, and it’ll be 2016. A new year. Tabula rasa – a new slate. What will you make of yours?

Every year, January 1 rolls around and with it, our country makes promises. We call them resolutions, and we imbue them with all our hopes and dreams for the coming year. But often, they’ve fallen to the wayside by the time February 1 dawns.

This year, we challenge you to uphold your resolutions. Of course, that means starting with resolutions you really want to keep – things that have been on your list for months (or years), and for which you’ve created a plan of action. Join an accountability group. Make a schedule. Create a personal rewards system for meeting your goals. Do what you have to do.

In the spirit of the season, we polled the office. Here are a few of the most popular resolutions bouncing around our cubicles:

Get More Exercise

Even more than the eternal promise to “lose weight,” our resolve focuses on exercise. We want to walk more, take longer runs, meet lifting goals, and see our gyms more often.

Tackle the Project List

What homeowner doesn’t have a miles-long, ever-growing list of projects to tackle? If you take My Alarm Center as your sample, the answer is exactly zero: we all seem to have a long, long list of must-do and wish-we’d-do projects we keep promising to finish. This year, we’re going to get professional quotes, book a few jobs, and even tackle some of the DIY projects that clutter our Pinterest boards.

Beef Up Our Home Security

Obviously, we all have home alarms, but some of us admit to not having updated our equipment to the newest, cutting-edge technologies. This year, we’re going to upgrade our sensors and alarms, check out the newest security cameras, and maybe even hard-wire our CO2 and smoke detectors.

Make Our Homes Smarter

Have you been meaning to add smart-home features to your home security system? We have, too. It’s one of those things we really, really want to do but never carve out enough time to plan. In 2016, a bunch of us have committed to exploring all the smart-home features and options, and deciding which are best for our families and homes.

Organize, Organize, Organize

Spring cleaning? Um… our last time was probably in 2009. It’s gotten overwhelming, so the plan is this: every month, we’ll tackle a small project. SMALL. Seriously. For example, in January we’ll do the coat closet; in February, we’ll clean out the catch-all kitchen drawer. By the time next December rolls around, we’ll be ready for the attic. We hope.

Do Something New

We love this resolution because it’s completely doable: learn or do something, anything new. It can be as simple as picking up an adult coloring book for the first time (they’re surprisingly relaxing, we promise!) or taking a new hiking route. Or, go big and learn a new skill like woodworking or cooking or knitting or baking or… well, what have you always wished you could do?

Happy 2016!

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The Weekly Roundup 12.18 Edition

by Cassie December 18, 2015

NASA’s Computer is 100 Million Times Faster than Yours

With the level of technology employed in the common consumer computer, it is hard to imagine a computer that is significantly faster than the best products on the market. A new announcement by Google and NASA indicates that the machines we employ at home hardly scratch the surface of fast computing speeds. The D-Wave quantum computer NASA purchased 2 years ago, proved to be 100 million times faster than current single core computers on the market when tested by Google. Sure, NASA is using their powerful computer for more than just word-processing, internet shopping and Facebook, but it is still astounding that this technology exists. It is unlikely that consumers will ever have access to machines with this type of speed, but it is promising that Google has taken notice. In a few years, our Google search inquiries could return faster and far more substantial results if Google utilizes quantum computing in its search.

For the full story on Mashable.com, click here.

Why Security Tech Will Use More of Your Tech Budget in 2016

Security spending may account for significantly more of your tech budget next year. The cost of cybercrime rose 19% in the last year, and the average company is spending 82% more to defend itself than in 2009. The increase in cybercrime has forced companies to become smarter to defend themselves against attacks. Some tips for stronger security include storing as little personally identifiable information as possible on your servers, as well as looking to respond to attacks rapidly after they occur. Also, make sure that your company’s leadership supports your security tech efforts. To successfully mitigate cybersecurity risks, top level management has to make prevention a priority.

For the full story on VentureBeat.com, click here.

This New Machine Could be the Future of Airport Security

The Qylatron Entry Experience Solution could be coming to an airport near you. The new machine is comprised of multiple hexagonal boxes stacked on top of each other. A person’s bag is placed inside and the door locks. Inside, various sensors scan the bag for banned items. The machines sensors use multi-view x-rays, chemical sensors, and artificial intelligence. If the sensors detect a weapon or banned item, an alarm goes off and security is called. The Qylatron is an intelligent machine with different algorithms depending upon where it is being used. Given the importance of airport security, it is encouraging to see that new advancements are being made to increase the effectiveness of our baggage scan procedures.

For the full story on SmithsonianMag.com, click here.

Security is Better with Cloud Providers

Financial firms have been weary about moving sensitive client data to the cloud, but more are beginning to do so. The cloud has been found to actually improve security. This is due to the fact that many cloud based solutions have security teams and tools to monitor operations. Additionally, data is able to stay protected behind internal firewalls. Another benefit of cloud use is that the sheer complexity of the cloud provides additional security from hackers. In order to hack a company’s data that has been stored in the cloud, the hacker would have to find the exact data center where the information is held and find a way to gain access. Many are still afraid of the cloud because it is fairly new and somewhat complicated technology, but in time we will see almost every company storing their data in the cloud or a similar solution.

For the full story on Forbes.com, click here.

 

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We Once Threw Snowballs At Santa Claus, or How Philadelphians Get Into The Holiday Spirit

by Cassie December 15, 2015

Philadelphia Art Museum

As Philadelphians, we wear our contradictions with pride. We’re the City of Brotherly Love, but we’re also some of the most hated (or feared, as we prefer) sports fans in the U.S. And while our paradoxes don’t stop at the holidays – we are the city who booed Santa Claus (Look, we had reason: The Eagles were 2-11 that season.) – Philadelphia loves the holidays.

No, really. Our city loves this season. Just look around the city, and you’ll see entire row-house rows outfitted in beautiful lights. You’ll see candles in the windows. Santas sprinkle the city (and usually, they don’t get booed or snowballed). And Philadelphia’s Christmas events, attractions and things to do – they’re absolutely abundant. And completely magical.

Here’s a rundown of our favorite Philadelphia holiday events for 2015:

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (November 27-March 6)

While not strictly holiday, there are few things that mark the Philadelphia holiday season more than a winterized Penn’s Landing. The Delaware riverfront location is always picturesque, but add in some decorated trees, holiday lights, and cozy fire pits, and this city favorite screams holiday cheer. Rent some skates (or bring your own), warm up in the heated tent, down some hot cocoa, and then head out onto the frozen surface to make some winter memories.

 Macy’s Christmas Lights Show (November 27-December 31)

Longtime Philadelphians remember this as the Wanamaker light show, and today Macy’s carries on the beloved tradition. Since 1956, Philadelphians have made the pilgrimage to watch the Christmas Light Show: 100,000 LED lights that depict seasonal scenes to the tunes of the Wanamaker Organ and Julie Andrews’ melodic narration.

Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle (November 12-December 31)

Leave it to a park named after Ben Franklin, to create one of the best, most beloved light shows of the season: the annual Electrical Spectacle. The spectacular display runs everyday, every 30 minutes from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is a true and enduring delight for the city’s kids (and their parents).

The Christmas Village (November 21-December 27)

If you associate the holidays with old-fashioned coziness, get thee over to Philadelphia’s own Christmas Village, housed at Love Park. The German-themed, open-air market pays homage to our state’s roots while offering up awesome and one-of-a-kind gifts from 60+ vendors at 90+ wooden booths.

The Holiday Railroad at Reading Terminal Market (November 27-December 31)

If you find yourself in Center City with a train lover, head on over the Reading Terminal Market. Located right by the piano court is a 500 square-foot holiday railroad, complete with 14 working train lines and plenty of holiday cheer.

Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration (December 4-31)

While technically not in Philly, the Adventure Aquarium is an honorable member of our fine city, which means we can include it on our list of favorite holiday events. And that’s a good thing, since Santa goes swimming every year at Camden’s aquarium.

Christmas at Longwood Gardens (November 26-January 10)

If you’ve only visited Longwood during the warmer months, you’re in for a huge treat. Every year, the beautiful gardens are outfitted in a half-million twinkling lights, decking the halls (and trees) with jaw-dropping displays.

Happy holidays, Philly! Try not to throw snowballs at Santa this year.

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The Weekly Roundup 12.11 Edition

by Cassie December 11, 2015

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Top Cybersecurity Issues to Watch in 2016

Cybersecurity is a consistent threat that is becoming a larger issue as technology continues to advance and more products and processes become vulnerable to hacking. With the new year approaching there are certain cybersecurity issues that we should remain cognizant of in 2016. While some issues like cyberespionage and the government demanding more information from companies may not be issues that we can affect, others have more personal implications. Mobile apps, for example, will continue to become the method of choice to target individuals and steal information. Additionally, the precedent we place on the convenience of apps and online services could be to our detriment as we often overlook privacy and security. To mitigate risk and help to ensure that your personal cybersecurity has minimal vulnerabilities, only use trusted applications and avoid freely offering information to expedite online processes in 2016.

For more Cybersecurity issues to watch, click here.

Every Business Should Have a Security and Encryption Policy

Internal business communications are normally confidential and may contain the personal or financial information of customers. Therefore, to protect customer privacy, it is crucial for businesses to ensure that these communications are secure. The best way to do this is to make sure that all messages are encrypted by the sender’s device and decrypted by the receiver’s device once delivered. Unfortunately, not all encryption techniques are equal so it is important to make sure that any encryption software businesses are using is up to date with the latest standards. As a consumer, it is a good practice to look to see if security is mentioned in an app’s privacy policy. If it is not mentioned, you should be wary as the company may not value the security and privacy of your data.

For the full story on TechRepublic.com, click here.

A $10 tool can guess and steal your next credit card number

When Samy Kamkar lost his American Express card, he noticed a pattern between the last four digits of his replacement card and his past cards. Eventually, after some research he was able to predict the full number of an individual’s next replacement card. Using this knowledge, Kamkar was able to build a device for $10 that utilizes the number pattern he found. The device can store over 100 credit card numbers and can emit a signal that allows the card to be swiped. If the number on a card is cancelled, the device is able generate the victim’s next card number. Kamkar built this to warn American Express of their security issue. Still, this is cause for concern as other hackers are likely using similar techniques to exploit companies for criminal gain.

For the full story on Wired.com, click here.

Older Drivers are Okay with Tech Features

Cars are being implemented with the newest high-tech features that can often be complicated. Although these features may be new and difficult to understand, many older drivers are still able to see the value in them. A study done by Hartford/MIT found that nearly all respondents aged 50-69 years old would be willing to buy a car with new auto technologies. Most respondents said they would prefer back-up cameras, blind-spot warning systems, and collision avoidance systems. While many of the other new technological features may not cater as much to an older consumer, they are able to recognize the importance of the new safety features technology brings.

For the full story on Forbes.com, click here.

 

 

 

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The Craziest Best Deals We’ve Seen During the Holidays

by Cassie December 8, 2015

Holiday Sale from My Alarm CenterThe holiday season is always a time for great deals: every store and its mother promises screaming Black Friday discounts, and many extend their offerings throughout the entire Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season.

And while every circular and online store yells from the rooftops that their deal is best deal, there’s no doubt that some deals are better than other. Let’s take a stroll down holiday deal lane, with some of our favorite deals from over the years:

Half-priced iPods

Back in 2010, iPods were all the rage – and they had the $299 price tag to prove it. And being Apple products, blazing deals usually meant 10% off, if you were lucky. But that year, Toys R Us offered one of the best Black Friday deals ever, at least where Apple electronics are concerned: Not only did the store drop the price to $199, but they threw a $50 gift card into the mix. All told, you could get your hands on an iPod for $149 – half the retail price. We’re betting this deal thrilled many kids (and their smart-shopping parents) that year.

 2011: Sub-$200 Xbox360 with Kinect

There were a lot of good deals to be had in 2011, but one of our favorites was this gem: Walmart’s $199.96 Xbox360 with Kinect Console. To sweeten the deal, Walmart bundled in a $50 gift card to use on anything in the store. Best Buy offered a similar deal: $200 for a 250GB Xbox360 with Kinect, with Halo:Reach and Fable III included.

2012: $40 Nook e-reader

When we think blazing holiday deals, we usually think of TVs, tablets and laptops – super high-priced electronics. But in 2012, Sears offered a screaming deal on the Nook Simple Touch e-reader. For just $39.99, the department store gave hardcore readers one of the best gifts Black Friday has ever seen.

2013: $30 Smartphone

This year welcomed one of the best smartphone discounts we’ve ever seen: Best Buy’s $29.99 HTC One – 85% off the retail price of $199.99. The company also had on offer the LG G2 for a whopping $24.99, or 87.5% off retail price. Clearly, 2013 was a good year to upgrade your smartphone.

2014: 50-inch, Name-brand Flat-screen for under $200

In 2014, Best Buy slaughtered its TV-selling competition with a $199 deal for a 50″ Panasonic 1080p LED LCD HDTV as their headlining doorbuster. The unbelievable price more than outshone all others, although Target did its best with a $119 40″ 1080p LED flat-screen from Element.

2015: Half-price Home Security

If you’ll permit us to toot our own horn, My Alarm Center is proud to offer one of the year’s best deals: 50% off our cellular monitoring (deal ends 12/31/2015). And just like the TV, this is the gift that keeps on giving – you’ll appreciate it all year round, knowing that your family is safe and protected. And at half the price, to boot!

What great deals have you scored in the past? And what was your best buy of 2015?

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The Weekly Roundup 12.4 Edition

by Cassie December 4, 2015

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The First Cyborg Plants Have Been Created

Thanks to a team of engineers at the the Linköping University Laboratory for Organic Electronics in Sweden, nature and technology are working together like never before. The team has been able to implant analog and digital circuits inside a living rose. What is most amazing about this development is that the newly modified plant is able to grow natural transistors and other electronic components. While this revolutionary new plant is still in an incredibly early stage of development, there are a myriad of potential practical applications for this “cyborg” plant down the line. Most importantly, the plants could be used to generate power through their photosynthesis process. We could also alter the plant’s makeup through a computer program to create new species of plants with new capabilities. One of the less practical but cool uses for this new technology would be creating plants whose leaves change color. This cyborg plant is an incredible break through and is a great stepping stone for more technological integration with nature.

For the full story on TechRadar.com, click here.

Augmented Reality in Cardiac Surgery

Augmented reality can be used for more than just experiencing video games in a more realistic and interactive setting. The popular new technology has now been successfully utilized to assist in the success of a particularly difficult type of cardiac surgery. Surgeons in Poland used an optical, head-mounted device based on Google Glass to see a 3D recreation of the body part they were operating on during their procedure. With the success of the operation, it has been shown that augmented reality can be useful during medical procedures and can actually make a surgeon more efficient in his or her work. We can expect to see more applications of this technology in the health field and other industries in the future.

For the full story on TechRadar.com, click here.

Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

With the holiday season underway, you may be thinking about decorating your house to get in the festive spirit. Use these tips to make sure your holiday lights don’t pose any safety risks:

  • Make sure any lights you use outside are designed for outdoor use and aren’t frayed.
  • Do not replace bulbs when the electricity is on.
  • Never let bulbs touch flammable material like plastic or dry leaves.
  • Don’t place lights on a metallic tree as faulty lights could electrify the whole tree.
  • Turn off decorative lighting when you aren’t in the room.
  • Avoid overloading outlets and extension chords.
  • Place wires in areas that they cannot trip anyone.

With these tips you can ensure that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

For the full list of tips at ArkansasMatters.com, click here.

Medical Devices Are Vulnerable to Hacking

It’s no secret that hacking and cyber security threats are some of the biggest challenges facing our internet-connected technology-dependent society. What we rarely consider is the range of different devices that are connected to the internet and therefore are susceptible to hacks. One field where hacks could have serious, and potentially deadly, implications is the medical field.  Medical devices such as certain drug infusion pumps can be hacked so that the device malfunctions and delivers a deadly dose of medication. X-rays can also be stolen from medical databases and expose confidential information about patients. It may even be possible for hackers to attack security vulnerabilities in pacemakers to deliver a lethal shock to a patient’s heart. As more medical systems and devices are integrated with connectivity capabilities, it will be incredibly important that they are rigorously tested for any security vulnerabilities.

For the full story on Wired.com, click here.

 

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