Monthly Archives: May 2017

31May 2017

Spanberger rewards Van Horn's patience – WholeHogSports


FAYETTEVILLE – Blunt. Demanding. No-nonsense.

All accurate descriptions of Dave Van Horn.

But not totally. Include patient. Though belying the above adjectives, patient describes the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville’s baseball coach.

Especially last year when his Razorbacks veered off course on their first losing season in Van Horn’s 15 years as head coach of his alma mater.

Patience paid off. For even as that 26-29 overall and 7-23 record in the SEC team lost its confidence while losing its last 13 games, its players didn’t lose respect for each other.

“They didn’t point fingers,” Van Horn said.

That generally starts with the head coach. It reaps rewards with these 42-17 SEC Tournament runner-ups Razorbacks hosting a four-team double-elimination NCAA regional. They face Oral Roberts on Friday night at Baum Stadium after the opener between Missouri State and Oklahoma State.

Even with some spectacular additions such as Friday night starting pitcher Trevor Stephan from junior college, transfer shortstop Jax Biggers and freshman center fielder Dominic Fletcher, last year’s “they” comprise the gist of this turnaround team.

They bonded in mutual embarrassment without mutual blame. Their coach took solace in knowing in 2015 some had helped the Hogs reach the College World Series.

“The guys that have been in the program,” Van Horn said. “It’s what we had and what we trusted. They had to keep working and they did. We felt these guys were close. Guys last year didn’t have the season they wanted and took it to heart this year and they just kept working.”

At various times during this turnaround season, some still slumped.

One early-season slumper, junior first baseman Chad Spanberger, became ESPN’s talk of college baseball by blasting five home runs and three doubles, including a 3-home run/7-RBI night, at the SEC Tournament.

When Spanberger was having a hard time cracking .200 during an early season slump, Van Horn was the only one talking him up.

Why stick with a slumping bat hitting only .252 with zero home runs and .225 with six home runs the previous two seasons but now hitting .305 with 19 home runs and 64 RBI?

“Well, I’ve seen this before from guys who are his style of player,” Van Horn said. “Power hitters that struggle a couple of years out of high school on the college level and then come on. I guess what kept us sticking with him is we saw what he did in practice. We just felt that just around the corner it was going to be OK. We always knew he was going to be a good hitter and a really good player but wondered if might not be until pro ball. So I’m just glad we’re getting the opportunity to see it.”

So is Spanberger, grateful that his coach extended the opportunity for him to do it.

“It’s huge when you struggle and he’s got the confidence to put you back out there,” Spanberger said. “And that he has trust in everybody he puts out there.”

Sports on 05/31/2017

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31May 2017

Return of the $7.99 wireless travel mouse – CNET


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.


The red version of this travel mouse is almost sexy. The price certainly is.


VicTsing

I’m traveling today, so this seems an ideal time to talk about an essential travel accessory — namely, a mouse to pair with your laptop.

Because, let’s face it, a mouse is a must. Trying to get any real work done with a touchpad is, in my humble opinion, impossible. It’s slow, imprecise, and ultimately maddening.

So, here you go: For a limited time, and while supplies last, VicTsing (via Amazon) is once again offering the VicTsing MM057 wireless mobile mouse for $7.99 when you apply promo code BZZ5COLV at checkout. Shipping is free for Prime subscribers. 

Last time out, that code worked with only the black model. This time, it works with the red one as well! Granted, in both cases you’re saving a mere $2, but in the (fairly recent) past these mice have sold for as much as $14.99.

It relies on a single AA battery (not included) that VicTsing says should last you about 15 months. It pairs with your PC via a low-profile USB receiver that’s tiny enough to leave inserted full-time.

If you’re a gamer, you might appreciate the option to adjust the MM057’s DPI settings. It has five of them, ranging from 800 to 2,400. You cycle through the modes just by pressing a button. And speaking of buttons, the mouse also has forward and back buttons for easier web navigation. (Wish my trusty Logitech mouse had those.)

Although VicTsing refers to this as a “portable” mouse, that’s not code for “small.” Indeed, the MM057 is 4.5 inches long and 3.1 inches across — pretty darn close to full-size.

veckle-magnetic-car-mount.jpgveckle-magnetic-car-mount.jpg


Veckle

The reviews from nearly 5,000 (!) buyers average out to 4.4 stars, and even Fakespot can’t muster up many negatives out of all those. Weirdly, the black model’s reviews earned a “B” rating, while the red one scored an “A.” No matter — the key takeaway is these are mostly legitimate reviews.

On top of all that, you get a one-year warranty. 

If you bought one of these last time, hit the comments and share your feedback!

Bonus deal: While we’re on the subject of handy accessories for under $10, you know I’m all about the magnetic car-mounts. Of course, in most cars your only option is to clip one to an air vent, which not only blocks that vent, but could result in hot air blasting your already hot-running phone. And, let’s face it, the ideal viewing position for your phone is above the dashboard, not below it.

Solution! For a limited time, iOrange-E (via Amazon) has the Veckle Universal Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount for $6.99 when you apply promo code QBPY453O at checkout. Update:Looks like this one is sold out. The link now goes a different style mount from the same vendor.

What makes this one so special compared with all the others? Simple: It has an arm that raises your phone up a few inches, so it’s no longer in the way of the vent — but it is closer to your line of sight.

As I’ve mentioned before, I now consider a magnetic mount the only way to go. Yes, you have to use a metal plate either inside your case or on the back of your phone, but that’s a small price to pay for convenience. I’ve now converted three family members to magnetic mounts; they all love them.

I haven’t tried this one, and honestly I feel like the design of the vent-mount is such that it’ll wobble a bit. What’s more, it’s compatible with only horizontal vents, not vertical ones. But for $7 out the door? Definitely worth a try, I think.

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31May 2017

Watertown Chipotle Affected By Credit Card Breach – WWNY TV 7



Chipotle’s Watertown location was one of those affected by a recent credit card data breach.

According to the company, hackers used malware to search for what’s called track data, which can include the cardholder’s name, card number, expiration date and verification code. 

The software reads the data from a card’s magnetic strip and it’s swiped through a cash register.

Company officials say it happened between March 24 and April 18.

“It is always advisable to remain vigilant to the possibility of fraud by reviewing your payment card statements for any unauthorized activity,” the company said in a statement.

Company officials say anyone who thinks there have been unauthorized charges should report them to the institution that issued their card.

Chipotle officials say they removed the malware and are working with cyber-security firms for way to improve security.

People with questions can call the company at 888-738-0534.

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31May 2017

The best rewards cards can save you more than $1000 – CNBC


Rewards cards are meant to be enticing, yet they also often come with a catch. For those inundated with offers, it can be hard to tell the good from the bad.

Over the past few years, card issuers have upped the ante with better rewards and sign-up bonuses to attract customers.

However, rewards cards, which dole out points when you make purchases at airlines, gas stations and restaurants, generally have higher-than-average interest rates to compensate issuers for the additional perks. So for starters, the benefits of using a fancy card are quickly negated if you carry a monthly balance.

And depending on how much you spend each month, signup bonuses and other rewards don’t always offset the cost of an annual fee, which can be as much as $450 depending on the card, according to WalletHub’s 2017 Credit Card Rewards Report. (Don’t rule out a card entirely because of the fee, either. Often these cards have better initial bonuses and higher earning rates than cards without a fee.)

For big spenders, it is easier to rack up enough charges to reap the benefits of a rewards card and offset the fee.

On the other hand, if you don’t spend that much each month, then most of these cards do not make sense, according to Roman Shetyn, CEO and co-founder of reward-comparison site RewardExpert. On average, it can take most of the year for cardholders to break even.

“If you’re only charging a couple hundred dollars to your card per month, a high-fee luxury card is probably not the best bet for you as it’ll likely take a year or more for you to start netting rewards,” Shetyn said.

With so many rewards cards to choose from, and conditions to watch out for, the best credit card isn’t always so obvious. To that end, WalletHub compared rewards cards from the 20 largest issuers based on eligibility requirements, rewards earning and redemption policies and expected rewards value.

Overall, the financial site found that the best rewards card can yield over $1,000 more than the worst rewards card over the first two years.

In addition, travel rewards are still the best deal, WalletHub said, because they have more redemption value than merchandise, like a coffee maker or luggage, which is the worst option. (Gift cards were the second best option, followed by cashback.)

Among WalletHub’s top picks: Capital One Venture Rewards had the best credit card rewards program, overall, with an annual fee of $59, which is waived the first year, but no foreign transaction fees, no earnings limits and rewards that never expire.

Other contenders included Barclaycard Arrival Plus, BankAmericard Travel Rewards, Discover It, Citi Double Cash and the popular the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which comes with a 50,000 point rewards bonus — if you spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

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31May 2017

How to travel around Europe for only $380 – Travel+Leisure


It hasn’t been this cheap to travel to Europe in years — the result of both a plunging euro as well as new, competitive low-cost carriers. Travelers interested in flying across the pond can now routinely do so for well under $100 one-way.

WOW Air has staked its reputation on $99 flights to Iceland. And Norwegian has promised to make $69 trans-Atlantic fares a regular thing. Just this week, the Norway-based airline offered flights to London, Scotland, and Ireland for as little as $91.90 (Round-trip cost? $210, all taxes and fees included.)

But for travelers interested in seeing more than one postcard city in Europe, it’s easy and affordable to get from one destination to another. And no, you don’t have to sit on a bus for 20 hours, either.

Europe’s network of budget regional airlines and railways is one of the best in the world — and it makes exploring the country even more affordable than you might think. This is how you do a Euro-trip like a classy grown-up (even if you’re still on a college student shoestring budget).

Cheap flights

If you booked that $210 round-trip flight to Ireland with Norwegian, for example, you can score €19.99 flights (about $22) with Ryanair that will take you straight to London. With Ryanair, you can regularly score ultra cheap tickets (€5 flights or less) to destinations all across the continent.

Rail tickets

Train travel is not only one of the most comfortable ways to travel, but it’s also often the most convenient. Europe’s major cities are all connected by an intricate network of rails. And while often more pricey than a budget airline, you won’t be nickel-and-dimed. A Eurostar ticket, for example, includes free Wi-Fi, up to two full-size bags, and charging outlets at your seat. Look out for regular deals ($56 one-way fares from London to Belgium, or $59 for a trip to Paris).

Companion fares

For €36.23 (just a hair over $40) you can fly from Paris to Barcelona with easyJet — or to any number of cities, such as Rome or Prague, depending on the season. To score this low fare, you have to book two tickets at once, however. So be sure to invite a travel buddy along for this leg of the trip.

Assuming you’d like to fly back to Dublin from Barcelona, check for deals from Spain’s low-cost airline, Vueling. We found a €35 ($49) during the shoulder season.

From Dublin to London, and on to Paris and Barcelona before your return trip back, your affordable European adventure cost just $380. Yes, that’s less than $400, including your trip back to the United States.

Looking for more ways to save on your tour of Europe? Travelers ages 27 and younger can save 20 percent off a standard Eurail pass, which gives you a number of trips within a country (or a group of bordering countries) to be taken within a fixed amount of time for a single price.

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31May 2017

How to Check If Your Credit Card Info Was Stolen in the Recent Chipotle Hack – Lifehacker


Chipotle announced back in April that their payment system had been hacked and customer credit card info may have been stolen. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened.

Last Friday, while the country was busy gearing up for the long weekend, Chipotle issued a press release that identified the malware responsible for the attack earlier this year and offered up assistance to customers. How many locations were targeted is still unknown, and when The Verge asked Chipotle how many restaurants were involved, they didn’t give exact numbers. However, Chipotle did say “most” of their locations across the U.S. were affected. Pizzeria Locale, another chain operated by Chipotle is affected by this attack as well. So, if you ate at a Chipotle or Pizzeria Locale between March 24, 2017 and April 18, 2017, there’s a good chance your credit card info has been compromised.

If you want to see which locations near you were hacked, Chipotle has a tool on this page that will tell you. Scroll to the bottom of the page, select a state, select a city, and you’ll be given a list of all Chipotles affected in the area. The restaurant chain also urges customers to call “888-738-0534 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EDT” if you have any questions.

What Should I Do If My Credit Card Gets Hacked?

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30May 2017

Not your father's frequent flyer program – Sun Sentinel


Key measures on both the earnings and use sides of giant-line frequent flyer programs have changed a lot over the last few years. Those changes alter the traditional earn-award math — and associated strategies — to a great degree. Today, I cover the “big three” remaining giant legacy lines, American, Delta, and United. The smaller lines come later.

Dollar-Based Earning. American, Delta, and United have, as usual, moved in lockstep. They’ve morphed their program’s earning base from miles flown to dollars spent. And all three use the same formula: ordinary non-elite flyers earn five miles per dollar spent on the fare; increasing elite levels earn up to 11 miles per dollar. So far, however, elite level requirements are still based on miles flown. Earnings for flights on partner airlines depend mainly on which line “markets” or “tickets” the flight. If the U.S. line tickets, partner earnings are dollar-based at the U.S. line’s rates. If the partner line tickets, earnings are based on miles flown, but tickets at the lowest dozen or so economy fare buckets earn only 25 percent to 30 percent of actual miles flown on some partners, none on others.

Award Requirements. American and United still publish award charts, typically retaining the conventional 25,000 miles for a seat-limited “saver” domestic coach round-trip award. American’s off-peak economy awards are slightly more generous than United’s for Hawaii (40,000 miles) and Europe (45,000 miles), but both charge 110,000 miles for business class to Europe. Delta no longer publishes a chart: Instead, you enter a trip you want and Delta tells you how many miles it will cost. According to a recent IdeaWorks report, Delta still offers many domestic coach round-trips for 25,000 miles.

The Reward Math. Programs with dollar-based earnings don’t work out well for ordinary travelers. Say you want a transcontinental award ticket. In a mileage-based program, for example, five New York to San Francisco paid trips would earn you an award trip. But on a pay-based system, where an advance-purchase nonstop round-trip fare currently costs $323, you’d have to take 15 paid trips to earn that award. This may be an extreme case, but fares in far less competitive long-haul markets start at around $450, meaning you’d have to take 11 paid trips. On the other hand, a high-level elite traveler would earn an award trip by buying only two refundable paid coach round-trips, and a single paid business class round-trip would earn more than 25,000 miles. Thus, non-elite travelers who buy cheap tickets come out a lot worse with the pay-based system than the old miles-based system.

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30May 2017

Continuing education enhances business, brings its own rewards … – Business In Savannah


The “abilities” — availability, flexibility and affordability — are luring more business professionals than ever to pursue continuing education. And many are finding it the key to advancement, say educators who have made lifetime learning their business.

“Continuing education has been around for well over 100 years,” said Dr. Tracey Wofford, Mercer University’s Director of Admissions for Adult Learning Programs and adjunct faculty member.

The classic definition of continuing education, according to Wofford, is when adult learners, who have a college education, seek higher degrees. “That definition is shifting because of online courses. Online extends the accessibility of programs.”

Continuing education can be less expensive than attaining a typical college degree, and offers more flexible hours with the advent of online classes. Thus, many working professionals are finding the benefits and comfort of pursuing higher education degrees and more specialized certificates.

“Continuing education allows professionals to go beyond a traditional degree to refresh and retool in order to stay current and relevant,” said Diane Lee, director of Georgia Tech-Savannah. “Not only is technology constantly changing, but so are industries, markets and professions. Success for professionals today means being able to navigate change and constantly reinvent themselves to meet the evolving needs of employers, professions and industries.”

AFFORDABILITY

In certain instances, employers will pay for continuing education for their employees, encouraging further learning or requiring it.

Other times, individuals will choose to expand their knowledge on their own dimes.

For some professionals, this can mean upgrading their skill sets and expanding their areas of expertise, continued Lee. For others, continuing education can offer a completely new career path.

“The average person now changes jobs 12 times in their career,” Lee explained. “Professional education plays an essential role in empowering individuals to take charge of their own career advancement and develop expertise that’s in demand in a constantly changing environment.”

And the benefits of continuing education are plentiful.

“When the employer initiates the continuing education training, it means happier employees and greater retention for the employer,” said Belkis Torres-Capeles, Ph.D., Georgia Southern’s Executive Director of the Division of Continuing Education. “It also encourages great confidence in the employee. And clients feel more confident because they’re experiencing people who have the greatest skill sets out there.”

Capeles added the employers experience an increase in productivity.

Not only does continuing education boost confidence and productivity in individuals, it also enhances their professionalism, gives them recognition from their peers, adds credibility to their resumes, and prepares them for higher job responsibility, according to Capeles.

“It puts the individual in the position to ask an employer to add an additional $10,000 to his or her salary,” said Capeles.

Pursuit of continuing education shows employers that individuals have the motivation, drive and mind-set to keep learning and adding value to their roles, added Lee.

“By investing in lifelong learning, individuals demonstrate to employers that they’re able to adapt to changing needs and keep pace with constantly evolving market demands,” she explained.

AVAILABILITY

Georgia Southern offers project management courses, legal awareness in the workplace, HR tools and training, safety protocol for hospitality industry, and classes in all fields, such as medical and real estate. “Name the industry and we will provide it through our online providers,” said Capeles.

Capeles continued that Georgia Southern offers both online and offline — in Statesboro, in Savannah, and at locations of employers. “Online is valuable for people who have a conflict with time and scheduling. People who have a lifelong learning need to make time for learning and continuing education. Online allows them to customize to any schedule and field.”

FLEXIBILITY

Georgia Tech Professional Education offers programs in different formats and options to fit schedules and learning preferences.

“For example, we offer online programs, including nine Master of Science degrees,” Lee said. “We have hybrid programs, such as our professional master’s degrees that include a combination of online and face-to-face instruction.”

Georgia Tech Professional Education hosts traditional face-to-face courses and certificate programs in Atlanta and Savannah. The school also has custom-designed programs delivered at partner locations globally.

“We develop our programs with the needs of adult learners in mind,” Lee said.

Some universities offer continuing education under one school or program. Other universities, like Mercer University, offer continuing education courses at each of its twelves schools.

“We’re a private institution, so we’re able to incorporate continuing education courses to our different schools. We find it allows us to be more nimble and customize classes to workforce learning,” said Wofford.

As a continuing education provider, Capeles said, “We have to be able to provide a good environment, great research, and great professors. We need to constantly be aware of issues and trends.”

Trends in continuing education, Wofford added, is that more people are turning to continuing education because classes are going online.

Employers are also looking for higher return on investments and value in what they’re spending.

“We’re seeing shorter, briefer places of study, that are geared toward the information technology world, like badges, certificates, and micro credentials,” she said. “More companies are getting on board to sponsor employees in getting certifications relevant to jobs.”

A trend in continuing education topics, Wofford added, is focused on soft skills, such as conflict resolution, negotiating, and understanding what true leadership is beyond just a stereotypical norm of the top leader.

Georgia Tech works closely with local businesses to design courses to specifically address learners’ and employers’ needs.

“In Savannah, we designed an entry-level Learners &Leaders program: a breakfast seminar to help companies in the coastal region stay current on topics of relevance such as mobile apps, coaching and mentoring, leadership and logistics,” said Lee. “It helps us to raise awareness about what we’re doing on this campus and the programs we offer.”

Georgia Tech Professional Education offers short courses, professional certificates and degree programs, including online master’s degrees and hybrid professional master’s degrees in high-demand STEM fields.

The school also offers a program for veterans, the Veterans Education Training and Transition (VET2) program, which is one of the first of its kind in the nation. VET2 ensures Georgia service members are provided employment opportunities and assistance in their transitions.

“Learning, like our lives, does not always fit neatly into stages,” Lee said. “By building intergenerational hubs of knowledge and tapping into technology, we can more easily incorporate lifelong learning into our businesses, thereby increasing our capacity for success.”

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30May 2017

Australia plans to ban pedophiles from traveling overseas – ABC News


Australia plans to ban convicted pedophiles from traveling overseas in what the government said Tuesday is a world-first move to protect vulnerable children in Southeast Asia from exploitation.

Australian pedophiles are notorious for taking inexpensive vacations to nearby Southeast Asian and Pacific island countries to abuse children there.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she would cancel the passports of around 20,000 pedophiles on the national child sex offender register under legislation that will be introduced to Parliament soon.

“There has been increasing community concern about sexual exploitation of vulnerable children and community concern is justified,” she told reporters.

Almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelled overseas from Australia last year and about half went to Southeast Asian destinations, she said.

“There will be new legislation which will make Australia a world leader in protecting vulnerable children in our region from child sex tourism,” Bishop said.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said no country has such a travel ban. He said 2,500 new convicted pedophiles would be added to the sex offender register each year and would also lose their passports.

The register contains 3,200 serious offenders who will be banned from travel for life. Less serious offenders drop off the register after several years of complying with reporting conditions and would become eligible to have their passports renewed.

Independent Senator Derryn Hinch, who was molested as a child and was jailed twice as a radio broadcaster for naming pedophiles in contravention of court orders, took credit for the government initiative.

Hinch said he had not known that convicted pedophiles were allowed to travel before he received a letter from Australian actress and children’s rights campaigner Rachel Griffiths soon after he was elected to the Senate last year.

“If we can take a passport from a bankrupt, why can’t we stop our pedophiles from traveling to Myanmar?” Griffiths wrote. Under Australian law, a bankrupt person cannot travel overseas without a trustee’s permission.

Hinch, who was involved in drafting the legislation, said temporary passports could be provided to pedophiles who need to travel for legitimate business or family reasons, and for pedophiles living overseas who need to return to Australia as their visas expire.

“This will not apply to a teenager who has been caught sexting to his 15-year-old girlfriend,” said Hinch, referring to sexual phone communications.

“I know sometimes, I think unfairly, they go on registers, but we’re trying to work it out so they don’t,” he added.

Bishop said governments in the Asia-Pacific region wanted Australia to do more to stem child sex tourists.

“There’s most certainly deep concern among countries in our region about the number of registered child sex offenders in Australia engaging in the child sex tourism industry,” she said.

Australia has attempted to crack down on Australian child sex tourists by adding a new criminal offense punishable by up to 25 years in prison for Australian citizens or residents who molest children overseas.

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30May 2017

Most credit cards have revolving balances – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Most credit cards have revolving balances
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Nearly half of credit card accounts in the U.S. carry balances from month to month, according to a new report by the American Bankers Association. With the average credit card interest rate hovering near 16.5 percent, revolving balances are a wildly …

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