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Showing posts from 2010
Global smartphone sales rose by nearly 100% in the third quarter of 2010 compared with the same period last year. That allowed Apple and Research In Motion to pick up market share while large handset companies like Nokia, Samsung and LG, which do not have strong smartphone products, lost ground. The success of the iPhone and smartphones powered by Google's Android operating systems have allowed these 3G and WiFi powered devices to leapfrog over products like the netbook as "PC replacements." iPhone has a huge advantage over netbooks because of the App Store, which has more than 250,000 software applications that enables users to customize their devices to their individual needs. The first major smartphone was the BlackBerry. It was introduced in 2002, but was built for business use. The iPhone, which was first available in 2007, created a huge consumer demand for smartphones. The smartphone has begun to replace a number of other consumer electronics devices. As AT&T and…

Disaster Preparedness

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (30-sec TV) Disaster Preparedness Tips for Homeowners and Renters
Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. This should include taking photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.To enable filing claims more quickly, keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.As you acquire more valuables — jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art —consider purchasing an additional “floater” or “rider” to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowners or renter’s insurance policy.Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home …


Insurance Commissioners Offer Tips for Consumers KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 17, 2007) - With healthcare costs rising and longer life expectancies, funding long-term care needs is an increasing concern for millions of people. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 9 million Americans, now 65 or older, will require long-term care. HHS expects that number to rise by 25 percent - to 12 million - by 2020. The average annual cost of nursing home care is $74,806, according to Genworth Financial's 2007 Cost of Care Survey, but that figure can fluctuate depending on the level of care required, and the state in which the care is provided.     To help consumers make more informed decisions about long-term care insurance coverage, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers tips and considerations through its public education program, Insure U - Get Smart About Insurance, at Additi…

Finding Health Care Coverage in California

Download the Finding Health Care Coverage in California
Download the Finding Health Care Coverage in California (Spanish)
Written for consumers, this is a user-friendly, 20-page booklet-version of Health Care Options MatrixT Guide that is available in English and Spanish. This is an ideal tool for health care providers to give their patients, insurance brokers to their clients, teachers to their students, business owners to their employees, and many others.

THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. I am trying to let people know about some resources that are available, but sometimes we are not aware that they exist.

How to Become a Boss by: Jeffrey Fox

Never forget that your success was not earned by you alone
You are never too important to listen and learn from anybody. People who keep their promises flourish in good companies One goal of the great boss is to teach people to think for themselves, to stand by themselves. The great boss encourages food based mini-celebrations Your words carry weight; speak with discretion. Don’t talk about one employee with another employee of equal or close rank. Lightning can strike in many ways – money, flowers, trips, gifts, handwritten notes, public thank-you’s. Be mentally tough. Be emotionally tough. Make the tough decisions. You can care and be tough. You can be tough and nice at the same time. Don’t discount advice given in an obnoxious, rude, or insulting way. Don’t discount advice given in an angry, loud, irritating voice, just because the voice is off-putting. Listen objectively. Listen with self-discipline. Listen. Consider. Decide. Then do what you think is best. It is prudent to have an occasiona…

Property Taxes

Questions You Should Ask About Property Taxes By: Michael Magaw / Peter Wollner Real Estate Update, November 2010

Property taxes are a major expense, one which often totals thousands of dollars per year. But property taxes are not the same for like properties or for every owner.
Property taxes provide much of the revenue used to fund local and state governments. As property values go up, property tax collections also rise which means additional dollars are available for more public services -- and perhaps even for tax refunds. Alternatively, if property values decline, then government programs tend to be squeezed or there is pressure to raise income and sales taxes to make up for short-falls.
How much you pay for property taxes depends on the value of your home and also local tax policies. In the usual case, a property value is established by government assessors. Once a value is set the tax rate is then applied. For instance, if the rate is $1.50 for each $100 in value, then a home worth …

SEC proposes caps on trading venue stakes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators on Wednesday proposed to cap the stake that banks and other market players can own in exchanges where the complex investments blamed for hastening the financial crisis are traded.

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to seek public comment on the proposed rules, which are designed to prevent conflicts of interest in the operations of clearinghouses and exchanges for derivatives.

The rules were proposed under the new financial overhaul law enacted this summer. It calls for new oversight of derivatives, traded in an opaque $600 trillion market worldwide.

Under the proposal, firms that trade derivatives wouldn't be able to own more than 20 percent of the clearinghouses, exchanges and other trading venues.

The value of derivatives hinges on an underlying investment or commodity -- such as currency rates, oil futures or interest rates. The derivative is designed to reduce the risk of loss from the underlying asset.

The SEC proposal applies…

A Store, a Cloud Service, and Sharing: Here’s What Google Might Look Like

A download store, a music locker, and the ability to share some of your music with your friends, for $25 a year. That’s what Google would like to its music service to look like.

So says Billboard’s Ed Christman, who has been talking to label executives familiar with Google’s proposals for its yet-to-be launched service. The music industry hasn’t agreed to any of this yet, so the gap between “like to” and “will be” could be significant. But it’s worth reading Christman’s piece to get a sense of what the Google guys are looking for.

In short:

Google would like to sell music a track at a time, just like Apple’s iTunes does.

Google would like to give users the ability to listen to any track all the way through, at least once, as MySpace Music does, and LaLa did before Apple (AAPL) acquired it and shut it down. Google’s music search service provides free full plays for some songs but not others.

Google would like to offer a $25/year “locker service”, where any music you own, no matter wh…

How One College Student Beat Tuition Costs

A new book offers advice for college students looking to save their parents' retirement and financial well-being.

Meet Zac Bissonnette, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and the author of the book Debt-Free U: How I Paid For an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents. Bissonnette's tale is an eye-opening one – and a must-read for students looking to save every penny they can on tuition.

The cost of higher education is rising – even as the economy remains a tailspin. The average four-year cost for a top-flight school like Harvard or Stanford is almost $200,000. And even a solid state school like UCLA or the University of Michigan will set students back almost $100,000.

So how did Bissonnette come out ahead?

Let's take a look at Bissonnette's results and what he was (or wasn't) working with. He graduated with no student loan debt, no financial support from parents and no scholarships. Or, as the author describ…

The Greatest Brands in American History

Most of the analysis about super-brands focuses on companies and products that have been prominent in the last few decades – companies like Apple, Google, Toyota, or Starbucks. According to how many experts evaluate brands over the last two centuries of the U.S. economy, however, none of those brands are among the most important in American history.  All of the brands 24/7 Wall St. looked at for this analysis were created many decades ago. 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the history of American brands. We have examined how well they were known to the public during their most successful years – which may include today – as well as the size of their businesses over time. Many of the brands on this list, like Standard Oil, represented a large part of U.S. GDP early in the company’s history. Others, like Ford, have been among the largest U.S. companies for over 100 years. Another aspect of the brands that 24/7 Wall St considered for this list is how long it has been in use and how long it has be…