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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

More Green Living Tech Tips To Celebrate Earth Day All Year Long

April 23rd, 2015 by Tech Staff

A new national survey reports that approximately one-third (34 percent) of U.S. respondents suffer from ‘green guilt,’ or the feeling that they could and should be doing more to help preserve the environment. 

When you clean your home, do you end up throwing items in the trash? Getting rid of clutter is a natural part of the cleaning process, but did you know that much of what you throw away can likely be recycled? For example, recycling batteries and cellphones has never been easier.

 

Green Living Tech Tips To Celebrate Earth Day

 

Call2Recycle is North America’s first and largest consumer battery stewardship program – a non-profit that collects and recycles batteries at no cost for municipalities, businesses and consumers. In the United States, it focuses on recycling cellphones and rechargeable batteries (such as nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, small sealed lead acid and nickel zinc).

In 20 years Call2Recycle has collected more than 100 million pounds of batteries and cellphones, diverting these materials from landfills. The organization ensures that these items, which contain valuable resources, are responsibly recycled to create new batteries and other products, preventing potentially hazardous materials from entering the waste stream. Recycling these items is free of charge to consumers.

 

Must Read: 3 Tech Tips To Celebrate Earth Day

So how do you start recycling and making a difference in your community? Here are some tips to help with recycling while cleaning:

 

Ask the question: “Can this be recycled?”
Seems elementary, but simply asking this question is the most crucial step for getting started. It means you’ve made a conscious decision to engage in a more sustainable, safe and responsible lifestyle. Every single person’s effort makes a difference. The number of cellphones and devices powered by rechargeable batteries is skyrocketing. Cellphones and rechargeable batteries may contain metals that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Recycling keeps potentially hazardous material from entering the local landfill and recycles them for other uses.

 

Do your homework.
A simple Internet search will help you learn which items are recyclable. For example, Call2Recycle accepts cellphones and rechargeable batteries (weighing up to 11 pounds), including those you find in cordless power tools, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, MP3 players or iPods, tablets and cordless phones. The general rule with batteries is if it is rechargeable, it is recyclable.

 

Find a collection service or location near you.
Now that you’ve committed to recycling your old stuff, you need to know how and where. For rechargeable batteries and cellphones, Call2Recycle has a network of more than 34,000 collection sites located within 10 miles of 89 percent of consumers across North America. This network includes retail stores in your own community that you may visit regularly, including small businesses and municipalities.

Visit www.call2recycle.org/locator and use the location finder to locate the nearest collection site. For other items, visit 1800recycling.com or Earth911.com for a great list of recycling options.

 

Celebrate and share.
Now that you know how more items around your home can be recycled, share this information with friends and family about how easy it is to recycle. Through recycling you have made your community more sustainable and prevented potentially hazardous materials from entering the waste stream, which is good for people as well as the environment.

3 Tech Tips To Celebrate Earth Day (and save your wallet and the planet today!)

April 22nd, 2015 by Christen

tech tips to celebrate earth day

 

Today is Earth Day!  Yeah, sure – we should be celebrating Earth Day EVERYDAY, but let’s be realistic.  Sometimes, it’s hard to keep the Earth in mind when you’re dealing with everyday life.  From recycling to eliminating wasteful energy consumption, there are more than enough ways to “go green” but how do you incorporate a greener lifestyle that’s easy to incorporate in your everyday life?  That’s why I’ve compiled 3 easy tech tips to celebrate Earth Day (Everyday) and impact the world below.

 

3. TURN OFF COMPUTERS AT NIGHT
What if I told you that one simple click could save you $14! I’ve just conformed to going green and saving energy with the press of my laptop button.  By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. If you don’t want to wait for your computer to start up, set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before you get to work, or boot up while you’re pouring your morning cup ‘o joe.

 

 

5 Easy Ways To Go Green

 

2. PAY BILLS ONLINE
One of the easiest ways to go green is to use online bill payment systems instead of the old “mail in” means of payment.  By some estimates, if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we’d save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.

 

 

 

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1. RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES
The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.  Check out how to recycle your old cell phones from Verizon, Best Buy and more HERE.

 

Want to take your green living to the next level?  Discover how to go green with easy car and driving tips – plus travel tips at DivasDriveInHeels and DivasOnDestinations.com.  Discover stylish accessories that’ll help you recycle and transform your office space and for more ideas on how to go green, visit 50 ways to help the planet and start making greener choices today!

Time To E-File: Last Minute Tips For Digital DIY Tax Preparation Tools

April 13th, 2015 by Tech Staff

This year’s tax deadline is officially here. Last year, 40 percent of Americans chose to file their own taxes – but not all do-it-yourself tax preparation tools are created equal. For those consumers who like to sit in the driver’s seat when filing, here are five tips for what to look for when choosing at-home tax preparation products.

 

E-File

1. Ability to work seamlessly between devices

Filing taxes can be a lengthy process, with multiple forms and pages to complete for a thorough review. Sometimes, doing it all in one sitting just isn’t in the cards. Some tax preparation tools offer consumers the ease of switching back and forth from desktop to tablet to mobile. And for those who like to file on the go, mobile-optimized tax preparation tools makes it convenient to file with any device.

 

 

2. Real-time tracking of which entries change your refund

Unless filing with a tax preparer, it can be difficult to gauge how the final refund is calculated. Some tax preparation tools offer filers the ability to track their refund in real-time, helping users understand which calculations contributed to any increases or decreases in their return.

 

 

3. Incentives to filing 

Most DIY tax preparation tools offer filers the choice of receiving their refund by check or by direct deposit. However, a select few provide additional incentives for choosing their service when filing. For example, tax filers who file online or via software with H&R Block have the option of putting any portion of their refund on an e-gift card to one of 40 different retailers. For doing so, they can receive up to a 10 percent bonus. This special offer also can be a great way to offset some or part of the cost of filing – another reason H&R Block can help get filers the maximum refund at the lowest price.

 

 

4. Free expert advice

Almost one-third of DIY tax filers itemize. That means additional tax forms and a more complex return than the basic 1040. For those who like to file their own taxes but feel more confident with having backup, certain tax preparation tools offer a free, real-time chat option with tax professionals to guide them along the process and answer questions as they work through forms. Certain preparers also offer consumers phone and in-person support.

e-file

 

5. Maximum refund at the best value

When picking a tax preparation tool, make sure to choose the one that best matches your situation at the best value. These tools are often differentiated by complexity, with the cheapest offering the simplest return to the most complicated providing tax support to small business owners. For those consumers who recently purchased TurboTax’s software for their 2014 filing but learned that certain forms once included were no longer available, they can email SwitchToBlock@hrblock.com with a proof of purchase of their 2014 TurboTax software and receive Deluxe State desktop software for free from H&R Block.

Americans filed 56 million self-prepared tax returns in 2014, leaving the market open for plenty of options at tax time. Remember to do your homework and pick the tool that best serves your filing needs.  Have you e-filed this year? What are your favorite tax-filing digital tools to use? Share your thoughts below!

Plug Into These Spring Tips This Weekend For A Smarter Home

April 10th, 2015 by Christen

smart home

 

The days are finally becoming longer and the weather is getting warmer, which means it’s time for spring cleaning, upgrading and refreshing your home. Consider these easy smart home tips to get your home ready for a fun, smart and cost-efficient year ahead.

honeywell
Control your thermostat via smartphone apps

The weather is finally cooperating, so you may no longer need to leave the heat on all day. Now, with the touch of a button, it’s possible to control your AC/heat and lighting from a remote location. Save on your energy bills by using Wi-Fi controlled thermostats and switches, like this WiFi Honeywell Thermostat from Best Buy. Best of all, you won’t come home to a sweltering house!

 

 

sonos

Sync your home sound systems

Summer is just around the corner, which means outdoor barbecues and parties. With all the options in Bluetooth audio available today, you can eliminate unattractive, bulky speakers. New, smaller and sleek Bluetooth devices are easy to hide, while providing excellent sound. You can also sync up music in every part of your home and control it all via your smartphone. These Sonos Bluetooth speakers come in various sizes and would be a great addition to any home.

 

Power your home with the sun by going solar

When you’ve completed spring cleaning and upgrading, you’ll want to sit back, relax and enjoy your productive achievements without worrying about how to pay for the electricity behind all of these fun new gadgets. Thankfully, home solar is a growing trend that is going mainstream and an extremely easy option for homeowners to adopt. Sunrun, the largest dedicated residential solar company in the U.S., makes going solar simple by designing, installing, financing and maintaining customers’ solar panels. On average, Sunrun customers save 20 percent on their energy bills and spend those savings on other things they love.

 

 

usb outlet

Add charging stations throughout your home

Invest in turbo phone chargers that significantly speed up charging time – and you’ll be everyone’s new best friend. Additionally, install USB ports to your electrical outlets. This makes it much easier for everyone to charge smartphones, tablets and other devices without having to plug in to your laptop first.

 

 

Flaunt your new upgrades

Now it’s time for you to show off everything you’ve invested in, so your friends and family can see what a trendsetter you are. Many will leave your house wondering how to wirelessly sync up every screen and gadget in their own homes, while simultaneously saving money.  Feel free to share these easy smart home tips with your friends (or keep your little secret to yourself)!

 

Being Called A ‘Tech Geek’ Is Now A Compliment

April 10th, 2015 by Tech Staff

Being called a ‘tech geek’ is now a compliment

Are you the family member or friend who is always called when someone’s computer breaks or starts acting up? Do you have a person on speed dial whenever you need a website created or program updated? The old stereotype of a computer geek who’s always wearing a pocket protector and glasses with taped-together frames is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

 

geek

 

These days, men and women who are able to speak “tech” and fix those pesky computer programs are in high demand, both professionally and among friends and family. One reason is that more than 80 percent of American households have a computer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. When those computers don’t work, who are you going to call?

When someone calls a person a tech geek these days, it’s meant to be a compliment, according to a new survey conducted by GMI Research and commissioned by Crucial.com.

Are you single and trying to promote yourself on dating sites? You might want to advertise that you’re a tech geek, according to the Tech-Know Meter Survey. One in three women say they prefer their significant other be tech savvy.

Tech Geek

 

“Americans recognize how prevalent tech has become in everyday life,” says Ed Walker, Crucial.com marketing manager. “These findings demonstrate that society has warmed to people who are the most capable at fixing and improving the devices we rely on, both in our personal and professional lives.”

It’s not just that people want to be friends with tech geeks – they want to become one themselves, the survey found. A majority of men and women are interested in improving their personal tech savviness, even if it’s so they don’t have to constantly bug a friend for help. And while the percentage of people who claim to be tech savvy is heavily male, a significant number of women are showing interest, too, making the term tech geek more gender neutral.

There’s a good chance you have a tech-geek friend, both in your personal life and at the office. In fact, you might have several at the office. Most industries these days rely on technology to survive, and survey respondents say job candidates with tech skills have a stronger resume than those who don’t.

 

Tech Geek

 

Having a strong list of tech geeks handy is important if you are not one yourself. So the next time someone is introduced to you as being a tech geek, be sure to get his or her number! And if you can call yourself a tech geek, wear the title like a badge of honor – and depending on how popular you want to be, protect your cellphone number!

Spring Clean & Get Rid Of Your Massive Magazine Collection With Magzter

April 6th, 2015 by Christen

Are you looking for more ways to streamline clutter and spring clean your home and office? You’ve held off long enough, and now it’s time to go digital! In light of spring cleaning season, Magzter GOLD lets you easily de-clutter your space by providing your favorite magazines on your mobile device, whether at home or on the go!

Meet Magzter, the Netflix-style magazine subscription app. The app’s “all-you-can-read” service, Magzter GOLD, now has more than 2,500 titles (including 500 new titles that launched just this month), making it the world’s largest available digital magazine subscription.

 

 

 

 

 Newly added titles include:

· Lifestyle magazines: Nylon/Nylon Guys, MAXIM, Health + Fitness, Art + Design and Southern Bride
· Magazines for business and news: Entrepreneur, New York, Fast Company, Inc. and Bloomberg and Businessweek.
· Travel and outdoor magazines: Travel + Leisure, Business Traveler, PASSPORT, Tennis and Ocean Navigator.
· Food and home magazines: Saveur, Cookbook Digest and Beautiful Kitchens
· Magazines for tech lovers: PC Magazine, Macworld, PC Gamer, Popular Science and PC World
· Magazines for children: Discovery Girls, Kids Explore, bonbon and Children’s Digest

 

How would you like your own Magzter GOLD subscription!  We want to help you kick off spring cleaning right! Enter below to win a free year-long subscription (regularly $9.99/mo.) to Magzter GOLD!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Bytes And Bites Meet Up Kicks Off In Chicago! #BytesAndBites

March 31st, 2015 by Christen

It’s amazing the amount of friends that I’ve amassed through this little blog!  Some of DivasandDorks.com biggest supporters, I’ve known for years, while others I’ve never met IRL…that’s about to change! In an effort to thank supporters and meet up with new and old friends, DivasandDorks.com hosted it’s first Bytes and Bites Meet Up, March 27th at Morton’s Steak House in Chicago!


What is Bytes and Bites exactly?  It’s an evening filled with influencers of fun, laughs and good conversation over great food!  Hosted by yours truly, I got the chance to talk tech, chat about love, life and the pursuit of happiness with ChicagoLand peeps over great bites like mini crab cake BLTs, tuna tacos, prime cheeseburgers and sweet drinks! Special thanks to the amazing staff at Morton’s (Wacker Place) in Chicago!

 

I had such an incredible time, connecting and reconnecting with old and new fans, supporters, colleagues and friends that DivasAndDorks’ is taking this show on the road!  We’re hosting Bytes and Bites Meet Ups all over the country!  Who knows where we’ll pop up soon.  Will your city be next?

 

 

Do you have an exciting brand, restaurant or venue and want to host Bytes and Bites your city soon? Contact info@divasanddorks.com for sponsorship opportunities available.

Jay-Z To Relaunch His New Tidal Music Service Today With Your Favorite Superstars #TidalForAll

March 30th, 2015 by Tech Staff

tidal

 

The music game is about to get real interesting! Tidal, the high-definition music streaming service acquired by rapper/music mogul Jay-Z, is gearing up for its official relaunch today, and it will be doing so by reportedly making a move to snag new releases by some of the biggest musicians of the moment including Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk, ahead of rival services like Spotify and Beats.

 


If you’re browsing social networks or follow music news, the list of artists gathering around Tidal shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: a swathe of big-name musicians — including Madonna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris and others are using the #tidalforall hashtag on sites like Twitter and Instagram, as well as sending out messages or just changing their profile to a turquoise blue color to support the service.

 

Jay Z Tidal

 

What’s the pull for these artists? It’s partly the Jay-Z connection. His Roc Nation agency works with a long list of musicians to provide publishing, management, label and other services, with Tidal becoming yet another string on Roc Nation’s bow as a one-stop music distribution shop.  On the other hand, Tidal is also offering a more attractive set of terms to musicians than other streaming services — often agreeing to payouts of twice as much as its rivals.

With many artists complaining that digital music is not providing decent enough returns, the later of these could be a deal maker for Tidal. The big question is whether artists are willing to make the bet on payouts-per-stream over that of visibility: right now Tidal has only 35,000 subscribers paying $19.99 per month across the markets in which it is active, which include the U.S. and UK. By comparison, Spotify noted 15 million paying subscribers in January of this year. Tidal also offers a standard definition service at $9.99.

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Uber Drivers Are Judging You…And It Could Cost You Your Next Ride

March 26th, 2015 by Christen

During  a recent uber trip from Harlem to LaGuardia Airport, my driver stops in front of the Delta departure terminal, turns around and says “I’m a new uber driver, please give me a 5-star rating and I’ll give you one back!” I smile, nod and quickly exit the Toyota Camry to catch my departing flight.  Sometime between TSA and my flight, I re-rehearse our conversation in my head and realize, “Wait, did I just get rated by my uber driver???”

 

Uber rating

 

If you’ve ever used Uber, you’ll know that after every ride passengers are prompted to give the driver a rating–five stars for a perfect score, less if the car got lost, the driver was rude, or if there was a funky smell as soon as you got in. One thing I bet you didn’t know however, is that those Uber drivers you’ve been rating are rating you right back!

During a recent Florida trip, one uber driver explained “What Uber want is for people to respect the driver, and for drivers to respect the customer. We go above and beyond,” he said. “They can give us a low rating. It can go both ways. That way, we can police each other.” Uber also admits that its drivers can refuse to pick-up low-scoring passengers.
An Uber user who ended up on the blacklist told CBS how she got up there: “I asked the driver what was going on. And he basically told me I had a really low Uber rating: Under three out of five.” No, she wasn’t overtly rude or difficult with drivers to deserve the score, she simply chose to work on her phone rather than chat during her ride: “I feel really judged for being blacklisted for not being really friendly,” she said. Any passengers who manage to get a really low scores allegedly could be banned from using the service, or given a temporary cooling-off period.

 

uber rating

If this news surprises you, you’re not alone. Until now finding out what your passenger rating is hasn’t been easy, but the next version of Uber’s app will clearly display the information. For now, you can find out your rating by sending a request to Uber, or by asking your next driver your customer rating.

New to Uber? Want to sign up for your first Uber ride? Click HERE! Want to learn more? I’ll be sharing tips on how you can improve your Uber customer rating and improve your chance of timely Uber pickups soon!

 

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7 Spring Cleaning Hacks That’ll Iyanla-fy (FIX) Your Life

March 24th, 2015 by Christen

quotes-life-do-overs-iyanla-vanzant-480x480

SPRING HAS SPRUNG…

Spring always inspires a fresh start, but in today’s busy, connected lives it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to re-organize and recharge. It’s not like we have Iyanla Vanzant to hold our hand during the springtime purging process, but these spring cleaning tips will help you de-clutter and greet spring refreshed and ready to go:

1. Follow the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule suggests people only actually use about 20 percent of the stuff they own. When deciding what to keep and what to toss, ask yourself what items you would replace right away if they were ever lost or stolen – this will help you discover your 20 percent.

[MUST READ:  Clean Your Closet By Selling Your Clothes Online ]

2. Donate – and schedule a pickup. 
Everyone knows that part of purging involves the “donate” pile, but many people never get these items out of their home. Schedule a pickup online to make sure the donating part gets done.

3. Use vinegar on practically everything.
Once you’ve taken stock of your belongings and are ready to get cleaning, vinegar is a wonderful all-purpose cleanser. One easy hack is to tie a bag of vinegar around your showerhead and let it sit over night to easily clean up grime and gunk. You’ll find doing this also improves the water pressure too.

Spring Cleaning tips

4. Coffee filters and cola make great cleaners, too.
Coffee filters can be used to dust off television screens in a pinch. Cola? You can actually use that to clean the toilet – pour in the bowl, let sit for an hour, flush and you’re done.

5. Do a digital purge as well as a physical one.
From your desktop to the photos on your phone, your digital clutter could probably use a good scrub. Take an hour or so to get rid of duplicates and any files you don’t need – then empty that recycle bin.

6. Cut your digital waste.
Your physical space may be in order, but what if your digital world is still an absolute mess? One way to get rid of digital clutter is by cutting recycling, donating or tossing personal devices you no longer want or use.

[MUST READ:  Got Digital Clutter? 3 Ways To Spring Clean Your Digital Life]

7. Update your passwords.
Secure your accounts with new passwords that include upper and lower case letters and numbers. Have trouble remembering them all? Consider a password manager that stores them in an encrypted database for you.

These spring cleaning tips and tricks should make your annual spring cleaning a little bit easier without taking up too much time – leaving you ready to tackle whatever the rest of the year will bring.

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