Winter Blues? Take a Virtual Cruise
(Family Features) For many people, the middle of winter makes tropical breezes and beaches something to daydream about – but not any longer. Thanks to Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, people can melt away the winter blues by checking out a high-tech virtual reality cruise experience that immerses visitors into a vacation filled with sunshine, beaches and exotic ports of call.
It may be the next best thing to going on a real cruise – and is designed to inspire people to consider going on a cruise for their next vacation. People can also register to win a free seven-day cruise vacation.
The virtual reality cruise experience is now available through a partnership between Carnival Corporation – with 10 cruise line brands, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line – AT&T and Samsung.
Through March 11, consumers can go to select AT&T stores across 37 states to check out a virtual reality cruise experience, where they will be transported on a warm and sunny cruise vacation.
Utilizing the Samsung Gear VR headset, the display showcases decks, staterooms, entertainment venues and other features on ships from Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line brands, as well as beach and excursion offerings in Barcelona, Mexico and other popular destinations throughout the world.
“Globally, the growing popularity of cruising vacations is far outpacing land-based vacations by a 23 percent margin,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “But there are still many people who have not had a chance to enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience we provide with one of our 10 cruise line brands. With most of the U.S. dealing with winter weather, the timing for this launch is designed to give people a fully immersive look at why cruising has become so popular as a great vacation at an exceptional value.”
Consumers will also be able to enter a sweepstakes to win one of 10 seven-day cruises on Carnival’s Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line brands by checking out the VR experience and signing up in store or by visiting vrcruisewlcl.com through March 11.
In addition to experiencing the VR cruising simulator, any customer purchasing Samsung’s GS6, GS6 Edge, GS6 Edge+ or Note 5 smartphones at select AT&T locations during the promotion will be eligible for onboard credit for a future Carnival Corporation cruise.
5 Tips to Smarten Your Phone Purchase
(Family Features) For work or play, cell phones are an integral component of today’s culture. Research shows that most people use their personal cell phones for work as well, so there are a wide range of factors to consider when choosing the phone to best fit your needs.
Making the right selection for your business-use phone can not only prevent needless frustration, it can also save you (and your employer) significant time and money. A single device failure can have a big impact on a company’s productivity and bottom line, according to a study by Kyocera Communications.
These losses can be measured in the “Cripple Ripple Effect,” which describes how expenses go far beyond replacement costs when a smartphone fails. Time is money, and each single device failure can cost an organization as much as 170 to 200 minutes in lost mobile-worker productivity and internal support.
Consider this advice to help guide your next business phone purchase:
For more guidance on choosing the right phone for your needs, visit kyoceramobile.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man on cell phone)
Cracked Screens and Broken Hearts: The 2015 Motorola Global Shattered Screen Survey
(Family Features) Every two seconds *CRACK* someone accidentally drops *CRACK* their smartphone, leaving a shattered screen *CRACK* and a shattered heart. Sure, accidents will happen, but just how many of us are in a one-sided relationship with a broken phone? How does it happen and why are we sticking by our spiderwebbed displays? Motorola recently surveyed 6,000 adults in six countries to find out.
(BPT) - The American dream of owning a home comes with a large dose of reality - the often-overwhelming amount of time, energy and money it takes to maintain a property. Light bulbs burn out, furnaces strain and dishwashers leak.
Daily chores like laundry, washing the dishes and vacuuming can become points of contention between couples. The constant upkeep can lead to wear and tear on your relationships. Disagreements about chores with your significant other isn't romantic, and when there's so much to get done, who has time for date nights out, family game night or dinner with friends?
The good news is experts predict these dilemmas may not exist in the future. Smart home technology is developing rapidly, and it is dramatically changing the way households function. This equates to less stress and more time to spend with your loved ones.
Could a smart thermostat reduce the divorce rate? Could a connected fridge be the key to unlocking relationship woes? According to the findings of a new survey commissioned by Intel, 58 percent of Americans believe it can.
"Intel Architecting the Smart Home of the Future" delves into expectations for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in our homes and reveals that people desire smart homes for many of the same reasons they seek work-life balance: for increased family time and fewer arguments with partners about chores.
The survey shows respondents are optimistic that adopting smart home technologies will create tangible benefits like reducing the daily grind, improving personal relationships, lessening stress and increasing leisure time. And these benefits feel close to reality, as nearly one in seven (68 percent) are confident smart homes will be as commonplace as smartphones within 10 years.
With fewer household chores, Americans believe the number one benefit of the smart home of 2025 will be more time to connect to the things they care about. This includes spending more quality time with family and friends, with enough left over for a little personal "me time."
Just imagine your home having a sensor that doesn't only alert you of a leak, it calls a plumber to fix it, then unlocks the door to let him in. Experts note advancements like these will go beyond residential benefits. Intel envisions "a smart world where our homes, cars, neighborhoods and cities will talk effortlessly to each other."
Less stress and more time are obvious benefits of smart home technology, but will these changes really improve relationship quality? Professors at Carnegie Mellon University predict it will, saying: "We believe a smart home should provide families with a feeling of control over their lives: being relieved from breakdowns in daily routines, and getting emotional satisfaction from the things they value - identity, time, and relationships."
Not only can smart homes positively influence relationships, they may also boost your pocketbook. Intel's survey respondents noted they are open to receiving financial benefits in exchange for sharing behavioral data from their homes. In fact, 78 percent would like tax incentives to off-set install costs and 43 percent would like money.
With the smart home of the future there will be no need to argue about taking the garbage out - the smart home already disposed of it. Everyday chores and inconveniences no longer take up precious time so families can now enjoy life to the fullest, plus maybe get a little cash in the process. Learn more about current smart home technologies available today at intel.com/newsroom/iot.
(BPT) - Your next tech-tastrophy could take many forms. Maybe it's the quick flash out of your monitor screen, the smoke coming from your printer or that mysterious clunking sound your favorite device keeps making - just because you accidently dropped it one or five times.
If you're a small business professional trying to manage the budget, the last thing you have lying around is extra money to replace what you already have. But breathe easily, because these terrible tech tragedies can be prevented. To help you keep your tech safe, Staples Tech Services has teamed up with tech and small business expert Ramon Ray for five tips you'll want to upload into your daily lifestyle immediately.
Keep software updated
Software problems can render your devices unusable more quickly than hardware damage. To protect against malware and security breaches, your software should be updated regularly. This includes the definition updates for your antivirus software as well as your operating system, which has built-in protections against malware. Businesses with multiple pieces of equipment should make sure they update automatically rather than requiring administrators to manually update each device.
Line up emergency tech support
You rely on your equipment to be functional. So when it's not, you need an affordable tech support service. For small businesses in particular, tech issues can impact productivity and the bottom line. Staples' new Next Day Guarantee means that PCs brought in before noon are serviced by 5 p.m. the next day. Staples' tech team will also handle problems like malware removal and PC tune-ups and select Staples stores will handle mobile repairs, including broken screens, poor batteries, and home buttons.
Educate your staff
Some of the biggest dangers faced by your organization relate to the behaviors of your employees. Poor password-management policies can lead to outsiders guessing your system passwords and finding a way into your databases. Employees can also let in malicious traffic by clicking on links in emails or on social media sites. Hire a technology expert to train your staff on responsible technology use and make sure you sit in on the class as well.
Keep it clean
Don't discount the importance of keeping your PCs and servers clean. Over the course of multiple months, dust can build up inside desktop units and servers, and over time, that dust can cause components to work inefficiently. With a can of compressed air, cotton swabs and a cleaning cloth, you can keep the internal workings of your computer clean for as long as it's in use.
Pay extra for quality
If you're operating on a budget, as every business is, it can be tempting to opt for less expensive equipment, especially if you're buying multiple items at once. However, less expensive devices can fail more quickly than some of the more expensive options. You'll be better off for the long-term when you invest in high-quality equipment that will remain reliable for many years.
Your business depends on its technology every single day, so support your bottom line by employing the tips above to keep your tech running as long as possible. Because once you see the smoke, it's already too late. For more technology help, see the experts at Staples Tech Services today.
(BPT) - There is an old adage that the squeaking wheel gets the most oil. If you need proof that adage still rings true, consider where we are with food science research. Much of the time, the loudest are heard, regardless of qualifications, while the more informed and experienced are silenced.
For instance, a particular celebrity used her visibility to help lead a movement of parents denying their children the proper vaccinations needed to keep them safe and healthy, resulting in a media frenzy. Scarily enough, a measles outbreak occurred at Disneyland last year, a disease that had effectively been eliminated because of vaccinations, but has seen a rising number of outbreaks in recent years.
Similarly, a well-known food blogger, along with her online following, petitioned that Subway remove azodicarbonamide from its bread. Azodicarbonamide, or the "yoga mat chemical" as was the misnomer in the media, has been scientifically proven safe in foods at the very low levels at which it's used. Regardless of the facts, thanks to the blogger's online footprint, an Internet search of the ingredient results in two takeaways: it's used in yoga mats and it might not be safe.
So why don't popular headlines support the science? In traditional media, you can attribute part of it to the current dearth of publications with actual science writers. In social media, where there is almost no commitment to objectivity, the average food blogger has come to realize that when it comes to food, we like nothing more than a good scare. This ought to change, but you probably can't count on it.
You need only look to carrageenan as a prime example of flawed science accepted as gospel. Naturally derived from red seaweed, carrageenan is used to stabilize many of the foods and drinks we consume every day, such as dairy beverages and desserts. There have been numerous studies performed that meet every scientific standard, all of which prove carrageenan's safety. However, in today's fearful environment, flawed studies that connect carrageenan to inflammation and diabetes are cited by everyone from your favorite aunt to traditional media.
In some of these studies, carrageenan was tested on faulty cells that had considerable defects, a fact that was confirmed by the company who provided those cells. This supplier notified all affected parties of the mistake, yet neither scientists nor peer-reviewed journals that published these studies have yet to make any public clarification regarding this fundamental research flaw.
Instead, we'll continue to see these studies cited as legitimate. And we'll continue to see studies cited that have experimented with the wrong material, or studies that inject carrageenan into the foot of an animal (rather than combining it with food), and other methodology sins.
Bad science is not good for anyone. Those charged with informing us about the food sciences - either scientists themselves or the science media - are finding some audiences are now so skeptical of legitimate food science that they can only be filled with despair.
The next time you see a new version of the food pyramid displayed, you might wonder why fear isn't identified prominently as part of the modern diet.
To learn about the proven science behind our food not found in the headlines, read Myra Weiner's research paper in the peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology.
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