Contributor - Staff

Contributor

Contributor

Former UpStream Contributor

Former Episode Author

Recent UpStream Articles

Protecting your family from scams

posted Tuesday Dec 6, 2022 by Contributor

Technology is an amazing thing. It's something that allows us to do things we didn't previously think imaginable. We can call family and friends. We can video call, seeing one another's faces. We can share photos and messages online. We can get the answer to nearly any question with a small device that fits in our pocket. We can watch tutorials. We can read the news. We can have a never-ending library of ready-to-stream music on demand. The list goes on and on. But technology is also providing those with bad intentions with an easy way to infiltrate our lives. Scamming and fraud have dramatically increased in recent years, with phones, tablets, laptops, and computers providing an easy vessel for cyber criminals and other criminals to access us and our accounts. The good news is that there are various steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from scams. Here are some tips that should help!

If It's Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Let's start with messages that claim you have won a large amount of money from a draw you didn't even enter, inherited a huge sum from a never heard of relative, are being offered an expensive item for a ludicrously low price or something along similar lines. The sad truth is that if someone reaches out to you, out of the blue, with an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can always investigate or look further into the matter, but chances are, you are being scammed, especially of the person getting in touch is asking for personal details, payment details or bank details.

Check the Authenticity of Emails or Texts

A lot of scams are carried out through email or text. They tend to reach out to you, asking for you to return information or click a link. A common scam is one that says you have a parcel with a missed delivery and that you can reschedule the delivery by paying a small charge. This then asks you to enter your bank details to pay the charge. When receiving any email or text, make sure to check its authenticity. Look at the number or email address it was sent from. This can help you to identify the scammer. For example, you may find that a message supposedly from PayPal actually comes from "robert@hotmail.com" or - if more advanced - something like "sender@paypel.com". Businesses do not send messages from random or misspelled email accounts.

Never Transfer Money

Extremely few legitimate companies ask you to transfer money from your bank account to theirs. This is a feature that friends and family generally use between one another. Companies usually ask for card payments or direct debits. If you are asked for a bank transfer, you really need to check the legitimacy and authenticity of the person you're sending it to. Most banks will ask you to double check you're absolutely sure and not being scammed before allowing you to make your transfer.

Dates Should Not Be Asking for Money

Another common financial scam comes through dating sites and apps. One of the most common sources of dating scams is through cryptocurrencies. The scenario comes about when you match with a new person and they let you know they are an "investor" and has access to a platform with high yields. They'll constantly ask you to participate in the system because they don't want you to miss out on the returns. In our tests, these users always use a Chinese photo but say they are in the US but will explain why they cannot meet up. Don't use any unknown crypto platforms, as even the known ones can be a scam.

Another common dating scam comes from fake soldiers. Similar to the previous scam, a new match will tell you that they are in the military and deployed somewhere not quite nearby. For us in Tampa, the scam tends to come from people who claim to be located in Tallahassee. They can't get away to meet because of the rules of the deployment, but they really need money to help out with some bill. Almost always they will want an Apple, Amazon, or Xbox gift card number. Lots of red flags in this one.

Validating Your Identity is Invalid

Identity validation scams are all the rage these days. These scams appear through dating apps and social media. The most common scenario right now is while using the Facebook Marketplace. If you're selling something, a fake buyer will reach out from a private and locked Facebook account. They'll ask you to verify your identity by sending you a 6-digit code that they'll send to your phone. Don't do it, though, as the code being sent is actually from Facebook and the person is trying to take over your Facebook account using 2-factor authentication.

read more...

The dangers of trying to be a jack of all trades

posted Thursday Dec 1, 2022 by Contributor

There's an old saying that goes "Jack of all trades, master of none." This is a proverb that business owners should take to heart. When you try to be a jack of all trades, you end up being a master of none. This can be detrimental to your business for several reasons. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of trying to be a jack of all trades and how it can hurt your bottom line. We'll also provide some tips on how you can focus on becoming an expert in one area instead.

Lack of Focus

When you try to be a jack of all trades, you end up spreading yourself too thin. You don't focus on one thing long enough to become an expert in the field. This lack of focus leads to mediocre results and can leave your business in a precarious position.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should not have an understanding of the different aspects of how your business operates. A high-level understanding of how things work gives more ability to manage those tasks. For example, you don't have to be an expert in social media in order to know when something doesn't work right.

Poor Quality

As we mentioned earlier, when you're not focusing on any one thing, the quality of your work suffers as a result. Customers will notice if you're producing shoddy work and won't be keen to do business with you in the future. Plus, this poor quality will reflect badly on your brand and reputation which could lead to lost customers and sales.

Wasted Resources

When you try to be a jack of all trades, you end up wasting resources. Instead of focusing your resources on one area and becoming an expert, they are spread across multiple areas leading to mediocre results. This can leave your business vulnerable and unable to compete with more focused competitors in the marketplace.

Missed Opportunities

When you're trying to be a jack of all trades, you may miss out on opportunities that require expertise in a certain field. If you don't have the necessary knowledge and experience, you won't be able to take advantage of these opportunities which could lead to lost profits for your business.

So How Can You Avoid Being a Jack Of All Trades?

The key is to focus on one thing at a time and become an expert in that area. Instead of trying to do everything, focus your resources and energy on a single field and become an authority in that area. This will allow you to produce higher quality work which will lead to better results for your business. Outsource and delegate tasks that you're not an expert in and focus on the things that you know best. For example, IT support or web development are tasks that can be outsourced to specialists who will be able to do a better job than you.

In addition, if you are in a business partnership, trust your partners to work on the part of the business they are an expert of. All people are not required to understand the technical infrastructure of a company - leave that to the expert in that field and focus on the part of the business that you're intended to be the expert in.

It's Not Always Bad

It's also important to remember that being a jack of all trades is not always bad. There are some times when it can be beneficial. For example, if you have a small business then having multiple skills can help you get the job done more efficiently and effectively. However, if your business is growing then it may be time to start focusing on one thing and becoming an expert in it, bringing in others to focus on the other areas of the business.

Conclusion

In conclusion, being a jack of all trades can be detrimental to your business for several reasons. It can lead to a lack of focus, poor quality work, wasted resources, and missed opportunities. The key is to focus on one thing at a time and become an expert in that area. This will allow you to produce higher quality work which will lead to better results for your business. So if you're serious about growing your business, then it's important to avoid being a jack of all trades and instead focus on becoming an expert in one area. This will help ensure that your business succeeds in the long run.

read more...

Simple technical solutions to everyday business problems

posted Wednesday Nov 30, 2022 by Contributor

Running a business is hard enough at the best of times, but if you are keen to keep a business going strong right now, there are many things that you are going to need to focus on. One is to make sure that you are aware of how to solve problems, but not just in any way - as simply and efficiently as possible. As it happens, there are a number of ways you can do this, and in this post, we'll look at some examples.

While we can't look here at every single instance, here are just some of the really simple technical solutions that you might find for everyday business problems. These are certainly worth being aware of at least, so it's something to think about.

Use The Cloud To Communicate

Communication is always going to be a big issue in any business, and you really do need to make sure that you are focusing on it in the right way and that you are able to do it quickly, effectively, and properly. If you are struggling to communicate with some of the more far-flung reaches of your business, then you might want to think about making use of cloud services, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, or even Discord.

This way, you have a free and easy way to communicate easily which doesn't take up time and space, and which is more or less always available, no matter where you might be in the world, or where the other person might be either.

Get A Virtual Address To Boost Trust

In the early days of having a business, you find yourself having to generate a lot of trust in the business in the minds of people, and doing this can be quite challenging to get right. However, there are some simple ways that you can achieve this, and you should try to remember that it is indeed always possible to do so. One example is to make use of a virtual address in order to give your business an air of something grander.

Often, these addresses will be tied to a real, physical address which has a reputable address attached to it. That means that the address you give clients and so on will be more impressive, and that really helps to boost trust considerably. So this is something to think about early on if you want to have people trust you more right away.

Develop A Strong Accountancy System To Help Cash Flow

Cash flow is a really important concept that everyone needs to know if they are going to run a business effectively and be successful. It essentially means that you are going to have to have a way to get hold of cash at all times in order to keep riders going and things running smoothly, and that can often be tough in modern businesses when money from the bank is not always forthcoming.

But the truth is all you often need to do is reduce how much you are accidentally letting slide through having a poor system. So the solution is just to develop a stronger accountancy system, one that you are going to be able to trust and which you will find is actually working for you. If you can do that, it's going to make for a much easier and better cash flow in general.

Outsource To Meet The Gaps In Irregular Staffing

This is another very common modern problem for businesses. You might find that you often have trouble having enough people on staff at any one time, which might lead to all sorts of negative consequences such as poor product design, troublesome customer service and the like. While there are many approaches you can take to help this, the best one is often to simply outsource wherever there are gaps in staffing, so that you can be sure you always have the right numbers on board.

That is simple and effective, but you will need to make sure you do it right, because if you are not outsourcing to the right firm it can still be troublesome to be able to try and find the right people. And you should be careful not to rely on outsourcing as your primary means of sourcing staff, too. But if you use it occasionally to plug some gaps, then it can definitely be quite helpful.

As you can see, it is often the case that a very simple solution is available for a common problem.

read more...

What to look for when choosing a streaming service

posted Monday Nov 28, 2022 by Contributor

It seems like everyone is streaming content these days. Streaming has become a popular way to enjoy entertainment, whether you're watching a movie, listening to music, or catching the latest episode of your favorite show. However, with so many providers and options available, deciding which streaming service is right for you can be challenging. So here are a few things to remember when choosing the right streaming service for you.

1) Cost

When it comes to streaming services, the cost is a significant factor for many people. After all, most people are on a budget, and you want to get the most for your money. So it's essential to compare the costs of different streaming services before deciding.

Most streaming providers offer a variety of plans with different prices and features. For example, some charge a monthly fee, while others require a yearly subscription. And some providers offer free trials so you can test out the service before committing. So be sure to compare the costs and features of different providers to find the best one for you.

When comparing costs, also consider any additional fees. For example, some services may charge a fee for HD content while others don't. Also, look out for taxes or other surcharges that can add up quickly.

2) Content Library

Just as important as cost is the content library. A streaming service can offer great prices, but if they don't have the shows or movies you want to watch, it's not worth it. So before choosing a streaming service, be sure to check out their content library first. For example, if you want to watch Stranger Things, you're going to need to subscribe to Netflix, while British television will be best on BritBox.

You should also pay attention to how often new content is added. Some providers, like Hulu, may add new titles each day, week, or month, while others go months without adding anything. If you're looking for more recent releases and classic films, make sure you choose a service that regularly updates its library with fresh content.

3) Quality Of Content

In addition to the content library, you should also consider the quality of the content. Most streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, offer HD versions of movies and shows. So if picture quality is essential to you, be sure to check out which format each provider offers before signing up.

Like with cost, most streaming providers offer different levels of quality, so make sure you understand what you're getting for your money. Generally speaking, higher-priced plans tend to include higher-quality video, but it's always best to double-check before committing.

4) Device Compatibility

Another thing to consider before choosing a streaming service is device compatibility. Most services are available on multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. But some devices may not be compatible with certain providers, so you'll want to ensure the streaming service you choose works with your device.

If you're planning on watching content across multiple devices, look for a provider that offers multi-device support. For example, if you want to use your mobile device to watch God's Not Dead on PureFlix while your partner is watching something else on their laptop, make sure the provider you choose allows for multi-device streaming. This way, you can access your favorite shows and movies anywhere and anytime without worrying about device compatibility.

5) User Interface

Take the time to look at the user interface of each streaming service. Different providers offer different navigation systems and features that can affect your viewing experience. Some may have a more intuitive layout, while others may be more cumbersome or lack certain features you might want.

For example, some services have an auto-play feature that will start playing the next show episode once you finish watching one. Others may offer recommendations based on what other users are watching or allow you to create playlists with multiple shows and movies. These small details can make all the difference when it comes to finding the right streaming service for you, so take your time to explore all that each provider has to offer before making your decision.

6) Customer Service & Support

When choosing a streaming service, don't forget to consider the customer service and support that they offer. Most providers have some form of help available, but it's essential to check out their policies and see how quickly they can resolve any issues you may have.

For example, some services may only offer email support, while others might include phone or live chat. It's also worth looking into what kind of technical support is offered in case of problems with your device or connection. Knowing that help is available if something goes wrong can give you peace of mind when streaming movies and shows online.

Choosing the right streaming service for you doesn't have to be complicated. Considering these simple factors, you can find the perfect streaming provider for your needs without all the hassle. With a little research and some trial and error, you can soon enjoy all of your favorite shows and movies from the comfort of your home.

read more...

Personal health gadgets that will change your life

posted Saturday Nov 26, 2022 by Contributor

When we think about personal technology we often think about gadgets that are designed to entertain us like phones and tablets or gadgets that are designed to make working life easier like triple-screen computer monitors and productivity apps, but these days, gadgets are just as likely to be designed with your health in mind.

With that being the case let's take a look at some of the best home health gadgets that could change your life right now.

Smart water bottles

Drinking water is probably something you think you do not need any help with, but these CrazyCap smart self-cleaning water bottles from Waatr are sure to change your mind. The bottle will use its inbuilt UV-C LED light to clear itself once every two hours so that your water is always fresh and safe to drink. It also features a water purification mode that is useful when you do not have access to the best drinking water too.

If you've already got a water bottle that you love, there's good news for you, too! CrazyCap also makes available a cap that will likely fit on your existing water bottle, bringing you all of the benefits of the system while allowing you to use the bottle you got at your last marathon.

Sanitizing travel wands

Handheld sanitizing wands are now readily available, which is good news for everyone who wants to avoid getting colds, flu and other viruses in the winter. Monos CleanPod UVC Sterilizer will kill 99.9 percent of bacteria on any surface it is waved over, and you can even use it to sanitize gadgets like your phone or your computer keyboard for a far healthier environment.

Smart toothbrushes

You could be forgiven for thinking that toothbrushes are the most basic of health and hygiene tools you can buy, but not anymore, toothbrushes have gone smart. In 2022, when you can get a custom teeth whitening kit in the post, it should not be surprising that you can also buy toothbrushes that will time your brushing, use sense technology to ensure you are not brushing too hard, and much more besides. If oral hygiene if your thing, then a smart toothbrush will change your life.

Metabolism trackers

The Lumen metabolism tracker could revolutionize the way you eat and lose weight, it is a portable metabolism tracker that you can connect to your phone to give you an accurate reading at any time, It can tell you if your body is currently burning fats or carbs so you can make smart decisions about what you eat, how you workout and much more besides, and all by simply breathing into the Lumen! Workouts and weight loss just got a whole lot easier! We liked it so much it became our Best of CES 2020 Pick!

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for depression

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation headbands like Flow have been shown to have a positive impact on treating depression and can be just as, if not more effective than antidepressants alone. tDCS devices come in the form of Bluetooth-connected headbands which will emit an electric current into the scalp in order to stimulate the brain and increase the rate of firing neurons, which has been found to boost mood, and it is pretty much painless too.

If you want to stay fit, healthy and happy, then these gadgets are sure to change your life.

read more...
We're live now - Join us!
PLUGHITZ Keyz

Email

Password

Forgot password? Recover here.
Not a member? Register now.
Blog Meets Brand Stats