Gunning Daily News

eBay, Gogo Offer Delta Passengers Free Wi-Fi for the Holidays

December 12, 2011 1:54 pm

eBay is giving passengers aboard all Gogo-equipped Delta Air Lines flights the gift of free Wi-Fi this holiday season. Starting December 12 through January 2, passengers can access 30 minutes of free Gogo during any of Delta's more than 2,500 daily Wi-Fi equipped flights courtesy of eBay. In addition to the free half-hour session, passengers will also be able to shop on eBay throughout the duration of the flight.

"As people head out to visit their relatives on Delta for the holidays, we are delighted to be able to partner with eBay to offer 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi so they can shop for last minute gifts, connect with friends and family, or send holiday greetings from 30,000 feet," said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo's chief marketing officer. "This is always a hectic time of year and we're happy to be able to offer Delta passengers this holiday gift."

To access the free Wi-Fi, just connect to Gogo on your Delta flight using your own Wi-Fi enabled device, open your browser, enter your email address in the special eBay promotion on the home page and click the "Give Me Free Wi-Fi" button.

8 Great Ways to Save for a Down Payment

December 12, 2011 1:54 pm

Like many consumers today, you may be thinking this is a great time to buy your first home—and you are right. Rock-bottom prices in many areas, historically low mortgage rates, and a great selection of properties in all price ranges make this an excellent time to buy.

“The problem for many,” notes consumer finance consultant Elizabeth Ray, “is the lack of a down payment. But favorable price and mortgage conditions will likely last for a while. The smart and hopeful first-time buyer will take advantage of the opportunity to save now for that needed down payment.”

For those willing to make a few sacrifices in the short-term, Ray suggests eight possible ways to help consumers watch their savings pile up more quickly:
  • Bank the extras – Anytime you get a refund, bonus, commission or birthday check, bank it in a separate savings account.
  • Live on one income – Working couples should try to live on one income and bank the other – or half of it.
  • Get a roommate – If you’re single and living on your own, think about halving your monthly costs by taking in a roommate.
  • Ditch the second car – If possible, use public transportation and bank the sale funds or payments.
  • Do without extras – Can you do without cable? Eating out every night? That Starbucks stop every morning?
  • Pay off debt – As you pay off high interest debt to better your credit rating, you will also be saving that high interest spend. Try to bank the payments you no longer need to make.
  • Ask about a piggyback mortgage – Consult with a mortgage broker. If you can’t quite get the required percentage together for your down payment, but have a high enough monthly income, you may be able to get a piggybank loan to cover what your first mortgage won’t.
  • Check out loan assistance programs – Government organizations like Veterans Affairs and FHA offer special programs designed to help people who don’t have large down payments obtain mortgage financing. Also check with state and local housing authorities to find out what assistance they may offer.

Word of the Day: GSE

December 12, 2011 1:22 pm

A GSE, or a Government Sponsored Enterprise, is a privately held corporation with public purposes created by the U.S. Congress to reduce the cost of capital for certain borrowing sectors of the economy. Members of these sectors include students, farmers and homeowners. GSEs carry the implicit backing of the U.S. Government, but they are not direct obligations of the U.S. Government. Examples of GSEs include: Federal Home Loan Bank, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), Federal Farm Credit Bank and the Resolution Funding Corporation.

Have a Home Office? Learn How to Maximize Your Space

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

In today’s upwardly mobile real estate environment, the ability to move around and shift is crucial. Oftentimes, agents are burning the midnight oil at home, not at the office. For this, it’s important to have a place that is functional, organized and private (if possible).

Here are some top ideas from wikihow.com on how to find, keep and organize your home office:

Find the perfect spot. Part of keeping organized in a home office is ensuring that you have a suitable place set aside to serve solely as your home office. It's not going to be effective if you're borrowing space anywhere, such as the kitchen table, or your child's desk while they're at school. Instead of "nomading" about the house in search of the perfect space, select one spot that is out of the way of pedestrian traffic, unaffected by noise or other sources of interference, and can be a permanent home office base for you. Purchase a table or desk (depending on your needs) that can be used just for your work tasks.

Check that everything is ergonomically suitable for you. It's easy to become despondent and start making a mess when your working arrangements make you feel uncomfortable. A chair that makes your legs feel deadened or a table that just doesn't have the space needed will soon have you wandering off and trying out other parts of the house for working in to try and improve your comfort levels.

Remove the superfluous. Clutter will make it impossible for you to remain organized in a home office. Being at home, you're at greater risk of things "migrating" into your work zone that have nothing to do with your work. Deal with this by getting rid of every object that is not useful for work. Take a close look at what you're dealing with and define carefully what you need and what you don't.

After removing the superfluous, permit yourself three beautiful objects to grace your workspace and inspire you. Keep it at three or less always, no more. If you want to rotate the inspirational things, then feel free to do so.

Manage the cables. You’ve probably found out through experience that the tangled cords under your desk are great at achieving three things: they trap dust balls, they make you look disorganized and they snag your feet, occasionally pulling over something else in the process. Don’t live with that rat’s nest of cables lurking behind your workstation; even if you’ve never thought it was possible to straighten out your office cables, give it a try.

Go wireless. Now that you’ve got that mess under your desk cleared up, think about getting rid of the cord clutter on your work surface. Wireless keyboards and computer mice are terrific gadgets that will free up both your space and your movements. Just imagine not having to tug the cord of your computer mouse free ever again.

Keep your printer off your workspace desk or table. Purchase or find a suitable printer table for it instead. If this small table or cabinet has shelves for storing printer paper and cartridges, this is even better.

Ensure adequate lighting. A home office needs good lighting to help you see properly at all hours of the day. If you're stuck in a basement or somewhere that's darker than normal, consider using a daylight bulb to brighten up your working space and to help you feel that the light is more natural.

Label everything. Stop squinting at the handwritten chicken-scratch on your file tabs and invest in a label maker instead. Having a label printer around will not only keep the contents of your filing cabinet looking neat and professional, it’s also very handy for organizing discs, office supplies and storage cabinets.

Sort. Sort through papers and shred the ones you don’t need. We’ve all dealt with it: the mountain of paper that comes from repeatedly putting off sorting through junk mail and paperwork. You have it in your power to keep that paper from piling up in the first place.

Straighten up at each day's end. Before you call it a day, do a small tidy up. By taking just a few minutes to put everything back in order, you’re making a useful transition out of your workday, and ensuring that your office will be much more pleasant place to return to the next day.

Have a Healthier Holiday Season

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

Age Management Physicians from Cenegenics Carolinas, a preventive health and age management medical facility, today released their top tips for staying healthy over the holiday season.

Exercise
Staying active during the holiday season can prove to be a tough challenge.
Tip: Try to exercise for 10 minutes three times a day. A great 10-minute workout can include walking up and down stairs or jumping rope.

Drink Plenty of Water
The number one cause of daytime fatigue is dehydration.
Tip: Try to drink eight ounces of water a day and consume foods and beverages high in water.

Monitor Alcohol Consumption
Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories and little or no nutritional value.
Tip: Moderation and smart beverage choices. Avoid beverages like eggnog and rum and coke. Instead, opt for a light beer or vodka mixed with sparkling water.

Get Enough Sleep
With the stress of the holidays sleeping can be a challenge.
Try these tips for a good night's rest:
• Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine after 2 p.m.
• Set the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Limit alcohol consumption.
• Try foods that help promote sleep.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Choose a breakfast that includes protein and healthy fats and don't skip breakfast as this can lead to overeating.

Avoid the Afternoon Lull
To beat the mid-afternoon crash, start the day with the proper nourishment and avoid heavy lunches. If in need of an energy boost, try taking a brisk walk.

Conquer Temptation
Eat a small meal before going out and plan for temptation. Studies show that when people plan out exactly what they'll do when temptation arises, they are two to three times more likely to achieve their dietary goals.

Dealing with Holiday Stress
As our cortisol (stress hormone) rises, it compromises the production of other important hormones such as DHEA, pregnenolone and progesterone. Try to increase these hormone supplements during stressful times.

Prevent Colds
Nothing's worse than getting a cold during the "most wonderful time of the year." Take precautions by eating plenty of immune-boosting foods, take a multi-vitamin and get plenty of sunshine to maintain optimal health.

Spice up the Holidays
Studies show that adding certain spices to food can help boost metabolism including: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, black pepper and other hot peppers.

Source: http://www.cenegenicscarolinas.com

Word of the Day

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

Replacement cost. The cost at today’s prices and using today’s construction methods, of building an improvement having the same usefulness as the one being appraised.

Question of the Day

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

Q: What about the difference between a conventional and non-conventional loan?

A: They are the same as conforming and non-conforming loans. A conventional, or conforming, loan is one not insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration (VA), two federal government agencies that make homeownership possible and generally more affordable for a large segment of the population.

However, that said, many major banks and private lenders now offer non-conventional, or non-conforming, loans for lower-income borrowers and those with blemishes on their credit.

In fact, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now the leading sources of non-conventional loans, thereby making the process of buying a home a lot easier for more people—but not necessarily cheaper. The interest rates on these loans are much higher than rates on conventional mortgages.

Protecting Your Pet during the Holiday Season

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

Many pet owners are unaware of the health hazards for pets during the holidays. The following tips ensure your four legged friend has a happy holiday.

Holiday Havoc—The holidays can be a stressful time for pets. In many households, the holidays bring frequent visitors and major changes in the daily routine. As such, it's important to provide pets with a private area of their own. This should be a room or area of the home where guests are not allowed. Pets will find comfort in being able to retire to a quiet place where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Above all, it's important for pet owners to allow a little extra time during the holidays to pay special attention to their pets.

Poisonous Plants—Though seemingly harmless, holiday plants can be highly toxic for our four-legged friends. Poinsettia ingestion can cause mild intestinal problems for pets and irritation to the mouth and stomach. Pets that ingest certain types of mistletoe can become ill as well. Other plants like holly, amaryllis and lilies are also known to be quite toxic to pets, so make sure that when decorating the house, these items are in areas not frequented by pets or at levels pets cannot reach.

Dangerous Decorations—Items like tinsel and ribbons may be potential choking hazards for pets, and tree ornaments, usually fragile in nature, can be hazardous if broken. Water used at the base of live Christmas trees is often stagnant and may contain fertilizers or other preservatives that can upset a pet's stomach. Lastly, curious pets can run into trouble when investigating candles or potpourri, so be sure to keep these items out of a pet's line of sight!

Fattening Foods—While it may be tempting to share a holiday meal with your dog or cat, it's probably best to rethink that strategy as many holiday foods can be unhealthy for pets. Things like chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts and even onions can be toxic to pets. Xylitol-containing sweets and gums can make pets very ill, and foods with high fat content have been known to cause pancreatitis, especially in dogs.

For more tips, visit www.greenies.com and www.lorie-huston.com.

Word of the Day

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

Reserve account. An account for money collected each month by a lender to pay for property taxes and property insurance as they come due.

Work from Home? Get the Most Out of Your Job

December 8, 2011 5:28 pm

A recent article in the Kansas City Star cited evidence suggesting that more and more employees are seeking opportunities to work from home, while many managers and business owners are still reluctant.

According to the Star, middle managers are fearful that allowing employees to work from home will adversely affect productivity. According to Martha Jenkins, however, this does not necessarily have to be true. Jenkins and her company, Jenkins Coaching, offer practical advice to small business owners and contractors who work from home, helping them make the best use of their time.

Jenkins says that employees wishing to work from home can take certain steps to ensure productivity, and perhaps win over their bosses.

Jenkins has offered five tips to those seeking to make home-based employment work without a lapse in productivity..”

According to Jenkins, clear communication and well-understood expectations are essential for making home-based employment work.

1. Ensure you know what your employer’s expectations are: See to it that there are no unanswered questions about work hours, breaks, company equipment, and so forth.

2. Ensure that your results are communicated to your employer: Working long hours will not matter if your boss is not aware of what you accomplish.

3. Set up an effective work space: Make sure you have a work area that is free of distractions and is also comfortable and separate from the rest of your house.

4. Establish boundaries with your family and friends: Make sure they are aware of the demands of working from home.

5. Assess your progress on a regular basis: Record your achievements and mark your progress along the way, and make regular evaluations to your work habits.

Jenkins says working from home is ultimately successful when it is treated like a job. “In order to convince an employer you are serious about it, the bottom line is to behave in as professional a manner as possible.”