Will Chatham is the Application Security Engineer at a cyber security research and development firm. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from web developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

Making Your Money Work

If you’ve managed to save a little bit of money, you’ve got every right to feel a bit smug. So many people are struggling with debts or living hand to mouth that it can be impossible to save. The cost of living is higher than ever, with prices rising all of the time and the average family spending up to $600 a month on food. For some, this can be half of their take-home pay. So, if you’ve got a little money put aside, well done.

However, you can do more than just have savings. You can make your money make money. Make your savings work for you, so that small amount you’ve managed to save for a rainy day starts growing into something more meaningful. An amount that you could do something big with, or to just give you the peace of mind that you have it if you need it. Here are some great ways to make your money work for you.

Invest It

Investing can be one of the best ways to make your money work, and the more you invest, the more you can make. While it’s true that there is always a risk with buying stocks and shares, if you do plenty of research, learn about the market and use tools such as the TD Ameritrade robo advisor, there’s no reason why you can’t do well.

Move It

For a few years, there was very little point in moving your money. Even so-called high-interest accounts offered pitifully low rates. However, now the interest rates have improved significantly, the easiest way to make your money work for you is by moving your savings into a high-interest account.

Use an online comparison site to find the best rates for your situation, remembering that for some accounts, you could get a bonus payout if you don’t withdraw any money for a set period.

Buy Property

If you’ve got a large amount of money saved up, a property can be an excellent investment. Either buying a house, making improvements and selling it on or buying it to rent it out can make you a lot of money. You will, however, need to look into things like landlord’s insurance and tax and take in to account the cost of any improvements and maintenance.

Pay Off Debts

It can be tempting to leave your debts and focus on saving money. Having savings makes us feel good, safe and comfortable. But, if you’ve got debts, you are paying out money, unnecessarily every month. Use some of your savings to pay off your debts to maximize your disposable income.

Start a Business

If you’ve got some start-up cash and an idea, starting your own business can be an excellent thing to do with your money. However, it could be a while before you start to see profits and it will take a lot of time and hard work to grow. So, don’t use all of your money if you need it for other things and budget carefully to see what you can afford.

Property Swooping: Beating The Professionals At Their Own Game

The two most favorable reasons why getting into the property buying and selling market are that virtually anyone can do it, and due to the nature of the business profits are almost always high. Don’t be fooled however as it’s much more complex than it first might sound. The main complications are the paperwork and legal frameworks which have to be adhered to and fully understood to operate in the market properly. Apart from this, it’s your personal talent that will end up pushing across the finishing line of success. It’s not so much personality, but an understanding of what is necessary to the consumer. Such things as location, style of home, type of buyer, price, materials and quality of purchase are the main factors when it comes to luring in potential prospects. Professional property market companies treat buying and selling as their bread and butter. The one thing they usually have over an independent is the legal bodies required to close out a deal. However, they also need to work with strict tolerances and narrow walls of what is permissible under company culture. This little chink in the armor gives you a chance to slide in and beat them at their own game.

The first point of entering

It goes without saying, but you should have worked out by now, you need to make sure you have a budget and a large lump sum of money stowed away, ready to be used. One of the first points of entry for many prospective buyers who want to enter the property market is the auction scene. Homes that cannot be sold for whatever reason are put up to auction to those who see something in the property that others don’t. It’s a bit of a free for all, and you need to make quick decisions regarding how much you’re willing to fork over.

Be mindful to study the inventory beforehand as all those attending the auction get a program featuring the finer details of each property. There are mixed auctions as well as specific group auctions. The mixed will sell all kinds of properties such as abandoned buildings, apartments, residential homes, larger homes such as manors and mansions and quite possibly even commercial offices. The main use of these auctions is to buy cheap and renovate properties to be then flipped, i.e. sold at a much higher price than you bought for.

Framing Home Apartment Renovation Demolition

Becoming a flipper

In recent years the flipping trend has taken off like a rocket ship. Buying rundown properties that have either been abandoned or simply damaged to a state that leaves the owner unable to sell the property, makes for a brilliant investment. Simply, renovating older properties to harbor new styles of interior design, decor and modern technology allows them to come back from the brink of demolition. However, you must be wary that many properties that are withering away need logistical overhauls. The wiring of the homes needs to be repaired and or updated. Central heating systems often need professional assistance to be brought back to life after having been cleared of gunk. Many real estate agents are hip to the trend and like to buy up properties and do them up by hiring other professional restoration companies.

You can do this yourself. Buying new wallpaper, regrouting walls with worn out tiles, fitting new flooring and installing new fittings such as washing machines, makes a desolate property able to be functioning livable space. Most of your budget will go on renovating as it’s quite common for teething problems to arise during the renovation process. This is where your budgeting skills come into play. The key is not to overspend and if you’re going to make sure you do so in a smart manner. The end goal is to make a decent profit, and this can be nullified if you go over your expenditure boundary.

Swooping in to the sub-sale

On sale properties that are targeted toward specialist buyers reap a large profit almost every time. The sub-sale market has unique contracts that need to be studied carefully as your obligations as the intermediate seller carry a lot of responsibility. The basic premise is, buying a property from a seller, to then immediately sell off to another buyer. It’s a case by case basis but the two types of contracts will either require you to inform the seller upfront that you will be selling the property on to another buyer, or not be required to inform them at all.

Becoming the intermediate seller is easier than you think as explained here, www.propertyguru.com.my/resources/buy-property-guide/the-complete-guide-to-purchasing-a-property-in-the-subsale-market. What you need to put at the top of your things to do list when taking on such a deal is the financing. You must have one-fifth of the asking price ready and waiting as this can activate the necessary legal framework for the process to be validated. Your success depends on catering for the secondary buyer’s needs. The location, safety, workplace proximity, accessibility, size, local facilities, and the age all matter a great deal.

So who would want to be the secondary buyer and why don’t they just simply overstep you, cancel out the middleman and just buy the property from the initial seller in the first place? Well as mentioned, these are specialist buyers. You may be selling to a company that deals with high-roller clients such as celebrities. They may not have the resources to go out searching for their client’s specific tastes, so they use independent property buyers for their sub-sale needs. Other types of secondary buyers may be companies that specialize in property development and wish to increase their portfolios. Again, they may not have the time and manpower to hunt for various properties but can rely on intermediate sellers who come to them with a potential prospect property.

Buying land at new sites

Government award contracts to home construction companies to make sure their state department pledges and policies are adhered to. As the population grows and the income bracket of many young professionals looking to start a family also increases, so will the demand for new homes. If you can keep an eye on what sites are soon to be developed on or moreover are being surveyed as potential land that may be suitable for mass production of homes, you could be the early bird that gets the worm. Buying land that meets this criteria could prove incredibly lucrative. Real estate companies will pay a hefty price to get the rights to land that will be built on so you’ll have some competition when you’re out searching. This is one way to beat the professionals at their own game by staying one step ahead. Indeed it is a bit of a gamble, but with enough sound research, you can abate any doubts about where the next new-home sites will be.

If you’re unsure about yourself and have doubts about your capabilities in the industry, you can always start off small by going to auctions of smaller, less expensive properties. Starting your journey as a property expert can also be done by the act of flipping older and worn down properties, by renovating them with a bang for buck restoration. The sub-sale market is a bit more complex as extra provisions will be made to the contractual agreements regarding obligations and securities. On the other hand, it’s a specialist buyers market, so the chances of making a handsome profit are high. On the face of it, buying up empty flat land doesn’t look like much. Yet with the right kind of information and time taken to do the proper research, empty land needed for homes become substantial in value with many interested buyers all vying for your business.

What Are The Essential Gaming Devices This Year?

Video games are not a thing that only highly talented geeks can play. Nowadays, a variety of devices and games share market positions. From those who invest their savings in building the best possible gaming system to those who like to play occasionally and without significant time and money investments, there is something for every type of gamers. Similarly, the games have also evolved to offer a mixture of tactical challenges and involved storylines to satisfy all personalities. In short, technology has changed significantly since the first Atari console. So it’s fair to ask what are the essential gaming devices and more importantly which device is best-suited for which type of gamer. Indeed, the gaming market needs to target traditional gamers who have created their high-tech gaming solution, individuals who like to play on the go but without shopping for parts or tools, and finally innovation-seekers who want to explore new sensations.

Games Iphone Female Phones Male Pokemon

Newcomers can start with an everyday tool

For everyone who considers games an enjoyable distraction, the need for investing in gaming technology is low. That’s precisely why a lot of video games are now designed for use on a standard item in modern households: Your phone. Mobile gaming is an accessible interface for new gamers as it doesn’t need you to handle a keyboard or a remote gamepad. With mobile phones, all you need to use is a tool you use every day already, naùely your fingers. Consequently, the experience can feel more relaxing for people who enjoy a playful distraction but don’t want the stress of learning all the possible key combinations for their character. What do you need to keep your smartphone up-to-date? It’s simple: Download the game app and play.

Getting your laptop up to speed

For experienced gamers who prefer to play on their laptop or PC, you need to keep your tech up to speed. As a result, there are devices that have been specifically designed for the gaming industry, such as laptops running VulkanRT as a graphics API. If you don’t know about the  Vulkan runtime library, you can learn more about this video games driver module here. What this means is that gamers need to keep their device updated, from installing the latest graphics card drivers to ensure that they can continue to have access to newer games designed to be played within specific tech requirements, to buying quality keyboard and mouse – as these are submitted to constant use.

Newcomers can start with an everyday tool

For everyone who considers games an enjoyable distraction, the need for investing in gaming technology is low. That’s precisely why a lot of video games are now designed for use on a standard item in modern households: Your phone. Mobile gaming is an accessible interface for new gamers as it doesn’t need you to handle a keyboard or a remote gamepad. With mobile phones, all you need to use is a tool you use every day already, naùely your fingers. Consequently, the experience can feel more relaxing for people who enjoy a playful distraction but don’t want the stress of learning all the possible key combinations for their character. What do you need to keep your smartphone up-to-date? It’s simple: Download the game app and play.

Getting your laptop up to speed

For experienced gamers who prefer to play on their laptop or PC, you need to keep your tech up to speed. As a result, there are devices that have been specifically designed for the gaming industry, such as laptops running VulkanRT as a graphics API. If you don’t know about the  Vulkan runtime library, you can learn more about this video games driver module here. What this means is that gamers need to keep their device updated, from installing the latest graphics card drivers to ensure that they can continue to have access to newer games designed to be played within specific tech requirements, to buying quality keyboard and mouse – as these are submitted to constant use.

Diving inside the game

VR headsets offer a new dimension in gaming by putting the player directly in the middle of the action. While headsets have been on the market for a few years, they are now affordable, both as mobile or tethered options depending on gaming preferences. However, gamers are still cautious whether a headset is the future of gaming. Indeed, new gaming systems include a footpad VR joystick that can control actions such as flying or walking. In short, wait and see before committing to any purchase.

From touchscreen to high-tech gaming installation, it’s hard to know where the game industry will take us. One thing has never been more real though. The innovative gaming approaches open the door to an array of life enhancements outside of a game platform. Using VR sets could let wheelchair users visit new places safely, for instance.

Looking Ahead In Business: The Importance of Future-Proofing Your Company

Life is fast paced and ever changing, and to succeed in business you need to be able to move with the times. A business that does fantastic now could easily be made obsolete within a few years, and so looking ahead and being ready to adapt when needed can help to give your company a successful future. Here are a few of the ways you can future proof your business venture.

Invest in an App

All of the big companies of the world have got on board with apps, and know the fantastic things they can do for business. More sales are now made on smartphones and tablets than on laptops and computers, which is something you really can’t afford to ignore as a company owner. Many smaller and medium sized business still haven’t got on board so it’s something you could consider. Sure, your site may be optimised for mobiles- but an app gives far more benefits. An app is stored on the customer’s phone meaning your details are only ever a click of a button away. You can communicate offers or messages via notifications. An app also makes your company look more trustworthy and reliable too, as you have to be verified to get onto the app store. Particularly when you’re a newer or smaller business, convincing customers that you are who you say you are can be tricky. People tend to prefer to stick to the big brands they know and trust, so anything that can persuade them to give you a try is a good thing. In the near future, an app will be as important to a business as a website is now. However right now, you have the chance to get ahead and do what many of your competitors are missing out on. By the time they get on board, you’ll be way ahead.

Stay up to Date on Technological Advances

Technology is ever advancing, and as a business owner it’s important to be on top of these changes. Are there gadgets, programs or technologies that can make your life easier and improve your business? Are there advancements that could render your business obsolete? It’s important to know how to adapt and change if you come up against this. Take internet cafes a couple of decades ago- once widely used and loved. However the advancement of the internet and it becoming widely available in homes could have rendered them obsolete. However smart owners knew that they could continue with their business by targeting a different demographic. These days internet cafes are used by those in poorer people for things like job searches or for internet sessions for older adults where they can meet and use the web. Others have turned them into study zones for students, who may fancy a change of scenery from their laptop at home or in their dorm room. One of the big technological advances these days that could make or break many businesses is 3D printer technology. Using this as an example, is it something that would affect your business- either positively or negatively? If it’s something that could potentially render your products or services useless, how could you adapt and change your business model so that you’re still useful and relevant?

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

As with technology, you need to be keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing again in case your business ends up obsolete. While of course you need to be focusing on yourself and growing and improving your business, your competitors will be after the same customers as you and so it’s important to know what they’re doing too. Make sure you stay ahead of the game, read customer reviews and take on board criticism and negative reviews in a constructive way. Use this to make changes that will make your company better and please your customers. Conduct market research to make sure your products, pricing and everything else are right. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best, to secure the customers you need you need to be more appealing than your competitors.

Consider Further Education and Training

Even if your business is going well, it doesn’t mean you should get complacent. Further training or education for either you or your staff is important, it helps to future proof your business by ensuring your skills are up to scratch. Do some research, are there courses you could go on, training days or business seminars you could book? Knowledge is power, continue learning and moving forward and then putting plans into action based on what you have learned.

4 Fun Ways To Introduce Technology To Your Child

There’s is no getting away from the fact that we now live in a digital world. Unless you live in the depths of a peruvian rainforest, technology has become the norm in our homes, workplaces and leisure pursuits. This is very apparent in the way children now learn in a world that is heavily dependent on technology. It is very different from our own childhoods where technology didn’t extend further than watching a video in the school library!

As parents our role is to provide a good balance of learning through technology and learning through the traditional methods. You can’t really avoid technology, as it’s likely that your child will have homework to complete by using a tablet or laptop. Computer science and IT will also be taught in schools.

Are there any fun ways of introducing technology to young children other than playing video games? This article aims to explore your options.

Coding

Coding allows children to create simple games and programmes. There are many free sources available on the internet to use primarily. There are different coding languages available for children. Scratch is a good platform to use, as it allows building block style interfaces to create games, animations and images.

Looking towards the future, once your child has mastered different coding languages they can progress onto the coding used by software developers. Learning to code can lead children onto a potentially lucrative, sought after and rewarding career pathway.

Robots

Robots are fun and exciting, they also have the benefit of combining technology with science. Children can learn to build robots from kits, which teaches engineering skills or can use robots to learn coding as they input commands. Robots have advanced so much in recent years that some have artificial intelligence, realistic movements and speech recognition. Children can learn how important robots are in areas such as medicine and industry.

Animation

Animation allows people to create movies by taking single frame shots and playing the frames back rapidly.The introduction of animation to children teaches so many skills, relating to art and design, technology, computers and storytelling. It also introduces children to many kinds of media relating to film making, TV and media channels such as youtube. Animation is very popular with adults too and is  an interest you could share as a family. A quick search will provide you with information on the Best Animation Software available to download. There are also plenty of kits available specifically designed with children in mind.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is very appealing to children as it allows them access to whole new worlds. Virtual reality is important in areas such as medical engineering and industry in a similar way to robots. Virtual reality should be introduced to very young children with close supervision as there are safety aspects. Headsets can be purchased as well as virtual reality books that contain headsets you construct yourself. Apps downloaded on smart phones can allow your child to experience prehistoric worlds, life in the colosseum and what it’s like to live in a space centre.

Date Night Appetite, Because Writing & Eating are Fun

Just over a year ago, Rachael and I decided that we’d like to combine our love of escaping the house sans-children with our love of writing. Being fans of fine food and environments that enable us to focus on each other during rare, precious date nights, we thought it might be fun to share our experiences in Asheville with other couples who might be looking for a great spot to escape to, if only for an hour, or if for a whole evening. Plus, it would be a team effort that would allow us to collaborate on something we both love: writing and geeking out.

Thus, Date Night Appetite was born and officially launched back in September. To date, we’ve reviewed four local spots, but we also have some Instagram and Facebook posts to help share smaller delights that we find between date nights.

Check it out, and help add your ratings to what we have posted. And let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!