Top 10 tips for staying safe online


Whether playing online games, sending and responding to emails, visiting social networks or checking bank accounts, the average American spends 13 hours per week online, according to a survey taken by Forrester. While the ever-evolving conveniences of online shopping and digital communication often make life a little easier, sharing valuable information over the Internet comes with a considerable amount of risk. Consumers should not only be aware of the dangers of being online, but should also take preventative measures to avoid becoming a victim of online scams or fraud.

Protecting valuable information online is just as important as securing a home, car or personal possessions, says Rebecca Smith, vice president, marketing for Master Lock. It is essential that people educate themselves and take the proper precautions to safeguard their information online, ensuring important account data and passwords are protected within the digital space.

1. Firewalls are your friend: Be sure to activate your computer’s firewalls as they are great tools to provide you with a line of defense against hackers and Internet crime. They watch all the communication occurring between your computer, a network (say at the office) and the Internet and can prevent strangers from accessing your information.

2. Surf and shop safely: While online shopping is a great, convenient tool, consumers should be careful when surfing or shopping on a site they’ve never visited before. Good indicators that a site is secure include checkout pages with lock symbols or sites with the prefix “https,” indicating that a page is encrypted or scrambled.

3. Download security software: There is a wide variety of security software available that automatically updates itself and can protect your personal computers from viruses, spyware and other online threats that are constantly in play. Sign on and scan your computer for viruses and other malware once a week to ensure your information stays safe.

4. Create strong passwords: Short, easy-to-remember passwords, are typically not complex enough to prevent being hacked. When creating passwords for online bank accounts and other sites, use passwords with at least 10 characters that are a combination of letters, numbers and most importantly, symbols. It’s also a good idea to change your password on a monthly basis to keep it secure.

5. Be cautious – always: Internet fraud and online crime are a constant threat to all Americans who interact online or store anything digitally. Be cautious and avoid posting any personal information online, do not open email messages from strange addresses and never give your browser permission to remember your passwords.

6. Shut it down: We all know that with many advances in technology, one can be connected at all times. However, being online 24/7 comes with risks. Attackers and/or viruses are more likely to target your computer if you are always connected. Therefore, it’s good to shut down once in a while and take yourself offline.

7. Back it up: Whether it happens by accident, a natural disaster or because of an equipment malfunction, computers and networks crash and can leave your information exposed or just lost altogether. Consider backing up all of your most important information at least twice a month and rest easy knowing it is stored safely in more than one place.

8. Use parental controls: Children use the Internet as frequently, if not more, than adults. Many Internet browsers offer the option to set parental controls. Check out your options to restrict the websites viewed on your computer and protect the settings you select with a password your kids won’t be able to figure out. This way, you’re keeping your information, and more importantly, your children safe from various online dangers.

9. Lock up your valuable info: Every time you step away from your computer, you should know all of your most important information is secure. Consider utilizing a secure, online storage application or website, such as the free Master Lock Vault, to house all of your passwords, account numbers and essential information and documents under one easily accessible, yet completely secure location. Storing this information online is safer than keeping hard copies or a non-protected file on your computer. Services like the Vault can act as an encrypted digital safe deposit box and give users peace of mind that their vital information is locked up tight.

10. Two is better than one: User authentication, also known as two-tier or device authentication, should always be enabled if offered by sites that collect your secure or private data at registration. With this enabled, you may receive an email or text message with a verification code to complete your account set-up. While this may seem inconvenient at the time of sign-up, the extra protection is well worth this extra step.

For more advice on online safety and security, visit http://www.masterlock.com or http://www.masterlockvault.com.

Courtesy of BPT

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Going green has never been more high tech


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Think going green will cost too much or take too much time? You might be surprised at how much time, energy and money you can save by making a few changes in your home to make it more energy efficient. And don’t worry that it will be too much work because some new high tech tools are making it easier than ever.

 
Green living expert Megan McLendon is the executive producer at http://www.doyourpart.com, and she recommends several options for making a powerful impact.

 
Take stock of the situation
Do you really know how much energy you use to run your household? Think about everything you run or turn on during the day. Consider your heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics. The average single-family household racks up more than $2,000 in energy bills each year. Home electricity monitors make it easy to see how much energy you use and what you spend on it. A device called The Energy Detective can monitor the energy your home consumes in real time and the exact amount it’s costing you. You can chart 10 years’ worth of data and even review your information remotely. The basic model costs around $200. Then, there are free ways to help you see what’s using the most energy at home and help you target those hot spots. MyEnergy.com compiles information directly from your utility companies and is able to compare your usage to that of some of your neighbors. You can also earn reward points for using less energy.

 
Hit the energy hogs
Now, that you know how much energy you’re really using at home, it’s time to hit those energy hogs hard. Start with making your heating and cooling systems more efficient. So-called “smart” thermostats are now available and are easy to use. The Nest thermostat is one such device that actually learns from your family’s behavior. Soon after installation, it will automatically begin to lower or increase the temperature when you go to bed or leave the house. It even allows you to look at its daily energy use and access the thermostat from your computer or smartphone. 

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There are also other intuitive devices to help you reduce your energy consumption at home. A power strip for sale by Belkin will shut down power going to a series of electronics by simply turning off one of the components. This is a great solution for home offices and entertainment centers. And here’s another smart tip: For those items at home which run off batteries, invest in reusable ones. They will cost a little more than regular batteries but more than make up for that cost in the long run. A gadget that will easily help you make the switch is the Energizer Universal Charger. This device will charge AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries, so you also reduce clutter by only having one charger for all of your battery charging needs. 

 
Put it all together
Once you have the information you need, you can easily put it all together to analyze. EnergyHub has a product that works as a command center for your home. You can access all your energy information in one place so you can control your thermostat, lights and appliances from a central home location or remotely. General Electric is also rolling out a hub system called the Nucleus that does the same thing and is compatible with smart meters.
Knowledge is power. When you know how much energy your home is using, it’s easier to come up with strategies to lower your energy usage and lower your utility bills. It’s another important way to do your part without wasting your energy.
IMAGE CAPTIONS:
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Caption 1: Reviewing your energy consumption regularly can help you see how much energy you use and where you can cut down.
Caption 2: Intuitive devices like this advanced power strip and battery charger help you reduce your energy consumption at home.

Courtesy of BPT

2 Bedroom Townhouse in Baton Rouge







Enjoy the lock and leave lifestyle in popular
Sharpstowne! Located at the rear of the complex, this
2 bedroom townhome offers a large double garage, spacious drop off area at backdoor, kitchen with brick flooring and room for a breakfast table. The master bedroom has vaulted ceiling, large L-shaped bathroom, and enormous walk-in closet. The formal living and dining are separated by a free-standing brick fireplace for a stunning look. The guest bedroom & bath are is located at the front of the home. Nine foot ceilings throughout, fresh paint, window treatments, interior courtyard off the kitchen for outdoor dining pleasure. Large storage closet in garage too. Enjoy pleasant walks around the well landscaped and maintained neighborhood. Just off Old Hammond Highway & Sharp, between Sherwood Forest and Airline —
convenient and quiet! Call or text 225-335-5395 for more info.

1689 Sharp

Baton Rouge, LA 70815

4 Bedroom Home in Baton Rouge off Highland Rd.






Just
off Highland Road between Siegen and I-10 is this small community with a great house! Located in the cul-de-sac, this home offers a triple-split floorplan for your enjoyment. Hardwood floors welcome you into the open dining and living spaces – and the living space is huge, including bookcases and gas log fireplace. The kitchen/keeping/breakfast area has a vaulted ceiling, island, pantry, and is a space large enough for keeping area and breakfast, all light and bright overlooking the backyard. One bedroom and bath is located down the hall from the kitchen – perfect for overnight guests! On the opposite wing are two bedrooms and bath. The master is large and overlooks the backyard too. Separate vanities, jetted tub and separate shower complete the master bath. You will love the spaciousness and flow of
this home — and will enjoy the covered patio overlooking the fenced yard. Call or text 225-335-5395 for more info.

114 Charter Ridge Ct.

Baton Rouge, LA 70810


 

Who Sold 100 Homes?

As your chosen real estate professionals, we



thank you
for your referrals, business and trust.  

This week, The KeyFinders Team reached a milestone:

 




we closed on our 100th home in 2013!
 

To serve over 100 families and individuals in accomplishing their real estate needs,

   from buying their first home, 

     to moving to a larger home before the baby comes, 

          to moving to be near their grandkids, 

               to purchasing their first investment property, 

                   to relocating with CB&I,    

                       to opening an animal shelter,   

                                            is our honor and privilege.  

We are so fortunate to be able to share in this special time with so many, and are grateful for the opportunity from each of you.  It is indeed more blessed to serve than to be served.  

 

THANK YOU!

 

We also want to take this opportunity to announce our newest team member and, while he may be the youngest Realtor of record, he has a servant's heart and is eager to serve our clients and friends:

 



COLLIN BAIN


(see picture below)



Just Listed:


 
4BR/3BA Home

in Highland Ridge

off Highland Rd.
2BR/2BA Townhome

in Sharpstowne

off Sharp & Old Hammond Hwy.




114 Charter Ridge 1689 Sharp



Price Adjustments:


 

Customize Your Home

in Willow Grove

Now $595,000
Minutes from I-10 & I-12

In Westminster

Now $215,000


7940 Lanes End 4160 Strand





JEFFREY WELSH & CAROL POCHE’








"THE KEYFINDERS TEAM"


 










Stephanie

Pierce
Bryan

House
Christie

Farris
Jillian

Watson
Collin

Bain

Have a question for us?

We'll answer it on Facebook






 




Top Producers ‘06,’07,’08, ‘09, '10, '11 & '12

Visit our
YouTube page for all our listings

225.768.1800 office



225.335.5395 Buyer Specialist

225.413.4409 Jeffrey's cell

225.337.1861 Carol's cell

225.768.9700 fax






www.TheKeyFinders.com







Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Partners,

8686 Bluebonnet ,
Baton Rouge,
LA,
70810,

225.768.1800  
 
 

Jeffrey Welsh & Carol Poche' – Baton Rouge, LA, USA – Licensed in the State of Louisiana – Each Office is Individually Owned and Operated
 

Garden now to refresh your outdoor space for entertaining


This summer gardens and outdoor green spaces often look limp and lifeless due to lots of hot, sunny days and limited precipitation. No need to despair, just a few simple tips can help to rejuvenate any outdoor space well into fall – and be water-wise as well.

Garden

Mulch

Mulch adds a nice, finished look to beds, paths and containers alike. It also helps to keep weeds out by blocking access to sunlight, reduce competition for water and nutrients from weeds, retain moisture in the soil where the roots can access it and moderate soil temperatures. In essence, mulching around plants, trees and shrubs is fundamental to keeping water where it is needed. Mulch your landscape beds at a depth of 2 to 3 inches of straw, shredded leaves, or bark mulch. Here’s another tip: Ever see mounds of mulch piled up around a tree base, sometimes called a “mulch volcano”? Don’t do this. Piling mulch up against the trunk of trees, shrubs, and other plants damages them. Properly applied mulch should taper from thin (less than 1 inch) at the base of the tree to thicker (2 to 3 inches) as you move out. To figure out how much mulch is needed for your space, visit http://www.scotts.com and use the mulch calculator under useful tools in the lower right hand corner.

Food and water

Just like humans, plants need food and water. Regular feeding and watering can help your plants thrive in hot summer weather. Make sure to water wisely. Make sure to water in the morning between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m. to reduce wind effects on sprinkler uniformity and reduce evaporation loss. Water when needed and before leaves wilt. The best way to water roots is with a soaker hose or drip irrigation system that puts moisture at soil level where it is directly available to the plants’ roots.

Dead-head and cut back

With flowering plants, be sure to dead-head the blooms when they start to wilt. This will keep the plant producing blooms much longer. Feel free to leave a few seed heads on perennials to encourage re-seeding for next year. If you have not already done so, prune early blooming shrubs and perennials to encourage new growth. You could even get an extra bloom or two out of some perennials this way.

Fill in the blanks

Even seasoned gardeners’ beds can suffer from unsightly gaps in beds this time of year. Whether some plants have been lost or early perennials and bulbs have been cut back after blooming, sometimes garden beds need a little help by mid to late summer. This is a great time to pop in some annuals for an added splash of color. Plant fresh, new annuals in-ground or in containers, and spread a bright new wave of blooms around your outdoor space. Many nurseries have a wide selection on sale now too. Just be sure to water daily until established.

Harvest

In edible gardens, it is always important to harvest fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs in a timely fashion. If you harvest more than you can possibly eat, try canning, drying or just simply sharing. Many areas of the country have food pantries that take fresh vegetable donations in the summer.

Weeds

Weeds like to move in when plants are stressed from drought and heat. Then they steal moisture and nutrients, which stresses your plants even more. If you have an overabundance of weeds creeping into flower beds and vegetable gardens, take action now. Control them by spraying Roundup Weed & Grass Killer on the weeds in your garden. Be careful not to spray the plants you like. If you accidentally spray your flowers and vegetables, wash them off immediately with water.

Hardscapes

Color

A great way to bring back those fading colors of summer and add a fresh look to the patio, porch or balcony is with new pillows or cushions. This time of year most retailers have outdoor furniture and furnishings on sale so a new color scheme isn’t necessarily out of reach. Also, add color with some fresh new containers, a splash of paint on old furniture or a new set of serving ware and napkins for a dinner party.

Lights

Lighting is always a fun way to perk up any space, especially an outdoor space. Whether adding a strand of twinkle lights around the porch, a few solar lanterns to light a path or some new candles to illuminate a dinner on the balcony, lighting can make all the difference. Recycle mason jars and wine bottles into new lanterns by filling with candles or a string of twinkle lights.

Don’t let the heat of summer destroy the garden. All is not lost when plants start to wilt; just following these few simple steps can bring new found color and interest to any outdoor space at this time of year. You might even start wishing that summer would last a bit longer.

Courtesy of BPT

2 Bedroom Condo Walking to Community College





Walking distance to BR Community College! With
two large bedrooms each with their own private bath and walk-in closets, this is the perfect roommate arrangement! Downstairs is the secure rear garage entry through the courtyard style patio. Directly adjacent to guest parking, the New Orleans style charm welcomes your guests. The living room has a custom tiled fireplace, flowing to the guest bath, kitchen and dining area. New carpet upstairs. As a
townhome, financing is a breeze and your HOA monthly commitment is low — but includes water, sewer and trash making it easy to budget. In the heart of Mid-City activities, walking distance to BRCC, the YMCA and more. Join the many other happy homeowners in this established community! Call or text 225-335-5395 for showings!

152 S. Foster Dr. Apt. 5

Baton Rouge, LA 70806

3 Bedroom Soft Contemporary Home





 

Soft contemporary in the heart of
Magnolia Woods off Highland Road! Designed by a local architect as his personal home, this mid-century modern offers all of the charm of that era. Soaring vaulted ceilings are enhanced with windows that provide an abundance of natural light throughout the home — formal living/dining, spacious den that opens to kitchen with floating glass front cabinetry, stainless appliances, new gas cooktop, breakfast room overlooking dappled shade. Off the den is a delightful covered porch area that overlooks the tree laden backyard. The master bedroom has private bath and large closet, vaulted ceiling and private entry to the backyard oasis. Double carport and storage in rear provide space for guests and projects! Just minutes from LSU and the Bluebonnet/Essen corridors, you will enjoy the
peacefulness of this setting and the character of this home. Your very own retreat in the heart of the city! Call or text 225-335-5395 for showings!

780 Rodney

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

How the internet and marketing go hand-in-hand


It’s hard to think of a better combination than the Internet and marketing. Where else can you reach the hundreds, thousands, or even millions who make up your target market. Whether you are a small, local business, or a large corporation, internet marketing is indispensable. It’s been proven that most folks don’t even glance at a yellow pages book anymore to find a local business. Nor do they go on the online yellow pages. Now, the average consumer just types their need into their search engine, whether it be Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any of the other hundreds out there. If you want to come up in their searches, you need to learn how to take advantage of the Internet and marketing, or hire someone to do it for you.

If you’re a local business, you don’t even need a website to come up in Google, Yahoo, or Bing searches. All you need to do is fill in your information on their Local Business pages. You can include your company name, contact details, directions, photos, and a website if you have one. You can also choose to offer coupons for your customers, which brings you up in popularity and rankings. These pages also offer users the chance to review what it is that you offer. Ask your happy customers to review you, and you are also boosted in ranking. And the best part of all? This listing is completely free! Think of how much you save on yellow pages or newspaper ads that are no longer even getting results. If you run a local business, take the few minutes it will take you to get listed on the search engine local results and you can start seeing traffic immediately. Other free options include setting up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, or any of the other social media sites. Blogging is another way to create interest and establish credibility in your field.

If you haven’t yet merged the Internet and marketing for your larger company or corporation, luckily you can get in on the game very quickly whether you hire staff to handle this for you or you outsource the job to someone else. One of the major sources of income for larger companies who take advantage of internet marketing is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. While this type of advertising is not free, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. This is one of the huge advantages of pay-per-click versus offline advertising. You only pay when you get results. Large companies are also taking advantage of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging. If they are using these free methods even though they have millions of dollars to spend on marketing, you better believe that this is working for them.

The Internet and marketing really are two extremely compatible terms–make sure that you are teaming them up in your business.

By: Anthony Harris 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/online_business/article_8495.shtml

Kitchen remodeling: How to go from a far-off dream to ‘DIY’


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Year after year, no matter the state of the housing market, kitchen remodeling remains a good idea. The project perennially tops lists of value-for-your-money home improvements and almost every buyer will be attracted to a kitchen that’s updated and move-in ready. Even if you’re planning on staying in your home for a while, few things can reinvigorate your home like a brand new kitchen.

Kitchens are the hardest-working rooms in most homes, and the wear and tear that comes with years of use can leave them looking drab. A remodeling project that makes over your kitchen from floor to ceiling can do more than just improve the aesthetics – it can also be a great way to adapt the room for better functionality.

If you’ve put off dreams of a new kitchen because you think it’s unaffordable, you might want to reconsider the changes you can make with your own two hands (and maybe those of some family and friends). When you have the right tools on hand, do-it-yourself kitchen remodeling projects are more accessible than you might think. By visiting a nearby rental store to pick up the necessary tools, you can see twice the savings – in addition to the DIY cost savings, you’ll avoid the expenses associated with buying the tools outright. By going to RentalHQ.com, you can find local stores that have all the tools you need to remodel and revive your kitchen.

Here are some essential parts of the project and the tools you’ll need to get going:

* Floors: There are lots of stylish and functional options for flooring, but the type of saw you’ll need for cutting things down to size will depend on what material you choose. For tile, you’ll need a wet saw, but a cut-off saw for wood and laminate. A table saw can also be helpful for wood flooring.


How%20to%20go%20from%20a%20far-off%20dream%20to%20%27DIY%27
* Trim: Putting the finishing touches on is important, both for looks and for long-term stability. For molding and other trim, a pneumatic nailer will save you an enormous amount of time, energy and frustration.

* Cabinets: Now more than ever before, homeowners have great options for easy-to-install cabinetry that don’t require a team of professionals. Make sure that you’ve got the right drill, drill bits, nails, screws, anchors, levels and supports on hand before you get started – that way you’ll be able to work without interruption.

* Countertops: Again, the tools you need will vary, depending on what material you’re using. If you need to cut a material like laminate to size, a jigsaw will be a convenient tool. Sanders and drills are two more items you’ll want to have nearby.

* Walls: Whether you’re hanging drywall or simply painting, a ladder will be an essential tool. If your kitchen has particularly high ceilings or hard-to-reach spots, renting a ladder to fit the task is a good idea.

A beautiful kitchen will quickly become a focal point in your home, both for your family and for potential buyers. By taking the project into your own hands, you can save a significant amount of money, giving you even better return on your investment. For more ideas and information, visit http://www.RentalHQ.com.

Courtesy of BPT