Support Local Schools & Charities With Amazon Smile

As a local small business owner myself, I know how important is to shop at other local businesses as much as possible. In my case, many of the tools and parts I need to repair computers can’t be found locally, so I shop for them online. But there’s a way to shop online and still support local schools, charities and other organizations by using Amazon Smile.

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Undoubtedly the biggest online retailer in the world is Amazon.com. You can find almost anything, and if you have a Prime subscription, you can get most orders in two days with free shipping or overnight for $3.99. (You also get access to Amazon Prime video, a Netflix alternative, and Amazon Photos, a free cloud backup service for your photos and videos). With service like that it’s no surprise people use Amazon from everything from books to electronics.

There’s a way you can shop on Amazon and still support local schools, charities and other organizations of your choice. All you need to do is go to Smile.Amazon.com instead of Amazon.com, and a percentage of some of your purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice.

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Sign in with your amazon account, and you can select a charity.

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There are some great charities suggested on the right hand side of the page, or you can search for one in the box at the bottom. I decided to search for my hometown of Norwood, Massachusetts.

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There are literally dozens of great local organizations, but I decided to refine my search and specifically look for something to support local schools.

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I chose the Willett PTO because I have a child in the school now and one who will be attending in 2 years and I know they really need the help with fundraising.

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Whenever I place an order that qualifies, Amazon Smile notifies me with a little message to remind me that a donation has been made to my charity.

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Here are my contributions to the Willett PTO so far and the total they have brought in from all Amazon Smile users.

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It feels good knowing I am helping an organization that’s important to me while I shop. There’s no extra cost to do it and all you have to do is use smile.amazon and you can be raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to you. You can also change your charity at any point, so you can spread your donations around.

 

Lastpass – The only password Manager You Will Ever Need!

How often does this happen to you?
How often does this happen to you?

I’ve got more passwords than I can count. Work email, Personal email. Facebook, Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Pinterest. LinkedIN, Online Banking. Every single credit card. The Patient portal for my doctor’s office (and my childrens portals as well). Netflix, Hulu, Plex, Reddit, Ancestry,  Xbox One, Playstation 4, Verizon for cable, Sprint for my cell phone,  Online shopping at Amazon, Kohl’s, Target, Old Navy, Home Depot, Sears, eBay… it’s easy to forget all the places where we have online accounts. and how many passwords we’re using.

in fact, the average computer user has over 130 passwords to remember. And the worst thing you can do from a security standpoint is use the same password for every site because it makes a hackers job much easier.

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Lastpass is a web based app that allows you to save all your different passwords in one vault, out in the cloud,  and set one master password to get that vault open.  Your password vault is encrypted so even the team at LastPass can’t access your passwords. Set one secure password for the vault and never worry about remembering each and every site password ever again. I suggest a long phrase that’s easy to remember and type. For example, I might choose Chara33BigZchamps2011 or Gronkspike87NEpatsSBx4

With my one master vault password, I can log in and access literally 1000’s of passwords I would certainly have forgotten. This is especially true for those sites you only visit once or twice a year.

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Another nice feature included in Lastpass – you can create multiple profiles containing all your contact info, like the stuff they ask for every time you sign up for a website – and lock them down with the vault password too.  My PC Overhaul profile has my name, street address, phone number, credit card, date of birth and credit card numbers for the business. When I go to a site to buy parts for a customer, the checkout process is simple. I click on my PC Overhaul profile in lastpass and it fills all that information in for me. And you can have as many different profiles as you want. I have a profile for work, another for personal purchases, and a 3rd for web forums (using my spam email account).

Lastpass also has the ability to create randomized secure passwords for you. This is handy if you always plan on using Lastpass to log in to sites, but won’t be helpful otherwise.

Once you have it installed, whenever you go to a site with a saved password, lastpass offers to autofill the username and password fields for you. You enter the vault password and can choose not to be prompted for the vault password for a period of time.  If you know you will be in front of the computer for 3 hours, you can set it to leave the vault open for that long, and after that time anyone with access to your system will be asked for the master vault password again to get in.

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There are literally dozens of handy features to lastpass, especially considering it’s a free app, I highly recommend you check it out.

Lastpass

 

Amazon Prime Free Unlimited Photo & Video Storage

If you are an Amazon prime member, in addition to free two day shipping, there are a host of benefits, including free unlimited photo storage.

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If you’ve seen my post about Google Photos, you know they also offer free unlimited photo andvideo storage, but they reduce the quality slightly.2016-05-02_8-51-10

 

Amazon lets you save your photos and videos at full resolution, with an unlimited number of photos (and even supports RAW file formats), but only gives 5 GB for video and other file storage. Users with large video collections are probably better off using Google Photos, but if you are already an Amazon Prime member and only need to back up photos, this is a great option.

This is what the interface looks like after you sign in.
This is what the interface looks like once you have some files uploaded.

You can easily share your photos using a shareable link, or you can share by email, Facebook, or Twitter.

To get started, download the software here.

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Click on the file to install it.

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After installing the software, log in to your Amazon prime account.

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The program automatically selects the most used folders and checks them off. If there are folders selected that you’d rather not back up, just uncheck them.pcoverhaul-amazon-photos-select

I selected “Choose Files” under the blue Upload Folders button, because I had files and folders in a different place that I wanted to include in the backup.

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Pressing the “Select Folder” button allowed me to backup files on my external and network drives. 

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As you can see, I have a whopping 544, 363 files to back up, totaling 1.94 TB, The Amazon photos app will continue to run in the background, uploading all the time until it catches up. It’s going to take a long time, but I sleep better at night knowing everything is backed up in multiple locations.

 

 

 

Amazon Laptop Wizard

I was checking out some deals on Amazon.com for Cyber Monday and noticed this wizard on the laptop and notebooks page.

I've highlighted the things I plan to do with the laptop and on the right, Amazon calculates the specs I need.
I’ve highlighted the things I plan to do with the laptop and on the right, Amazon calculates the specs I need

 

Just click the “Show Me” link to see the laptops that meet your criteria. A handy way to narrow down the hundreds of choices to the laptops that fit your criteria.

 

How Many People Visit The Top Websites Daily?

This infographic only shows hits from the United States but still gives some pretty interesting stats for Google, Facebook, Ebay, Amazon and all the other big names.  The numbers are pretty impressive.

Via GrowTraffic

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