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FOR SALE: YOU! Location: Internet! Your data is available through these sellers: Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more! Cost: Unknown!

Ever wondered how much you are worth online?

We’ll talk about methods used to collect your data – both personal and browsing data – that might help you determine your worth online.

You Are Being Tracked!

I call them spambots and adbots. They follow you everywhere you go on the Internet. They record your activities:

What pages you visit,

Which pages retain you,

What kind of pages repel you,

Which part of pages do you spend more time on,

What are you searching,

Where did you login from,

What is your gender,

What is your age and more!

You might wonder what Google or any other company would do with the data it collects. Why would any company spend time and money on tracking your online activities? Fine, there are some so-called customer improvement programs that allow you to opt-out from being monitored. These are generally the ones you get when installing any software saying “Help us improve by sending us anonymous usage statistics…” An example is the image below.

Unchecking such boxes gives a sense of satisfaction – Google or any other company is no more tracking you. But that is an illusion: you are being tracked. You are being tracked not only by search engines and social media sites but also by different online ad agencies and third-party companies.

What Happens To Data Related To You?

And that is why Internet Explorer has a list of Tracking Protection in Internet Explorer (TPL). These lists help prevent tracking your activities when you are online. You need to install these TPLs manually. I would recommend adding the ones from Abine.

How To Protect Privacy On Chrome And Firefox

While Internet Explorer has the TPLs, there are some other extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Most such extensions are developed by the same companies and are customized for Chrome, Firefox, and even for other browsers like Safari and Opera. Easy List is one such company. Abine too has extensions for Chrome. I am not sure if it has any for Firefox, Opera and Safari as I do not use these browsers. I use an extension from Abine for tracking protection on Chrome. Check out the screenshot of what the extension displays when I visit the Microsoft website.

How Do Websites Collect Data?

This is such a complex topic that a research paper can be written on it. To summarize it, most websites have mini codes that they place on the site for different purposes – not essentially for tracking you.

The network is huge and presents all over the Internet. In fact, the Internet cannot function properly without these snippets and share buttons. If you have a website, you will want to put up share buttons so that people can share your posts easily. It is a different matter that these buttons also store data about what all you are sharing. As I said earlier, the process is complex and I can’t imagine how it works. All I could grasp is that you, as a customer, are an ID. All the data pertaining to your usage of the Internet is grouped under that ID. This data is then sold or used for profits.

How Much Are You Worth Online?

I would rephrase the above question as to how much does Google and others earn by using your Internet usage data. There is no definite figure but experts say it can be anything between 7 cents to few dollars per annum. The more you use the Internet, the more is your value. And in case it sounds like a very small amount, try to imagine how many people use the Internet daily or even monthly. Based on that estimate, you can try to calculate how much does Google and others earn by collecting and using your data.

If you are getting worried now, there are several free tools to fix and prevent data collection

You're reading How Much Are You Worth Online To Companies Like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Etc.

Are Online Certificates Worth It? How To Decide

blog / General When Are Online Certificates Worth It? 5 Questions to Ask

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Let’s face it—the way we do business is changing too fast for most of us to keep up. Professionals and organizations alike face complex challenges that require highly specific knowledge and skills, many of which can be hard to acquire on the job. 

But gaining that knowledge through traditional channels, like a graduate degree, requires a significant investment of time and money. 

That’s where online certificate programs come in.

What is an online certificate?

Online certificates are credentials earned through virtual academic programs. Compared with degree programs, they are typically shorter and more targeted, focusing on developing specific skills and lasting weeks to months rather than years. This condensed format generally comes with a much lower price tag than a degree. 

For many professionals, certificate programs hit the sweet spot of practicality, affordability, and flexibility. For organizations, they provide an opportunity to upskill or reskill employees quickly and effectively.  

Is an online certificate right for you?

While online certificates offer a great opportunity to grow your skills, they may or may not be the right choice for your specific situation. Here are five questions to ask to make that determination.

1. What are your goals?

Aiming to take on new responsibilities, get a promotion, or switch roles? Consider what qualifications you need. Talk with colleagues or members of your network who are in similar roles to learn what skills are essential to their day-to-day responsibilities. If you plan to apply for stretch positions, online certificates show that you’ve taken the initiative to gain crucial knowledge.

Certificates are also valuable for professionals whose roles have changed due to emerging technologies or shifts in business practices. They provide a targeted opportunity to gain comfort and expertise with new tools and strategic approaches.

2. Is a degree program or a certificate a better fit?

While many top universities offer both online certificates and online degrees, the two are very different undertakings. 

Online degree programs:

Usually 2-4+ years 

Have a high weekly time commitment (often 20+ hours a week)

Can cost tens of thousands of dollars

Focus on a broader field

Online certificate programs:

Range from weeks to months

Have a lower weekly time commitment (Emeritus courses average 8-10 hours)

Have lower fees

Offer a narrower focus 

Whether a degree program or a certificate is right for you will depend on your field and goals. Some companies may require a specific master’s degree or scope of knowledge beyond what certificate programs offer. 

But for many roles, a master’s is not required and may not deliver the return on investment (ROI) to justify its higher cost and time commitment. Plus, many degree programs focus more on theory than on application. In these cases, a specialized certificate designed for professionals may be a better fit. 

It’s no surprise then that the popularity of certificates is soaring—in fact, they now make up 22% of postsecondary credentials. 

3. Is online learning right for you?

In addition to on-campus programs, certificates are widely available in virtual and hybrid formats. According to our research, more than three-quarters of learners would consider a course that is at least partially digital. However, the virtual environment has pros and cons.

The students most likely to thrive in online certificate programs are self-motivated, organized, and comfortable engaging digitally. The format is also well-suited to learners whose job commitments and personal life make full-time, in-person program attendance a challenge. Plus, online learning removes travel expenses from the equation.

On the other hand, students who struggle to maintain focus in a digital environment or prefer in-person interaction may be better served by an on-campus certificate program.

4. What is the ROI of an online certificate?

Are online certificates worth it for you or your team? While a specific certificate’s ROI is influenced by field and program, Forbes reports that certificates generally lead to a 13-25% salary boost. For many professionals, that means earning back the cost of the certificate dozens of times over. 

Online certificates are also a valuable networking opportunity. Since many offerings attract global professionals from a wide range of industries, they provide the rare chance to engage with potential future colleagues you may have never met otherwise.

5. Which online certificate is most valuable for you?

But how do you know which online certificate is worth getting? 

Once you’ve identified the skills that you’re hoping to develop, actually deciding on a program can be a challenge. Key questions to ask include:

Is the certificate associated with an accredited university?

Generally speaking, a certificate from a program conducted with a respected, accredited university will carry more weight than a certificate from an unaffiliated company.

Who is teaching the course?

Look up the course instructor to ensure they have specific academic or professional expertise in the field. 

Does the program curriculum cover what you hope to learn?

Ensure the program delivers the content you need to meet your goals, like training in coding languages or social media programs.

What are the program’s fees?

Fees can vary significantly between certificate programs; compare options to identify a certificate that fits within your personal or professional development budget.

What is the program’s expected time commitment, and is the schedule flexible?

Will you realistically be able to manage the program’s workload in the time allotted? Is the program flexible enough to accommodate your work and personal schedule? Emeritus programs on average require an 8-10 hour per week commitment, but programs may vary significantly in their workload. 

By Rachel Hastings

Planning Your Next Steps

Emeritus offers online certificates to reskill and upskill within your organization in fields ranging from data science to innovation and design thinking. All our certificate programs are delivered in collaboration with leading professors from the world’s top universities, ensuring your employees emerge with skills and knowledge to set them apart. Get in touch with Emeritus to learn more.

Does Google Know Too Much About You?

Do you trust Google? If you use its multitude of online services on a daily basis you might, but is that assumption wise? For some, Google is a wonderful company with a broad selection of useful online tools that make life easier, but for others Google is a looming, unregulated monster just waiting for the moment to drop the ‘don’t’ from the company’s unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil.”

But Google Wants to Do Even More.

How serious could Google’s online domination get? You tell me.

In 2007, PC World published this startling chart showing the privacy risks for your information. The basic problem was that all your information is just sitting there on Google’s servers unencrypted, raising the risk of data loss, theft, or unauthorized access.

Google Has Your Location

Several Google services can let you share with the world, and with Google’s servers, where you’re located right now. Are these handy tools? You bet. Nevertheless, you’re letting a big corporation track where you are at any given moment.

Latitude is a similar opt-in service to My Location, except it allows you to share locations between friends based on your mobile phone or desktop location. The service has a lot of granular controls to restrict information sharing to specific friends, which makes this a very flexible service. But unless you have told Google not to track you, the company has your most recent location on its servers.

Did you know that Google also ties information about your phone’s battery life — as well as other unspecified data — to your Google account when you use Latitude? Google probably wants battery life information so it can tweak the Latitude program, but why is it tying that information to your personal Google account, and what is this “other information” Google’s collecting about your phone?

Google’s Got Your Voice

According to its privacy page on Google’s Mobile Privacy page, the company says, “for products and services with voice recognition capabilities, we collect and store a copy of the voice commands you make to the product or service.” No doubt Google does this to improve its voice recognition services, but still: Google has a copy of your voice on file.

Google Voice, the company’s telephony service, also records your messages and your voicemail for you. That’s a great service, and it’s great that the company will transcribe your voicemail for you to deliver it via email of SMS.

It should be noted that all of the above services are opt-in, but if you so choose Google can have your voice, your personal voicemail messages, and a transcription of those messages on its servers.

A controversial issue surrounding Google, and other information gatekeepers, like Yahoo! and Bing, is how they are behaving in China. All of these search engines routinely block access to particular subjects, like Tiananmen Square, at the request of the Chinese government. Of course, if a Chinese citizen can access chúng tôi they would have the unfettered access they can’t enjoy on Google.cn.

The typical argument in favor of Google bowing to Chinese demands is that Google needs to comply in order to do business in the largest emerging market on the planet. But doesn’t that logic suggest Google could turn around and do the same thing at the request of any government?

Google Wants Your Desktop with Chrome OS

Google does say that your privacy is important to the company, and it has made some steps in this area. Google says it keeps only 18 months of search data, and that data is completely anonymous. The company is also careful to point to its privacy policy for every single Google product on its Web pages. But it’s important to note that many of Google’s privacy measures were introduced only after public outcry, including a request to make links to its privacy policy more visible.

In fact, you could argue that Google is fundamentally reluctant to respect privacy in preference of innovation. According to a blog post entitled “Another step to protect user privacy,” the company said, “Although [anonymizing search server logs] was good for privacy, it was a difficult decision because the routine server log data we collect has always been a critical ingredient of innovation.”

That’s a fair argument, since a lot can be learned from how people behave on the Web. If you combine a large body of data about user behavior with Google’s massive computing power, you can see how Google could get an excellent sense of how to shape its products to meet user needs.

Google has a lot of handy services, but as the company gains more and more information from its users, those users may raise even more questions about how big Google should be allowed to get, and whether the government needs to step in and strictly regulate how Google’s overwhelming amount of information is used.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to plug next week’s schedule into my Google Calendar, get caught up with my Gmail, catch up on my blog reading with Google Reader and then watch a few of my favorite videos on YouTube.

Fix Razer Blade Display Issues Like Flickering, Blotching, Discoloration, Etc.

Check if the issue is hardware-related

Perform a Pixel test

Update Graphics drivers

Adjust Screen Resolution

Uninstall Monitor and Scan for hardware changes

Calibrate your Display

Let’s get into the details of every method and fix display issues on Razer Blade.

1] Check if the issue is hardware-related

If there are any hardware failures or issues, you might face displays issues on Razer Blade. You need to check if hardware issues are the real cause of the issue. Connect an external monitor using an HDMI cable and see if it is working fine without any issue. If there are no issues found on the external monitor, the display issues on the Razer Blade are due to hardware issues. You need to visit the Razer service center and get it fixed. If you are facing the same issues on the external monitor too fix the below methods.

2] Perform a Pixel test

By performing the Pixel test on your PC, you can find the working status or health of every pixel. There are many free services that provide free pixel tests online and give you detailed results.

3] Update Graphics drivers

The graphic drivers of your PC might be the cause of the display issues on the Razer Blade. They might be outdated or corrupted. You have to update them to the latest versions which fix the bugs of previous updates and give improved performance. So, try updating the graphic drivers and check if the issue still persists. You can update graphics drivers on your Razer Blade in the following ways:

You may also visit chúng tôi to download and install the required drivers.

After updating drivers, restart your PC and see if the issues are resolved.

4] Adjust Screen Resolution

If you are seeing display issues on a specific app or game, you can use this fix. Sometimes, the screen resolution of your program or game might not match that of your Razer Blade. You need to adjust the screen resolution of your Razer Blade to match the game or applications’ resolution.

To adjust the screen resolution,

You will find the Display resolution under Scale & layout.

Read: Windows Display Quality Troubleshooter will fix Screen Resolution issues

5] Uninstall and Reinstall Generic PnP Monitor

The corrupted Generic PnP monitor drivers can also cause display issues on Razer Blade. You need to uninstall it and reinstall it on your Razer Blade to fix the issues.

To uninstall the Generic PnP monitor,

Then, expand Monitors in the Device manager

Follow the on-screen wizard and complete the process

Read: Fix Generic PnP Monitor driver issue on Windows

6] Calibrate your Display

The other way to fix the display issues on Razer Blade is to calibrate the display. It can be done easily in a few steps.

To calibrate the display,

It opens the Colour Management window

Follow the on-screen wizard and calibrate the display

These are the different ways using which you can fix the display issues on Razer Blade. If none of the above methods helped you fix the issues, you have to visit the Razer Blade service center or contact the support team online.

Related: Fix Razer Blade touch screen not working

How do I fix my Razer laptop screen?

If there are any hardware issues, you need to visit the service center. If not, you can update graphics drivers, reinstall the monitor, recalibrate the display, etc. You need to implement fixed based on the type of error.

Read: How to fix Stretched Screen display problem on Windows.

How To Report Someone Impersonating You On Facebook.

Social media has become quite a valuable resource for identity thieves and general personal information theft, which in some cases can lead to real-world complications. Depending on how much information you have on display on your account can prove enticing to would-be cyber-criminals. One of the more common scams of late is Facebook account impersonation. If you have fallen victim to one of these scams, here are some things you can do to get rid of the account and protect you and anyone connected with you.

How to Make Sure Your Facebook Account is Unhackable.

If you know someone who has experienced this in the past, then you know how risky and frustrating it can be. The process of impersonating someone on Facebook is actually really easy to do, especially if the original account holders information is set quite openly in the privacy settings. Basically, a scammer will create a new Facebook account with the same name as you, they will then copy your current profile picture and any information they can view on your profile.

Next, they will proceed to add people from your friend’s list as well as other random Facebook users. From this point on it’s open slather and the new account impersonating you can be used for anything, from posting to your friend’s walls, messaging people with links to malware, viruses, possibly financial scams and even sending inappropriate images or Cyber-bullying.

Usually, if you are lucky, one of your friends will pick up that something is suspicious, wondering why you have created a new account etc. From here on out it’s up to you to have the account reported and hopefully removed as soon as possible. Facebook is reportedly working on a new feature that will alert users of potential imposter accounts. However, it isn’t active yet, so you will need to take steps manually. Below are the procedures you can follow to have a fake account taken down.

How to Report an Imposter on Facebook?

There are two scenarios that may unfold when it comes to fake Facebook accounts:

The first is that you have a Facebook account and someone makes a clone of it.

The second is that you do not have a Facebook account and a scammer has set one up for you using information they have gathered elsewhere. This happens quite often if someone has a grudge against you and wants to cause your reputation harm. It’s also a commonly used tactic by cyber bullies. Whichever situation you are in, feel free to skip ahead to the appropriate section. It’s also a good idea to share this information with friends and family, so they know what to look out for in the future. 

If You Have a Facebook Account.

You will now see a few options, for an imposter account select Report, then follow all the onscreen instructions Facebook asks. Once you have completed the questionnaire, Facebook will investigate the account and its behavior. Sometimes the process may take a little while, however, you should hear back within a day or so.

Note: If you find out about a fake account/imposter you can also have your friends report it using the same method or if you spot an account of one of your friends, you can also report it for them. The more reports will generally mean a better/quicker outcome/response.  

If You Don’t Have a Facebook Account.

Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, there are ways in which you can have an account removed if it is impersonating you in any way. The process is a little more involved and time-consuming than the first but will get you the results you require. The first thing you are going to want to do is open your Internet browser and go to the following page: Report an Imposter Account Page once you are on the page, follow the instructions given by Facebook. It’s important to note that you will need to prove that you are indeed who you say you are which means providing certain identifying information to Facebook. 

How Much Workers’ Comp Insurance Do You Need?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits and protection for employees who are injured or become ill on the job. The program ensures that employees receive benefits and medical care and, in most cases, protects the employer from legal action in the event of a job-related injury or illness. Workers’ comp is similar to other types of insurance in that a company will pay into a workers’ compensation fund, from which benefits are paid to employees.

“When employees are injured on the job, workers’ compensation provides financial coverage for their medical bills, lost wages and other expenses,” said Jeff Somers, president of Insureon. “In addition to protecting employees, workers’ compensation limits employers’ exposure to lawsuits after work-related injuries.”

Editor’s note: Looking for workers’ compensation insurance? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

Did You Know?

The NCCI does not govern all states. Some states have their own bureaus that serve the same functions as the NCCI.

Bottom Line

Your payroll, classification rate and claims history (EMR) all play a role in the cost of your workers’ compensation insurance.

How to save on workers’ compensation insurance costs

It’s understandable if you find these workers’ comp premium criteria worrisome – after all, you can’t quite control the risk level of the type of work your company performs. You might also feel that being penalized for previous claims adds insult to injury, though this model is the foundation of all types of insurance. All this said, there are some ways to lower your workers’ comp premium costs.

1. Train your employees in workplace safety.

Whether your company comprises mostly desk workers or manual laborers, workplace safety training always decreases the chance of employee injuries, which in turn decreases the chance of lawsuits and negative impacts to your workforce. As your number of workplace injuries and illnesses decreases, your EMR appears as less of a red flag to insurers, resulting in lower premiums.

2. Match safety training with safety equipment.

If your team works around hazardous materials, make sure your employees have gloves, hazmat suits and other equipment that prevents hazardous exposure. A well-protected team is less likely to need to file workers’ comp claims.

3. Find hazards and address them now.

Don’t wait for a potential hazard to become an actual one – that’s how you wind up with excessive workers’ comp claims that drive up your premiums. Instead, pinpoint your current workplace hazards and resolve them now, before they lead to harm. This could be as time-consuming as upgrading essential equipment that’s in decline, or as simple as moving extension cords out of the way to reduce the potential for tripping.

Tip

Whether it is for insurance or general safety reasons, conducting regular workplace safety audits is a valuable exercise for any business.

4. Pay premiums annually instead of monthly.

Maybe you’ve seen a company, whether an insurer or a software provider, offer pricing with phrasing like “$10 a month if billed monthly or $8 a month if billed annually.” The question then becomes whether committing to 12 months of service is too much of a gamble. Since you do need workers’ comp, though, you’re better off paying for the full year and getting the discount. The cost savings may be worth any dissatisfaction you might feel with your insurer.

Best workers’ compensation insurance practices

You should make all your employees well aware of what is covered under workers’ comp, what they are entitled to in the event of a work-related illness or injury, and how the business can support them.

Lovejoy recommends creating a program specifically for employees returning to work after an illness or injury.

“Companies should have a formal ‘return to light duty’ program,” he said. “If employees are not fit to return to their normal job duties, they can still return to work and perform modified duties and, as such, reduce the overall claim amount.”

Kiely Kuligowski contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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