Automate your basic devices with two TP-Link smart plugs for $25

TP-Link HS110 smart plug

Today’s the day to turn that dumb coffee pot or lamp into a smart device. B&H Photo Video has a great sale today for a two-pack of the TP-Link HS110 Kasa Wi-Fi Smart Plug for $25. That’s close to Amazon’s $20 price on Prime Day 2018, but that sale price was for a single device. B&H’s sale ends just before midnight Eastern time on Tuesday night.

The HS110 packs 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and works with Google Assistant and Alexa devices. As with other TP-Link smart devices, these plugs don’t require a hub to work. Instead, you download TP-Link’s Kasa app, connect the plugs to your home Wi-Fi via your phone, and you’re done (at least until the power goes out and you have to reset them).

Once they’re set up you can use remote access to activate a light or whatever you’ve got plugged into it. Or you can schedule specific times for the smart plug to activate your electronics. This smart plug also comes with energy monitoring built-in, which is great for anyone curious about how much power they’re using up with that coffee pot or gaming console. One downside: The HS110 is bulky, taking up both plugs in a two-jack outlet.

We balked at the original $40 asking price in our TP-Link HS110 review, but those qualms disappear when you can snag two of them for just $25.


Most people don’t realize Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal lets you redeem points for more than just flights and hotels — here’s what else you can book

Chase_Sapphire_Reserve_lifestyle 036

A few days ago, I cashed in 3,914 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a three-hour “Game of Thrones” sightseeing tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia. My husband and I are big fans of the show and we have always wanted to see Dubrovnik, which is also the setting of “King’s Landing” in the HBO series made-up world of Westeros. So, next month, we are going to see the Red Keep, where the Battle of Blackwater Bay took place, and a wide range of other settings where important scenes of the movies were filmed. I’m pretty stoked this is happening, but I’m equally happy I didn’t have to pay a dime.

The same is true for a few other excursions we booked for our upcoming Croatia trip, including a Plitvice Lakes tour from Zagreb and a day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina including Medjugorje and Mostar that I paid with entirely with points.

The crazy thing is, most people I speak to about using points this way don’t realize booking activities is an option. When they think about using their Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they focus mostly on airline and hotel partners, while maybe thinking of using their points to book flights or hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

However, it’s super easy to book activities and experiences through Chase if you know where to look. When you go into the Chase portal, all you have to do is select “activities” instead of flights, hotels, or rental cars. It’s as easy as that.

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It’s super easy to book activities and experiences through Chase if you know where to look within the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Holly Johnson

If you haven’t checked out the activities available in Chase Ultimate Rewards before, I highly recommend you do. You might be surprised at what you find and just how affordable many options are whether you’re paying in points or cash.

Here are some truly exciting options you can book worldwide with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, along with how much they would cost if you carry the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

#1: Electric Bike Tour in Athens, Greece

#1: Electric Bike Tour in Athens, Greece TripAdvisor

After a day spent exploring ancient ruins and relics of our culture’s past in Athens, Greece, you can cash in 5,145 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for an electric bike ride around the city. See the Hill of the Muses and the Hill of the Nymphs, the ancient Acropolis, the historic neighborhood of Plaka, the Panathenaic Stadium, and so many more of this city’s famous sights while only pedaling when you feel like it.

#2: Taste of Barcelona Food Tour

#2: Taste of Barcelona Food Tour Flickr/jlastras

Spain is known for its bull fights, its alluring and rich history, and its small tasting plates known as tapas. On this Barcelona food tour, you’ll roam the streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and El Born neighborhood to try amazing local delicacies such as “sardina arenque,” a local sardine cleaned on the spot in a unique way along with wine pairings with nearly every dish. This three-hour tour costs just 5,052 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per person.

#3: Private Day Trip to Terra Cotta Warriors from Xian, China

#3: Private Day Trip to Terra Cotta Warriors from Xian, China LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES /

Travelers flock to this region of China to see one of the most interesting dig discoveries in world history — an army of terra cotta warriors and horses that have been buried for over 2,000 years. This army stands over 7,000 strong and is still being excavated, making this the educational trip of a lifetime. You can book this private day tour through Chase Ultimate Rewards for just 1,600 points per person.

#4: Vodka Tasting and Evening Canal Cruise in St. Petersburg, Russia

#4: Vodka Tasting and Evening Canal Cruise in St. Petersburg, Russia Flickr Creative Commons

Fork over just 3,200 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per person to enjoy St. Petersburg and Russia in the most epic way ever — on a boat drinking vodka. This Insta-worthy day trip lasts three hours and takes you through the city’s gorgeous canals and along the Neva, Fontanka, and Moika rivers.


Best Halloween cult classic movies for streaming

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Sometimes Halloween is best when we get nostalgic and remember our past costumes, past sojourns at trick-or-treating, past jack-o-lanterns, and past viewings of scary movies. The following 20 streaming selections are re-watchable horror movies from days gone by, or, perhaps, waiting for a few fresh, innocent viewers. In any case, get ready for somnambulists, vampires, killers, monsters, mutants, demons, and giant bugs! Happy Halloween!


1 cabinetofdrcaligari h18 jma Kino Lorber

Robert Wiene’s essential The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) is an unquestionable landmark in cinema, influencing everyone from Murnau and Lang to Hollywood filmmakers of the 1940s. Rather than attempting to capture “realism,” which was the general method of the time, Wiene went the opposite route, slathering the screen with forced perspectives and all kinds of bizarre diagonals and slants; there is hardly a right angle to be found in this film. It results in vivid, dreamlike logic and a terrifying lack of control.

Werner Krauss stars as the doctor, who enters a carnival with his main attraction, a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) who predicts people’s deaths, and may well be the cause of same. When his best friend is found murdered, Francis (Friedrich Feher) immediately suspects Caligari and sets out to prove his hunch. A prologue and epilogue were apparently added over Wiene’s objections to lessen the overall impact of the film’s sheer, unrelenting madness.


There’s a major reason for this stock sell-off that people are missing, and it’s only getting worse

Banknotes of the U.S. Dollar on January 25, 2018.

The October stock market sell-off has been puzzling to many investors because most companies are riding high on business confidence and a tax-cut windfall.

Plus, profit growth has been solid, and many companies have been beating expectations on strong sales numbers and a positive outlook.

Most important thing to watch next week  

But one real worry cited on post-earnings conference calls is the rising U.S. dollar, which makes business overseas more expensive for U.S. companies. The strong dollar was cited by companies as varied as Anheuser-Busch and PPG Industries.

And it’s a problem that is only getting worse. The gains in the U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of major currencies, are accelerating, up another 2 percent in the last one month. By no coincidence, the S&P 500 has headed lower at the same time.

3M revised its earnings per share estimate to include a 5 cent per share hit from currency translation. It previously had factored in a gain of 10 cents a share. And United Parcel Service said currency fluctuations could be a drag of $35 million to $45 million in the fourth quarter.

Add that to rising interest rates, rising fuel costs and the early effects of tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum and other manufacturing materials, and executives have struck a more cautious tone for the near term, though the overall message is still positive.

The dollar was higher versus most currencies again on Friday morning as stock futures pointed to another big drop.

Why you shouldn't panic when stocks are getting slammed

Why you shouldn’t panic when stocks are getting slammed   9:47 AM ET Fri, 12 Oct 2018 | 02:11

“The market doesn’t believe 2019 growth is going to be anywhere near what it is expected to be,” said Nick Raich, CEO of research firm Earnings Scout.

Raich adds that there’s no evidence any of these fears will come true. Estimates for 2019 first- and second-quarter earnings have actually inched up, he said. And revenue growth of 8 percent for the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far is outpacing expense growth.

‘Unfavorable impact’

Anheuser-Busch on Thursday slashed its dividend in half and said beer sales fell during the third quarter. Currency volatility is a challenge for the brewing giant, which bought U.K.-based SABMiller in 2016. “In the last six months, we’ve seen a lot of [currency] volatility,” Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra told reporters on a conference call Thursday, as reported by Reuters. “This scenario triggers some sort of uncertainty and at a certain point … we thought it was the right time to adjust the dividend.”

PPG, an industrial bellwether, said currency turned into a headwind the third quarter as the dollar strengthened. Currency translation lowered sales $80 million and pretax income took a hit of $15 million. It also said sales could be cut $50 million to $60 million in the fourth quarter because of the “unfavorable impact” of currency translation.

Illinois Took Works said year-over-year earnings growth of 11 percent, to $1.90 per share, was on the high end of its range but included 3 cents a share of “unfavorable currency translation impact.”

Companies have had to adjust to account for the stronger dollar. “We’ve taken some other actions around the emerging markets and initiatives to ensure that we can overcome that,” UPS CFO Richard Peretz said on a call with analysts. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve called out the guidance for the total company to remain where we expect it to be even given this new headwind.”

Currency isn’t the only extra cost companies are facing. On Thursday, Southwest Airlines reported record third-quarter profit that beat expectations, then burst the bubble by saying its costs were going up more than expected, largely because of fuel. American Airlines said a 42 percent increase in fuel costs ate into its third-quarter profit despite record revenue.

More than one-third of companies reporting earnings so far have mentioned the Trump administration’s tariffs. Harley Davidson said it will pay at least $40 million more this year to cover such costs.

Estimates for next year reflect optimistic company guidance on sales and their ability to pass some of the higher costs on to customers, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note last week. But tech is more vulnerable to profit-margin pressure, they said, as are consumer discretionary and transportation stocks.

Texas Instruments, like other semiconductor companies, is also seeing weakness ahead. While it beat profit expectations, it issued a weaker fourth-quarter outlook blaming slower demand. “We are heading into a softer market,” CFO Rafael Lizardi said on a conference call this week. “We believe this is mostly driven by a slowdown in semiconductors.” That slowdown, executives said, comes after several years of strong growth.


The Medical Minute: Understanding Personal Health History for a Healthier You

As researchers learn that more health conditions have genetic links, knowing your personal and family health history becomes more important than ever. Upcoming holiday gatherings with family members can be a good time to sit down and piece together missing information so you know your personal risk factors and what preventative steps to take.

Dr. Mack Ruffin, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicineat Penn State Health, said many of his patients simply haven’t had that conversation with their relatives.

“If you are in your 50s or 60s and your parents are still living, you need to make sure you get that information soon,” he said. “I’m amazed how many adults don’t understand their own personal health history and what surgeries they had as a child.”

He recommends knowing the health history of all first-degree relatives, which include parents and siblings. If those relatives are deceased, it is important to know what they died from and how old they were at the time of death. If they were diagnosed with an illness, find out how old they were at the time of diagnosis and what the exact diagnosis was.

“Cancer in particular can be challenging,” he said. “People often know someone died from cancer, but they don’t know what type.”

Patients can use the information they collect to discuss with their health care provider the preventative measures they should take. “We try to tailor what we recommend to people based on their family history,” Ruffin said. “A lot of diseases have genetic components.”

If colon cancer – or early-onset colon cancer – runs in the family, you may want to start screenings for it before the recommended age of 50. If your parent died from a heart attack in his or her 40s, you may need to be more aggressive about controlling your risk factors – keeping a healthy weight and cholesterol profile and not smoking.

Ruffin cautions against making blanket assumptions based on the information you collect. He said it’s important to know some context: “What that person did might be different than what you are doing.”

For instance, if your grandfather smoked or worked in a mine and died of lung cancer but you do neither, your chances of developing lung cancer are not necessarily as high.

“So when the pumpkin pie is gone, sift through family records and have some conversations with your relatives,” Ruffin said. “There are many useful tools online to help collect, track and document the information. It’s really important to understand your medical history and have it as accurate as possible.”

[“source=GANT News“]

Is Higher Education Still Relevant For Millennial Entrepreneurs? 4 Reasons It Might Be

Is Education Relevant for Millennial Entrepreneurs

It’s easy to look at entrepreneurs that never graduated from college, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, and assume that you can follow in their footsteps to achieve your entrepreneurial goals.

When combined with the sobering statistics about the growing student debt crisis in the United States, investing in formal higher education can seem like a liability, rather than an asset.

While it’s true that many entrepreneurs have found success without a college education, this doesn’t mean that education is without merit for millennial entrepreneurs today. Many successful side hustlers and startup founders still get started while taking college courses.

Still, others use their educational experience as a launchpad for growing into a new business venture.

Though the modern college system certainly has its flaws, there are still many reasons why it remains relevant for millennial entrepreneurs. A recent interview I conducted with Uri Pomeranz, CEO of Twine, further built this case. As he explains, “Education feels like such a gift… and a way to really transform your life.”

Here’s a closer look at why this statement about higher education still rings true today.

1. Developing The Right Mindset.

“It was less about the actual education, but more about the mindset that I had,” Pomeranz shares. “You don’t need a fancy college degree to adopt this mindset, but just the idea of setting larger goals, trying new things, failing, learning and trying again, that sort of kernel really kicked up in college for me.”

This educational mindset paid big dividends later when Pomeranz wanted to get more involved in programming—something he still cites as the best investment he’s ever made for his business.

“I rolled up my sleeves and said, this is difficult technology, I’ve got a steep learning curve. Through hundreds of hours of learning and sheer will power, I came out of it with a deep confidence in how systems are built, the ability to understand what’s happening in technology, and being able to be effective as we started growing and hiring an engineering team.”

With the right approach, college can become the perfect place to foster a continual love for learning. Developing this mindset in college will make it much easier to take advantage of learning opportunities later on, so you can continue to grow and adapt in your business.

2. Becoming A More Well-Rounded Person.

These days, it seems like bringing up any political issue can instantly launch a heated debate—yet despite this, research has found that millennials lag far behind other generations in terms of political awareness. A study from Pew Research even found that many are significantly less aware of major news sources like USA Today and The Washington Post.

This lack of education and awareness represents a serious issue, and not just on election day.

To gather more perspective on this, I reached out to Kevin Brown, CEO of Source Voting, who elaborates, “Specialized knowledge may help you perform great at certain activities, but you need to be aware of other things that will affect your business. You need to know the potential impact of different political policies and economic trends.”

Brown continues, “That’s why our company helps people learn about candidates running for office in their area so they become more informed voters. If you allow yourself to remain uninformed, you could be blindsided by change.”

It turns out there’s sound logic behind the general education classes that are part of earning a college degree. From becoming more aware of societal trends, to brushing up on your math skills, a well-rounded educational experience equips you with a wider knowledge base that you can use to better handle the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurial life—and even be more informed when you head to the polls.

3. Seeing Multiple Perspectives.

Many of the biggest factors that cause startups to fail can be traced back to the same root problem—failing to understand the wants (and needs) of your customer. Quite often, this occurs because an entrepreneur approaches an issue solely from the business side, without accounting for other perspectives.

After starting a nonprofit micro-finance company, a desire to understand multiple perspectives led Pomeranz to pursue a dual degree program through Stanford and Harvard, so he could get a Masters in international economics and an MBA simultaneously. Pomeranz discovered that the public sector and business world were two very different worlds, but with a lot of overlap.

Learning about these differences and commonalities gave Pomeranz greater perspective on how to perform at scale and achieve quality outcomes for his entrepreneurial endeavors.

The more you can empathize with and understand others’ experiences, the easier it will be to place yourself in your customer’s shoes and provide life-changing products or services.

4. Building The Right Relationships (Networking Opportunities)

Networking is used to hire an estimated 80% of job openings—and in entrepreneurship, these connections can be even more valuable.

The relationships you establish during your formative college years can go on to help you identify opportunities for partnerships, investors, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for a business you may be running years down the road.

Many of the most successful startups are built through partnerships with groups of like-minded people working toward a similar goal. There are few better places to meet the people who will share this entrepreneurial drive than during college—and Pomeranz is the perfect example of this.

He started his first micro-finance startup while still in college, which he says got him “hooked” on entrepreneurship. Later, he started the financial company, Guide Financial, with someone he’d met while attending Stanford.

College gives you the opportunity to form invaluable relationships with both professors and fellow students—resources you can go back to time and time again, to help reach your entrepreneurial goals.

From expanding your knowledge base and personal network so you can succeed in business, to simply establishing the right background for landing a paying job as you wait for your side hustle to take off, it’s clear that receiving a higher education has several potential benefits.

True, college is not for every would-be entrepreneur, but there’s no denying that furthering your education is always an  investment worth considering.