Apple unveils changes to Mac, and hints at potential watch

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Apple recently unveiled their most recent collection of products, most notably the Ios8 mobile phone.

Although there were many improvements with the iPhone, such as multi-app messaging and group message self-removal, there were also several other products that got some upgrades; this includes their signature personal computer, the Mac, and reportedly, a potential watch.

According to www.hufftingtonpost.com, the new Mac computers will run off a program entitled “Yosemite”. Yosemite has a few notable features, one being a new, “flat” design that makes every application on the screen appear more like those on an iPhone. It’s OSX programming allows users to make calls and send text messages from their computers.

Other improvements include an enhanced search bar, as well as enhanced email usability. Users now can send larger documents, and the Apple email app allows users to mark up emails and write signatures.

The most notable improvement may be the ‘DropBox-like’ storage device called iCloud Drive. The program allows users to organize and find documents from both Apple and Windows devices. They are set to be available his fall.

The potential iWatch also has interesting features, reportedly include a new Healthbook software that hosts multiple health-monitoring devices (blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, etc.), and notifies the wearer of any changes during exercise.

The “Quicktype” feature may also be featured for wearers, an app that allows quick messaging to contacts by suggesting words and phrases.

Although one can always speculate about the innovations that Apple intends to make every year, it’s undeniable that their work continues to change the landscape of technology every year. What do you think of the changes to Apple products? Reply and let us know!

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iOS8 Arrives

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Apple recently revealed its next generation of iPhone, the iOS8, at a conference yesterday. Although there weren’t too many changes, there were still some interesting improvements made to the device. Since iPhone’s are arguably the most popular and widely used phones in America, it seemed only necessary to review a few of the improvements made.

The most interesting (and arguably most useful) improvements to the iPhone are the notification updates. Users now have the ability to respond to messages in different applications while still using another one. For example, if you received a text message right as you were sending a tweet, you are now able to respond to the text message without having to close the Twitter application. The double-tap feature of the home button now also allows you to see your most frequent contacts.

Users are now also able to mark and delete emails in a single motion through the mail application, as well as now having the ability to look through the inbox while composing messages.

Another major improvement to the iPhone is the annoying ‘autocorrect’ feature that it has. Users are now able to get suggestions for the correct word while they are typing, but can ultimately ignore the changes if desired. The update also allows users to form a kind of jargon with their most frequent contacts; the iPhone will memorize specific slang and word choices that users associate with particular contacts.

Another major problem that is addressed with the update is that annoying, contantly buzzing, ever-glowing group message. You can finally remove yourself from any group you don’t desire to converse with! Another text message update is the ability to send locations to contacts for set amounts of time.

Overall, the updated iPhone addresses many of the issues that iPhone users frequently faced. Apple seems to constantly find new ways to improve their cutting edge electronics, and the iOS8 doesn’t disappoint.

What do you think of the iOS8? Let us know!

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The Mobile Market

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The market for business growth has shifted rapidly in the last two decades. The explosion of the internet has thrown all of us into a matrix of numbers, lights, and screens. I personally can’t recall the last time I walked down the street and made eye contact with a person; all I see are averted eyes, white earphones shaking with every step, and a slight smirk on the face of whoever happens to be viewing their Snapchat at the moment. Because of this, businesses have taken notice. Although many businesses are struggling to adapt with their advertising and marketing strategies, many are beginning to realize that having mobile functionality adds a fourth dimension to their industry.

According to www.theatlantic.com, 25% of media consumption in America consists of internet activity, and is increasing. Another 20% is spent on mobile devices, while radio, print, and T.V. rapidly decrease. Although only 1/20 of advertising spending goes into mobile devices, the bigger picture is that mobile apps are creating a new dynamic for the way businesses are operated and marketed.

Statistics show that mobile app growth has jumped from a measly $2 billion in 2008 to $38 billion in 2013. The most popular apps without question tend to be more interactive and social media based, whether they be Twitter, Facebook, or the ever-improving Instagram. The emphasis on mobile photography and high resolution visuals is exceptional, with over 1,500,000,000 photos shared on a daily basis. From a business standpoint, it becomes very clear that the answer to successful marketing is joining the mobile network and creating some form of visual/interactive appeal.

Looking towards the future, it seems that a company that creates its own mobile app or becomes involved with mobile social media applications has a higher likelihood of reaching their target audience. Being readily accessible at all hours of the day is no longer a preference, it’s a necessity.

CoCard can be located on twitter at https://twitter.com/CoCardAtlanta,

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Sunny Days

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While basking in the warm weather courtesy of that neighborhood picnic, after-work happy hour or poolside vacation, enjoy the leisure, but keep an eye on the sun exposure.  Though you’re likely aware that prolonged sun exposure—along with indoor tanning beds—are the leading causes of skin cancer, did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? This year alone, 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer (the most common types found on the base layer of the skin, like the face, ears, neck and backs of hands) will be reported, and melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) will affect  more than 76,000 people. Brush off those preconceived notions that skin cancer is limited to fair-skinned people or the elderly;  everyone, regardless of age and race, is at risk. 

Despite the scary statistics, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. Though you can’t go back in time and intercept that blistering sunburn five years ago, you can take these tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

Seek out shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is the strongest and avoid direct sunlight. Hang out in the shade or beneath an umbrella. While you may have heard that the sun is a source for vitamin D, it’s safer to eat vitamin-D-rich foods like salmon or orange juice than subjecting your skin to UV rays.

Don’t get burned. If you start to see your skin redden, get out of the sun, stat!

Wear protective gear like hats, sunglasses and clothing—darker clothing protects better than clothing with lighter hues.

Put on a high-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, year-round. Coat your body with about 2 tablespoons at least 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours if you’re swimming or sweating.

Self-check your skin once a month for irregular moles or discoloration.

Visit your dermatologist once a year for a professional skin cancer exam. 

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2014 Decatur Book Festival

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CoCard is proud to call Decatur, GA home. Our city is a huge part of what has made the Decatur Book Festival so successful. Each year, the Festival brings more than 600 authors and 85,000 people to Decatur! Cocard has sponsored the Decatur Book Festival since 2012 and is happy to announce our third year of sponsorship for 2014!

Click here to learn more about the Decatur Book Festival.

CoCard is a Decatur-based merchant services company that’s provided simple, secure, and cost-effective electronic payment and fraud prevention services for clients across the country – and across the street – since 1988. If you’re not already processing locally, now’s a great time to switch. Imagine being able to pick up the phone, call someone locally, and have them come out to fix your problem the same day!

Are you a Decatur, GA business owner? Click here to find out how we can help you!

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Security Alert!

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Recent RSA findings report that ChewBacca malware has compromised the security of numerous POS systems since being discovered in October 2013. According to a Visa alert in March, the malware operates by installing a copy of itself in the Windows startup folder as a file called “spoolsv.exe” and then disguising itself as a Windows Print Spooler (so it runs automatically when you start Windows). The malware utilizes two data-stealing mechanisms: a generic keylogger and a memory scanner that look for credit card numbers, PIN, identity information and security data. ChewBacca is privately owned, and it is currently unknown how many were affected by the breach.

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Internet Security Alert

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CoCard wants to alert all clients of a bug attacking the Internet’s OpenSSL software (an encryption software widely used by businesses to protect customer data) discovered by security researchers on April 7, 2014 called the Heartbleed Bug. Hackers use the bug to create websites that mirror legitimate ones in order to steal usernames, passwords and credit card data from unsuspecting users. According to a recent report by The Washington Post, this bug went undetected for two years and may have affected as many as two-thirds of the Internet. The next step is for all 500,000 affected sites to revoke their current certificates and issue new ones.

Though this breach attacked the websites of many mom-and-pop shops and those of major companies like Facebook, Netflix, OkCupid and Dropbox (all currently reissuing their certificates), it fortunately did not affect bank or government websites.

CoCard prides itself on providing data security to its clients and takes matters like these seriously. If you have any questions or concerns about the Heartbleed Bug, please contact one of our dedicated professionals at 1.800.317.1819.

COCARD fights fraud!

CNN also has another great article called Heartbleed Bug: What you need to know (FAQ)

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‘Tis the Season… for Allergies

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Chances are your health (or that of your loved ones) has been affected by the springtime pollen surge. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., affecting more than 50 million Americans and costing the nation a whopping $18 billion each year! While warring your attack against itchy eyes, nasal drainage and disrupted breathing, consider these tips from the Mayo Clinic.

  • Stay inside on dry or windy days when pollen roams rampant. The best time to go outside is after a heavy rain, when much of the pollen has been washed away.
  • Avoid yard work if you can—opt for indoor chores instead.
  • When you come in from spending time outdoors, remove clothes and take a shower so you’re not carrying allergens around with you.
  • Despite the spring-fresh smell, don’t hang laundry outside to dry.
  • Consider wearing a dust mask if you absolutely must do outside chores.
  • Though the fresh breeze is refreshing, refrain from opening windows in your house and rely on air conditioning instead.
  • Use high-efficiency filters if you have forced air heating or air conditioning. Make sure you regularly change your filters.
  • Use an air dehumidifier.
  • Consider grabbing a portable high-efficiency particulate air filter for your bedroom.
  • Clean floors regularly to remove dirt and allergens and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Rinse your sinuses with a prepackaged nasal wash (like a Neti pot) to clear out the excess mucus.
  • Visit your general practitioner and ask for advice on the proper over-the-counter or prescription remedy best suited to dealing with your symptoms. He or she may refer you to an allergist for allergy testing or for additional treatment options.
  • Consider rethinking pet ownership (dander may be part of your problem). Don’t feel like you can part with your pup? Make sure you at least ban them from the bedroom. Consult your allergist for allergy shot options.

View the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website for additional helpful tips. 

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