Friday, February 28, 2014

There are so many things that you can do with a computer information systems degree that it will make your head spin. Any computer savvy student would be wise to look into the many lucrative fields associated with this wonderful field. Many of us non-techies are really counting on your talents so here are some suggestions to consider on your road to a new career using your computer information systems degree.

Security is a big concern for many of us who use the computer on a daily basis. Why not combine your childhood dream of becoming a police officer or private investigator with your computer information systems degree? This career is very rewarding for anyone who loves a good mystery and likes to make things safe for everyone.

Another field that incorporates your computer information systems degree and law enforcement is computer forensics. This intriguing field is exploding right now and you will have an opportunity to work right alongside law enforcement agents. This is a great field full of vast opportunities and workers who have a computer information systems degree are in high demand.

Not so interested in solving crimes? No problem. There are plenty of opportunities for an individual who has a communication information systems degree in Web development. Web developers are always in demand and a talented individual in this field has a happy and rewarding career in his path.

Anyone who loves the Internet will find Web developing to be a very desirable position. The great thing about this field is that you have an opportunity to build your own business once you have a few years of experience under your belt. Imagine working from home in your pajamas. Some individuals who work as Web developers do just that.

Your computer information systems degree can lead to the desirable position of computer systems analyst. Analytical thinkers are naturally drawn to this lucrative field. Put your mind and your talents to good use in this career path. This is another great option for anyone who wants to work from home, too.

These are just a mere handful of wonderful careers that are right around the corner for someone who has a computer information systems degree. I’m sure that you have some other ideas in mind. The most important thing to remember is that you need to earn that degree before your step into these desirable computer jobs.

Understanding basic dog psychology to remedy excessive barking

Beyond being man's best friend, dog's are best known for doing what comes naturally, such as barking. Most dog owners rely on Rover to let them know when an intruder might be approaching the house. This type of barking behavior is a characteristic which makes Rover a valuable addition to the family. However, everyone's had the experience of living in a neighborhood where there's a dog that just won't quit – barking! This can be a real annoyance to people blocks away. Understanding why your dog has gotten into a pattern of excessive barking can remedy the problem within a short period of time, before all your neighbors are up in arms.

Some dogs get into the excessive barking game out of sheer boredom. All dogs are permanent kids and, like kids, may show behavioral problems of which everyone disapproves simply because they have nothing better with which to occupy their time. A child may decide to clean out your closet or junk drawer. A dog may decide barking is great fun. Before long, unchecked, you've got a dog with an excessive barking problem.

Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, play time and attention from family members. Sometimes, remedying this neglect is all it takes to cure the dog of excessive barking that will eventually drive you crazy and make your neighbors unfriendly.

To correct excessive barking that stems from boredom related causes, try picking up some toys next time you're at the pet shop. Chew toys are good, as are the toys which have a pocket in which you can hide tasty morsels of food for him to discover.

Some dogs pick up on the owner's nervous tendencies, interpreting your anxiety to be an indication of potential, unseen threats. Rover ramps up his protective instincts, becoming overly alert to every sound. Excessive barking is the result.

Older dogs who acquire this habit may do so because they are deaf. They know, when the cat surprises them at their food dish, their abilities aren't quite up to snuff. They figure if they bark a lot, just in case, they'll effectively warn off any real threats.

If none of this works, it may be time for more formal steps. Consult your vet for advice on using some of the anti bark devices available. These include bark collars which either deliver a mild electrical shock or a spray of citronella to modify the excessive barking behavior. Some dog owners find the bark collars to be inhumane, although the citronella sprays seem to be better tolerated by both owners and dogs.

If you're really desperate for a solution, there are medications your vet can prescribe to calm your dog down. One highly controversial, but certainly effective remedy is a surgical procedure that makes it impossible for your dog to bark. The problem with such radical remedies is that Rover is effectively rendered useless as a watch dog. Before considering such solutions, ask your vet about obedience classes which may solve the problem.

Before rendering your dog barkless, remember too that you might then be introducing a new neurosis. What if Rover is barking excessively in hopes of attracting a sweetheart? Your best bet is to let him bark when appropriate, keeping everyone happy.

Arts And Crafts Activities

I think that few people outside of education realize how important arts and crafts activities for kids are. You see, education isn't just about teaching a collection of facts. Education is about teaching an attitude towards the world. You need to teach kids to investigate, to create, and to synthesize their knowledge with previous knowledge and ideas. Arts and crafts ideas allow kids to interact with their learning environment, creating something more true and real than just a selection of facts.

Of course, arts and crafts activities are useful for internalizing information – particularly with younger students. The human mind is a complex thing, and if you want to use it you need to understand how it works. The more connections in the brain makes, the more firmly it cements its knowledge. If a particular art and craft activity inspires a student, he will remember everything about it including the lesson plan that led up to it. It will become a vivid part of his memory, not just an incidental lesson that slowly gets forgotten over years.
One of my favorite uses of arts and crafts activities is to teach problem-solving skills. When I teach my students about history, I teach them about the attempts of great thinkers to solve various problems that civilization runs into. Engineering, urban planning, design, invention, and many other problems have to be overcome at various points. Although I obviously can't show my students all of the complexities of historical problem solving, I can let them try their hands at constructing a siege proof castle, a stable bridge, or designing an ideal city. These art and craft activities make them not take the world around them for granted. They begin to realize that everything we have was a struggle to obtain, and they begin to dream about how much better things could get in the future.
You also can't forget about the creative aspect of arts and crafts activities. When it comes down to it, art is all about being imaginative and creative. One of the main things that these activities accomplish is allowing students to interact in a more active way with the world around them. Through arts and crafts activities, They can imagine a world that makes different decisions than ours does. They can try to come up with solutions better than the ones used by our leaders. Not every arts and crafts activity leads to profound conclusions or big changes in the way students think, but if even one does I think I've done my job. For me, teaching is all about building independent, creative thinkers for tomorrow. There is nothing more importance in a classroom than making students think for themselves.

Live Concert CDs

Every so often, a band or artist's performance in a live show goes down in history. We can't all be there but we can own the live concert CD of the event. Not many western performers played in Japan in 1978 but Bob Dylan at the Budokan was a commercial and critical success. The recording has good sound quality and Dylan concentrates on his classic songs, such as Mr. Tambourine, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, Like a Rolling Stone, and All Along the Watchtower. There are 23 tracks in total on the double album. Dylan's band and female backing vocalists are top notch. The venue has presented many live performances over the years, including the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Abba, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton but its main use is as a martial arts stadium.

In the 1960s, a ticket for a Beatles concert was like gold dust. They were very impressive live, if they could be heard over the screaming! The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl live concert CD and vinyl took songs from two performances from the LA venue. The first was from August 1964, and the second was from August of the following year. The record was not released until 1977 because it was felt that the sound quality was not good enough. This was until the Beatles' record producer, George Martin, worked on the master tapes and improved the sound. The hard work and the wait paid off as the album reached Number 1 in the UK and Number 2 in the United States on the album charts. The live concert CD contains several major hits, such as Can't Buy Me Love, A Hard Day's Night, and She Loves You. There is also a reminder of the group's Rock 'n' Roll roots with their covers of Long Tall Sally and Twist and Shout.

One of the most famous live albums of all time is The Who Live at Leeds, from their appearance at the University of Leeds in 1970. The New York Times called it " the best live rock album ever made." It always features high on any best album list and it is also often named as the loudest ever! There is a Blue Plaque on the University building where the gig took place, denoting its official distinction as an historic landmark. The 1970 vinyl was digitally remastered as a live concert CD in 1995 with I'm a Boy, Summertime Blues, and I Can't Explain added as new tracks. A Deluxe Edition was released in 2001 with almost all of the songs from rock opera, Tommy. Original tracks from 1970 include the Who's hits, My Generation, Magic Bus and Substitute.

The Apollo Theatre in Harlem has been the venue for many legendary performers, particularly for soul singers. James Brown Live at the Apollo was recorded in 1962 and was placed at Number 24 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of all Time list. The record was 66 weeks in the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, reaching number 2. With backing vocals by The Famous Flames, Brown sings from his classic songbook, including I'll Go Crazy, Try Me, Lost Someone and Think. The live concert CD version came out in 1990 and a Deluxe Edition with bonus tracks came out in 2004.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Millennials Shun Credit Cards But Still Behind on Debt

Nov 20th, 2013 @ 9:36 PM by Amber Nelson

The Millennial generation – those aged 19 to 29 – are not borrowing as much as their predecessors but those who are taking on debt are not managing it well, according to a new study by Experian.

Millennials carry an average of only 1.5 credit cards compared with 2 cards a piece for Generation X borrowers (those aged 30 to 46) and 2.7 cards each for Baby Boomers (aged 47 to 65). And Millennials’ credit card balances are also  lower with an average of $2,700 than the national average of $4,500. Of course this lower level is due largely to lower credit limits and smaller incomes, but even so, total credit card borrowing among this group has been trending downward over the past five years.

However, those who are choosing to rack up debt are not making timely payments, and Millennials have the lowest average credit score among all age groups as a result. With an average score of 628, Millennials trailed Generation Xers with a score of 653, and were well below Baby Boomers who had an average score of 700.

“While this study looked at all four generations, we found that Millennials are in need of the most guidance to improve and build their overall credit health,” said Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics, Experian in a press release.

The decreasing use of credit cards, poor credit scores and delinquent debt among Millennials nationwide may mostly be attributed to high unemployment and accompanying restrictive credit standards. Without a secure job market, young adults are unwilling or unable to make major purchases.

Credit trends do vary greatly across the country. Millennials in the South and the South West had the worst credit scores, with Mississippi posting the very lowest average of 590. On the opposite end, Minnesota’s young adults had the highest average score in the nation with 660.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Credit Card Delinquencies Fall Again As Consumers Shape Up

Aug 14th, 2013 @ 7:01 PM by Amber Nelson

American consumers continued to put their best financial foot forward during the second quarter of this year, according to recent data from TransUnion Corp, as they paid down their credit card debt and made more payments on time.

Consumers had an average credit card debt of $4,965 during the second quarter. While that is up from $4,875 during the first quarter, it is down 0.12 percent compared with the previous year. To put it into perspective, the average second quarter credit card debt since 2000 has been $5,169.

And delinquencies fell to an almost 20-year low. Credit card accounts that were delinquent by at least 90 days fell to 0.57 percent of all accounts, down from 0.63 percent during the second quarter of 2012 and down from 0.69 percent in the first quarter. The last time the rate was that low was in the second quarter of 1994 when it hit 0.56 percent. The average delinquency rate during the second quarter since 2000 has been much higher at 1.09 percent.

“Despite recent improvements in the employment situation, consumers continue to value their credit card relationships as a primary means of liquidity. This is best demonstrated by the historically low credit card delinquency rates we observe today,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit in a statement. “Credit card debt also remains relatively low, and while we did observe a quarterly rise in debt, we would need to see a few more quarters of increases to describe it as a significant trend. Having said that, the data supports that consumers will continue to prioritize their credit card relationships over other credit obligations, and delinquencies should remain low into the near future.”

The improvements are widespread, according to TransUnion, as 74 percent of the metro areas it tracked had yearly declines in their delinquency rates. Seattle led the pack with a 26.5 percent drop from the 2012 second quarter. Denver also had a sizable decline, falling 21.4 percent and Minneapolis was a close third with a 21.3 percent drop from the previous year.

Based on the current pace of the economy, TransUnion expects things to remain fairly constant into the third quarter when they predict the delinquency rate will be 0.60 percent.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Bigger Mortgages Loom Over Baby Boomers

Sep 25th, 2013 @ 7:47 PM by Amber Nelson

Those near retirement are headed into their golden years with more and more mortgage debt, according to a recent paper , which could spell financial trouble for those retirees in the next decade.

Research from economists AnnaMaria Lusardi of George Washington University and Olivia Mitchell of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in a recently published paper found that more baby boomers who were close to retirement in 2008 had outstanding balances on their mortgages than did the previous generation of retirees. Lusardi and Mitchell pulled data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Survey which showed that in 1992, 40.5 percent of those between the ages of 56 and 61 still had a home loan to pay off. In 2008, that number jumped to 47.8 percent for the new cohort.

More significant and more troubling than that statistic was the difference in how much near-retirees still owed. The 1992 group had a remaining balance on average of $26,000, while the 2008 group had an average of $66,000, a sum much bigger than inflation alone could have caused. Lusardi and Mitchell wrote that this made “early boomers significantly more financially fragile” than the earlier generation.

The changing dynamics of the housing market have played a large part in the mortgage debt shift, with the 2008 cohort having feeling the effects of the housing bubble and bust. During the boom, mortgage borrowers were able to take out larger loans with much lower down payments, most only putting down between 5 percent and 10 percent. With a smaller share of equity, boomers had a much bigger debt load heading into retirement than the 1992 group.

Couple that with the boomers’ increased propensity to use riskier financial avenues like payday loans, credit cards and borrowing from their retirement accounts, and you have a recipe for major sticker shock when these boomers begin their work-free phase of life.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Household Debt Increases – Is This Good or Bad?

Feb 19th, 2014 @ 1:27 PM by Amber Nelson

Americans took on $241 billion more in debt during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a 2.1 percent from the previous quarter and the largest quarterly jump since the end of 2007. Compared with the year before, debt also rose $180 billion. The new data has left economists wondering: Does the increase represent an America that is more financially stable or less?

“This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels suggesting that after a long period of deleveraging, households are borrowing again,” said Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president and economist at the New York Fed in a statement.

Household debt can be a reflection of economic optimism when borrowers are investing in long-term purchases like homes and cars, but increases in credit card debt can signal that consumers are in over their heads fiscally. And growth in student loan debt, while an investment in the future, creates an immediate difficulty for the economy as new graduates battle their student loans before buying homes.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the growth in household debt was fueled by both types of borrowing. Mortgage debt jumped $152 billion in the 2014 fourth quarter and auto loan debt rose $18 billion, but credit card debt also grew by $11 billion and student loan debt saw the biggest increase, rising 5.2 percent from the third quarter.

Add to that mixed bag of data a few more puzzling facts. During the fourth quarter serious delinquencies on all household debt fell an average of 5.0 percent. That’s good. Yet during the same time there was very little improvement in unemployment rate and no increase in wages. That’s bad. Perhaps the data taken all together suggests that the economy is definitely recovering, but at very different rates among various segments of the population.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Peer-To-Peer Lending Making Market Waves

Aug 28th, 2013 @ 11:50 AM by Amber Nelson

Traditional banks are getting some serious competition these days from very non-traditional source. LendingClub Corp. and Prosper Inc., two of the largest peer-to-peer lending companies today are growing rapidly as American consumers look to become small-time bankers themselves.

Both companies offer an online marketplace where borrowers and investors can connect with the click of a button. After a credit check, borrowers ask for money for a specific purpose (up to $35,000) and time frame (between three and five years.) Anyone with a little money to contribute can join on as investor. Sometimes individuals pledge as little as $25 a piece. When there are enough investors to make the entire loan, the borrower receives the funds and starts the repayment process.

Renaud Laplanche, founder and chief executive officer of LendingClub says the online platform and minimal overhead make peer-to-peer lending a truly viable option. “What we’ve done is radically transform the way consumer lending operates,” Laplanche said in a speech. “The savings can be passed on to more borrowers in terms of lower interest rates and investors in terms of attractive returns.”

These loans can be for anything from credit card consolidation to home improvement to student loans. And they are doing very well by-and-large. The default rate on loans at Prosper fell to an annual rate of 5.8 percent in July, down from 12.3 percent in 2010. Lending Club’s combined default and charge-off rate dropped to 2.5 percent at the end of this year’s first quarter compared with 6.7 percent at the end of 2009.

And the loans just keep coming. In 2012, LendingClub made $718 million online loans. Prosper made $153 million, but was embroiled in a class action lawsuit. Now that its settled, Prosper expects to make $500 million in loans next year. And it is estimated that by 2106, peer-to-peer lenders industry-wide will be averaging $20 billion in loans a year. With contributors earning as much as 9.5 percent on their investments, it’s easy to see how these predictions could be right on track.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Auto and Student Loans Push Consumer Borrowing Up in November

Jan 8th, 2014 @ 1:54 PM by Amber Nelson

Americans are starting to feel more confident in the economy these days, but only by a little bit. Consumer borrowing rose in November by its slowest pace in six months, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Total U.S borrowing grew by a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent to a total of $3.09 trillion. That’s an increase of $12.3 billion; borrowing rose a downwardly-revised $17.9 billion in October, by contrast. The gain is weaker than most analysts expected with the average forecast calling for a $15 billion increase.

Most of the gain was from growth in non-revolving credit, with things like student loans and auto financing. Non-revolving credit jumped 6.4 percent in November, compared with a 0.6 percent increase in revolving credit, represented mostly by credit card spending.

Student loan borrowing has consistently been the biggest category for consumers since the Great Recession as Americans have considered student debt one of the safest liabilities. Federal government student loans increased by $6 billion in November, up from October’s $5.2 billion increase. Auto lending has also picked up in the last few years, with U.S. car sales rising 7.6 percent in 2013, but credit card borrowing has yet to make serious headway toward its pre-Recession levels. Total credit card borrowing is still 16 percent its 2008 peak.

Weak income growth and the sluggish movement of the high unemployment rates have kept consumer’s spending and borrowing in check, as proceed with financial caution until the economy is more robust. Economists do predict that borrowing will gradually rise in 2014 as the job market becomes more stable.

The Federal Reserve report is a survey of student loans, auto loans and credit card debt, but it does not include any loans related to real estate, including home mortgages.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

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Credit Card Fees Fall As Access Shrinks

Oct 2nd, 2013 @ 8:33 PM by Amber Nelson

Credit card fees have dropped over the past four years thanks to the financial legislation, but access to credit has also fallen, according to a new report from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD) made sweeping changes across the credit card industry in an effort to protect borrowers from excessive fees and penalties. The new rules restricted credit card companies from raising interest rates on existing balances, charging fees when customers exceeded their limits and imposing oversized fees for late payments.

Since the CARD act took effect, the CFPB found that the average credit card late fee fell $6 and total late fees assessed in the past four years fell by $1.5 billion. The fees that consumers were charged for spending more than their limit fell a total of $2.5 billion.

Of course total credit card lending and borrowing declined during that time as well. In the second quarter of this year, U.S. consumers had a combined credit card debt load of $668 billion, down from $843 billion during the first part of 2009. Some of that decrease is due to the elimination of many subprime consumer accounts since the financial crisis began. Credit card firms have dramatically increased their credit standards for those seeking new accounts.

“While consumers are paying less interest on credit cards, that’s only to the degree they have access,” Ken Clayton, chief counsel at the American Bankers Association said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the CARD Act has contributed to a reduction in the availability of credit cards, particularly for those who have imperfect credit histories or no credit history at all.”

Still overall, the CFPB is pleased with the direction the credit card industry is taking. The report stated, “The end result [of the CARD Act] is a market in which shopping for a credit card and comparing costs is far more straightforward than it was prior to enactment of the Act.”

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Auto Loan Growth Boosts June Consumer Borrowing

Aug 7th, 2013 @ 2:54 PM by Amber Nelson

American consumers borrowed more in June, with most of the increase coming from car loans and student debt, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Total consumer borrowing grew $13.8 billion in June from May, to a seasonally adjusted $2.85 trillion, the highest level on record.

While the Fed’s survey doesn’t break down exact numbers on auto loan data, the non-revolving credit category, which includes student and auto loans, increased by $12.6 billion in June to an unadjusted $1.987 trillion. Federal student loans grew by $3.3 billion, which means that a jump in car financing probably made up the rest of the non-revolving credit increase.

“Auto credit seems to be pretty widely available and the demand for new cars has been strong as well, and both of those are probably going to continue through the end of the year,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC in New York, who projected a $14 billion increase in credit in a Businessweek article . “We still see a consumer that is reticent to borrow in order to make purchases other than autos.”

And as Simons indicated, credit card debt has not seen a major increase all year. In June, the revolving credit category, made up primarily of credit card transactions, fell $2.7 billion and is currently 16.5 percent below its peak in July 2008.

By comparison, student and car loan debt have increased $312.6 billion over the past two-and-a-half years, while credit card debt has inched up just $16 billion.

Since the financial crash, Americans seem to feel safer borrowing for cars and college than they do for more mundane needs or for big, one-time purchases. However, as the unemployment rate continues to tick downward and consumer confidence slowly recovers, we are likely to see greater borrowing of all types towards the end of the year and into 2014.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here

Consumer Delinquencies Fell in Third Quarter

Jan 15th, 2014 @ 9:48 PM by Amber Nelson

Consumers did better at managing their debt in six of eight different loan categories in the 2013 third quarter, according to a recent survey from the American Bankers Association.

The ABA’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin found that all taken together Americans were delinquent – by 30 days or more – on 1.63 percent of all their loans, down from 1.76 percent in the second quarter and a record low. By comparison, the average rate of that composite ratio has been 2.35 percent for the last 15 years.

“More jobs and higher income are a recipe for lower delinquencies,” said James Chessen, ABA’s chief economis in a statement. “Consumers also continue to do a good job of monitoring their finances and keeping debt at manageable levels.”

The ABA reported that delinquencies declined in the following loan categories: personal loans, indirect auto loans, mobile home loans, RV loans, marine loans and home equity loans. Direct auto loans did not see a change in the delinquency rate at 0.88 percent, but the one increase was in property improvement loans where the number of accounts behind on payments rose to 1.25 percent in the third. quarter from 0.80 percent in the second.

The ABA also tracks a few “open-end” loans, including bank cards, home equity lines of credit and non-revolving loans. The biggest surprise among those was an jump in bank card delinquencies, which rose to 2.42 percent from 2.55 percent. Still, Chessen pointed out that even the current rate is 30 percent lower than the 15-year average.

He predicted that things will continue to get better but warned consumers to be watchful.

“Delinquencies are likely to remain at reasonably low levels for the next several quarters as the economy continues to improve and jobs and income continue to grow,” Chessen said.  “At the same time, consumers can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to keeping debt levels under control.”

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

View the original article here