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Guest Post: Are your digital downloads insured?

It may be unthinkable now but it wasn’t that long ago when instead of being held on a beautifully shiny mp3 player our music collections were stored in awkward CD racks dotted unattractively around the house.

Digitally downloading our music has become such a way of life that many young people under the age of 20 may have never bought a CD and it could well be the case that when we explain the concept of CDs to our grandchildren they look at us with a horrified disbelief that we had to endure such a complete lack of technology back when we were growing up!

Due to the downloading of music being so simple and convenient it’s not surprising that many of us have amassed a collection of music and movies totalling £1000’s but what is surprising is how many of us don’t have an adequate insurance policy to cover us should the worst happen and our collection is lost, stolen or damaged.

In 2010, Julie Owens, MoneySupermarket.com’s home insurance expert, highlighted the issue: “Whether it’s Beyonce or The Beatles, people don’t associate the same value to an MP3 player full of music as they do to a wall full of CDs or vinyl, but it is just as – if not more – valuable in terms of money, so people need to ensure they are appropriately insured.”

Research by MoneySupermarket has found that the average person has well over £1000 worth of music, movies and software stored on a hard drive and many of the big name home insurance policies do not protect these should anything go wrong.

Julie continues “”I recommend checking the small print of your policy to find out what you are covered for and to what value. Being underinsured is also a dangerous position to find yourself in – if in doubt, speak to your insurer to find out whether you need to increase your cover for downloaded material.”

And it’s not just music that we are downloading, more and more of us are frequently downloading movies, TV series and PC games making what we store on our hard drives an important part of our day to day lives. I don’t know if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to lose your entire download collection, I have and it does not feel good, in a way I was lucky it was a new computer and so I only lost a few new albums but I cannot describe the feeling of frustration knowing I’d lost those songs.

Purchasing an external hard drive is a great way of protecting against computer malfunctions but if you do a lot of downloading an insurance policy is still vital as the hard drive can easily be damaged or stolen and you need to know your valuable downloads are protected.

Over a third of home insurance policies don’t cover digital downloads so if your downloads are important to you it’s vital you choose a policy to suit your needs, while it’s true that not all home owners will think this is a vital, for many of us we couldn’t live without the contents of our computers!

When deciding on which home insurance policy is right for you, don’t just take into consideration the price, while cheap home insurance is great you need to know you have purchased an adequate cover for your needs. And of course do your research and ensure the insurance company you are choosing will cover for digital downloads, while not all insurance companies have quite hit the digital age yet there are many that can give you a great level of protection for great prices.

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Web of the week: www.ilovecashback.com

The new UK money-saving site www.ilovecashback.com will break new ground for online shopping by offering price comparison, voucher codes and cashback – all in one place. ILoveCashback, which recently staged a £10,000-a-day giveaway promotion, is the first money-saving site ever to offer all three money-saving options together. It features more than 6 million products from over 1,000 trusted UK retailers including Debenhams, Habitat, Laura Ashley and House of Fraser.

Registration is free which means thrifty Brits can first compare deals on everything from from tech gear such as iPod’s and game consoles to perfumes and clothes before choosing money-saving voucher codes and earning cashback – without even leaving the site.

With ILoveCashback, shoppers can withdraw cash rewards to their bank account, save them on site or donate them to charities including World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, Barnardos Cancer Research UK and the RSPCA.

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Girl Geek Guide to Online Dating: The DO’s and DONT’s

Step 1

So we begin…before you enter into the world of online shennanigans, just stop and take a moment to work out exactly what you want, I mean in the words of my beloved spice girls what do you *realllly reallly* want…and more importantly once you’ve decided always remember…”dont waste the pretty!”

Being single is having the freedom to be choosy and keep your options open. In fact, sometimes it can be the start of a fantastic adventure, and sometimes it can be better than being with someone… (errr then again that kind of defeats the object here…)

We start with the Do’s

Do’s

1. Do embrace your single status. According to a survey by Zoosk, 70 percent of women cite the freedom to “do my own thing” as one of the best aspects of being single.

2. Do practice your dating skills. But the good news is that, as long as you’re having fun, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

3. Do think about what you really want – and live by it. Here’s an idea: take a piece of paper and write down five non-negotiable character traits (i.e. integrity, honesty, loyalty (sexy bod) that someone must possess in order to be with you. Refer back to this list when deciding whether you want to date someone(maybe not in the bar on the actual date – that would be weird). It’s hard to be level-headed about your relationship when you’re in it.

4. Do new things. People with hobbies, interests, and passions naturally attract other people. Single people can do what they want, when they want – just think of the possibilities! Be it snowboarding or skydiving, there’s nothing more attractive that someone who is passionate about something. Whatever it is including being passionate about you!

Now it’s the Dont’s

Dont’s

1. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. The worst that can happen is you don’t get it; which, if you didn’t have it in the first place, isn’t making your situation any worse than it already was. Statistically, the more you try at something, the more likely it is that it’ll happen. This is simple mathematics. Probability is on your side.

2. Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself. Everyone loves a single girl! Desperation is a serious turn-off; independence is a turn-on. Some dates will be better than others and no one ever gets what they want all the time – that would be too boring. So, view singlehood as a freedom, rather than a burden, and feel empowered knowing that you don’t need anyone else to make you complete, that you can be complete on your own. A relationship, if you want one, is just icing on the cake.

3. Don’t wait for Mr. Right to do all the things you want to do in life. Enjoy the right now, whatever your dating status, fulfil your dreams on your own and with friends and family.

Tune in next week for Step 2 and more tips in the girl geek guide to dating…

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So you love technology right? Fancy a career change?

In the US, women account for just 6% of the chief executives at the top 100 tech companies and 22% of the software developers according to the National Centre for Women and Information Technology (http://www.ncwit.org/). But this belies the fact that there are millions of successful female IT professionals, many at the top of their field.

What type of technology jobs are there?

If you’re thinking you’d like to work in tech, but don’t really know what’s out there, here’s a run down of the main career choices.

Website developer/graphic designer

Skills required: HTML, Flash, JavaScript

If you’ve got an arty side, website design allows for practical application of your design skills across a range of businesses.

Software developer

Skills required: .net, Java, Ruby, varieties of C (from C++ for games to Objective C for iPad applications)

A job as a software application developer might suit you if your background is in an area involving logical thinking e.g. maths, science or finance. You can choose to specialise in a particular language or be a generalist.

Sysadmin

Skills required: Windows, email servers, networking

A real techie job, system administrator will have you setting up networks, helping out your colleagues when the tech doesn’t go right and maintaining central servers. Don’t even consider this job unless you can keep calm, with a smile on your face, while the whole company can’t access their email.

Technology journalist

Skills required: research, writing

If you’ve come from an arts background, you might be more at home writing about technology, rather than putting together computers or developing applications. Technology news is always in the media, so keeping on top of developments could help you get more of your articles published.

Consultant / Technical sales

Skills: problem solving, high level knowledge of technologies

A great way to stay on top of technology at a high level is to work in sales or consulting. You’ll need to not only be good at communicating, but also have the latest knowledge so you can advise clients how technology can solve their business problems.

Project manager

Skill required: organisation, people skills

Are you a super-organiser? Technical companies always need project managers to liaise with customers and organise the project while the geeks have their heads down writing code.

What training do you need?

Both the training you need and the training provided varies across roles and companies. Many tech firms offer graduate roles that come with all the training you need. If you’re changing careers this is a great place to start.

Otherwise, better than formal training is to run your own small project before applying; as a senior interviewer with a software development company I can tell you that nothing impresses like a self-starter. If you want to work as a developer, read a book on the latest technology and set yourself a challenge to develop a simple application to demonstrate your skills. For a journalism or sales role, why not do some research and publish a article in a well respected technology blog?

Where can you get help?

First, take a look at some job boards and see what roles are out there. A good start might be http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/, which not only has a job board and personalised recruitment services, but you can also catch up on the latest tech news.

Secondly, no one gets to the top on their own – get a mentor to tell you where to focus your energies and how to get to the next level. Don’t forget that mentoring works just as well by skype – you no longer have to live in the same town to share experiences.

Or finally, why not go networking? You’ll meet all kinds of contacts, either in your area or a complementary one, and learn about what’s going on in the industry at large. Maybe have a girl geek dinner http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7682315.stm?

Until next time

Zoe

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