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A + Certification – Environmental Impact of Computers

With technology, including computers, consistently changing, and our throw away lifestyles, technology has had a big impact upon the environment. When taking the a + certification it is vital that you understand these affects as they have significant influence over the ways you treat a computer and resolve issues.

One of the biggest problems, although not the largest, is the dumping of computers. These fill up landfills, poison the environment and pollute our waters. We are not only damaging others' habitats but our own too. There are a few chemicals, which are a worry to our water supplies, including the flame retardants and metals used. These are risks when dumped in landfills close to workers and water supplies, and will become even more of a risk when dumped in developing countries which have improperly manager facilities. The European Public Health Alliance believes this could lead to significant health risks.

Another environmental consideration to take into account is the fact that computers are resource intensive. Since they have so many components to them, they use a significant higher amount of finite resources than other household goods. Thus, in recent years an EU directive on the recycling of goods has been put into place for all EU members – the WEE (Waste Electrical Equipment) directive. This direct encourages manufacturers to recycle their electronic equipment for free for customers. This can either be in the form of recycling or refurbishment. The EU gave recycling targets for all their EU members to reach – the only failing countries were the UK and Malta (2005). As one of the 'behind' countries, who is trying to significantly reduce its carbon footprint, it is imperative that we use methods of recycling for electrical goods.

These can include:
– Recycling the system locally or through the manufacturer,
– Refurbishment,
– Upgrading of computer system (ie Vista to Windows 7),
– Repairing the system, rather than replace it.

It is imperative that you take the environmental impact of a computer into consideration and you encourage recycling and repairing the systems. Environmental impact is vital to know about and understand as an IT technician or a technician in training under the a + certification or similar. The latest version of the a + certification has a whole module devoted to the understanding of environmental issues. …

Affordable Medical Insurance – Health Insurance 101

If you don’t know a deductible from a co-pay, or an HMO from HBO – you are not alone. But if you are among the growing number of Americans who are now using this marvelous tool known as the Internet to shop on their own for affordable medical coverage, these are terms you’ll need to get comfortable with, or it can cost you.

Lesson one – The Higher the Deductible The Lower the Premium

The deductible is the amount that you have to pay out of pocket for covered medical expenses before the health insurance benefit kicks in. Deductible amounts are usually based on a calendar year. The surest and easiest path towards a lower cost heath insurance premium is still to select a plan with the highest deductible. Once you do that it is also a good idea to open up a specific account such as a Medical Savings Account to pay for medical expenses until the deductible is reached.

Lesson Two – The Co-Payment

The Co-Payment or “co-pay” is a specific dollar amount paid by the policy holder at the time of service of each healthcare visit. It is a fixed amount and does not build to a maximum amount like a deductible. Co-pays are another aspect of lowering health insurance costs that are in your control. You may be able to lower your premium rates by requesting higher co-pay amounts. If you are generally healthy and do not make many trips to the doctor electing a higher co-pay is a great way to ensure more affordable health insurance payments.

Lesson Three – What Else you can do

While many of the costs that are involved in creating a health insurance premium are fixed and non-negotiable there are other areas that we have seen like choosing a higher deductible or co-pay amount that can help reduce your health insurance rates. There are other things in your control as well.

• Generic Drugs – if you do not have prescription drug coverage, always ask if there is a generic available for a given prescription medication. Several large pharmaceutical retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart have programs where many of the most popular generic drugs can be purchased for as little as $ 4.00.

• Lifestyle Changes and Wellness Programs – another way to reduce your health insurance costs is to get in better shape. Quitting smoking and losing weight, after choosing the highest deductible and co-pay amounts, is probably the surest way to reduce a heath insurance bill. Many HMO’s since it is in their best interest to have you remain healthy, will offer wellness programs, and preventive medicine screenings. Take advantage of these. Believe it or not some employer sponsored health insurance plans will even pay for all or part of a gym membership. It’s all part of the concept of paying a little now to keep you healthy, rather than paying more later on.

• Shop Around – get multiple quotes from multiple sources. Today it is …