Can You Use Student Loans to Pay Off Credit Cards?

MB-one, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve tried everything to pay off your credit card debt, but nothing’s working. Those high interest rates, for one, are keeping you from eating into your principal. But you do have a student loan coming, and the thought occurs: can you use student loans to pay off credit cards? Good question.

Let’s see.

The Issue

You’re supposed to use student loans to defray or pay the cost of your higher education. Still, it’s understandable to consider whether you can use the cash for other stuff, like erasing credit card obligations. 

The bad news is that it just isn’t wise to tap your student loan to pay off your plastic. Why? Well, for one thing, what happens if you don’t have enough funds to cover your education? Will you have to take out another loan? And get in even more debt? You can see where this is going. What’s more, there may be restrictions on what you’re able to do with the student loan.

There are things you should know and do before seriously considering funneling your funds to your debt instead of that Ancient Civilization 101 textbook. 

See What Your Loan Agreement Says

As per the Department of Education, your loan is supposed to go toward “educational expenses.” In addition to tuition and room and board, those expenses include books, equipment such as computers, school transportation and childcare costs.

Darn, right? But wait. If you charge any of those expenses on a credit card, you could ostensibly use your loan to pay them off. The rub, though, is that if you have other, personal expenses mingled with your school expenses, you’re paying for those ineligible expenses as well.

If you have a private student loan, though, how you can use that cash is up to the lender. That’s where your loan agreement comes in, so be sure to read the fine print. Don’t expect any major departures from federal loan guidelines, however.

Don’t Depend on Bankruptcy

It’s nearly impossible to have your student loan debt taken care of through bankruptcy, giving you an additional reason to not use your loan to clear your credit card obligations. What makes it so challenging is that the burden is on you to prove that the loans have strained your finances – a difficult task even if your payments are difficult to manage. Credit debt relief can be messy, but it’s doable.

Note that you CAN discharge credit card debt in bankruptcy. But even if you expect no issues handling future debts, you don’t want to set yourself up for something you’ll be sorry for later.

Using Your Student Loan to Pay Off Cards Could Squeeze Your Finances Later

If you have the option to put off student loan payments until school is done, that makes using your loan for credit card debt enticing. We get it, particularly since such loans have relatively low interest rates. 

However, mixing your credit card debt in with your school debt could put you in a financial mess once school is done. And that’s no way to start your life’s next chapter.

What Are My Options Then?

If you’re in college and have trouble paying your credit cards, the first thing you should do is cease using plastic until you can get a handle on things. You also might want to figure out a way to bring in more cash. Then, you should consider getting rid of your highest-interest debts first, while monitoring your credit scores. 

So, can you use student loans to pay off credit cards? You may be able to get away with it – in the short term. But is it a good idea? Nope. There are other ways to handle credit card debt that won’t hamstring you in the long run.

Five advantages of using Microsoft Dynamics AX for Your Business

It does not matter what industry you belong to; if your company is not following the latest industry trends, you will be left behind. In this modern age, where businesses have access to so many technologies, it is crucial for them to choose the right options to get ahead of the competition. By investing in the right tools and software, you can strengthen your business’s position and can manage tasks more efficiently. One of these tools is Microsoft Dynamics AX, an excellent ERP solution for companies to organize, optimize, at automating their processes. It provides you with solutions that can save you time and can improve your ROI significantly.

Microsoft Dynamics AX allows you to automate your processes; you wouldn’t have to spend time and resources on development and training. It also has a simple, user-friendly interface that allows you to access information without complicating things. That way, you can get detailed insights into your processes whenever necessary. Microsoft Dynamics AX is a complete solution for any enterprise as it also strengthens the bond between teams and individuals of the company with its advanced communication tools. Overall it is a tool that will benefit all departments of your company. Let’s take a detailed look at some of the main benefits you can enjoy from Microsoft Dynamics AX:

Quick and Smart Decision Making

One of the major benefits of using Microsoft Dynamics AX is that I allow you to make a quick and smart decision. If you want to succeed in today’s competitive market, you will have to get innovative, and this software helps you do that. The software collects raw data and turns it into numbers that can help you with decision making. You can define KPI’s and can run detailed analyses to get the latest reports. These reports not only speeds up the decision-making process but also helps you make more accurate decisions.

Cost-Effective

In the past few years, the way small and big industries used to manage their businesses has changed dramatically. Because of the constantly evolving market, a flexible ERP solution has become vital for businesses. You need a system that allows you to modify, add, delete, and mold certain things within your company whenever necessary. When you choose Microsoft Dynamics AX, you get access to plenty of great products that can prove valuable for your business. This can reduce the company’s cost of operations dramatically and can help you improve your ROI significantly. In the long run, it can help you save a lot of money.

Improve Productivity and Team Collaboration

Another great benefit of using Microsoft Dynamics AX is that it improves team collaboration within your company and makes everyone more productive. Unlike other complicated ERP software out there, Microsoft Dynamics AX won’t take much of your employees’ time. The software has an interface similar to Microsoft Word, and your organization will get the hang of it very quickly. It also helps you automate a lot of processes, which gives your employees more time to focus on important things. A centralized data system will also allow you to improve transparency and make it easier for your employees to share critical information.

Improves Sales

Microsoft Dynamics AX gives you a whole new way of approaching your customers. You will have access to raw data and real-time insights, which will help you market your business smartly. It will also allow you to identify the right people so you can only target the chunk of the population that is interested. With enhanced logistics, smooth workflows, and timely delivery, you can quickly recognize opportunities and capitalize on them. All these details also help you understand your target audience, which allows you to offer them much better services.

Security

All the data you will feed to Microsoft Dynamics AX will always be secure. The software has advanced security features and a cloud-based infrastructure that is impenetrable. No one from the outside will be able to take a peek into your company’s data as long as the software protects it. Microsoft Dynamics AX also allows you to customize the security settings so you can manage your privacy manually. It also helps create different access levels for different teams.

How to Create an Electronic Prototype

Building an electronic prototype of a device is an extremely important and necessary part of electronic product development. Not only does this step let you see the potential of your product, but it also lets you spot any flaws with it.

Anyone can develop an electronic prototype of a product, regardless of their technical ability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup maker, an entrepreneur, a small business owner or an inventor; creating your own electronic prototype is possible. If you want to create an electronic prototype, but don’t know where to begin, then here are some pieces of advice to help you:

1.      Product Development Strategies

While most of us don’t have the necessary skills or knowledge we need to design and build an electronic prototype on our own, don’t let this put you off giving it a go. If you don’t have the necessary skills or technical knowledge to build it on your own, you could always consider asking for help or advice from a specialist. Here are some options available to you:

  • Develop the product yourself – very few people have all of the skills they need to develop an electronic product on their own. Even experienced engineers require help from specialists.
  • Bring in co-founders – ideally those who have technical knowledge
  • Outsource to a freelance engineer – freelance engineers will be able to fill in any gaps in your technical ability. Just remember that most products will need multiple engineers of different specialties and you will be responsible for managing the build.
  • Outsource to a development firm – these firms can be extremely expensive, but they will ensure your project is a success
  • Partner with an overseas manufacturer who already makes similar products – this can save money

2.      Develop Your Prototype

The development of the electronics inside your product can be broken down into the following steps:

  • The preliminary product design – this focuses on the cost, the production components, the performance, the features, the profit margin, the manufacturability, and the feasibility of the project
  • The schematic diagram – The schematic diagram is an extremely important document. It is a picture that shows the significant components of a system. This diagram shows how every component from the resistor to the microchip connects together.
  • The PCB layout – When the schematic diagram is complete you can design your PCB. This is the board that will connect all of your electrical components together.
  • Generate the BOM (Bill of Materials) – this should list every component you will need to use in your PCB. Most of the electrical parts you need to build a PCB can be found at Octopart.

3.      Build Your Prototype

As we mentioned above, you can do this yourself or you can ask a specialist to do it for you.

4.      Test Your Prototype

Once you’ve built your prototype, you will need to test and evaluate it. Check to see if there are any issues with the design or any parts that you’re not happy with. Now is the time to make necessary changes to the design.

5.      Get Your Product Certified

All electronic products require certification. If you plan on selling your product in the future, then you will need to make sure you have the right certification in place.  

Building an electronic prototype can open your eyes to the constraints or possibilities of your product. Prototyping is all about testing your ideas to see if they will work when fully complete. If you want to create an electronic prototype, then make sure you follow our advice above.

Applications of Robots in the Plastic Injection Molding Industry

The never-ending increase in demand for more flexible solutions has led to industrial robots being widely used in the plastic industries today. These industrial robots are being used in almost all areas of the production process, including operations related to injection molding.

Below are some of the areas whereby industrial robots can be used to automate the process of injection molding.

Pick-and-Place

One way that industrial robots can be used in automating the injection molding process is by the use of pick-and-place robots. These robots are used to load plastic parts into the machine. They can also be used to place complete end products onto the conveyor belt.

Quality

Injection molding is a repetitive task, and when performed by human employees, it can leave room for discrepancies. Making use of the robots ensure that production is of the highest quality and ensures that products are well formed, cut with precision and that the finished product is well measured with every process.

Productivity

Incorporating robots into the injection molding process provides the manufacturers with the much-needed viable advantage with visible surges in the produced parts’ quality and productivity.

Different robots are used in various areas in the automation of plastic injection molding, they include;

  • 3-Axis Cartesian robot; Due to their high-speed processes, they are usually used for horizontal plastic injection molding machines.
  • 6-Axis Articulated robot; This injection molding robot is usually used for both the vertical and horizontal injection molding machines. They are suitable for floor space or ceiling height constraints as they allow for a larger work envelope
  • 6-Axis Collaborative robot; The 6-axis collaborative robot operates safely alongside human operators, although it cannot compete with the other 6-axis robots in terms of precision and speed.
  • 4-Axis SCARA robot; The SCARA 4-axis robot usually provides a circular work envelope, and it is mainly used for loading and unloading vertical injection molding machines.
  • Side Entry robot; The side-entry robot is best for faster cycles. It is also suitable for areas with space constraints.
  • Sprue Picker robot; The sprue picker is usually used for the removal of sprue. It can also be used for part and runner separation in the automation of plastic injection molding.

Below are some of the areas where these robots can be applied in various production processes.

Machine Tending

One of the most common applications of injection molding robots is the machine tending process. Machine tending is a labor-intensive task that involves the handling of heat-sensitive material being molded. This requires a high level of consistency when handling developed materials. As such, a robot can be used to relieve human operators from this tedious task while also minimizing the risks of being injured.

The use of robotics in machine tending has been attributed to improved production capacity and product consistency. To avoid damages to newly injected molded parts, robots fitted with inflated grippers or vacuum can guarantee careful handling of the elements.

Insert Molding

Inserts are usually metal objects such as; pin, blade, or threaded rod. They are generally put inside the plastic mold either before or after the injection process. The 6-axis robots that are often used to load/unload an injection molding machine, can add these inserts into the molding.

Plastic Over-molding

This process is where two or more separate molded parts are joined together to form one finished product. Plastic over-molding requires different degrees for fast and accurate placement of components. Robots can be used to lift molded parts from the machine and place them onto another device for the over-molding process.

In-mold Labeling

In-mold labeling is a process for decorating or labeling plastic molded parts. It is usually done during the injection molding cycle. Robotics can be used to load pre-printed labels directly into the open plastic injection molds. Tags and decorations are then permanently engraved within the molded parts, hence becoming an essential part of the end product.

Conclusion

As a manufacturer, telling the different types of robots in the market and their applications can go along way in helping you make an informed decision. This article is intended to give you an insight into how the different types of robots are used in injection molding, and the various areas in which they can be applied.

How to Pick the Correct Lighting for Your House

Selecting the most appropriate lighting for various rooms in your home can be difficult. Multiple forms of lightings exist in the market. There are bright, dim, hanging, wall, chandelier, LED lights, and so much more. Visiting a store to shop for your home’s lightings can leave you even more confused if you do not have a proper guide to help you pick the right lightings for various rooms.

With the various lighting technologies present in the market, it would be best for you to understand the various lighting types you can pick from for your home. Also, get to know the different lighting categories, and the different lighting schemes available for all the rooms in your house.

Types of Lighting

They are classified into three. Often, you will spot at least two of the lighting types in a room. However, there are scenarios where you will spot all three types in the same room. Hence, you must understand the use of each type of light in a room.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting, used to brighten a room, is the central source of lighting in a house. Anything from overhead fixtures to recessed lighting can qualify as a source of ambient lighting. The number and extent of brightness of the bulbs in the room is highly dependent on the size of the room.

Typically, it is the contractor of your house that will advise you on ambient lighting in your space. Typically, the rooms that will require the most light are the kitchens and the bathrooms.

Task lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting is utilized to provide lighting for particular activities such as reading and applying makeup. Task lighting is never utilized in brightening up a whole room. It is only used in a small area within a place.

Task lights are of various shapes and sizes. They are often attachedon a wall, placed on a desk, or be fixed on a mirror. Moreover, some have rotating abilities, and hence you can twist them to the direction you would like to have them face and the angle you would like to have them to be.  

Accent lighting

They are the most embellishedlighting in a room. They mainly grab and draw attention to something you admirein the house, like a bookshelf, a painting, or the fireplace. These lights make something attractive for all your visitors to appreciate. Chandeliers, sconces, and lamps can be classified under accent lights.  

Lighting Schemes for All Rooms

Now that you know the three lighting types, you can now delve into the various lighting schemes available for all rooms.

Entryway

This is the first spot your visitors get to see in your house. Aim to make it friendly and inviting by mounting a chandelier at the ceiling’s center area. If your home has no tall ceiling, try selecting a lighting fitting thatcommunicates a warm tone. Avoid using task or accent lights.

Living room

The living room is designed for entertainment or resting. Therefore, access to bright light when needed is necessary, but would not desire to have the bright lights every time.

Therefore, floor lamps, sconces, and table lamps are the most appropriate. Dimmer switches are also ideal, making it easy to switch on the bright light and dim it any time you want.

Dining room

A bright enough light is necessary for eating and conversing at the dining table comfortably. Try using a chandelier by placing it directly at the center of the dining room table. Pendant lights can also do a great job of lighting the dining room area if you do not fancy a chandelier.

Kitchen

It can be tricky picking the right lighting fixtures to use since some areas require too much lighting whereas others just need dimmer lighting. If your kitchen has an extensivesink, an open bar, and an attractive kitchen island, pendant lights would be appropriate. Pendant lights are functional and stylish at the same time. 

Bedroom

Warm lighting is necessary for a bedroom. You will want to have task lights by your bedsides, which will help you read as you relax in bed. Also, you can install a dimmer switch to provide brighter lights when essential.  

Bathroom

Light is necessary for the bathroom. You can use sconces and the bright LED lights overheadthe bathroom mirrors. Ensure you install the lights close to face height to optimize their use.  

Conclusion

A great deal of time and effort goes into selecting the most appropriate lights for your space. However, knowledge of the various lighting and lighting schemes for all rooms will make it easy for you to pick the right lighting systems for your space in the shortest time possible.

Taking a Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Vulnerability Management

The number of vulnerabilities contained within production code is growing rapidly. As a result, organizations struggle to keep up with their patch management. This inability to patch vulnerabilities poses a significant threat to website security.

Organizations must adopt a more scalable approach to patch management in order to keep up with the growth of exploitable vulnerabilities. The use of prioritized patching and virtual patching are essential to minimize an organization’s exposure to cyber risks.

 

Vulnerability Numbers are Growing Rapidly

Software is written by human beings, and humans make mistakes. As a result, it should come as no surprise that software contains bugs. While some of these software errors are minor and have little or no impact on the software’s operations, this is not true of all of them. Some bugs are vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a malicious user to force the software to take actions not anticipated, intended, or desired by the software’s developer.

Over time, the number of these vulnerabilities that are discovered in production software are growing rapidly. In 2019 alone, 22,316 new vulnerabilities were discovered and publicly disclosed. Of these, over a third had a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) v2 score of 7 or above, meaning that they are labeled as high severity.

Organizations Cannot Keep Up

As the number of software vulnerabilities grows, organizations can no longer keep up with their patching requirements (if they ever could). With over 22,000 new vulnerabilities discovered in 2019, over 60 new vulnerabilities are reported each day on average.

Not every newly discovered vulnerability will impact an organization since it will not be running every affected piece of software. However, determining if the organization is affected by any of the day’s 60 vulnerabilities and addressing the fraction that are relevant can create a significant burden for an organization.

For many organizations, patching a vulnerability is not as simple as allowing the update to run on every employee’s workstation. Several factors can affect the update process, including:

  • Vulnerability Location: If a vulnerability exists in production code, then addressing the issue could require a new software release. The new code must be created and fully tested before being deployed to production.
  • Patch Compatibility: Any software update may include deprecating some functionality provided by a program. If an organization’s existing software depends upon deprecated functionality, then applying a security patch may require a potentially expensive and time-consuming rewrite of the software.
  • System Stability: For organizations with high availability requirements, such as critical infrastructure, it is essential to ensure that a patch does not break any critical functionality. This requires extensive validation in a realistic test environment.

Not every vulnerability that exists within an organization’s systems or the software that it uses has these issues. However, every software update carries some overhead, no matter how small, and applying some updates requires significant time and resources. As the number of vulnerabilities to be addressed grows, organizations can quickly and easily fall behind in their patching processes.

Prioritized Patching is Essential

With the rapid growth of vulnerabilities, organizations cannot keep up and need to find a way to effectively manage their cyber risk. Patching every vulnerability is difficult or impossible, so vulnerabilities should be patched based upon the risk that they pose to the organization.

The risk associated with a vulnerability is usually quantified based upon two factors. These are the probability that the vulnerability will be exploited and the impact if an exploit occurs. The impact part of this equation is readily available for any vulnerability. The CVSS scoring system labels vulnerability severity as low, medium, or high in version 2 and low, medium, high, or critical in version 3.

The probability of exploitation can be more difficult to determine. Not all vulnerabilities are actively exploited by cybercriminals, meaning that a “critical” vulnerability on the CVSS scale may pose little or no real-world risk to an organization. Of the over 22,000 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2019, 37% of them had known exploit code or a Proof of Concept that would make it easy to develop a workable attack. Prioritizing these vulnerabilities in patching would be a good idea.

However, even more detailed information is available regarding the risk of certain vulnerabilities. In May 2020, the FBI and DHS CISA published a list of the top ten most exploited vulnerabilities over the last four years. This report indicated that cybercriminals commonly target Microsoft Office products, Apache Struts, and vulnerabilities within VPN products. Prioritizing these particular vulnerabilities – and generally any vulnerability in these types of software – enables an organization to dramatically decrease its risk of exploitation.

A Scalable Solution to Vulnerability Management

The problem with even a prioritized approach to vulnerability patching is that it is not a scalable or perfect solution to the problem. As the number of vulnerabilities in production software grows, organizations will be increasingly unable to keep up.

Virtual patching, a function offered by web application firewalls (WAFs) and runtime application self-protection (RASP), is a potential solution to this problem. Rather than applying patches to vulnerable applications, virtual patching trains the WAF or RASP solution to identify and block attempts to exploit the vulnerability. Since a virtual patching solution’s list of vulnerabilities is easier to update than the applications containing these vulnerabilities, this provides a more scalable solution to organizations’ vulnerability management problem.

5 Important Aspects of Digital Marketing

Virtually every company engages in digital marketing in some way, but there are lots of different ways you can reach your audience through digital platforms. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the main options for companies looking to improve their digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the most important parts of digital marketing is being able to get websites ranking at the top of the search engines. When you achieve this, you get free, organic clicks that can bring thousands of visitors to your site each month.

For professional digital marketers who don’t specialize in SEO, a great way to improve your offering to your clients is through an SEO reseller program, which allows you to make use of the expertise of an SEO company under your own brand name.

SEO provides business with a great ROI and steady stream of traffic that boosts sales and increases brand awareness.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Getting to the top of the search engine rankings takes time and consistent effort. Sometimes you need immediate results though, and in these cases, pay per click advertising is a great medium to turn to.

PPC allows your business to feature at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), but the key difference is you pay for every click you receive. This might make PPC more expensive, but it’s a great way to get your message in front of a targeted audience and reach people with a strong buying intent.

Content Marketing

Your content is like the bricks and mortar that your website is built upon, and it forms an important part of your digital marketing strategy.

No matter how good your SEO listing is, or PPC ads are, it’s rare that you convince someone to buy something from you there and then. Instead, you’ve got to build a relationship with the customer and convince them that they need your product or service.

This is where content marketing comes into its own. You create the informative content that establishes your expertise and convinces people that they need your service.

You can then use your SEO, PPC, social media, and email marketing to bring people to the content.

 

Social Media

Part of marketing is reaching your target audience where they are, and there are a huge amount of them on social media.

This makes platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram great places to share your brand and reach people with your key messages. Different people respond to different forms of marketing, and social media certainly isn’t one that should be underestimated.

Email Marketing

One challenge with digital marketing is to consistently build touchpoints with your potential customers. When someone comes to a blog on your website, they might click away and never return to your site, even if they enjoyed the content.

When you’ve got someone’s email address, though, you have an easy way to contact them and build that relationship. This is one of the reasons why so many companies engage in email marketing, and it’s a very important part of digital marketing.

Top benefits of bespoke software development

Nowadays, getting a simple software for your organization has become a very hectic problem. Even after spending tons of money on purchasing the off the shelf software, there is no assurance you will get the maximum benefit. Most of the time, the ready-made software fails to comply with different requirements of the companies and eventually operation process becomes much harder. To eliminate this problem, smart developers often offer a unique solution to business owners. They take the requirements of the customers and create unique software from scratch.

Bespoke software development

Bespoke software development refers to the process in which the developers take detailed information about their client business and develop unique software. Though some of you might think the ready-made software is the best solution, in reality, they have huge limitations. In today’s article, we will highlight the top benefits of bespoke software development. Though the concept of custom-tailored software is relatively new, it will be the most popular software solution due to the diversity in our traditional business.

Amazing flexibility

You might buy the most expensive software in the market but there is no assurance you can bring necessary change to the software to meet your business growth. Most of the time, business owners have to source for other software which is a very time consuming and expensive process. But if you start software outsourcing, you have the opportunity to customize the software according to your needs. Just talk to the developers about the things which you need to get it done and they will give you the perfect solution within the shortest possible time.

Associated cost

Most of the people think bespoke software is much more expensive and they eventually opt-in for the ready-made software. But you need to consider the long term associated cost. If you start using the ready-made software it won’t take much time to get frustrated with the limited features of the software. Most importantly, you will be charged for the licensing renewal fees every year. To avoid such problems, many smart investors consider software sourcing as the best solution to cut down the associated cost in the long run. If you do some research, you understand why big organizations have their custom made software event though they can manage expensive software.

Integration and adaptability

If you go for the bespoke software, it can be easily integrated with the other essential elements required to run your business. Most importantly, the developers will do all the hard work so that the software becomes easy to use. If you work with the newly purchased software, then you will have tons of restrictions. Learning, the proper use of such software might become a complicated process. To eliminate this problem you can develop custom software which has fast integration capability and a very user-friendly interface. So training the office staff will be a lot more easily. The developers will give all the necessary training so that the office staff can operate the software with an extreme level of ease.

Security factors

Those who are thinking to use the most popular software available in the market often forget the fact, security is a great issue. The hackers are always trying their best to jeopardize the big software companies by getting access to the sophisticated information of their clients. But this will not be a problem for you if you start using newly developed software. You will be the owner and no one will have access to the source code. The hackers will hardly know such software exists. So, if you are overly concerned with the security factors to make sure you are not using too common software. But does this mean your software will never have any security issues? The obvious is the answer is NO. But if you operate the bespoke software in an organized way and keep the confident login information secret, chances are high you will never run into security problems.

Things to consider

By now you must have known the key reason for which the bespoke software is becoming so popular in today’s world. But you need to carefully select the developers or else you might have to lose a huge sum of money. Make sure you discuss the overall requirements with the developers so that you don’t run into complications during the initial stage. Never keep things in mind since it will limit the capability of your software. But bespoke software shouldn’t be a solution for those who are looking to short term business. If you have long term vision and looking to take your business to the next step, only then you should go for such customized software development.