US cities with highest malware infection rates reported

Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis had the Highest 2016 Malware Infection Rates in the United States

2017-02-02

Computers in Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis are more likely than computers in any other city to be infected with malware. That’s according to data released today by ESG, makers of the SpyHunter anti-spyware program. The ESG research team compiled their latest data based on malware detection data from SpyHunter in the 100 largest cities in the United States in all of 2016. Tampa, Florida; Orlando, Florida; and St. Louis, Missouri each had malware infection rates more than five times the national average. Denver and Atlanta rounded out the top five.

The same three cities topped the list of highest infection rates in 2015 as well.

“There could be a number of factors including the demographics of the area, how widespread PC usage is (versus Mac or mobile devices), we’ve even seen weather play a role in infections from time to time,” said ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding. “The important thing is that people in these cities, and everywhere else for that matter, need to always remain vigilant against malware, spyware, and other nefarious online activity.”

Malware gets on computers in a number of different ways. Sometimes it comes bundled with other legitimate software that users download from websites. Many times malware is installed when computer users click on bogus links in spam emails or hacked social media messages. Still, others get tricked into downloading malware by adult websites and illegal video streaming sites.

“Malware makers are always looking for ways to trick you into clicking on a link that will deliver their payload,” Gerding says. “Unfortunately, computers in Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis seem to be more susceptible to these scammers.”

Infections can range from the annoying to the downright criminal. Some infections cause more pop-up ads to show up when users are browsing the web. Other malware infections can secretly change your default homepage and search engine. However, others create bogus messages claiming there is a different kind of malware infection on a user’s computer, and then ask the user to pay to remove the malware infections. One of the most insidious malware infections is called ransomware. Those infections lock up valuable files on your computer (photos, Word documents, movies) and refuse to unlock them unless you pay a ransom.

ESG offers three key ways for consumers to protect themselves against malware infections.

  • Make sure your operating system is up-to-date and change the settings so that updates are automatically installed.
  • Use a trusted anti-spyware program. We obviously recommend SpyHunter. But whatever program you use, make sure it is set to regularly and automatically scan your computer and install updates.
  • “Think about that link”. If you are asked to click on a link in an email message or a social media post, think twice. Ask yourself whether the link seems legitimate and if it’s something you were expecting to receive. If you have any doubt, leave it alone.

Top US Cities with the Highest Per Capita Malware Infection Rates in 2016

  1. Tampa 540% higher than the national average
  2. Orlando 525% higher than the national average
  3. St. Louis 520% higher
  4. Denver 407% higher
  5. Atlanta 370% higher
  6. Newark 322% higher
  7. Madison, Wisconsin 272% higher
  8. Washington, DC 242% higher
  9. Cleveland 213% higher
  10. Cincinnati 194% higher
  11. Minneapolis 129% higher
  12. Raleigh 125% higher
  13. Irvine, CA 121% higher
  14. Miami 109% higher
  15. Buffalo 99% higher
  16. Las Vegas 90% higher
  17. Pittsburgh 83% higher
  18. Boise 81.26% higher
  19. Greensboro 67% higher
  20. Seattle 61% higher
  21. Boston 58% higher
  22. Dallas 47% higher
  23. Columbus 46% higher
  24. Milwaukee 38% higher
  25. Norfolk, VA 36% higher
  26. Phoenix 32% higher
  27. Portland 28% higher
  28. Austin, TX 19% higher
  29. Honolulu 19% higher
  30. Baltimore 18% higher
  31. Birmingham, AL 13% higher
  32. Baton Rouge 11% higher
  33. Sacramento 10% higher
  34. Colorado Springs 7% higher
  35. San Jose, CA 4% higher

Powering up with the myCharge HubPlus portable charger

mychargehubplusWith the dismal battery life of iPhones these days, and fear sparked into the hearts of smartphone owners everywhere by the Samsung 7 battery explosions debacle, portable battery chargers have been the answer, at least temporarily, to stave off dead phone woes.

But not all phone chargers are alike, and before you buy one you should check out some important features that might make a difference in your charger being a lifesaver or a dud.

The myCharge HubPlus portable charger ($79.99) is one of the better chargers I have used, for many reasons. One feature that is rare in portable chargers is that it features a USB port, in addition to a built-in lightning and micro USB cables. The built-in USB and lightning cables can be sleekly tucked away on the side of the hub, so that they don’t tangle up with other items in your bag.

Of course, with the size and power needed to accommodate a USB port, the myChare HubPlus is a bit larger and heavier than many chargers; it would have to be, until the technology improves, to provide the juice needed to power up larger devices.

This means it’s a little less portable, and a little more weight and bulk in your pocket or bag. The flipside is that this device will keep your smaller devices running longer, lasting up to four times your device’s battery.

This extra power can come in handy on the subway, on a camping trip, or other places where you can’t plug-in for hours. Also an added feature of the HubPlus is it has a built-in wall prong for plugging directly into an electrical outlet. This is convenient because you don’t have to carry along a charger cord and charging block to re-charge your portable charger.

The bummer is that in this day and age, most household electrical outlets are spoken for, so often you will have to unplug something in order to accommodate it.

The charger features four lights on the side which show when the battery is charged up and ready to go. It also features a safe cell technology to limit the charge to give you the highest level of charge without overdoing it. It also has smart sense technology which ensures device compatibility.

Overall this is an excellent power bank for emergencies and peace of mind, if you don’t mind toying around a little extra heft.

B8ta offers the brick-and-mortar experience to tech buyers

b8ta“What’s old is new again” is a philosophy that one would never imagine apply to technology, but B8ta proves it does.  The world is migrating to online commerce, but nostalgic consumers once again crave the brick-and-mortar store experience. Clicking to buy is convenient, but the missing link is a sales person to explain the benefits and features of a product, and the opportunity to see, feel, and test an item before you purchase it.

Today many items consumers would have never dreamed of buying online, such as furniture or prepared meals, are shipped door to door in days; but sometimes there is a disconnect between the consumer and the seller. The savviest of the new commerce entrepreneurs are bridging the old school and the new way of doing business, such as online mattress seller Luxi, which is now developing a complementary program where customers can try out their product in a retail store and then purchase it either in-store or online for the same price.

B8ta has ingeniously harnessed the best the best of both worlds with their pop-up like retail stores where they consign traditionally online only products, such as eero Wi-Fi extenders, Pearl RearVision rearview automobile camera, or Muse brain-sensing mediation headband.  The cleanly designed storefronts resemble single-brand showplace stores, such as Apple, Sony or Microsoft store, but of course B8ta sells unlimited brands.

So far the stores are only on the West Coast, naturally having outlets in tech hubs in Northern and Southern California, with outposts in Santa Monica’s “Silcon Beach,” Seattle, Palo Alto, Burbank, Aliso Viejo and Livermore.

Having an actual retail store where consumers can go to handle the merchandise and speak to a knowledgeable sales person can make the difference between browsing and buying. When I recently went into the store in need of a portable battery charger, I was sold on the Flux, which was displayed at B8ta along with approximately 100 other devices, when I was able to see in person how thin the device was, and I was able to hold it in my hand to feel how lightweight it was. No number of YouTube unboxing videos can demo this experience.

B8ta has combined the tactile with the virtual experience of modern shopping with each of the items displayed near a video tablet on which a prospective customer can watch explainer videos. Enthusiastic black-shirted tech geeks stroll the isles eagerly awaiting the opportunity to answer questions about the merchandise.

The customer can also check on specs and other information from the video screen, including a countdown of the number of the product left in inventory.

So whereas some experiences don’t require a personal interaction to make them fulfilling, such as was the case when consumers were able to pump their own gas and never look back at the days of gas station attendants, buying tecnical products has not achieved this status, and signs are it will not, as the success of B8ta is proof positive that a hands-on shopping still has a place in the tech age. 

 

Tech toys and more for tommorow’s tech geniuses

Kids of all ages get excited about the latest electronics, and tech-savvy parents know that sharing in their kid’s enthusiasm and wonder for technology is an excellent way to bond. When kids have reached their screen time limit, it’s time to get real with physical games and toys that engage them the old-fashioned way. For every child on your list, here are 10 great gifts that help kids grow in their understanding of technology, develop their creative skills and encourage connection with others.

Two hit wonder

For those of us of a certain age who remember the rock-em-sock-em toy robots, whose heads popped off with a firm jab to the jaw, there’s a new heavyweight in the ring. Big Robot Data Rate and Tenderizer Remote Control Fighting Robots are eight-inch fighting machines with Innovative Motion Control Technology so that each user can steer, maneuver and punch using a handheld nun-chuck controller. The trash talking robots also feature quote damage tracking LEDs and other effects to keep the match fun and exciting. Ages 4 and up. $59.99 each or $99 for two-pack. Available at Toys R Us.

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The sky (and imagination) is the limit

Portal masters can take their creativity to the outer limits with Skylanders Imaginators, the latest iteration of the popular Skylanders video console game franchise with new capabilities that empower players to unleash their imaginations and bring their creations to life in an all-new adventure with puzzles, battles, a compelling storyline and new lineup of heroes and villains. Take the fun to another dimension with the Skylanders free Creator mobile app which allows kids to design and print out their own unique playable 3D printed figure. Ages 8 and up. Skylanders Imaginators Starter pack includes two Sensei characters, one Creation Crystal, Portal of Power and game disc available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and WiiU. The Starter Pack is available for $39.99 at Toys R US, Target, Wal-Mart and all major retailers. Custom 3D printed figure available for $49.99.

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Crack the code

Dick Tracy decoder rings of yesteryear were child’s play. Today’s coding toys teach real world computer coding skills, such as Monster, an intelligent iPad game by Osmo that helps budding computer developers master AI technology and harness their creativity to animate physical drawings, with the help of Mo the Monster, who comes to life to interact with children’s drawings. The Osmo Monster Starter Kit includes an iPad stand, iPad camera reflector, and two sets of game pieces with alphabet letter tile sets and wood tangram shapes.

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Once kids get the hang of coding, they can expand their talents with additional Osmo learning tools, like the Coding game that uses hands-on physical blocks to control Awbie, a playful character that kids use coding skills to direct on strawberry-munching adventure. Starter kit $74.99, Coding game $49. Ages 6 to 10. Available at www.playosmo.com.

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Little listeners

Sometimes kids don’t listen, and then sometimes they listen to much, by way of earphones with the volume turned up too loud, which can be especially harmful to hearing when using low-end earphones that come with electronic devices. Etymotic’s ETY•Kids Safe-Listening Earphones are engineered to protect young ears by sealing off ambient noise so kids are not tempted to crank up the volume to unsafe levels. The earphones’ s high quality, clear playback is safe for listening for up to eight hours (or four hours at the highest volume levels), so parents can rest easy, and kids can experience their music, games and movies as they were meant to be heard. $39.99, etymotic.com. Ages 5 and up.

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Smart and cool phone

When it’s time for that first phone, kids want the coolest bone, but parents don’t want to outlay a chunk of cash for a device that might get lost or broken. VeryKool smart phones fill the bill for kids who want a feature-filled phone of their very own – with a front- and rear-facing camera and lots of multitasking abilities, and parents will love its affordable price. The VeryKool Fusion SL4500 and the Jet SL5009 are available for $109.00, and the line includes several models under $75. No contracts are required, and the phones will work with every GSM carrier across the US including AT&T, T-Mobile, Tracfone, etc., (Note, VeryKool phones are not compatible CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint) Ages 10 and up. Available on Amazon.

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Glow phone

Once kids have their very own phone, they want to protect and individualize it with a cool case. Ballistic Case Company has launched a line of protective, sleek cases in limited edition colors that protect phones from dust, bumps and dings and will help kids distinguish their phone from their friends’ phones. The lightweight and durable Jewel Series, Spark and Neon editions offer reinforced silicone corners and is engineered with six-sided drop protection technology. The Neon collection boasts bright hues that even glow in the dark, so they are easy to find in a backpack. Ages 10 and up. .$20 to $30, available at www.goballisticcase.com.

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A ton of bricks

Kids love LEGOS, and now they can combine their favorite brick building activity with their affinity for video games with LEGO Dimensions. To begin the adventure, kids build the minifigure heroes and then assemble bricks into the LEGO Gateway, which they place onto the LEGO Toy Pad. The game expands as kids collect more mini figures, vehicles and gadgets and go to new levels with Expansion Packs, that call up the likes of Fantastic Beasts, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, making the game completely customizable and infinitely expandable. Ages 7-14. The Starter Pack is available for $79.99 at Target, Toys R Us, GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon. Additional expansion packs range from $11.99 – $49.99.

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Gem dandy

Light up the little ladies on your gift list with Gemmies the next evolution of 3D beading craft. With a click and connect process using elastic rings, kids can design crystal creations, from sparkling jewelry to flowers and tiny toy animals. The intuitive design templates use a repetitive pattern that lets kids develop their cognitive abilities and progress to designing their own creations. The kits come with a storage Design Studio with a light up pedestal to display creations. Ages 6 and up. $24.99. Available at Target or www.makegemmies.com.

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Puzzle me this

For families on the road, take a break from mobile video games for some real, tactile interaction with a travel puzzle that engages kids in creative play while helping them to build an inner sense of the relationships between forms and colors. Bella Luna’s Magnetic Tiles Indian Squares puzzle comes packaged in a handy 8×8 metal storage box that doubles as a play surface with 36 magnetitic birch wood pieces enclosed. All ages, from children to adults, will enjoy coming up with beautiful designs and geometric forms. $39.95, ages 3 and up. Available at www.Bellalunatoys.com.

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Tech the Halls with Gear and Gadgets

If you are shopping for a tech geek this holiday season, here are 12 great electronic gifts that will light them up.

Take charge

The myCharge RazorPlatinum portable charger ($99.99) is the perfect companion for the MacBook on the go. It charges a MacBook in 100 minutes via a USB – C port, and it also can charge any compliant USB – C or USB-A device, such as tablet, phones and other devices. It has an anodized aluminum body, and a rapid – recharge power bank and includes a USB – C cable.  This heavy-duty battery will add a bit of weight to your load, but the power it packs is worth its weight. To check if the myCharge is topped up, you simply shake it, and it will light up with one to four flashing dots, depending on remaining battery life.

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Just in case

For the iPhone aficionado who takes their phone everywhere – who doesn’t – OtterBox makes a hard-core hard case that will protect their prized possession from dings and scratches with the stylish and durable Defender Series. The case can be customized with a variety of colors for the slipcover ($29.95) and shell ($29.95), which is always helpful since so many cases look alike. For added protection, the charger and headphone jack inputs feature rubber covers to keep out dirt and dust, and another huge plus to the Defender Series is the touch surface is incorporated into the shell, so you do not need to apply a separate protection film.

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Not your dad’s (or mom’s) smart watch

For parents who would love to get their kids a smart phone to keep track of their whereabouts and call them when needed, but they are afraid the child will lose such an expensive device, Tinitell is the perfect wearable solution.  This wristwatch phone has voice calling and smart location features so kids can run and play without having to carry a phone. With the touch of a button, kids can connect with the phone’s directory of contacts, and using the Tinitel app, parents can geo-locate their kids. Tinitell looks cool and comes in a variety of colors, and at the cost of $149 it’s far less expensive than a smart phone.

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No jack, no worries

Audiophiles who might have been disappointed in the headphone-jack free iPhone 7 will no longer have to suffer thanks to Wicked Audio Reach Bluetooth Audio Receiver ($19.99). This little device, about the size of a money clip, can connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device to stream music to headphones in a 30 foot range. It also has a built-in microphone for calls. The little magic matchbox device can slip into a pocket or clip on to clothes for people on the go, and it recharges in an hour and a half for five hours of play.

I stream, you stream…

The neat freak geek who loves streaming video but hates the clutter of cords connecting HDMI devices to the TV will go nerd crazy over the Nyrius Aries Pro ($249) wireless HDMI transmitter and receiver. This receiver will send video wirelessly to your TV without any latency or lag time — where audio and video don’t match up. It transmits up to 160 feet, allowing you to show video from your laptop or other device on the TV screen in another room. Because there are no wires, you can free up space around your TV and even place your game controller or other device across the room. The small receiver can also attach to drones or cameras, and up to eight devices total, so you can view video from those sources remotely.

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A cord of a different color

Techies can never have enough charging cables for their iOS devices, but cables don’t have to be white and boring. NewerTech makes premium USB 2.0 lightning-fast charge/sync cables ($7.99-$24.99) for Apple iPhone iPod and iPad devices in exciting colors and a variety of lengths ranging from 20 inches to 118 inches, to make plugging in anywhere easy. The multicolored cables feature a woven sheath over them so they are more durable than most cables, and because of their bright colors it’s less likely they will get left behind or mixed up and taken by your friends and family by accident.

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Search and protect

The ALLY Plus Whole Home Smart Wi-Fi System by Amped Wireless will connect your entire household to Wi-Fi, up to 15,000 feet, even out to your patio. This two-component rounter and extender system offers high power, buffer-free coverage for streaming HD and 4K games and videos on multiple devices at once, and all your internet needs. Using the app, parents can pause the internet for homework or dinner time and monitor what sites their children visit.  For extra protection the system uses AVG software to guard against malware and phishing attacks. $379, www.ampedwireless.com

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Switch hit

for the tech geek on your list who is a freak for holiday decorations, give them the ultimate turn on, and I devices outdoor switch. This switch can power up and control all their outdoor electronics such as lights, fans, speakers, fountains and more with the ease of Siri voice control and the I devices connected app. The switch theaters old outlets to control to products simultaneously and comes equipped with mounting hardware and easy instructions to connect the switch to your home Wi-Fi network and control devices with any home to compatible iOS device. $79, Available at Lowe’s Stores, Apple Stores and www.idevicesinc.com

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Store it up

Any smartphone-carrying tech aficionado knows it’s hard to choose what videos, photos and music to delete when your hard drive gets too full. The same is true for laptops.  With the Seagate 2TB Wireless Mobile Storage Device you can keep it all, safety stored and easily accessible on the wallet-sized external hard drive, which creates its own personal Wi-Fi network and features a 10-hour battery life.  Using the Wireless Plus free Seagate Media app for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8/RT, you can carry, manage and stream hundreds of movies or thousands of photos, songs and documents. $179, Amazon or retailers found at www.Seagate.com.

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Warm regards

Everyone hates to get up off the sofa to adjust the thermostat when the room gets too hot or cold. With Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat you can regulate the temperature from anywhere – at home or outside the home, using an app or even voice commands with Siri or Alexa in a smart home.  Cool off or warm up the house before you get home or set a program to change the indoor climate when you sleep, wake, or are away at work. $199, Home Depot and hardware retailers nationwide.

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Suck up

Cordless vacuums are usually great for fast-and-dirty pick-ups, but with the Dyson V-6 Absolute, the once-over will be the end-all. Its portable size makes it perfect for those quick jobs to clean up the floor, carpet or sofa when guests are coming over and you don’t have time to get out the heavy-duty vacuum, but unlike other mini-vacs, this powerful bagless vacuum has super strong suction that doesn’t quit, with a full charge lasting up to 26 minutes. It also features a variety of attachments and a handy holster to mount on the wall.  $599, available at Dyson dealers nationwide found at www.dyson.com

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Snap a pic

The old meets the new, with the latest shoot-to-print camera from the first name in instant photography.  The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera has an all-new style in a compact pocket-sized camera that can capture photos and print them out in minutes.  The camera features six different capture modes, including a vintage-Sepia tone, and a timer mode to snap a quick selfie.  Prints use ZINK zero ink print technology, and each print can double as a sticker.  $84.99, Amazon

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Power up

For those who love electronics but hate the tangle of charger cables on their bedstand, Easy-Dok has a solution.  The Dök CR33 5-Port Smartphone Charger features a organizer cabinet with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and ports to simultaneously charge up a smartphone, iPad, iPod, tablet, MP3 player and most any device that can be charged with a USB cable, up to five devices simultaneously.  The multipurpose dock can display and play one device while charging another all while streaming music streaming and allowing hands-free calls via Bluetooth. To protect devices and persevere batteries, the dock features SCD (Smart Current Detection) Technology to protect your device’s battery from being over charged. $65.67, Amazon or www.easy-doks.com

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Editor’s note:  Companies featured in this article provided sample products for review, but the opinions expressed belong to the author.

Six things to do on a treadmill desk

For the A-type tech junkie who likes to stay plugged in at all times, working on a treadmill desks is the ultimate multitask. Not only is walking while you work a great way to stimulate your mind and body to boost productivity, active lifestyle pundits like Kathleen Hale, founder of the Chair Free Project, point out that rising and moving instead of sitting all day at a desk could save your life.

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That’s right, sitting is the new smoking. Those long hours on your butt are not only the cause of what my desk-jockey cousin’s husband nick-named “spreading a**,” but sedentary habits are a factor in heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a host of other bad things that can happen to a body that sits too much.

So if you are so inclined to avoid overly reclining and chair sitting, here are some great tips for effectively using a treadmill desk to get work done while you do your body good.

Conference calls – Talk about thinking on your feet, walking and talking makes you a better listener and thinker; and stretching your legs is far better than distracted doodling on those long squawk box calls.

Pitching – Your prospects can hear a smile on the phone, and they can hear energy in your voice when you walk and talk. An upright, walking posture opens up your diaphragm and makes you sound robust and peppy.

Admin and busy work – Keep the blood moving and keep yourself alert for no-brainer work. Timesheets, deleting old files, archiving your inbox, and other boring tasks don’t feel like a waste of time anymore when you are improving your health while you tackle them.

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After lunch break – A conveyor belt under your feet does wonders to keep you from nodding off after a heavy lunch. It will also help your digestion and burn off a few calories.

Talk-to-text time – use a dictation program to go handsfree and knock out responses to those emails piling up in your inbox, update your social media, compose memos, and draft proposals or other long-winded documents that would otherwise have you sitting for hours. Dragon has a variety of software version for business or personal needs and is 99 percent accurate and three times faster than typing, and it can even search the web for you and integrate across all of your devices.

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Total Recall break – plug in your headphones, close your eyes and take a stroll on the beach without ever leaving the office. Amazon music has an endless selection of play lists for every mood, and if you have an Amazon Prime membership it’s free.

New technology shows promise for pain relief

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As someone who has suffered from back and neck pain for many years, mostly as a result of a car accident and also years of abuse to my body from competitive gymnastics and hard-core physical training, I have sought out remedies for relief in every direction. I have just learned about Oska, which is getting incredible results with people with all types of pain management issues.

 

The device resembles on oversized hi-tech computer mouse with a glowing neon light.  It is turned on with a push of a button for a 30-minute cycle, and it can be placed on the body with an ACE-bandage style belt that comes with it, or it can be placed under a pillow or close by the body.

 

Oska employs Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF), a technique that uses direct magnetic fields to reduce inflammation in the body and increase blood circulation to reduce pain, heal bones and improve overall body function.  For more than 60 years, big governmental entities like NASA and sporting organizations such as the NBA and NFL have been using this type of therapy for decades. Only now is it cost effective and convenient for the average consumer.

 

For many of us who suffer from chronic pain and have tried TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), physical therapy, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, accupunture, massage and many other modalities to get relief, Oska holds the promise of painless, drug-free and side-effect-free liberation from our pain.

 

One of the inspiring success stories of Oska is a woman named Shelby Short, the wife of a current Camp Pendleton Sargent, who has suffered from excruciating scoliosis since she was 16. In fact, two surgeries in her young adult life left her vertebra C4 – L4 completely fused. Pumped full of pain medications daily, Shelby and her husband’s lives have been nearly entirely ruled by her condition, leaving her extremely limited in what she can do every day.

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This all changed when she was recently introduced to Oska. After using the product every day for nearly three weeks, Shelby is off nearly all of her pain medications and has regained her life.

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For people like Shelby and myself, finding an alternative to medications that have harmful side effects and impact our ability to function in other areas of our lives is a Godsend.  With so many people suffering from opioid addiction due to pain issues, Oska could be a life-altering way to manage pain and live a better life, for those who experience debilitating pain and those who love them.

 

The exciting testimonials from Oska users is heartening, and the fact that the company offers the device with a money-back guarantee shows their sincerity of helping people. If it does not help your pain, then you may return it for a full refund. For those who are seeking an alternative to medications and for whom traditional treatments have failed, Oska may be the answer to eliminating or reducing pain for a better quality of life.

 

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