Young entrepreneur does more than sell action sports eye wear

Spencer News

With spring sports into full swing or preparing to start, one can find athletes in sports equipment stores selecting the right foot gear and

Mountain climbing is one sport that requires a special pair of sunglasses.

Mountain climbing is one outdoor sport that requires a special pair of sunglasses.

clothing to gain a competitive edge in the sport they enjoy.

For many outdoor sports, eye wear is equally important. Zack Smith, an outdoors athlete and founder of Opticpulse, has announced March 27 the release of two eye wear selection guides – one for athletes in general and the other for tailored for motorcross enthusiasts.

“Sight is one of our primary senses. With athletes, they often need the ability to view what’s ahead and then process that information to make their bodies respond accordingly,” Smith said. “How fast an athlete is able to view and process what’s ahead could be the difference between first and last.”

The sunglasses purchase guide, written entirely by Smith, include information every athlete and fan of sunglasses should know. Smith kicks off the guide with a brief history of the sunglasses industry and a detailed diagram of the basic composition of a pair of sunglasses. Some of the tips he provides to athletes include:

  • What to look for when choosing the ideal pair of sunglasses
  • Tints and lenses choices
  • Sports performance and eye wear

“I view life as finding the adventure in everyday life. Sunglasses and eyewear should work to enhance those experiences. It’s not always about price or manufacture,” Smith said.

Smith, a formerly ranked motorcross athlete in Western New York, said, for example, in motorsports, it is best to choose a pair of glasses that will decrease the eyestrain and protect the eyes from flying rocks. Also, athletes and non-athletes can use the guide to find the best type of sunglasses for their type of face.

“Determining your face shape is the first step to selecting sunglasses. The right frame paired with the correct face structure can make all the difference,” Smith said.

In addition to the Octipulse blog, Smith posts video blogs on YouTube on purchasing sports sunglasses.

To read the MX guide in its entirety, visit Read the sunglasses buying guide at

© 2013 Spencer News


Madness in the workplace: Employers prepare for NCAA tourney’s impact

By Tonya Andris
Spencer News

With great hope, college basketball fans better have their brackets ready because March Madness is here.

NCAA Happy

Office pools for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are common place, but they can also cause workplace-related issues.

March 21 marks the return of office pools and the competition between employees to come out on top at the end of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on April 8. While picking Cinderella from the teams involved might sound fun, there are some negative sides to employees paying close attention to the games, including loss workplace productivity and possible issues for IT departments.

“March Madness is one of the most popular sporting events in the country, so many fans don’t want to miss a minute of it – even if they’re at work,” said Jack Cullen, president of Modis, a provider of information technology staffing services in North America. “However, streaming content can put a significant burden on networks and the IT professionals responsible for maintaining them. Instituting systems and policies to block or reduce access is really the most logical option.”

Timothy Scott, partner with the New Orleans office of Fisher and Phillips law firm, said it is important for companies to reinforce the company’s computer use policy and crack down on those who are extraneously using computer time.

“Companies must develop some kind of common sense approach to remind them of what is appropriate use of office computer equipment,” he said. “It would be impossible to ban all types of behaviors unless you are consistent with that all year around.”

Because of the outlandish popularity of March Madness, some companies recognize its importance to their employees and have turned the tables and made the tournament a win-win situation for all. For example, employer-sponsored office pools and awards for employees with the best – or worst – bracket. According to an Office Team survey of 1,000 managers, 1 in 5 (20 percent) felt activities tied to the college basketball playoffs improve employee morale at least somewhat.

“They (employers) know people are paying attention to it. This way, the bracket can become a way for employers to use it as a way to draw in everyone at the office and participate in team-building activities,” Scott said.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has taken steps to show everyone, regardless of where he or she works, can enjoy the NCAA tournament without getting in trouble with the boss. The company created the “Elite Eight” steps to March Madness office etiquette. Greg Phillips, Enterprise brand publicity manager, said the steps have received positive responses from employees.

Here are a few of the steps:

Lunch: It’s Not Just for Eating Any More: Be strategic with your “lunch hour” so it coincides with the ending of must-see games. During March, lunchtime is the middle-of-the-day excuse to tune in to CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV to check scores, brag to your friends about picking the big upset, or wipe your tears.

Face time: It’s OK to wear your team colors, but don’t overdo it. Face and body painting might freak out your co-workers and your boss might not appreciate your artistic expression.

Mobile Mania: Download the official NCAA March Madness Live app to your tablet, smartphone, and computer to get the ultimate access to all the basketball your heart desires while you bang away on another TPS report. Just don’t forget you have your ear buds in and make a scene when your team wins.

The full list of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Elite Eight office etiquette tips is available at

© 2013 Spencer News

Longtime IT professional premieres Microsoft Outlook training manual

Spencer News

DALLAS — For 25 years, Paula Smith has lent her expertise in information technology, or IT, to Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo/Frito Lay, IBM, Verizon, Reliant Energy, and Shell Oil. Now, Smith has taken that expertise to use in corporate America and designed a series of instructional books to novices improve their knowledge of Microsoft product and technologies.

Smith released her first book in the “Easy Steps Learning Series: Easy Steps to Outlook 2010” on Nov. 12, 2012. The purpose of the Microsoft

Paula Smith

Paula Smith

Outlook training book is to provide easy steps, interactive practical exercises, and review questions and answers to learn Microsoft Outlook 2010.

“While making the shift in my career, I notice people wanted to improved their skill sets just like me. I begin to train, develop curriculum, and used my experience to help others,” said Smith, who is a certified Microsoft Office Subject Matter Expert (SME).

The 202-page book includes more than 250 screenshots/figures which are sourced from Outlook 2010. The easy-to-read book includes step-by-step instructions that help users grasp every aspect of the personal information manager.

Smith, who earned a B.A. from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, holds numerous Microsoft certifications, has served as a technologist on the Microsoft Partner Research Panel and a beta tester for many Microsoft products.

“I use Outlook 2010 every day for business and I’m amazed at all the high quality instruction in this book,” said J. J. Hebert of MindStir Media. “Paula Smith is obviously an Outlook 2010 expert. Her book showed me how to create meetings and appointments in Outlook 2010 as well as create rules for more efficiency – among other things … It also goes over the basics for those people who are new to Outlook …”

Smith is CEO of Providing Leading Solutions, LLC a consulting firm that uses IT economics to help businesses increase performance, committed to meet client needs and help companies increase overall productivity through automated leading solutions. It is also a premier company that specializes in Microsoft© Technology Solutions, Leadership and Professional training and Curriculum Development for a global society.

The Houston native said she is in the process of developing training books for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and others.

“Easy Steps Learning Series: Easy Steps to Outlook 2010” is available at, Barnes & Noble, and other book retailers for $19.99 USD. The training book is also available for Kindle, Nook and other major e-reading devices for $6.99 USD.

Visit for Paula’s Tech Nuggets and a video blog highlighting issues related to IT and the workplace. For information on Providing Leading Solutions, go to

© 2013 Spencer News

Former NFL QB Steve Young endorses PAR concussion app

Spencer News

PAR’s direct-to-consumer concussion app, designed to help coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting or reporting the signs and symptoms of a concussion, recently received accolades from former NFL quarterback Steve Young.

In addition, PAR is offering the Concussion Recognition and Response (CRR) app free until the end of March to recognize Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The CRR app was developed by concussion experts Gerard A. Gioia and Jason Mihalik. It provides instruction during the assessment of an injury, a return-to-play guide, and extensive concussion information.

“As a former NFL player, national spokesperson for the Positive Coaching Alliance, and someone who has personally experienced the significant effects of a concussion, I believe every parent of a young athlete and coaches should be fully aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion in a young athlete,” Young said. “To help them act and respond to this injury the right way, they need to have proper tools. Based on the great CDC Heads Up work that Dr. Gioia helped to create, the Concussion Recognition & Response App gives parents and coaches a great tool to identify kids with suspected concussions. It also is a great resource of information about concussions and what parents can do to help their child recover from the injury. This app should be a necessary part of every comprehensive youth concussion management and awareness program.”

Young, who currently serves as a co-host of pre-game and post-game ESPN Monday Night Countdown, played 14 seasons in the NFL with the 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He retired in 1999 with the highest career passer rating among retired players and six NFL passing titles. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

The app is available free through March from the Apple® App StoreSM or Google Play. For more information, visit

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