Time is Running Out

Time is Running Out to Upgrade Your Operating System

On April 8, Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. You need to take action to migrate to a new operating system. Continuing to use Windows XP after April 8th could mean exposing your patient data, financial records and network stability to detrimental risks.

How Are You At Risk?

With Microsoft no longer providing security updates or technical support for Windows XP, those that do not migrate to a new operating system leave themselves open to:

  • Viruses and security vulnerability. Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported.
  • Compliance penalties. Credit card industries (PCI) and government regulations (HIPAA) require security patching and protections on computers that house records and personal data. A security audit failure or loss of patient data can result in hefty financial fees and penalties.
  • Revenue loss and practice downtime. When unsecure systems are compromised, malicious software can take control of your computers causing slower workflow, unreliable performance and system crashes. That means significant downtime and low productivity which can drastically affect your bottom line.
  • Loss of AVImark upgrades. AVImark sets recommended hardware and operating system requirements before upgrades are installed. Without continued OS support and protection, you are at risk of losing future AVImark software upgrades until you have migrated to an updated, supported operating system.

Call Today! 410-846-4582. We can help you migrate your practice to a new operating system, easily and efficiently. 

Benefits of Migrating to a New Operating System 

  • AVImark upgrades while on support.Give yourself ample time to upgrade. Time is running out so it is important to plan for dependency issues that may require additional hardware and software upgrades.
  • Higher productivity with a more efficient operating system. New versions of operating systems are released on a regular basis to eliminate bugs, incorporate improvements and user-friendly features, and these can assist performance by enhancing software and hardware compatibility.
  • Operating system support with AVImark’s OS support package.Very often what appears as an application software problem or hardware problem is later diagnosed as an operating system issue, making the Windows OS Coverage segment crucial to ensuring your AVImark investment runs smoothly.  
  • Better security through AVImark’s automated, encrypted Data Backup.Your practice can’t function without protection of your secure data. Data Backup offers automated backup service that stores your data remotely and protects it against loss. Your data is compressed, encrypted, and transmitted to a secure vault off-site with monitored backups to ensure successful completion.
  • More efficient, faster running hardware with AVImark’s PetPC.Staying up-to-date with digital technology sends the right message to your patients and gives you access to first-hand treatment options, improved communication with your patients and new revenue streams. The AVImark Pet PC is ideal for exam rooms, receptions areas, labs or any location where space is limited.

Call to speak with Kevin, our hardware and operating systems specialist with questions or concerns regarding the migration to another operating system and your AVImark performance. Call 410-846-4582.


Super Bowl 2014: Today’s events include team arrivals in NJ

Today’s the day. The Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will touch down in New Jersey, signaling the official start to Super Bowl week.

First come the Broncos. The team is scheduled to arrive at Newark Airport at 3:30 p.m.

At 5 p.m., members of the team, including quarterback Peyton Manning and coach John Fox, will meet with media aboard the Cornucopia Majesty yacht, which will be docked at the Hyatt in Jersey City (that’s the Broncos’ hotel, at 2 Exchange Place).

Next it’s the Seahawks, set to touch down at Newark Airport around 7 p.m. Then, at 8 p.m., a press conference at the Westin Jersey City (479 Washington Blvd.), where the team is staying, with coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and the city, in partnership with the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, will have welcoming events for the two teams, with music, giveaways and hot chocolate for those wanting to watch the the Broncos and Seahawks make their way to their hotels.

In honor of the Super Bowl, Jersey City is renaming Christopher Columbus Drive to Super Bowl Drive.

2013 International Day of Giving

Help us support more than 2 million people in 60 countries by supporting the supervision, coordination and administration of HOPE worldwide’s programs around the world. Examples of the use of your support are the ongoing development of local Chapters in more than 100 cities throughout North America and the expansion of volunteer programs like HOPE Youth Corps and HOPE Volunteer Corps. HOPE worldwide is blessed by the churches from the International Churches of Christ who provide core support for the ongoing sustainability of HOPE worldwide as a global charity.

Learn More & Donate



McElderry Park is a community in the process of revitalization

“McElderry Park is a community in the process of revitalization and we are looking for residents and investors who want to be a part of our forward progress”.

The neighborhood is rich with assets to help us in our effort: – A strong community association and active group of stakeholders – Housing stock available at affordable prices – Two Community gardens, murals and restored lots – Community Resource Center and local libraries – Two Schools, several daycares and lots of afterschool programming partners – Monument St. shopping corridor and proximity to Northeast Market – Close to Hopkins, Patterson Park, Butchers Hill, the Highlandtown Farmers’ Market, Canton & Fells Point – Easy access to all major highways and routes.

McElderry Park is part of the East Monument Historic District. Development began in the area in the 1870’s. The district was the center of the city’s Bohemian immigrant community. Many of the two-story Neoclassical row houses in this area were built by a group of Bohemian builders, including Frank Novak. Frank Novak later became the city’s most prolific builder of reasonably priced two-story houses, concentrating his efforts in the eastern and southeastern sections of the city as industrial expansion brought even more jobs to this area. Construction in the neighborhood was essentially completed in 1926. Modern day organization of the community began in the 70’s by a group called NAG, Neighbors Against Grime. In 1985 the McElderry Park Community Association was formed.”

Senate approves bill to end shutdown, avert possible default

Washington (CNN) — [Breaking news update at 8:35 p.m. ET Wednesday]

President Barack Obama said Wednesday night that if the House, as expected, follows the Senate in passing a deal to end the nation’s budget standoff, “I will sign it immediately. We’ll begin reopening our government immediately.”

[Previous story published at 8:18 p.m. ET Wednesday]

(CNN) — An agreement to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a possible U.S. default easily passed the U.S. Senate and headed to the House for a vote expected later Wednesday.

If approved by the Republican-led House, the legislation would go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law by the end of Thursday — the deadline for increasing the federal borrowing limit or risk the first default in American history.

Such quick congressional action on a measure announced earlier in the day was in stark contrast to the protracted brinksmanship of recent weeks that led to the shutdown now in its 16th day and brought the threat of default.

The measure represented a victory for Obama and Democrats over conservative Republicans who tried to use the shutdown and debt ceiling deadline to wring concessions on spending cuts and dismantling the Obama’s signature health care reforms.

However, the final agreement worked out by Senate leaders after House Speaker John Boehner was unable to get his own Republican caucus to support a House GOP version lacked any substantive measures sought by the political right beyond extending current spending levels until January 15.

It also raised the federal borrowing limit until February 7 and set up budget negotiations between the House and Senate intended to come up with a broader spending plan for the rest of fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30.

Another provision requiring the government to confirm the eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under Obamacare was labeled by Democrats and the White House as minor.

“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” Boehner told a radio station in his home state of Ohio.

The Senate vote was 81-18, with more than half of the chamber’s Republicans joining Democrats in support.

Both chambers had to take special steps to get the legislation passed that quickly, raising concerns that tea party conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas would block or delay it in a final effort to include provisions intended to harm Obama’s signature health care reforms.

However, Cruz told reporters that he wouldn’t mount a filibuster or employ other procedural moves against the agreement.

At the same time, he criticized his Senate colleagues for what he called their failure to listen to the American people and said the fight against Obamacare would continue.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York blasted Cruz and the rest of the tea party wing in Congress for what he called the “reckless, irresponsible politics of brinksmanship over the last few weeks.”

“It was not America’s finest moment,” Schumer said.

National polls conducted since the start of the shutdown on October 1 indicate that while all sides are feeling the public’s anger over the partisan political impasse, Republicans are getting blamed more than Democrats or Obama.

Boehner and other House Republican leaders told their caucus they would vote for the agreement at an afternoon meeting that participants said ended with a standing ovation for the embattled Speaker.

“Blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us,” Boehner said in a statement. “Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue.”

News of the deal brought some relief to Wall Street as well as Washington, with pressure to resolve the impasse building with the approach of the Thursday deadline to raise the debt ceiling or face default.

Markets soar on agreement

U.S. stocks rose on the news of an agreement, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping more than 200 points on the day.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hailed the agreement he worked out with his GOP counterpart Mitch McConnell as “historic,” saying that “in the end, political adversaries put aside their differences.”

Obama praised Senate leaders for reaching a compromise, and urged Congress to act quickly, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

In an expected gesture to hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed by the shutdown, the measure provides back pay for wages withheld.

McConnell fired an opening salvo for the budget talks expected to begin soon and continue until December when he said any ensuing spending deal should adhere to caps set in a 2011 law that included forced cuts known as sequestration.

“Preserving this law is critically important to the future of our country,” McConnell said of the Budget Control Act, which resulted from the previous debt ceiling crisis in Washington.

The focus on an agreement shifted to the Senate after House Republicans failed on Tuesday to come up with a plan their majority could support, stymied again by demands from tea party conservatives for outcomes unacceptable to Obama and Senate Democrats, as well as some fellow Republicans.

Rep. Charles Rangel compares tea party in House to ‘confederates’

Cruz, despite being in the Senate, is credited with spearheading the House Republican effort to attach amendments that would dismantle or defund the health care reforms known as Obamacare to previous proposals intended to end the shutdown.

All were rejected by the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama also pledged to veto them, meaning there was no chance they ever would have succeeded.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire called the House GOP tactic of tying Obamacare to the shutdown legislation “an ill-conceived strategy from the beginning, not a winning strategy.”

However, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa advocated continued brinksmanship to try to change Obamacare, which conservatives detest as a big-government overreach.

“If we’re not willing to take a stand now, then when will we take this stand?” he told CNN’s “New Day,” adding that if “the conservative Republican plan had been implemented five years ago, say at the inception of what is now the Obama presidency, we would have far less debt and deficit.”

Thursday marks the day the Treasury Department will run out of special accounting maneuvers to keep the nation under the legal borrowing limit. From that point on, it would have to pay the country’s incoming bills and other legal obligations with an estimated $30 billion in cash, plus whatever daily revenue comes in unless Congress acted.

Carney clarified that borrowing authority would continue through Thursday.

According to the best outside estimates, the first day the government would run short of cash without more borrowing authority was between October 22 and November 1.

The prospect of the U.S. government running out of money to pay its bills and, eventually, finding it difficult to make payments on the debt itself, had economists around the world talking about dire consequences. Mutual funds, which are not allowed to hold defaulted securities, might have to dump masses of U.S. treasuries.

Ratings agency Fitch fired a warning shot Tuesday that it may downgrade the country’s AAA credit rating to AA+ over the political brinksmanship and bickering in Washington that have brought the government to this point.

Economiss predicted dire consequences

Fitch warning shot Tuesday

That could help raise interest rates on U.S. debt, putting the country deeper into the red.

Disarray among House Republicans caused confusion on Tuesday, with Boehner having to pull a proposed agreement from the floor because conservatives found it too weak.

The House proposal dropped some provisions on Obamacare but prohibited federal subsidies to the President and his administration officials as well as federal lawmakers and their staff receiving health insurance through the Affordable Care Act programs.

It also would have forbidden the Treasury from taking what it calls extraordinary measures to prevent the federal government from defaulting as cash runs low, in effect requiring hard deadlines to extend the federal debt ceiling.

House Democrats opposed the GOP proposal, which meant it couldn’t pass without support from the 40 or so tea party conservatives, who wanted more spending cuts.

“It just kicks the can down the road another six weeks or two months,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor referred to the GOP infighting at Wednesday’s caucus meeting, telling his Republican colleagues to stop beating up on each other, according to participants. Describing Cantor as impassioned, they said he implored the caucus to avoid characterizing each other as good or bad Republicans.

Government shutdown: Obama urges Congress to reopen government.

3:28 pm, October 7, 2013

President Barack Obama, in a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Monday to spotlight the loss of government services because of the shutdown, urged Congress to reopen government and raise the debt limit immediately.

“My very strong suspicion is there are enough votes there” to pass legislation, he said. “Hold a vote. Call a vote right now. Let’s see what happens.”

FEMA had recalled employees who were idled in the shutdown to deal with Tropical Storm Karen but the storm has weakened and Obama said the agency would now send about 100 of them home.

The federal government shut down most of its operations and idled all but its most essential workers October 1 after congressional Republicans continued to make defunding or delaying healthcare laws part of spending bills.

The country faces the possibility of a debt default if lawmakers do not raise the federal borrowing cap by October 17.

Congressional Republicans have similarly insisted on White House concessions for doing so, and Obama has said he would not negotiate over raising the debt limit.

Obama said at FEMA that he would be happy to hold talks with congressional Republicans on healthcare or other issues, but not under the threat of shutdown or debt default.

A default would have “catastrophic impacts” on the U.S. economy, a White House official told reporters.

Earlier Monday, the White House reiterated that the president would not negotiate with Republicans over the threat of a debt default, sticking to its line as stock prices fell and a government shutdown moved into its second week.
But White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling did not rule out a short-term increase to the borrowing cap, such as two or three weeks, which could offer more time for an agreement. Speaking at a Politico breakfast, he said that while the administration prefers an increase that would last as long as possible, the length of the increase is Congress’s decision.

“The longer the debt limit is extended, the greater the certainty for our economy,” Sperling said. “That said, it is the responsibility of Congress to decide how long and how often they want to vote on doing that.”

Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives have resisted funding the government for the current fiscal year until they extract concessions from Obama that would delay or defund his signature healthcare law.

Many of conservative Republicans want a similar condition placed on raising the debt ceiling, as well as measures aimed at cutting deficits.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Sunday not to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without a “serious conversation” about what is driving the debt, while Democrats said it was irresponsible and reckless to raise the possibility of a U.S. default.

The last big confrontation over the debt ceiling, in August 2011, ended with an 11th-hour agreement under pressure from shaken markets and warnings of an economic catastrophe if there was a default. A similar last-minute resolution remains a distinct possibility this time.

Equities investors were unnerved by the apparent hardening of stances over the weekend, with European shares falling to a four-month low on Monday and U.S. stocks trading lower.

In comments on Sunday television political talk shows, neither Republicans nor Democrats offered any sign of impending agreement on either the shutdown or the debt ceiling, and both blamed the other side for the impasse.

“I’m willing to sit down and have a conversation with the president,” Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week.” But, he added, Obama’s “refusal to negotiate is putting our country at risk.”

In his list of demands for raising the debt ceiling, Boehner did not mention the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, but rather focused on the debt.

“It’s time to talk about the spending problem,” said Boehner, including measures to rein in costs of entitlement programs such as the Social Security retirement system and Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for seniors.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, whose constituency includes Wall Street and New York’s financial hub, on Monday said Boehner would be forced to act as the deadline for the nation’s debt ceiling gets closer, calling it “too dangerous” to not raise the U.S. debt limit and saying any default could lead to an economic “recession, depression or worse.”

“The economy could collapse. Will it? No one’s certain, but there’s a high enough chance that no one – no one – should risk it,” Schumer told CNN’s “New Day.”

China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, urged Washington to take decisive steps to avoid a crisis and ensure the safety of Chinese investments.

“The United States is totally clear about China’s concerns,” Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said in the Chinese government’s first public comment on the October 17 deadline.

“We hope the United States fully understands the lessons of history,” Zhu told reporters in Beijing, referring to the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s in 2011.


The two issues of the Federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling started out separately in the House but have been merged by the pressure of time.

Harry Reid, leader of the Democratic-led Senate, is expected to decide soon on whether to try to open formal debate on a “clean” bill, without extraneous issues attached, to raise the U.S. Treasury’s borrowing authority.

Passage of such a measure would require at least six of the Senate’s 46 Republicans to join its 54 Democrats in order to overcome potential procedural hurdles that opponents of Obamacare could erect.

According to one Senate Democratic aide, the debt limit hike might be coupled with an initiative to reform the U.S. tax code and achieve long-term savings in Social Security and Medicare, whose expenses have soared along with the population of retirees.

Republican lawmakers have floated other ideas, such as a very short debt limit increase, which would create time for more negotiations at the expense of further market uncertainty, and repeal of a medical device tax.

The tax is expected to generate some $30 billion over 10 years to help pay for healthcare insurance subsidies under Obamacare.

Some Democrats favor repealing the tax, but they insist that replacement revenues be found and repeal be considered only after the government reopens and the debt limit is raised.


Agreement in the Senate would send the tangle of issues back into the House, where the Republican caucus has adopted a hard line on both Obamacare and the debt ceiling.

There may be enough support in the House to pass a clean spending bill, according to some analysts. That would require almost all of the House’s 200 Democrats and about 20 of its 232 Republicans to vote in favor. But taking such a vote would require Boehner to violate his policy against bringing a vote on any legislation favored by less than a majority of House Republicans.

Reid’s spokesman Adam Jentleson issued a statement on Monday attacking what he called “Boehner’s credibility problem,” including the speaker’s assertion that there are not enough votes in the House to pass a clean bill.

“There is now a consistent pattern of Speaker Boehner saying things that fly in the face of the facts or stand at odds with his past actions,” Jentleson said. “Americans across the country are suffering because Speaker Boehner refuses to come to grips with reality.”

The Pentagon said over the weekend that it would recall around 350,000 of its furloughed civilian workers. The rest of the 800,000 or so federal employees idled by the shutdown faced another week off the job.

For the moment, neither side is moving toward accommodation, and the stakes rise with the passage of time.

For any deal to work, negotiators probably would have to choreograph a multipronged approach that allows all sides to declare victory, even if it is one that sets up another battle in mid-November or December.

While the shutdown so far has not caused major disruption in the markets, a fight over the debt ceiling could. From July 31 thru August 2 during the debt-limit standoff in 2011, the S&P 500 index lost 3 percent, and the deadlock led to a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating to AA-plus from AAA by S&P.

The outlooks from Moody’s and S&P, the only agency so far to have lowered its rating on U.S. debt, are both at “stable,” but Fitch Ratings has indicated a negative outlook for the U.S. debt rating.

All three agencies have said the U.S. debt profile has improved substantially over the past two years, with gross domestic product growth, while slow, proving to be persistently positive and the budget deficit trending lower.

Fitch said in a note last week that the U.S. rating is at risk in the current showdown over the debt ceiling because failure to raise it sufficiently in advance of the deadline raises questions about the full faith and credit of the United States to honor its obligations.

Political gridlock remains the greatest risk to the U.S. outlook, Fitch said in the note on October 1, the first day of the partial government shutdown.

“This ‘faith’ is a key underpinning of the U.S. dollar’s global reserve currency status and reason why the US ‘AAA’ rating can tolerate a substantially higher level of public debt than other ‘AAA’ sovereigns,” Fitch said.

The State of Security

The State of Security




It’s that time of year again – new 2013 IT Security reports – trends, breach investigations, and more on 2012 data from Verizon, Symantec, Ponemon, Mandiant, PWC (focused on Europe) – and others have been published. In the interest of those of us with short attention spans, in this post I’ll focus on Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report™ (DBIR).

There are five “Quick Wins” (in SANS 20 Critical Security Controls (CSC) parlance) that CISOs/CIOs and their teams might want to take today, helping you to avoid being a participant in the 2014 IT Security reports.

Quick Win #1 – Address Credentials, Admin Privileges, and Password Hygiene

Here’s some context:

Pair this trifecta of credential fail with the fact that 78% of the methods attackers used were low and very low levels of sophistication and it just makes sense that this could be one of the most fruitful places to shore up. Stated bluntly, you have to strictly and unyieldingly enforce strong credentials, supportive IT processes, and educate around it.  And, it applies to literally everyone – employees, partners, and IT personnel.

Quick Win #2 – Protect Key Assets

OK – so this is truly obvious, and sadly not much different from prior DBIR data. And of course, no ‘one size fits all’ for hardening your unique environment.

Skipping the ATM stat, the investigation trends showed that ‘data at rest’ was most at risk, not ‘data in motion.’

Over two thirds (66%) of exfiltrated data was in databases and file servers – and BTW commonly accessed through legitimate (but misused) credentials. Every environment will have its solutions to these problems, and they will evolve.

Quick Win #3 – Prepare Against the Most Common Attack Types

Physical – Businesses that use POS or ATM devices will  need to read the report to address the ATM skimming devices or POS ethics fail by workers who succumb to criminal influence.

When USBs or other external hardware is involved, just know that 41% of the “Physical” category of attack methods involved malicious code that auto-runs upon insertion/attach. Prepare against this common, low sophistication attack method by setting all your system configurations for

1)     Auto anti-malware scanning on all external media upon insert

2)     Disable auto-run content for USB and other external hardware

Malware – The “Assured Penetration Technique” is a combination of phishing-malware-entrenchment. Email delivery of multi-function malware was the most prevalent, and upon delivery of the payload – quiet, ongoing, often difficult-to-detect breach activity.

Note that in the figure below,  spy/keylogging malware was used 75% of the time if email scanning and safeguards were overcome. Here, strong system configuration management, file integrity monitoring, and frequent scanning help immensely with early detection.

Hacking – Over 52% of all breaches were accomplished by hacking. Notice below that only five methods account for 94% of hacks.  The DBIR said it best: “…the easiest and least-detectable way to gain unauthorized access is to leverage someone’s (or something’s) authorized access. Why reinvent the wheel? So it really comes as no surprise that authentication-based attacks (guessing, cracking, or reusing valid credentials) factored into about four of every five breaches involving hacking in our 2012 dataset.” Again, with the recommendation to harden credentials.

 Quick Win #4 – Detect and Contain Breaches Early

Detecting a breach in your organization requires essential technology, processes, and personnel in order to assure early detection and containment. It’s one of the most elemental purposes for having an IT Security group – ultimately it’s about protecting the organization.

It took months to years for over two thirds of breached organizations to figure it out. Imagine burglars having that period of time to roam about in your home unnoticed.

And, in about one third of the cases, it took attackers seconds to minutes before they’d both breached and exfiltrated data.

So that’s like someone getting into your home and finding/removing valuables while you’re in the kitchen getting a sandwich, only worse.

Quick Win #5 – Choose and Begin Implementing a Security Framework

The DBIR recommends implementation of the SANS 20 Critical Security Controls (CSC). However, since there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, your organization may need to be more aligned with NIST SP 800-53 or even ISO 27002 guidelines. Choose one and start. What I like about the SANS 20 CSC:

▪   Collaboratively developed with wide participation, and continues to be updated for evolving conditions.

▪   Broadly applicable regardless of organization size, industry, public/private, security posture maturity level, budget, or most likely threat weakness.

▪   Offers high-level control categories, implementation priority, and sub-controls.

▪   Prioritized and organized sub-controls according to process maturity categories (Quick-Win, Visibility/Awareness, Control/Hygiene, and Advanced)

▪   Implementation diagrams and testing guidance is provided, and actual step order to follow.

▪   Automation procedures and tool suggestions are provided.

▪   Specific and detailed document references to NIST Special Publications (800-53), and associated NSA Manageable Network Plan Milestones and Network Security Tasks.

In Summary

All this said, and with the goal in mind of not being part of anyone’s breach or threat report for 2014, these final thoughts may be the most protective and preventative against the low sophistication attack vectors:

▪   Given that 76% of intrusions and the top five hacking methods all leveraged weak/misused credentials; it just seems natural to focus on credentials first.

▪   Next, assure you address ‘unauthorized’ hardware, and email phishing since these are two of the most common methods to deliver malware payload.

Finally, if you haven’t adopted a security framework, at least familiarize yourself with the SANS 20 CSC

The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone

The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone


32 comments, 3 called-out

Comment Now

Follow Comments

from Christopher Hall via Photoxpress

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie,How to Win Friends and Influence People

I don’t care what your goals, industry or interests are, there’s no getting around it: Personal relationships run the world. But why is it that some people seem to build instant rapport with most anyone they come across, while others are left with a network of one?


Over the past few years, I’ve conducted a study of exactly what sets these people apart. Turns out, the results are more simple, and more powerful, than you’d think. And they led me to interactions and connections with world-class CEOs, best-selling authors, professional athletes and other seemingly untouchable folks, including Tony Robbins and Warren Buffett.

Regardless of status or fame, people are people. And the 7 pillars of making a connection with another person are always the same — whether applied to your next-door neighbor, one of the world’s biggest celebrities or even the cute girl sitting at the bar:


  1. 1. Be genuine. The only connections that work will be the ones that you truly care about; the world will see through anything short of that. If you don’t have a genuine interest in the person with whom you’re trying to connect, then stop trying.
  2. 2. Provide massive help. Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they’d like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return. But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can’t be that helpful, the gesture alone will stand out.
  3. 3. Pay ridiculous attention. It’s nearly impossible to genuinely offer help if you don’t pay attention — I mean real attention, not just to what business they started or what sport they like! Do your research by reading blog posts, books and articles about the connection beforehand. Learn about their backgrounds and passions. Invest genuine time in learning what really matters to them and how you can help.
  4. 4. Connect with people close to them. Most job openings are filled through networking and referrals, and making connections is no different. You automatically arrive with credibility when referred to someone you want to meet by a mutual friend. For example, I recently wanted to meet a best-selling author, and it turned out we had the same personal trainer. In reality, that fact means nothing, but in the world of social dynamics, it’s gold! Spend more time connecting with your current network of friends and colleagues and see where it leads.
  5. 5. Persistence wins most battles. If you can’t get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results. An unreturned email or voicemail doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. It’s your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t be invisible either.
  6. 6. Make real friends. Think about how you’ve made the friends you have. That’s all this is. You only make friends with people you genuinely want in your life. The same rule should go for bigger-name connections. Don’t over-think it. Be human, be helpful and most humans will happily be human in return, regardless of who they are.
  7. 7. Remain unforgettable. All of the above are simple — yet sadly underused — ways of standing out. Send birthday cards. Mail your favorite book with a signed personal note from you on the inside flap. Send them your family Christmas card. Be genuinely helpful. You’d be surprised how the simplest things actually never get done. Being memorable isn’t as hard as some think!

It all comes back to helping others. If you spent 100 percent of your waking hours thinking about how you can help absolutely everyone you come in contact with — from the woman who makes your latte, to the top authority in your industry — you will find everything else tends to take care of itself. The world will suddenly be in your corner.

Raise Funds Without Lifting a Finger

Raise funds without
raising a finger

We understand that it’s not always easy to raise funds for your favorite organization. And while bake sales and car washes only generate one donation a time, we have a fundraising program that can provide funding month in and month out.

Now, non-profit organizations can raise funds by simply sharing our customer referral program with their members and supporters. There’s no money to collect, no cost to get involved, and everyone benefits. How’s that for a win-win-win?

Perpetual fundraising is a click away!

Raise funds for:

And many more!

Happy Independence Day

July 4th 2013 (and beyond) Military Veterans Discounts and Active Duty Military Freebies

Many wonderful organizations have put together special Independence Day “thank you” offerings for veterans and active duty military members (in some cases their respective families as well). Here is a growing list of what some of these companies are offering for July 4th and beyond:

Miller’s Ale House (added 7/3/2013)

Only July 4th, any veteran, current active duty military, or reservists get 50% off an entree of choice with valid military ID card or VA Card.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (added 7/3/2013)

Throughout 2013, any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman is entitled to a free one time admission at either SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens®, Adventure Island®, Water Country USA®, or Sesame Place® and Aquatica San Diego (Monday – Friday Weekday admission only) for military personnel and as many as three direct dependents.

(Maine) Ogunquit Playhouse (added 7/3/2013)

This Fourth of July week, military personnel are invited to purchase special two-for-one tickets (limit of 4 tickets total per person) to select performances of Thoroughly Modern Millie, starring Sally Struthers, on Wednesday, July 3rd at 8:00PM and Friday, July 5th at 2:30PM. In order to take advantage of this limited offer, please call the Box Office at 207-646-5511 and present your proof of military service at the Box Office when picking up tickets. This offer is available only for new purchases on select dates. Not valid online.

Legoland Florida (added 7/3/2013)

All active duty military personnel including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists are now entitled to a free one-time single day admission to LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND Water Park throughout 2013.

Walt Disney World Resort (added 7/3/2013)

Walt Disney World Resort is saluting U.S. military personnel by offering 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for just $156 each, plus tax. The Park Hopper Option is included, so you can come and go as you please through all 4 theme parks each day of your ticket! Purchase through September 25, 2013 and receive admission on any 4 days through September 28, 2013, with the exception of July 4, 2013, when tickets are not valid at Magic Kingdom park.


From July 1 to July 4, any fuel purchase made with a Military StarTM Card at Army and Air Force Exchange Service Express locations will be reduced by 10 cents per gallon. Click here for more details.

Blue Star Theatres

The Blue Star Theatres Initiative is offering free or discounted admission to more than 90 theatres and playhouses throughout the country. This offer is good for servicemembers, their families and veterans.


Carowinds amusement park in North Carolina is offering free admission to any active, inactive or retired servicemembers with a valid ID on July 3 and 4, 2013. Click here for more details.

Cedar Point

Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio is offering free admission to any active, retired or honorably discharged servicemember July 4-7, 2013. Click here for more details.

Kings Dominion

The Kings Dominion amusement park in central Virginia is offering free admission for active, inactive or retired service members with a valid military ID on July 4 and 5, 2013. Please note this offer does not include family members. For discounted tickets for the family, visit your installation’s Information, Tickets and Tours (ITT) office. For more info click here.

King’s Island

All military members – active and retired — will receive free admission to King’s Island, and amusement and water park in Ohio July 3-5, 2013. They are also offering discounted tickets for family members. Click here for details.


Lowe’s is offering their 10% military discount to military personnel in active, reserve or retired status, as well as retired veterans and those receiving VA benefits.

Naples Zoo

The Naples Zoo in Florida wants to honor those who serve by offering free admission to all military personnel from July 4 to 7. Their adult and child guests can also purchase discounted tickets online.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are hosting a Salute to Vets on July 5. All active duty service members, veterans and their families can buy discounted tickets. Click here for more details.

Raging Rivers

Raging Rivers Water Park in Illinois is offering free admission from July 1 through July 6 as they host their annual Military Days week. Immediate family members can also get a reduced admission.

Travel Centers of America and Petro Truck Stops

On July 4, any veteran, active duty or reservist can receive a complimentary meal at more than 170 participating Iron Skillet, Country Pride and other full-service restaurants within TA and Petro Shopping locations.


Valleyfair Amusement Park in Minnesota is offering free admission during their Military Appreciation Days July 4 through 7. This includes both active duty personnel and veterans, and discounted tickets are available for immediate family members.

Home Depot

Home Depot is offering a 10% discount to all active duty, National Guard and reserve, retiree and disabled servicemembers, honorably discharged veterans and their spouses. For more details, visit the Military.com Discount Center.

Wild Adventures

Valdosta, Georgia – Wild Adventures is offering FREE admission to all active or retired military, disabled veterans and military reservists July 4 – 7 with valid military ID. Offer only available at the park for military member at the designated ticket kiosk.



Thursday, July 4, 2013 Military with active ID can receive up to 4 complimentary Thank You tickets. Available at the stadium after 3pm on the day of the event.For more info contact the Rose Bowl at  626-577-3101.

Outback Steakhouse

The Military Mates 10% OFF discount is open to Military Personnel who have one of the following forms of identification: 2013 U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW), DD214 Certificate, Veteran Identification Card (VIC), Photograph in U.S. Uniform or wearing U.S. Uniform. Military Personnel with any of the foregoing forms of identification, will receive 10% OFF their entire guest check (excluding alcohol, applicable taxes and gratuity)

Adventure Landing

Jacksonville, Florida -All active & retired Military receive a FREE Water Park Pass & all Military family members receive $5 off each Water Park Pass! Or, All active & retired Military receive a FREE 3-Attraction Quest Pass & all Military family members receive $5 off each Quest Pass! Choose from the following attractions:  Mini Golf, Go-Karts, Wacky Worm, Frog Hopper. Must show valid ID at location.  Offer for July 4th only. For more info click here.

Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa, Florida – Members of the  military (active-duty and retirees) and up to three direct dependents will get FREE Admission to  the Zoo for free on July 4-7.  The military member will  need to show a Department of Defense photo ID at the Zoo’s ticket counter.  Dependents may take advantage of the offer without their service member, though  an adult with a valid military I.D. must accompany minors. Not valid with any  other discounts or offers. No rain checks.

Boston Market

Print a coupon for 50% off a Family Meal purchase valid for July 4th, 2013 only! Good at all participating Boston Market restaurants. Not valid with any other specials or offers, coupons, or reduced priced meals. Present coupon when ordering.

California’s Great Adventure

Join us Independence Day Weekend, July 4 – 7, as we pay tribute to our brave military service men and women by offering FREE park admission to active or retired United States Service men and women, including veterans, with a valid military I.D. Up to six (6) family members accompanying service personnel can get tickets for just $19.99.

Michigan Adventure

Michigan’s Adventure will be celebrating Tribute to the Armed Forces by offering military personnel of the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserve a free admission. In addition, military personnel may purchase up to six additional tickets for family members at $21 each. For more info click here.

Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun lights up the sky with a huge fireworks show on Thursday, July 4, Friday, July 5th PLUS every Saturday in July! Fireworks begin at 10 pm. July 4th Twilight ticket: $34.99 plus tax. Please Note: On Thursday, July 4th, Worlds of Fun Avenue will be closed from 7:30 p.m. to Midnight. The pick-up and drop off area will be moved to Oceans of Fun’s parking area and will be accessible to guests of both parks. For more info click here.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Special Savings! Show your Military I.D. card and save on Knott’s Berry Farm Regular admission tickets! Show your ID to purchase Knott’s Berry Farm Regular admission tickets for only $35.99. (offer does not apply to Special Ticketed Events, i.e. Halloween Haunt). For more info click here.

Gilroy Gardens

July 4 – 7 and August 31 – September 2 • Join us in saluting our heroes! Active Duty Military personnel get FREE ADMISSION to the park, on the dates listed above, when presenting an Active Duty Military ID—one complimentary admission per ID. For more information click here.

Dorney Park

Dorney Park prides itself on providing world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment for guests of all ages. Dorney Park is also proud of the brave men and women who serve in the U.S. military and will offer free admission to any active or retired military personnel Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27) and Fourth of July (July 3-5) as part of the park’s Tribute to the Armed Forces program. For more infoclick here.

Many offers come with disclaimers. Please be sure to contact each company directly with any questions/concerns. Hands of Support is in no way affiliated with any of the aforementioned businesses or special offers.  This information is being provided for veterans, active duty military and their respective families.  Please check with each business with any questions about the offer listed above.  We do not guarantee any of the above information, we are solely providing a list of businesses offering discounts and freebies for our country’s military heroes and their families