Lunchtime Links: Tech Help for Baby Boomers

How one association helps baby boomers overhaul their career. Also: A dry-erase marker doubles as a hotel security hack.

With babies learning how to use iPads before they can run and new technologies emerging on a daily basis, it seems the not-so-new digital age is geared toward younger and younger Americans. But where does that leave the older generation, or the in-between baby boomers? One association is doing its part to make sure they don’t fall behind the technological learning curve.

How much help is necessary to keep all generations tech-savvy? That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Digital degrees: Is your head spinning with all the talk about Twitter and Tumblr? Are you fumbling to download productivity apps on the iPad? One association strives to help baby boomers get ahead of (or at least on par with) the curve when it comes to technology with a new Plus 50 Initiative. The American Association of Community Colleges aims to help struggling unemployed baby boomers with a slew of classes at community colleges across the nation, including retraining for the workforce. Nearly 400 courses are in session, with enrollment up 75 percent over the 2010-11 school year. Must-take courses include technology training, brand-building awareness, and certificate programs for economy-friendly jobs such as medical or pharmacy technicians. Is your association offering programs for older professionals in your industry? Have they worked?

We wanted to show that this sort of attack can happen with a very small, concealable device.

Cash critic: Revenue is an important part of any conference strategy. It keeps innovation flowing and opens up doors for new participants and greater square footage. But as you think of new ways to generate revenue, don’t think your members aren’t paying attention if they’re being nickel-and-dimed at every turn. points out that even classic must-see events, such as “The Nutcracker,” are not-so-cleverly disguised as cash cows.  “[C]ritics see a certain amount of greed when it comes to ‘The Nutcracker’—in terms of how some companies take shortcuts … or try to milk the title for every last dollar,” Charles Passy writes. In essence: Stay true to the core message of your conference, and be smart about what to take from member’s pockets. How have you creatively earned revenue from conferences?

Clean slate: It’s true: Dry-erase markers can be dangerous. OK, maybe just this one. This story from PC World about a tool disguised as a dry-erase marker that can bypass hotel door key systems might make you think twice about your level of safety. Originally reported by Forbes, the dry-erase marker was actually created by the good guys from a security consultancy company called Trustwave. The “marker” opened up the lock mechanism in less than a second. “[W]e wanted to show that this sort of attack can happen with a very small, concealable device,” says Matthew Jakubowski, one of the original lock hackers. (Don’t worry, the locks in question are all being fixed.) How do you keep yourself secure in hotels?

Seen anything great online today? Tell us about it in the comments.

(Monkey Business/Thinkstock)

Chloe Thompson

By Chloe Thompson

Chloe Thompson is a contributing writer to Associations Now. MORE

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