Weekly business column, with a tip on tech tools, a BBB warning on scams targeting recent graduates and more.

Tip of the Week


If you have a place in your life for uncomplicated technology, here are five tech tools that are both easy to use and elegantly useful:


- Touch-free soap dispenser: A soap dispenser may seem mundanely low-tech, but what raises it to the level of smart technology is a touch-free sensor. Because of the number of times it gets touched in a day, a traditional soap dispenser can be a haven for germs. With the addition of the same touch-free technology used in public bathrooms around the world, a basic soap dispenser becomes an example of cutting-edge technology that doesn't complicate life.


- No-blade fans: The same company that markets bag- and filter-free, high-end vacuum cleaners has introduced a fan that has no blades. Eliminating the blades allows the fan to produce an uninterrupted stream of air, free of buffeting, the company says. Plus, because it has no blades or grill, it may be a safer choice for families with children or pets.


- Hand-held GPS: While hand-held GPS devices can be very versatile, they still basically do just one thing - tell you where you are. Some new smart phones boast GPS capabilities, but using your phone to find out where you are means wherever you are had better have an available cellular signal. Since GPS devices get their info from a satellite - and satellite coverage is pretty much worldwide these days - using a handheld GPS as opposed to a GPS-enabled phone means less limitation in where you can use the device.


- Electronic dictionary: Sure, you can look up the definition of any word - in any language - online and you can access the Internet from a variety of devices these days. But a hand-held electronic dictionary gives you instant access to definitions anywhere, even if you're not able to get a wireless connection. Allow your youngster to use this single-purpose technology for schoolwork or projects, and you never have to wonder if Junior is really playing a video game or texting friends instead of working.


- ARA


BBB Watch


Many high school and college graduates will be entering the work world as this school year comes to a close. Those that have not yet lined up a job are likely to use Internet resources to pursue job leads. The Better Business Bureau cautions job seekers to avoid becoming targets for scam artists eager to take advantage of their inexperience.


Online job searches can be an efficient and productive way to pursue employment as apprehension is becoming an annual occurrence on campuses across the nation. But this year, with the economy still struggling students have a right to be more fearful than usual.


"It's important to remember that while jobs are becoming available, so are tempting scam offers," says Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "Opportunities do exist, but today's graduates need to be ready to modify their plans to accommodate the drastic changes to the job market while not becoming victims to these offers. Remember, if it's an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is."


For additional information on how to protect yourself from online scams, visit www.bbb.org.


The List


Here are the worst-paying jobs in America, according to www.forbes.com:


1. Combined food preparation and serving worker, including fast food: $18,120


2. Cook, fast food: $18,230


3. Dishwasher: $18,330


4. Shampooer: $18,890


5. Dining room and cafeteria attendant and bartender: $18,900


6. Counter attendant, cafeteria food concession and coffee shop: $18,990


7. Cashier: $19,030


8. Host and hostess, restaurant lounge and coffee shop: $19,190


9. Amusement and recreation attendant: $19,450


10. Usher, lobby attendant and ticket taker: $19,610


Number to Know


0.5 percent: Amount that house prices fell from February to March, according to Standard & Poor’s.


GateHouse News Service