What to do with $1,000 now

When stocks are scary and bank account yields paltry, parking your money under the mattress might seem like the only sensible move. Not the case. What follows are some good ideas for places to put a cash stash.

Buy a MacBook Air
Buy a MacBook Air
The easiest way to safeguard your computer? Ditch the Windows machine. A Mac will keep the contents of your computer safer, says Avi Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. That's because Windows has a bigger market share, so it's a natural target for hackers.

The upgraded version of the MacBook Air that made its debut in July is twice as fast as the previous generation, but the 11-inch model retains its $999 price tag. That's a great deal for one of the coolest and lightest (less than 21/2 pounds) laptops out there. To further protect your Mac, click on "System Preferences," then "Security," then "Firewall." Set the firewall to "stealth mode," which makes your computer invisible to potential hackers.

By Carolyn Bigda, Beth Braverman, Veronica Crews, Ismat Sarah Mangla, Peter Valdes-Dapena, and Penelope Wang - Last updated October 17 2011: 1:41 PM ET
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If you're stalled or burned out, these fast-growing fields (with relatively low barriers to entry) can help you earn more, get ahead and put life back into your career.

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