Lifestyle:

How To Use a Reminder System To Avoid the Credit Trap

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How many times have you heard the story from friend and family about how bad credit has affected their ability to do things? They say, ‘I can’t go on vacation,’ ‘I can’t buy that,’ or ‘I can’t do that with you because I don’t have the money.’ And the thing is, it isn’t necessarily that they don’t have the money, but that they owe money to previous debts, so that even though they’re making enough money now to cover things now, they’re still paying old bills because they didn’t know better back in the day. To avoid putting yourself in this unfortunate but extremely common predicament, consider a few factors before it’s too late.

What You Need Credit For  

First, think about what you need credit for. You need credit for housing loans, you need credit for apartment applications, and you need credit for major purchases like cars. Yes, there are plenty of companies that can help you get auto loans after having bad credit, but it’s much better for you to keep good credit from the get go. In your late teens and early 20’s, credit seems like the answer to buying all the things that you want, and worrying about it later. But that ‘later’ can really bite you if you aren’t careful.

How To Set Up Your Reminders

As far as reminders go, mobile technology and smart phone apps can be your best friends. It is easy to simply forget about when payments are due and what they are going to cost you in the long run if you don’t pay for things immediately, but if you install certain reminder apps, they can warn you if you’re moving too far outside your predictable budget considerations.

Budgeting Techniques To Help You Out    

Consider following budgeting techniques that will pair up with the apps and reminders that you have installed as well. One of the best theories that you can follow to stay out of the bad credit situation is to only buy things that you can already afford. In other words, if you don’t have access to $25,000, don’t buy a $25,000 car! If you don’t have access to enough money, don’t buy the latest and greatest model computers. You may want them, and you may even feel like you need them, but the way to keep yourself out of trouble is to make sure that you earn the money before you spend it, instead of relying on you ability to make payments in the future. No one has a crystal ball, so even though you intend on having your great paying job for the next five years in order to pay for your expensive car, you never know what’s going to happen.

Lifestyle:

Technically a Global Community

global community

Recently, more than 73,000 visitors from over 80 countries met at the 50th Anniversary of Electronica. In order, Germany had the most visitors, then Italy, Austria, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic and the USA. Italy, China, Austria, India, and Slovenia showed a significant increase in the number of visitors that attended.

There were 2.737 exhibitors from 50 countries represented, as well. This year, just as in years past, the percentage of international visitors increased from 47 to 50 percent. Again Germany led the exhibitors and was followed by China and Taiwan. Then the USA, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy and France were ranked in that order. Switzerland and the Republic of Korea followed France. The technological world is truly a global community.

Smartphones Take Over

Throughout this ever-growing community, mobile phones are emerging as the lead device to be had. Of course, smartphones are leading this takeover. Smartphones are creating an interesting partnership between two completely separate industries, those being the wireless networks and personal computing. In fact, mobile operators served about 3.2 billion people. Only about 1.7 people used PCs to get online.

PC’s still outrank smartphones as the choice for personal computing devices around the world. However, smartphones will soon outstrip these. As older phones are replaced by smartphones, PC’s are used less. Two-thirds of the mobile phone market had yet to get smartphones prior to 2013. Speculation is that PC sales will gradually decline as nearly one billion smartphones will be sold that same year.

Reportedly, 1.3 million Android devices are set up every day. About 300,000 human babies are born in one day. So in a twenty-four hour period, more than four times as many Android smartphones and tablets are purchased and activated than babies are born, and that’s just Android devices. Imagine if the ever-popular iPhone devices were combined in the count. Activation would far outstrip births.

Smartphones Require Parts

As with all technology, smartphones need parts. Aftermarket parts and their lower prices are appreciated by most consumers. Batteries are exposed to less than ideal conditions, such as extreme cold or heat. Poor air quality, with high particle counts, will wreak havoc on smartphone parts. People are human wherever they live in the world, and accidents always happen with phones. Consumers throughout the world will definitely need to order parts.

The most common item broken on smartphones is the screen. Some smartphones have the digitizer attached to the screen. The digitizer is what translates your touch into information your phone will understand. Replacement parts can be purchased relatively easily, and usually for less money than you would spend having someone replace the screen for you. However, should a person choose to replace the screen, the proper tools are necessary.

The next most common issue that needs repair is the headphone jacks. Once the phone’s case is open, this is a pretty easy repair, but again, you need the proper tools. Buttons also wear out and are as easily fixed as the headphones jack, once you have access inside the case itself.

The global community is becoming more and more technically savvy as a whole. Countries once thought of as less than technically enlightened have become as addicted to technology as first world countries; citizens of the world love technology.

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last update: March 26, 2015

Lifestyle:

How an Electric Car Works

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With new tax benefits for fully electric cars and the chance never to pay for gas again, many consumers are jumping on the opportunity to own an electric car for the first time. But does the average American know exactly how an electric car functions? Without a standard car’s need for gas and oil, the process may present some confusion. Read on to learn more about how it works.

Components of a Car

While this is a simple concept for many, it’s important to pick apart the functions of a traditional car to show precisely where an electric car differs. The four major components comprising a car include:

  1. An energy source. In a traditional car, this is either gas or diesel.

  2. A container for fuel. For most cars, this is the gas tank.

  3. An engine. In most cars, the cylinders and pistons serve to convert the fuel into power.

  4. A transmission system. A car’s transmission takes the engine’s mechanical power to move the car forward. This includes the wheels, gearbox, and crankshaft.

How an Electric Car Compares

While both an electric and a traditional car serve the same function, the components of the two differ drastically due to their source of fuel. Most obviously, an electric car contains no gas tank. Instead of a gas tank, an electric car uses multiple batteries to hold electric power. The batteries must be plugged in to charge overnight, which works on a traditional power socket. As the car drives forward throughout the day, the battery will gradually lose power.

In the place of an engine, an electric car has at least one electric motor, which it uses to run the transmission. The motor consists of a tight-wrapped wire coil, which spins around inside a casing of powerful magnets. When the coil receives electricity from the battery, it creates a magnetic field, rotating rapidly inside the magnetic casing.  The quickly spinning coil attaches to an axle, which drives the car’s wheels. Certain high-power electric cars have multiple motors, called hub motors – one for each wheel.

Not all electric cars are built equally. Newly designed and created vehicles like the Chevy Spark EV, the Fiat 500E, and the BMW i3, deliver zero to 60 acceleration in a matter of just a few seconds. Similarly, some electric cars offer fuel cells, which are similar to batteries, except that they don’t run down. Supplied by a tank of hydrogen gas, fuel cells convert the gas into electricity to allow the car to run. Other electric cars have solar panels to aid in charging their batteries as the car moves forward.

While electric cars function differently, they all offer the same benefits, which include not only tax credits and major savings on fuel, but also a much greener option. The savings come at a direct benefit to the environment – a win-win solution for all parties involved.

 

Lifestyle:

Four Must Have Fishing Gadgets and Gear

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Whether you’re a weekend warrior fisherman reeling a few out of a nearby pond or stream, or a big time sport angler on a Hawaiian fish charter going for a record Marlin, the gadgets and gear you use can dictate your success. Below are four of the best gadgets you’ll want for your next fishing adventure.

Garmin GPSMAP 741XS–$1299.99

Garmin’s new GPSMAP 741XS combination sounder/chartplotter is sure to become the focal point of your vessel’s helm. The unit boasts super fast refresh times of up to ten times per second, advanced sonar support for a wide range of Garmin transducers, the ability to network with other anglers compatible GPSMAP units, and more. This GPSMAP also has compatibility with Garmin’s CHIRP technology, and if the two are paired together Garmin promises sonar imagery so crystal clear you might just find that new favorite secret fishing spot.

Cabela’s Guidewear Bass Angler Outerwear—Prices Vary

Cabela’s Guidewear collection of fishing outerwear is some of the best weather repellent outerwear money can buy. Almost inevitably, rugged outerwear restricts motion and makes essential tasks more difficult, but you just can’t do without it in the wet and cold. Cabela’s Guidewear Bass Angler Outerwear is an attempt to strike a compromise between comfort and freedom of motion. Made with Gore-Tex, the gold standard in waterproof technology for decades, outside moisture is effectively blocked but the fabric still breathable enough that interior moisture can evaporate away, keeping you warm and dry. The true advantage is in Cabela’s articulated sleeves and knees, which afford the wearer a great deal of flexibility in motion.

Flambeau Ultimate Tough ‘Tainer–$12-$17

“A container on a top gear list?” you might ask. Yes, but only because the Tough ‘Tainer series has proven to be a cut above the rest. Take any of your everyday run of the mill tackle containers, put it through its paces, and you will likely quickly begin to see cracked corners, warped dividers, and broken snaps. Everything about these containers really is tough, from the reinforced corners, and rustproof metal parts, to its completely watertight O-ring seal; this box is the most trustworthy item on the market to store your water sensitive fishing gear.

Nautilus CCFX2 Fly Reel–$200-$315

For the avid fly fisherman, Nautilus reels, in particular those of the CCF line have always been respected for their tough, high quality construction. Any variant of the CCFX2 series is a continuation on that proud tradition. Nautilus claims that this new reel has not only twice the drag strength of the old reel (now boasting up to an amazing 20+ pounds of drag strength), but twice the smoothness and half the startup inertia of the old model as well. Features that include a fully sealed construction, TPX brushings, hybrid ceramic bearings, and an oversized drag knob with “infinadjust” drag settings make this a must have for any fly fisherman searching for an edge.

 

Lifestyle:

4 Must-Have Apps for Real Estate Investors

Whether an individual is a first-time homebuyer, a real estate agent, or a broker, scoping out homes and putting together all the necessary paperwork to complete the purchase is a daunting task that requires a significant investment of time and effort. Thanks to modern apps available on desktops, tablets and smartphones, the amount of time it takes to locate, valuate, determine the best mortgage for, and get all the needed paperwork to close on the home can be substantially reduced. Melanie Haselmayr writing for Forbes suggests taking advantage of some of the best apps available to help with different aspects of real estate investing. Four of these apps stand out as absolute must-haves for anyone hoping to invest in real estate.

Zillow

With the purchase of its largest competitor, Trulia, in 2014, Zillow is now the most comprehensive source of real estate information on the Internet, including maps, details and statistics on properties as well as values over time, MLS numbers, and more. While homeowners can list their homes for free on Zillow, most homeowners work with agents who can maximize Zillow’s benefits, according to Joe Levy of Business2Community. With apps available for desktop and mobile, Zillow is now an indispensable resource for real estate brokers and agents, as well as potential homebuyers interested in professional tools to locate prospects and gather information about properties. The app also includes mortgage calculators and other tools to help estimate closing fees and other costs.

Waze

Having grown from a traffic-tracking app to a social phenomenon, Waze is near-essential for a real estate investor on the go. The app, available for Android and iOS devices, is designed so that traffic stops and other problems can be quickly reported, which then alerts other nearby users so that they can avoid those same traffic errors. For time-strapped real estate professionals moving from location to location or potential homebuyers unfamiliar with the area a property is in, this app is not only a time-saver but an invaluable stress reducer. Rachel Metz of Technology Review noted that Google’s purchase of Waze was likely due not only to its usefulness, but its massive community of over 50 million users (though the fact that Google’s purchase kept the app—and its community of users—out of  rival Apple’s hands was probably also a bonus incentive behind the purchase).

Mortgage Calculators

One of the most bothersome parts of dealing with home purchases has to do with the mortgage. More properly, it has to do with interest rates. Whereas previously, this was mostly handled with a calculator and a phone call to determine what interest rates were against the rates of specific companies, apps that function as mortgage calculators have changed the way that professionals and even first-time investors deal with the math of investment. GuaranteedRate.com has a page for investors and real estate professionals which contains not only mortgage calculators, but comparative interest rate charts.

Cam Scanner

Whether a professional on the go or a first-time buyer, paperwork is one of the more tedious parts of real estate investment. Using a program like Cam Scanner, which converts photos of documents into usable scans, documents can be signed and sent by email from any location, without the need to go to the office or run home. With a scanner app program, listed at #6 on Forbes’ top ten apps, paperwork can be handled up-to-the-minute when required, reducing the chance of missing or lost documentation later.

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5 Tools To Increase Your Lending Potential

Small businesses were hit hard by the recession and they have still not fully recovered. However, there has been a slow and steady climb in the right direction and lending numbers for small businesses are on the rise. ImperialAdvance.com states that with the close of 2014, demand for working capital loans surged and, with the CRA-reporting that lenders have $206 billion worth of loans out to small businesses, the outlook is optimistic. Here is what small businesses can do to improve their lending potential in a still semi-hostile environment.

Be Financially Prepared

One of the most important places to start in the pursuit of a small business loan, according to David Mielach writing for BusinessNewsDaily, is getting one’s personal finances in place. Banks will, as part of their process, take a look at the personal credit history and financial conditions of the parties applying for the small business loan. Running a credit check preemptively will help any applicant be prepared and handle any red flag issues that may hurt their chances. Getting credit card debt in check and having any assets appraised, such as a home, are also two things that can be done to make one more attractive to lenders.

Have Financial Documents Prepared

It’s not just having one’s personal finances in place, the business also needs to be completely prepared before beginning the application process. Some of the papers the lenders are sure to want to see include the business plan, existing financial statements, tax returns and bank statements. The business plan should include projections for future sales, profits, cash flow and income that can be compared against the balance sheets and income statements of the preceding years. Any additional research on similar businesses that can be handed in with the documents that prove the viability of the business in the market can also be a big boost.

Consider SBA Loans or Financing

Looking outside of the traditional big banks and into the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs are another way to increase lending potential. According to the SBA, it doesn’t loan money directly, but it does help small businesses get funding at low interest rates and add somewhat more flexibility, as the lending standards are somewhat lower. That being said, applying for this type of loan still requires thorough documentation and is much easier when the applicant has healthy personal finances.

Make the Business Compelling

Making a compelling argument for why the business is relevant can also aid the loan application process. The story needs to be fast, compelling and easy to communicate with lenders. Being able to come up the business and define the mission/vision in a few sentences, like pitching a movie, is key. This should include how and why the business will grow, what makes it stand out against the competition, and ultimately why a small business loan is necessary and why the lender should jump on board. After all if the applicant doesn’t know why they deserve a loan, why should the lender give them one?

Have an Attractive Internet Presence

The Internet plays a huge role in business these days and having an active and attractive presence is a good way to appeal to lenders. Having an established and well built website with an active blog and social media pages can be ways to demonstrate consumer appeal and engagement. There are all manners of business promotional tools available, from video interviews to analytic services, and they can help prove to lenders that a business is worthy of a loan.

Lifestyle:

3 “Comforts” Techies Need

When you’re hunkered over a computer all day coding, building websites or otherwise being geeky, it’s easy to get in the zone and “just deal” with an aching back or subpar diet. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle can only be sustained for so long. The digital era is impacting everyone, but techies are especially at risk of putting their health on the line in the name of their work. Luckily, there are a few easy accoutrements from pillows to wrist rests that can keep geeks geeking out happily for even longer.

Whether you’re a geek yourself or you want to surprise one in your life with a little comfort, check out these options for those who are sedate for long hauls. It’s a lot easier to improve posture, alignment, and health than you think:

1. Lumbar support pillow

The best ergonomic chairs can be incredibly expensive, but a great lumbar support pillow isn’t and is a fantastic back support for those who are in chairs all day. You can see a breakdown of the types of lumbar support at Spine Health and get a refresher course on why it matters. Remember: You only have one back, and when it’s not healthy it can impact pain in every other part of the body. Lack of lumbar support is one of the most common complaints chiropractors hear.

2. Sun lamps

Geeks are known for the pasty complexion, and it can be tough to get outside when there’s a big project looming. However, all that unnatural light is stressful on the eyes and can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has guidelines on sunlamps, and reiterates the importance of wearing SPF when they’re in use (UV rays are still the leading cause of skin cancer). However, when coupled with SPF, sun lamps can be a great way to energize geeks and give them that all-important D.

3. Wrist rests or an ergo-keyboard

Today, new carpal tunnel diagnoses are often due to poor typing conditions. A number of people spend hours clicking away each day and even more hovered over their tiny smartphone screens. Without proper wrist alignment, this can lead to pain in the arms that extends throughout the body. Ultimately, carpal tunnel can even set in.

Being comfortable and taking regular breaks when working on a computer is critical. There’s no reason luxury and geekdom can’t go hand in hand.

Lifestyle:

10 Best Construction Apps

Smartphone and mobile device apps are playing a huge part in a number of major industries, including the construction industry. There are now several apps that make projects simpler, faster, and more convenient for contractors, architects, and engineers working in all different types of construction to build with the high-quality construction products. Here are some of the best apps currently on the market.

1. BIMx

Compatible both with Android and Apple devices, BIMx is a free, interactive 3-D tool that is used mainly for the communication and presentation of architectural designs with hyper models. The handiest feature of this app is the ability to work in 2D and 3D simultaneously.

2. Home Builder Pro Calcs

Designed by Double Dog Studios, this app facilitates quick and easy calculations for several different types of building projects. This app can be picked up for less than $5 for both Apple and Android devices. The multiple calculators and unit conversions makes cost and time estimates simple.

3. Snapseed

This app is a little unusual, in that it isn’t a construction app at all: it’s a photo editing app. Many construction professionals find that sharing images is the most powerful way to communicate ideas. Snapseed has been the mobile app of choice for photographers for years; its features like selective focus, filters, vintage effects, and even tilt-shift make this a powerful tool. Both Android and Apple users can take advantage of this excellent app for manipulating and sharing images and can even share them quickly on Twitter or Facebook.

4. PlanGrid

After trying PlanGrid out for free, contractors and architects are sure to be pleased with the app’s collaboration tools that allow teams to automatically sync work in real time. It makes tracking of projects simple from any location, and according to Joe Yovino at the Daily Reporter it has already been part of high profile projects like the $750 million construction of the Sutter Medical Center in California.

5. Architect’s Formulator

This app is the ultimate tool for architects, featuring over 500 formulas that span electrical, carpentry, plumbing, concrete and excavation formulas. Architects can find out all they need to know about supplies required to complete nearly any task from building a wall to sidewalk design. It can be downloaded directly from the Apple Store.

6. Construction Master Pro

Perfect for use on Android smartphones and iPads, this app offers an advanced, award-winning calculator for completing layouts, plans, bids, and estimates. It has the ability to convert between different units and includes features for areas, volumes, square-ups, arcs, circumference, and much more that helps saves time and money on projects.

7. Green Pro

Leading the construction apps in the environmentally friendly category is Green Pro, a tool that helps architects, engineers, owners, and contractors check the green requirements of USGBC LEED guidelines for New Construction and Major Renovations.

8. Aconex Mobile
Available for both Apple and Android devices, Aconex allows contractors to access and capture essential project information on-site. This includes features for videos, images, project documents, and storing records. The multiple useful features have kept Aconex Mobile on construction “best of” lists consistently.

9. SmartBidNet

SmartBidNet is built around the concept of keeping vendors and subcontractors connected, allowing them to track financial data of bids and measure statistical information on related projects. It is available at the Google Play and iTunes stores.

10. Home Inspection

For completing a project, LPM Enterprises Inc. offers this app to provide users the ability to go through a project room-by-room and visually inspect its progress. The app can even help identify any visible flaws or defects before closing the deal on real estate, such as a charming deck with no railings, which according to home safety experts presents a safety risk. It is available on Apple devices.

 

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