Lifestyle:

Choosing the Bus over a Train or Plane

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Bus lines have suffered for many years over misconceptions on the convenience and safety of traveling the highways. The truth is very different from the false perception, especially during the past decade. All bus line companies have done due diligence in reevaluating their customer service, along with upgrading their dependability and enjoyment factors. It is still true that many factors impact an inter-city bus trip. All customers must be considered and stops are scheduled in a way that addresses all traveler needs. But in metropolitan areas, using the bus makes excellent sense when all options are considered. An excellent example is taking a Washington DC to NYC bus trip.

Economics of Choosing Highways over Airways

Flying to a destination can seem to be the most feasible and quickest manner of transporting between cities, but that may not exactly the case. Using a Washington DC to New York City travel plan, it takes just over an hour to get to New York from Washington after takeoff. Depending on the airline and date chosen to take the trip, flight tickets are approximately $175 and upwards to $500 depending on the class. Baggage expense must also be considered in the cost of travel. Traveling by bus is easily a bargain in this choice. In addition, when considering time spent awaiting a flight or unloading at the destination, bus trips to close destinations often take a similar amount of time.

Comparing the Bus and Train

Buses have historically been infamous for delayed arrivals according to the timetable, a rap which flights have also endured. Trains such as Amtrak are usually much closer to accurate because the Federal Railway Administration requires railroad companies to explain in detail exactly why an Amtrak train cannot meet the arrival timetable. Amtrak is a private passenger train company that uses other company rail systems for a fee, so the hosting railway company must comply with the federal regulations for their access charges. Train dispatchers regularly hold freight trains or long periods to allow Amtrak right of way priority. For punctuality, the train would appear to be a better travel choice, but trains still run late and can rarely gain back the lost time. Using DC to New York as an example again, the price of an Amtrak ticket is approximately $100, while a bus ticket is considerably less.

Comfort and Enjoyment

The purpose of the trip can make a big difference. Those who are along for the ride and traveling for entertainment purposes the bus can still be a fun experience. While trains offer more mobility while in transit, such as being able to walk around, many bus line companies have focused directly on improving the entire dynamic of traveling by highway, especially among the newer and smaller bus transportation companies. Many bus transport companies actually sell trip and tour packages with specific destinations along the route. These offerings have become very popular for those looking for a short enjoyable inexpensive vacation trip.

Safety

While air terminals are well documented as overly concerned with safety in the skies, bus lines are no less concerned with potential safety problems. Public bus stations in major cities are also notorious for attracting undesirable types, but many of the newer highway transit companies maintain small independent terminal that allow for greater control over customer safety both on the road and in the terminal. Bus line transportation is clearly on the business incline and are becoming more popular every day.

 

Autos:

Seven Cars to Look Forward to for 2015

2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

As the 2015 model year closes, and the 2015 model year is hotly on it tale, car enthusiasts wait eagerly for the new and improved offerings from all manufacturers.  Questions that usually arise range from what kind of performance cars are going to be offered to what advance in fuel efficiency will be seen?  In addition to these concerns is what will the new body styles show up as, will we see a simple change or drastic improvements over old models?

Just like kids waiting for Christmas morning most car lovers cannot wait to see what comes rolling off the lines in the coming months.  Here is a sneak peak at seven cars that are really something to look forward to.

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last update: August 20, 2014

Lifestyle:

The Trending Reverse Mortgage Alternative

Many retirees have found it difficult or problematic to remain in their homes until death. The popular option has often been to utilize a reverse mortgage equity loan. A reverse mortgage loan allows a homeowner to cash in the equity on their home while eliminating the burden of a house payment. New regulations on maintaining insurance and paying property taxes have changed the process significantly, so fewer homeowners will qualify. However, many seniors are still making the decision to sell the equity in their homes in the event that they are eligible.

Eligibility

Every homeowner isn’t necessarily qualified to enter into a reverse mortgage. There’s an age requirement in order to begin the qualification; all successful applicants must be at least 62 years of age. The homeowner still maintains technical ownership of the home, hence the requirement to demonstrate ability to maintain property insurance and taxes. Single family homes normally qualify for all types of reverse mortgages, but some lenders will accept multiple unit homes such as duplex apartments.

Involving your Children in the Decision

The home will stand as collateral for the equity loan, so it’s important for all senior citizens considering a reverse mortgage to discuss the situation with their children. This decision can have a major impact on settling estates after death which can, in turn, affect any inheritance issues for the next of kin. It may also be necessary to revise a personal will before entering into the loan agreement. Because of the legal ramifications of the loan and the interests of the lender, according to Premierreverse.com, it is also important to discuss the arrangement with an experienced potential reverse mortgage agency. This is a very serious decision, whether it is being made because of necessary health issues or just to alleviate financial budget overload after retirement.

Technology Advancements are Making a Difference

The reverse mortgage option has been used in the past often by retired couples or individuals who have children living in distant locations who are not primarily interested in inheriting a home. Many seniors were opting to move into retirement communities or extended treatment apartment complexes while taking the equity out of the home for financial stability. Increasing contemporary technological advances are now making it possible for those with health and mobility issues to stay in the home with real-time monitoring and communication abilities that were not available in the past. In addition, many urban areas are upgrading public transit and disability accesses that make staying in the home a feasible and appealing option. The continuing of technological advancements will assuredly increase the number of seniors who opt for the reverse mortgage.

The decision to obtain a reverse mortgage home equity loan is a serious undertaking, but many individuals who did not think they qualified before may reconsider this option today. The availability of information online can help in deciding if they qualify beforehand as well as offer the opportunity to consult with multiple reverse mortgage lending specialists.

Autos:

Beyond the Car: Honda Technology On and Off the Road

HondaJet

Honda is a well recognized brand across the world. It is known for its quality cars that retain high residual value. Hondas are known to resell for top dollar in the private and public sectors, but what most do not realize is the reach Honda really has throughout the world. Honda not only builds the best vehicles, they also build other mechanical machines that outrival the competition in all facets of their business.

So we all know about Honda’s alluring vehicle lineup like the luxurious Accord, the sporty Civic, the CR-V, Odyssey, and Pilot, all of which can fit a large brood, the “green” cars that include the CR-Z, Insight, and Fit, and let’s not forget the rugged Ridgeline, but there is so much more to Honda than meets the eye. Did you know that Honda has a full line of powersports, jets, marine, and power equipment?

Continue reading Beyond the Car: Honda Technology On and Off the Road

Lifestyle:

How to Squeeze Certification Into Your Lifestyle

Remember the college years when it was your job to study and do well on tests? Unfortunately those days are long gone and most people didn’t take advantage of that kind of sweet arrangement. Now you might have a full-time job, family responsibilities, vacations already booked and perhaps a pretty solid routine down as an adult. What happens when you realize an additional certification can boost your career?

Whether it’s a Microsoft certification or other industry certification course, it can make a huge difference in your career. It might lead to a promotion, the ability to demand much more money or opportunities otherwise closed off to you. However, some of these certifications are nearly a full-time job in themselves and you don’t have time for it. Or do you?

Time management skills

It’s time to buff up the foundation you set in college and get back into super time management mode. Start by knowing that every single person has time wasted each day and that everyone has the same hours, so you’re not at a disadvantage. Figure out some time at least five days per week that you can carve out for studying. It might mean staying up past everyone else, getting up early or giving up your weekends for awhile. Set your priorities.

There’s no point in pursuing a certification if you’re only going to do it halfway, but you can buckle down and give up some R&R time knowing that it’s temporary. Keeping a tangible calendar that marks down the date to the test can help you stay motivated. Also ensure that everyone in the house is on board to keep you accountable and not disturb you during study time. If you have kids, this is a great way to lead by example.

Tricks of the trade

Ideally, you can create a study space that’s quiet and free from distractions. Know your own best study habits (if possible, night owls should study at night) and keep any digital devices far away so you’re not tempted to check your phone or play Angry Birds on your tablet. With your laptop, keep any tabs and windows besides what’s necessary to study closed so you’re not tempted.

There are different options for certification courses including online, in-class and a mix. You know what environment is best for you, so don’t think that “just this once” you’ll be able to swing online classes if it’s not for you. Give yourself advantages because nobody else will volunteer to do so.

 

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Lifestyle:

Why Your Customers Don’t Like You

Just because you have X amount of customers don’t mean they’re all satisfied; they might leave you if tempted enough. It can be tough in a digital world to give that superior customer service, especially when so many of your customers would much prefer sitting and stewing in silence (or writing bad reviews) rather than communicating their unhappiness directly to you. However, you’re not without some secret sauce of your own.

The best way to ensure customer happiness is to deliver what you promise in a timely and professional manner. You can optimize on this approach with the right delivery software, routine customer service training and re-training, and remembering that the customer should top your priority list. Don’t depend on cold, hard numbers alone to see how you’re doing. Actively engage and ask for feedback, and you shall receive.

Top complaints

Customers can and will complain about a lot of things (though not necessarily directly to you), so listen. Some of the top complaints include too much customer service automation (they want to talk to a real person), hidden charges and companies that seem like they don’t care about clients. There are many ways you can tackle these complaints even if you think you’re doing a pretty solid job. Everyone can always do better.

When it comes to customer service, continuing education and asking for feedback is key. Understanding how your customers want to be treated, the kind of service they prefer and what their dream interaction with you looks like is business gold. You can get this information by having a third party conduct a survey, consider number shifts when trying new practices, and by making sure every employee who deals with customers is well trained.

Taking care of business

Hidden charges can be tricky because, to you, it might not seem like charges are “hidden” at all. People notoriously don’t read the fine print, but is that your fault? If you want to run a successful business, then yes it is. Be as clear, transparent and up front as possible when describing charges and don’t underestimate the intelligence (or temper) of who may seemingly be a mild mannered customer. It’s the quite ones you have to watch out for, and transparency is quite simply a business practice everyone should adopt.

Finally, if customers think you don’t care, that can be one of the toughest perceptions to correct. Start with branding and customer service, getting professional guidance to change your reputation. It’ll take time, but it will be worth it.

Lifestyle:

4 Mobile Apps for Improving Your Family’s Dental Hygiene

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Poor dental habits can lead to long-term health and financial consequences. Are all of your family members brushing twice a day and using fluoride? If not, they might enter their older years without teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about a quarter of adults over the age of 60 no longer have their natural teeth. Poor dental care can lead to cavities and gum disease that affect your ability to eat and socialize. You can avoid some of these risks by improving your family’s dental health. Here are four educational apps that can get your loved ones brushing and flossing!

My Little Dentist

Kids can learn not to fear the dentist by taking on the role of a dentist! This game app allows children to simulate the experience of patient care. Tackle tooth cleaning with a variety of tools and learn about a variety of dental ailments that you can suffer as a result of poor health care. This educational experience allows children to learn about proper dental hygiene and the issues they might encounter if they don’t brush their teeth.

Dental Patient Education

This app was designed by a dentist to create a better anatomy resource for patients concerned about upcoming procedures. 3D animations help viewers understand the various types of diagnostic tools used by dentists, including X-Ray procedures. Additional animations cover 43 different dental conditions along with treatment procedures.

5 Minutes Brushing

This adorable app features a pink bunny character who accompanies users as they complete a brushing session over the span of five minutes. This app can lead to educational family moments, as the bunny character provides instructions on how to apply toothpaste and how to thoroughly clean teeth. Kids can follow allowing with handy diagrams of toothbrush angles and tooth diagrams.

Dental Aid

This is the ultimate dental education glossary, helping patients gain a thorough grasp on upcoming treatments and procedures. This app can take some of the fear and negative emotions during your next appointment. Dental Aid takes the mystery out of dental crowns, orthodontic bands, supported bridge implants, complete dentures, and dozens of other prospective treatments.

Proper dental hygiene starts at home with your family’s daily habits. If your loved ones are unable to leave the house for an appointment, you can even receive mobile dental treatments right at home. Taking preventative action can help improve your family’s dental health for the long term.

Lifestyle:

4 Ways to Document Workplace Harassment Digitally

If you don’t feel safe at your workplace, this can be an extremely stressful situation. If you are the target of unwanted sexual attention, physical abuse, or verbal harassment, it’s vital for you to speak with your superior or human resources department immediately.

While this might feel like a risky move, acting early can prevent the situation from escalating further. If you’re worried about retaliation, speak with your HR department and your corresponding state Department of Labor office.

Below are four ways to pursue a complaint effectively and safely.

1. Employ written correspondence

When you must send internal communications to HR and other staff members, document every exchange via email. If someone displays inappropriate behavior through a written communication, make sure to save this documentation.

When you submit a report of work incidents, obtain a copy of the paperwork for your own records. Having ample documentation of each incident can help your employer, the authorities, and local labor office intervene and stop dangerous or inappropriate workplace activities.

2. Take photos

If you’re in a situation where you can document harassment through photos, then use your smartphone to take a shot or two of the environment or subjects of an incident. This can be useful in the documentation of property damage or injuries sustained at work.

However, you should obviously use a camera only in a situation where it is safe to do so.

3. Make backups

Create backups of all your documentation and incident correspondence. Ideally, you should have more than one backup in separate locations.

That way, if one backup is lost or damaged, you will still be able to access the documents in the alternative backups. HR investigations can last a long time, and this information can come in handy in the future.

Also, you may want to revisit old documentation in case an investigation is reopened, or an incident occurs again.

4. Maintain online calendars

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages employees to report workplace harassment to management teams immediately to mitigate risk. It is vital that you keep records regarding the dates and times of possible harassment incidents during the reporting.

This will give your testimony more credibility, and help your company verify the incidents of harassment. Online cloud calendars that sync between your computer and mobile devices can be an excellent place to keep notes regarding incidents at your workplace.

Experiencing workplace harassment can be emotionally draining, and cause a great deal of anxiety. A business litigation attorney can help you resolve these incidents and give you insight regarding your local, state, and federal rights as an employee.

If you are currently a victim of workplace harassment, start exploring ways to get out of the situation as soon as possible.

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