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3 Tech Companies that Changed the World Before Going Bankrupt

Tech

The tech environment that has been growing around us for a few decades isn’t fair. It often rewards the innovators more than the creators and those who put in the effort to launch a new product or start a new segment are often left in the cold. Such is the case with the three tech companies below who changed the world forever despite not being with us at this time thanks to financial challenges.

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Lifestyle:

10 Technologies That Make Your Car Last Longer

Cars are second in expense only to homes. Unfortunately, most don’t last as long as they could. Car owners can stretch their investments, lower their expenses and make those purchases pay off by maximizing the life of their cars. There are a number of ways consumers can get more performance and reliability out of their autos. Utilizing these ten technologies will help:

1. Interactive Calendars

The first thing people should do when bringing home a new (or new-to-them) car is read the owner’s manual. Figure out the recommended maintenance schedule and mark it in the phone or computer calendar. Setting up automatic reminders to prevent regular work from going ignored will go a long way in preserving a car’s more and less expensive parts.

2. LED Pressure-Sensitive Tire Caps

Customers who keep enough pressure in their tires will reduce wear and tear on their entire vehicles. These inexpensive tire caps twist on as normal, but begin to light up when pressure is low.

3. Portable Tire Pump

Drivers can’t always rely on gas stations or tire shops to have quality air pumps available. Smart consumers invest in small, portable pumps they can plug into their dash.

4. Groupon and Similar Services

It’s easy to put off those big jobs, like a transmission or radiator flush. Customers who keep an eye on sites like Groupon can make sure to get great deals on necessary maintenance that otherwise might be forgotten.

5. Automatic Car Washes

Keeping a car’s exterior clean between detailings is important to keep scratches and rust at bay. Using high-quality products during periodic in-depth treatments, like cenano car polish, will prevent major damage.

6. High-pressured Canned Air

Keeping a car’s interior clean is of utmost importance when keeping features like air conditioning and defrost working well. Drivers should spray out small, dusty places on a regular basis to prevent build-up.

6. High-powered Vacuum

Interior dirt can lead to exterior damage, as well as advanced wear and tear on upholstery and glass. Responsible car owners can extend the life of their interiors with regular use of a high-powered car vac.

7. Driver Tracking System

Starting with the fuel efficiency craze a few years ago, companies began making devices drivers could plug into their cars to monitor things like driving habits. The right monitor can help thoughtful consumers fine-tune their skills to maximize fuel usage and keep their cars safe.

8. Heated Windshield Scrapers

Scratches on glass can immediately dull even the newest car’s windshield. Drivers using heated scrapers can plug them into their cars and let electricity do the brunt of the work while preserving their cars’ good lucks.

9. Online Car Insurance Estimators

Having the right car insurance can mean the difference between affording repairs or going without. Customers can save big by estimating their costs with an online insurance search engine so they always have the coverage they deserve.

10. Yelp!

Having the right mechanic and body shop on speed dial makes an incredible difference in the life of a car. Owners can read announcements and reviews of local service providers on search engines like Yelp! and Angie’s List.

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last update: July 31, 2014

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10 Tips That Will Help Your Business Go Digital

As ecommerce continues to grow at a faster rate than offline commerce, sometimes this is occurring at the direct expense of brick-and-mortar locations, with customers going to a store to examine a product, smartphone in hand, then ordering the product online.  As enterprises such as news media or any business whose prospects depend on the ability to interact in a timely manner with customers realize the importance of online business, at some point they make the critical decision that they need to put their business online.  Once this decision is made, here are ten tips on how to carry it out:

  1. Identify the target audience.  If you are seeking to reach a young and mobile demographic, there is a good chance the web is the place to do that.
  2. Consider the competition.  If your competitor is online, there is a good chance you should also be online, but this does not necessarily mean you should copy the format of your competitor.  Changes in the technology may even enable you to leapfrog the competition.
  3. Strategic partnerships.  Some businesses related to yours may offer an opportunity to link your service to theirs and expand the audience you can reach.
  4. Social networking.  Many alternatives are available for using social networking sites to keep in touch with customers and inform them of sales and new products.  Many businesses are using Facebook for this, but you should think carefully about which services are best for your specific business.
  5. Website creation.  More alternatives are available than ever before to enable you to get on line quickly, effectively, and relatively inexpensively, but this can be a crucial choice, and a sloppy presentation or poor execution of the technology can cause you to miss opportunities or even set you back.
  6. Downtime and other out(r)ages.  The more successful your online business becomes, the more customers come to depend on it, the less you can afford untimely downtime.  It is important to provide for needed maintenance and to do this at a time that will cause the least possible disruption of your business.
  7. Mobile payment.  Increasingly, smartphones are being used to enable quick and efficient payment processing.  This calls for a thorough evaluation of which service will best meet your needs, and again, poor execution can actually damage your business.
  8. Security.  Another potential pitfall to take into account is the potential for a data security leak that could cause customers to lose confidence in their ability to do business with you.
  9. Supply chain management.  Just as an online presence enables you to reach customers more effectively, if your business involves inventory, it enables you to manage your inventory and monitor the flow of goods in real time.
  10. Consultation.  The significance of all of these issues to the survival of your business places a premium on expert advice on best practices when it comes to your online business, so you will want to make sure to have a computer network consultant close at hand.

Gadgets:

The Star Wars R2-D2 Novelty Phone Is the Coolest Landline You Will Ever Own

Star Wars R2-D2 Novelty PhoneWe all know and love the resourceful astromech droid, R2-D2, who appeared in all six of the Star Wars films. As shown throughout the movies, this loveable robot character possesses many talents, such as being a starships mechanic and fighter pilot’s assistant. He has served Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker; and now, R2-D2 can serve you by becoming the coolest home telephone you will ever own.

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Lifestyle:

8 Ways Businesses Can Avoid Being Sued

It’s the worst fear of every business owner – being sued. And given that we live in a “sue-happy” America, it’s not an un-based fear. Being sued is the newest “get-rich-quick” scheme, and it is businesses that pay the price. Of course, sometimes the businesses actually are at fault, and the claim isn’t unreasonable. However, here are some tips for businesses on how to avoid being the target of a lawsuit.

  1. Document, document, document

It’s very important for businesses to keep everything in writing – from contracts to employment agreements to memorandums of understanding. That way, if there is a dispute, there are accurate records of what was promised.

  1. Intellectual Property

When I was in school, some professors wouldn’t distribute their Powerpoint slides because they claimed it was their “intellectual property” and they didn’t want to just hand it out. It’s important not to violate intellectual property laws when it comes to logos, trademarks, and using copyrighted material. Intellectual property laws also include using intangible creations like art and music. If using materials like these, it’s important to make sure to have the correct permissions.

  1. Employee Handbook

Getting a technical writer to draft up an employee handbook can save companies from employees who might like to sue. If every employee is given the handbook, the understanding is that the employees have knowledge of rules and regulations, and consequences for not adhering to the handbook. It’s important to update the handbook on a regular basis as well – especially with technology boom, companies have to draft policies to deal with new issues (for example, should employees be able to smoke electronic cigarettes in the office?)

  1. Routine maintenance

If the business has a property, keeping all public areas well maintained and as safe as possible can go a long way to preventing a lawsuit. This includes areas like walkways, bathrooms, stairs, and elevators.  Even with these precautions, however, accidents can still happen, so it’s important for businesses to have proper liability insurance (http://www.generalliabilityinsurance.org for more information on insurance).

  1.  Death and Taxes

The only two sure things in life, right? Well, if a business wants to not “die”, it needs to make sure it’s on top of paying taxes. Taxes are complicated, messy things, so having a tax attorney on staff (if the business is large enough) or hiring one temporarily at tax time can save hassle and lawsuits.

  1.  Don’t tick off the locals…

And make sure to abide by all ordinance and coding requirements. Not being compliant can lead to tickets, fines, and even being shut down. This applies to the physical building, as well as any equipment or tools that clients or employees have access to.

  1. Permits

This is along the same lines as ordinances and codes, but for things like liquor licenses and any sort of professional licenses. It’s also important to make sure employees have correct licenses, especially in areas where their job description includes serving alcohol (it is common practice to have to take a class to obtain the permit).

  1. Communicate

Lawsuits can be a lot of trouble for everyone involved, and in many instances, communicating with the person who wants to sue the business can go a long way. Clearing up misunderstandings can often keep businesses out of court. However, this won’t always work, but it’s not a bad idea to try.

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Lifestyle:

How Technology Is Helping You Fall Asleep Faster

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep.  Colloquially, tonight’s sleep is the foundation of our energy level tomorrow.  Psychologically, we deplete our dopamine levels during the day, and our bodies only produce dopamine during REM sleep.  And in terms of our health, getting a good night’s sleep limits our dependency on stimulants to stay awake during the day.  (Yes, there are health benefits to coffee, but more than a couple cups a day can be damaging.)

One of the keys to getting a good night’s sleep is how efficiently we fall asleep.  Most of us who are cognizant of the need for 8 hours of sleep enough plan bedtime around the time we need to wake up in the morning.  If I have to get up at 5, for example, then I know I need to be in bed by 9.

But that only works if I actually fall asleep at my bedtime.  If I lie awake for two hours, tossing and turning to try to get comfortable, then when 5 AM rolls around I won’t have gotten 8 hours of sleep.  If I wake up during the night and it takes me an hour to fall back to sleep again, same story.

How comfortable we are when we lie in our beds has a profound effect on how quickly we fall asleep.   Our level of comfort is tied to our sleep posture, which is every bit as important as our posture when sitting in a chair or standing for long periods.  Good sleep posture equals comfortable sleep.  Bad sleep posture equals discomfort.

As the effect of sleep deficiency and deprivation have become better known over the past couple of decades, so has our knowledge of what facilitates good sleep.  That knowledge has helped technologies like memory foam to proliferate, greatly improving sleep posture for millions of people.

Technologies that allow the body to find it’s ideal sleep posture and that conform to that posture enable us to become comfortable more quickly.  Comfort brings sleep on more quickly, contributes to more sustained sleep, and allows us to fall back to sleep faster when we wake up in the night.

Importantly, not all memory foam is the same.  Quality memory foam suppliers like Nature’s Sleep (NaturesSleep.com) might cost a little more, but off-brand, discount memory foam mattresses are likely to be made in part with regular foam.  Those mattresses tend to be too soft, putting strain on the body during sleep and actually creating poor sleep posture.

For many customers, having the technology that helps them to fall asleep more quickly also provides a peripheral benefit.  They can enjoy their lives right up to their bedtime, knowing that they will get a good night’s sleep without having to buffer their sleep schedule with extra “falling asleep” time.

Gadgets:

Pump Up the Volume with These Pumps

Gimme Tunes Shoe Speakers“Turn up the music”, “pump up the jam”, or “play some rocking beats”, are just some of the many phrases we use to express our love for great tunes. Let’s face it; our favorite songs just don’t sound the same unless the volume is turned all the way up causing us to sing at the top of our lungs. Many of us love to blast our stereos and CD players, but like most dated music devices, they have big clunky speakers that are hard on the eyes; and although most gadgets today are small giving us the convenience we love, it makes it much more difficult for us to “pump up the volume.”

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Clean:

How To Get Recruited After College

After the last final is completed and the last assignment is turned in, it’s tempting to think that the hard work is over. No more deadlines, expectations, projects or long nights. The reality is, of course, quite different. The honeymoon period of being done with college doesn’t last long, and the new graduate must turn his or her thoughts to putting their hard-earned degree to use. If only there was a simple way of knowing how to do it. Here are some ideas on how to get recruited after college.

Stand Up And Be Counted

The only problem with graduating and looking for a job is that there will be thousands of people trying to do the same thing you are, at the same time. That’s why it’s critically important to get noticed. Sign up and/or volunteer for events, activities and competitions where recruiters will be. Given how prospective employers can – and will – scour the Internet for information on the people they want to hire, seeing something positive, like a proactive interest in their field, will go a long way in separating a serious candidate from someone who doesn’t really care.

Stand Out And Be Counted

Because employers and recruiters keep one eye on the Internet to assess their potential employees, it’s vital for the aspiring graduate to maintain a smart online presence. This doesn’t just mean keeping embarrassing and personal details hidden, although that’s fundamentally important as well. It means a LinkedIn profile, an account with Monster.com or Jobs.com, a presentable Facebook profile, even a well-maintained blog – anything that will look good to a recruiter, and say that you are able and willing to stand out from a very large crowd of other people looking at the same job.

Be First In Line

With thousands of other people applying for jobs all at the same time, timing is everything. An early job offer can make a very favorable impression with an employer, especially when many more are on the way from people who assume that they’re ahead of the game themselves.

Teachers Beyond the Classrooms

After graduating, professors are more than just memories from days gone by: they are vital resources to help you get moving in the professional world. Writing letters of recommendation is the easy part (assuming you’ve done enough to earn them). The advice that professors can give, on the other hand, is invaluable. Remember: your professors were once like you, just out of school (maybe a PETAP-approved one) fresh degree in hand, and wondering how and where they were going to start their real lives. They’ll have some idea of the problems and challenges you’ll face as you make the transition from the classroom to the office, and having spent the last few years teaching you, they’ll help you leverage your strengths and weaknesses to get ahead.

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