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Mobile:

5 Industries That Need Mobile Readiness

Now that there are more people in developed countries using mobile devices compared to PC’s, some industries are scrambling for mobile readiness. It’s no longer and option, and thankfully some industries are prioritizing getting mobile in order to best serve their clients and customers. If you’re a business owner, you need to incorporate mobile into your overall responsive design plan immediately.

The good news is that, as a consumer, the experts you depend on might already be a step ahead of you. Whether you’re working with a Munich law firm or a lash technician who comes to you, check out some of the professionals who are on top of mobile readiness. They’ll make your life a lot easier.

1. Financial institutions

Most of the major ones have an app, and all are committed to making your mobile browsing experience a positive one. Security is key, of course, for financial institutions which means they feature the best protection. Thankfully you don’t have to wait for banks to catch up with a mobile ready world.

2. Lawyers

A great lawyer is at his client’s beck and call any time of day or night. This means making it easy to reach them (sometimes a phone call just isn’t possible). Easy to navigate sites that make connecting electronically fast and easy is a must. When time is of the essence, mobile readiness needs to be in check.

3. Restaurants

Owning a restaurant is a huge investment and risk, plus you have plenty of competition. People are searching for great food as cravings strike, and if a restaurant’s website isn’t mobile ready, customers will move on to the competition. A menu, contact information and hours that’s accessible is a requirement.

4. The hospitality industry

As more people are using smartphones to plan vacations, this means they’ll likely make a hotel choice based on convenience. Yes, star ratings and reviews are still important, but so is the ability to simply peruse room options and make a reservation on the go.

5. Service providers

Whether it’s a plumber, a masseur, a salon or an appliance inspector, don’t forget about the customer in customer service. Service providers also face a lot of competition, and many of them are freelancers or small business owners. Knowing your clients are using mobile devices to find and reach you means you need to deliver.

The reality is that every industry needs mobile readiness. However, some are facing more pressure than others.

 

4 Benefits of Going Into the Cloud

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Cloud technology can make your personal and professional life easier, better and more cost effective. Why haven’t more people fully embraced the cloud? There are still businesses using old school hard copies and filing cabinets, homeowners with paper documents spilling out of home offices, and a bunch of Americans who have embraced mobile readiness but are still wary of cloud tech. There are a lot of misconceptions that need to be addressed.

For every savvy business that’s gone paperless, there are countless more behind the times. Cloud technology is much more secure and safer than any traditional method the average businessperson or homeowner could achieve on their own. It’s not perfect, but neither is your old school filing system that’s vulnerable to natural disasters, burglars and fires. Here are the major benefits of cloud tech and why you should get on board today.

1. It’s eco-friendly

What’s eco-friendly about having multiple hard copies, tossing used ink cartridges instead of properly recycling them (which is admittedly a pain), or taking up a bunch of space and resources just to have papers sit and collect dust? Cloud tech is green.

2. It saves you money

It costs money to maintain a printer, buy paper and ink, pay the bills that keep the whole system running, and you’re paying for every square footage of space that filing cabinets are sitting on. How much you can save depends on how much you’re currently spending on printing costs.

3. It allows for flexibility

Why be chained to a physical location? With cloud tech, you and your employees can take care of 99 percent of business from anywhere in the world. You can control who has access to what files, what they can do with them (share, edit, just view, download, etc.) and suddenly a virtual environment is born. Offering telecommuting options is also known to improve employee happiness and productivity, as well as reel in the best new candidates.

4. It’s what peers and customers will come to expect

What happens when that big new client simply wants you to share, via the cloud, a contract? You’re going to look unprofessional when you have to say “you don’t do that.” Cloud tech is the future, and it’s happening now. Not getting on board will highlight ineptness.

There are many free cloud tech options that work well for the average person and small business. What’s your excuse?

 

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last update: December 20, 2014

Lifestyle:

Buying and Selling Real Estate Just Got Easier

Technology has changed the way the world does business and the real estate industry is no exception. It is intricately involved in the way people look for homes or commercial property as well as the way people sell their property. Real estate agents also reap the benefits of the impact of technology on the real estate business.

The Buyer and the Seller

Many property listings are done online. Home listing companies have sites where potential buyers can search for the house of their dreams in the location they want. They get access to thousands of homes in the market within a few minutes. For example, a Realtor in Oregon can get information about a home for sale in Texas in a few minutes. In the past, it would have taken several days to get the information, and the information would not have been as thorough as it is online. Because the buyer will get his or her first impression of a home online, it is essential that the website be attractive, up-to-date and provides complete data about the property. When people can get so much information online, there is less chance that agents will put undue pressure on buyers and possibly force them into buying property that they don’t really want.

Most buyers will look online before they make the decision to visit a house in person. Technology benefits sellers in the same way. Their property has a much wider viewership. Salespeople no longer need to put in long hours taking potential buyers to house after house. This reduces labor costs.

The Real Estate Agent

Real estate digital signage has had a huge impact on the real estate business. It allows legal contracts and other documents to be signed without the parties being physically together. Digital signage means more images, videos and less text. Printing costs are greatly reduced, which, in turn, reduces operating costs. This will eventually cancel out the cost of investing in digital signage technology. Buyers will see high resolution photos and high definition videos and may be able to have a virtual tour of the building.

Agents need to figure out the costs involved in buying and selling real estate. Buyers want to know that the final costs will be and sellers want to know what their property is worth. Today, online mortgage calculators give this information quickly. This is a great advantage, because the buyer may change his or her mind by the time they get the information, if getting the numbers takes days.

Technology has made the real estate industry more efficient and able to organize and handle large amounts of data. In the past, the agent had the multiple listing book and the consumer didn’t get a look at it. Today, it’s the opposite. The consumer has unlimited access to the whole market. In the end, this benefits both the agents and the buyers and sellers. Agents need to retrain themselves to take advantage of this. It gives more privacy to the consumer and they are more in control of the whole process.

Gadgets:

Gadgets for the DIYer

Advancements in technology are not merely restricted to the world of electronics. Some of the latest gadgets on the market are tools and products that function as upgrades for home, work or play. Complete chores or DIY projects in less time, keep a work site neater, or enjoy the outdoors without fear of wildlife destroying food supplies.

CORE Power Motors

Printed Circuit Boards have helped power electronic devices for decades. However, the CORE company recently converted the conventional brain technology into the power source for a series of motors. The environmentally-friendly motor contains a multi-layered, circular PCB between two circular magnets. The electricity that powers the device comes from a lithium polymer battery and 10 layers of copper. The 1.5 hp device is only one component of the Power Lok yard-tool series. The system also features an interchangeable blower head, a hedge-trimmer and a string-trimmer. Using the same technology, the company has also designed motors offering up to 4,000 hp of power.

Black & Decker Matrix

Most home improvement projects require a drill, a sander and a saw. The famous tool company engineers manufactured the Matrix that provides DIYers with the convenience of one power source and multiple interchangeable tool heads. Choose from equipping your workspace with any or all six tool options that include a drill, impact driver, jigsaw and oscillating device. The unit comes with a powerful 20-volt lithium-ion battery that operates each tool at variable speeds with a simple pull of the trigger.

Tidy Drills

When needing a drill to create holes in brick or concrete, rotary hammer/drills provide the power needed. Now, some brands come with handy snap-on HEPA vacuums that trap the dust and make clean-up a breeze. Harmful dust travels through the nozzle and aluminum tubing into a well-designed canister. Some of the drills on the market featuring the innovative attachment include the Makita LXRH011, the Milwaukee M12 HammerVac 2306-22 and the DeWalt DC233KLDH. The cordless drills are powered by battery-packs ranging from 12 to 36 volts.

Sturdiest Coolers

Camping and hunting enthusiasts who spend a great deal of time in bear country may be interested in the latest innovation in coolers that are guaranteed to be animal proof. Popular mechanics technicians put a number of containers through a variety of tests, including subjecting the devices to the wiles of a 450 pound grizzly bear named Ondar. Of the different brands tested, the Pelican Progear surpassed the others in a number of categories. When filled with ice, the cooler achieved 38 degrees Fahrenheit in less than five hours.

The unit stood up to the test and showed little sign of wear after being dropped in a 40-foot water-filled ravine. The true test of durability came when filled with ice cream sandwiches, marshmallows and spilled maple syrup. The trainer cued the bear to offer his opinion. Equipped with specially designed press-and-pull latches, Ondar walked away defeated in less than 15 minutes and was not able to claim a tasty reward. The cooler also did not appear worse for the experience.

Science:

5 Ways to Reduce Headaches Triggered by Digital Screens

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Sometimes our technology can do more harm than good. Those who suffer from chronic migraines can sometimes suffer when a headache is triggered by the bright lights of computer, TV, or mobile device screens. But since we must regularly interact with these technologies in our personal and professional lives, it can seem impossible to escape screen-time. Here are four steps you can take to alleviate tech-induced migraines.

Dim Brightness

A majority of devices now come with brightness adjusters so that you can dim the glow let off by a digital screen. Sometimes harsh lights can trigger painful headaches. Learn how to customize the brightness controls on all of your devices, so that you can control these settings with ease.

Invert Colors

This unique setting allows you invert the colors displayed on your computer or mobile device screens. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re reading long documents with black text on white backgrounds. Inverting the colors allows you to read white text on black backgrounds instead, which might reduce the amount of strain on your eyes. The invert colors option can usually be found in the accessibility settings of various operating systems.

Antiglare

Sometimes lights in your vicinity can reflect off of your computer monitor. These painfully bright lights might trigger eye strain or headaches. Invest in an antiglare screen cover to avoid these hassles. Antiglare products and also reduce the amount of glare you experience while using a laptop outdoors.

Don’t Use Screens while in Motion

Many people can develop a headache due to motion sickness, especially if they use mobile devices while riding in a vehicle. Using your cellphone in a bus or in the passenger seat of a car might seem like a tempting way to pass the time during a long commute. However, your eyes can become strained while trying to focus on text during a ride.

Naturopathic Medicine

Headaches can often be relieved by natural treatments. Processes such as biopuncture can help reduce the amount of tension in your body. As your muscle release and relax, you can experience a reduction in headaches.

Tension headaches and migraines caused by technology use can become debilitating, preventing you from finding comfort at home or at the office. Headaches can be caused by straining your neck or eyes while using technology. Treat these issues by calibrating the settings on your screen and experiment with all-natural care.

 

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Lifestyle:

Don’t Be Misled About Proper Tire Inflation

At the turn of the 21st century, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of nearly 12,000 vehicles to check the status of their tire inflation. The study revealed that almost 40 percent of the vehicles tested had at least one if not more of their tires underinflated by as much as 20 percent.

Furthermore, nearly 30 percent of the tested vehicles were operating with tires under-inflated by 25 percent or more. But the figure showing on the tire only reflects the maximum pressure the tire should reach, not the recommended pressure to which it should be inflated.

Busting the myth of recommended tire pressure

Why is this an issue? It all stems from the Firestone recall of 6.5 million tires after a series of accidents occurred as the result of poor tire construction. The “smoking gun” to blame for the tire failure leading to the rash of accidents was low tire pressure.

According to Best Tire Review, the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall shouldn’t be the actual pressure in the tire.

The effects of friction on tire pressure dynamics

As you drive your car, the movement of the tire on the road creates friction. Friction generates heat. Heat causes the tire pressure to increase.

If the interior tire pressure is filled to its maximum before this reaction occurs, it’s easy to see the potential for a tire to exceed its recommended maximum pressure. This makes for an unyielding ride, where the bumps in the road are more jarring on passengers and the vehicle suspension.

It reduces the footprint of contact on the road that causes uneven wear toward the center of the tire. Don’t let the sensation of steering response and cornering stability give you the false impression that overinflation is safer. Your tires will be more susceptible to puncture or blow-out while you’re driving.

The hidden dangers of under-inflated tires

There really is a bit of the Goldilocks scenario about determining the correct tire pressure. If they have too much pressure, they don’t grip; too low, and they can fail.

Low pressure absorbs more of the impact on the road. This can create improper flexing of the side wall and reduce roll resistance, not to mention the excess wear and tear on suspension. The effect can be overheating of the tire, which can lead to tire separation or blow-out.

Tire pressure monitoring

Vehicles that are 2008 models or newer will have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in. This is the result of the TREAD Act enacted by Congress in 2000 as a result of the failures.

The system performs by sensing the tire pressure either directly or indirectly, which means the warning light on the dashboard either indicates the actual pressure or simply reports a potential underinflation of any one of the four operating tires.

As helpful as this system may be, it can still lull drivers into a false sense of security, and encourage them to fail to check the pressure in a timely fashion. Nothing beats having a reliable tire pressure gauge that may be used to check on the true tire pressure reading while the vehicle is cool.

This is when it should be at the recommended pressure, which is typically found on the inside of the driver’s door, glove box, or owner’s manual.

Mobile:

Why SMS Technology is Such a Powerful Marketing Tool

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Many businesses are using SMS technology to market their products and services to pools of potential customers who rely on their mobile phones to send and receive information. SMS marketing is widely used by companies today because it enables them to reach consumers with time-sensitive offers that are specific to their locale.

The function of SMS

SMS marketing is a form of direct promotion that enables a firm to advertise its products and services through the use of text messages. This approach is permission-based, which means that subscribers first have to agree to receive text messages from trusted businesses.

In this method of marketing, advertisers use 160 characters to convey messages relevant to their audience’s locations and needs. According to Wavebroadband.com, SMS technology has become the preferred means of communication not just among teenagers, but also among businesses.

Sophisticated phone technology has made it possible for businesses to send messages to their clients and receive instant feedback. Increased adoption of SMS technology in marketing has empowered service providers to come up with better business solutions.

The main function of SMS technology is to send and receive messages through cellular phones. Here are six reasons you might want to use SMS technology in your marketing efforts.

1. You can send one message to many people

Text message marketing offers your marketing team an opportunity to send single messages to all your customers or market segments at once. This is more convenient than having to make multiple calls to target customers. Text message marketing creates a convenient, one-touch approach to disseminating information to customers.

2. Permission-based marketing

Text message marketing is permission-based marketing. This means you can’t send messages to customers who refuse to be in your text message marketing database.

Customers who give their permission to be added to companies’ text message marketing databases act as the initial leads for sales and services because they have already shown interest in the firm.

3. It’s a personal form of communication

Most people are used to sending and receiving messages from their friends, families, and colleagues. Alongside older tools of communication such as email, letters, and phone calls, text messaging has evolved into a more personal means of sending messages back and forth.

Potential customers who decide to subscribe to your firm’s text message marketing will enhance their relationship with your business.

4. Local marketing

Text message marketing helps businesspeople to connect with communities. It offers businesses a platform to network with local customers and inform them of special events, provide local community news, and launch sales.

5. It uses fewer resources

Unlike email and direct mailing that entail complete marketing messages, text messaging consists of short reminders and quick notes. Text message marketing helps your company save resources since it spends less time and money crafting the content.

6. Can deliver time-sensitive information

Most people carry their mobile phones wherever they go. This means that a company can send a message at 8 a.m. about a lunch sale that starts in just a few hours to its loyal customers and they will receive the message instantly.

Companies can also send instant messages to their customers to update them about reservations, sold-out items, and new stock.

Clean:

Keep Your Home Cosy with Strategic Heating and Cooling

Every homeowner struggles to find the best ways to heat and cool a home without a incurring a high price tag. Running a standard central furnace and air conditioning system on a constant basis costs significant money while contributing to noise levels and pollution.

Alternative heating and cooling strategies are possible for any home, based on your resources and willingness to put in the effort.

Plant some trees

If you have the yard space, add deciduous trees on the south side of your home. When they lose their leaves in the fall and winter, low-lying sunlight can pour into the structure and warm it naturally.

Come spring and summer, dense foliage develops to block the sunlight and create a cool space across the property. You may even want to consider trees along the east or west side to control the sunrise and sunset sunlight that hits your home.

Ceiling fan science

Ceiling fans used to be absolutely necessary features in homes well before air conditioning became commonplace. But this simple cooling mechanism still works in homes today and will save you money.

Fans create a wind chill within the room, encouraging your skin to wick any moisture from the surface and cooling you. Activate the blades to spin counterclockwise, which pushes air directly down onto you.

Employ the clockwise rotation in the winter to pull warm air down from the ceiling as you heat the room slightly with natural air movement.

Outdoor sunshades

Simple removable sunshades and awnings can make a big temperature difference in your home. Install these shades on the west, east, or south side of the home.

Evaluate the hottest part of the day for your home and place the shading item there. You may want several shades for extremely hot days.

Whenever you reduce the amount of sunlight that strikes your home, less heat accumulates indoors. Cooling costs may drop substantially after you install an inexpensive sunshade.

Ductless system option

A home without a duct system cannot use a traditional central air system without significant cost and extra remodeling work. According to Washington Energy Services, ductless systems that use a heat pump are perfectly adapted to work in homes as long as outdoor and indoor components have the appropriate space.

These systems work much like a traditional split system: They use refrigerant to convert hot air into cool air and vice versa. Ductless systems take up little space, which makes them perfect for smaller homes that lack existing ductwork.

Attic care

The attic is often overlooked when it comes to heating and cooling, but this space traps hot and cold air throughout the year. Think about insulating your attic and adding ventilation ducts to control the attic temperature.

Any hot or cold air trapped above the residence contributes to an uncomfortable living space. Insulation regulates the attic temperature, making the rest of the home more comfortable without extra air conditioning or heating costs.

Beautify your home while intelligently increasing its heating and cooling abilities. If you use strategic sunshade locations and shady trees, your home doesn’t have to be expensive to maintain comfortably.

Think logically about the sun’s angle across your home to heat the space in the winter and cool it in summer.

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