What Are The Technology Trends For 2014?

What can we expect about technology in the coming years? What are the IT technological trends? We should be informed about what companies are doing, what technologies they are investing in and how they are served by technology.

Some trends are not new, as the so-called Internet of Things and cloud computing, but others are very new, such as 3D printing and Software Defined Networking. All these technologies will impact heavily on IT in 2014. There will be about 30 billion connected devices with unique IP addresses in 2020, most of which will be products.

Four major forces: social, mobile, cloud and information, will continue to drive change, creating new opportunities and generating demand for advanced infrastructure.

Among the trends that will define the way of IT in the coming years first we have the WebRTC (Real Time Communication) technology, which enables real-time collaboration through the web. With this technology, any browser may include video, instant messaging, voice calls without the user having to install any additional components.

Moreover, user services based on context are changing the way people interact with devices, allowing you to store information about users, so that we have accurate information in a timely manner.

The Internet of things, and machine to machine (M2M) communications enable connections between people, processes, data and objects, combining video, mobility, cloud, big data and machine-to-machine communications (M2M). With the Internet of Things devices will be part of the material world, like roads, supermarkets, biomedical devices and even animals and people, through sensors, generating terabytes of data.

Another trend will be video technology in ultra-high definition ( 4k – 8k- 2160p and 4320p ), which form an essential part of smart phones, augmented reality glasses, tablets, and other devices equipped with a camera. Furthermore, analysis technology that allow real-time data process in seconds or minutes could be applied in areas such as Business Intelligence, ranging from financial analysis tools to different segments such as advertising or transportation, and building value data in real time.

Also, changes at interconnection technologies are required. Right now the system is not sufficiently robust to support the expected growth in connected devices. New proposals are being developed to replace the infrastructure based on IP protocol, to technology based on a Named Data Networking ( NDN ), which allow conveying information by using host names rather than addresses.

Another approach is the software defined technologies (SD-X, Software Defined Any), which go beyond virtualization network (SDN and NFV), in order to increase its scalability across physical and virtual resources. It should be noted that networks may also self-managed in terms of configuration, security, optimization and troubleshooting using technology or Autonomous Networks SON (Self -Organizing Networks).

About public, private and hybrid clouds, these will move to dynamic environments and multi-provider clouds. New technologies such Intercloud will enable cloud service providers across multiple environments.

Ultimately the key technology trends for 2014 are Mobile Devices Diversity Management and Applications and Mobile Apps, the All Software Defined technology, intelligent machines, 3D printing, the Internet of things, cloud and hybrid IT as a service corridor.

Regarding the Management of Mobile Devices, the unexpected result of programs “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) is that the size of the mobile workforce in enterprises will double or triple. It is expected that, by 2018, the variety of devices, computing styles, contexts and user interaction paradigms strategies will make “everything everywhere” should be checked. Companies will define policies that fit expectations clearly about what to do and what not, balancing flexibility with the requirements of confidentiality and privacy.

Moreover, given the improvement in the performance of JavaScript, the browser will become the main development environment for enterprise applications. The Apps will continue to grow, while applications begin to be reduced. The Apps are smaller and focused on a particular need, while the application is greater and complete. In the coming years, it is expected that mobile applications and cloud services merge to form the so-called Internet Application or App Internet applications. These apps will use the storage and processing power of computers, smart phones and tablets as well as the scalability of the cloud to allow applications to communicate with other applications and devices. Mobile applications and cloud platforms offer a smaller TCO (total cost of ownership).

Software Defined Software incorporates initiatives like OpenStack, OpenFlow, Open Compute Project and The Open Rack, which share a similar vision. SDN network technologies Providers, SDDC data centers, storage and infrastructure SDS SDI are all trying to maintain their leadership in their respective domains.

About Intelligent Machines, in 2020 the age of the smart machine will increase from smart personal assistants, advisors intelligent, advanced global industrial systems and public availability of the first examples of autonomous vehicles. Companies will invest in intelligent machines. These machines will enhance consumer forces against the first wave of early purchases by businesses.

It was expected that global sales of 3D printers increase 75 percent in 2014; sales will double in 2015. 3D printing is an efficient medium that will reduce costs in the prototypes.

Today, it is not only computers and mobile devices connected to networks. There is a variety of other devices such as cars, TVs. We are entering the digitalization time of the most important services and active ingredients. The Internet of Things will have a vital role in this period.

Referring to cloud computing, hybrid cloud and IT as a service provider represents technologies to work on. Personal and external private clouds are coming together, generating an increase in cloud services brokers (CSBs). It would be important the aggregation management, the integration and customization of services.

About Cloud Architecture, cloud computing models are changing. The demands of mobile users are driving an increase in computing server and storage capacity. Personal cloud will change from devices to services. Users can take advantage of various devices, including PCs, but not based on a specific device.

Finally, it should be noted that Business Intelligence has been ranked as one of the technologies where a major change is required. BI technology will create value in large enterprises; data mining and reporting tools will become more sophisticated. In a tough economy, business intelligence allows managers to justify business decisions with specific numbers.

We concluded that the Internet of Things, 3D printing, technologies associated with managing mobile devices and Cloud Service Brokers are some of the technological bets that eventually explode next year. They will have a high impact and spread to most of the organizations in the next three years.

Early adoption of technologies represents a competitive advantage for companies, so know the trends in the coming years, even though we live in a changing world, will help you make the best decisions and provide the best solutions that can highlight about our competitors.

Investing Your Money Buying Reliable Mobile Phone Accessories

With the kind of economy the world is facing right now, any item purchased must have advantageous factors that can surpass its value of investment. Even if you try to buy brand-new products, this particular issue is an important consideration. For instance, if you decide to get a new sports car or even buy mobile phone accessories for your handset.

Whenever you intend to save some cash to buy something, you must not always focus on the value of the product rather the kind of benefit you get as well. Although, there are folks who will choose not buy products only to save money. This is not the condition however if you really need to invest for it, as it is very functional. When buying handset accessories, it is possible to consider those cheaper brands to save money but make sure to review the actual benefits.

Mobile phone chargers are the most usual items that most handset owners are investing. One good explanation is that majority of the mobile phone batteries have limited life span, thus a reliable charger can somehow guarantee that the battery can survive for a longer period. Sometimes, if the charger is not functioning well it can easily damage the battery. That is why you need to find a reliable handset charger to take care of your mobile phone life span. It is best to get a very adaptable charger that you can use at home, workplace or when driving you car also. With a reliable charger, interruption during phone conversation will not take place.

Cellular phone cases are very important mobile phone accessories also. These items typically give various benefits to the users. It is possible that without using a reliable cell phone casing, you normally expose your handset to possible damages. This actually relates to the very progressive technology is producing more delicate handsets these days. To illustrate, touch screen units are prone to scratches or even permanent damage that forces you to get a new one. Unfortunately, these types of phones are costly compared to the average units. With the right handset case, it will be easy to protect your phone.

Mobile phone covers are likewise important investments if you want to protect your phone from possible damages. This can help you save more of repeatedly bringing your unit to a cell phone repair shop. These handset covers easily protect the screen and frame of the phone. You can easily prevent unexpected damage like when you accidentally drop the phone. In addition, scratches are also prevented using the exact mobile phone cover.

Is Technology a Bringer of Great Promise or Great Peril?

The pace of change continuously astounds and bewilders me. I just about remember horses pulling coal carts as a kid and now we’re developing driverless cars. The Internet of Things will be part of our daily life soon and humankind seems to be losing the ability to stand up straight already. How long will it be before we start resembling bananas more than apes with a pronounced curve of the spine and neck from staring down at mobiles?

Mobile Phone Addiction

We’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

According to the World Economic Forum, we’re now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We’ve already lived through an immense amount of change and who knows what is round the corner. The ever rising march of Artificial Intelligence (AI) shows great promise in many fields for the future but it is also highly controversial and multi-faceted.

Even Elon Musk, the ‘Thomas Edison of the 21st century’ has serious doubts about what we are creating for ourselves. The serial entrepreneur who has had a hand in all types of technology from electric cars, rockets, Paypal, Hyperloop, solar power systems, electric jets to digital technology. The man who is famous for his plans to colonise Mars, further DNA sequencing to identify cures for diseases and viable fusion to create energy for us all for ever.

Mars colonisation

A man who is a bringer of great promise. However Musk also predicts that ‘robots will be able to do everything better than us’ and they will ‘take your jobs, and government will have to pay your wage’. He also believes that we should be very concerned and proactively regulate Artificial Intelligence as it is a ‘risk to the existence of human civilization’ in a way that risks we commonly deal with now are only harmful to a set of individuals in society.

In contrast Mark Zuckerberg, the equally famous entrepreneur of Facebook is more optimistic saying that artificial intelligence will improve life in the future and that naysayers are irresponsible.

Is technology the bringer of great promise?

The positives of AI are certainly immense

“For people with a disability, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will give us super powers”

Birgit Skarstein, Double paralympic athlete and World Rowing Champion, Norway

“Imagine a robot capable of treating Ebola patients or cleaning up nuclear waste.”

Dileep George, artificial intelligence and neuroscience researcher

“Any skilled engineer can take control remotely of any connected ‘thing’. Society has not yet realized the incredible scenarios this capability creates.”

André Kudelski, Chairman and CEO of Kudelski Group

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already playing a massive role in health care and some believe that there is an AI Healthcare ‘tsunami coming’ that will benefit all. Data currently has the biggest part to play in healthcare providing the chance to revolutionise current healthcare systems.

AI Nurse

Google’s Deepmind Health project mines medical records to provide faster and more detailed records.

IBM Watson is working with oncologists to create treatment plans using data from clinical notes and combining that with research, data and clinical expertise. IBM’s Medical Sieve algorithm analyses radiology images to detect issues faster and more reliably.

The new Babylon app hopes to decrease doctors waiting times by giving medical AI consultations combining a person’s medical history, medical knowledge and a database of diseases using speech recognition. It can also remind patients to take their medication.

Molly is a new virtual nurse which supports patients with chronic diseases in between doctor’s visits.

AiCure checks if patients are taking their medicine and helps them manage their conditions.

Deep Genomics looks for mutations and linkages to disease using genetic and medical data and hopes to predict what will happen when DNA is altered.

Human Longevity offers genome sequencing alongside body scans and checkups to spot diseases in their very early stages.

Atomwise use AI to find existing drugs that could be used for other conditions, therefore, speeding up and reducing costs and potentially avoiding future pandemics.

Berg Health mines data to analyse why some people are insusceptible to certain diseases to help current treatments and discover new drugs.

The future certainly looks bright – but have you started to notice the changes in everyday life that are already impacting our lives?

Is technology the bringer of great peril?

“You cannot wait until a house burns down to buy fire insurance on it. We cannot wait until there are massive dislocations in our society to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Robert J. Shiller, 2013 Nobel laureate in economics, Yale University

Throughout the globe transportation, communication and education have all improved through high tech. With every improvement, however, there are negative consequences such as resource depletion, increased population and pollution.

In our more mundane everyday activities digital technology is already changing our lives. Many of us are already suffering from distraction, narcissism, expectation of instant gratification, depression, depleted vision and hearing, neck strain and lack of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation found 95% of people when surveyed used electronic devices before sleep and this can cause issues for our overall wellbeing.

We are becoming less dependent now on our memory and more on Google but often feeling that we’re suffering from information overload. If we don’t ‘use our brains’ will we lose our capability to think effectively? Or will we adapt in a different way?

When examining brain scans of frequent internet and mobile users vs occasional users there was twice as much activity in the short term memory and quick decision making area. We are learning to skim where there is too much information. Does that mean that we are becoming shallow thinkers or does it mean our ability to decipher information is actually becoming more efficient?

Technology will affect our jobs

I attended a LinkedIn conference recently on the use of insight and data in recruitment and the potential for AI.

The recruitment landscape is changing rapidly and the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 46% of the activities in Europe’s top five economies are already susceptible to automation – not in the near future, but right now.

This will affect all of us in some way and we need to be prepared for the shift towards even more hi tech based skills. There aren’t enough key digital workers or software developers already in many countries and this situation will only be exacerbated as the years go by. We may need a future full of coders or at the very least software that professionals can use that removes the need to code.

It wasn’t the AI potential or recruitment issues that grabbed my attention at the conference, however. It was a speech by Baroness Sarah Greenfield, a leading neurologist.

How neuroscientists see our future

Sarah used her neuroscience background to look at what could be happening to many of us in the modern digital age. She thinks that with so many of us obsessed with social media, search engines, mobile apps and gaming that we are actually losing our identity as human beings. We are lacking the enriched environment that creates increased neural connections in the brain and that the average person in the future may behave more like a 3 year old. That alarmist sentence certainly grabbed my attention.

She likened the lack of an interesting life full of different experiences to that of someone with Dementia where someone loses brain connections and doesn’t have a frame of reference (rather like a small child). In other words, their identity is missing, they have short attention spans and demand that needs be satisfied instantly.

Social Networking issues

With conversations taking place more online and less so face-to-face with no opportunity for eye contact or emotions, the true sense of someone’s identity could be slowly eroded. Words are normally only 10% of the total impact of a face-to-face conversation. Are we lacking 90% of normal interaction on Social Media? Do we rely on emojis to perceive emotion now?

Gambling

Gaming rather than reading

Sarah stated that the move away from reading to video game playing was concerning. Reading allows you to have a deep ‘relationship’ with the characters where you become the character in a way that isn’t really possible in video games.

Are gamers similar to gamblers?

Sarah showed us brain scans of gamers vs gamblers and how the Dopamine pathways were very similar and that damaged dopamine can lead to taking greater risks. The thrill of the moment when playing a game or gambling can override the consequences with the senses overtaking cognitive thought. Is our use of social media, the internet and apps reducing us to a society who is constantly craving stimulation, trying to achieve a Dopamine high, only living in the here and now and being driven by our feelings rather than serious thought?

I considered the level of gaming, social media and relentless Google searching via mobile throughout my family and pondered the consequences.

I can already see my children and all of their friends being taken over by gaming. They don’t talk about much else and seem to be totally ruled by it. Then my own usage is much higher than I would like. I work with Social Media and it is hard to avoid but I am certainly far too dependent on it.

I started delving into whether Sarah Greenfield’s comments are absolutely on the button. The scientific community have issues with some of her statements which need more proof rather than just hypothesis So I looked for further evidence as I’m sure that much of this is true to a certain extent as I see it every day with people stumbling through life joined to their mobiles and children not going out to play in the way they used to.

Facebook likes

So many of us use Facebook. The ‘Like’ button is acknowledged to be the same as receiving a little reward. Users gamble when they do something on Facebook – will we get a Like or be ignored? We’re all subconsciously looking for positive feedback and confirmation, and yes it is addictive. Social Media has become a digital drug that has taken over our culture.

And does heavy Social Media usage actually make you feel good? A study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that Facebook and depressive symptoms go hand in hand. “Social comparison” is what links Facebook time and depressive symptoms together. Thinking that your friends are having a better time than you. It suggests that users need to post a balance of good and bad. I’ve been sucked in by this but on reflection if I’m having a great time I’m not thinking of Facebook. I see people at gigs filming the whole night but feel that they’re actually missing the chance to immerse themselves in the atmosphere (whilst I’m dancing like a woman possessed)

It’s not just Social Media, however – there’s the apps. I hang my head in shame at using Candy Crush as a Mum gamer years ago. But it didn’t stop there – I became a master of Sim City and then Fallout Shelter and realised I had better stop when my kids started asking me for mobile app tips #parentingfail. I watch Netflix on my mobile in the bath, I’m always checking Social Media for work and communicating with people in sports/community groups that I need to be on top of. It’s a mixture of positive and negative – I am reminded of what I need to do, could be doing, should be doing – but its constant. I even get mobile app reminders telling me to meditate! Oh the irony.

Tired mobile

Scott Levin, a Director of the US Family Medicine Residency Program, thinks that parents are so focused on their children’s screen time that they forget about their own usage. “If we’re not aware, as parents, of what we’re modeling for our kids, then there are high prices to pay”.

69% of parents and 78% of teens check their mobiles at least hourly.

(Common Sense Media)

So why do we get so drawn into games and mobile apps? Even Mums? I even know a Grandmother who played Candy Crush throughout the night.

Game designers call it ‘juice’ – the feedback or reward that you get from playing a game. Candy Crush plays sounds, flashes brightly and praises you in a strangely deep voice and apparently we like that – a bit much.

Juice is intended to join the gaming and real worlds together. The opportunities for Juice in virtual reality (VR) technology are even greater where the user is in an immersive environment and the juice might even be multisensory soon to include touch, hearing and smell.

Is the future of some of us going to be one of a VR life rather than a real one? If the VR life appears better than your own will users start removing themselves from normal society and living in this VR world?

Can gaming really be addictive?

Researchers have studied the psychological rewards of video games vs gambling vs drug use for over 20 years. They’ve compared the brain’s dopamine pathway (the pleasure part) but we still don’t know whether uncontrollable video game playing is an addiction on its own terms or just a symptom of deeper problems such as depression or anxiety.

New technologies are often blamed for compulsive behaviour when depression and social anxiety are the true culprits. “When you don’t know how to fix that and create opportunities for yourself, you feel helpless. Why not play video games?” (Video Game Researcher, Nick Yee)

What can we do to prevent digital technology impacting our lives negatively?

Sarah Greenfield recommends that we apply a little risk management to our lives and ensure that we are living real lives and not just digital ones. Her advice probably resonates with most as it is standard advice given by mothers throughout recent times. But it is probably more important now than ever.

Go and exercise

– make new brain cells, give yourself time to free your mind

Interact with nature

Sit down and share a meal with someone

– talk to them – share stories and experiences

Do something creative

– be an individual!

Cycling

Harness your individuality and don’t miss out on real life

The UK is known for its creative industries and if we allow our creativity to slide and become an unthinking population of 3 year olds what do we have left?

Is this absolutely true for everyone? How do you become a brilliantly creative games designer without being fairly gaming obsessed? Are our software developers all devoid of cognitive thought? Of course not.

Our world is changing, and our brains are adapting to that new world. Good analysis and research looking at the co-evolution of mind and society can only be a good thing.

Is technology a bringer of great promise or great peril?

It seems to be both but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can reduce the potential peril by researching the effect digital technology is having and taking steps to counteract it. We can put heavy checks and balances into what is being developed and how. The overarching concern may be whether that will happen if the real power behind society lies with the huge technology companies.

Inflatable Canoes Pros and Cons

Inflatable canoes have become much more popular in recent years and they can be a great way to get outside and enjoy the water. However it is sometimes difficult to know whether to go for an inflatable canoe or a hard-shell canoe.

There are several pros and cons to owning and using an inflatable model. After many years of paddling both types I am very aware of both the pros and the cons. Below I will go through each.

Pros

Portability
No doubt about it an inflatable kayak or canoe is extremely portable. I have owned hard-shell kayaks that I have tied down to racks on top of my car. I found the whole process of transporting a hard-shell boat inconvenient and exhausting. Unless I had a friend to go along with me to help out, it was difficult for me to get my kayak down from the top of my car all on my own.

When my inflatable is deflated and rolled up in its storage bag, I just place it in the trunk of my car along with all my gear and off I go. Weight can vary with inflatable’s depending on which model you choose. However many are easily carried by one person and a few models are so light they can even be carried in a backpack. They are highly portable.

Easy Storage
A hard-shell canoe or kayak needs its own storage space or a rack in your garage. However for people like me who live in a condo this is not always an option. An inflatable canoe can be stored in a closet or in any small space. They are fantastic for those who live in small places.

Easy Care
I think canoes in general are fairly easy to care for. An inflatable just needs to be dried off so that it does not get any mold or mildew and then sprayed every now and again with a UV protectant spray. As long as you store it in a dry and cool space, it will last you many, many years with very little wear and tear.

If your canoe ever gets ripped or has a leak (which does not happen often), you simply patch it up with the repair kit that comes with it.

Affordability
Although prices can vary greatly depending on the type of canoe you purchase, as a general rule I have found inflatable models to cost less than a hard-shell model. For this reason they are great for family use, traveling, fishing or just plain outdoor recreational fun.

Stability
They are extremely stable. Most inflatable canoes have pontoon like sides that make the boat near impossible to tip. They are great for children, families and people of all ages as they are extremely safe.

Cons

Speed
As a general rule, a hard-shell canoe will paddle faster than an inflatable. Inflatable’s tend to be a little bit wider and consequently do not pick up the same speeds… although some are far better than others.

Punctures
I have been paddling inflatable kayaks and canoes for many years and have actually never had a puncture. However it can happen if you are paddling over sharp sticks or objects. Therefore it is wise not to paddle an inflatable in very shallow water or in areas where there are known sharp sticks or objects sticking out of the water.

Before you purchase your inflatable canoe be sure to read the reviews as models can vary greatly.

Landlording 101, Tricks of The Trade

Looking Inside Your Tenant’s Mind

Basic Mind-Reading Report 101 for Landlords

It goes without saying but I will say it anyway. The better you understand your tenants and their personal situation, the better you can serve their needs and your own. Notice that your needs come after your tenants. Always put your tenants’ needs before your own and they will buy real estate for you in return. That’s a fair trade. Take it!

Many cold-hearted, self-serving, money-grudging, want to-be landlords don’t understand human nature. Let me tell you right now, if you can’t put yourself in another person’s shoes and see a problem from that person’s perspective with empathy, you will fail miserably in the “landlording” business and in life. Wise up!

Fear not. If your not quite sure what I’m talking about, here come the stories and details of how to be loved and adored by those kind people called tenants.

Let me first dispel the horror stories about landlording. If you follow my advice and teachings, you should have very few tales of woe to tell. You’ve heard the stories and they sound like this: Those damn lowlife tenants. They trashed our house, they disturbed the neighbors, they ruined our lawn, they were filthy pigs who never paid the rent on time, they never did what we told them to do and it cost us a fortune to get rid of them and repair our investment once they finally did move.

Well, guess whose fault that is. Yep, it is completely and unequivocally the fault of the so-called person that is calling themselves a landlord. The real name for this type of so-called landlord is uneducated dummy and because of these lazy fools the whole industry gets a bad rap!

There is a plus side to the scenario above and that is this: It sets up a perfect opportunity for you to do the exact opposite of the fools and create for yourself an unlimited market supply of excellent trouble-free tenants for life!

Tenants, believe it or not, are human beings. They are not animals or things to be mistreated, abused or taken advantage of. If you will prepare your rentals as if your mother was going to be moving in, your mindset would be realigned in short order. In effect, you will start looking at it from a compassionate point of view. You will not cut corners. You won’t let things go that need fixing. You will use more care, skill and diligence in preparing that dwelling for another decent human being to begin calling home. That’s what you want to achieve.

You want to provide a trouble-free, pleasurable, aesthetically pleasing, creature comfortable, needs fulfilling, safe, secure, affordable and convenient place to live. When you provide those things and screen the population, it’s like striking gold.

The process of getting good tenants begins in your mind. By that, I mean you have to educate yourself to be able to recognize value and acquire properties that are structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing, physically functional and provide safety, security, affordability, convenience and a feeling of pride in your tenant’s mind.

Sounds like a daunting task, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. In fact it is so simple to achieve that once you understand the process you won’t even have to think about it. It will come naturally to you. I promise you that this is true and I intend to prove it to you as well.

I absolutely guarantee that you can do it. So for now, just take my word for it as being a fact, because it is. Here’s an example of using a motto to align your thought process in relation to all the things I just said. Repeat the following:

Landlord’s Creed

I vow never to rent to someone else, something that I myself would not be happy living in.

Mansions not included!

Now apply that to every prospective property that you evaluate as a potential rental property investment. Human nature is immutable. We all have basic needs, wants, desires and expectations that include fear. When you remove fear and provide comfort and security, you will own your market.

So what you first have to do before you can be a great landlord is to find great places to rent to other people. I explain how to do this in the book at [http://www.magicbullets], so I won’t go into it here.

The screening process is also outlined in that book as well. I will hit upon a few things that weren’t touched upon already in the processes in the main body of the book, so here are a few nuggets for you now.

The following observations are done after you have already performed the formal screening procedures. I’m rushing you up to the day that your face-to-face meeting occurs with the tenants who have passed your telephone interviews and have succeeded in getting an appointment with you to see your wonderful rental.

Now, here are some things that your uneducated dummy-type landlords can’t begin to recognize, plan for or evaluate when it does appear before their very eyes.

As soon as your potential renter shows up to view your property, take note of

the time. Are they on time? Can they keep their first promise to you? Can they follow directions? If their late, did they get lost? I’m sure you gave them good directions and also used landmarks like churches, stores or monuments, so they could find you easily. If they can’t follow simple directions, do you think a lease agreement and those directions are going to be any easier? No, they are harder to follow.

O.K. They showed up on time. This says they respect your time, are able to follow directions and are serious about finding a nice place to live. How did they arrive, on foot, by bike, bus, cab, truck, motorcycle or tractor-trailer? Preferably they arrived in a clean, well-kept passenger car that is in a clean condition.

Now who was driving the vehicle? If it’s a couple are they both going to be renting or is your tenant without wheels. Let’s assume your prospect drives up in their own car. It runs fine so you won’t have cars on blocks and a parts yard for a front lawn in six months when they buy more cheap junk to get around with.

So the car looks O.K. on the outside but how about the interior of the car? Do they smoke and have smashed down McDonalds bags pushed so far into the floorboards that it now resembles carpet? Does this vehicle look like a home on wheels, with garbage bags filled with clothes, a crying baby and a cat in the back window? Watch out if you see this type of telltale evidence. I don’t think I need to paint the picture of what will result if you miss this investigative step.

Pickup trucks with camper-shells can also be loaded to the gunnels with personal effects, including small zoo animals. I encourage you to get a look back there, too!

The bottom line here is people will generally treat your property the way they treat their own, if you’re lucky! So see how they’ve done with their own stuff up to this point and choose wisely based on intuition, gut-feeling and physical evidence.

So the car inspection is over now. How are the appearances of the folks? Are they clean and well groomed? Do they seem to fit the profile of what you had envisioned over the phone interviews or are they 180 degrees out? Have they successfully fooled you or deceived you into believing something else up to this point? Now that they have appeared before you, is it blatantly evident that these persons are con artists?

If you get an uneasy feeling within the first few minutes of meeting these people, don’t brush it off as just some crazy thought. That’s your self-preservation instinct operating and you better listen to it. The book, Magic Bullets will help to protect you, so do not fear. Use this information to protect yourself from the events that lead to horror stories. Don’t give it another thought. Let’s get on with our interview, shall we?

So far they are on time. They have a good clean car and they appear to be honest and decent people who indeed do give you the same impression you developed over the phone. In fact, these people are really more than you expected. Yes, if you’ve done it right that will often be your experience and it is almost always a pleasure and privilege to rent to such high quality individuals.

Have you noticed something about the process here? There has been no mention of race, religion, national origin, sex, age or marital status. That is discrimination based on federally protected human rights and it’s against the law to discriminate on those issues. This includes the handicapped and a few others groups I may have overlooked.

My point is simply this: If they meet all the criteria that makes for a good quality tenant, than you would be ruling out a potentially excellent long-term tenant based on preconceived notions and that is dummy landlording in the first degree! So don’t discriminate on basic human rights issues.

So many people screw this process up. They also make mistakes by choosing management companies to do this highly developed type of intuitive researched and planned-for event. I honestly know of no management companies who can be as thorough as an owner who takes the time to protect their own interests in this way.

I don’t care how much management companies protest about the above statement. The fact of the matter is, they are not you, so they can never find a tenant that satisfies your own personal preferences the way you can.

I like to personally screen potential tenants because in all cases, I have total control and that’s what real estate is all about – control!

Think of the opposite of control. That would be the stock market for the small investor. The way I see it, I don’t want to be on the sidelines rooting for someone else to make money for me or more often, hoping they don’t lose it, steal it or mismanage it to my certain demise.

With the way I approach real estate, it is a 100% guarantee every single time that I am going to outsmart, outwit, outperform, over deliver and under promise to the point that I crush my competition. I am in a league of my own.

My tenants are the winners and they know it, too. What kind of loyalty do you think develops in the minds’ of people that look to me for protection? It stands as a testimony and irrefutable, self-evident, empirical fact that I care enough about the people who have entrusted me with their welfare, their time, their money and their trust to deliver on my promises. My tenants don’t move. They either pass away due to old age or they end up buying it from me when I want to sell it. It happens that way all the time.

So think again when you hear a dummy landlord talking about all the trouble they had and then ask yourself one question. Did they read Magic Bullets before they became a landlord? It’s 100% certain they did not. If they had, then their tenants would have loved them and paid for their real estate time and again, and made them rich beyond their wildest expectations…

Snap out of it! Hey, are you with me? OK, your back. Good let’s get back to reality here. What I do works and the only thing about landlording I don’t like is cashing all those darned checks. I’m not kidding. Bank tellers look at you like your some kind of thief because you have so many checks to cash.

Here are a few things that you won’t find out unless you have been around a while but I’m going to save you from the pain of learning the hard way. Now of course you’re going to do everything right by following my advice in real estate but there are a lot of things I don’t know. Yes, I admit it. I don’t know everything but I do know what I’m going to tell you about next and that is…drum roll, please! Watch out for real estate investment property that comes with existing tenants! Here’s why. In general, the new owner takes the property subject to the existing lease and rights of the tenant or tenants. Most often, whatever existing lease or rental agreement that was made with the previous owner will remain in effect.

What could happen if you don’t thoroughly review existing tenants lease agreements? What if the previous owner rented a unit to his good-for-nothing, drug-addicted brother for $1.00 a month for the next five years? That’s a valid lease. You may take them to court for misrepresentation but it’s going to cost you lost rent, lost sleep and maybe your safety.

Anyway, that’s an extreme example of an intentionally designed below-market rent lease agreement but it illustrates my point. Here’s another. Let’s say you’re getting a great deal and you buy it, and find out the reason the owner sold it to you was because the tenants were very difficult and had him over a barrel. And all the while, they are paying lower than average rents and complaining about everything. Now you get them and you can’t raise the rent and they refuse to move. Here comes your eviction lawyer and you have attorney’s fees and more lost rent to boot.

My point is this: Make the seller get rid of bad tenants before you close on the deal. Do a pre-closing inspection and personally walk through the empty apartment, house, condo, trailer or doghouse yourself. Bring extra locks or call a locksmith and have the locks changed the day before closing. An honest seller will not have a problem with that so long as the title company holds those keys until your check is accepted at the closing table.

The lesson here is it’s always better to install your own tenants because you control the process from start to finish. Don’t follow a dummy landlord or by default, you could be a dummy, too!

Remember this too: When you install new tenants, you are generally going to get a higher rent from the property because inflation creeps along and landlords have a hard time raising rents on people. I have seen 10-15 year long-term tenants paying the same price for 15 years. You will go broke if you let that happen.

Adjust your rents accordingly every time you fill a vacant unit and if people want to renew their leases, then inform them of an economic reality that currently exists called inflation, and you are just keeping up with it! The Annual Consumer Price Index may be used as a reference. If they don’t understand, they have an option and that would be to go look for a similar rental to yours at a lower price. If you have followed my advice, this elusive lower rental price will not be found and your tenants will be grateful to you for renting out such a clean place at the new price-adjusted rate.

There is a lot of garbage held out for rent and prices may be lower, but no one wants to live in a pigsty with lime green shag carpet and Brady Bunch orange counter tops, where the roaches tell you what to do.

So the lesson here: Encourage balking tenants to find something comparable to yours at a lower price. If they find it, let them go. Odds are, they won’t. After all I told you, it’s often next to impossible, if you’re a hands-on owner. There is no 10% fee to management companies either. So you can even ask 5% less than investors who use professional management to do their job. So many ways to slaughter your competition…so little time!

Leasing Versus Buying a Dedicated Server System

Just as your business and websites are growing exponentially, so does computer and internet technology. Constant upgrading your hardware, software and business applications are already part of everyday business and any avoidable additional expense can slow the impact on your budget. Unnecessary initial investment in equipment can prove costly to smaller businesses especially when they are in the beginning stages of expansion. Just like leasing a car, leasing a dedicated server can keep your business current with the latest models and software with a quick exchange of equipment.

24/7 Support

Instead of having to support your own IT department, most dedicated server suppliers have 24/7 IT support available whenever you need it. These experts can also manage and monitor peak traffic times to ensure the speed and efficiency of your site is maintained so you don’t have to. Customer support in the form of an online knowledge base such as FAQs can keep you informed and up to date with the technological advances regarding dedicated servers. Most suppliers also provide online comprehensive and detailed information on all current associated services, applications, software and hardware available.

By investing in a dedicated server of your own you receive connectivity to the internet, redundancy measures, and monitoring plus the hardware and operating system. You can purchase a dedicated server system and maintain it in-house or you can co-locate it in someone else’s data center.

Colocation

Colocation is a space saving alternative of your personal dedicated server is a space saving alternative. Colocation hosting is the sharing of a facility by multiple designated servers that is already fully designed, constructed and wired to handle the activity and traffic. This eliminates the need to create a new workspace in your own office environment. Whether it is building a whole new room or adapting a closet it is another hardware infrastructure expense that takes more time and money. The down side is that if you own your dedicated server and something fails you may need to have it shipped out for repair. Dedicated server hosting providers have spare parts on hand and can react quickly to an emergency.

An emerging trend in the dedicated server environment is the re-designing of interior office space to incorporate dedicated servers on racks that are concealed and soundproofed in customized cabinets. These cabinets come in many sizes and in a variety of finishes and colors to blend into your current office decor. Some of these manufacturers even offer a color matching service.

XPRIZE – Making The Impossible Possible

One needs only look skyward after sunset to understand the full potential of mankind. The bright celestial object above is the moon, and it is some 240,000 miles away. Despite the obvious challenges, people thought it was possible to travel there, and eventually they did. The first moon landing is the most referenced occurrence when discussing what is possible for humanity to achieve, and for good reason. Decades later it remains an inspiration to those with the audacity to believe that anything can be accomplished.

Belief that a solution can be found to an inherently difficult problem – like how you get a man to set foot on the surface of the moon – is what drives the XPRIZE competition. It exists to reward those who are steadfast in their desire to innovate in order to make a difference for the betterment of humanity. The first XPRIZE was dreamt up in the mid-1990s as a challenge to award a team that could fly a craft at least 100 kilometers into suborbital space two times over the course of two weeks. In 2004, the feat was accomplished by a myriad of individuals who created and flew the aptly named SpaceShipOne and claimed the $10 million prize.

SpaceShipOne was the first winner of the XPRIZE, but there have been subsequent winners in areas of technology other than traveling into space. The Lunar Lander Challenge was launched in 2006 and required teams to build rocket-powered vehicles that could take off, reach a height of 50 meters and fly laterally for 100 meters before landing. The top prize of $1 million was not claimed until 2009 by Masten Space Systems. A contest called the Automotive XPRIZE was also underway at this time, with the potential for this innovation to impact the masses in a way the space-oriented endeavors may not have. The challenge for the automotive contest was fairly straightforward and easy for anybody to understand – build a car that would average at least 100 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) with maximum CO2 emissions of 200 grams per mile. The $5 million top prize was won by a team called Edison2 in what was named the Very Light Car, a vehicle which got 102.5 MPGe.

In 2011, another prize was awarded, this one for completing the Oil Cleanup XChallenge. This competition was in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico and challenged teams to come up with ways to remove crude oil from the ocean. The winning team claimed the $1 million prize by coming up with a skimming device that would collect oil sitting on top of the water. Other prizes claimed were for the use of sensors to enable better personal health, followed by one that would allow for better understanding of ocean acidification.

XPRIZE has other contests which remain open, each of which deals with coming up with a breakthrough of some sort using technology for the betterment of humanity. The open prizes are for space exploration, a mobile device to diagnose patients, educational apps, developing artificial intelligence, ocean floor mapping, adult literacy, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Along with these already open contests, more in the planning stages as the solutions to issues that mankind is fighting are always going to be needed.

XPRIZE seeks to change that by developing certain criteria that ensures a problem won’t just be covered up, but solved. Simply throwing money at a problem will never fix that problem, but mask it. In essence, this is what XPRIZE is all about – delivering hope that problems, no matter what the scale is – can be resolved by relatively small teams of people with a common cause. Humanity is better off when people are working together to come up with solutions to issues, and one way to accomplish that is by rewarding those who find those solutions. This is what makes XPRIZE different than so many other organizations – what matters is the end result, a solution to a problem that can offer hope and inspiration to others who may be watching and wondering if they can achieve something that will truly make a difference in the lives of others around the world.

Top 5 Innovative IT Insurance Services

INNOVATIVE IT INSURANCE SERVICES IN A CONSERVATIVE INDUSTRY?

While insurance is not known as an extremely innovative or exciting industry, new technology has created a platform for a number of exciting insurance information technology (IT) services for both consumers and insurance providers. Here we provide an overview of the top 5 innovative IT insurance services.

#1: PAY AS YOU DRIVE

Pay-as-you-drive insurance calculates premiums according to an individual’s driving profile, rewarding secure driving while tracking and increasing premiums on dangerous driving styles. Drivers who constantly speed, brake suddenly or drive in bad weather conditions (e.g. snow, rain) find themselves paying higher premiums than those who follow the rules of the road. A “black box” device installed in the car tracks key parameters of the journey and transfers the data to the insurance company, who then regulates the premium rate.

Some insurance companies already offering simplified versions of Pay-as-you-drive solutions:

  • Aviva
  • Hollard
  • Allianz Lloyd Adriatico

Companies such as Accenture are intensively research this topic to be able offer new solutions.

#2: SOCIAL BENCHMARKING

Online insurance quote platforms, such as Kanetix, all offer access to a limited number of insurance providers, allowing consumers to analyze only a subset of prices, which are based on the insurance provider’s data.

Social benchmarking of insurance premiums offers independent, consumer-generated data across all insurance providers. As consumers share information about their insurance spending, they can access the collective experience of other consumers, identifying if they pay too much and who offers the best prices for peers with a similar insurance profile.

An example of such a service is the InsurEye Peer Comparison tool, which covers not only spending information for online insurance products (20%-30% of the total market), but also for insurance offered directly by insurers, brokers, and agents.

#3: ONLINE POLICY MANAGEMENT

Online banking has become the norm, but online insurance management? Personal banking finance management tools and other useful online IT services are available for consumers for free. Finally, the insurance industry has started to close the gap. Now many insurance providers offer online and mobile tools to help consumers to manage their policies and provide customer support. One example is TD Insurance, which offers an online service allowing customers to perform many tasks on their own, eliminating the need to call a service line. Examples of such tasks are:

  • Modify contact information
  • Modify a car policy
  • Modify a Home Policy
  • Modify a payment plan
  • File a claim

A number of insurance providers both in Canada and the United States offer such tools for their customers e.g. TD Insurance, Nationwide, USAA, and more.

#4: MOBILE DEVICE CLAIMS

Collisions don’t happen while you are sitting at home in front of the computer. Instead, many insurance companies have developed solutions to help customers deal with their collisions and claims situations on their mobile devices. Typical example of mobile application offers customers many handy functionalities reducing headaches in case of an accident. A typical set of features for such an IT solution includes:

  • List of tips in case of an accident
  • Capture all required accident info (incl. photos)
  • Find / order towing service
  • Find a repair shop
  • Initiate a claim process
  • Check claim status
  • Find an insurance agent

Such apps are usually free and users can start using them directly after downloading from an app store. Especially useful is the ability to take a picture of an accident to document what exactly happened and estimate the potential level of damage.

#5: ADJUDICATION FROM A DISTANCE

If you’ve ever had a road accident, you surely know the range of emotions you experience: fear for the own health and those who are in the car, concerns about financial impact on future insurance premiums, not being sure what to do and in what order, dealing with police, towing services, another car driver etc.

Some companies, e.g. RBC Insurance, have so-called Road Angels – insurance experts who physically arrive at the accident location to support the customer.

Instead of sending an agent to a scene, IT insurance services could potentially provide long distance assistance via video. Modern smartphones are capable of transmitting two-way video, making it possible to show an insurance expert what has happened, and at the same time making the customer feel more secure.

Videoconference providers such as Skype already offer these technical functionalities, and Apple has FaceTime, a new video chat for its iPhone users. It’s likely only a matter of time before this technology results in a mature IT insurance service.

How a Residential Locksmith Assists to Secure Your Home?

A residential locksmith exists in the industry for many decades providing different types of assistance. House owners require the help of these services at various critical stages. Over the past years, the services of home locksmiths have reached new heights with the development of the modern technology. Their services vary from duplication of the keys to programming sophisticated home security systems nowadays. In fact, without the help of a professional locksmith Expert, it will be practically impossible to assure the safety of your residence.

Mentioned below are some of the key services offered by locksmiths to assure the security of the houses.

Duplication of keys

Generally, key duplication is the most common and the basic service offered by locksmiths. Over the past decades, with the development of the technology, different types of locks are being introduced and the functionality of the keys has become complicated. However, a professional locksmith can duplicate any of these keys from basic ones to programmable keys.

Repairing locks

Or some other locks may get broken over the time and therefore a huge demand has arisen in the industry for lock repair works. Again modern home door locks have become exceptionally sophisticated; some of which even controlled over mobile apps. Therefore, it has become a prerequisite for modern locksmiths to know about these automated and programmable locks too. Thanks to the developments, modern vendors are capable of providing home door lock repair work from basics to hi-end security systems.

Lock replacements

Due to various reasons people may have to replace their locks. Moving to a new house, security upgrade or suspicious security vulnerability are common reasons for a house owner to look for a lock replacement. When a particular lock is used for a longer period, the necessity for lock replacement will arise. No matter how sophisticated the locking system, you may need to replace it once you have used it for a long time. Going beyond the simple home lock install process, modern residential locksmiths are capable of replacing the entire security system with programmable keys and locks.

Emergency lockout service

Due to busy life schedules, people get locked out from their residences and offices quite often. Upon such situation, only a locksmith can provide you the most effective service for the delight of the client and get him out of the situation. Most of the Home locksmiths rightly offer 24/7 emergency lockout service considering the demand.

Security enhancements

Modern residences need modern security strategies considering the advance threats available in the society. Conventional unsecure locks hardly can withstand the new level threats. As an effective way to face a new level of threats houses need advanced security options. Contemporary locksmiths are capable of enhancing the security systems to match the requirements of the modern society.

Apart from the house you live, you can enhance the security of the areas like garages and storage facilities too. Once the house’s security is strengthened, you can enjoy low insurance premiums as a great value addition. Before hiring a residential locksmith expert, however, it is wise to look for aspects like industry experience, skills, previous work records etc.

Kiteboarding: Preventative Maintenance

Kiteboarding is true to my lifestyle, and true to life, if you exercise a bit of preventative maintenance then your equipment will fly better, last longer, and provide you with a lot more enjoyment. Kiteboarding equipment is not the cheapest to buy, it certainly is not like going to Wall-Mart and buying a one-line decorative kite. The gear costs a good chunk of change, and it costs as much as it is worth, trust me. Just like any other valued treasure in your possession, you want to keep it in good condition. That way it is ready when you want to use it, and it last longer. You can’t complain with that. Kiteboarding does not have to much preventative maintenance. Its not like a car where you have to change moving parts all the time. To keep your kite as we say “crispy,” just follow a few common sense steps.

Within the realm of Kiteboarding there are some categories of maintenance to keep in mind. Those categories are the kite itself, the kite pump, the bar lines and safety system, the harness, and the board. Lets take a look at each one individually.

The Kite Itself: Storage. when you are not using your kite is is best to have it neatly rolled up and in the appropriate sized bag. But more than that you want to roll your kite up without sand or moisture on the kite. If you pack it away wet and dirty then that way it will stay in the bad. Your kite will discolor and the fabrics will begin to wear from the sand and water rubbing against the kite while inside the bag. So please, put your kite back in its bag, dry and clean if you can. This means sometimes letting your kite dry in the sun after a session before you pack it up. It is also clever to carry a clean rag with you. Some soft material like an old cotton T-shirt that you can use to wipe off the dirt. Clean and dry the kite while it is inflated. Once every few weeks, after your session, inspect the kite thoroughly. Look at the bridles, leader lines, and pigtails for signs that the ropes are in good condition. If they are not then change them before you snap a bridle in the middle of a session and do further damage to your kite. Also, routinely check the canopy and stitching for any tears or pinholes. Fix these as they occur. Kite maintenance on the water. Do not self-launch over rough terrain, try not to crash your kite to hard. If you are uncertain of what to do, just let go of the bar and let the kite come down gently. Most people who hold on the bar when they should let go end up with giant rips in the canopy of their kite, or they blow up a bladder. Speaking of the bladder. Every now and then please check your valves for slow leaks. This is a common problem that if spotted in time will prevent a session with an unhappy ending.

The Kite Pump: This piece of equipment is neglected by most riders. That is so foolish. The pump is the most important piece of equipment to take care of. It has the most moving parts, the most fragile construction, and you need it, absolutely need it, to pump up your kite if you want a session. Maintaining a pump is very easy, and very hard at the same time. All you have to do is pay attention to it. Keep the pump attached to your kite back, but leave the pump hose detached. When you leave the hose attached and the pump falls onto its side then the pump tube tares easily and you end up with a leaky pump. Nothing is more frustrating than a leaky pump. If only attach the hose to the pump when you inflate your kite then that tube will last a lot longer and you will save yourself much aggravation. Next, pumps need to have a clean and lubricated interior. If you dissect your pump, (by unscrewing the top,) you will find that a rubber o-ring supplies the airtight seal, and that a couple of gasket valves allow the double action of the pump. If your pump is sticking or squeaking, or you notice that only strokes of one direction push air, then you will need to open your pump. Unscrew the top, pull out the handle, clean the o-ring and smear some Vaseline around it. Then look at the gasket valves, most of the time one of them has been knocked out of its groove. Simply put it back in the groove. Put everything back together, and your pump will be good for another few months.

Lines: Before each session you walk-out the lines. As you walk them out check them for any inconsistency. I’m talking about knots in the line, frays or pinches flattened out spots. Especially check the pigtail where you connect the kite to your lines. This part of the lines takes the most abuse, and it is a good idea to carry an extra set so you can replace them as needed. If you have a knot in your lines the best way to get therm out is with your own saliva. No joke, put the knot in your mouth, use your back molars to gnaw on the line. Work your saliva into the lines for a few minutes. Then try to work the knot out with your fingers.

Bar: The control bar is where all of your safety equipment is located. If there is one piece of equipment, besides the pump, to keep pristine, the bar is it. It does not take a lot of time to inspect your bar, so you can do this every few sessions. Look at your “throw” line to make sure it has not frayed. If it has then replace it. Check your leader lines to make sure they are okay. Check your chicken loop by testing the quick release. Make sure that you can actually disable your kite. Don’t just pop the chicken loop and put it back together. Finally inspect your power strap. Run a routine check on your bar once a week or so and it will never fail you. If you have a pulley bar remember to check your pulley’s.

Harness: This is an easy one. Does your harness still fit? Does it still feel comfortable? Are the straps frayed? Any stitching out of place or missing? Is your grab handle tattered? Are the metal parts securely fasted by their bolts? Is your spreader bar in good shape? If you address those questions then you will know what kind of shape your harness is in. Personally I try to get a new harness every year. They break down faster than the rest of the equipment, and I like to be comfortable on the water.

The Board: To maintain your board is easy. Check the screws frequently and make sure they are all tightly fastened. If the footpads wear or the straps wear then you need to replace them. Keep it clean between sessions. Rinse it off so sand doesn’t build up under the food pad. Adjust the straps from time to time to prevent them from getting stiff in one position. Don’t jump around with your board on your feet while you are on land.

So now you know some of the more common ways your gear will break down, and how to prevent further damage. Its always easier to replace a harness, or a line, or a pigtail, or a bridle, than it is to replace your kite.