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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vurb Magazine: Living Urban Wellness

Vurb Mag. Doing, not saying
Living Urban Wellness. Image and Phrase All Rights Reserved to the Editor of Vurb Mag.

An online magazine that I can relate to, which feels relevant to today’s average lifestyle.

That's the idea of Vurb Magazine, an online publication encouraging healthy living and accountability in the modern world. From articles about sensible nutrition to a review of a kickboxing class where the music is mixed by live DJs, these articles are written by someone like me, for people like me. There are no exhortations to spend half my monthly salary on clothes that only look good on a stick insect and have the practicality of a paper raincoat in a thunderstorm. There is no mention of overpriced 'beauty basics' which are only available by mail order from America when I'm in the UK. There is a recognition that apartment or single room living is a reality for many, together with plenty tips and tricks to make it easier.

Added to all of that, and an active social media feed (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), are articles on productivity at work, maintaining a good work-life balance, relationships, music, a review of a new get the picture. This magazine aims to be useful. Practical is its middle name. Lighthearted and informal articles jostle for position with nutrition tips and personal improvement challenges. Yes, you read that right.

The section named Challenge Me is right up my street and is mirroring what I’m trying to do with my life and surroundings. For starters is the Clear Skin Detox introduced by Lauren Talbot. I’m intrigued by the idea of trying a detox just to see how my body reacts. One of these days I will find the time, I'm sure. Next is an article entitled ‘Toss What Doesn’t Spark Joy’, based on Marie Kondo’s philosophy of the life-changing power of decluttering. Much of what I’m currently decluttering here is either being sold on eBay to fund a future holiday or being recycled for the betterment of the planet, the environment, or in the case of papers, my coworker’s straw-allergic horse, who loves the new bedding I am supplying her with. A less cluttered bedroom has long been thought to promote a better quality of sleep, so if your wardrobe is busting out all over the floor, you will also want to try the ‘Wardrobe Detox’ recommended by Kjerstin Bjerga to detox and declutter your wardrobe. Apply KonMari’s rule of holding something to see if it gives you joy, then keep or donate/sell as necessary. If you have to adhere to a dress code, as many do, then this has the added bonus of allowing you to define your style without breaking the rules of the code.

See what I mean about Vurb Magazine’s articles being practical and relevant? So what’s holding you back? Go and read Vurb Magazine today. At worst it could mirror your life. At best, it could change things.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Perfect Litter - for your cat, for health

Perfect Litter logo. Used with permission.

At last, my love of writing coincides with my love of cats! This article is a 400-odd word excuse to address any American cat lovers on the subject of cat litter.

Perfect Litter is made by Pet Healthy Holdings LLC of Dallas, TX, and uses patented technology to afford you peace of mind and your cat ease of use. Not only do you get a modern lightweight cat litter with superior odor control, you are also allowing your cat to use an all natural mineral-based product which includes wellness monitoring by way of color change. You can spot the early signs of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder, or FLUTD, by checking whether the litter changes color after your cat has used it. FLUTD is incredibly common in cats, but you can help prevent your favorite purrball from becoming a statistic by seeking early treatment when you spot the signs.

Not only is Perfect Litter a lightweight alternative to clay, it also has higher absorption rates than clay, so lasts longer. One 4lb pack will last on average 4-5 weeks for one cat. It clumps just like clay litter though, so is just as easy to clean out. Because the odor control is so good, your cat will want to use the same litter for longer, and there will be no pesky pongs to put off the human residents either. Perfect Litter has also been designed to be low on dust, which is no bad thing when you and your cat are sharing the room with it.

Perfect Litter pouch - 4lb/$19.99
Because this will be a new experience for your cat, you should introduce Perfect Litter slowly while continuing to use your previous brand, and maintaining an alternate tray of the previous brand if possible. Once your cat is acclimatized to Perfect Litter, you should use around 1 ½” to 2” depth in the litter box for optimum performance. The litter box should be completely emptied every month, washed and dried, so once the old litter is finished, you can start with a full tray of Perfect Litter for your cat’s comfort.

Unsurprisingly, Perfect Litter has won several awards for its innovative product. For the next few days until the end of July, Pet Healthy Holdings LLC are running an offer for a month’s free trial (so about 1 pouch, saving you $19.99) and an additional $5 off the next bag purchased. They will also donate a pack of Perfect Litter to the Rescued Pet Adoption League, or R-PAL, for every pouch customers try. The donated amount currently stands at 2,752 pounds of Perfect Litter, or 688 bags. The best thing of all for you, the customer, is that your Perfect Litter order is delivered to your door, so no more dragging heavy bags of litter back from the store.

This product sounds like a real win-win for humans and cats. Lightweight, odor-controlling, health monitoring and long lasting too. What’s not to like? If you’re quick, you can sign up for a free trial of Perfect Litter today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GRELIS - the Global Real Estate LISting

GRELIS logo. Image provided by Tom Rapko, with permission to use.

GRELIS (Global Real Estate LISting) is described by its founder as ‘the Google for real estate’. The site aims to be a one-stop-shop for finding all kinds of real estate, called up by keywords.

It’s a search engine for real estate, essentially, finding properties worldwide which match the input keyword. Typing in ‘Santa Monica’ brings up a gorgeous 4-bedroom property for sale in the high-price Southern California location, while inputting ‘Germany’ shows a short list of four results which are a little more affordable.

GRELIS’ founder, Tom Rapko, has developed a signature search engine which is tuned into terms typically used in real estate descriptions worldwide, but also allows for some more off the wall searching. As shared in the official PR News press release, searching for the keyword ‘monkey’ does actually return a search. There is, apparently, a property in Costa Rica which is famed for its monkeys. Here in the UK not even our market-leading property search engine could find something like that.

The difference with GRELIS is that the site has a global reach. Most real estate websites are very local, targeting people who know where they would like (or can afford) to live and showing them properties within a set amount of miles or a specific price range. GRELIS allows for a global mileage and unlimited price range, so users can dream just as much as they can shop for their next rental or purchase. The search engine links back to the original listing, allowing the searcher to see the website where the property is listed rather than a third party listing.

Founder Tom Rapko admits that the search engine is addictive, and that beside the most popular search (‘beach house’, if you’re interested) there are real estate advertisements including private airstrips and luxury facilities for horses as well as humans. Surfing fans will find plenty to dream about too as there are several places for sale or rent within reach of a surfing beach.

Talking of ‘for sale or rent’ puts me in mind of the song ‘King of the Road’. Yes, there is a mobile home up for grabs in British Columbia. And yes, Mr Rapko is right. His search engine creation is addictive.

There are around 10 million possible results from just the first month of operation, and GRELIS is now out there for anyone to test. As I have happily been doing while composing this article, I might add. I used to work in real estate, so I know how humans love to let ourselves dream about our favorite home. Last time I checked, my dream home had doubled in value from the last time it was for sale but was dropping in price in the order of around £100,000/$150,000 a year. It’s still several millions in value though so no chance I’ll be moving any time soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Swipe Vault - start following proven marketing strategies now

Money Tree (photodune4862192moneytreexs). Image provided by Swipe Vault

Barely a week goes by without information on another online money-making opportunity crossing my path.

This one is called Swipe Vault and, like many of the others, it promises to make money for those who sign up. Originator Chris Luck says that the creation of Swipe Vault is the result of many years of trial and error as well as studying the ways in which acknowledged entrepreneurial successes like Steve Jobs went about growing their business.

Swipe Vault distills down these ideas into proven sales funnels, marketing videos, copywriting pieces, landing pages and social media campaigns. Makes sense - find what's working for others then copy it. It’s how many businesses have operated for years, only not quite so openly as seems to be happening these days.

The difference with Swipe Vault is that you are not directly selling a specific product to others by taking up this opportunity. You're benefiting yourself. If you've always harbored a dream to open your own business, but weren't sure how to market it, your plans are here. All you need is a product. That could be a skill you have, like writing or illustration, a service you provide, such as counselling or dog sitting, upscaling a homemade crafts hobby to selling on a website, or finding new markets for your holiday lettings. The tips, tricks and templates shared in the Swipe Vault will help you get off to a flying start, make the most of your existing markets and help with finding more.

The Swipe Vault information is accessible in a series of videos. They illustrate the three points that Chris is making:

  1. Find out what is making money.
  2. Borrow those techniques for your own business.
  3. Make money too.

Much more information can be had from the videos on the homepage, but the real information is hidden behind a paywall.

Initial monthly investment at the moment is $97. (That’s about £60) There is a money-back guarantee should you find that the Swipe Vault doesn’t work for you. Places are limited and Chris and the team are already talking about closing the Vault to new members, so the countdown is on. For $97 a month you have access to the Swipe Vault for as long as you remain a member, unless you request your money back within the first 30 days. You can watch and rewatch the videos as many times as you like and try out as many of the marketing ideas as you want.

If you want to lift your business to a new level (or start one off on the right foot) then Swipe Vault could be for you. It’s worth a try - you can always ask for your money back if it doesn’t work.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Orly Lobel at TEDx UCIrvine: Too Many Secrets and Too Few Sparks

Orly Lobel gave a TEDx talk entitled 'Too Many Secrets and Too Few Sparks' a month or so ago. It is around 15 minutes in length and deals with the idea that today's culture of protection of ideas is not allowing the spread of creativity.

Orly believes that this attitude of secrecy is affecting all areas of life, not just technological innovation. Developers in many fields are bound by nondisclosure agreements, copyright and non-compete clauses.

From my own experience, writers often have to sign nondisclosure agreements even when writing short articles. Vast sums of money can be charged for copyright, with hundreds of dollars/pounds/Euros being earned by authors for even a short extract from a successful book or research paper. Damages awarded to companies for intellectual property and trademark infringement cases can run into billions of pounds, as demonstrated by the long running Apple v Samsung court case.

Orly feels that all this protectiveness is throwing great creative ideas off balance and that we are simply not sharing enough sparks these days. It's something where she has had personal experience. Her background is in military intelligence, so she was trained in keeping secrets. During her time in the military, she was unable to tell friends and family about her role, telling the audience that she used the line 'I could tell you but then I would have to kill you'. The military is good at keeping secrets secret, encrypting information and only sharing what needs to be shared.

Military life taught Orly and her fellow recruits about many fields where information could be shared but did not always need to be. The recruits were encouraged to build trusted networks to take beyond the military, and many companies today trace their origins to these networks. They operate on a simple premise; secrets are kept secret while all the rest of their information is in the public domain.

The only problem is that there are people who would like everything to be in the public domain. This leads to situations where talented programmers in various industries are being arrested and charged for sharing secrets. This is not just Wikileaks-style sharing, this is as simple as someone emailing a work document to their home email.

The FBI tells us that the risk of spreading knowledge is as dangerous as terrorism these days. If information that should have been kept secret finds its way to someone with a use for it, intentionally or by accident, then it could certainly be turned against the originating company or even their country.

Orly goes on to explain that major companies, previously feverishly innovative, are now more protective of information. In some cases, she opines, they are spending more time, money and effort enclosing and protecting their existing innovation than on new research and development. Copyright is now held well beyond the creator's lifetime. Anything in the fields of music, art, and literature is now protected by a copyright term of the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.

The problem is that in some environments, research and ideas are like rabbits - they will breed no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Universities are particularly fertile ground, and ideas almost appear out of the air to manifest themselves on paper. Orly suggests that 'knowledge spread is power'; those who have the ability to spread knowledge will acquire the power. No wonder universities and Silicon Valley are so productive! Some companies, though, are stagnating in their industry, they need to show their hand as leaders. The only way to do that is to share knowledge.

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors has decided to share the technological knowledge behind the cars. He has made all of the company’s development open source so that everyone, even competitors, can benefit. Often, companies which have adopted this strategy have experienced rapid growth when the knowledge is shared. Orly summarizes it as ‘loose lips build ships’, meaning that knowledge is not just for entrepreneurs but for everyone.

The best way to engage with knowledge, at least for the scientific community, is to work together. Knowledge is not a weapon of terror, but rather a tool for engagement, according to Orly Lobel. Connectivity and networking is the best way to win the global talent war these days, she reckons. Given the multinational representation in most labs and teaching hospitals, that wouldn’t seem too far off the mark. This multicultural, multilingual, multi-influence mix harks back to the likes of 15th Century Florence. More recently, Hollywood, Nashville and Silicon Valley have become hotbeds of creativity and knowledge sharing, therefore also power centres of the same. We are sharing, not enclosing, innovation; creating the next generation of inventors and trend setters. This is the right balance between secrets and sparks - enough secrets to make it interesting, enough sparks to drive invention.

The Tower of Babel (or as Orly calls it, 'Babylon') is an allegory of not being able to work together. We speak different languages, metaphorically and physically, and even if we have the same ideas we are sometimes unable to communicate them to each other. Destroying the Tower of Babel will allow us to communicate effectively, hide or share ideas accordingly and learn from each other where possible.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kansas City Locksmith Services - over 200 locksmiths listed

Kansas City Locksmith Services. Logo used with permission.

Residents of Kansas City MO can rest easy knowing that if they lock themselves out of their house, car or business, there is just one number to call to find the nearest available locksmith. Kansas City Locksmith Services have a 24-hour helpline and will advise on the closest and most appropriate specialist for each individual requirement, day or night.

There are over 220 locksmiths covering every type of lock and key specialists. Services offered include re-keying, key duplication, safes, cars and troubleshooting of the latest electronic and biometric entry technology. With that level of coverage you can see why a service and listing such as Kansas City Locksmith Services is needed. Of course the team will help in case of emergencies but they will also be able to advise on routine matters such as replacement of worn locks and mislaid keys. The website is a huge resource detailing all the locksmiths within the Kansas City metropolis. There are twelve pages of listings, and besides the contact details, customers can see information on each locksmith, such as whether they offer a 24 hour service, their specialties and whether they accept credit cards. There is a map and route planner to each location so that customers can visit in person to discuss non-urgent requirements.

It's a handy idea, Kansas City Locksmith Services. After all, locking yourself out of your car or breaking the house or office key in the entrance lock is not something anyone plans on doing. The team at Kansas City Locksmith Services will calmly and efficiently find someone to help you, no matter the hour. The website has been active since 2008, and in the past seven years the company have built up the database into a comprehensive listing of services available. Also on the website is the company’s top ten listing of local locksmiths and a couple of helpful articles on choosing a locksmith and staying in control of access to properties and premises.

The best idea when you need a locksmith urgently is to call the team at Kansas City Locksmith Services. There are several locksmiths whose business names would suggest that they offer a 24-hour service, but in fact this is not the case. Kansas City Locksmith Services will know exactly who to call when you’re stuck on the wrong side of a locked door, so that you will be able to gain access as quickly as possible. The website suggests average response time is around 15 minutes from initial contact, so when you need a fast helping hand, give them a call.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Auto Transport My takes the headache out of car transportation

Auto Transport My. Image from website, used at owner's suggestion.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a car auction firm which would help you find your ideal car and ship it to you once you had won the auction. But what if you already own a car and need to get it shipped across the States for work or personal reasons? Then you’ll need Auto Transport My, who will transport your vehicle from its current location to the new one either on an open transporter or enclosed van as required.

The company will ship autos and vehicles whether running or not, so if you haven’t quite finished work on that 70s muscle car restoration when the promotion to Silicon Valley comes through to your office in MIT, do not despair. Auto Transport My (Door to Door Auto Shipping Service) will help.

Auto Transport My also works with traders, so if your ideal car is in the mid-west while you reside in the north-east, no worries. It’s possible that the trader will be able to get your car to you even so. Auto Transport My is open in its price structure and offers a custom quote via a web form in seconds. This gives potential customers an immediate idea of cost to transport their wheels from where they are to where they need to be. The company offers 24 hour pick up with door-to-door delivery. According to the website they only use skilled car transporter drivers too, which means a high chance that your pride and joy will get to its new location without bumps, bangs, scratches or dents. They will handle everything from a truck to a sports car, at least judging by the photos on their website.

But why should you use Auto Transport My instead of driving your vehicle to the new destination yourself? Well, for starters, you can’t get much luggage in the back of an average sports coupe, and not many people have a semi truck and a friendly haulage firm they can borrow a trailer from in order to transport their own gear. Then there’s the wear and tear of a cross-country road trip on your car too. So it may well be cheaper and safer to have the wheels shipped and hire specialist movers for your furniture and possessions, if you’re taking it all with you.

For peace of mind, the company is bonded by the FMCSA. Auto Transport My will undertake to have the vehicles as described in the quotation shipped from the given start point to the given finish location on or about the dates the owner wishes. For extra questions the phone number appears on every page of the website and there is also an additional Contact page if required.

So when that promotion arrives, just get in touch with Auto Transport My. They’ll sort out your car while the movers deal with what’s in your house.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Marine Gizmos - Get a Gizmo!

Marine Gizmos' logo, supplied by the company and used with permission.

Outdoor sporting fans will love the range on the Marine Gizmos website. Whether your preferred pursuit involves camping or water, hiking or fishing, the company stocks everything you need to make the most of your time outdoors. Here you will find paddles, survival kit, cartography requirements, navigational items and specialist winter kit. Among many other things.

The website has an extensive range of boating gear and top end navigational instruments. To give you an idea, they have been a trusted supplier to the Marines, state and federal specialist employees for several years. Their tagline 'Get a Gizmo!' describes Marine Gizmos exactly. There are gizmos to help you learn a new sport, enjoy your existing one, advance your knowledge, cope with the unexpected and stay safe in emergencies.

Marine Gizmos is a family owned firm whose staff strive to treat each customer as an individual. The company, as you might expect, is also heavily committed to living in an environmental manner. Getting a gizmo merely puts you in a better position to appreciate the world up close and personal. The lights, medical kits, kayaks and GPS beacons are there to allow you to get closer to nature, safely.

Talking of GPS beacons; navigation instruments and marine electronics are a specialism of Marine Gizmos. Compasses, beacons, transceivers, transponders and autopilots are just some of the range you can choose from when choosing to ‘Get a Gizmo!’ at Marine Gizmos. There is a wide selection, comprising over 40 pages of items, to ensure that you and your boat can make it safely from port of origin to port of arrival, and that if Mother Nature frustrates that plan, you have the best chance of being rescued quickly. Many items are available at discount, with some at half price. That doesn’t mean you get half the service though, as Marine Gizmos’ commitment to their customers never wavers.

Along with 40-odd pages of navigation equipment, the website also features twelve pages of instruments, including compass repeaters, wind gauges, speedometers, depth indicators and everything else a sailor should have in order to remain aware of changing conditions around them. This level of detailed availability is repeated across other watersports and camping genres, such that there is something for everyone. Whatever your outdoor sporting or pursuit requirement, you will be able to ‘Get a Gizmo!’ successfully by browsing the pages of Marine Gizmos’ detailed website and asking their knowledgeable staff for help and advice when needed.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jason Romano, personal trainer and nutritionist, New York

Fitness, by markusspiske at Pixabay

Personal trainers are becoming more and more popular these days. Specialist nutrition is also a booming business. Someone like Jason Romano, based in Manhattan, New York, offers both of these services in one. He is a fully credentialed freelance personal trainer, strength coach and sports nutrition consultant. So if you choose to visit him, not only will you get fitter, you will also receive specialist nutrition advice tailored to your personal needs.

After all, there is no point undertaking a new fitness regime but still eating junk food. That won’t offer optimum energy levels or show your new body off to perfection. It’ll also make keeping that new body far more difficult too. Of course, you could always ask Jason for the nutrition advice first, implement that and then look at starting a fitness regime once you have eliminated the food he considers is causing a problem.

The thing is that sports nutrition is tailored to players, athletes, runners and so on, but you don’t need to be sporty to benefit from implementing it. Following a healthy diet is always a good idea and if you want to work towards being able to take up a sport, then making small changes such as starting an appropriate diet first is always best. After all, if you go from couch potato to marathoner too quickly, you are likely to end up injured and lose all the good work that you have undertaken.

Last time I was in a gym, my personal trainer was able to advise on the best way to exercise to help recover from a medical issue I was suffering from at the time. That involved not only strength and resistance exercises but also adjustments to my diet to include more foods which would help heal the cause of the issue. You must have heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’? That is so true, especially when you want to work off the calories which don’t shift during your office-based job. Healthy eating even in a sedentary job such as administration or sales can help you have more energy, feel more alert, have better concentration and generally look better and feel more positive about yourself. Even if your preferred exercise method is something as quiet as yoga, pilates or tai chi, you will find yourself more able to execute the moves with a good dietary foundation. This is why nutrition and exercise are so closely linked.

Jason Romano believes that training should be an expression of art. The art of showing off your body in the same way that painters, sculptors and musicians show off great works, or writers present a new book. It is true that when you know you look good, you feel more confident. The body, he says, is one of the most amazing pieces of art there is. Jason also says that we are too ready to take the surgical route to perfection rather than addressing the root cause of our problem – diet and exercise. Or rather, the wrong diet and lack of exercise. Looking at how we approach both can make a radical difference to our looks and how we feel.

Going to the gym can be a relaxing way to end the day, a great way to work off stress, or give yourself space to clarify your thoughts. Runners often say they don’t feel right with the world until they have had a run. Jason offers a chance to experience the same thing; an opportunity to put your mind into neutral to solve problems while your body does the work as instructed by your personal trainer.

In addition, he offers nutrition advice so that you can eat the right things to make the most of your gym time, as well as have enough energy to get through the rest of your day. It may feel like a major change, but it will give good results and may even allow you to cheat and have that chocolate bar or plate of fries without feeling too guilty. Like many people, Jason knows that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ diet isn’t going to work for everyone, and so his nutrition advice will work in harmony with what you can eat, what you should be eating and what you want to achieve in terms of health, wellness and fitness.

Forming good habits is integral to a successful fitness regime. With someone like Jason to support you, you have a readymade gym buddy and someone to be accountable to; who will be happy when you are doing well and do their best to support you when you’re feeling discouraged at not reaching any particular goal. Jason aims to make good habits the only habits you will want to follow, by finding out about your strengths and weaknesses, then working with them to ensure long term success.

If you live in Manhattan and need to hire a personal trainer, then Jason Romano should be on your list of people to speak to. He offers more than straightforward personal fitness training, by also incorporating nutrition advice into his sessions. By hiring someone like Jason, you will get an all round service which will help you to turn your life around and make the most of every part of it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

FLYBi - more than a drone, and crowdfunded

FLYBi official logo. Used with permission.

A drone shaped something like the Starship Enterprise, available in a rainbow of colors, that gives pilots a firsthand flying experience via a wearable wrist screen and virtual reality goggles? That’ll be FLYBi.

FLYBi is set to be crowdfunded from summer 2015 with a kit including a pair of head tracker goggles with inbuilt video screens, a wearable wrist screen, a multipurpose ‘helideck’ storage system, the capacity to take aerial photos and more.

Designed by a group of engineers from Miami, under the Advance Robotix Corporation banner, the FLYBi is a more automated version of the drones currently available. It can take photographs and videos in flight, and you can then share them via the cloud and social media. CEO Tim Voss is understandably enthusiastic about launching a crowdfunding campaign over the summer for this revolutionary new bit of kit. He firmly believes it is a natural successor to the remote controlled cars some geekier families have enjoyed in the past.

The first FLYBis will be available to order via a well known (and as yet unconfirmed) crowdfunding site in the late summer. This will be a beta prototype, with delivery expected in early 2016. The team believe that FLYBi is more than a drone, as it automates the complicated parts of RC flying to leave more time for the controller to enjoy the experience of owning this device. It even has a system of automated battery charging which leads to very little downtime. Now, if only phones and laptops could be similarly helpful!

In the official product specifications, FLYBi is described as ‘an entire set of devices that work together’. It sounds like part computer, part aircraft, part virtual reality headset. With its filming and photography techniques, owners will have to ensure they abide by local and federal laws relating to the use of drones and remote controlled devices. Once those requirements are met, it could be used to gain a bird’s eye view of geography, nature and even other humans. The four parts of the set are designed to work optimally together (the drone, the wearable controller, the tracker goggles and the helideck docking system) but the remote control can be programmed to work with other makes of drone, at the owner’s risk. The FLYBi and controller will be available together; the goggles and helideck are to be offered as extras to the basic package. It will also be possible to buy the goggles and gimbal separately for use with other drones but again, modifications to the drone and the software will be required, and are undertaken at the owner’s risk.

The FLYBi is designed to be very stable so as to give optimum pictures and video. It has thick propeller covers for maximum safety and a sophisticated obstacle avoidance system. The wrist wearable remote control has dedicated buttons for takeoff, landing, hover modes as well as one touch operations for photography and video capture. The screen is almost 2 inches wide and has anti-glare glass for optimum viewing. The goggles allow the wearer to obtain the unique bird’s eye view which is the major selling point of this drone. The tracker gimbal in the drone follows the wearer’s head movements and allows a true panoramic in-flight view of the surroundings. The goggles have two internal screens which capture real time front facing live feed as the drone flies

On the ground, the helideck performs all the other necessary functions. It is a combined landing pad, battery charger and storage device. FLYBi’s helideck can be mounted on a vehicle roof rack for ease of transportation, or even connected to an external power source to keep the batteries fully charged. The designers hope this will lead to unlimited flying time, although given the beta nature of the project this is not guaranteed. Rather helpfully, the helideck also includes two external USB power points to charge other devices. Battery changing and charging is fully automated robotically, requiring no pilot involvement.

The drone has dedicated storage space in the cloud for its photographs and video, which can be uploaded automatically once the drone returns home to the helideck. There are embedded tools for sharing the videos and images to assorted social media platforms, so pilots can show off their device’s capabilities. Video capture and photography are controlled via the wrist rest without the need to wear the goggles. However, wearing the goggles will enhance the bird’s eye view experience, making it fully immersive.

The FLYBi website is detailed, including access to the full press kit and FAQs. Initial orders will only be accepted through the crowdfunding platform, and potential customers are advised to join the mailing list to keep up to speed with developments and release dates. Advance Robotix maintains that the idea behind FLYBi is to have an easy to fly device which brings the joy back to flying while delivering state of the art visuals to the pilot. FLYBi should not lose signal, but if it does, it is programmed to return to the Helideck or start position immediately.

As FLYBi is crowdfunded, the funders will have the final say about which features should be included in the first full production model. So not only will pilots buying at this early stage be able to enjoy a fully first person view experience with their new device, they will actually become involved in the production itself. Mailing list subscribers will be the first to hear anything further so interested parties are advised to sign up now.

FLYBi components - FLYBi, helideck, tracker goggles and wrist wearable controller.
Image used with permission.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Janify Carpet Cleaning in Birmingham, Alabama

Janify Carpet Cleaning. Logo used with permission.

People are staying longer in their homes these days, sometimes because they don't have the money to move on up, sometimes because they choose to hold onto their home as an investment for their family. Perhaps they might have to move for work and will rent out their former home while they’re away. Whatever the reason, they certainly aren't replacing carpets as often as they used to.

Buy-to-rent landlords are always active too, not just among the people who are relocating for work reasons, but also in order to make some money themselves. Many landlords see any property they buy to rent out as an investment, and are willing to pay specialists to keep it looking as clean as possible. This maximizes their chances of renting successfully and of selling the property for the best price in the long run.

Hence the rise of companies like Janify Carpet Cleaning in Birmingham AL, which specialize in offering an environmentally friendly way to thoroughly clean carpets, rugs, tiles, wood floors and upholstery. Owner Kurt gives a personalized service to each client, visiting their home and giving his expert opinion on the flooring or upholstery in question. He reckons the secret to his company's success is because of the thorough approach taken to cleaning any surface or piece of furniture, while also using environmentally sound products. The process begins with a pre-treatment, continues with a steam cleaning process, odor and stain removal and can also include the application of a carpet protection layer once the cleaning is complete.

Landlords and property sellers need to ensure their property looks at its best when potential tenants or buyers come round. In the average family home, children and animals often give carpets a hard time, but a professional cleaning company like Janify Carpet Cleaning can restore color and life to a floor. Having a floor professionally cleaned is a much cheaper and less disruptive option than replacing the entire carpet too.

The basic service offers a pretreatment and steam clean. Once the carpet has been cleaned to Janify’s exacting standards, the technician can apply a layer of carpet protector to help preserve the pristine look of the carpet for longer. And not only will the carpet or rug be clean, it will be odor free thanks to Janify's use of a live enzyme solution to kill off any unpleasant smells. During the cleaning process, the technician will also deal with stains of all kinds, working out the best way to remove them as thoroughly as possible, no matter how long it takes.

But it's not just carpets and rugs which are expertly cleaned by Janify Carpet Cleaning’s  technicians. They also clean tiles and hardwood floors too. Using specialist high pressure equipment, they will return tiles and grout to their original color. Ground in dirt and general grime is easily beaten by Janify's specialist equipment and skilled technicians. Wood floors will visibly shine after a visit from Janify's staff, who will sweep, scrub and mop any dirty hardwood floor and immediately improve the look of the room as a result.

Rugs often have a hard life. Pets love curling up on them and they're often found in the places with highest foot traffic, at doors, bedsides or fireplaces. Never fear; Janify will give any rug a new lease of life with a gentle and careful cleaning process designed to restore it to its best, removing all the dirt and germs typically caught by the average rug.

A clean carpet looks better with clean soft furnishings, so it may be better to think about buying an all inclusive carpet and upholstery cleaning package. This will attract a discount on the cost of separate carpet and upholstery cleaning, so it's an offer worth considering. There are several things homeowners can also do to help keep their carpets looking as good as possible between Janify’s visits. Apart from vacuuming regularly, Janify also recommend cleaning areas of high traffic in a criss-cross pattern to ensure the largest amount of grime is removed. The use of rugs or mats is also recommended in these areas, as this prevents undue wear.

Should the worst happen, Janify Carpet Cleaning runs an emergency response service to deal with water damaged floors. The staff can also offer help and advice on steps to follow until their technicians arrive. Wet floors can present a worrying health hazard if not dealt with promptly, and it is important to get the right advice quickly and implement it.

Carpets are an important part of every home. Dingy, smelly carpets are unwelcoming and detract from the look and value of a property. An obviously clean carpet is an immediate sign of a home which is cared for and indicates that the owner takes pride in living there. Janify Carpet Cleaning will ensure that floors in the Birmingham area are cleaned professionally and regularly to project a home’s very best side every time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

UK Announcements website has Anuntul de UK for Romanians

Anuntul de UK logo. Used with permission.

It can be hard moving to another country. You have to find a place to live, a job and just about everything else you need, often all at the same time and without much support from anyone else. However, for Romanians in the UK, all of that just became easier. Take a look at the Anuntul de UK (UK Announcements) website and you'll see what I mean. There are places to live, job vacancies of all kinds and items for sale. All in Romanian, naturally. In addition, the site also features a comprehensive business directory, a blog about life here in the UK, and even a small dating area.

The site has a wealth of information and contact details for both newly arrived and established immigrants. Some of the jobs and houses/rooms available will allow you to practice and improve your English, others will be working or living with other Romanian expats. Many of the houses and job opportunities are in and around London, located in places such as Croydon, Uxbridge, Hillingdon and Wembley. Properties of all sizes are featured; from single rooms in shared housing to entire places to rent.

There are almost 30 pages of jobs, ranging from a vacancy for a live in female carer to construction, engineering and restaurant work. There is even an advertisement for the Head Housekeeper at the Ibis Hotel in Reading. Many of the recent listings for services are offering places in cars being driven between England and Romania, but there are also deals offered by photographers, translators, car mechanics and more. The idea of offering carpool options has prompted the creation of a new specialist page just for that topic. The price of petrol and diesel is not as high as it was, but it certainly helps to have other people sharing the cost of a long journey. Flights are great, but if you want to bring a fair amount with you, then car sharing is the only option.

As you might expect, the site features several pages of things for sale - cars, bikes, mobile phones and handmade organic cosmetics, among other items. Meanwhile the dating small ads page only contains six advertisements at the moment but everything has to start off gradually. Maybe in time this area too will grow.

This site is simple to use and contains a large amount of useful information. For a newly arrived Romanian, it is a goldmine, a small piece of home that provides all the help needed to deal with those difficult few weeks after arrival. It also helps more established expats to move on while still staying in touch with the expat community. I wish a site like Anuntul de UK had been available to me when I was considering relocating to Germany 25 years ago. I guess that’s the beauty of the internet these days. People wanting to move can do their research before leaving and still survive when they arrive.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Automated Business Success sales funnel sites and landing pages

Automated Business Success.
Image provided by company and used with permission.

In these hi-tech days, even the most innovative entrepreneur is going to need a website to help sell their idea. But if the most technological thing you have ever done is to open a Word document, then you are probably going to need some help.

That's where UK-based Automated Business Success comes in. Founder Owen C Davies knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity, as well as how to transfer a successful offline business online and keep it successful. He's created several websites from scratch for clients and also advises business owners on how to make the most of their online presence.

Owen specialises in creating engaging landing pages and sales funnel sites to bring customers in and entice them to purchase goods or engage with your brand. Automated Business Success describes what his business is all about, making things simpler and more successful for the online business owner by automating some parts of the sales and marketing process.

As a business owner, coach or consultant, the first thing to do is to establish what you want your new site to achieve. After an initial strategy discussion, which is free, you will be invited to attend a workshop where you will create the initial blueprint of your site in collaboration with Owen. Depending on your technological skills, at this point you will be able to choose to take your creation away and set about building it, or request Automated Business Success’s help to set it up for you. For those who need a more hands-on experience, there is a 90 Day Implementation coaching program to follow on from the workshop, which extends the support for three months, keeping the buzz going and allowing for help if you hit any problems in the early days. Owen is also available for shorter time periods, so you can enlist his help with smaller projects like creating special pages or sorting out background issues with the site once it’s up and running.
Owen C Davies, founder, Automated Business Success.
Image supplied by him and used with permission.

Of course, if all you need is a bit of advice to ensure you’re on the right road, then you could always check out Automated Business Success’s Tumblr blog, which is full of ideas, hints and tips for making an online business successful – and reminders about what you should be doing as a business owner too, such as automating the sales process, but being there to offer personal customer service to clients with queries.

Most companies and services these days will benefit from having an online presence. If you can automate some aspects of sales and marketing, you will have more chance of keeping up with the other demands of your business, as well as giving yourself time to devote to those customers who need a little extra help for one reason or another.

Saving time by automating tasks while growing your business? That makes sense to me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jeda Voice - the sweetest R&B you'll hear all year

Jeda Voice. Image supplied by and used with permission of the artist.

Jeda Voice (who goes by @ThePrinceJeda on Twitter) is an R&B musician from Riverside, California. He makes melodic R&B and hip-hop beats with heartfelt vocals and would rather like to be your vote in the 2016 Freshmen listing run by XXL magazine.

XXL’s Freshmen are hot new R&B and hip-hop voices ready to take you all by storm. JedaVoice’s brand of R&B is more melodic than some, with better diction and slightly sweeter melodies. To check out his brand, hit up Soundcloud where you will find a large selection of his tracks, spanning the last two years of output.

The later tracks are still generally sweeter than his earlier work, his year-old album Finally Here contains some lovely examples of R&B that positively ooze honey. Compare his latest track When A Man’s Fed Up or the two year old Hot And Cold and you can hear the differences in Jeda Voice’s style. That’s the difference that two years of life and music can make for a guy.

Smile is perfect summer listening for relaxing long, hot evenings. The slow twangy guitar is joined by a low-key cymbal and snare combination, over which Jeda Voice and his crew rap languidly “Let me just cool off for a while...I just want to see you smile once again, beautiful”. What better soundtrack to a holiday romance? Meanwhile, one of the more recent tracks, Make It Clear, has a much faster beat to it, and wouldn’t be out of place in the UK charts these days. The backing is almost dance tempo on this song, but the melodies are still as sweet as the rest of the pieces. “Make it clear, I don’t want you back. Don’t look at me like that,” runs the backing track. Pulling no punches, but doing so tunefully.

XXL magazine is a music and lifestyle publication dedicated to showcasing the best of upcoming hip-hop and R&B artists, their music, videos, influences and lifestyles. The staff have been running the Freshmen Cypher since 2011; a chance for their newly selected Freshmen to spit against beats they have never heard before and shoot a cover photo to boot. It is the most popular feature of their year, and for the XXL guys, gals and Freshmen, a very important time too. @VSattenXXL is the EIC - Editor-in-Chief - of this repository of all things hip-hop. The magazine features new releases, photos, popular tracks (banging tracks), videos, new artists, wider news and more of interest to hip-hop and R&B fans worldwide.

If you like listening to new music, you should try hearing Jeda Voice, and maybe keep up with XXL as well. It’s not often I recommend an R&B singer, but it’s not often I find one who sounds as sweet as @ThePrinceJeda does, either.