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Hot Tools Curling Irons

I have tried many curling irons for my unruly, hard to manage hair and I have found the Hot Tools Curling Iron to be one of the best. Here are some of the pros and cons that everyone in my group of friends agree with although they have each used different sizes of this same product.

The Hot Tools Curling Iron comes in a variety of barrel sizes ranging from 3/4 to 2 inches making it perfect for all hair lengths. The smallest 3/4 inch barrel is perfect shorter or thin hair. Once you set the hair, the tighter curls last all day. The 2 inch barrel is great for hard to tame hair specially if you have a lot of it and it’s thick and long. The barrel is not only large but can grab a lot of more hair at one time so it doesn’t take forever to style. One of my friends with long hair even uses it to straighten – not bone straight – but to get good volume & fullness. Depending on your hair length and texture I am sure one of the seven sizes offered will work fine for you. I also really like the shiny, smooth, fullness I have been able to achieve.

This curling iron does heat up fast, in about a minute, and stays at the set temperature all the while you style your hair. There are up to ten different temperature settings which is perfect to handle all types of hair. It does get very hot so I would recommend you start at a lower temperature to determine what works best for your hair type. If you are new to this type of tool, you should know that for thin, fine, damaged or chemically treated hair lower settings are best but for thick, coarse or ethic hair you may need to go up to the extra high settings. The high settings are hotter than an oven at about 430F so watch out for burns specially around the hairline and ears.

The soft grip handle is comfortable and the 24K gold plated barrel moves smoothly through the hair and does not tug or pull. I found the clip that holds the hair to have enough tension to hold your hair properly. The long 8 foot cord is great to have because you are able to style your whole head in a comfortable position. Short cords was the one thing I found most annoying in other curling irons.

One problem with these curling irons is that the springs that hold the clip wear away in time and the tension lessens allowing hair to slip out of the clip. I am guessing the manufacturer must have realized this after customer complaints because now they give you two extra springs when you buy this product. The springs are not very hard to replace.

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Human Hair or Synthetic Wigs – What’s the Difference?

One of the first questions we ask women when they visit our wig boutique is: “Are you looking for human hair or synthetic?” For first time wig wearers, the answer is often: “I don’t know – What’s the difference?” Understanding the difference in these two types of wigs will help you make the right decision for you.

Something to consider – both human and synthetic fibers wigs are available in different grades or qualities. For our comparison, we will discuss the differences in a top quality synthetic to Grade A Human Hair. Here’s how they compare:

Appearance

You may assume that a human hair wig will look more natural than a synthetic, but this is not necessarily the case. Most people cannot tell the difference in human and synthetic just from looking at them. In general, synthetic will look a little shinier or more glossy than human hair. The higher quality synthetic wigs are not as shiny and look more natural than cheaper synthetics. Another difference in appearance has to do with movement. Human hair has more natural movement and bounce than synthetic – which tends to be a little stiffer. If you wear a short hair style, or use hairspray, this is usually not an issue. If you wear your hair long and loose, you may prefer the more natural movement of the human hair.

Texture

Human hair has a softer, silkier texture than synthetic. The exact texture of the hair will depend on where it’s from – Asian hair is thicker, straighter, and coarser. Indian hair is silky and wavy. European hair is finer, softer and has a very slight wave. The hair may also have been permed to recreate the appearance of Yaki hair.

Synthetic hair is not quite as soft and silky as human hair. The better the quality of the hair, the softer it will be. The texture of the hair is set at the factory and can range from straight to wavy to curly.

Washing

Both human and synthetic wigs can be washed. Synthetic hair should only be washed in cold water, with products designed specifically for synthetic fibers, then be allowed to air dry. The wig will retain its style.

Human hair can be washed in warm or cold water, and you can use any products that you can use on your own hair. We recommend using mild shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. Products designed for color treated hair work well. Washing the wig causes it to lose its style and return to its natural pattern. To re-style, you will need to blow dry or style with heated tools.

Life Span A lot of factors will determine how long your wig will last – how long the hair is, how often you wear it and under what circumstances, and how you care for it. Synthetic hair is prone to friction frizz when it rubs against something.

Longer wigs are particularly susceptible, as they are going to rub against your back, neck, purse, chair, etc. Human hair, when properly cared for, withstands friction, so it will last longer. As a rule of thumb, expect a short synthetic wig to last up to a year, and a long one up to 6 months. A short human hair wig will last up to 2 years, and a long one about a year. So, in general, you can expect a human hair wig to last about twice as long as a synthetic.

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Suggestions for Health Sector Reform in Trinidad and Tobago

Health reform refers to the changes in health administration, health planning and, health research that places significant emphasis on local health challenges aimed at improving health administration, health planning and healthcare. They will combine to produce an efficient model of healthcare delivery capable of increasing patient physical, medical and psychological safety. Health reform should be driven by empirical data, best practice and evidence based practice. A variety of health statistics; such as mortality, manpower needs, technology functioning and patient satisfaction; should be analyzed and employed in strengthening health systems.

In Trinidad and Tobago the current system of healthcare is highly centralized. The Ministry of Health maintains operational oversight of five regional health authorities. These are the North West Regional, North Central Regional, Eastern Regional, South West Regional and Tobago Regional. South West, North West and North Central are the largest regions; each catering for the healthcare needs of more than three hundred thousand people.

A significant reform should be the specialization of the Ministry of Health in fewer functions aimed to improve healthcare efficiency. For example, it can concentrate on data compilation and analysis. It should be staffed with expert health researchers tasked with analyzing changes in epidemiology, and trends in morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health should have the power to instruct regional authorities to make systemic and resource changes based on the statistics collected and analyzed. Regional bodies should be mandated to provide health based statistics to the Ministry of Health quarterly. The Ministry of Health must maintain general oversight of regional authorities. It should produce annual reports based on self- monitoring and evaluation of the systems, performances and challenges in each region. Financial statements and audits should be submitted annually to the Ministry of Health and factors accounting for variance should be justified. Recommendations should be made for improvements and incidences of white-collar crime prosecuted.

One major reform that should be implemented is granting absolute autonomy to regional health authorities for the delivery of healthcare. They should be able to generate their own funds by charging fees for their services. This would eliminate dependency on the state or Ministry of Finance for funding. Each regional health authority should be able to invest in the stock market or undertake other income generating measures it deems feasible. Its funds should be spent in accordance with the health needs of the population it serves. Regional authorities should be responsible for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. In addition, they should be given oversight of private hospitals and health facilities in their geographic regions. Private facilities should be subject to price controls to avoid exorbitant charges and should be required to pay at least ten percent of their annual profit to the regional authority.

In addition, regional authorities should have the power to ensure that all health institutions and providers adhere to national accreditation standards. The Ministry of Health should be charged with responsibility for developing national accreditation standards in all aspects of the operations of health institutions. These should include hospitals, pharmacies, private practice. Also conventional and alternative medicines should be subject to accreditation standards. Everything and every health based institution should be subject to accreditation standards comparable with those of more developed countries such as Canada and the United States.

It is palpable that the boundaries of each regional authority be redefined so that they are of almost equal population size. At this time South West Regional is responsible for slightly over one half million people. Therefore given its limited resources, it cannot be expected to perform with greatest efficiency. Given the fact that the better health facilities are situated in urban centers, this would be a challenge that must be overcome judiciously. To accommodate this reform, regional authorities should induce joint public and private partnerships in the provision of healthcare centers in rural and other districts less accessible to major hospitals and health centers.

To make the health system efficient, a centralized electronic health record system should be developed and implemented. This would ensure that patients could access care in any region. Thus it would make it easy to access health records from any healthcare facility owned and administered within any regional authority. It is expected that the Ministry of Health should take a leading role in this enterprise. Records of patients in private hospitals should be accessible to regional authorities given that they may be moved to a public hospital if the care they require cannot be attained there. Sometimes for financial reasons such as exorbitant cost, patients may be moved to a public hospital.

Employment policies should enable the free movement of skills and expertise across regions. In some instances, highly specialized surgeons and caregivers should be made available to patients in other regions on a needs basis. In other words, one region can pay another for the services of its skilled human or physical resources demanded.

Regional bodies can collaborate in health planning. They can develop their strategic, business and budget plans cooperatively. Afterwards they can tweak their plans to fit their population needs. The main advantages of centralized planning will be greater transparency, accountability and inter-operational functionality. Inter-planning can reduce competition between regions and ensure that scare resources are used efficiently. In effect, the Ministry of Health can compare operational effectiveness and best practice across all regions and provide opportunities to strength operational or institutional efficiency.

The health system should be reformed so that it is able to provide high quality care for patients. Patients should be well-educated to take advantage of a competent, highly organized and skillfully administered healthcare system. Finally reform must involve all stakeholders; government, private practitioners and citizenry. A convergent bottom up and top down model should be adopted so that there is universal buy-in to health reform capable of contributing to economic and social development of the country’s human capital.

This article contains suggestions for health sector reform in the small island nation state of Trinidad and Tobago. If these and other reforms are adopted, the nation’s overall health will be improved. Its citizens would benefit from a well administered system.

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Small Business Owners: Utilizing Technology to Improve Profits

If you really want to become more profitable and improve operations in your company, you have to shift your focus from the following limiting thoughts about technology.

 

  1. If I buy the latest production software we will be in good shape
  2. We don’t do that here
  3. We are unique, we don’t have competition that use technology to help them generate profits
  4. The plan is in my head, people will steal it off the computer
  5. All I need is more sales to make more profits

 

You’ve got to get the right mindset by eliminating restricting thoughts, and then you’ll be ready to improve people, processes and profitability.

Do you ever wonder how a company can start out with just one idea, a passion and a vision, then 10 to 20 years later have thousands of employees and millions in sales?

 

  1. What did these companies do to become so successful
  2. Are the owners smarter than you?
  3. Do they work harder than you?
  4. Did they have better equipment or people than you?

 

No. But they do use better technology tools to drive operation (the people and the process). Operations represent about 60% or 80% of all your overhead costs but they’re the least understood by US businesses.

For decades, the Japanese have focused on operations that have driven innovation and a culture of continuous improvement. In the right small business owner hands, operations and technology can be a competitive weapon.

Now, ask yourself how can your small company— with just a handful of employees and limited resources — turn operations and technology applications into a powerful weapon to beat competition and learn to grow and thrive!

Why invest in technology / What are the benefits

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from tight cash flow, exhausted lines of credit and top-line growth, then you have weak operations and have underutilized the technology applications onsite or off-the-shelf that can help you.

First step to rapid profit improvement is to start by questioning your employees. They usually know where costly blocks and bottlenecks are hidden.

Technology can store employee survey results that help you to plan profitability.

Employee Questionnaire(sample)

 

  1. Are your interests and ambitions being challenged
  2. Does each department in this company have measurable standard designed to increase profitability? Does each area have documentation of process flows and procedures of how it should work?
  3. Does everyone in this company share the goal of improving the company profits? Does the CEO hold town hall meetings about ‘planned profits’?
  4. Are you regularly told when you do good work?
  5. Do you get the help you need to do a good job?
  6. As an employee, do you feel you can trust your direct supervisor/manager?
  7. Are owner/managers open and honest with employees?
  8. Does the company provide you with continual training in areas that will make you a better employee? Has it trained you on how to cut operating expenses or increase revenue to improve profits in your area?
  9. Are your responsibilities generally explained, well planned and organized?
  10. Is poor performance tolerated by management? i.e., worker performance, operations bottlenecks and customer relations.

 

The following are other ways business productivity software drives business processes more efficiently to gain optimal results:

Create an open and communicative environment.

By storing appraisal information within a formal database, managers can more easily communicate business strategy and create measurable goals for their employees that will support overall company objectives. In allowing employees to see the whole picture and understand better how individual goals fit into the company’s business objectives. This can create a energized and engaged employees, thereby raising the business productivity of the company.

Motivate your employees using technology.

Based upon the information gathered in an online performance evaluation, managers can compare current skills with those required for advancement or other recognition or reward opportunities that present themselves as the manager tracks progress on employee goals throughout the year. You may also find you need to redirect employees to different departments if you feel their business productivity could increase elsewhere. If there are impediments to better performance, the company should review why it is happening and try to eliminate these through better allocation of resources or additional training.

Monitor business productivity and employee progress on goals.

Business productivity software solutions enable managers to more easily track progress during every phase of goal completion and offer immediate reinforcement or coaching to keep performance and deadlines on track in daily operations, and utilize performance measurements for strategic planning.

Electronic Commerce

There are many business applications related to e-commerce, from setting up your online storefront to managing your supply chain to marketing your products and services. These technologies fall into three main categories:

Business to Business(B2B)

 

  • Purchasing indirect supplies
  • Look for catalogue-based websites offered by suppliers for corporate purchases, similar to business-to-customer websites, for purchasing indirect supplies such as office furniture, pens, paper, and general office equipment.
  • Leveraging your existing Web presence
  • Improve your existing business-to-customer e-commerce website. Greater sophistication can be added into your online store to target your business clientele.

 

Business to Customer(B2C)

The global reach of the Internet has allowed many businesses to sell their products and services online, both at home and abroad. An electronic storefront is a website with many pre-built e-commerce components like electronic shopping carts and secure payment gateways that you can use to set up an online store.

Internet Marketing

Everything you do to promote your business online is Internet marketing. For example, Internet marketing strategies include (but are not limited to) website design and content, search engine optimization, directory submissions, reciprocal linking strategies, online advertising, and email marketing.

How to Implement Technology to increase profits

IT implementation can be a valuable tool for increasing workplace productivity, but without a careful selection of the right technologies for your specific industry and comprehensive employee training, it can also serve to reduce productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction. The return on investment will depend on whether the technologies implemented are right for a given business’ needs and how prepared employees are to use them.

Step 1

Brainstorm a list of business process improvements you may be able to realize from a technological implementation. Your list should include three categories: improvements that you know to be possible, and which are core requirements for your expense; a wish list of things you would like to have, but which may be future development efforts; and a list of things which would transform the way you do business, but which may not be possible. These three targets provide you with a present-day implementation goal, as well as a future development target–and it may be that your transformational goals could be far easier to reach than you expect.

Step 2

Determine whether you intend to develop these technologies using in-house resources, or through outside consultancies. Nearly every major workflow technology requires extensive customization, implementation procedures and training. Small businesses can sometimes get by cheaply using staff members technologically proficient–but mistakes made at the beginning of the process can ramp up costs later on when you turn to professional outside support.

Step 3

Avoid specifying particular technologies if you do not have the technical expertise to evaluate them properly. The purpose of the managerial process at this stage is to define goals and budgetary constraints; non-technical managers who wed themselves to specific technologies too early can miss out on substantial cost savings, and choose a technology not the best suited for the work.

Step 4

Circulate your request for proposals among outside consultants and implementors, or establish an internal process for doing the same among your staff if you are keeping the work in-house. Major technological implementations will not succeed if they are added to the existing workload of an employee. Proper technological implementations can be more than a full-time job in and of themselves. Staff members shifted to technology implementation should have their existing duties moved to other staff resources.

Step 5

Negotiate a time frame, budget and implementation benchmarks with your external or internal staff resources. If you are working with an outside consultant, your contract should include protections against running over budget and over schedule. Likewise, the consultant will protect his own firm by setting specific terms of the work to be completed, and charging you extra if you change them over the course of the contract.

Step 6

Develop an implementation timetable, including the following steps: test deployment to review the work; training, if necessary; a transition phase from the current workflow to the new technology; and production deployment of the completed technology. This last phase is typically followed by an iterative process, in which improvements to the technology are collected from the staff who have direct experience working with it. When budget and time allow for it, apply a new cycle of upgrades to your technology to ensure that you are getting the most out of it.

 

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Technology Enhances Wine, Spirits and Beer Labels

What’s the purpose of a wine label; or for that matter a label on spirits and beer? Obviously, the first response to that question is: to satisfy the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) regulations. Once that is accomplished, the label space remaining may be used for branding and marketing copy. The fact is, there is very little space on bottle labels to get creative with messages. Now technology is helping solve the limited space on labels by way of RFID (radio frequency identification/ID) technology. Tap a smartphone on a NFC (Near Field Communications) tag embedded on a bottle and see what comes up on your smartphone; assuming there is currently a tag on the label.

Depending on a winery’s budget and the number of smartphones enabled with RFID tag readers (newer smartphones have built-in reader capability), wine, beer and spirits producers can communicate directly with the consumer while they are standing in front of the bottle or can. These electronic tags can impart information in any format. The information can be audio, a message or automatically opening a website page; the choice is up to the winery or craft beverage company. The most economical tag option is to use NFC tags embedded in a label or a very thin flexible film adhered to a bottle.

This NFC technology has different names such as Smart Labels, Tags, and OpenSense Tags; the moniker I use is “Tap Tags”. Smart Labels (originated in the consumer products industry) are starting to appear on food, personal care and pharma items. Although extremely limited, spirits, beer and wine are recent joiners. In fact, companies using smart label tags are not just the big players in the food and personal care space but are also used by small start-ups. Basically, tags are a means for producers of products to give the consumer more information than is possible to print on a label. But, the benefits of such tags aren’t just in dispensing more information, it is also about branding, loyalty, increased sales, etc.

QR codes have been around for decades. They can do some of the operations a NFC tag can perform but are limited. More on QR code versus NFC follows.

Twenty years ago, I was involved with a gentleman who is an expert integrator of RFID (radio frequency identification/ID) tag technologies for casinos. His patented technology is used today in allowing casinos to authenticate and track their gaming chips within a casino. Ken Smith, writing for Blackjackinfo.com on November 5, 2012 reported that Wynn/Encore Casino’s in Las Vegas starting using chips embedded with RFID tags in 2005. Point being: the level of sophistication offered by “tag” technologies allow companies to communicate with consumers, even before they buy the product.

Decades ago barcodes started allowing companies the means to track inventory, monitor parts and adjust pricing instantly. Then RFID tags came along which expanded the capabilities of product monitoring passively and actively; reading and writing information to a RFID tag. Depending on the capabilities of an RFID tag, information can not only be read from a tag, but that tag can also be written to; adding more/different/updated information on the tag. We don’t want to forget the QR (Quick Response Code) that most smart phones can read optically and provide an on-screen response via a link to a landing page. The QR code, invented in 1994 has a similar application as the barcode. Smartphones today come with QR reading capabilities and more recently antenna to communicate with NFC tags.

A derivative of RFID technology that is gaining acceptance rapidly is the NFC tag. A strong proponent of NFC technology is coming from Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute-the SmartLabel™ group. They formed an alliance called Trade Partners Alliance to explore ways to be transparent with quick, reliable, actionable, in-depth product information for the consumer. One of their applications involves NFC tags which takes the consumer, via their smartphone, to a navigational landing page. All the consumer is required to do is tap their smartphone on the NFC tag on the product packaging.

Noted previously, most product packaging has limited space for details. The real estate available on a printed wine label may not be enough to provide a plethora of information options various consumers are interested in and/or need. Solution: why not make it possible for a consumer to tap their smartphone against a “tap tag” on a product and instantly be taken to a URL/website/landing page that allows the producer to communicate (in print, video or audio) with a potential customer concerning the product. An adage I hear a lot: You can do anything with enough time and money. Same adage applies to NFC technology. For our discussion I am taking the quickest and most creatively flexible approach to new label technologies; the NFC tag, while not totally forgetting QR codes.

This brings us to the “here and now” concerning new technologies that allow producers of wine, spirits and beer to communicate directly with their customer. I am talking about NFC (Near Field Communications), a technology application already being explored by Diageo, Coronado Brewing, and a winemaker in Spain (Barbadillo Wines). In December 2017 Astral Tequila will feature NFC technologies to promote in-store consumer interactions. It has been reported by one integrator/manufacturer of NFC applications, an alcohol product company realized a 30% increase in conversion rates when testing their foray into NFC label tags. Yes, NFC is part of many label options that can be very transparent to the consumer.

A NFC type smart label is actually a RFID tag that is about as thin as 3 sheets of printer paper or.0002 inches. When labels, with embedded NFC tags, are tapped by a NFC enabled smartphone, the phone receives pre-programmed information. For example, the user may be directed to a predetermined site. The website/landing page the consumer is directed to can be designed as a winery, brewer or distillery deems appropriate. The information in the NFC tag can be approximately 7K in size. Again, larger and more capable RFID tags can offer greater capabilities and much more capabilities, but at more expense and involved integration.

One manufacturer of this technology that demonstrated the NFC options for me was Metal Craft. “The options for NFC to communicate with customers in the beverage industry is mind boggling,” said Austin Elling, Marketing Manager-Metal Craft. “Here are some examples of what can be programmed into one of our NFC tags: vCard to import data into the address book, URL to open a given web address, plain text to display simple messages on a smartphone, telephone numbers to initiate a call, geo location to open a specific destination,” says Elling. “For alcoholic beverage business, my experience says that branding and creating direct communications with a customer is in the NFC sweet-spot. A winery may decide to use NFC capabilities for a loyalty program, announcements, promotional trials, initial trials, wine clubs, etc.”

Digressing for a moment. Recently, Anheuser-Busch launched a new Tequila flavored beer branded as Oculto Beer. The label on the beer was embedded with a tag and battery that lit up the eyes on the skull logo on the label. They positioned the switch where most people would gab the bottle. Obviously, it was creative and very expensive. Unfortunately, consumers bought the beer for the novelty of the label technology; consumers did not like the Tequila flavor and it failed.

Relatively inexpensive, NFC tags can only be read at extremely close range, which is why the label area containing the tag needs to be tapped with the enabled smartphone. Some more expensive and capable RFID tags can have a read/write range of approximately 200 feet. However, at approximately $0.10 each, NFC tags are affordable. The price however does not include set-up costs and integration with the back-end landing page. Nathan Chandler writing in “How Stuff Works” reports, “Memory capacity and speed dictate tag cost, which is a critical consideration for companies that want to spread information far and wide through smart posters or flyers… labels. Right now, tags cost around 30 cents apiece even in bulk, but the price should continue to drop until they’re only a few pennies each [source: NFC Rumors].”

Why would a winery, craft brewery or craft spirits company invest in a new label endeavor? Here are some immediate marketing applications that come to mind:

· Protect the integrity of their brands

· Build a comprehensive loyalty program and brand awareness

· Source for consumers to obtain product reviews

· Detailed product information-tasting notes, retail locations, AVA’s, information about winemaker, DtC (Direct to Consumer) pricing

· E-commerce centric efforts

· Customer surveys

· Encourage wine club and newsletter sign-ups

Coronado Brewing in Coronado, CA found consumers were intrigued with their use of NFC technology (tap tags) embedded in their coasters; “consumers were keeping the coasters to show friends,” reported Coronado Brewing’s Marketing Dept. press release. Coasters are a unique use of NFC tags, because the craft beer industry is all about building brand trials, positioning the beer as being handcrafted and artisanal, and explaining quality. The coaster application certainly achieved the greater objectives. Coronado Brewing know they must be real, accessible, authentic, and back it up by delivering the message with and experience of being new. Once a brand wins loyalty, the brand wins, states the company’s marketing material.

Coronado Brewing tested the NFC tag concept with ThinFilm of San Jose, CA and concluded: “A brand can do the following without the interference of search engines or social media platforms: Communicate directly with the consumer; provide a unique digital experience; and, surprise and delight customers on their terms,” commented Bill Cummings, Senior Vice President-ThinFilms Electronics ASA.

Barbadillo Wines, using ThinFilm NFC tags promoted a contest for consumers on their website form NFC generated visits, by using a series of uniquely generated entry numbers printed on each cork. Basically, they were promoting wine sales at the retail level and at home when the wine was opened. “With SpeedTap (ThinFilm brand name) tags applied, consumers are able to interact instantly with products and the brand by tapping the product tag with their smartphones (no app required). The tap launches the brand’s customized landing page video or other digital asset on the smartphone,” said Cummings. “The ThinFilm application was not on the label, although it could have been, but rather on a bottleneck collar.”

Immediate benefits of the ThinFilm effort was a 10-fold increase in traffic versus social media and a 2.8x increase in average time spent on the site. Further, Barbadillo sold significantly more wine.

In the alcohol related product business, the TTB dictates the requirement of wine labels and it is a rather complex approval process to get a label designed that meets TTB requirements. That fact notwithstanding, there is important information, to me, not currently on a wine label that I would appreciate, especially when I look for a new wine.

From a nice-to-know vantage point there are other bits of information I would find interesting that would probably push me to become a brand loyalist. Looking at a 3.5-inch diameter bottle, it simply doesn’t lend itself to a great deal of copy about the product; small print doesn’t work for me because I always forget to wear glasses. NFC could come to my rescue when looking for more information about a wine.

Here is a potential scenario to illustrate my point.

Assume you walk into your favorite wine store to look for a nice wine as a hostess gift and you are interested in getting more information about the wine than is on the label; such information as suggested food pairings, information about the winemaker, past wine awards, how big is the winery, comments about the wine from other consumers. This is important information you might like before you buy the wine. Maybe it isn’t information that is life-saving, but it certainly would be nice-to-know. Further, I would probably become a loyal customer and maybe join their wine club.

Today what are my options to get ancillary information? I have long learned that large discount retailers are not a reliable source of information. Maybe you come home and do some research on-line. But there is an easy way to get more information. The easiest, and most economical would be the NFC tag on the bottle; the label or a stick-on tag would allow the consumer to tap their smartphone on the bottle. Once the consumer taps the NFC tag their smartphone would pull up a website where all ancillary information about the wine would be available instantly. The information format can be anything.

Any winery or consumer can easily experiment with NFC tags. In fact, by going to Amazon you can find many manufacturers who will sell 6 NFC tags for $8.00. These are thin flexible tags about 1-inch square, although NFC tags can come in various sizes. Then go to YouTube and learn the easy task of writing (programming) to the tag. As a consumer you will start to wonder why the wine, beer and distillery industry isn’t running to this technology for their new labels.

Before rushing into this technology wineries need to understand that there are back-end costs associated with finding the best alternative to integrating the NFC technology into labels. Then there is the issue setting up the tag with the information desired to be on the tag. Then there is the issue of integrating the tag, customer and product interface.

Thus far we have explored NFC tags in general, highlighting myriad applications for the wine, spirits and beer industries and have mentioned QR codes. It is important to understand, there are similarities between NFC technologies and the ubiquitous QR code. Any smartphone with a camera and a QR reader app can retrieve information from this code. NFC is the newest label technology to retrieve information via programmed coding. Google and Apple use NFC technologies for their payment systems. Most smartphones currently produced are equipped with NFC tag readers.

To use a QR code, a business decides what they want the QR code to link to and uses a computer program to generate the image.

Anyone can generate a QR code for free. I have generated 2 QR symbols, one for my vCard and another was another that was a graphic image and text about Image of Wine, LLC. These were relatively simple to generate; just fill in an on-line form. After generating one QR code I needed to change an e-mail address and phone number. The problem was that I had already printed a new brochure and business cards with the now obsolete QR code. I had to re-order all the promotional material.

After experimenting with NXT’s NFC tag’s, I found I could re-program the tag with my smartphone; granted it was only one tag.

A static image of the code must be printed on advertising or product packaging. AS I found out, if anything changes about the product or information, a new QR code must be generated and printed on new material and old materials must be removed from the market. Further, QR codes are read by a smartphone camera and the success of reading a code can be contingent on ambient lighting, quality of image, colors used and the camera itself. One good thing about QR codes, they can be generated for free and NFC tags require creating a design and encode the tag. In the end NFC tags are more reliable and versatile than QR codes. For large volume information both options require a landing page.

QR codes can take a consumer to specific information on a website and provide static information; however, the security and convenience of a QR code is not equal to that of NFC tags. Further, information directly retrieved from the QR label really depends on the size of the QR image; the larger the image the more information. NFC tags do not need to be visible to work.

If customization is going to be an issue with bottles of wine, a QR code must be visible for scanning and the colors used must be dark enough for the smartphone camera to read. Further the consumer must open a QR code reader to scan the image. Conversely, NFC tags offer complete freedom of design options because the tag can be hidden and not compromise the integrity of the label image/branding.

In 2015 Mr. Tony Rosati of Trust Point Innovations wrote about QR code and NFC tags. He said, “NFC tags are more expensive (on the order of $0.10) than printed QR codes printed on a label. The verdict: QR codes could be replaced with the more convenient NFC tags; however, there is an additional cost. It is reasonable to assume that product manufacturers would want to take advantage of consumer convenience and security.” Further, “NFC tags are really easy to use – just tap the tag. No special application to open, it’s built into the smartphone, and NFC tags are much more secure than QR codes.”

The intent in this article is to explain a new technology the alcohol industry should be exploring as NFC technology is becoming mainstream; it is a relevant marketing tool embraced by today’s consumers.

Consumers seem to love technology when it really can work for them. That same thought is transferrable to the winery, distillery and brewer. With all the conversations surrounding labels in the wine business, consumers must wonder, why not NFC tags-convenient, quick, flexible, leading edge method to distribute information and build loyalty.

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Old masters influence

After that, Don Juan realized that his previous life was just a mask and casts it off and www.lifeofanartist.nl then flew for his love on a silver string to the Moon. The Moon itself is at the first quarter which means that the new love is growing.

I don’t know if what was in my mind is well transposed onto the canvas, but I hope I managed to do it at least a half of that.

Tell me which old masters influence you:

Actually, when is about influence, I can’t give a particular name I very much like Caravaggio and he influenced me. Then there are various Old Dutch painters. But, the main influence in my realist art comes from contemporary realist artists who I think are better in depictions, yet, maybe not as good on the crafting-side of making a painting. I mean by that in regards to the use of techniques that ensure a very good and long preservation of paintings.

How long have you considered yourself an artist?

Maybe since I was 16 or 17… not sure exactly, but I’m sure I was thinking that I have artistic skills. This was also a time when even though I wasn’t drawing a single line I considered I made art simply by walking on a street or talking to friends. My mind was way way too open to what art making is. Anyway, I became confident that I’m an artist when I began making a living through art.

Tell me about your first experience painting with oil:

Oh, that’s so far in the past! I was a child… Was I 7 or 8? Not sure exactly what was my age when the family friend, who also is the one who initiated me in art, made me a gift box of oil color tubes. He gave it to me and nothing more. No instructions, no guidance… nothing! As you would give a chocolate to a kid and it’s something obvious that kids know what to do with. Also, he didn’t give me a canvas. So that I painted my first oil painting on paper. That kind of paper you can find for children’s watercolors. Had no thinner either, so of course, my brushes were ruined.

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10 Predictions On How Digital Technology Will Transform Brain Health And Cognitive Wellness In 2013

Compared to physical fitness, the fitness of the brain is often overlooked by both individuals and health systems, but it is easy to see positive and broad changes on how brain health is defined, monitored, maintained, and enhanced across the lifespan, and digital platforms are going to play a key role.

Here are 10 pre­dic­tions, many of which will likely be real­ized before the end of 2013, based on “The Dig­i­tal Brain Health Mar­ket 2012-2020: Web-based, mobile and biometrics-based tech­nol­ogy to assess, mon­i­tor and enhance cog­ni­tion and brain func­tion­ing”, the new mar­ket report tracking how emerging brain science and technologies are being applied to improve consumer and patient health.

1- More than one mil­lion adults in North Amer­ica alone will take a self-administered annual brain health check-up via their iPad or Android tablet.

2- More than one mil­lion ama­teur ath­letes will bet­ter man­age pos­si­ble con­cus­sions by tak­ing cog­ni­tive base­line tests via a mobile device.

3- More than 150,000 teenage and adult drivers will access web-based brain train­ing to become safer drivers.

4- Biometrics-aided med­i­ta­tion will become the next big thing in cor­po­rate and con­sumer wellness.

5- iPad-based cog­ni­tive screen­ings will inform more diag­noses of Alzheimer’s dis­ease and MCI than neuroimaging.

6- Patients with Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis in at least 10 coun­tries will be offered online cog­ni­tive train­ing together with drug-based ther­apy to help address their condition.

7- Insom­nia and depres­sion will be first-line treated with com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­apy in at least two national health services.

8- The industry’s first brain-based bio­marker to pre­dict depres­sion treat­ment responses will be cleared by the FDA.

9- Brain train­ing firm Lumos Labs and/or biometrics-based devel­oper Neu­roSky will file for an IPO.

10- At least one major insurer will launch an edu­ca­tional cam­paign to help adults proac­tively take charge  Newsrooms.ca of their own “brain fit­ness” nav­i­gat­ing emerg­ing research and dig­i­tal brain health tools.

As a growing number of consumers, innovators, and decision-makers invest in digital technologies to better monitor and enhance cognition across the lifespan, we are witnessing the rapid growth and development of a new digital brain health marketplace. We can expect several drivers to fuel continued growth and innovation. Equipment that used to be expensive and cumbersome is becoming user-friendly and inexpensive, and tablets and mobile phones are becoming a major delivery vehicle for digital brain health solutions.

Now it is your turn. Do you agree or disagree with these predictions? Is any of them directly relevant to you, your family, your work? Please add your two cents to the conversation via Twitter, Facebook.

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5 Easy Ways To Cut Your Household Expenses

Title:
5 Easy Ways To Cut Your Household Expenses

Word Count:
366

Summary:
Are you shocked when seeing your household expenditures every month? The expenses seem to increase every month. If you are in this situation, try these 5 recommendations before your extra paid money will accumulate to a significant amount!

1. Recycle those junk letters.
Each month, you will probably received a dozen or more letters from direct mailing companies in your mailbox. Some of these letters are printed on one side only. Collect these letters and combined them i…
https://www.x-sex24.com

Keywords:
billing guide,bill,billing,billing secrets,aol billing

Article Body:
Are you shocked when seeing your household expenditures every month? The expenses seem to increase every month. If you are in this situation, try these 5 recommendations before your extra paid money will accumulate to a significant amount!

1. Recycle those junk letters.
Each month, you will probably received a dozen or more letters from direct mailing companies in your mailbox. Some of these letters are printed on one side only. Collect these letters and combined them into a writing pad. You can also used them to print draft documents. Besides saving money, you are also saving a lot of trees.

2. Install water saving kit in your toilet cistern.
When flushing the toilet, the amount of water used is usually more than is required. By installing a water saving kit in the cistern, the amount of water saved can be as much as three gallons per month.

3. Use the fan
Whenever possible, use the fan. The air conditioner is a major contributor to your utility bill. By using the fan, not only are you saving on your utility bill, you are also building up your body’s tolerance to heat. Your chances of getting heat exhaustion or heat stroke during the hot summer season are greatly reduced.

4. Do not throw away that old bar of soap yet.
As your wash your hands with soap on a daily basis, the bar will become smaller and smaller until it is almost unusable. Instead of throwing it away, simply stick the old bar of soap onto the new one. Just make sure both of them are wet when sticking them together.

5. Cut the tube of toothpaste into half.
When you can no longer squeeze out any toothpaste from the tube, just cut it in-half. There is some more toothpaste left that can last you for a couple of days if you have a large family. If you live alone or with your spouse only, the extra toothpaste can last up to five days or even more.

Start cultivating these useful habits today and make them a part of your daily life. You will be pleasantly pleased when you notice your household expense start to decline bit by bit as time goes on.

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3 Things To Know About Jumbo Mortgage Loans

Title:
3 Things To Know About Jumbo Mortgage Loans

Word Count:
395

Summary:https://www.discoverybit.com

A jumbo mortgage loan is one whose total amount is over $417,000 – Loans above this threshold are only slightly different than those below, yet those differences can be dramatic to borrowers unfamiliar with such a marketplace. It is also important to note that the ceiling for standard mortgage loans as opposed to Jumbo loans is not set in stone and is therefore subject to change at any time. This amount is decided by the two largest lending organizations in the Untied States,…

Keywords:
jumbo mortgage loan

Article Body:
A jumbo mortgage loan is one whose total amount is over $417,000 – Loans above this threshold are only slightly different than those below, yet those differences can be dramatic to borrowers unfamiliar with such a marketplace. It is also important to note that the ceiling for standard mortgage loans as opposed to Jumbo loans is not set in stone and is therefore subject to change at any time. This amount is decided by the two largest lending organizations in the Untied States, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

One of the most significant differences with a jumbo mortgage loan will be the interest rate – Since lenders consider homes with sale prices above the threshold to be “luxury” residences, they have presented a potential concern regarding successful resale of such homes, as well as an indication that appraisal values in this category do not increase as steadily as those homes below the jumbo cap. For this reason, the lenders imply that they are taking on more risk with such places, therefore higher interest rates are required to offset such liability.

Right alongside the higher interest rate will be a higher down payment requirement – It is almost impossible to obtain financing for a jumbo mortgage without a down payment, and this is directly related to the potential risks described above. Most jumbo mortgage lenders will require a minimum of 5-10%, and the amount will be dependent on the borrower’s credit.

Stricter documentation required – Since the majority of jumbo mortgage loans are with “alternative” lenders such as insurance companies and private investment groups, these organizations will commonly have stricter documentation requirements that may include income and asset verification beyond what the standard mortgage lenders request. Also, these alternative lenders will usually have loan programs that allow for longer loan terms than those offered to borrowers below the jumbo threshold. Typically, jumbo mortgages can have terms stretching as long as 40 or even 50 years.

Jumbo Loans are Becoming Prevalent – With the steady increase of residential real estate in the United States, the necessity of jumbo mortgage loans is becoming more and more prevalent. Certain geographic regions have property values that have recently increased dramatically, therefore the increased instances of jumbo mortgages can be tracked by location. Borrowers, especially those in such areas, must familiarize themselves with the different aspects of the jumbo loans to ensure they are not caught off-guard or unprepared.

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(R)Evolution In Home & Personal Accounting

Title:
(R)Evolution In Home & Personal Accounting

Word Count:
1559

Summary:
‘Accounting for a Better Life’ is a bhttps://deals1.promo/
ook in which John Passmore proposes a new, simplified and fun approach, to home and personal bookkeeping and accounting.

The new methods, based on what he calls, domestic well-being accounting, enable people to gain control of their personal and domestic, financial affairs. The system provides the necessary visibility so that users will know exactly what their money is being spent on, and how well balanced their spending is, in relation…

Keywords:
home accounting, personal accounting, domestic accounting, debt management, financial control,

Article Body:
‘Accounting for a Better Life’ is a book in which John Passmore proposes a new, simplified and fun approach, to home and personal bookkeeping and accounting.

The new methods, based on what he calls, domestic well-being accounting, enable people to gain control of their personal and domestic, financial affairs. The system provides the necessary visibility so that users will know exactly what their money is being spent on, and how well balanced their spending is, in relation to its distribution.

The balance is across basic domestic needs and responsibilities, discretionary spending on holidays, leisure and entertainment, and provision for future well-being. Knowing about the current and past spending patterns, users can determine where and by how much, changes might be needed. Budgeting and associated feedback, facilitate the monitoring of such financial planning.

The author believes the new methods have the potential to be adopted as a formal, sub-discipline of business accounting, eventually perhaps, with suitable certificates and diplomas for those who learn how to use it successfully.

With such recognition, the motivation for appropriate investment from industry and the state becomes real, so that domestic accounting, its further calibration and an associated training infrastructure, can all be further developed and refined.

He proposes that in time, such methods should become an established part of the school curriculum. Through this, youngsters will be able to achieve the best possible foundation to accept and take on the financial responsibilities that are associated with success, in modern life.

In the prevailing UK situation, of a very severe debt crisis, the new approach, almost in passing, provides the required visibility on the state of a family’s financial affairs, to provide warnings of potential difficulties so that the necessary defensive actions can be taken, to prevent falling into the debt trap. For those already experiencing some debt, the new methods provide the necessary visibility on their finances to facilitate the required planning and control, required to best manage debt recovery.

If people realized the extent and value of the average, domestic, cash turnover, in the course of a lifetime, it seems amazing that serious, financial management is not already, demanded. If an equivalent, small business, with similar turnover was not effectively managed, the owners would probably have shareholders, accountants and Company House, knocking on their doors.

Accounting has traditionally been thought of as a rather boring, difficult and tedious activity by most people. It is also recognized as somewhat of a challenge, in considering the length of training required to achieve professional status, as a Chartered Accountant, or similar.

Having started to manage his own accounts at home, soon after the arrival of the PC, in the late eighties, John Passmore tried to adapt the traditional, business-oriented way of using accounts, with all the usual, end-of-period reports. He uses commonly available, general purpose software, an accounting package (Microsoft Money) and a spreadsheet package. He has adapted the maturity of double entry accounting and has also had to ensure his methods could cope with multiple currencies in use, whilst working overseas for thirty years.

Although it was basically satisfactory, in so far as it produced the overall figures on net worth, John realized two things; first, the traditional business focus and motivation on profits and shareholders’ value, understandably, had little relevance to the domestic situation, and second; there was no visibility on the nature of the bulk of the day-to-day, domestic income and expenditure. In addition, the terminology and the overall style of business accounting, he found, not at all conducive to successfully and easily running accounts, for a home environment.

Over a decade, John Passmore has gradually evolved a new approach to personal and domestic accounting. At a fundamental level, he has made everything much easier to understand and use. This was achieved by a range of simple techniques, such as rigorous naming conventions and a simplified version of the so-called, accounting equations. More importantly, he introduced a new focus for home and personal accounting, which he calls, domestic well-being. Essentially, domestic well-being, or DWB, provides a hierarchical structure for defining and recording, the increases and decreases, making up day-to-day, domestic financial activity.

At the top level, there is a 3-way split into Basics, Discretionary and a catch-all, of Others.

The Basics are sub-divided into Essentials (utilities, food and drink, clothing, health, etc.), Responsibilities (taxes, mortgage, licenses, maintenance, insurance, etc.) and Family (presents, and personal commitments, etc.). Similarly, Discretionary includes asset purchases and sales, Nice to Have (holidays, leisure, entertainment, etc.), Investment for the Future (Home improvements, pension contributions and other investments, etc.). Others are for uncontrolled changes, such as prizes, inheritance, gains and appreciation, fines, losses and depreciation, etc.

This DWB structure is used as the basis for the domestic reports and for categorizing all the transactions, as they entered into the accounts, as part of bookkeeping.

A sub-title of his book ‘Accounting for a Better Life’, is ‘Gain Control of Personal Finances’. Following an overview of control and a comparison of a number of typical control environments, the book describes how control can be applied to financial situations. The visibility now afforded by DWB means that a new set of financial reports can be defined. These replace the business style, Trading Account, Profit & Loss Account, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. The new set of statements, tailored directly for the domestic situation, include the Domestic Well-Being Statement, the Domestic Balance Sheet and the Domestic Cash Flow Statement.

Readers will be generally aware of the typical, business ratios such as Gross and Net profit margins, Return on Capital Employed, and over twenty other ratios. Although vital for management and control in business, these ratios have absolutely no bearing on domestic finances. However, with the visibility provided by DWB, a whole new group of Domestic Financial Factors suddenly become evident. John has defined five, major new factors and a host of secondary factors. For example, the Basic Cost of Living Factor (BCLF) is the ratio of Basic Domestic Decrease to Total Household Increases, whilst the Well-Being Contribution Factor (WBCF) is the proportion of Discretionary Domestic Decreases, compared to the Total Household Increases. These factors provide the yardsticks, by which various characteristics of domestic life can be both qualified and quantified.

These factors open up new areas for comparison, measurement and control of domestic, financial situations, based on family size. Their real benefit however, has to await calibration and an accumulation of data, so that a parallel can be achieved with the business concepts of comparison to industry averages, or norms. The domestic averages will have to be built-up, over time. In the future, a BCLF 3 of 0.43, for a family of three for example, could be compared with the value of the factor, found for other families of three, across regions, or internationally, across continents.

Even without this capability until later, other forms of financial control suddenly become immediately feasible, in a practical way. For a start, with the new visibility provided, balancing or redistribution of expenditure across the Basic and Discretionary categories for example, now becomes possible, with due attention always being given to Investment for the Future (IFF).

John Passmore provides the necessary background and information for anyone to get started with setting up and running their own, domestic accounting system. Because of the simplification and visibility provided, which gives relevance to the financial activities of each and every domestic environment, with its own character and content, the author believes he has developed a system which can be fun to use. Once familiar with the set-up, a couple of hours a month is all that is required to keep the bookkeeping under way; and a couple of half-days at the end of any financial year, to produce the annual reports, should be all that is required at that time.

With basic computer literacy, access to a computer with preferably, an on-line connection, and maths competence, no higher than GCSE level, John believes that benefits are potentially available for a domestic situation with a shared annual income, of around £20,000 and upwards. It will also be appropriate for accountants in their work on behalf of domestic clients.

A sense of personal responsibility towards the members of the domestic situation is paramount.

The benefits are that with the accumulation of a few months’ worth of figures, a realization of the actual spread and balance of the family outgoings will become apparent. With this, decisions can be made on any changes required to the pattern of financial activity, in order to obtain a better balance. The whole purpose is to achieve an overall and improved sense of domestic well-being.

With the new-found information, family members will know in detail about what has to be done in order to achieve a better life-style. Accounting, in itself, will not achieve this. Discipline will be required to change spending patterns to obtain the desired changes. The new accounting system can help keep track of progress, using budgets and targets. In this way, users will obtain early warnings of where and when they are not keeping to target, so that concerted efforts can be directed at coming back, on track.

This authoritative book, written with rigor and thoroughness is being published by Matador, Troubador Publishing Ltd (http://www.troubador.co.uk) and further information can be found on the author’s web site at http://www.dwba.co.uk

copyright © 2006 John Passmore