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Trying to Improve Productivity in the Workplace? Try These Unconventional Methods

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As business owners, you’re often evaluating business practices and looking for ways to streamline them. The basic understanding is that through improved productivity is the ability to succeed as a business. However, improving productivity within the workplace is not only about integrating new systems and processes, but also about motivating and encouraging the staff. Essentially, if the staff is not given the right amount of support and motivation, the business processes can decrease significantly. 

Trying to Improve Productivity in the Workplace? Try These Unconventional Methods

So, how does one motivate their staff to improve overall business productivity? Consider these methods below: 

1. Flexible Working Options 

Employees have a lot of responsibilities outside of work. Whether it’s raising their children, taking care of their health, or maintaining a household, they have a lot going on at one time or another. While employees are grateful for their jobs, many times, they are left to choose between having a successful career and taking care of personal responsibilities. 

If employers took the time to show their staff that they understand they’re not robots that essentially eat, breathe, and sleep work, chances are productivity would increase immensely. Offering flexible working options is one way to do this. By giving employees the ability to choose working schedules that fit best into their daily routines, absences decrease and productivity increases. Some ideas of offering flexible working options might include: 

 Varying Shifts – While most might assume that shifts are only for warehouse workers, this can be offered in just about any working environment. For example, a company that is open from 8 am to 6pm might offer the options of 8-4, 9-5, and 10-6. 

 Telecommuting – There are times in which you need staff in the office physically, but not in all instances. Why not allow your staff to work from home several days out of the week? Not only does this improve morale, but it also saves your business on overhead expenses such as utilities. 

 Days Off – some companies have programs that allow employees to have one day off per week during the summer seasons. This means that employees might work an extra hour on the days they’re in the office, but then be able to take off on the day they choose. Again, this allows them to enjoy their families, while saving you money. 

2. Encourage Breaks

Again, employers have to let employees know that they don’t look at them as robots. Encouraging breaks amongst your staff is a great way to improve morale and productivity in the workplace. Encouraging employees to take a break and stretch their feet or even take a little walk is a great way to show them you care. Making sure they’ve had their lunch and even one or two fifteen minute breaks per day gives them to opportunity to step away from the computer screen (or business equipment) and refresh their brains. 

3. Promote Wellness in the Office

According to a report by Stltoday.com, the average American worker takes off approximately 14 sick days per year….talk about slowed productivity. Employers can address this issue by caring about the health and well-being of their staff. Encouraging wellness within your workplace allows employees to get informed about their health, thus keeping them from using so many sick days. Some options for promoting wellness in your office include: 

 Offer exercise classes – having a yoga or zumba instructor come to the workplace on a weekly basis during lunchtime is a great way to promote wellness in the workplace. For a discounted price (or free if you’re willing to foot the bill), employees get to have fun while exercising which is great for their overall well-being. 

 Keep Healthy Options Accessible – most companies have vending machines that are filled with high calorie, sugary and salty foods and sugary drinks. Since this is the most accessible option for employees, they consume these things which cause them to gain weight. As you know, weight gain can open up the floodgates to health issues. Instead, try having healthier options that your staff can easily access. For instance, installing bottleless water coolers for your office will give your staff another beneficial drinking option besides coffee and soda. Also, opt for healthier selections in the vending machines. Instead of chips and candy, have the vending company put alternatives like wheat crackers, trail mix, and even baked chip options. 

 Offer Wellness Education – There are several companies that have started providing wellness education classes for their employees. Such programs give employees ideas on how to make better choices as it pertains to their health. WeightWatchers is often a popular program to consider. Employees get to attend meetings, and even participate in friendly weight loss competitions. 

What it all boils down to be is showing your employees that you care about them as individuals. When your staff understands that they’re more to you than just robot coming to work each day, they are more willing to get the job done quickly and efficiently. While investing in new systems and training is also a great way to streamline business processes and improve productivity, it is always important to consider those who have helped your business to be a success in the first place – your staff. 

*by andreascy*

Trending Tech Accessories Taken for Granted

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It’s the year 2015. No flying cars, moon base, or teleportation technology. Anyone familiar with the 20th century’s pop culture projections of the future are a little disappointed. Alas, not everything tech we hoped to exist by now has failed to appear. When it comes to personal and personalized gadgets and gizmos available to 21st century consumers, the human race has done pretty well for itself. The digital revolution has helped everything from touchscreens to voice command make the leap from fiction to reality. We haven’t sent someone to Mars yet, but we can simulate it via downloadable app.

Trending Tech Accessories Taken for Granted

For anyone bummed out about the chances of a working hover board appearing in their lifetime it’s time to appreciate what you do have. Here’s a list of impressive technology either ten feet away from you right now, or five years away from being ten feet away from you:

Headphones/Earbuds 

Ear gear has been around for a long time, no lie. The recent fashion flare-up involving “high quality” headphones illustrates how this taken for granted technology has come a long way. Not too long ago it exhausted a part-time paycheck or two to acquire headphones capable of reproducing great sound without letting everyone around you know what’s on the playlist. These days we’re able to isolate ourselves inside an album, movie, or viral video while riding packed public transit for less than $50 for a good pair of earbuds. Or you can opt for the $500 pair of headphones if you want...the technology is impressive either way.

Flash Drives

Like portable personal audio, the ability to physically transport digital data is nothing new. And it may even seem old-fashioned thanks to the cloud. But once again, we’re failing to marvel at one of the more magnificent inventions of our time. In terms of data volume, physical size, and versatility, nothing beats the flash drive. Not to mention they’re tangible, and thus have become a bit of a fashion accessory. Thanks to things like 3D printing people can now buy flash drives in bulk from companies capable of building them into custom shapes and figures. The result is an array of normal everyday objects capable of being hidden data mines. That’s futuristic for you.

Smart Stuff

It seems like only yesterday we were flipping open our cellular phones, winding our watches, and owning a dozen different other pieces of technology to do an equal number of tasks. The iPhone debuted eight years ago and we’re already over the all-in-one, touch-operated, voice-activated, pocket sized computers we carry in our pockets and purses. Now we have the dawn of the smartwatch; a little anticlimactic considering the wonders of the smartphone, but the stuff of science fiction nonetheless.

Drones

Does anyone appreciate the potential of drone technology? Maybe because the consumer drone industry is still in its infancy, but that’s partly because consumers aren't taking advantage of this amazing technology. We associate drones with spooky government stuff, and that’s a legitimate connection, yet drone technology can be so much more. It can be used to remotely chaperone children walking to school by themselves, or deployed to monitor a stolen car. We hear the word “drone” and picture a faceless killing machine, but the ability to essentially combine RC and smart technology together is a wonderful thing for society, whether we know it now or not.

We’re well into the 21st century now. Glance around and it doesn't really feel like it, but looks can be deceiving. Humans are easily bored and constantly eyeing the next big thing. Every once in awhile we need to stop and appreciate the technological gifts we’ve been fortunate enough to live to experience. For billions of people they were only the stuff of dreams.

*by andreascy*

Top 5 Things Every Mobile Gamer Must Have

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With phones and tablets edging ever closer to sixth gen console quality, it's not surprising that mobile devices have become many people's go-to gaming machines. High-end graphics are only one piece of the puzzle, though. Better-quality audio, boosted speed and enhanced touch-screen responsiveness have all contributed to mobile's rise in the gaming sphere. A sphere, it should be noted, that will likely be worth $100 billion by 2017 with a majority of those dollars devoted to mobile gaming. 

Top 5 Things Every Mobile Gamer Must Have

Gamer is quickly coming to mean something very different than it did once upon a time, thanks to changing demographics (women are now the largest video game playing group) and a flood of all-ages titles. But even players who gravitate toward Monument Valley versus titles like Mirror's Edge can appreciate the need for externals. To make mobile your main gaming machine, it helps to have these five things:

1. The right device 

Many of today's mobile games have been designed to make use of multiple cores, so a device with a quad- or dual-core processor is a must. More importantly, a device with a quad- or dual-core processor can “future proof” your phone or tablet, i.e., ensure that it can play the new and better games of tomorrow. Multiple cores enhance a device's ability to deliver the kind of impeccable graphics, speed and sound that serious gamers expect and even casuals want. 

2. An external controller 

Phones and tablets put amazing games into your pocket for anywhere play, but the feel of touch screen controls can leave a lot to be desired. The MOGA Pocket Controller is a serious win for gamers who love the feel of physical buttons and a real steal at about $30. That includes the controller (which looks like it came out of an Xbox One box), a case, tablet stand and the MOGA pivot app with its library of games like GTA and Call of Duty. Thanks to a comfortable rubberized grip and ergonomic wire-free design, mobile gaming sessions can go longer. 

3. A scaled-down sound solution 

Patching into your wireless sound system is a fine way to overcome the limitations of tiny phone speakers at home but out and about tinny audio is the norm. Or was. The Mini Jambox is incredibly portable at just 6″ x 1″ by 2.3″ and 9 ounces, and the acoustic drivers and bass radiator provide audio that proves that bigger isn't necessarily better. 

4. Longer game play 

Big time mobile gamers know that even the baddest batteries can't stand up to a serious session, which means a battery backup solution is essential. The EViO EUP power bank will keep you up and running, which is especially important when you're playing through titles that take time. The 13,000mAh battery takes a while to charge up but once it's good to go, so are you.

5. Something fun 

Don't let the overuse of the word serious fool you – games are still for playing and at least some of your accessories should reflect that! The Impulse Controller is a wireless mini gamepad with real physical buttons that clips on to your keychain. It's also a great way to find your lost keys, a camera trigger (goodbye, Selfie Stick) and a digital media controller that's compatible with virtually any device. There's also the Joystick-IT Arcade Stick – self sticking joysticks that attach to any touchscreen to give players that old school gaming experience.


There is always going to be a place for consoles in the gaming world. But as the mobile experience becomes richer and more satisfying thanks to must-haves like these, chances are good that place will grow ever smaller.

*by andreascy*

Space Travel and Exploration: Dreaming About the Future of Space Tourism

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Welcome fellow hustler! Busy morning? Here's what you need to know to start your day.

For ages mankind has dreamed of traveling the stars and visiting distant planets. Not just astronauts but civilians too. Over the years we have seen a few of these achievements come to fruition. People have been sent up to orbit the earth and collect data for scientists back on the planet. A select few have claimed the great achievement of setting foot on the moon. A rover was even sent to Mars and transmitted back pictures of the alien surface.

Space Travel and Exploration: Dreaming About the Future of Space Tourism

Even with all these advancements over the last 30 years, space exploration is still in its infancy. The recent crash of Virgin’s Space Ship Two can attest to that. Not only are the ‘kinks’ still being worked out, but what has been explored so far, is merely a drop in the ocean when compared to the billions and billions of stars that have yet to be reached. Aside from Mars and the Moon, our own solar system remains an unexplored mystery. With the future of space tourism hinging on uncertainty; what does this mean for the average citizen?

The taxpayer no longer foots the bill

When the idea of space travel was first put on the table, it was the taxpayer’s dollars that funded the missions. Politicians formed the plan, while the working class paid for it. With the introduction of private spaceflight, the politicians have no say and the American citizen isn’t left paying for everything. The only real restriction they have is how much money is available.

Failure is an option

Private companies can fail as much as they want, within reason. They aren’t tied to an ever shrinking budget like NASA was. Unfortunately, not every test is a success, just look at Virgin Galactic. The explosion of their Space Ship Two was a tragedy and devastating blow to private space flight; but this doesn’t mean they have to call it quits. And now that the politicians can’t step in and pull the funding, that’s one less hurdle they have to deal with. Virgin now has the option to try again, if the funds are there. 

Engineers play a bigger part

If one were to work for NASA as an engineer, they would be part of a larger team working together. With smaller teams being employed by private companies, it allows for a more hands on experience. The engineer actually gets to go in the field and fire the rockets, rather than sit behind a desk all day. Smaller teams and limited resources actually foster more creativity, making them almost like modern day MacGyver’s. 

The price of space travel will drop

The flight of a Virgin space plane costs $250,000. That’s nothing compared to the $12 million price tag of launching a satellite into orbit. On top of that, the rocket that sends it to space can only be used once. If the privately funded space planes can make it to orbit consistently, the price of space travel is going to be drastically reduced. A host of scientists are standing by waiting to run tests on these flights. Also, lower cost means more accessible tourism.

Hypersonic travel may finally happen 

Circumnavigating the globe will be achievable in an afternoon. The promise of sub-orbital travel has been talked about for a while now. Until these privately funded space flights came around, it has always been just out of reach. Right now $95,000 for a ticket still may not be for everyone, but as with any new technology it’s always expensive when it first hits that market. The first microwave cost about $5,000. Now you can pick one up for less than $50. The same thing will happen with sub-orbital flights. Once they hone the production process and discover cheaper ways to build these space planes, tickets may even be as cheap as regular commercial flights.

The view will be humbling

Every astronaut has said that seeing the planet against the infinite backdrop of space was not only awe inspiring, but life changing. What’s going to happen when an artist sees this for the first time? What happens when politicians and CEOs start to take these flights regularly? Will they be moved like the astronauts; or will it be business as usual? 

Even though Richard Branson suffered a major set-back, this doesn’t leave him down and out. Without politicians calling the shots, they can go back to the drawing board and try again. This doesn’t mean that failure isn’t costly; this just means that without the threat of having funding pulled, they have a better chance of learning from their mistakes. Whatever Virgin is doing in the wake of this tragedy, people need to start seriously thinking about how space tourism will affect their lives and how it’s about to change the world.


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*by andreascy*

All The Things You Should Know About Windows 10

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Helloooo everyone! Happy Monday... Happy new day... Happy new week... :) 

If you’re an avid PC user then you are probably familiar with one of the most popular operating systems Microsoft Windows. As you might have guessed, Microsoft has its newest version of Windows (Windows 10) just on the horizon and will be released to the public in late - 2015. 

All The Things You Should Know About Windows 10

The new version doesn’t necessarily mean a new user interface. If anyone is familiar with Windows 7 and Windows 8 they may be pleasantly surprised by this updated version. Windows 10 promises to ‘blend’ the two, making for a richer user experience.

What To Expect 

 1. Windows 10 is going to be available on all devices (laptops, desktops, smartphones, phablets and tablets). This will make it easier to access the “Internet of Things” and communicate with everyday appliances. There’s also been talk of integrating the Xbox system into it as well. Microsoft aims to make the interface as similar as possible, across all media devices (by creating universal apps). 

2. Windows 10 will bring back the Start Menu (bigger, better, stronger) with a customizable space for apps. This should make a lot of Windows 8 users happy since there were many complaints about it's “migration". 

3. There is also a new “quadrant” layout system, making it easy to quickly snap-arrange (side by side) 4 apps to a screen. 

4. Windows 10 comes with new touch features for interfaces and environments.

5. Microsoft is also introducing ‘Continuum’, a new system which makes for a more seamless experience between the tablet/laptop combos (switch between touch and non-touch). 

6. Another Windows feature from the past is the command prompt. This updated version is making a comeback and even allows copying and pasting.

7. Internet Explorer is dead! Spartan (codename) Browser, a Microsoft alternative to IE, is here.

8. Windows 10 is clearly targeting Enterprise users through Windows Software Assurance (SA) program.

9. Microsoft takes serious security measures with two-factor-authentication (2FA), storing user access tokens and offering data loss prevention solutions.

10. Finally there's a support for multiple desktops. But... we're going to need bigger screens.

11. Microsoft brings Cortana, its digital assistant, to the desktop supporting features like calling people, reminders, mapping and location, checking weather information and launching apps.

12. Microsoft's HoloLens (Holographic Glasses) with Windows 10 will deliver a next-gen computing experience.

More Information

As of right now the only version that is offering a smooth install is Windows 8.1, so make sure to check with the Compatibility Center before you install Windows 10. Microsoft is also warning that it's not for new users. If you don’t know what an ISO file is, or have a separate computer to install it on, stick with your current version. Because is in its pre-release stages (Technical Preview, Build 9926), it’s going to have bugs in it (some things about the interface may even change). Users can expect a friendlier version upon release, but for now it’s still a work in progress. 

 You should also sign up with the Windows Insider Program. All this really does is absolve Microsoft from any responsibility of deleting anything important off your computer. Just like previous versions of Windows, this will get regular updates as well. 

Another thing to take into consideration is that it's a 4GB download. There is a 32 and 64-bit version available and in several different languages. You’re also going to need a USB drive or a DVD with 4GB of space on it. ImgBurn and Rufus are the two programs recommended for copying the OS to a drive. And if you want a sneak peek then you better get on it. The pre-release version is only going to be available until April 2015.

One other great thing is that you don’t need to invest in hardware upgrades to be able to use the new software. If your PC can handle Windows 8.1 then the Windows 10 Preview shouldn’t be a problem. Your processor needs to be 1GHz or faster and 1GB of memory for the 32 bit version. If you have the 64 bit version then you’re going to need 2GB or memory. Lastly make sure that you have 16GB of free space on your hard drive.

You can never go back. Once you have Windows 10 installed on your computer, you won’t be able to use your recovery partition to downgrade to a previous version of Windows. The only way to downgrade will be to wipe Windows 10 from your system, and do a re-install of the previous version. This is another reason having a back up PC is important, if you make a mistake you can just start over or have all your information safe and backed up


Since it’s in the early stages, Windows 10 may not be the right choice for your system just yet. But the changes that Microsoft is incorporating suggest they are paying more attention to the consumer this time around. Your best bet is to stick with your most recent version of Windows, let them work out all the kinks and then purchase it. It’s even a good idea to wait a month or two after the initial release. New software is always going to be a bit buggy right after launch no matter how much testing is done. 


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*by andreascy*

Let's talk about Ello, the New Social Network

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Hello there my friends, hope you're gearing up for the holiday season. We want to thank you for your ongoing engagement and support around The *Official AndreasCY*. You showed us your symbolic interest and loyalty in the technology and community. Thanks for everything!

So, what is this 'Ello' everyone's talking about? 

It's a new social network, being called the “anti-Facebook”, that was birthed by a small group of designers and artists. The draw of Ello is its promise to remain ad free and not sell users data to third parties.

Let's talk about Ello, the New Social Network

Nearly every popular social network is run by ad revenue 

There are many people whose only job is to record your every move online. These are data miners and ad salesmen. Creepy huh? Your information is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Not only that, but they are reading your posts and keeping tabs on your social connections. All of this is made possible by the service being offered to the user for “free”. Seth Levine, one of Ello’s backers, is so serious about keeping users data private and the network ad free, that if they can’t do things that way they simply “won’t build a business”.

Despite the recent cynicism from the press and naysayers, founder and CEO Paul Budnitz is not budging on his promise to keep the platform ad free. Also the company has filed as a Public Benefit Cooperation, which legally binds them from showing ads, selling user data to a third party, or selling the company to someone that plans on doing so. The long term business plan that his company has put in place, is said to be lucrative as well as principled.

What started out as a private network, has now become public

The social network launched on Aug. 7 with only 90 users and its growth reached viral status shortly after its launch. Once people caught wind of Ello, they wanted in; so a public version was created. Within a week they had grown to where they thought they would be in 6 months (they had reached a steady 40,000 to 50,000 requests an hour). At one point they had to put sign-ups on hold, just to make sure that the site was up to the task of taking on so many users at once. Not to mention this is an invite only network. One can only assume that the everyday user is enticed by the idea of a truly ad free network, that doesn’t sell your information to third parties. 

This growth is partially attributed to Facebook’s recent crackdown on fake names. Ello allows fake names. With no shortage of users or investors, the company seems to be becoming a fierce competitor, in the social network arena. In its most recent round of investing the company has generated $5.5 million in Venture Capitalist’s revenue. Budnitz’s inbox has a new VC everyday that wants to invest in Ello. So the recent claims about Ello not making enough money seems pretty laughable. 

Also with the recent acquisition of $5.5 million in funds, the company plans on being profitable very soon. Ello plans on making its revenue for expansion directly from its users. It is free to join but later Ello plans on releasing some Premium features that can be accessed for a small price. Actually many apps on the market offer free versions of their app and additional features, for a small fee.

Do you Ello?

Right now this is an invite only site. If you can’t wait for an invite then you can go to their homepage and request one. The ones who get in are allotted a certain amount of invitations, usually about 5 to 10. The goal is not to sign up everybody in the world, or even to be a competitor of Facebook, but simply to build a nice community.

So far the social network has chosen to go with a very simple design and color scheme. When users log on, they see a black and white scroll down layout. This is where the user can post status updates, pictures, links and comment on other users’ posts. Their contacts are divided into 2 columns, Friends and Noise and the user can switch between the different “feeds” with the click of a button. 

Conclusion 

Since Ello is just in its early stages, what it is going to grow into, is anybody’s guess. Only time will tell if this is truly a niche market or just a trend. Similar platforms have seen major growth, only to be abandoned in droves, months or years later; remember MySpace? In any case if you’re not into having your every little move tracked, Ello is a perfect alternative. While the popularity may only be short-lived, Ello’s promise to uphold its credo, shall not be.


What are your experiences so far? Post them below. 

*by andreascy*

Furious 7: The Fast Boys Are Back With An Epic Trailer

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Hello guys. How are you? If you have been around for the last decade or so then you’ll probably remember a little film called The Fast and The Furious. Here we are 13 years later and the franchise is still going strong! 

Furious 7 has been one of this year’s most anticipated films. The fans are interested to see what new direction the producers are going to take the film, after suffering the loss of one of its main characters; Brian O’ Conner, played by Paul Walker.

Furious 7: The Fast Boys are back with an Epic Trailer

Walker was killed in a high-speed car crash in November of 2013 and the producers, finished filming and wrapped up, despite his death. Walker’s brothers were enlisted to help with key scenes in the movie. One can’t help but think of the recent tragedy involving Heath Ledgers passing, during the production of The Dark Night. The cast and crew for Furious 7 has been together for so long and the Vin Diesel, one of the producers, often referred to the crew as "family". Paul, Tyrese and Vin were all very close; both on and off screen.

But... the show must go on right? Fans were treated to a trailer that can only be summed up in one word: EPIC. If the film promises to be as action packed as the preview, then get ready for a visual feast. The movie is set to hit theaters April 2015 and has already generated a huge buzz.

The Plot:

In this film, the team ends up in Tokyo after learning of their friend Han’s death. They meet Sean Boswell who was also friends with Han. Teaming up with Boswell and some extra allies, they set out to find the person responsible for murdering Han. Enter Ian Shaw, played by Jason Statham.

Furious 7: The Fast Boys are back with an Epic Trailer

Jason Statham (the older brother of Owen Shaw, the bad guy from Fast 6) joins the Furious 7 entourage as, the new villain that the cast faces off against. As you may have guessed Shaw is hunting the crew down to avenge the death of his younger brother. Statham is a seasoned action movie star and should be able to hold his own when it comes to the action sequences.

Another addition to the cast is Kurt Russell. He is seen for a brief moment in the preview and has a somewhat ominous air about him. From the 3 seconds he’s in the preview, one can already tell that his character is hard to get a bead on. Russell has even said that his character is staged to be suspicious. He can be seen, kind of, mentoring Dominc Toretto in the preview, so the film may play out the misplaced trust notion. This is just speculation, no spoilers. 

Furious 7: The Fast Boys are back with an Epic Trailer

With the passing of Paul Walker, one of the most asked questions by the fans is; what is going to be the fate of Brian O’ Conner? It turns out that O’ Conner will get fitting send off. 

Writer Chris Morgan and director James Wan are reworking the script and using previously shot footage of Walker, to give him a suiting farewell. This will still allow the franchise to continue and, if they want to risk it, they can maybe bring O’ Conner back for a cameo or still involve him with the story in some way. There has even been talk of bringing Paul’s brother Cody on, as a new addition to the crew. In the meantime Walker’s other brother Caleb will be filling in for Paul’s scenes.

Furious 7: The Fast Boys are back with an Epic Trailer

The whole process is a really fine line to tread. On the one hand there is a movie that needs to be finished, but in a way that leaves the fans satisfied. On the other hand, no one wants to disrespect the memory of Paul Walker. Giving him a “send off into the sunset” seems like a win-win for everyone.

Furious 7 kicks off with action and story right out of the gate. Two members of the crew are now dead and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is injured. Fans can only assume that the story is building up to O’ Conner’s farewell. Dark, would be going a bit too far to describe the tone of this movie, perhaps pensive is a bit better. The fans will get a sense that the family Dominic has worked hard to put together, isn’t as ‘bulletproof’ as they used to be.


Despite the passing of Paul Walker being a huge tragedy, the film looks as though it will not disappoint and be a fitting final role. I'm looking forward to this, for sure. Can't wait!


The community is the lifeblood of this website. If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it via a social site or leaving a comment below. 

*by andreascy*


5 Keys To Launching A Startup

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Launching a new business can be both exciting and intimidating. It’s exciting because it is introducing something new into the world. At the same time, it’s intimidating because there are numerous unknown factors to consider, complex concepts to learn, and dreams to validate.

5 Keys To Launching A Startup

One way to get to a good start when it comes to launching your own business is to find out if it’s a good idea, create a plan, build a team, use good technology, and model best practices.

1. Find out if it’s a good idea

A business idea worth pursing has to be validated. There has to be a market for the product or service. Customers should either want or need it. The vision has to align with the opportunity. Besides validating the idea, you should also research the scope of the idea. Can the idea be improved, scaled up, or adapted to different markets?

2. Create a business plan

Your business plan is a formalized decision-making process about mission and values, business structure and revenues. These plans will serve as a blueprint to raise money and shape policies. When setting up the proposed budget, it’s a good idea to assume zero profits in the first year of operations. This does not mean that there will be no profits; it just means that should things not go according to plan, there will be enough money available to pay the rent, keep the lights on, and retain employees.

3. Build a core team 

Despite the prevailing myth about the self-made man or woman, all businesses are actually a team effort. You should build a core team early to design the business’s philosophy. It’s essential to build this team built around shared values, aspirations, and ideals because a team that lacks a unified perspective faces the risk of falling apart due to dissension. A cohesive team will work together to evolve the groundbreaking decisions necessary to launch and grow a new business.

4. Use good technology

Technology is no longer something to add to a business. It is more like one of the foundations of business. Like office walls and furniture, technology is essential to the infrastructure of a business. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MegaPath, a company that builds Ethernet-based networks, summed up the intrinsic value of technology in a business when he said, “In today’s competitive environment, businesses require solutions that help them improve the way they do business, while reducing costs,”.

5. Model best practices

While your initial research may have validated that your idea is a feasible one, you will get a head start if you model the best practices of those in the same or similar fields. This will give you a template to work from as you develop your business. There is no point wasting time and money reinventing the wheel. Instead, use the knowledge and wisdom gained from others who have gone before you. This borrowed model will help to shape and reshape your own business model. A model is not about imitating what other businesses are doing but about observing what works and what does not work. Additionally, a model need not be derived entirely from a single business. It could be a compilation of different businesses. 

Summary

By finding out if your inspired vision is a good idea, creating a plan, building a core team, using good technology, and modeling the best practices of other businesses, you are taking practical steps to develop a firm foundation for the success of your business.

*by andreascy*

10 Gadgets to Help You Catch More Fish

Description :

Fishing has changed dramatically over the past decade with the increasing popularity of smartphones and other technology. Even those who have strongly resisted the change are giving into the pressure to adapt. Once there is a smartphone in your pocket, it's difficult to keep refusing time-saving, fish-catching options. 

10 Gadgets to Help You Catch More Fish

Here are 10 tech tools that will make your outing both safer and more successful without ruining the great outdoors.

Find Where to Go

Fishing Hot Spots Maps: It's an old tool in a new format. You no longer have to track down paper maps for the water you want to fish but rather this company provides digital maps for both freshwater and saltwater. You can even get maps that work with older units and handheld devices.

The Fishidy Mobile App: This app provides maps as well as a community for sharing tips and up-to-date reports. You can track your fishing successes on a map using GPS in addition to identifying water depths, underwater contours and fishery data.

Learn How to Get There

Broadband RADAR: This tool boasts that it is the most significant radar breakthrough since 1940. It has much lower power requirements and crystal clear images, which helps for limited visibility situations or tight maneuvering. Plus, it does not require a license.

SIMRAD: This tool is very similar to Broadband RADAR. It also has clear imagery, low power consumption and low emissions. Whether you combine navigation with your fishfinder or separate the two, broadband technology is taking hold quickly.

Locate the Fish

Lowrance HDS-5x Gen2: There are plenty of fishfinder models to choose from, but the new Gen2 model uses a broadband sounder, supports wireless signals and uses Spotlight Scan Sonar, making it a top-notch gadget.

Raymarine Dragonfly: For CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse) lovers, Raymarine Dragonfly is the tool for you. This new unit delivers incredibly clear images and includes Navionics charts on microSD in addition to a temperature sensor and 50-channel GPS.

Play it Safe

Iridium Satellite PhoneWhether speaking with family or getting out an emergency call to the Coast Guard, you can always contact land and other satellite-equipped vessels when you pack a satellite phone. They also claim that their call quality is three times better than their competitor's.

C-pod Security: The C-pod sends current status information about location, heading, intrusion, battery voltage and other vital statistics to your phone or computer. Remote on/off capability allows you to be in control of C-pod sensors from the helm.

Stay in the Game

XPand: If you are you taking a green seafarer along on the next voyage, consider the Xpand anti-motion sickness glasses to keep queasiness at bay. Pills and patches often cause drowsiness and confusion, but the sunglasses use electro-optical systems to reduce motion sickness in a noninvasive way. They are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion polymer cell.

Gomadic Solar Charger: Stay prepared with a solar charger to keep any of these gadgets charged and ready to use. It can charge multiple devices simultaneously, and does it just as quickly as a wall outlet would.

Prices in each category can vary widely, so be sure to do your homework. Many times you can cut back on features to make a tool better fit the budget. Yesterday's top-dollar fishfinder or navigation aid, for instance, can often be found at rock bottom prices as others switch to broadband units. So, get ready, be prepared and fish on!

SEE ALSO: Science Nation - Electric Fish Charges up Research on Animal Behavior

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*by andreascy*