Business Content- Page 10
Last week I had my Amazon Prime shipped to a drop/pick up the destination in Boston. This was my first experience with Amazon@Boston.
Amazon@Boston is where you can have packages shipped, even get same-day pickup on some items.
Six Things I Learned about Amazon@Boston
- This is an Amazon storefront. I thought it would be lockers inside 7-11. Was surprised to see Amazon sign on the front.
- You have three days to pick up your packages otherwise the items get returned.
- From downtown Boston, the best transportation is the Green "B" line. It's about a 1/2 block walk from the Boston University West stop. This is not a normal stop, so you should hit the notification before arriving at Boston University West.
- You can return packages here. They have boxes and envelopes available for free. You get same day credit for all returns.
- To get your package, you have to click on a link in the Amazon app and wait for Amazon to place your packages in one of the lockers. Takes about 2-minutes to get the packages ready for pick-up. Best to activate as soon as you get off the Green line. Once ready, the app will let you know which locker to go to and scan the QR code.
- There are tools to help open up boxes and envelopes. I decided to open my packages to make it easier to carry on the train.
Common Car Maintenance Solved DIY Style
Whether you are male or female, there are several complexities behind car issues. For the average motorist, issues that come about from your automobile might be a burden that can be overwhelming to handle. It's a common myth that automotive repair shops tend to tack on extra unnecessary expenses when taking a car into the shop. If you aren't knowledgeable about cars and how they work, this can be a troubling process. It can be difficult to decipher whether or not the issues that are being discussed are legitimate or not.
It might be a good idea to pick up the phone and call your closest friend who is handy with vehicle repairs. For others, reaching out to close relatives or siblings who have some car knowledge might be another option to ensure they aren't getting ripped off at the shop.
However, there are several ways you can avoid the process of not knowing the verbiage or lingo behind mechanics who are working on your vehicle. You can conduct a few vehicles preventative maintenance routines from the comfort of your own home.
Conducting your own oil change is one of the most overlooked car maintenance tasks. If you have ever taken your car to the shop for this type of job, you know that it usually does not take very long for a mechanic to change this out. If you have space in your garage or driveway, you can easily jack your car up (be careful doing this) with car jacks. Once the car is cooled off completely, use a wrench to remove the oil plug. Place a pan under your vehicle so the oil can dispense into this area. Once drained cap off the oil reservoir and add in fresh oil. Make sure you are adding oil from under the hood and using the dipstick to measure the proper amount that's dispensed. You can ensure the proper oil type is purchased for your vehicle by consulting employees at the automotive shop, or by finding this information in your cars manual.
Another easy car maintenance routine is rotating your tires. If you have jacks available from changing your oil, you can do this in a breeze. Ensure both axles are jacked up before removing tires. You can purchase a tree-style wrench at your local auto shop that has various size sockets if you aren't sure which size is right for your car. Start by removing the front driver's tire. Place it, along with the lugnuts to the side. Next, remove the rear passenger tire. Once it's been removed, install it back into the place where the drivers front tire was installed. Likewise, install the previous front driver's side tire where the rear passenger tire was previously installed. Similarly, repeat this same process for the front passenger tire placement with the rear driver tire placement. In 20-30 minutes you should have successfully rotated your tires, at no cost to your wallet!
Wiper Blade Change
This is one of the easiest car maintenance processes. Visit your local automotive shop or some big-box retailers. Most will have a book that informs customers which size wiper blade is correct for their vehicle. Purchase two for the front windshield. Depending upon your model type will determine if you need a rear-window blade or not. Once you are home, remove the previous wiper via snaps located on the wiper blade arm. If you are unsure, your new blades will have instructions on this. Within 10-15 minutes you will have new wiper blades without having to hire a mechanic.
Other Problematic Signs
Remember, if you have many signs or issues with your vehicle, it might be wise to conduct additional research. There are several models of vehicles that are classified as lemon's because of multiple repairs, or recalls that are placed on the vehicle. Check out your state laws to see if your vehicle is deemed a lemon before spending more money on expensive repairs.
Americas Windiest City
Boston is America's Windiest City
Did you know that the Windiest city in the United States is the City of Boston?
This chart shows the average speed in a year duration:
As you can see Boston beats Chicago - which has the name as "America's Windiest City"
Corner of Huntington Ave and Belvedere Street gets to be really windy at times.
Windiest Location in the City
One of the Windiest spots is at the corner of Huntington Ave and Belvedere Street. On one side of the intersection is the Prudential Shopping Center and the other side is the Christian Science Center Plaza.
The area is very Windy because of the tall buildings and the proximity to the Massachusetts Turnpike.
This is an area where you'll want to lower your umbrella in a rainstorm. I have seen plenty of broken umbrellas because of the strong winds. Certainly, a good place to test wind resistance umbrellas.
Cloudwards Data Recovery Review
One of the worst thing that can happen to a computer user is a failed hard drive. It always happens at the worst possible time. Usually at the tail end of writing a term paper or before the big presentation is due.
Recovering from a failed hard drive can be a painful and very expensive experience. There are plenty of places that will offer data recovery but at a very hefty price. Having a good backup plan can make it easy, but unfortunately, it isn't properly planned until well after you experience the computer startup failure.
Finding the Right Solution
The technical team over at Cloudwards.net recently selected Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue as their choice for the best Data Recovery for failed hard drives. They recently wrote up a very detailed review of the software solution and why they selected it as their top pick for consumers and businesses. Data Rescue is available for PC and Mac.
Read all about the Data Recovery Software review on Cloudwards website: https://www.cloudwards.net/prosoft-engineering-data-rescue-review/
At the End of the Day
If you have a computer hard drive that is about 5 years old, you should consider getting a good backup today. My computer crashed earlier this year and it was a hard lesson learned. A good back up, offline or online, would have made starting off 2017 so much easier.
Read the review on Cloudwards.net and find the solution that works with your needs and budget. Get your Data Recovery Software now, because you don't want to be scrambling through Google Searches to overpay for a solution later.
Hot Toys of 2017
Last Month Toy R Us come out with the Hottest Toys of the Christmas season.
So far here's what I see as the hottest toys of the year:
Note: It appears that any toy with a "surprise" is going to be a hit. That is you don't know exactly what your getting until you open it.
If any of these are on your children's shopping list, you should start going shopping now! Otherwise, you'll be spending much of December looking for stores that are getting stock.
On eBay you can find sellers that will have all the popular toys starting at $1,200.
I'll update this post as other products become "hot" due to supply and demand.
Tips For Evaluating Your Business Strategy
Any type and size of business should evaluate its business strategy with regularity. Some businesses benefit from a weekly evaluation while others stay on track with monthly check-ins.
Regardless of how often you evaluate your business strategy, do it consistently and don't get behind.
Investing a little extra time every week or month can help you thrive rather than barely stay afloat. Failing to evaluate with regularity can make it harder to catch and fix an issue before it becomes a big problem for your business.
Consider the following tips for evaluating your business strategy:
Deciding What To Evaluate
Businesses, big and small, always want to (and should) evaluate the financial elements of their strategy. This means you should focus on the sales, profits, cash flows, and the return on investment.
Utilizing online tools such as an ROI Calculator (Return on Investment) can make it easier to see if your marketing plan is a good financial investment for your business. If not, you can reevaluate your current marketing plan and see if you need to consider something else.
Keep in mind that you might not evaluate certain aspects of your business strategy each time, but you should always be evaluating the financial elements of your business.
When You Should Evaluate
Setting up a schedule for evaluating your business strategy is an excellent way to stay on track and often times ahead. As mentioned earlier, you may feel that it's necessary to take a look at your strategy on a weekly basis (especially when starting out) or once a month is more than enough.
How often you choose, be consistent. It's important to think about evaluating your strategy when things within the business have changed. For example, once you've reached a business goal, it's time to look at your strategy and work on creating another goal; this is essential to growth.
You may also want to consider more frequent evaluations when your customers change (or need to change) or when competitors force you to change your business plan.
Can You Cut Costs?
Every size of a business should look at ways to make their operation more fiscally responsible. Does this mean you should cut employee hours and positions within the company? No (unless they don't have a purpose in the company).
When you evaluate your business plan, you will be looking at your daily, weekly, and monthly costs. Maybe you've been paying for a marketing service for months but have failed to see any improvement. Maybe a promising advertisement campaign fell short and actually lost you some value customer. Those are costs you can cut or at least should reconsider.
Streamline your costs to reflect your business goals and anything that fosters the growth, not things that keep it stagnant or even lose business. This can be a long and arduous step but if you stick with a regular schedule of evaluating, it shouldn't be that difficult, and you're less likely to experience a major financial loss.
If you've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a self-driving car or have been dreading seeing more on the roads, other than test cars, you will see them sooner than later. There's no specific date for a mass release, but many automakers are confident that we'll see an autonomous car on the road by 2020; you may not be able to own one, though.
Unlike the standard vehicles we know so well, self-driving cars are far more complicated and must be completely road ready before the everyday driver can buy one. Here are some of the reasons that self-driving cars are the car of the future, but why it may take awhile:
Self-Driving Cars Need to Learn How to Be Better Drivers
In order for an autonomous vehicle to be deemed completely road worthy and safe, it should have enough knowledge to handle any kind of situation on the road. Self-driving cars "learn" how to drive by constantly collecting data while on the road.
Remember, self-driving cars are replacing human drivers, so the objective to build a car that is safer than the average driver. Why must a self-driving car be better than the average driver? One of the main reasons behind building a self-driving car is to help eliminate accidents, and most of the accidents are a result of human error.
Gathering data and learning how to be a better and safer driver takes time. You wouldn't want to share the road with a bunch of drivers who haven't had training, would you?
Operating in All Types of Conditions
In addition to learning how to be the safest driver, self-driving cars need to learn how to operate in all kinds of weather and road conditions. Ideally, we would all live in a part of the country where road infrastructure was flawless, lanes were clearly marked, and wintry conditions didn't happen, but we don't; therefore, self-driving cars need to learn how to read the road, regardless.
Don't expect to see a wide release of autonomous cars until they can prove they've passed every safety check.
Even if the self-driving car was perfected and ready to be manufactured by every major automaker, depending on the cost, you might never get to own one. Depending on the source, the estimated cost of an autonomous car may be between $75,000 to 250,000; that's pretty prohibitive for the average consumer.
If you consider all of the features that go into making a self-driving car, such as the software and safety technology, the price seems reasonable, relatively speaking.
The bottom line is that we won't see mass amounts of autonomous cars on the market until they are completely safe and have the ability to operate as if a driver was operating the car. If you think about the rigorous testing that today's standard vehicles must go through, wouldn't you want to know that your self-driving car would be just as safe if not safer?
No Short Cut Sign
At the Copley Mall construction site is this sign:
I don't know who at the construction company thought of it, but it's certainly a different type of motivation sign: "No Shortcuts Keep Your Family in Mind"
Actual sign seen in early 2016.
On June 7th, the Copley Mall entrance is scheduled to reopen. Some interesting information:
- Closed for Construction on March 6, 2016
- Total Construction Days: 458 days ( or 316 calendar days excluding Weekends and Holidays)
- Inial Cost of the Project: $9.2 million
- Number of opening delays: 4 ( Dec 2016, January 2017, March 2017, June 2017)
- Average number of commuters that pass through the doors:
I am glad to see the entrance reopening. Hopefully, the escalator doesn't break down as much as it did before.
Mystery Text Messages
Recently I have been getting lots of mystery text messages like these:
- Ron is asking for above ground pool in Hopkinton. You have 1st priority. Reply 1 if interested, 3 if not
- Hi, a homeowner in Brockton is looking for an estimate for the inground pool. You have 1st priority. Reply 1 if interested, 3 if not
- Hi, a homeowner in Tyngsboro wants to get a quote for pool contractor. You have 1st priority. Reply 1 if interested, 3 if not
According to a post in RemoteCentral.com, it turns out the text messages is from gosmith.com.
gosmith.com is a service that matches homeowners with projects with professionals that can handle the project. I am not sure how my phone number go into their database. I think they purchased a cellphone contractor list and just sending out text messages. I certainly wouldn't have signed up for their service, and I never received emails confirming that I am listed as a contractor.
Tips for having a Take Your Son/Daughter to Work day.
This was the third year that I help organize the "Take your Son/Daughter to work day." It a great program that helps your children understand what their parents do at work all day. This is sponsored in part by the Take you Son and Daughter to Work foundation.
About a month before the day, we sent out invitations to parents to let them know of the event. We asked their age and if they had any special allergies. We followed up with an additional email a week before the event.
The most common feed back that I got was "why was this during a school time?" Wouldn't it make more sense to do it during school vacation week?
From the foundation:
Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work(R) Day is organized during the school year so girls and boys can take what they learn in workplaces on Thursday and apply it to the classroom on Friday. By involving whole communities--schools, girls and boys, parents, workplaces, and mentors--the program helps young people make connections between what they learn in school and their future goals.
Here are some of the activities that we had planned:
- Color in the Company Logo
- Where are we on the city map? What are we near?
- Word Matching (Name to Logo) - How well do you know your logos?
- Create your Dream Job - What do you want to be when you grow up and why?
- What would your Work Desk look like?
- iPiggiBank - "Allowance is serious kid business"
- A-Z Office Wordlist - A scavenger hunt to find things that matches a letter of the alphabet.
- What do you think our logo should look like?
- How do you think we do to help other companies?
- Brainstorming Activity: What is your Dream Job?
- What skills will you need to do your dream job?
- Job Matching Quiz - Match the job title with the picture.
- "The Future is Me" - Write the headline of something you wish to accomplish someday
- iPiggiBank - "Allowance is serious kid business"
- A-Z Office Wordlist - A scavenger hunt to find things that matches a letter of the alphabet.
Some Lessons Learned
- Anything younger than 7 is non-productivity. Kids are just running around. Keep activities short and interesting.
- Have lots of snacks for the kids and their parents. There are plenty of healthy allergy free snacks
- I saw some business having matching color shirts for the kids. This was a great idea.
- Enlist people that were teachers as volunteers.
- We had a Parents Panel that was useful for the kids to learn what their parents do to help the business.
- We asked kids to bring in their favorite toy for a show and tell.
- When kids arrived we made them make there own name tags
- Some companies split up the age groups. We didn't have enough kids to do that, so we tried activities that everyone would enjoy
- If your building has security in the lobby, check with them on the procedure for bringing kids to the office.
- Part of the building was having a fire drill. We made sure that the kids were always in an area where a drill wasn't going to happen.
- If you have water cups in the kitchen, make sure that things are reachable.
- Paper Airplane activity was a big hit as kids worked hard to build a paper airplane that would fly the furthest.
- The final activity of the day was to have the kids plan for next year event. It was a fun way for the volunteers to see what the kids liked the most.