Car gadgets that will make your ride feel more modern

Modern cars from luxury brands come with all sorts of extra features and technology, some of which can even make a car look like it came from the future. But not many get to own such a car and drive in it. If you care about how your car’s functionality and cool looks but don’t have the right budget to spend on the latest wonder of automobiles, there are some small upgrades and gadgets that will transform your car which you can do by yourself for the fraction of the price.

Wireless charger

Wireless chargers for your smartphone can be installed either on the air vent, windshield or the dashboard, depending on the model you purchase. Wireless chargers can also serve as simple phone mounts. Most of them have an adjustable frame that allows them to work with phones of any size. This is a very cheap item that will make your car interior look like an advanced cockpit.

Radar detector

This handy device can save you from getting a ticket for speeding in any situation. Radar detectors use GPS technology to locate speed cameras and patrol cars in the area around you. You don’t need to keep checking the device yourself – most of them work by emitting audio signal whenever you should be particularly careful of your speed.

Double DIN head unit

Changing the look of your dashboard is undoubtedly going to completely transform the car interiors. The head unit is an integral part of your whole audio system and additionally, it can also take care of your GPS navigation needs and connect to your smartphone allowing for hands-free mobile communication. You can easily find the best double din head unit in any price range. But before you purchase one, make sure that you have space to install one – older cars use the single DIN sized head unit.

Dash camera

You can enjoy the benefits of being able to record what’s going on in front of your car while you drive even if you don’t have newest car. A dash camera is invaluable should you get into any accident not through your own fault. It can also capture any stunning views you might encounter during your drive. Most dash cams can be set up to only save the footage when an incident is detected. If you decide to buy one, try to get one with night mode setting that uses infra-red to capture footage in dark surroundings.

Car seat covers

By covering your car seats with covers of quality material can add a touch of luxury to your car’s interior. One of the most popular choice here is leather or suede, although they can be difficult to maintain. Car seat covers are also an excellent way of covering up any damage to the original seats. They aren’t that expensive so you can change them up according to your mood anytime. For an even more functional option, go for covers with massage nodes that will let you heal your back pain as you drive.

Clothing storage solutions for small spaces

Not everyone lives in a large house with separate laundry rooms and closets that provide enough space to put everything away with ease. But everyone wears clothes. Most of us, at some point in our lives, will live in a small apartment or a college dorm, and knowing how to manage storing clothes without making the whole room or bathroom looking messy is key to living comfortably anywhere. Here we will introduce some tips about how to keep your clothing situation under control even if you are lacking storage space.

Laundry hampers

Let’s start with storing laundry. If you live alone you probably don’t use the washing machine every single day which seems good but it also means that your dirty clothes probably tend to pile up throughout the week. You need to have a laundry hamper to store them but you shouldn’t waste your precious space for one that isn’t handy to use.

What is the best laundry hamper for small spaces? One that is compact and doesn’t take up a lot of space. There are many options you can go with here: a wall-mounted laundry hamper, one that can be hanged over the bathroom door, or something small enough that can be hidden under a table or a desk. The most important rule is not buying a bigger hamper than you need. If you live alone, the smallest size will be enough.

Smart closet accessories

The inside of a regular wardrobe most often looks something like this: a few shelves and drawers coupled with a hanging rod. But by using some smart accessories you can maximize that space to increase the number of items it can fit inside.

For example, how about using multi-armed hangers? You hang them just like a regular single hanger but they have additional hooks that can fit around five different items with straps (like tank tops or summer dresses). Or you can get a special hanger for all of your neckties or belts – they are designed to hold a large number of items at once. Another option is S-shape hangers that can be used to hang multiple pairs of pants.

You can also increase the storage space by using dividers and boxers wisely. Think about putting your rarely worn items, like seasonal clothes, in a box on top of the wardrobe. Use dividers to shape your shelf or drawer to your liking so that they will hold the maximum number of your items.

Another idea is exploiting the inside surface of the wardrobe door and attach something to hold additional items there. You can buy slim shoe racks made especially for this purpose. Or you can get a hanging rack to use for storing jewelry or scarves. Overdoor hooks can be utilized to hang even more stuff. The possibilities are endless.

To find out more about any clothes-related items and tools visit the French Garment Cleaners site. They will help you manage your clothes and keep them in the best condition.

What are the different types of kids motorcycles

Children riding motorcycles is not such a bad idea as it might seem at first glance. Nowadays, there are many models available that are built especially with children of different ages in mind. These motorcycles don’t reach the speeds of a regular adult motorcycle so they are a great way of introducing your kid to the sport. And who knows, if you start when they’re young, maybe your child could become a professional dirt bike rider in the future.

But buying a kids motorcycle is not so simple and can be quite costly. That’s why it is important to think about your needs before you decide to purchase one. It can be difficult to know what kind of motorcycle is best. Here we go over the basic types of kids motorcycles.

Electric motorcycles

Electric motorcycles are powered by batteries and are the most popular choice for the smallest children that are just starting to get used to riding motorcycles. This is because they are usually less powerful than gas motorcycles and rarely reach speeds higher than 20 mph, with some going as slow as 2 mph. Depending on the model, a kids electric motorcycle can be used by children as young as 3 years old.

They need to be charged before use and then they will only run for as long as the battery capacity allows it. If you are not planning on having long trips together with your child, a kids electric motorcycle can be a great intro bike. If your child likes it and expresses the need to go faster, you can upgrade it to a gas motorcycle, as long as you think they can ride it safely.

Electric motorcycles are cheaper than their gas counterparts because they are usually smaller. And because electricity is cheaper than gasoline, they will also cost you less to maintain.

Gas motorcycles

Gas-powered motorcycles are intended for older children, often at least 7 years old (the exact age depends on what the maker of each motorcycle recommends). They closely resemble adult motorcycles, except that they are of course much smaller. A 50cc motorcycle is the most popular choice.

Gas motorcycles are great if you plan on using it extensively because they are not limited by batteries. If you run out of fuel at some point you can just top it up anywhere as long as you bring a canister with you.

If your child is thinking of entering some motorcycle riding competitions, they should be using a gas motorcycle to stand a fighting chance.

Remember that whichever type you choose depends largely on your child’s maturity. If you decide to buy a motorcycle for your child, it might be a good idea to let them choose the exact model so that they are more excited to ride it and therefore, less likely to grow tired of it. After you do the preliminary vetting, present your child with a few options you deemed to be safe enough and let them do the choosing. It will make them think that they are the ones in control when in reality, you were the one almost fully behind the decision process.

Essential Tips for Buying a Permanent Pool and a Pool Pump

If you’re willing to make some enhancements in your backyard, you should definitely take into account an above ground pool. Whether you’d like to surprise your family with a summer backyard indulgence or invite your friends to an icy smoothie in the water, a pool would never disappoint.

There are quite a few alternatives to consider when embracing the idea of a backyard pool. You can either go for a blowup model to bathe in for a few swimming seasons or go for a permanent above ground pool that will last for years with the proper maintenance. Here we are going to expand on the best reliable models of permanent pools to choose from.

In such a competitive market, it’s quite hard to tell the good from the bad. Everyone praises their product and the truth fades into the need to sell your model no matter what. Thus, to avoid making a regrettable decision, you should do your own research when looking after the right pool.

The best permanent pools and where to find them

It is mandatory to validate your beliefs through credible sources. Deciding to purchase a pool demands a dependable array of alternatives to set you out towards the right choice. Thus, on The Pool Advisors you can find great above ground pool reviews and analyses. They’ve selected high-quality above-ground pools with versatile model range and positive reviews.

Here are some essential points to consider when buying a permanent pool:

  • resistant material, such as galvanized steel that increases the strength and durability
  • easy to assemble, with a precise locking system
  • high-quality pump that lasts you for years

Our top pick from The Pool Advisors list is certainly the Intex 14-Foot Ultra Frame Pool Set. Its vast dimension makes it suitable for large family gatherings or fun summer parties. Maybe the best asset this pool holds is that it’s fully equipped with the necessary accessories, from a filter pump to a ladder, a ground cloth, and a pool cover.

How do you know your pool pump is working properly

We’ve already discussed that a blue ribbon pool pump is necessary to a good-functioning permanent pool. Thus, you should make sure that yours does its job how it’s supposed to.

First, your pool pump should manage effortlessly to keep your pool’s water clean. Moreover, it shouldn’t be too noisy or take too long to push the water through the pool’s filter.

A list of ten best above ground pool pump is listed on The Pool Advisors and there you can find their perks too. It is very important to choose the pump following the characteristics of the pool you’ve already chosen.

Here are some essential markers to consider when buying a pool pump:

  • efficiency – properly cleans the water
  • energy saving – it is best if your pump doesn’t rise your bills too much
  • resistant to corrosion
  • high-quality internal components that increase the lifespan and make it less noisy

Best cycling shorts for women

If you are looking to get into cycling, all the quipment you need is a bike, a helmet and a comfortable pair of cycling shorts. The process of choosing the right fit for you is different for men and women due to anatomical differences, so you need to make an informed decision. A good pair of cycling shorts can really make a difference in your cycling experience, improving the comfort of your lower body.

Tips for buying cycling shorts

It is understandable if you don’t want to spend too much money on cycling gear if you are only planning to pursue it as a hobby. However, cycling shorts of high quality are definitely worth investing in, as they will improve your overall experience.

The most important thing to keep in mind when buying cycling shorts is the fit of the garment on your body. Although it might not feel extremely comfortable at first, it is definitely recommended that you go for the tigthest fit possible. As you wear them more and more, the fabric usually loosens up, and it can cause a lot of discomfort. A tight fit ensures you are more stable on your bike, so if you have trouble choosing between two sizes, you should always go for the tighter one.

The fabric is also an important feature. You need to buy durable fabric, that doesn’t make you sweat too much while wearing it. Moreover, the saddle of most bikes tends to cause a lot of friction on your skin, and a typical pair of shorts and leggings will not protect you against that.

Best cycling shorts

This product is one of the best at the moment, as it features pretty much anything you could want from a pair of cycling shorts. These shorts feature a high-waisted fit, and are made from a tight, sculpting fabric that prevents you from sweating too much and doesn’t let you sweat on the saddle either. It comes in a large array of colours, so you can choose what fits your style and personality best.

  • Nike Icon Clash Training Shorts

This is another great example of high quality cycling shorts women. They feature Nike’s efficient Dri-Fit technology, and are made from a smooth, tight fabric with sweat-wicking properties. These brightly coloured shorts can be found in various designs and colour combinations, and are amazing for cycling as well as training and jogging.

  • Triban RC 500 Women’s Padded Cycling Shorts

This is an amazing product, made especially to enhance comfort while riding your bike. Its best feature is the padded chamois with antibacterial treatment, envelopped in a great, breathable fabric with sweat-wicking properties. A chamois is a padded material which you can find on some cycling shorts models, which prevents chafing on the bike saddle and additional pain caused by friction. If you are planning to cycle a lot, or on longer routes, then you should definitely consider this option, as it will substantially improve your cycling experience.

Wichita Tweet Up Covers Consumers As Marketers Topic

I attended a Tweet up last week in Wichita, KS on our way down to South by Southwest. We talked about the integration of social media in mobile devices, including downloadable applications, using the mobile web to check online e-tailer prices while at a home town merchant, or making social streams from Twitter, Facebook and other networks part of your mobile home page as the Motorola DEVOUR with MOTOBLUR. An interesting take from a couple of folks was that local merchants can monitor the web for the lowest prices online for similar products that they carry in the local store, then be active with the local community online and those merchants will be able to charge the premium while building customer and community loyalty.

Another issue the Wichita covered was about how consumers are being marketers for brands. After all that’s the attraction of social media for many big brands, have customers do with credibility what marketers have tried for years.

Wichita, KS Tweet Up, March 12 from Albert Maruggi on Vimeo.

We raised the case of TGIF’s Friday’s integrated campaign to get 500,000 fans in the month of September for their number one fan/spokesperson Woody on Facebook. If you became a fan everyone would benefit with a free Jack Daniels burger. Woody quickly met his goal of 500,000 fans by mid-September, presenting a problem of what to do with the remaining two weeks, and the ad buy. After the grumbling began online they doubled Woody’s free burger allotment to 1 million.

Tom Shaw writer of the Marketing Executive blog estimates that if 50% of the 500,000 fans bring one person who buys a meal and a drink, it will generate up to $5 million in sales.

We put the question of marketing to your network and the Woody’s example to the Wichita group and the feedback was mixed. Some bought into the idea, if they liked a product they would share it with their network, others took a case by case approach, perhaps sharing with only a portion of their fan/friend/follower base, while others shrugged it off as part of the new dynamic of social media. Give a listen to the video. Apologies for some of the side conversation going on in the background.

We met at the Donut Whole, a fantastic place with outrageous donut flavors like bacon maple and chocolate cheese cake. I’m told by one of the employees that one of the secrets is the fresh spices purchased from a local importer. The donuts are worth the trip even from Minneapolis!

Special thanks to Cindy Kelly @wichitacindy for helping organize the Tweet up. I’ll donate a food item to a St. Paul, MN food charity for every comment we get on this blog.

A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

The world is full of good Samaritans who give of themselves for others. Let’s focus on two, Ed Bennett of the Maryland University Medical Center and David Ekrem, Manager, Web Development at the Mass General Hospital for Children. They compiled a list of hospitals using social media, specifically at least one of four types of social media blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Ed and I chat in this podcast about why and how hospitals are gradually dipping their toes into the social media pool. Bennett weaves ways to use social media in with new media tools like, webcasts, podcasts, and video of surgeries, long before it became fashionable to Tweet about it. In the podcast, Bennett, a web manager, makes a good case for marketers and PR folks to work with IT in this life and death environment.

There are hundreds of ways to use these tools, enough to give anyone a headache. Allow me to outline one use for each medium.

Blogs – A blog is a place for an on going dialogue, detail, and to build a body of work that helps brand a facility or an individual. Dr. John Butler is a physician at the
Arden Hills Clinic in Minnesota. He recently caught my attention with a post about the iPhone as an essential medical instrument. His blog helps ease the anxiety about medicine in general and informs about specific issues about which he is familiar. It warms us up to Dr. Butler.

A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

FacebookSt. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital there are so many things this Facebook page does well but I share it not because other hospitals should take on the same thing, but to show how versatile this platform can be. It can be used by patients to share their stories on your wall. When you visit this site to see those stories, bring a tissue. It uses widgets in conjunction with the page to raise donations. It uses multimedia to inform. And yes, it shares a personal side asking NCAA bracketology questions and other aspects of being part of a social community.

TwitterCarilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA and Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA are good examples of hospitals that use Twitter as a newsfeed. Little nuggets of news from the hospital, events like parenting classes or links to information about faster radiation treatments are a good diet of information for hospitals.

IDEA

I have not seen this application for twitter yet, so I’ll share the idea. If you’ve seen it from a healthcare provider let me know. If not, and you like the idea, take it and tell me. I think a facility that has a specialty in hearts or bariatric surgery can do a specific feed related to diet and exercise. It would contain information about calorie count, fast food healthy choices, reminders to do 2 flights of stairs, and all coordinated to an appropriate time of day. This feed is best send as a text message to your phone since it will be a good reminder to push away from that lunch table in time to take the long way back to the office.

Comment line 206-600-6887 – or leave a comment below and we’ll donate a food item to a St. Paul food shelf.

Come Hang and Learn in San Francisco

Discount code for Marketing Edge readers and listeners

Here is a $100 discount code for Marketing Edge readers and listeners, SNCRFRIEND if you only want to attend the New CommForum (see agenda) or if you want to attend the New CommForum and the InBound Marketing Summit use this code NCFFOS to get $200 off the listed price if you plan on attending both conferences.

How to Implement The New Rules of Marketing and PR

The second printing of best selling author David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of Marketing and PR demonstrates A) these rules work and B) it’s OK to learn as we go. In this conversation with David, we discover that another one of the rules is ideas are fluid and when even two people focus on a topic, preconceived notions can change, and concepts can germinate into the next great case study.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR include participating in the communities with which you do business, not talking at them. Don’t worry we’ll put this in a nice list for retweeting and SEO purposes. The label David applied to this concept is “Brand Journalism” and it’s a hybrid of what trade journalists and thoughtful marketers have tried to do in the nineties. The key here is for companies to consider information that has news value and not just company/shareholder value. Information about the latest widget or big name customer being in the latter category and a more thorough conversation about issues that include technological advances, government regulation, or the ways society is changing to interact with products being in the former category. When a company’s perspective of what’s news expands, so does their number of mentions and conversations. Public relations practitioners can and should expand their thinking of news value, review the online discussions and contribute where appropriate. Not just in news release form, but in the infinite ways their creativity will take them, because any format, any locale, and any audience is now affordable and reachable.

David’s Brand Journalism idea may result in an actual job position I call the “embedded corporate journalist”, a paraphrase from the journalist embedded with military units in the Iraq War. This leads to understanding a situation more thoroughly so you can report it with perhaps greater sensitivity and depth. This is of greatest benefit if the entity being reported on seeks its audience to have greater understanding of its rationale rather than an entity that believes PR and news is a broadcast.

David’s work is insightful and I trust our conversation in this episode of the Marketing Edge is for you. Here is my take on ways to consider the New Rules of Marketing and PR

1) Who Cares? – Find out who cares about your stuff, not just mentions of your brand (that’s so narrow) but things that comprise the universe in which your company operates.

2) Do You Care? – Consider whether your entity really cares about opinions outside of the organization? Seems like a simple question, however, your lip service radar needs to be tuned in with reality here. If they are not, the New Rules of Marketing and PR will read like a novel, not a guide to your success.

3) Can We Try? – Analysis paralysis is a function of group think. We are not landing planes or experimenting with a deadly virus. We are having a conversation and no one will be injured. The prerequisites then are thoughtful, sensitive to community, readily engage comments, and be prepared to acknowledge a short coming. The rest will work itself out.

Practicing What We Preach

On a similar note, I will be covering South by Southwest this week and next on these pages. It’s a similar note because Verizon Wireless is sponsoring the trip. We will feature stories about social media innovators from the Midwest who are attending SxSw. We’ll focus on stories that I believe are hot topics for 2010, mobile applications, location based services, and the mobile web space. We are also doing some fun events and playing with neat gadgets during the week. I am road tripping to Austin with Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/St. Paul founder Rick Mahn. His trip is sponsored by Tungle the web-based scheduling platform. We’ll be using a variety of Verizon mobile devices including the Droid, HTC Droid Eris, Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, the Motorola DEVOUR with MOTOBLUR and tap into the Verizon Mifi when no wireless is around.

I suggest this project has the elements of the type of interaction the New Rules of Marketing and PR says are what is needed to engage communities.

The Single Best PR Advice for 2009 – Think Like a News Organization

The problem with many companies trying to get PR and media coverage is they think like a company. They need to think like a news organization about themselves, their industry, and the communities in which they play. In the first Marketing Edge episode for 2009 we talk with Kevin Dugan, co-author of the Bad Pitch Blog. The Bad Pitch Blog is a must read for any PR or corporate communications professional, and more importantly, clients of PR organizations. Why clients? Because you don’t want to put your organization or your firm in a situation where the pitch becomes the news. We get into how not to craft a bad pitch and approaching PR with a different perspective in part because social media has changed the landscape of public relations

Meanwhile here’s an old PR versus new PR list for 2009, Kind of like a PR fashionista list.

Think Like a News Organization

Old PR Thinking

  • News is only when the company has a new product, version or customer.
  • News is something you distribute to the news media
  • Avoid discussion of controversial subjects that impact the company
  • No discussion of company strategy or internal debate
  • Limit most of communication to print or text

New PR Thinking

  • Evaluate potential news items as if you were an editorial board of a multimedia publishing company monthly if not more frequently.
  • Consider information as it is perceived by a variety of communities impacted by your company, that’s who really determines news.
  • News can be targeted by community participation, posted to a blog, included in a podcast and a variety of other means, you don’t need to blanket the world
  • Use the right medium, audio, video, print, mash-up, others to convey the story
  • Get involved in issues that matter to your industry, whether you take a position or participate in the debate, don’t sit on the sidelines.
  • You are your own media outlet, create a channel like blip.tv, blog, podcast, slide share, and make it easy for users to share with others.
  • Video is not limited to TV, fully integrated multimedia news organizations may well be the right target for a pitch that was previously considered the realm of television.

That’s just a few, we can always talk more, start with a comment either below or at 206-600-6887. Provident Partners donates a food item to a St. Paul, MN food shelter for every comment we receive. Happy New Year!

PR Practitioners Should Plan For The Next Newsroom Today

In surveys with readers of the San Jose Mercury News, Chris O’Brien, reporter and innovator on the issue of news in the US, presented four major findings about how people get information:

    • Google
    • Other people are a major resource of information
    • Conversations
      • Choice

There are 5 main theme of the Next generation of the newsroom a project to build the next generation newsroom being conducted at Duke University

1. Integrated – Newsrooms must be fully integrated across blogs and multimedia. It should embrace all platforms. Adapt a consumption model where readers can become so intrigued by the site that they lose track of time as they are immersed in the information.

2. Innovation – The newsroom must be a center for innovation; the 150 year old model was mostly static. We are now in an era of constant change.

3. Collaborative – there must be interactions with other groups outside of your own comfort zone. Cross pollination is a good thing in a new newsroom to expand knowledge and create areas where they will meet each other.

4. Adaptable – Allow for flexibility in assignments, even movable furniture that can be quickly reconfigured to meet a project need.

5. Transparency – Newsrooms need to be open to the community, creating the ability for a dialogue. Changing from a one way medium to a two way organ of information.

New jobs in journalism according to O’Brien

  1. Programmer journalists
  2. Media Conductors
  3. Backpack Journalists
  4. Cybrarian
  5. Community Managers

This is a summary of a presentation given at the NewComm Forum produced by the Society for New Communications Research. I agree and submit that all media is now multimedia. That means companies and PR firms need to determine what other resources are appropriate for specific releases. For example, consider audio soundbites or videos of relevant visual elements that enhance the story. These can be set up on a news page at the company’s website or posted on a unique landing page, all trackable. This is a start toward what will be a new type of news release called the social media release. A topic for another post.