Tripr

Late to Bed, Early to Rise

Rach, the “older teen”

Sleeping is a big issue for me. In high school, I was exhausted in the spring after all the work I had been doing with the school musical. And in the fall, watching TV and doing homework weren’t exactly the most tiring activities, so I stayed up later and did more nothing.

My parents never really hassled me about it. If I was still watching TV at 11 or 12 then they would tell me that I should get some sleep soon. Or, if I was in bed before dinner, they just let me sleep. I guess all the sleep I got sort of balanced out.

I’ve been working on a more normal sleep schedule, now. I go to bed more or less consistently on weeknights, and I take naps between classes if I feel like I need it. I’ve noticed: as teens get older they sort of realize how much sleep their bodies need. So, sleep becomes something much more important than it was as a younger teen.

I’m wondering how you deal with sleep schedules at your house? I haven’t had a “bedtime” in years… is that still a thing now that you have teens?

Brad, the “dad”

It’s amazing how “bedtime” and “maturity” have become inextricably entwined here in my little kingdom. Looking back, I realize this is where we first starting losing control – or, more accurately, the illusion of control: when we stopped enforcing reasonable bedtimes. But you’re right, Rach: as the kids get older, parents feel oddly guilty about tucking them in, and it’s the first place where even ‘easy’ kids take a stand, no matter how impractical…

Meanwhile, this particular conflict made for middle-school early-morning hours that were pure, unadulterated hell. Getting the girls up and running was darn near impossible. There were some classic days where they stumped off to school carrying most of their clothes rather than wearing them because of they just…could…not…WAKE UP. And for some reason, “I told you so” didn’t have much effect on changing their sleepy-times.

Our solution? We came to accept, and even encourage, the Miracle of The Nap. Yes, there’s a certain maturity-edge there, too: “Don’t treat me like a baby!” But I was more than happy to lead by example. If I had to stay up late or pull an all-nighter to work on a project (a feat that, trust me, gets harder and harder as the decades pile up), I would make a point of proudly catching a few winks during my natural creative/energy downtime (for me? About 4:00 p.m.). And if one of the girls pulled the same late-night antics, it was easier to enforce a late-afternoon lie-down than cut the power to their bedrooms and strap them to the mattress, just to get them asleep by 11:00.

And it still works. They may not get eight hours in a row, but by and large, they do get closer to eight hours of sleep out of every 24…and in the process, they’ve become more flexible in their planning and more aware of when they really need rest-time. And there are generally fewer arguments about lights-out and wake-ups.

Consider it. The Miracle of the Nap. It’s not just a good idea…it’s a law of nature.

Mary, the “mom”

Our teens have a bedtime on school nights, but it’s not a time that we mandated, it’s one they agreed to. Unfortunately, it’s also not a time by which they are actually in bed very often. So, rather than serving as “bedtime”, it serves as the time at which mom and/or dad start nagging that they should be in bed.

I know they’re tired. In just the last week, each of them has made a comment about having a light homework night and planning to get to bed early. Somehow, that never happens.

As a “night owl”, I am a terrible example. I blame it on bio-rhythms. I guess that’s just an excuse and if I really wanted to change, I could. The fact is that I don’t really know whether I could change or not, because I’ve never tried. I like staying up late. (Really bad example.)

Unfortunately, also like their mother, our teens never nap. With the exception of a few times when I’ve been really sick, I haven’t had a nap since I was two, even when the kids were babies and I’d be up half the night. I just can’t nap.

So, while I’d like to believe that, like Rach, my kids will start listening to their bodies as they mature and regulate their sleep schedule, I suspect that instead, they will follow they’re mother’s bad example. But hey, I get a lot done in a day, how bad can it be?

Lauren, the “younger teen”

Normally I get to bed between 10:00 and 10:30. I don’t have a real bedtime per se, but at 10:30 my parents will start to push me to get to bed. I always feel tired. It’s a rare occasion when I don’t feel ready to fall asleep right then and there. Unfortunately, my busy schedule doesn’t allow for naps or earlier bedtime. The not getting home from dance until 9:30 and still having to eat and shower makes it hard.

Napping sounds like a great solution, but I don’t think too many teen schedules allow it. I wish sometimes I had time to nap, but I don’t. I also don’t think I’ve napped since I was 2. I was never big on napping as a little kid and now since I want to, I don’t have the time to.

Teens seem to stay up later than they should give they have to get up at those ungodly school times. Mornings are hell for me. My alarm goes off, I turn it off, roll back over, go to sleep, my mom comes and wakes me up. Then later on my mom calls the time, I reply “oh, crap” because I’m not ready, My make-up has to be finished before I go out, I miss the bus every other day, so I go to my neighbor’s house because they get on after me. They don’t even look up when I come anymore, and, knock on wood, I’ve never missed it at their house.

So maybe as teens, we need more sleep than as kids, but of course, end up getting less… a lot less!

Make Your Car Clean and Beautiful: Benefits of Steam Car Wash

Is not amazing how steam auto wash can make your auto clean and lovely? With the hectic schedules that people have every day, they seldom uncover the time to clean their own vehicles. That is why the demand for car wash services has quickly elevated in a couple of years’ time span. More vehicle wash businesses in different areas have  Steam Car Washopened to serve automobile owners. But for other people who are not that busy, they nonetheless select to have their automobile cleaned by auto detailing shops since of the positive aspects of steam vehicle wash. Steam car wash does not only save their time and energy from cleaning their own vehicles but provides them several advantages that give the best results. It is vital for this approach to have the appropriate equipment which includes the steam cleaning system to fulfill the satisfaction of every consumer and that of your business as properly.

Steam auto wash cleaners have various components that each and everyone works for a complex and distinctive task in cleaning a vehicle. The usual equipment for steam automobile wash makes use of boilers to heat water that can generate steam. The steam is highly effective in washing a vehicle since it can clean different sorts of car surfaces. In impact, you won’t need tough and hazardous chemicals to clean your vehicle anymore. This alone makes it possible  Steam Car Washfor you to save up the price of buying the chemicals. Steam washers can simply eradicate all kinds of dirt that would be hard for you to remove with a mop or cleaning cloth. By means of a steam auto wash, dirt from hidden or difficult-to-reach areas can be efficiently cleaned. Though modern day pressure washers are offered, a lot of nonetheless pick steam-washing equipment simply because it doesn’t call for abrasive chemicals that emit hazardous substances. You do not also trigger pollution to the environment and people too. These days, numerous car shops have been employing green cleaning supplies with steam washers that are friendly to the environment. With such, folks are also able to avoid wasting too much water while cleaning the automobile. Another benefit of a steam cleaner is its multipurpose feature. You can also use it for the home and other surfaces that can withstand high temperatures. Carpets can be successfully cleaned by means of the steam washer that can clean as rapidly as achievable. This is a great advantage that can save you a lot of cash and time from cleaning the traditional or tough way.

 Steam Car Wash

It is also vital to know that there are some steam cleaners with unique attributes. Those units for industrial purposes normally have added capabilities such as getting high-pressure levels and temperature ranges. This kind is not suggested for property use due to the fact it is designed to function continuously for hours. On the other hand, vapor steam machines are the type that is a lot more proper for house applications. It is advantageous to have steam car wash equipment that has self-cleaning capabilities. With steam washers, you do not have to devote a lot of time cleaning the boiler because it doesn’t need to. It is even greater to just clean the boiler a few times to stop damages on the parts. In any way, regardless of whether it is the auto, residence or carpet that you need to clean, the steam vehicle wash equipment provides the best results for a clean and lovely surface that is like brand new.

Hal Quinn, U.S. mining’s advocate in Washington and beyond

Hal P. Quinn, the president and CEO of the National Mining Association, believes the people employed in U.S. mining is the strongest asset the industry possesses.

In a recent interview with Mineweb, Quinn expressed confidence the new Republican-controlled Senate may accord the U.S. mining industry the access, the airing of concerns and the vetting of legislation that the industry has come to rely on in the U.S. House.

Convincing both houses of Congress that streamlining of mining permitting on the federal level is vital to the future of U.S. manufacturing and related industries is one of Quinn’s foremost goals over the next two years as a new U.S. President is chosen in 2016.

Appointed as chief of the National Mining Association in 2008, Attorney Quinn has been working in and around the mining industry for more than 25 years ever since he joined the Mining and Reclamation Council of America as legal counsel in the 1980s, which was subsequently merged into the National Coal Association in 1987, and then merged with the American Mining Congress in 1995, becoming the National Mining Association.

When asked what he likes most about mining, Quinn declared, “I really enjoy the people. I think that’s the strongest asset our industry has; they’re all very innovative and dedicated. When you’re working for an industry that is so essential to everybody’s standard of living and providing for the needs of society, you really have to feel good about the people you’re representing to have a policy environment that is going to help them be successful.

“Because you know that, when it all comes down it, if the mining industry is not successful, then this country is not going to succeed. Whether we’re talking about energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, technology, national defense, that’s what we’re all about. We’re part of that. We’re the front end of the supply chain on all that.”

In many cases relationships already existed with the aforementioned sectors, Quinn acknowledged. “What we’ve been striving to do over the past five or six years is to strengthen them and tie them closer together. There are a lot of issues that all these sectors of the economy, these industries, have in common.

“But I think what we’ve done over the last four, five years is drill down and show them that we have specific needs, too, and that it’s in their interest in helping us be successful in formulating the right policies to support us remaining competitive and moving forward so we can feed their sectors with the minerals, metals and materials they need so they can be competitive,” he said. “Our Minerals Make Life Campaign, that’s really what that’s all about is that, one, particularly with the policymakers and influencers, is drawing that connection between mining and key sectors of our economy tighter, showing them that connection. And also then reaching out to those sectors as third-party validators of what we’re advocating and what we’re saying, how critical we are to their success.”

When asked if a GOP-controlled Congress will really help mining, Quinn responded, “What we stand for and what we’re advocating, in our view, is not really a partisan issue. We view our interests as perfectly aligned with the public interest, so we don’t think it should depend on partisanship. At the same time, we have to realize there may be different viewpoints about how we reach those objectives and whether some of the policies we’re advocating may not be uniformly viewed as necessary for us to be successful.

“I think a GOP-controlled Congress now aligns both houses under the same party who will set an agenda about what are the priorities, public policy-wise, for the country,” Quinn observed. “We know that in the House of Representatives over the past several years the public policies that we’ve been advocating have been getting a full, thorough and consistent treatment. With a Republican controlled Senate, our hope is that they will be given similar treatment over there in terms of aired, vetted, and acted upon.”

Permitting and Best Practices
When asked by Mineweb if Congress really can do much to improve a permitting process controlled by the Obama Administration, Quinn responded, “They can impact that because they can set some expectations and accountability into the process, particularly at the federal level.

“We have some very good, effective and efficient innovative systems at the state level. Where we see quite a bit of delay is when we’re laying the federal level over top of that and there’s quite a bit of overlap and duplication,” he noted.

“Over the last two Congresses we have legislation passed, the Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, that really embodies best practices for an efficient and thorough permitting review and really sets out expectations in terms of timelines, allows the project proponents to agree with the lead federal agency on timeframes for reaching key decision points throughout the process,” Quinn added.

“We think those are best practices and they’re out there already, but they’re not required under the law but they are recognized. So the legislation we’ve advanced for the last two years, Congress has said ‘let’s put those in place’ and that’s the template you have to follow. Let’s stop having a system that allows permit applications and projects to remain in limbo because nobody is willing to make a decision one way or the other,” he stressed.

“And let’s cut back on the duplication and let the environmental analyses and assessments that are going on at the state level be utilized on the federal level and we don’t have to do a whole new analysis in most cases; maybe in some there’s going to be some gaps that have to be filled,” Quinn acknowledged. “But let’s focus on those rather than have the federal level try to duplicate what the state’s already been doing with respect to the environmental performance of that particular operation.”

“Best practices continue to evolve. I think what companies bring to the table when they put in an application to get the authorizations they need is they reflect those best practices in their application. So there are places where you might not need additional regulations, but you evolve your practices to be better positioned to meet the expectations of the law; that’s where the two shall meet.

“It’s not a matter of self-regulation as it is accommodating the evolving nature of best practices and bringing those forward as the industry continues to improve on its environmental performance. The expectation of what is expected of us is heightened, but at the same time we expect that the regulators will improve their process to recognize that and move forward without delay on these things because we’re bringing forward better practices, better technology and better risk assessment,” Quinn stressed.

When asked if U.S. mining companies will consider adopting the Minerals Council of Australia Water Accounting Framework for the Minerals Industry, Quinn counselled, “I think a lot of the companies are evaluating that as they look at the projects that they’re putting forward is what are going to be the needs of that project, whether it’s water consumption or other resource implications. Somehow that information will be digested for purposes of putting forward your project application about how you’re going to meet expectations on minimizing or avoiding unnecessary impacts on particular resources.”

Possibility of More EPA, Other Agency Power Grabs
In the wake of successful efforts by the EPA to retract federal Clean Water Act permits for coal companies, as well as the agency’s desire to pre-empt the filing of any federal mining application permits by the Pebble Partnership in Bristol Bay, Alaska, Quinn suggested, “This (Obama) Administration has been very aggressive in stretching what they believe is the breadth and extent of the existing law.

“We’ve seen that in the permitting process with respect to revoking permits that have been issued by another agency, and then in anticipation of new projects coming on line, suggesting that they can actually zone areas out from a federal level before anybody can even come forward with a full-blown mine plan and application and say ‘Here’s my project and here’s how I propose to address the issues of concern under the law.’

“The Arch Coal permit revocation a few years back is one example of retroactive action. The Pebble situation is clearly an example of a prospective carving out of ‘no-go’ zones well before the information’s available to evaluate properly how a very attractive project that’s needed would have impacts and whether they could be avoided or mitigated or addressed in a reasonable fashion,” he remarked.

“There’s another dimension to this, too, which is how often the agencies change their interpretations of existing rules or laws, which poses another challenge for a capital-intensive industry,” Quinn commented. “When you’re putting a lot of capital in the ground, you have to sustain that they may come up with a new interpretation of the law; and you’re saying, ‘I can’t retrofit this operation to do that.’

“And there has to be an understanding that going forward it might be something that’s reasonable to consider, but is some cases that’s not going to be technically or economically practicable at all.”

The priorities for mining in dealing with Congress and the Obama Administration identified by Quinn include a focus on getting improvements to the permitting system. “If we’re not allowed to find it, produce it and deliver it, we got a big problem here in the country,” he said.

“If it’s taken seven to 10 years to get permits and our peers are doing it in one to three years, we’re lagging behind and we have the highest standards in place right now,” Quinn asserted. “Canada and Australia, who are constantly trying to improve their systems, they really fully understand what the value is of the resource industries to their entire supply chains and the economies of their countries.

“We certainly need to be thinking about that here in terms of supply chains to the key sectors for our economy because of the manufacturers and technology folks are all looking to have more secure and more simplified supply chains. If we become increasingly reliant on sources that are further away and subject to, not only the unknown, but the unknown unknowns that keeps them up at night.

“When a mining permit takes 10 years in this country to get, it’s not a matter of just hurting the mining industry, that’s hurting manufacturing, that’s hurting energy, that’s hurting technology. It’s not good for anybody,” Quinn stressed.

Strategizing Against Mining Opponents
Over the years, opponents of mining have become increasingly sophisticated in their attacks on mining; “that’s something we’re always thinking about and anticipate,” Quinn acknowledged. “You can see it at various levels where they’ll go after the key pieces of the upstream aspects of our business on our exploration and mining side and then downstream to the beneficiation and refining side, and even, at times, looking at initiatives that are going to affect the markets for the products.”

“The requirements to address all these things effectively require more resources and it’s a little bit difficult at times because we got to figure out what our core competencies are and then what we need to execute on those core competencies,” he explained. “So there’s some things that you’re just not going to be able to spend as much time on because you can try to do everything and do it mediocre, or you try to do the most important things and do them well and do them successfully and that’s always a day-to-day challenge.”

Quinn’s Goals for NMA
When asked to define his goals for NMA, Quinn responded, “The goals are to continue to craft a very positive policy environment so the industry can not only remain competitive, but be successful—that helps the rest of the country succeed.

“We constantly look (at) each year and throughout the year (we ask ourselves) what are the major priorities in terms of policy issues that are going to impede our meeting that objective of allowing the industry to perform to its full potential and then what are enabling policies that will improve the situation,” he explained. “There are ones that are going to be half the battle because they’re going to hurt us.

“It could be the Clean Water Act permitting system and the changes or policies. It could be the Clean Air Act. It could be the RCRA, how they deal with solid waste,” he noted.

“The other side is: What are the things out there that have been neglected that we need to bring up front and say, ‘This is something that our country has not paid enough attention to, and that, in my mind, would be the permitting system’.

“We have a world-class resource base, but we’re being shackled by a worst-in-class permitting system,” Quinn declared. “There’s no reason for that, particularly as we see our peers continually improve their process. Our message is nobody should ever confuse the length of the process with the quality of the review or the thoroughness of the review. They’re not necessarily related at all and we need to bring some accountability into the system.

“There are policies that we want to advance that I call ‘enabling in nature’, to improve the situation and there are other areas we’re in, particularly in this administration’s aggressive regulatory agenda, where we’re trying to hold off or derail or shape what we call ‘disabling policies’; those that will harm our competitive position and our ability to do business, and at the same time do not really offer any material improvement in public benefits, whether it’s environment or otherwise,” he stressed.

“One of our consistent values is safety. …CORESafety is a management system,” Quinn stressed. “CORESafety is based on risk assessment: anticipating where the risks will be and marshalling the resources to address them adequately, so it’s all about preventing and we continue to push that. Our membership has embraced that.

“It’s completely available to the entire industry. Our goal is 0:50:5, zero fatalities and a 50% reduction in injuries within five years,” said Quinn. “We’re seeing improvement. It’s not solely because of CORESafety, but we think CORESafety, when the leadership of our industry brought that forward, it provided a very valuable tool and pathway for the industry as a whole on the journey to zero harm.”

“We developed a curriculum for safety that we believe is more contemporary; it’s not just about ‘let’s study the mine safety law’. It’s more about ‘here’s the tools you use to sustain continuous improvement in safety’,” he noted. “Our view is ‘how well you want to run your business starts with how well you protect your people.’”

Mining sector must dig deep to find profitability

PwC’s mining report, SA Mine 2014, reveals that there is still value in South Africa’s mining industry despite significant decreases in profitability, declining market capitalisation and regulatory uncertainty.

Released on Tuesday, the report explains how the industry had not only been plagued by labour unrest locally but also faced challenges, like rising cost pressures and lower prices, which had a global impact.

Of the three main revenue generating commodities in South Africa, the report cites gold as the only commodity to have gained in real-rand price terms over the last ten years. But, even so, gold has dropped by nearly 50% since its ten-year high in 2011. Platinum, in comparison, has fallen to its lowest real price in the last decade, with a 68% decline on its highest price in 2008 and a 40% decrease since its 2011 highs. Coal has dropped 52% from its 2011 high.

While a weakened rand has somewhat shielded the mining industry from these declines over the past year, with rand prices remaining flat, it will not have a positive impact in the long term as it is inflationary.

Mining

It is under these conditions, along with increasing costs and regulatory issues (arising from the new mining charter and mining tax regime, which is currently under review, for instance), that South African mining companies have to dig deep to find ways to be profitable.

“When you’re facing double-digit increases in your electricity prices every year, and when labour costs – considering that our industry is still significantly labour intensive – continue to increase it creates a challenging environment,” said PwC energy and mining assurance partner Dion Shango at the report’s launch. “That’s why it is tough [for mining companies] to maintain or improve margins at the moment.”

The numbers
The report, which is based on the financial results of 37 companies (with a market captialisation of over R200 million that have a primary listing on the JSE), shows that while the declining trend in market capitalisation temporarily halted – increasing marginally from R597 billion to R675 billion as at June 30 2014) – market capitalisation fell by 19% in the next quarter to R545 billion as at September 30 2014.

Combined Income statement of Surveyed Companies

*Numbers does not reflect impact of the strike for Amplats and Lonmin. Comparatives includes their 2012 strike

Nevertheless, companies managed to maintain relatively strong balance sheets, with stable liquidity. Revenue increased by R36 billion last year, with the top 10 companies accounting for 81% (R29 billion) of the revenue increase. And operating expenses increased by 14%, which is lower than the 16% seen in the previous financial year. It is noteworthy, however, that the full impact of the five-month strike on the platinum belt, which ended in June, has not been included in the reported results analysed in the survey, except for that of Impala Platinum.

“Gearing for local companies is sitting at around 13% whereas for global companies it’s about 28%. Only five companies in our survey had a gearing ratio above 28%,” said Andries Rossouw, who is also a PwC energy and mining assurance partner.

However, net profit reduced by 80% from R27 billion to R6 billion, despite an EBITDA improvement of 9% last year. This was due to the substantial impairment charges, which were up 137.8% over the prior year at R49 billion.

Mining

“EBTDA margins should be in excess of 35% in order to cover capital expenditure for the future. The platinum sector is well below that and would have had to borrow to fund their capex,” said Rossouw, adding that most companies that had impairments were outside of South Africa.

It is no surprise then that many of the companies in the survey had to increase their gearing in order to fund sustaining capital expenditure and, in some instances, operating losses. This was evidenced by a net borrowing outflow of R23 billion after an inflow in the prior year of R29 billion.

On the bright side, the report showed that safety remains a key priority for mining companies with a substantial decrease in fatalities and lost time injuries over the last ten years.

The report also showed that mining is still a valuable sector to the country and its people, showing an 11% increase in value created for all its stakeholders from R129 billion to R14 billion. It should be noted, however, that only a third of the companies surveyed – accounting for 77% of the total revenue of all companies analysed – provided readily available value added statements.

Most notable of these is that distributions to shareholders decreased by 7 percentage points from R29 billion to R19 billion, further pointing towards limited scope for short-term returns to investors as companies reinvest funds in the form of acquisitions and capital acquisitions. Investors looking for short-terms returns will therefore shy away from the mining sector and therein lies the problem faced by company boards that need to make decisions regarding the best strategy for remaining profitability in the trying times.

Mining

“There are differing views out there as to whether this low commodity price environment is the perfect time to invest, or whether management and boards out there should be holding back somewhat to (wait for a couple more years) to so see whether there is going to be further losses or high costs to be incurred by mining companies,” said PwC’s Shango.

Other key findings from the report

  • The low platinum basket price is unsustainable with South Africa accounting for more than 70% of global supply. At current price levels, a number of operations are marginal
  • Coal retains its positions as the leading South African commodity, representing 29% of mining revenue for the year, compared to 28% in the prior year. Gold decreased from 20% to 14% despite stable production.
  • The high percentage of value received by employees is not sustainable and is expected to move back to a longer-term average of 30% through either a return to profitability or, if that is not possible, through a decrease in the number of employees.
  • The mining industry currently exceeds the minimum empowerment levels of board representation required by the mining charter, with 41% of board members being Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSA) (down from 43% percent in the prior period), and 18% being females (up from 17% in the prior period). The mining charter requires a minimum of 40% HDSA and 10% female representation respectively, by December 2014.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

Around 150 Palestinians, together with Israeli and international activists, participated in Kufr Qaddoum’s weekly demonstration against the closure of the road leading to Nablus.

After midday prayers, protesters marched from the center of the village up the main road, but they were soon blocked by Israeli border police who threw stun grenades at the crowd. Clashes ensued for half an hour, after which Israeli forces retreated. Soon after, border police agents suddenly reappeared at the scene and, whilst throwing stun grenades, arrested two Palestinians and one international activist. The Palestinians were beaten up causing nose bleeding, whilst the international activist was punch in his face twice. The three of them were blindfolded and taken to Ariel Police Station.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

The demonstration ended at around 14:30h when protesters marched down back to the village.

Kufr Qaddum, a small town of 3,500 inhabitants, is situated in the northern West Bank, between Nablus and Qalqiliya. Kufr Qaddum’s total land area used to consist of nearly 19,000 dunams, of which 11,000 are now under total Israeli control. Village’s lands have been repeatedly confiscated to build and expand the settlement of Qedumim. Furthermore, the village has been effectively besieged since the beginning of the Second Intifada, when the main and only entrance to the village was blocked by the army. The main road has been, since then, closed, forcing residents to travel around an extra 15 km to get to Nablus.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

Since 2011, residents of Kufr Qaddum have been resisting the land grab and the road closure by holding weekly demonstrations. The Israeli army often violently suppresses the protests shooting tear gas canisters and stun grenades.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Timeshares are properties that have one owner and then many other investors/owners. The general owner is responsible for repairing damages and handling minor concerns as well as the upkeep of the property, such as moving the lawn. The individual owners receive a portion of time at the property each year for their payments.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Purchasing

An individual who purchases a timeshare isn’t buying the property itself, but rather a share of the property. Owners are guaranteed a portion of time at the property every year based on their investments.

Duration

The typical duration of a timeshare is one week out of the year. The owner has the option of choosing the week he wants to spend there when he first purchases, though first choice goes to the first buyer.

Owners

There are usually 51 buyers in a timeshare property. The company that owns the property uses one week of the year in which to do maintenance and repairs. The other weeks of the year are used by the owners/investors.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Types

Timeshares come in all different shapes and sizes, including yachts, condos and houses.

Geography

There is no set geography associated with timeshares, though they’re more popular in the United States, particularly California, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida.

Considerations

Timeshare owners/investors are responsible for the general upkeep of the property since others come in the following week. The original contract usually contains a clause mentioning this fact.

Valentine’s Data Crunching – Being Strategic In Love And Marketing

What can marketers learn from a data-crunching SEO-optimized online dater? A Lot.

Valentine’s MarketingWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air. And on the web. Online dating has replaced cruising the bar for other singles, especially during the website dating ‘high season’ between Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day. For those of us who’ve dabbled in Internet dating, the anxiety of choosing the right photos and words is an all too familiar feeling in the quest to attract “the one” (or just someone. Anyone.) But Amy Webb, CEO of Webb-Media Group, threw her human instincts by the wayside to master dating sites through a data-driven approach of mathematical equations, key words and an SEO-friendly profile. She logged her story in her new book, Data, A Love Story.

Webb joined JDate and was disappointed with her initial matches. On sites like JDate, the users themselves provide data. When ineffective data is entered into the site’s “matching” algorithm, ineffective matching is put out. Ergo – online dating is the pits, spitting back incompatible mates. Webb wasn’t satisfied with the system, and instead spent a month researching data points, crunching numbers and analyzing the competition, ultimately finding a formula for the most successfully matched user profiles on the web.

Here’s what she found:

The most successful women on the site had profile pictures that showed some skin, wrote short, positive bios and waited about a day to respond to messages from admirers.

“When you think about it, online dating is sort of the ultimate exercise in product marketing. Except that you are the product. So how can you leverage what you’ve got, how can you make sure you’re being seen by the most number of people?” Webb explains. “If you think of (it) as more of a catalog database … as long as you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s no different from doing a search in a library or doing a search for shoes on Zappos.”

Valentine’s Marketing

As a frustrated online dater I can’t help but be a bit exasperated with her findings. Weren’t we taught that the right person would like us for who we are? But as a brand strategist, I should have figured this out sooner. We are in an age that requires us to brand ourselves all the time, so why should it be any different in dating?

Before I landed a great job, I spent hours tweaking my resume. From format and font to titles and time frames, it never seemed quite right. But when I joined OKCupid, I only dedicated about 15 minutes to filling out my profile. In my (obviously) romanticized version of online dating, it would be easy to charm my potential suitors with my best photos and sparkling wit. But Webb’s story brings up a valid point – when positioning yourself for love, forget about branding for your own satisfaction. Like you would with any great product, use your data, strategize, and brand for the consumer.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

I doubt very much Frank and Estelle will follow in their paranoid, self-absorbed, cheap-wedding-invitation-buying son’s footsteps but it looks like he is the perfect poster-child for the Google Wallet, don’t you agree?

I wonder if the Soup Nazi will accept payments via the Google Wallet? George may want to look into that but be that as it may the Google Wallet looks pretty damn cool, if I may be so technical.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

Seriously though, this is just another example of the massively exploding field of Mobile Marketing and Mobile Advertising and just Mobile in general. Way back in June, before anyone care about Chaz Bono and his dancing prowess, I told you of The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce. “The number of advertisers using mobile advertising has doubled in just two years and accordingly mCommerce is growing right along with it. Marketers need to grow along with it.”

Then in July I gave you Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile. “… money transfers and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions will hit $670 billion by 2015 – nearly three times as much as will be seen this year, $240 billion.”

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet CustomerGoogle Wallet is an app that will utilize NFC technology to make your phone your wallet… literally. It stores virtual versions of your existing plastic cards on your phone, along with your coupons, and eventually, loyalty and gift cards. Right now the app is will be only compatible with the Nexus S 4G by Google, available on Sprint®. But you know if this takes off, you can expect a wider range of options.

And as for what kinds of partnering companies Google and Google Wallet is working with, they include issuing banks, mobile operators and merchants, among others. Retailers take note because under Google Wallet’s “open commerce ecosystem,” Google Wallet will establish APIs to enable transfer of offers, loyalty programs, receipts, and more at the point of sale.

Now Google Wallet has its supporters, including The Atlantic Wire who recently posted an article Why Mobile Payments Are More Than a Credit Card on Your Phone. In their article they tell of the potential advantages of Google Wallet, citing it’s faster, makes one more fiscally responsible and is actually educational because “mobile payment apps can educate you as you shop.”

And Google Wallet has its detractors as well… Why Google Wallet is an Epic Fail Waiting to Happen. In her article for nfcdata.com, the author says Google Wallet will be the next Google Wave, AKA a massive failure.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

As for me… it’s too early. It’s way too early. I know there will be a group of people who, for a myriad of reasons, the least of which being security, will be reticent to use their mobile phone as a credit card. I can surely appreciate the concern over security.

I also know it will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how, if Google Wallet is successful, who will be the next to jump on the proverbial bandwagon.

Oh yeah, I also know one other thing… and that is that even though George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is not technically in the Google Wallet commercial – meaning they used existing footage rather than shoot a whole new spot, it is markedly better than another Seinfeld cast member commercial done involving a major company…

Palm Island Information

There are several palm islands in the world, but only one sits just off the coast of Cape Haze, Florida. A hundred feet separate the Florida mainland from Palm Island. Yet, Palm Island remains mostly undisturbed by high-rise buildings and major roads.

Palm Island Information

Ferry

The Palm Island ferry is the main form of transport to Palm Island, despite the short distance to the mainland.

Beach

The beach is clean and pristine with an abundance of intact seashells and sea birds. Wildlife enthusiasts may see sea turtles, terns, herons, gulls and pelicans. Occasionally, a dolphin or manatee comes close enough to view.

Island Transportation

The ferry transports cars to the island. However, the most visitors use a bike or golf cart.

Palm Island Information

Hotels

The main resort, Palm Island Resort (see Resources), features one, two or three bedroom villas with views of the bay or Gulf. Privately owned residences are available for rent on Palm Island Resort property as well as outside the resort.

Restaurant

There is only one restaurant on the island and it’s located within Palm Island Resort. The restaurant, Rum Bay Bar, serves wines, mixed drinks and good food like baby back ribs overlooking the beach.

What 2012 Holds For The Digital Marketing Industry – A Sneak Preview

Our CEO Linda Rosanio takes on the role of soothsayer once again this year for the Philly Ad Club. Her annual “Outlook” article for the Ad Club News predicts the trends that will chart the course of the digital marketing industry for the year ahead.

The reason she keeps getting asked to share her prognostications is for the simple reason she is more often than not right on the money with her predictions.

digital marketing industry

And while you’re going to have wait just a little while longer to see the full array of her fearless forecasts for 2012 – they’ll appear in both the print and online versions of the January edition of the Philly Ad Club magazine, we figured we’d share a little sneak preview with you.

Prediction: The Web is Dying a Slow Death

But the Internet is going strong. Today’s marketers need to lead the charge in new technology, engagement strategies and optimization of campaigns based on data. It’s “Synegrated.” That’s how we describe it. In any typical day, we are engaging without the web. Apps, apps and more apps—Facebook, Twitter Skype, IM, Pandora and streaming Netflix videos. Consumers aren’t rejecting the web—they are choosing to use dedicated platforms because they just work better.

digital marketing industry

Prediction: The iPad will be the Most Important Device since the IBM PC

Why? First it makes the computer experience transparent to the user. When we use the iPad, we don’t feel like we are using a computer. Second, the iPad will firmly plant us in the ear of touch computing. For decades, computer scientists have known that touch is a far more natural way to interact with computers. And finally, most of the time we are on computers, we’re consuming information, not creating it. The iPad is optimized for consumption, accommodating 70 percent of what we actually do on computer—from the comfort zones of our couches, our beach loungers, wherever!

digital marketing industry

Prediction: Television as We Know It is Over

There will still be a screen in our living rooms, bedrooms and throughout our homes. But we will be able to track usage since the device will also be a computer or have Internet connection. With almost 70% of video consumed on-Internet connected devices, revenue models for television advertising will change. Once televisions are computers, analytics of who watches will get more accurate than Nielsen panels. With actual measurement, ad rates will adjust because the numbers aren’t as rosy as Nielsen makes them look. Newspapers felt it first and television will experience a similar shift in revenue models.