Ever face a crisis situation? Raw panic? Of course you have. We’ve all been burned by miscalculation, greed, and shoddy research. People have been making the same mistakes for quite a long time and a young woman from the 10th Century can teach us a pointed lesson about the importance of accurately sizing up the competition. Continue reading UNDERESTIMATING THE COMPETITION
This is outrageous. I’m concentrating on my computer screen when a huge mitt grabs me by the back of the belt and plucks me from my chair. Next thing I’m dangled high over the desk, arms and legs flailing till I steady my balance and end up nose-to-nose with Big Bill Blair, our urban Paul Bunyan.
“‘Scuse me, Mr. Jonelis,” he says in a slow polite rumble that carries with it a stale smell of corned beef and cigar.
Big Bill slowly chews gum. Looks disinterested. Acts like nothing’s unusual.
I know he once terrorized jobsites for Boilermaker Local 1, but he’s supposed to be tame now—supposed to be working for me. Cripes, I even took him fishing this summer! Yet this guy just reaches across my big WWII Air Force desk and picks me up as if I were a gum wrapper. Continue reading A LOOP LONAGAN CHRISTMAS
by John Jonelis
Kids are dropping dead on the athletic field. Dead! These are our kids—those highly cherished and precocious little brats, grades K-12. Just a few years back we suffered a miserable year—120 deaths according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. Here’s a huge problem waiting to get fixed.
I recall Coach Bodle from my high school years. “Hey kid,” he’d say, “Scrape yerself off da ground. Yuh got yer bell rung is all. Shake it off! Da team needs yuh. Get back out there and gimme a hunert ‘n’ twenty percent!” An inspiring speech. Always got results. Players knew the alternative. During my moments of serious academic pursuit, I’d draw Coach Bodle in the margins of my textbook. The result always came out looking like the Frankenstein Monster. This was a guy whose claim to fame was an ejection due to unnecessary roughness in a semi-pro football game. But I made allowances for his furious temper. Had no alternative. Anyway, I figured the guy got his bell run too many times.
That was a different era. Nowadays coaching is a profession. They know better. The liability is huge. People can go to jail. Eighty percent of athletic injuries happen at the high school level. Same old/same old doesn’t cut it and the demand for change rings powerful and loud.
Tonight I get to see Tyrre Burks, founder of Team Interval tell us what he proposes to do about it. Continue reading INJURIES TREATED BADLY
This is a winner. You wanna wow the judges? Win the crowd? Get your game face on, kiddo! Hit ‘em with real passion, overflowing personality and a canon shot of enthusiasm. State what you want to do with bravado. With humor. With intelligence. With dazzle and power. While you’re at it, throw in a pair of fitted black leather pants so they’ll sit up and bark. It never hurts to be feminine and smart. By the way, she’s an award-winning mathematician from MIT.
This is Joy Tang and she’s pitching InstanTag – The Social Fashion Network at the Funding Feeding Frenzy in Chicago—a private equity arena with no speed limit in an industry dominated by sweaty men. Men pack the judging panel. Men pack the audience. That doesn’t stop her.
There’s already been plenty of controversy surrounding John Chen as CEO of BlackBerry, but his latest offering is the most mind boggling yet. BlackBerry shot to success with handset devices, and there was a time when the company couldn’t be touched. However, Apple and Samsun quickly caught up and surpassed BlackBerry, leaving it in the dust—Chen was supposed to save the company, but he might be sinking it quicker than ever. He’s only been at the helm for less than a year, and he’s noted that any future will be in selling security and mobile management to agencies and corporations.
And then Chen made a reach for the smartphone market again. He’s pitching Passport, which will be the first new BlackBerry phone device since he took office. This is a last ditch effort. If it fails, it will likely be the end of BlackBerry as we know it and (perhaps) the end of Chen’s rein. Unveiled in Dubai, Toronto and London, Passport has admittedly modest features including an actual keyboard and simple square display.
Although Chen believes in BlackBerry as a smartphone leader, he says he’s also realistic. “It could be extremely important to me in the turnaround as part of the strategy, but it does not have to be. As long as it does not lose money, this will not affect my turnaround plan in a negative way. We will make money on the handsel; if we don’t, we’ll have to get out.”
The target market for Passport will be BlackBerry’s tried and true demographics, including industries like government agencies, military, banks and healthcare. However, security concerns are already popping up, taking precedence over the sticker shock. Experts are saying that there are a plethora of obstacles for BlackBerry to tackle before even think about releasing the BlackBerry Classis. It’s slated to nip at the heels of Passport depending on how Passport is received.
The experts weigh in
According to an analyst with ABI Research, Nick Spencer, “I do wonder how they can actually have an impact. It’s an awfully long way back for them.” Getting back into the hardware game with a goal of just breaking even is a strategy that requires cost and price analysis. Unfortunately, the Passport can’t be touted as an executive phone that demands a high price since it simply doesn’t have the features or clout to do so.
The majority of analysts agree that Apple has tapped out the top tier for smartphone costs. Compare the base model iPhone 6 at $550 to the Passport at $600 and there’s no reason for the $50 difference. Of course, smartphones are designed for massive manufacturing which leads to big savings. Scale can make or break a hardware business and it’s not something that BlackBerry excels at now.
A fighting chance?
It was estimated by research company IDC that Apple ships around 33 million iPhones per quarter. BlackBerry only ships 1.5 million. BlackBerry is doing moderately well selling bargain-priced phones to developing countries, and that might be where their smartphone ventures end. In these markets, security concerns aren’t an issue but in Canada and the US there’s no getting around it.
Chen guesses that about 70 percent of the Passport’s innards are on par with all other companies. However, he notes that the higher Passport cost is due simply to smaller production. There’s no excuse or luxury item tucked away. It doesn’t seem like Chen is going to pull through, but it’s still too early to tell how the Passport will be greeted by the public.
I recognize a sharp character flaw among outdoorsmen of all sorts—an uncontrollable urge to exaggerate—particularly after an excursion to a wilderness such as northern Manitoba. Permit me to treat you to a few horror stories of the Great North Woods. I promise to debunk them all.
Mobs of Tourists
Multitudes of crude drinking-age folk and their dirty urchins shack up in run-down resorts and shabby private cabins. They dot the shores and pollute these once-fine waters. Long, loud lines form at boat ramps. Rough individuals engage in open hostility.
Huge speedboats, stinking of gasoline and oil, cut across fishermen’s lines. Meanwhile, high-speed suicide boats equipped with 150 horsepower motors shoot up rooster tails of greasy water as they propel themselves gunnel to gunnel at 70 miles per hour in a desperate competition for the rare undisturbed fishing spot. Continue reading LIES ABOUT PARADISE
Public transportation across the United States has been utilizing alternative fuel vehicles for decades, employing buses that run on either compressed natural gas (CNG) or a liquefied natural gas (LNG) to alleviate the burden of high fuel emissions from conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. And according to the industry group NGV Global, there are more than 16.7 million natural-gas vehicles on the road worldwide at the end of 2012. In the United States however, using natural gas cars has been slow to catch on. Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are, for one thing, still much pricier than gasoline powered vehicles, or even hybrids. But when taking into account the many benefits they offer for both drivers and the environment, an interest in NGVs in one we can all afford to develop.
Like any alternative method, it’s wise to take some considerations into account before implementing CNG or LNG into your fueling routine. But for the average motorist, there are many good reasons to make the switch.
- Safety: It comes as a surprise to some to learn that natural gas cars are found to be safer than those that run on diesel or gasoline. This is because not only do the physical properties of natural gas make it safer (less flammable) but it is lighter than air, and if it were to leak it would simply rise into the atmosphere and disperse. It is also odorless and non-toxic. The fuel tank which contains the gas is also made of steel up to a half-inch thick and coated in protective fiberglass. Newer tanks can even be made of polymers that exceed the strength of steel. The massive car recalls imposed by both GM and Ford this year alone make the safety of an NGV appealing.
- Environmentalism: Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, produces the fewest emissions of all internal combustion vehicles. The pollutants found in natural gas are also significantly fewer than those found in gasoline. In most cases, using natural gas results in less carbon dioxide, (the primary greenhouse gas), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and small (but harmful) particulate matter. Using natural gas assists with a host of environmental concerns, such as CO2 emissions, smog, and acid rain. Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States.
- Life in the Fast Lane: NGV drivers are allowed to drive in the express or carpool lanes on many highways.
- Domestic: Natural gas is found in plentiful amounts right here in the United States, reducing the supply chain needed to bring drivers their fuel. By utilizing an abundant form of energy found right here at home we can save untold amounts on transport alone. Unlike oil, which is typically imported, approximately 99 percent of the United States’ natural gas supply is found here in North America.
Even if the environment is out of the realm of your interests, and you’re content with the performance of your current vehicle, alternative fuels are also an attractive option due to the rising costs of typical gasoline. CNG costs less than gasoline, and is also a clean-burning fuel which results in less engine wear and fewer oil changes. Certain states offer tax credits for purchasing an NGV, and NGV owners are also potentially eligible for state and local tax benefits. Many websites such as this resource help consumers explore their options, whether they choose to convert their vehicles to run on natural gas or decide to purchase a new one off the lot.
Not everyone agrees that natural gas is the best choice for motorists. There are some serious limitations for those interested in making the commitment to an NGV. For one thing, they are manufactured by fewer automobile companies, and are typically more expensive. There is also a limited number of fueling stations where one may go to refuel the vehicle when needed. Most are located only in largest metropolitan areas. The “fracking” process through which natural gas is often extracted from the ground also has many Americans concerned.
Of course, the rising interest in these vehicles raises many questions. Should the government effectively try to “sell” these vehicles to its citizenry? And does it make sense to choose one type of alternative vehicle – NGVs, say, over hybrids or plug-ins? Some have argued that it might be easier to use our natural gas resources to power electric cars rather than create an entirely new fueling system. But seeing natural gas technology flourish in places like Iran, Pakistan, Brazil and Argentina gives us hope that this alternative fuel might soon be able to reduce our dependency on oil, improve the air we breathe, and make our impact on the planet less destructive.
This article was originally submitted to Soshitech.com from Kate Voss.