Technology Continues to Transform Lives

insuranceThink about how far technology has come in the last 10 years or the last 5 years for that matter. Think about how many things you do differently because of technology. No longer do you have to look in the phone book for insurance agents and call them and give out your information over the phone only to wait a few days for them to get back to you with a quote. Now you can get online and fill out some information and get car insurance quotes from multiple companies with a click of a button all in a fifteen minute span. That’s how technology has changed our lives. (more…)


Do You Need Data Recovery Devices?

One of the many questions you may ask, whether it is a PC that is used at home, or one that you use for work purposes, is: Do You Need Data Recovery Devices? Although the answer might seem like no at first, and you think you can protect data through online service sites, and by saving data regularly on flash drives, but if you really want to be safe, then you may want to consider looking in to the data recovery devices. (more…)


The Gift Hampers Company Using Podcasting To Modernise Their Customer Relations

img src=”http://firstzone.1ste.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/gift-giving.jpg” class=”alignleft” width=”300″ /Small business retail used to be a whole lot simpler in the old days. You made your shop or your market stall and you located it in a place where lots of people frequented.

The basic premise was that where there are already a lot of people you can catch yourself some sales and you have a business.

Then in the last decades the rise of large corporations and out of town shopping malls put greater and greater pressure on small businesses. The customers were leaving the town centers being lured away by the bright, shiney malls.

As small retailers began to fight back they turned their attention to e-commerce. The internet has levelled the playing field and anyone could compete online… or so the story went.

But any small business trying to retail online soon finds that margins are incredibly tight and the old adage “it takes money to make money” never applied more.

Large retail giants such as amazon dominate online retail too. Pay-per-click traffic is expensive and SEO firms charge a fortune too.

While it’s quite easy to take your small retail store online you quickly find that you’ve located your store in the wilderness and nobody visits.

So what can a small business do? How can they compete. Well all is not lost there are some things small retailers can do to try to draw visitors to their neighbourhood without spending a fortune, but be warned the rules of the game have changed.

h2Case Study/h2

a href=”http://www.uniquegifthampers.co.uk”UniqueGiftHampers.co.uk/a started as the side project of a small family business in the UK. Sales in their bricks and mortar store were declining as more and more people began shopping out of town. So the business created a website to try to gift baskets online.

The problem was that after 1 year nobody was coming to their website. So what did they do?

Well simply put they did the online equivalent of grabbing a megaphone and shouting until they began to attract attention.

By simply grabbing a usb microphone and a href=”http://www.usbmicrophone.info”following an easy guide/a, the firm started a podcast called The Art Of Gift Giving. It began as a monthly show and evolved into a weekly show covering lifestyle stories and how gifts build connections between people.

Apart from a small line in the intro mentioning that the show was “brought to you by uniquegifthampers.co.uk” the show deliberately never promoted their own gift baskets or products. Instead they have interviews and stories about love, life and gifting.

Guests come in from magazines, newspapers, businesses and colleges to talk about The Art of Gift Giving and the show far from being a cold advert is rather charming and heart warming.

Julie Stevens hosts the show and also works in the family business. She said, “To be truthful we started the show to draw attention to our business but it’s become much more than that. As a gift company we truly believe in the positive power of gifting. It’s not about spending money, it’s about showing you care. And The Art Of Gift Giving is our gift back the community. If it results in a sale then great but the podcast is free and given from us with love”.

Julie believes that more small businesses need to start to think like media outlets. It’s not enough to simply sit and wait for customers. You need to do something a little bit special and then customers will come to you.


Top 2014 Trends in the World of Technology and Ecommerce

img src=”http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/8/5/1375700825572/sharing-economy.jpg” class=”alignleft” width=”300″ /Each year the tech savvy early adopters gather around their mobile and tablet devices to discuss the upcoming trends in the technology sector. This year we have witnessed a number of new movements affecting the market, particularly in the mobile sector. We have also noticed an increase in the amount of mobile and web applications being developed under the sharing economy, with companies like Lyft and a href=”https://www.uber.com/”Uber/a taking off. Along with the rise of an economy based on sharing, we are now noticing a drastic shift from the use of web applications to straight mobile applications. Though this has been evident for quite some time, it is becoming more apparent that people would prefer to browse and utilize the web through their mobile devices. With that being said, we have created a brief list of the top trends of the technology sector in the year of 2014.

Tech Births the Sharing Economy: Share with the Joneses, Don’t Keep Up

Though it is still in its early stages, the sharing economy is taking the world by storm with companies like Lyft and TechPayout becoming more mainstream. If you are unfamiliar, the sharing economy is based on crowd-sourced funds and services. It is about the power of the people, coming together as one to share resources they wish to retrieve or they wish to sell. For example, if you have any old electronics lying around, you can simply go to a site like a href=”https://techpayout.com/sell/tablet/”this one/a. TechPayout allows you to sell a tablet or cell phone, giving you the ability to make money off your old products. This is a revolutionary new concept that is now dominating the market. It embodies the phrase: share with the joneses instead of keeping up. It is no longer a matter of investing into brand new products, when there is so many available by previous owners who no longer use a lot of the products they originally invested in.

Mobile Carrier Companies Adopt a More Friendly and People-Centric View of Business

According to leading industry professionals, mobile carrier companies will be adopting a more friendly and people-centric view of their business, by focusing more attention on the consumer’s needs. They are doing this by directing more energy towards customer sentiments which is ultimately resulting in a shift from the commonly held network-centric view of business towards a more customer-centric outlook. Mobile carriers believe they will be capable of optimizing focus and expenditures by spending more time understanding what customers want, need and most importantly, feel.

Cool New Services Will Be Arriving to the Market

The year of 2014 will also embody a vast array of new services for your mobile devices, and life in general, all of which will take form in web-based and mobile-based applications. There will also be changes in the rapid speed of services available, and LTE will soon be available for all cellphone networks on the market. This shift will result in the following: more automation, and more networked based through cross-platform connectivity. You will see more cars retaining the capability to connect to wireless devices, as well as other types of large mechanical devices, like your home.


Hairstyling Goes Digital

The effect of the internet, software applications and advances in technology on hairstyling salons and barbers has been astonishing. The changes in the business, from education to advertising to accounting, bear little similarity to what it was like in the industry just 15 or 20 years ago.

Cosmetology and Barber Schools

Today a would be stylist can watch YouTube videos on every aspect of hair care:

  • limatching the best style with a client’s features
  • licutting curly hair, straight hair, thinning hair, frizzy hair—all types of hair texture
  • lideciding on the best color and highlights for a client
  • lidetermining which tools to use. What’s the best flat iron for straightening long frizzy hair? Which hot air brush is going to give the most volume to straight hair?
  • limixing the colors
  • liapplying the colors
  • listraightening hair and curling hair
  • listyling hair for formal events
  • liusing best practices for health and sanitation in a styling salon

What YouTube can’t provide is actual hands-on experience. But recruits to styling programs come much better prepared the first day of class than they did in past decades. Most know the basics and are eager to test them out on real models.

Marketing the Local Salon and Barber Shop

The days of newspaper ads in the local daily and neighborhood throw away are almost gone. Modern shops use websites and social media to get the word out about their products and services.

It would be hard to find a shop without its own website, even if it is only a single page listing location, hours and services. Many have interactive appointment setting available, which makes it easy for client’s to sign up on the spur of the moment.

Shops can send out special seasonal coupons and promo codes for free or reduced price services via Twitter or their Facebook page. They can email their list with information about new stylists who have joined, additional services like massage being offered and discounts. Customers can sign up for text messages.

Ease of appointment setting

New apps let customers sign up for an appointment 24 hours a day on the salon website or through a mobile app. The salon manager simply checks her end of the scheduling app to see how many appointments are set for the day.

Using a smartphone, customers can let the shop know if they are stuck in traffic or need to reschedule. The salon owners can warn clients ahead of time if the stylist is running late. It offers convenience and reduces stress at both ends.

Influential beauty blogging

There are thousands of blogs devoted to beauty, makeup, haircare and looking your best. Among the topics covered are:

  • styling products like shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays and help for thinning hair
  • appliances for drying hair, curling it and straightening it
  • salon services like massage and skin care
  • makeup methods and brands of makeup
  • the newest hairstyles worn by models, actresses and celebrities
  • the best salons in different cities

Marketing gurus for the hair styling and barber industry love these blogs. Reading them regularly, they can easily spot trends, find out what is causing consumers to spend money, and discover what they dislike about new products and services.

Accounting, automatically

New accounting software applications make it easy to keep track of all the variables. Each time a customer is rung up, the software automatically takes care of figuring out inventory, salary, commission, taxes and overhead. Shop owners say there is simply no comparison to the days of tediously entering the numbers by hand.

The new procedures are much more efficient and accurate. Several terminals in large salons can all be connected to the same central software. The data is handled without error and with little human input.

Do-It-Yourself Nail Design

Most salons offer manicures and pedicures. Many also have nail design services, a big money maker. The process has become even simpler because clients can now design their own acrylic nails.

Online apps let the customer upload a photo of the design she likes. The stylist checks it out and makes any necessary changes. She can then print it out, producing the design precisely in latex paint.

This has speeded up the process for nail artwork and simplified the work necessary on the part of the salon. Smaller shops can offer a far greater range of designs using the app and the printer.

Digital help to look your best

Other apps available that have revolutionized the way consumers shop for clothes and beauty supplies include:

  • wardrobe selectors—these apps let the shopper upload a variety of photos of herself in various situations. The software then uses them to locate clothes around the web for different occasions. It is programmed to find flattering outfits that fit the taste of the customer, all at the best possible price.
  • clothes designing programs—for people who like to sew, these applications have simplified and speeded up making clothes in attractive designs. The seamstress picks the piece of clothing from a catalog and a pattern is printed. In addition the sewer gets online help for cutting, stitching and detailing.
  • tie-making—one of the few ways that a man in a professional office setting can express himself is with his tie choices. The tie-making apps let him be as creative as he dares. A photo or piece of artwork is uploaded and transferred to fabric.

Though computers have put many laborers out of work, the electronic age has revolutionized the hairstyling and barber industry in a positive way. It is an exciting time for big and small shops, waiting to see what new technology is around the corner.


From producing leather to selling briefcases and wallets

Today we are going to look at a company from the US called Original Leather Goods. It was founded at the end of the 19th century by Sir Alex Cochrains. He was a real businessman that had the idea to start up his own company. He learned making leather from his father and he wanted to make it more industrial. A bigger scale would bring him more revenue, which he then could reinvest in bigger machines.

In the beginning he had 5 employees. They all had different tasks. One scraped the animal hide so it would be free of hairs, another one did the tanning itself and so on. They sold leather to the highest buyer and business was going well. But with the industrial revolution working without machines would be the end for them. The money they made was reinvested so the company could technically evolve.

As a consequence of this mechanization the company could grow. More leather was produced and the business was blooming. The finest leather was produced and it was made from different animals their skin. The animal hides came first from local places but with the globalization skins had to be imported from cheaper places so the company could still compete.

Slowly competition was becoming more and more fierce. Importing skins from cheaper countries was the way to go. As a leather manufacturer the next best thing they could do was to produce their own leather goods. They had the leather and they didn’t have the extra cost that they would charge to other companies buying leather from them to make their own goods. Because they could cut the middlemen when producing leather goods this was a big advantage for them. Their business bloomed and they made a lot of leather products such as wallets, couches and briefcases.

They sold a lot of leather products and this under their name “Original Leather Goods”. At the end of 20th century there was a new world appearing. The new digital world of the internet was going to change businesses. At that time people were not yet so digital savvy and the possibilities of the internet were still in the early phase.

But this didn’t hold them back to jump on this new digital market. They learned from the past that being early with new technological revolutions is important. So they launched their own website already many years ago. An online presence is important of course.

Later on e-commerce and webshops were becoming popular. Why sell their leather products through offline stores if they could again cut out the middle men and sell directly to consumers. They set up their own e-commerce store to buy their own products. But they also made an affiliate program so other website owners could let people buy their leather products. Other sites such as this one is selling their leather wallets. And another site selling their leather briefcase as this one is also helping their revenue.

To conclude we can say that from a basic small company that only produced leather they evolved to a company that also sells leather products, not only through offline stores, but also online and with a lot of other online venues participating in selling their leather goods such as wallets and briefcases.


How Some Lawn Mower Companies Have Embraced The ‘Electric’ Revolution

Tesla Motors is disrupting the automobile industry because they are focused on electric cars. Companies like GM and Ford are playing catch up in the electric car market, but it might be too late. As technology evolves it is inevitable that cars will make the switch from internal combustion engines to electricity via batteries for their power. And the same goes for other products that stereotypically require gasoline for power – think power equipment. In this post I’d like to explore some of the lawn mower companies that are innovating towards cordless electric power.

The first company is Black & Decker. They sell one of the most popular cordless electric mowers on the market. Black & Decker was founded in 1917 to manufacture what Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker had invented and patented: the portable electric drill. From there they grew and grew and grew some more. And then in 2010 they merged with The Stanley Group to become Stanley Black & Decker. Now they are a Fortune 500 company with double-digit billions of revenue. And that’s no surprise because they continue to set their eye on the future and are quick to evolve. Just like in the home garden care niche. If you look at their product page for home and garden you’ll see that they have a wide range of battery powered electric power equipment. They have been developing and innovating in the electric powered power tool niche since 1917 and continue to this day. It’s really great to see this in a company.

Greenworks is the private American brand of a Chinese manufacturing company called Globe Tools Co. They provide electric powered power equipment to the American market and compete on cost. As you can see in the top 8 lawn mowers for sale Greenworks has 2. So you can rest assured that even though they compete on cost they also provide value for that cost. They’re a great company to look at as an example of one that has evolved and innovated. They saw the future of power equipment was electric. They saw that battery technology was getting to the point where it was light enough and powerful enough to make portable electric power equipment feasible. They jumped into the market and are now a main player. They manufacture in China and then ship to the US for sale.

With both Black & Decker and Greenworks the technology came and then they evolved to use that technology. In this case it was the light enough and powerful enough lithium-ion batteries. Even 10 years ago you couldn’t have had a feasible battery powered lawn mower because it would have been too heavy and not be able to mow even a small lawn on one charge. It’s too bad that other lawn mower companies seem to have taken a different approach and continue to mainly focus on petrol powered mowers. I’m sure they have R&D departments working on it but they need to innovate faster as it may be hard to “unseat” the current dominant players in the niche.


An Evolution of Smart Watches

While some may say the Smartwatch started with the iPod nano, the trend has evolved into its own category of smart accessories.  Before the miracle Pebble manufactured via crowdfunding, and the entry of Samsung, different companies tried experimenting with the concept of Smartwatches. Let’s look at the this recent phenomena.

As early as 2001, IBM created a Linux-based watch called the WatchPad (the first brand to do so). This was an internet-enabled design running an open source operating system. The idea of Watchpad was to demonstrate Lenux’s accessibility “across all platforms,” and was the first of its kind. The device itself adorned a QVGA LCD screen, equipped with Bluetooth and an accelerometer – having a brief battery life of a few hours.
Unfortunately, the device was panned as a gimmick and was lost to the times, mostly due to the watch’s price of around $200.

The next year, in 2002, Fossil seemed to think IBM was on to something, as it released the Fossil Wrist PD. This device boasted a 190KB memory that could store 1,100 contacts or 350 memos. The idea of the this device would to create a wrist-worn product that could replace your PDA.

In 2006, Microsoft jumped into the game with Microsoft Spot. The Spot received information via FM radio signals that were available in around 100 US cities through a built in antenna. It was also able to auto-adjust time-zones, deliver important messages, and alert you to road closures in expected travel.

The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 is the first of the Smartwatch brand to pair its device via Bluetooth with a phone. The MBW-150 sported a single line OLED display and would vibrate, when receiving a call, displaying the name of the caller or their number. The watch would also notify when new text messages were received.

Samsung entered the race in 2009 with the Samsung S9110. This was the first of Smartwatch technology that also functioned as a phone. At the time of release the Samsung S9110 claimed the world’s thinnest Watchphone with a 1.75 touchscreen; the device also featured Bluetooth, email support, and MP3 playback.

Sony’s next step in the market was in 2012 with Sony Smartwatch. Sony’s device was effective in setting the trend for Smartwatches to act as an extension of your phone (this one, specifically, for Android.) The Sony Smartwatch features updates the claim 200 available apps, new watch faces, and allows you to read email, SMS and receive notifications from social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.

And of course, we have the phenomena that is the 2012 Pebble Smartwatch. The Pebble Smartwatch is certainly the most well-known Smartwatch and indeed the most exciting. Starting grassroots as a Kickstarter project, the set aim was to raise $100,000 – the end result was an astounding $10.3m; claiming Pebbles place as the Smartwatch to watch. The first factor that sets Pebble apart from its competitors is that is duel compatible with Android and Phone devices running OS 2.3 and up; it is, however, not compatible with Blackberry or Windows Phone. As well as receiving alerts from Social Media, it also alerts you with incoming calls, SMS, iMessage, and calendar. It’s no question why Pebble has cornered the market.


How car shopping has changed

When it comes to shopping for a car, we all want to find the best car that we can get within our budget. Finding the right vehicle at an affordable price is not a very easy task. You need to go through all the details you can find about each and every car in your list, compare among them and then make the final decision. The whole thing might sound even more frustrating if you have to roam around from one showroom to another to find the best cars available in the market. It is not only a hectic job but costly too. This is when shopping for a car online can come to your rescue.

These days, you can buy almost anything online, from a simple coffee mug to a car. And the trend is getting popular fast. So how does this work? Well, all you need to do is type keywords like “buy car online”, “car buy”, “car quotes” or any other similar relevant phrase in the search engine and boom! The top websites that are selling cars online are going to appear on your screen. From there you can browse the different websites to check out their vehicles in stock.

Usually the company that sells cars online maintains a very detailed website that will allow you to find the exact car you were looking for within your budget. You can set the price range and the website will show the available cars that fit that range. You can view each and every car closely from different angles and even the interior. The sites also include detailed information about the specifications of each car so that you don’t have any confusion. And even if you have additional queries, you can always contact the owner or customer care over the phone, e-mail or live chat.

With a website, you can view different cars in multiple tabs and closely compare between them before coming up with a final choice. On the other hand, when you visit a showroom looking for a car to buy you may not get this kind of privilege. There are other people there as well roaming around and often the salesman may have to deal with multiple potential buyers. So you may not get their full attention or even if you have that, you cannot put five or ten cars side by side and compare them. But this is quite possible when you are shopping for a vehicle online.

However, there are hundreds or thousands of sellers available online so you have to research them to see if they are reputable sellers. There are honest online sellers available who can offer you really great deals; you just need to do your homework to find them. You can even join some online forums for car owners who can recommend some really good websites where you can look for the car of your dreams.

The bottom line is, whenever you plan to buy a car (new or used), utilize the power of internet. It is much more convenient, smart and effective.


How Dental Software is Transforming Dentist Offices Worldwide

You go to the dentist for a visit and get greeted by a receptionist. They pull your file and notify the dentist or dental hygienist of anything they need to know. After the appointment, they take any needed payment details and schedule your follow-up appointment.

That’s what you see. But what a dental receptionist usually sees is an outdated computer system, which they must use to file and transmit information between the office, staff, patients, insurance companies, and etc.

However, there has been a great change in recent years. Many dentist offices now include dental software that makes office maintenance and patient interaction more efficient, accurate, and less time consuming.

Meet Dentisoft

Dentisoft is the perfect example of a dental software company that is helping to transform the way the dentist office manages their records.

This company provides the best of both worlds – efficient dental software managed in the clouds. If you are unaware of what ‘in the clouds’ refers to, it is simply cloud computing.

This particular dental software provides many features. The company breaks them down into the following categories:

-          Basic

-          Clinical

-          Patient marketing

-          Administrative

-          Customer support

-          Optional

Anything you could imagine, from appointment booking to radiography integration or even postcards for follow-ups with non-regular patients can be managed with this program.

One of the more interesting options is the e-claims service, found under their optional services & apps section. This feature allows for insurance claims to be directly made online. Any problems with the claim can be handled online as well.

Dentisoft isn’t the only company paving the way for a new dentist office platform. Some of their competitors are doing a great job. This includes Dentrix, Exan Group, Curve Dental, and Maxident Software.

Common Problems Solved with Dentist Software

There are many ways that a dentist office may be handled in an inefficient fashion.

For example, a patient’s chart needs to be pulled the day before their appointment. The receptionist must also print an encounter form for each patient. The dentist or registered dental hygienist will fill out everything that needs done to the patient. This form is returned to the receptionist to be entered into the computer. After this, the form is thrown into a folder for future reference.

However, simply including these charts and encounter details all in one digitally filed interface can save a tremendous amount of time. It will still be there in case future reference is necessary as well.

Here’s another example. Patients are required to fill out forms on their health history, dental or medical insurance details, and etc. This is done before, during, or after an appointment. The in-take process can eat into a dentist or dental hygienist’s time and it can be unappealing to handle for the patient upon arriving at the office.

However, a good dental software program may allow a patient to fill these forms out through the Internet or via another digital method. An alternative method may be through handing a tablet to the patient while they are in the waiting room. This helps to save the dentist or dental hygienist time. It also eliminates the need for the receptionist to re-enter the details into the computer as they are automatically transmitted.

Creating a New Standard with Dental Software

Dental software of this caliber is still something that many dentist office owners are unaware of as it is still relatively new. It is expected that this form of office management will continue to take off as it becomes more widely recognized.

However, it will likely be a while before it becomes the new standard. One could believe that this would be the case when schools actually use a particular dental program to help teach aspiring dental hygienists how to manage patient records. At the moment, dental hygienist schools have a fairly old-school approach to managing their reports, processing x-rays, and etc.


Industry Spotlight: A Few of the Most Adaptable Piano Companies

There is a plethora of piano companies for musicians to choose from these days, but there are only a few that have been able to evolve with the changing technological demands while keeping true to their own standards of quality. Take a look at the best and most adaptable piano companies that are keeping up with technology.

The Baldwin Piano Company first began making exceptional pianos (and digital pianos) when it was found in 1862 by a music teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since the beginning the company has strived to make quality pianos and keyboards with amazing handcrafted details. Baldwin has been keeping up with the need to evolve musical instruments since the release of their first electric organ in 1946. As the years progressed the need to stay relevant has increased prompting them to merge with the music giant Gibson Guitar Corporation. This fine merger has turned out some pretty amazing pianos and keyboard of both the digital and acoustic variety.

Yamaha pianos first made the way into the market back in 1897 in Tokyo, Japan and sold their first upright pianos in 1900. Yamaha has easily been able to solidify its place in the music industry by offering pianos (and digital drum machines, too) of excellent quality at very affordable prices to anyone that has the desire to play. They are also one of the leading companies in terms of evolving with the increasing demand for newer and more technologically advanced pianos. Their unwavering dedication to musicians is what has afforded them such a long and solid customer base.

Kawai pianos are just spring chickens when compared to some of the other piano companies we’ve been talking about so far. Kawai was founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai of Japan and brought over to the United States and Canada in 1963. The company has quickly become one of the largest and most notable makers of both digital and acoustic pianos. It seems as though Kawai has had the easiest time keeping up with the changing demands of the musical instrument industry. They are always cranking out innovative and more technologically advanced pianos and keyboards.

Casio was established in 1946 in Tokyo, making it the youngest piano company to date, especially when you factor in that they didn’t start producing pianos until the early 1980′s. Casio has had it a bit easier than some of the other piano companies we’ve mentioned because they didn’t have to break from their traditional piano style to remain relevant, they were instead able to keep evolving the company just as rapidly as the demands changed. Casio has continued to produce new and exciting pianos as well as other instruments that require a technological edge.

The Steinway & Sons Piano Company has been one of the top companies turning out quality pianos since it was established in 1853 by Harry Steinway. Steinway & Sons has made it their mission to provide quality pianos at affordable mid-level market prices from the very start. To keep up with the ever changing face of the industry and accommodate new musical tastes, they have jumped into the digital instrument arena too. The Steinway & Sons digital pianos that are available are currently some of the best made, selling and sounding pieces of musical equipment on the market. They have easily withstood the changing times and demands without missing a beat or in their case a key stroke.


Technology of Coffee machines over the years

Technology geeks are famously into coffee, maybe because they are also famously into working odd hours. A coffee machine is in fact something of a standard gadget in any technology office. But did you know that coffee, or more specifically coffee machines, are a surprisingly good indicator of how technology has changed over the years?

The changes that have occurred in coffee machines over the centuries – yes, coffee brewing is that old – are in themselves not particularly remarkable. Coffee making is after all, not that complicated. It is about buying coffee beans online, roasting the ground beans and brewing the roasted stuff into a drinkable liquid.

Yet, by the last count, there were 1,807 patents related to coffee making, including 312 patents for coffee roasting devices and 835 for ‘coffee-making devices’ which presumably means coffee machines. There are, too, 185 patents for ‘coffee mills’, or more simply, coffee grinders. And that is just in the United States, meaning the global number of patents relating to coffee is much larger – because European inventors were patenting coffee making innovations well before the Americans caught on.

Why so many patents in such a technologically uncomplicated industry?

The Coffee Machine Story

The typical coffee making machine today is a plastic gadget with buttons and lights – and gurgling noises – that spouts out as many cups of the stuff as your supply of coffee beans. There are, even, the now increasingly popular, single-servings coffee capsules.

But it has taken centuries of innovations to get here. Here is a brief maker of the highlights:

Original Coffee: When Ethiopians discovered coffee in about 800 A.D, they used it as food. They crushed and cooked the whole ripe berries into food balls soaked in fat.

Coffee Grinding Version 1.0: It took a while before someone thought of crushing the coffee beans separately – and inventing the first coffee grinders in the form of simple stone mortars and pestles. And that remained the cutting edge coffee grinding technology for centuries, until the Greeks and later the Romans, figured to adapt their grain mills into larger scale coffee grinders. Two conical mill stones, one hollow and fitted over the other, became the new advanced technology. And guess what? That is the concept still used in most modern metal grinders.

Coffee Grinding Version 2.0: A few more centuries passed before, in the 1400s, spice grinders standing on four legs were invented and soon adapted to grind coffee. The Turks took the new technology to new heights by inventing the cylinder coffee mill, initially for small ‘pocket’ coffee grinders. That is the technology leap that lives on today in form of the large modern cylinder commercial roasting machines.

Coffee Roasting Version 1.0: Meanwhile, as technology of coffee grinding evolved, roasting of coffee remained old-school. Until the 1400s, coffee was roasted in open clay or stone or porcelain dishes over open fires or hot coal. The 1400s is when metal roasting plates appeared and someone thought of partially shaping the roasting apparatus into circular, slightly concave dishes with small holes like in the modern kitchen skimmer.

Coffee Making Machine version 1.0: The 1400s is also when coffee brewing technology caught up with coffee grinding and roasting. After so many centuries, someone finally thought of a coffee boiler, a kind of a pot that was smaller at the top than at the bottom.

Coffee making Machine version 2.0: Finally, in 1665, in Damascus, Syria, someone figured to combine, for the first time, the Turkish technology of a cylinder coffee roaster and a long handle to allow the apparatus to be held over open fire of burning coal. Within 10 years, the Dutch perfected the technique – and the first real coffee machine was born.

That should mean that, from a technological perspective at least, my fancy coffee machine owes a debt of gratitude to the 1665 gizmo from Damascus. My coffee machine is, of course, incomparably superior because design has evolved with the years as has the material used and the fire source. Plastic and electricity, for instance, hugely affected the design and logic of the machines.
But it was from that Damascus moment that invention in coffee machines began combining coffee roasting and brewing. If nothing else, it’s cool to know that not everything from Damascus is bad news.


How Technology Has Transformed the Plastic Surgery Market

Technology has always had an astounding economical effect. Anytime technology evolves, whether it was the internet or the railroad, the market seems to change around it.

This is true of the stock market as well as all of the individual businesses that are impacted by the technology.

The plastic surgery market is a great example of this law. As new technology has arrived, such as lasers and light treatments, the plastic surgery market has seemed to changed around it.

Today, more patients are seeking multiple, non-invasive treatments utilizing lasers than are choosing invasive treatments, such as face lifts.

A few years ago, almost every procedure involved making an incision with a knife. Today, the technology available has changed things for the better. Here are a few non-invasive procedures clients are after today thanks to new technology.

Laser Liposuction

The laser continues to reshape many traditional procedures. Liposuction can be assisted via laser or ultrasound and it’s entirely non-invasive. When a part of the body doesn’t seem to respond to any form of exercise or diet, it can seem near-impossible to get rid of that fat.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some people who just can’t remove the fat in those problem areas. Laser assisted liposuction is the ideal procedure for these candidates.

It may take more than one treatment, but there are far fewer risks and no ugly scars from the treatment.

Laser Skin Resurface

This is also commonly referred to as “lasabrasion”. It’s a non-invasive procedure that utilizes laser technology to decrease the amount of visible wrinkles, blemishes, or scars on the face or body.

The plastic surgeons have precision control of the latest laser technology. This allows them to pinpoint even the smallest blemish and removing it without harming any of the surrounding skin.

It’s effective in even the most delicate areas.

Permanent Makeup

This procedure doesn’t involve any lasers, but it’s non-invasive and relatively new. Plastic surgeons can use a new organic pigment to permanently color the lips or cheeks.

It can also be used around the eyes or forehead. To some, this is a little drastic, but to others, it’s a great relief from a daily chore.

Botulinum Toxin

This is a safe, cosmetic variation of botolinum toxin that is applied via injection. It can temporarily reduce frown lines, crows feet, and bands in the neck.

The injection works by blocking certain nerve signals that control the muscles in those areas. The muscles are then weakened and can no longer contract.

When the muscles cannot contract, wrinkles in the face will disappear entirely. This procedure is only temporary, but it’s very popular.

All of these procedures still come with their risks, but thanks to new technology in plastic surgery, those risks have been reduced dramatically.

None of these procedures will leave unsightly scars or reminders of the treatment. These procedures are also much cheaper than the more drastic options.

This has opened the plastic surgery market to people who want to notice improvements, but don’t want to spend their life savings on a risky surgery.


How A Toy Company Evolved To Compete Online

As we’ve talked about in many of our previous articles technology has evolved business to start investigating into the future of marketing. Back in the day marketing was simple. You build your product, get a business location, then you start putting signs up to attract people to your storefront. Your customers were typically people that would find your signs and be interested in what you have to offer. In today’s market, if this is all that you are doing, then you might find your business falling behind the competition.

Evolving With the Times

It’s no secret, the internet has revolutionized the way that we do business. For example, lets look at this site which looks for and finds the best double stroller on the market. This site drives traffic to major online stores like Amazon. In this process it competes with the brick and mortar stores such as ToysRus.

With this kind of competition, ToysRus could not afford to let the online customers slip away. The result was ToysRus focusing more on their online platform as well. They new that if they wanted to stay alive they had to claim their online space and sell double strollers on their website as well.

ToysRus now has a variety of strollers which they actively sell and update on their website.

What Does Selling Online Entail?

1) Proper Inventory Management
Selling online is not exactly and easy gig. By choosing to do online business, ToysRus has agreed to start taking online orders and shipping them to buyers around the world. This meant that they would need to have the proper online inventory manager to make this all happen. If they skimp out on an inventory manager that isn’t accurate it could be detrimental to their business. So to make it happen they had to invest in getting the best and most accurate programs to handle the task.

2) Good Site Design
Before they could even post their products online, they needed a visually appealing site that would entice people to want to buy from them. To get this they had to pay the right designers to build, manage, and maintain their site. Furthermore, if their was any disconnect from their storefront to their online website, then people may not trust the website and opt to shop elsewhere.

3) Reputation Management and Review Platform
People these days love to read reviews. Many people want to see a 3 and a half star or better before they decide to buy a product. So in order to take full advantage of this, ToysRus had to get programers to create a platform so that people could read and leave reviews on their site. By doing this, people could look at a cheap double stroller on the site and decide if it was the right fit for their family. If ToysRus did not implement this, then visitors might look elsewhere for reviews and then end up buying from another seller online.

Coming Out On Top

With all of these things implemented it allowed ToysRus to be competitive in this niche as well as many others. They are now ranked fairly high for the term double stroller and they are continuing to make climbs in the search engines for several terms as well. Their decision to capitalize in the online markets is one that they won’t soon regret.


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