The Best Car Technologies That Have Ever Happened

When the traffic jam gets so bad, and you wish all the vehicles would disappear, do you ever wonder how the world would be like without cars? Of course, some would argue that the environment would improve, but people would also not be able to move around and reach places as quickly as they could in an automobile.

There are now many technologies that try to make cars more environmentally-friendly but at the same time provide comfort to the user.  Here are some of the more recent ones that have improved safety and comfort for drivers and passengers.

Lithium Car Batteries

Car batteries are an essential component in all automobiles, but they can be a problem too. The common lead-acid batteries have a short lifespan, but now lithium automobile batteries offer a long-term solution.

Lithium batteries are less hazardous, charge faster and are 80 percent lighter than traditional batteries. Lithium batteries are also more eco-friendly as they do not release lead into the environment.

Temperature-Controlled Car Seats

Temperature-controlled car seats help passengers and drivers stay comfortable whatever the season. The car’s thermostat might not be enough to control your car’s temperature; car seats that warm passengers are often more comfortable on long drives. There are also seat cushions installed with a relaxing massage option. This feature was first made available in 1966 on the Fleetwood luxury car, but now many other car brands are selling these special heated car seats.

Parking Sensors and Rearview Cameras

Car with green arrow

It is hard to park your car in tight spaces without ruining its precious paintwork. The problem is serious as around 210 people are being killed each year in the U.S. by “backover crashes”.

Car owners can now purchase parking sensors as a standard for all vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Rearview cameras can help drivers see behind their cars. These cameras provide high-resolution images displayed right in front of you that can save your car from an ugly scratch or even a crash.

There are also dashboard cameras many motorists can use to record incidents during a drive that will protect the motorist from insurance and accident fraud.

Traffic Light Apps

There are now mobile apps that help you know where traffic lights are in your area. The app will inform you which traffic lights are changing and help you move to your destination.

One of these apps is the EnLighten App. It was developed for both Android and iOS and provides motorists with the duration and frequency of traffic lights near your area.

Though the app isn’t available everywhere yet, BMW is already trying to integrate it into its app suite. Other major automakers are considering integrating the app into their vehicles to help motorists on the road.

These features can help all drivers and make the roads easier to manage whatever the season and time. They are additional features that make automobiles safer and more comfortable. If you have reservations about owning a car, knwthat the automobile industry is now looking for other ways to make cars still essential in the future. What are the car technologies you want to see soon?

One Boy’s Tale Should Serve as a Lesson for the Judicial System

a prisoner in jail

Time: The Kalief Browder Story” showed a sad tale of innocence broken by a lengthy and unjustified stay in Rikers Island, one of the most notorious prisons for brawls and violence. A minor, who was sent to prison for allegedly stealing a backpack, refused to join gangs despite this meaning he had to fend for himself. Browder also refused plea bargains, which would have sent him out of jail quickly but would permanently mar his record and ruin his chance of getting a good job or housing.

There are several injustices seen in Browder’s case, and sadly they may still happen to other individuals accused–not even convicted–of doing the smallest crime. But the controversial docu-series pointed out one thing: Browder was not being punished for stealing a backpack; he was punished for being poor.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Browder’s case stands out because of several ways he has been betrayed by the system. It all starts from when he was picked up by a police car on his way home from a party, with accusations that he stole a backpack. He was 16 at the time and living in an impoverished part of New York. The story of the victim changed several times, and the prosecutors were not able to build a substantial case against Browder.

To Raise Bond Money

He could have gone home awaiting a trial that, three years later, would have been dismissed due to insufficient evidence and the victim being out of the country permanently. Why did he have to stay at Rikers, then? The judge demanded a $3000 bail, an amount that might mean little to some, but the family was simply unable to raise it. Had Browder’s mom found the right bail bond agent, he could have spent his time as a free man while waiting for the court to affirm his innocence. Any parent in Mecklenburg County would do what they can to protect their child from such injustice, which means looking for ways to get bail money quickly. One should also check that their child has not violated any provisions for eligibility for bail, to lessen the heartbreak that accompanies this process.

Integrity Becomes Punishable

someone who got arrested

Browder was smaller than his peers, but he was able to shed light on some of the problems in the judicial system. In New York, for instance, there is an overflowing backlog, which forces judges to rely on plea deals. While they seem like a good idea for anyone not wanting to spend time in jail, as they significantly reduce the sentence if the accused pleads guilty, thus waving his rights to trial, they sounded like a nightmare to Browder.

Admitting to guilt, even if it means going home, meant he was no longer free. It means future employees could see his record and deny him a job. It means he admits to stealing a backpack from a guy he has never even met. He was offered several plea bargains, all of which he refused. The real clincher is him having to spend almost 700 of the 1000 days in prison on solitary confinement.

Ask anyone, and they will probably agree, Browder was given a punishment too harsh for a crime that was too little. And that’s not even considering the fact that he wasn’t found guilty, he should have been treated as a minor, or that his trial has been delayed several times due to a witness prosecutors couldn’t find.

Essential Q&A on the Merits of a Fast Food Franchise for the Keen Entrepreneur

Woman dipping fries to catsup

The most famous restaurant franchise in the world is McDonald’s—an excellent example of the assembly concept. Someone else, not the McDonald brothers recognized the franchising potential for McDonald’s. When Ray Kroc bought them out, he soon embarked on turning a restaurant into an empire that now spans the globe. You can also take advantage of the opportunities offered by the fast food restaurant industry.

What are the main types of restaurant franchises?

Quick service or fast food restaurants are one of three types of restaurant franchises. Customers can get their hands on food that is already prepared immediately. They can eat them in a restaurant or bring the food home. The second type of restaurant franchise is fast casual, where like in a café, the menu offers far more than the choices available at a fast food chain. The table service is quite limited, and meals packed in disposable food-grade containers. The third type of restaurant franchise is the full-service restaurant—which epitomizes what people expect of a typical dining out experience. Full-service restaurants have a wide range of dishes and beverages to offer patrons. Customers usually pay for the meal at the end.

Fast food—an excellent niche

Fish and fries from a fast food chainThe business opportunities offered by different types of restaurant franchises vary. Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the quick service concept because of its popularity with consumers. These days, convenience is a key factor when consumers choose a product or service. A quick meal of good quality is usually the top choice for an average worker or employee living in urban areas. With a concerted branding effort, franchisers of the most popular quick-service restaurants in America seek to attract the consumer with a promise of quick and efficient service coupled with reputable practice.

What are the advantages of a quick service restaurant franchise?

A franchisor is your ally, and will provide training and support, and everything a new franchise investor would need to get it right. Any beginning can be challenging, but with essential information, it becomes easier to take off and start working for profit. With training, mistakes can be avoided, particularly expensive ones. With support in terms of business knowledge, customer service, advertising, etc., your business will be steered in the right direction. The franchisor will provide you with the most critical aspect of business planning for expenses and profits, and if you are keen and attentive, you will have a clear vision of what to work for and what to expect.

A fast food franchise chosen wisely will provide a quick payback because initial growth is almost guaranteed. If you have bought, a franchise for a well-known brand half the work has already been done. All you need to do is make sure the target audience knows where your business is, and that you are upholding the quality they have come to expect of the brand.

A restaurant franchise can be tricky and challenging. If you decide to franchise a fast-food brand, then you can make the most of the advantages the business model offers.

Ideal Qualities You Should Look for in Your Potential Employees

One of the critical factors for the success of any business is its staff, especially for the new ones looking to make it big in their respective industry. Even if you have state-of-the-art facilities or the best products available, it won’t matter if you don’t have the right group of people to help you turn those materials into profit. Of course, finding the ideal employees will be quite a challenge but following these pointers should be able to make your search easier and faster.

Track Record and Employment History

Employers like you would always want to have the best possible staff at their disposal to help manage their business, and it’s only natural. However, getting these potential employees with a reputable work history and record to work for your company can be tough since most of them would prefer working for an established name in the field. A good alternative would be to look for skilled fresh graduates and help them build their career and experience by giving them an opportunity to work for you. You’ll get capable and loyal people, and they’ll get the skills and training that they need.

Ability to Work Under Duress

Employees working

There’ll be times when the workload will be more demanding than usual due to a sudden increase in demand or changes to the workflow. While it’s understandable that the increased pressure will certainly have an impact on the group as a whole, your people must still be able to deliver despite these difficulties, as your business is always expected to function properly. There will be moments that they’ll commit errors and the situation might get heated due to stress. That being said, you’ll need to hire those who are up to the task and are willing to learn and adapt despite the pressure.

Workplace Attitude

What most employers tend to overlook in pursuit of the best staff skill-wise is the employees’ attitude towards work and colleagues. They may be well suited for the job on paper, but their ethics and approach to handling their work may cause them to falter when you need them the most. Make sure to include background checks when you look for staff to know about these tendencies early on before you offer them the position. Do keep in mind that you’ll encounter people with blemishes on their records but are more than willing to change for the better, so exercise proper judgment.

Work Ethic

Numbers and statistics aren’t the only aspects that matter when you’re looking for staff. The intangibles such as willingness to take responsibility, initiative and attention to detail are what separate good employees from the great ones. The exact definition of a great work ethic varies from employer to employer, so it’s up to you to see which set of positive qualities best fits your business. This characteristic is especially crucial for franchisees that are starting, particularly those following the executive franchise model.

There’s only so much that you can accomplish as an individual, but a good team can reach any goal they wish to. Putting together this core group of people that will spearhead your franchise towards success is your top priority, and it will become one of your greatest assets. These people will make or break your business, so make sure to choose them wisely.

Property Identification: Rules of Identifying Replacement Properties in 1031 Exchange

Couple talking to the agent

As an entrepreneur, it greatly benefits you to get exemptions from taxes. One way to do so is through a 1031 property exchange.

The IRS Code 1031 or the Starker Exchange refers to the process of exchanging properties used for trade, business, or investments. For example, if you have a property for sale in Utah, 1031 exchange can help you defer capital gains when you invest in a like-kind property in the state or another region.  Before the 2018 Tax Reform, the code included the exchange of other properties like stocks, bonds, and even cryptocurrencies. However, today, only like-kind real estate properties can be exchanged.

Identifying Like-Kind Real Properties

The process is limited to like-kind real properties. The assets (relinquished and replacement) are not identified by their quality but by their nature. The properties in question should also be for investments and not for personal use. There are rules for identifying like-kind properties:

  • Three Property Rule: A taxpayer, or the one doing the exchange, can identify up to three replacement properties, regardless of their aggregated fair market value (FMV). However, when acquiring (one, two, or all of the identified replacement properties), the FMV should be equal or greater in value with your relinquished property.
  • 200% Value Rule: If you identify more than three replacement properties, you are exchanging under the 200% Value Rule. The total FMV of all designated replacement properties should not exceed 200 percent of the relinquished property’s FMV. For instance, if your property’s FMV is $1 million, the five replacement properties you identified should not have a combined FMV of $2 million.
  • 95% Rule: Taxpayers don’t often use this. According to the rule, an investor who identifies more than three properties with a collective FMV of more than 200 percent should acquire at least 95 percent of the value of the properties listed. To make this work, the investor essentially has to buy all the properties listed, which means almost double their relinquished property’s FMV.

Identification of properties should be done on the IRS Form 8824. As the taxpayer, you should clearly describe the replacement properties, and sign the statement. The description generally includes the complete address of the replacement property or properties. If the property is under construction at the time of identification, the taxpayer should still include the value of the structure that will be built on the lot.

The Identification Period

Agent explaining the identification periodThe taxpayer has 45 days to identify a replacement property from the date the relinquished property is sold. If more than one property is relinquished, the window starts at the date the first property was sold. Failing to identify a replacement property disqualifies the entire exchange. If the taxpayer wishes to revoke one of the replacement properties they listed, they must do it in writing within 45 days.

The exchange period is a 180-day window. It starts when the relinquished property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. On the midnight of the 180th day, all the titles to like-kind replacements should be moved. Otherwise, the exchange is invalid.

Knowing the basic rules of the Starker exchange helps you determine if it is ideal for you and your property. If so, the exchange enables you to save money from capital gains, which you can use for business expansion or other future investments.

It Rocks: Building a Japanese Rock Garden

Japanese gardens are known for their harmonious and perfectly balanced aesthetics. The philosophy of minimalism, simplicity and cleanliness is clearly injected to every layout and design plan. Their characteristic trait is that they value the balance and interaction between human and nature. This is why many homes and offices usually use this type of design. But if you want to try something new that is still very Japanese, a rock garden may seem like a good choice.

A rock garden? Yes, it is a garden full of rocks. But it is not just a random space where rocks are randomly placed. It is a traditional garden look with many philosophical undertones, such as steadfastness and stability. What’s good about rock gardens is that they are easy to maintain, and they look calm and serene. If you are planning to create a rock garden, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. Here are some of them:

Building the Sea

japanese garden

Japanese rock gardens are basically composed of two components, namely the sea and the islands. In this case, your space will be your sea. The sea will be comprised of crushed stones and gravel. Scatter them all over the place until the frame is filled. To create some drama, you may want to build a winding pathway or a cobbled pavement that will lead you from one end to the other. This is where you will need to have hardscaping materials delivery services in Utah.

Incorporating the Islands

Now that the sea is created, it is time to build the islands. These islands can be massive rocks or stones scattered sparsely throughout the stone canvas. You can have variations when it comes to this. Use big and small rocks. You may even use rocks with different colors to signify different characteristics and personas. Create texture by using a mix of rough and smooth materials.

Having Some Greens

While the rock garden may look barren and uninspired, you may still incorporate some greens to breathe more life to it. But you ought to keep the flowers and plants simple and unassuming so as not to overpower the aesthetics of the barren area. Plants and flowers, such as lavender and irises, will make good choices. For grass, you can have some bamboo. An important rule here is that your plants should also be easy to maintain, just like stones and rocks within the garden.

Adding the Waves

Since your elements are in the sea, you need to make sure that the rocks and stones will simulate the movement of the water. You should create waves and ripples. You can use a rake to create a pattern. Rake the stones in different or uniform directions. Circular, wavy and straight—you can always have it your way.

A Japanese rock garden is something you may want to build if you want a different approach to gardening and aesthetics. What’s good about this garden is that it is calm, serene and beautiful. It is also easy to maintain.

Freight Insurance: Why is It Important?

Delivery man leaning against a box

Importing goods can give businesses an edge over local competitors because they can be cheaper compared to local products. Imports, however, need more than just payment and a shipping method. Proper documentation is one of the cornerstones of successful imports.

The documentation needed for imports differs between countries. One of the crucial ones a freight forwarder in the Philippines will help you is freight insurance. The insurance is crucial when you import goods because of the significant risks involved in the loading, storage, and transport of your cargo. Here are the freight insurance options you have.

All-Risk Insurance

This policy covers your cargo from damage from external elements and physical loss. There are several exclusions which will differ based on your insurer. The primary all-risk coverage should include acts of God, improper stowage of goods, deliberate destruction, jettison, theft and truck overturning.

FPA (Free of Particular Average) Insurance

This is sometimes called a named peril policy and lists the exact elements covered by the insurance. In most cases, theft isn’t covered by an FPA policy. Collision, burning, ship sinking, truck overturning, train derailment, stranding and a few acts of God are some of the elements covered in many insurance policies, but in FPA insurance, your shipper is only held liable for significant rather than minor cargo losses.

Shipment-by-Shipment Insurance

This policy is often for the carrier of your goods. In most cases, it excludes cargo loses due to a flaw in the transportation vessel, a criminal act, and acts of God or war. As such, it is cheaper but not as comprehensive as other policies.

Without an insurance certificate, your goods could be stuck in port. It might be challenging to pick the best choice for your cargo, but not with a freight forwarder. Choose forwarders who know which policy suits your goods and the management of the crucial documents needed for your cargo’s clearance.

Down and Dirty: How to Get Rid of Dreaded Holiday Carpet Stains

Red wine spilt on a carpet

The holiday season brings about tons of planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. You want everything to be perfect, so you prepare for guests who are coming over. And, because you’re busy from Thanksgiving to New Year, the holiday aftermath may be far from your mind.

But, after all the fun, food, and family bonding, your carpets may have suffered from all the stains and dirt that the holidays unleashed upon them. In 2014, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) conducted an online study to look at the top stains of the holiday season in American households.

The top holiday stains include:

  • Chocolate (26 percent)
  • Fruit punch and other dye-based drinks (26 percent)
  • Grease (23 percent)
  • Wine (21 percent)
  • Candle wax (19 percent)
  • Vomit (18 percent)
  • Beer (16 percent)
  • Gravy (15 percent)
  • Butter (10 percent)

Tony Wheelwright, Chairman of the IICRC, said, “Our research shows that these substances have ended up on our floors or upholstery. If they aren’t properly treated, these stains can leave you with a lasting memory long after the holiday season has passed.”

Learn how to clean these common, mostly holiday-specific stains to save your rugs and carpets from permanent damage. Who knows? These tips may even give way to a carpet cleaning business opportunity for you.

Cleaning Tip #1: Act Fast

The longer stains stay on your carpet, the harder it will be to remove them. Whether the spill was from something solid or liquid, you must remove the things causing the stain as soon as you possibly can. Carefully scrape solid particles or sop up excess liquid with paper towels or cloth.

Cleaning Tip #2: Vacuum the Spot

Guy vacuuming the carpetVacuum the spot that’s been stained after your initial blotting. This allows you to remove the dirt stuck to your carpet, especially if the material that caused the stain is made from something solid.

Cleaning Tip #3: Use Water First

Depending on the stain, you might not have to spend so much on stain-removal products. You’d be surprised how much stain water alone can remove. Simply blot the stained area with a damp cloth. Trusty club soda may also work as a dampening agent. It is slightly acidic, so it can decolorize stains.

Cleaning Tip #4: Don’t Scrub

You might have noticed that the first two tips involve sopping up and blotting stains, but not scrubbing at them. This is because you’re more likely to spread the stain if you scrub at it. What you need to do is lift out the stains, not spread them even more.

Cleaning Tip #5: Try some Baking Soda

Baking soda has a variety of uses, not just in cooking but in cleaning as well. From absorbing strong odors in your fridge to deep-cleaning your greasy pots and pans, you can solve your cleaning problems with baking soda.

For carpets, baking soda absorbs the stain, the smell, and the grease. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the grease-stained carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum the excess.

Cleaning Tip #6: Vinegar Works, Too

If you still see stains on your carpet, you can finish them off with a combination of a tablespoon of dishwashing soap, two cups of warm water, and a tablespoon of white vinegar.

Vinegar is a solvent, meaning it dissolves other things (a.k.a. stubborn stains). It also acts as a deodorizer and disinfectant, leaving your carpet clean and without a musty odor.

These simple steps can help in the extensive cleaning fest you’re likely to do after the holidays. If all else fails, call your trusty carpet cleaning company so as not to damage your carpet further.

Five Jobs for Organized People

Male candidate being interviewed

Organized people have a better chance at success because they know how to plan and execute things. They do not want clutter, and they thrive when everything is neat and tidy. However, for organized people to succeed, they need to be in jobs that require their expertise. The following jobs will be perfect for people who have talents and skills in planning and organizing:

1. Aim for a Position in Logistics

The logistics functions of many companies can use a lot more organized minds that can help achieve their goals. Logistics, after all, involves a lot of planning and execution. While logistics is becoming more automated, people will still control the overall control of the workflow in industries. Hence, it will be a good choice to apply for a job that involves logistics. Search for logistics jobs so that you will be able to make use of your skills and talents as an organized person.

2. Become a Transcriptionist or Captioner

If you have prior experience in transcribing or typing long documents, it can be good to become a transcriptionist or captioner. These jobs require someone to be as accurate as possible. Not only will you need quick typing skills; you also must be a good listener. The great thing about being a transcriptionist is that you will be paid for every audio hour that you produce, making it an output-based venture.

3. Apply for an Event Planning Firm

If you are the type of person who likes organizing events, why not consider applying for an event-planning firm? You see, organizing events like weddings, parties, and meetings require a lot of planning. One mistake can yield disastrous results, which is why the industry needs people who are more organized. The fortunate thing about being in an event-planning firm is that you can start as a junior associate if you still want to learn the ropes in this increasingly diverse industry.

4. Be a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agent touring the couple in the houseNot a lot of people have realized this, but real estate involves a lot of planning and organizing. This is the reason why many real estate agents fail to do their job. Some lack the necessary skills to be organized in everything they do. Remember that real estate agents have to juggle multiple clients at the same time while also planning their entire day to meet up with them. They also need to coordinate with other stakeholders, like other agents and homeowners.

5. Study to Become a Librarian

Even when the world is becoming more connected by the day, there is still some value to libraries. This is why you should still apply to become a librarian. Some positions need specific qualifications like a master’s degree, but overall, a job as a librarian or even a library associate, assistant or clerk offers much money. As long as you have a knack for being organized, you will surely be considered.

Any person who is organized should make it a point to work in an environment that appreciates their talents. The jobs above will be ideal for them.

5 Reasons Why You Should Install Kitchen Floor Mats

Family bonding in the kitchen

Kitchen floor mats may seem like an added expense, but you will be surprised at how useful they can be in the long run. If you are thinking twice about adding them to your kitchen, here are some things that might help you make that decision:

1. They Make Your Kitchen Safer

The most obvious benefit of kitchen floor mats is the fact that it makes your kitchen safer. Kitchen floor mats add traction, thereby limiting the chances of slipping off the floor. Considering how liquid is often spilt around the kitchen, it makes sense to keep mats that will absorb the liquid, ensuring that there is as little mess as possible in your kitchen.

2. They Instantly Change the Design

Are you already bored with your kitchen’s design? A complete kitchen renovation is expensive, but you can add or change just a few things in the overall design to bring new life to the room. Floor mats are an inexpensive way to upgrade the setup, allowing you to add a splash of colour to the place. There are so many types of kitchen mats available on the market today with designs more extravagant than the next. Hence, finding a design you love or one that fits your kitchen properly should not be a problem.

3. They Have Movement Options

Closeup photo of a black matThere are several mat sizes available on the market today, making it possible for you to go big or small, depending on the size of your kitchen. You can buy a big one or purchase several small ones to be placed in several parts of the kitchen, where they are most needed.

4. There Are Quick Cleaning Possibilities

If the kitchen is a high-traffic area in your home, then a floor mat should help minimise the amount of dirt you get around. This is because the floor mats can be the depositary of the dirt, grime, and liquid spills you get in the place. If you have more than two floor mats, you can simply throw in one inside the washing machine and bring out the other, allowing you to swap them out so that there is always a clean one in the kitchen. This keeps the place clean and organised at all times. Many pet owners place their dog’s water bowl and food bowl on top of a kitchen mat so that in case of any spills, cleaning them up is a breeze.

5. They Add Comfort

There is also the fact that floor mats add to the comfort of using the kitchen. When washing dishes or cooking, you can stand on the soft floor mat and rest your legs a little bit. Mats are also warmer than wood or tiled flooring, making you feel comfortable during the cold season. If you are trying to save on heating expenses, floor mats should easily contribute toward this goal as they keep you sufficiently warm when standing on your bare feet.

Of course, these are just a few of the reasons why floor mats are a great addition to any kitchen. Keep in mind, though, that regular cleanup is essential if you want those mats to last you a long time.