Monthly Archives

June 2018

Technology

Innovative in-car technology

June 28, 2018

Automotive manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve their modern-day models by using new innovative technology which is designed to improve the overall driving experience, be more efficient and safer all round. We have already witnessed the introduction of Apple CarPlay, rear view cameras, cruise control to name just a few in recent years, and autonomous technology is in the pipeline.

So, what are the latest in-car technologies to be coming to the market and what can we expect in the future?

Improving efficiency

The ECO-pedal

The new Leaf model by Nissan has debuted its new one-pedal driving system. Not only does the electric automobile have double the mileage range of its previous model equivalents, but the one-pedal driving system allows for the accelerator pedal to be transformed into a multifunctioning e-pedal at a touch. The e-pedal functions as a start, stop, accelerate and breaking pedal when activated. Suitable for 90% of urban driving, the system means that the car will slow to a halt by itself with the ability to hold itself on an incline without the need of the brake pedal.

The new system by Nissan is said to be more efficient than previous models. Nicknamed the ECO-pedal system, the pedal controls the speed of acceleration to prevent revving up the engine. The level of fuel-efficient driving is displayed through a colour and flashing Eco-P lamp. According to Nissan, studies have proven that effective eco-driving with the ECO-pedal can contribute to an improved fuel efficiency by 5-10%.

JLR’s weather adaptation system

The new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be equipped with advanced weather adaption systems, the company has revealed. The system allows cars to autonomously adapt to weather changes and situations to adjust drivetrain, suspension, traction control and climate control for optimum efficient driving.

The intelligent system will be extremely helpful to those Land Rover and Range Rover models that drive on all terrains, such as the new Land Rover Discovery Sport Hse. The system is said to be able to connect to present and future weather data via telematics and GPS to sensibly adapt both inside the cabin and around the exterior. One feature suggests that the system will automatically close your vehicle windows if it senses that rain is forecast. Onboard rain- and terrain-sensing mechanisms will be used to control the temperature, pressure and humidity inside the cabin, while interior and exterior lighting will be altered depending on the circumstances.

And you don’t have much longer for the system to arrive — it is expected in 2020, alongside JLR’s autonomous technology and electrified models.

Are our vehicles safer?

Most drivers already know about some forms of autonomous technology. Most manufacturers now offer self-driving technology as part of their latest models – with most used to improve road safety.

Blind spot information system

BLIS is a great tool that helps you detect vehicles that are in your blind spot when you change lanes. When a vehicle enters your blind spot zone, the BLIS system will alert you. The detection area is on both sides of your vehicle, extending rearward from the exterior mirrors to approximately 10 feet (3 meters) beyond the bumper. The system alerts you via a small light on your side wing mirrors – when there is a vehicle in your blind spot zone, the light will illuminate. When your blind spot zone is clear, the light will switch off.

Lane departure warning system

Lane-keeping systems — or lane departure warning systems — are becoming more frequent in newer cars. These systems keep you within your lane when driving on the motorway. When motorway driving, it’s vital that you stay firmly in your lane, unless you are overtaking. This system alerts you with a vibration on the steering wheel if your vehicle is unintentionally edging out of its lane – and in circumstances when the vehicle thinks you are reacting too slow, the vehicle will take control and provide steering torque to divert you back into the safe space on your lane. This is a safety feature to prevent drivers from veering out of their lane on motorways and dual carriageways where drivers around them are driving at high speeds.

Intelligent speed assist

This technology warns drivers when they exceed the speed limit by using audio and visual warnings. By using GPS, the system is able to detect the vehicle location and reference this with a digital road map that is programmed with speed limit information for each road. The system can be used as an active speed limiter whereby it can take control of the vehicle and reduce the speed when travelling above the speed limit. It does this by reducing the throttle signal. Additionally, the system is also fitted with a speed limiting function that increases the pressure on the accelerator when you exceed the speed limit, so that it is harder to accelerate and break the speed limit.

It’s clear that the automotive industry is thriving and its prime thanks to innovative technology doing the talking and walking for them. With a positive future of technology ahead of us, we can expect to see the driving process, and experience, completely transformed in the coming years.

Lifestyle

How are retail stores encouraging everyone to shop?

June 26, 2018

It’s no secret that fashion retailers have taken action to encourage more people to get involved with their brand. From adding a maternity section to their collections, to tall and petite clothing ranges becoming more common, brands appear to be accommodating for all sizes and shapes.

The latest demand

There’s a reason behind retailers becoming more inclusive — the growing demand for non-standard sizes.

PwC’s UK Plus Size Clothing Market Review 2017 showed that the plus size market is worth around £6.6bn in 2017 (of which women and men make up £4.7bn and £1.9bn respectively). In fact, the market has been outperforming the overall womenswear and menswear clothing market in the UK — demonstrating the increase in industry interest.

This growth isn’t expected to slow either. In their report, PwC forecast growth of the plus size segment to be around 5-6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. What is leading this growth?

Brands are encouraging a body confidence movement too among consumers. This is driven by brands and plus size influencers engaging with customers and encouraging them to embrace their curves and love their body. Online shopping is driving the market too. PwC identified that plus size consumers have a greater preference for purchasing clothes over the internet and the rise of ecommerce has caused this market to thrive further.

Other customers who do not fit into the standard sizes are being encouraged to go clothes shopping. This has paved the way for ranges such as; wide-fit shoes, tall, petite and maternity. Although it’s predominantly in the womenswear market at the minute, some retailers have released male plus size and tall ranges too.

Changes in high fashion

In terms of who set the trends, its usually high-fashion designers who start the trends. But, when it comes to plus size and diversity, it’s the high street brands that are taking the lead.

We have seen change on the catwalk too though. In fact, at SS18 shows, there was a record of 93 plus-size/curve model appearances and 45 transgender castings. There was more inclusion when it came to age too, as 27 models over the age of 50 walked the runways.

The effect of social media

Social media is also having an impact on inclusive shopping too.

It’s now easier than ever for dissatisfied customers to get their voice heard. This is especially if they feel that they’re being under- or unrepresented by a company — this is then often supported by internet users who feel the same way.

Comments made by unhappy customers on a company’s website or social media page can be damaging. Arguably, the way a business deals with an online complaint is more important than how they deal with one in-store, as it’s on a public platform for all to see. To avoid this destructive cycle, brands must be considerate of all their users.

Brands and influencers on Instagram are also leading to the growth of plus-size through encouraging user-generated content. In the fashion world, a consumer simply needs to look through ‘tags’ of a brand or search for images that have been hashtagged with a retailer’s name to see pictures of people wearing their clothes. This allows buyers to see the products on ‘real’ people rather than models from the adverts. This again encourages people who are not a ‘standard’ size to purchase new clothes — motivated perhaps by a photograph of someone who is a similar size to them in the same garment. Many fashion retailers encourage their customers to do this by offering them the chance to feature on the page if they use their hashtag.

Brands are changing the way that they market themselves too through the promotion of body confidence campaigns. Some brands have avoided photoshopping stretch marks, cellulite and other ‘imperfections’ that are usually edited out of marketing images in fashion. This again encourages people to get involved and purchase clothing from that brands, resonating more with real models.

Bringing all of this together, we can see that the retail industry has come a long way when it comes to being more inclusive, encouraging everyone to get involved in shopping and the fashion world.

Research for this article was carried out by QUIZ UK, retailers of plus-size tops.

Sources

https://www.pwc.co.uk/transaction-services/assets/pdf/pwc-plus-size-market-review.pdf  

https://www.economist.com/business/2017/07/13/the-fashion-industry-pays-attention-to-plus-size-women  

Business

How to be happy at work

June 25, 2018

A happy employee is 12% more productive. But, according the data from the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) the British workplace is not a happy one. 47% of workers expressed a desire to change their jobs, and one in five were hoping to do so within the coming year.

For young people, the problem is even more apparent. 66% of 18-34 year olds are after a new job, but the fear of losing a stable income is preventing the move.

So, how can British workplaces become more positive and encourage happiness? Whether you’re an employee or an employer, read on for ways to improve your workplace.

Social nights

Open-plan offices bring to mind new tech companies and modern approaches, but there’s a good reason they are favoured. A communication culture helps aid the spirit of cooperation in the workplace, which leads to an increase of happiness (which then leads to more productivity.) Harvard researchers Phil Stone and Tal Ben-Shahar found that students who had social support at school and at home were happier and better at dealing with stress. Carrying this kind of support into the workplace sets strong foundations for an increase in overall happiness.

Give the staff morale a boost with team meetings, staff nights out, and office sweepstakes. As a manager, you should be budgeting for this type of activity, as you’ll be repaid in increased productivity. As an employee, do anything you can to get involved. Even if your workplace doesn’t provide much for your team, you can set up your own internal sweepstakes or fantasy sport leagues to help boost happiness and keep things on track.

Consider training courses

Employers should be open to employees requesting additional training, assuming that it will benefit the workplace. The worst they can say is no, but most should be receptive to the idea. Not only can it lead to you picking up new skills and feeling more valuable, it is also beneficial for the business. According to a 2011 report by Andries De Grip and Jan Sauermann, training led to a 9% increase in staff productivity.

For example, you can encourage team development from a training course, from a provider such as Impact International, and with it, see productivity and staff satisfaction rise. Not only will your staff be happier, your retention rate will rise.

Communication

No one wants to struggle and stress away on their own. Whether you’re an employee or a manager, regularly consulting one another in the workplace is a great way to keep projects moving and avoids any kind of anxiety about unclear instructions. Creating an atmosphere of friendly cooperation is conducive to a good working relationship.

When the staff are happy, the whole company benefits. Make happiness your priority and your working environment will improve.

Lifestyle

Quick Tips on Improving Your Finances and Saving Money

June 21, 2018

If you want to improve your finances, it’s imperative that you first learn how to save money. This is usually a daunting as well as challenging task for most people as it tends to require a lifestyle change. Financial habits are something you form over time, so reversing them and adopting positive ones are a tricky process as well. However, if you’re patient with yourself and ready to practice a little self-discipline, you should be able to get in control of your finances. This article aims to help you out by suggesting a few tips regarding how you can improve your finances and save money.

Stop Impulse Spending

One of the greatest oppositions when it comes to getting your finances in order can be impulse spending. This usually is a result of not being able to resist the need for instant gratification in terms of getting what you want when you want it. However, to achieve anything tangible in regards to your goals, it is imperative that you learn how to deny yourself the thing you simply don’t need. Some tips to help you stop impulse spending are analyzing your spending habits, making decisions before you start shopping, taking cash as opposed to cards out, setting a budget, only buying what you need and waiting at least 24 hours before making a purchasing decision.

Drive an Affordable Car

One of the easiest ways to spend money you don’t have is by driving a high-maintenance car. If you have one, you may want to consider trading it in for something cheaper if you truly want to save money. Why not take a trip to Honda dealership Edinburgh to find a reliable, affordable model? There is also the option of opting to buy a used car instead as it may prove to be far cheaper and help you stay within your budget. When buying a used car, don’t forget to get one with low mileage and that’s in good working condition.

Stop Missing Payments

Improving your finances requires that you manage the ones you have effectively. It means that you should remember to pay your bills on time and not miss payments. You can do this by setting reminders and using to-do-list apps like Google Keep, Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, Habitica or Clear. Doing so should help you stay on top of your bills, but it’s key you manage your money so that you actually have enough to pay them when they come around each month. You should also remember that missed payments make you lose out on money as you usually get charged late payment fees by the company you’re owing.

If you are serious about improving your finances and saving money, it’s important that you accept that it isn’t something that will happen overnight. However, it is something that you can achieve if you’re determined and focused. In addition to the tips mentioned above, it’s also about finding methods that work for you and help you achieve your financial goals.

Lifestyle

How to express yourself in writing

June 20, 2018

Today’s focus on social media and the rise of visuals and video tends to eclipse the enduring power of writing as a form not only of communication but also of self-expression. All creative outlets take a little bit of skill to really enjoy, so here’s a few different ways to get started.

Freewriting is simple, expressive, and often revealing, but tends to be more oriented toward the writer’s experience. You simply sit down with a journal or keyboard, pull up a blank sheet or screen, and let the words flow.

Often, writers find just a few parameters can help them overcome the glaring whiteness of the blank screen or page. Try setting a timeline or “writing sprint” where you get as many words down as you can in an accessible amount of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation, or sense. You may find a topic, theme, or image helpful as a prompt, or simply opt for whatever presents itself in the moment.

You can use this approach to reduce stress, explore your subconscious, or generate raw content, but the unedited stream-of-consciousness output of freewriting tends to need a lot of trimming and rewriting to make it presentable for outside audiences. It’s well suited to journaling, or maybe even certain types of blogs.

At least a little bit of structure tends to help most writers get started and to keep going. When it comes to writing for an audience, it’s important to learn the conventions of your chosen creative form like any other. Readers of short stories or genre novels have specific expectations, for instance, while different types of poetry offer sometimes extremely rigid structures.

Creative writing guides, techniques and advice are a great help, and it’s worthwhile doing some research on your chosen format (genre novel vs. poetry, for instance) and trying out a few different techniques and approaches to see what works best for you.

In fiction writing, there is much controversy between “plotters” and “pantsers”–those who sketch out the story elements in advance, versus those who write to find out what happens. Nonfiction writing has a similar divide between intuitive writers and those who sit down with a plan of what they want to cover.

Neither approach is wrong, but if you want your creative writing to be read by others, you should spend some time learning about the expectations of your form, since readers tend to react strongly against writing that doesn’t conform to genre and format conventions. If your motivation to write is more about “free” creative expression and you’re not bothered about finding readers or making money off of your hobby, you can afford to be more experimental.

Feedback can be crushing or helpful–and usually offers a little bit of both at once. You can find many resources online, but if you enjoy a more social, interactive learning and creative experience, you could join a class or critique group to exchange pieces with other writers for feedback and creative stimulation.

There are surprisingly few hard and fast rules when it comes to creative writing. You learn by doing. But if you want to reach a specific outcome, such as finding readers, being understood, or selling your work, you do need to learn the genre or format conventions and either conform or subvert them in creative and intelligent ways to please the audience.

Business

How to Become a Diesel Mechanic

June 7, 2018

To get started as a diesel mechanic, you can work as an assistant or an apprentice with an automotive company. Well, if you are pretty serious about making a career in the automotive industry, there are many schools that provide certified and professional courses that provide you real-time experience in diesel mechanics. These courses are easy on your pocket and provide you extensive knowledge about diesel mechanics and the latest technology used in the field. You will learn the technical knowledge of using various tools, safety mechanisms, and operating the equipment when you take up this course. You have to be 16 to 18 years old to get started in this field. No formal education is required, and primary schooling suffices when it comes to taking up a course in this field.  

Understand the complexity of automotive machines

Machines are complex. You will require technical skills as well as practical knowledge for repairing and maintaining four-wheelers. Get started in this field by taking up a course in Diesel Mechanic Schools In Atlanta Ga. There are many schools that provide training programs in diesel mechanics across the state. Even if you live in a rural area, you can still find a course within your geographic location. Diesel mechanic jobs are well paid and come with a lot of perks. You also have the potential to a network for business and provide customer service to customers whose four wheelers that you service.

Prepare while still in school

After completing your secondary education with reading and math as your subjects of learning, you can apply for this course. Vocational courses in the same field are available if you are not too keen getting an admission in a university. Attend all the classes and lab activities to get a good hold on the subject.

A driving license is a must

Before you work on operating, repairing, and maintaining large vehicles, it is essential to get a driving license. You are required to check that the vehicles that you repair are performing at their optimal levels. The license that you obtain is essential for test driving the vehicle. On-Job training gives you a better experience as you are working on your secondary school. Keep the technological information up to date when as you start the work of a diesel mechanic. You are also required to take up the drug test before applying for a company as a diesel mechanic.

Apply for national certifications

For those who aspire to climb up the ladder in their company, national certification in diesel mechanics comes handy. These certifications need to be upgraded every five years, so you keep up with the latest technology in the automotive industry.

Through the certifications and on-job training, you can understand the complexity of the diesel engines. These courses are standardized and offer you better career and job opportunities when you apply for a job in an automotive company. Advanced certifications are required to operate, repair, and maintain heavy machines and vehicles. On an average, it takes 75 weeks to complete the training in advanced technology learning to operate and maintain heavy machines.

Technology

How Technology is Facilitating Education

June 6, 2018

Technology has changed just about every aspect of modern life, and education is no exception. Here are the most prominent ways that technological developments have facilitated education for everyone.

Online Degrees

Online degrees were once the butt of a number of jokes. It wasn’t long ago that an online degree was considered to be worth less than the paper it was printed on. However, things have changed a great deal in recent times. An online degree is now worth just as much as its traditional campus counterpart. As well as making education more widely available on a practical level, online degrees have also been game changing in making education more accessible to a wider audience.

In this way, online degrees have been revolutionary. They have made education available to a much broader section of society than had previously been able to access educational services. As cloud technology matures, and internet speeds continue to increase around the world, it is becoming ever easier to deliver high quality educational materials to students from around the world.

Educational Apps

Since the iPhone launched 11 years ago in 2007, the world of mobile software has changed dramatically. There are now apps available designed to help people learn and revise virtually any skill or subject you could possibly think of. Smartphone apps are a truly excellent learning resource, and they come at a fraction of the cost of most traditional resources available for those who want to educate themselves.

The best part about educational smartphone apps is that they cater to all age ranges and educational levels. This means that they have proven to be just as revolutionary in helping young children to take their first educational steps, as they have been in helping undergraduate students prepare for their doctoral level studies.

Finding Resources

The internet itself has proven to be extremely beneficial as far as educating people is concerned. The internet has not only put an unfathomable amount of information at the fingertips of the average user, it has also made it easier than ever before for those who want to learn to find the resources they need to do so. This doesn’t just apply to academic subjects either, someone in Las Vegas who wants to learn about cosmetology, for example, can search for ‘Beauty School Las Vegas’ and immediately find a range of suitable institutions and resources.

Revision

The internet is an excellent resource for those who want to learn new skills and information, but it is also a fantastic arena in which to brush up your existing knowledge. Whether you are looking for revision resources for young children, or seasoned professionals, the internet can help you.

Simulations

Not only is technology helping learning and revision through pairing people with the relevant information, it can also simulate real situations. There are now a range of professions, such as surgeon and pilot, which now train largely on computer simulations.

Technology is helping people of all ages to learn and revise in a variety of different ways. The modern world of education has been heavily influenced by technological developments, and it is likely that the future of education involves high technology.

Travel

Tips for Traveling With Cats and Dogs

June 6, 2018

One of the hardest things about packing up the motorhome and going on holiday is leaving our pets behind. After all, pets can make for tricky travel buddies. Cats and dogs are territorial and cats can struggle in an enclosed space with a dog where they cannot escape. Should they fight while on a trip, it can lead to the two pets becoming permanently unhappy with one another, even after returning home.

Fortunately, it is possible to train cats and dogs to respect each other’s space. With some preparation and training, your next road trip can be even more enjoyable with your pets along for the ride.

Train your pets

James Wellbeloved, pet food experts from the UK, has dispelled the notion that dogs and cats cannot cohabit. On the contrary, they can become the best of friends, provided they are introduced carefully and your home is setup so your dog respects your cat’s boundaries, and so your cat has somewhere to sleep, eat and go to the toilet where the dog cannot reach.

This same training can be applied before traveling, though it needs to be done more attentively. After all, if your pets are going to be traveling in a motorhome for long periods, your dog needs to know it is not okay to disturb the cat, just as it is important to keep the cat’s important belongings (bedding; food and water bowls; litter tray) high up where the dog cannot reach them.

The best way to do this is to take your pets out on longer and longer trips so they get used to traveling together in the motorhome. Allow your cat to find a space where they feel comfortable and then start to place their belongings there so they learn it is their own. Keep your dog away with a physical obstacle they cannot get around and discourage your dog from becoming overly playful with your cat. Cats often enjoy playing with dogs, but only for short periods, while a dog can often play all day and sometimes doesn’t know when he or she has gone too far.

For shorter trips, you can separate your pets with crates. However, this also requires training if they aren’t already used to them, as they will likely feel anxious if put in a crate without first being made familiar.

Rules for the journey

Once your trip has begun, there are a few rules you should follow to help keep things peaceful. Firstly, make sure to have plenty of food and water on board so they can hydrate themselves whenever they feel the need.

Secondly, don’t leave your pets unattended. They might fight if they feel trapped inside without you and, should they escape, they will be unfamiliar with their surroundings and will likely get lost.

Thirdly, don’t let your pets roam freely while you are moving. Use crates or limit their movement with a leash. Otherwise, something might fall on them in transit or they might distract you while you are driving and cause an accident.

Finally, stop frequently. Cats and dogs are prone to car sickness and might start to feel unwell if you are moving for hours on end. Besides, your dog will need regular walks to burn off some energy, as well as toilet breaks.

It might require some hard work but traveling with your pets should not be dismissed as impossible. With the right training and some patience, your pets can enjoy your holidays with you and learn to share the same space while respecting each other’s limits.