Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cool Technology Trends

From wearables to apps to self-sterilizing keyboards, technology is helping to make lives easier and more enjoyable. We've compiled a list of some cool (and innovative) technology trends to look out for.


Fashionable yet functional, the wearable tech craze has just begun and it's not going to slow down anytime soon.

From glasses to watches to baby monitors, these gadgets can do anything from track your daily fitness activities to monitor your baby’s sleeping patterns.

  • Liquid Image Co® is a leading Action Camera manufacturer and the developers of the first in-goggle camera with the lens mounted at eye level, allowing for True POV video capture. The Apex HD+ is a Full HD Video Snow Goggle with WiFi for live streaming to Smartphones and Tablets. With the camera lens positioned just above the eyes, the Apex captures True POV footage of everything you see. (pictured above) 
  • Intel unveiled a headset nicknamed “Jarvis” that is supposed to act like a personal assistant.
  • Razer’s Nabu is a smartband health tracker that reports calories burned, steps taken and hours slept, among other things.
  • A SmartOne infant sleep monitor fits into a chest pocket and sends information and active alerts ontemperature, baby orientation, and breathing to a parent's mobile device.
  • The Quardiocore heart monitor can send the electrocardiogram to a smartphone and the EKG can be forwarded to a physician for remote heart monitoring.
  • YEI Technology's PrioVR, a virtual reality gaming accessory, allows sensors on the player to translate movement into the game.
 Rumor has it that Google is coming out with a watch that has it all! Rather than having to pull out your smartphone or tablet for frequent email, text and social media updates, you’ll glance at your watch.

Check out more wearable technology at 


Technology companies are constantly developing new apps to make our lives easier. There’s literally an app for everything!
Five years ago, Apple only offered 500 apps for download on its brand new App Store on iTunes. As of October 2013, Apple announced 1 million apps in its App Store.

Top Apps of 2014 from CBS News

  • Beautified is an app that offers discounted spa services and helps you find and book same-day beauty appointments. 
  • Hotel Tonight is an app that features last-minute hotel deals.
  • Groupon Reserve gets you 20 to 40 percent off last-minute dinner reservations.
  • TodayTix is a new app that gets you up to 50 percent off theater tickets.
Self-sterilizing Keyboards

Forget all the Lysol and hand sanitizer! The ultra-modern UVLightBoard zaps bacteria from its surface as you type.

Smart TVs getting smarter

Nowadays more and more customers expect the ability to use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and their web browser via their televisions. As a result, television manufactures are working harder and harder to make their TVs even smarter.

Smart TV shipments are expected to reach 123 million in 2014 – up from about 84 million in 2012.

3D Printing

The world has already seen some amazing things from 3D printing. However, from the looks of things it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Business & Leisure Quandary:

5 Tips to a Stress-Free Vacation

A true vacation is tough for many small business owners and managers who feel the need to relentlessly check e-mail and texts from the beach. Many fear of missed opportunities, employees slacking off, or that business will not operate smoothly when they are away.

starfish beach sandals
In a recent survey commissioned by Sam's Club, nearly 50% of small business owners only take major holidays off (if any days at all). And when they do find time to relax, many still find themselves attached to their laptops or smartphones and taking calls.

However, taking a vacation is an important component to avoiding burnout, relieving stress and re-energizing creativity. Here are a few steps that you can take to help you achieve a more enjoyable (and much deserved) vacation.

5 Steps to a Stress-Free Vacation

1. Plan your vacation around slow periods in your business
For those owners and managers who fear that going away will wreak havoc on the business, experts suggest scheduling a vacation in a historically slower time for your company. These ‘slow periods’ depend on your industry. If you are a florist, taking a vacation during any holiday season may not be ideal. However, if you have an office job, holidays may be the best time.

2. Tie up loose ends and complete any big projects
If you must, stay late for a couple of days and make sure that any big projects that you are working on are completed before you leave for your vacation. Not only will you have less weighing you down when you're away, but if you're able to start fresh, you'll also have a smoother transition back to the office.

3. Empower your employees and delegate
Put a good plan in place with your employees and don’t forget to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Start handing off assignments early so you can answer any questions well before you leave. If certain aspects of the business are of particular concern to you, ask for brief daily emailed updates to keep your mind at ease. 

Do not assume the worst, trust your employees.

If necessary, pick the right person to manage your small business while you're on vacation and train them to do it ahead of time. You should do this even if you're not planning a vacation just in case you are unable to work for some reason.

4. Set a Schedule (to check in, if you must)
If it makes you feel more at ease to keep tabs on things, set aside specific times during the day to check e-mail or make calls. But stick to only those times. For example, check your email first thing in the morning before your kids get up.

Use technology. It is your friend.

Many business owners and managers are able to take advantage of current technology and take their work with them when they travel (just in case something should come up). As long as you can work remotely and are vacationing in places with acceptable technological resources (such as electricity and wireless Internet) you can use your smartphone or laptop/tablet to check in.

Many business phone systems also offer advanced call routing so you can have calls forwarded directly to your hotel room or cell phone. You can even customize your settings by day, time and caller.

5. Manage Client Expectations
Tell any clients that you work with directly when you will be taking vacation well in advance so you can address any concerns before-hand. Also, inform them of who they can contact in case a question or issue should arise while you are away.

Planning a stress-free vacation takes a little planning on your part, but it will be well worth it in the end. And once you have your processes and procedures solidified you may be surprised by how many more “vacation” days you could actually take (and enjoy).