Month: January 2019

Designed to Fail: Wiper Blades

There is no question we live in an age of booming technology and innovation. I am always amazed at the pace we see new inventions emerging, but what I don’t see as much of is an improvement on things that we have to use every day. This is not to say it doesn’t happen, but there are some key things that could use improving that I am not seeing improved on. Rather than try to sum up all of these in one post – because there are too many and I know I will think of many more to come – I will start with one of my favorite ones to hate. Windshield wiper blades.
We have readers from around the world – not only apparent in the comments but I have seen it in my site stats – so you may have different names for these devices. I’ll stick with what I call them, wiper blades. I swear these are designed to only work past a reasonable return period to your local store than to annoy you for as long as you can take it before you can no longer justify not replacing them again. My tolerance lasts typically through the periodic rainstorms, but come fall/winter I am forced to succumb to the need to actually see where I am driving.

I swear Murphy had wiper blades in mind when he came arrived at his philosophies in life. Which blade is most likely to go out first? The driver’s side of course. Where does it fail? Directly in your primary line of sight of course. At what point does it fail? When it is swiping back of course (not when it starts to clear the window, that is a perfect pass, just when coming back so you can’t see while waiting for the blades to come back).

Those ever-present streaks from old blades are often worse than just never using them and trying to see through the accumulating raindrops. Have any of you used the Rain-X or other branded “miracle” cures for seeing even in the rain? I have. They seem to work for a bit making the rain sheet off your window so you can see a bit better. What happens when the solution wears out though and you have to turn on those blades? Mega streaks to end all others. Argh!

Do I ask for too much for a wiper blade made of some material that both works and lasts a decent amount of time? This is obviously an industry that survives on forcing you to replace their product with regularity. There are some products out there that are supposed to be better, but the price point drives away the common consumer, namely me. What is their motivation to make an affordable better product? None whatsoever. So don’t hold your breath expecting any improvement in this area.

Unreasonable Customers Drain Your Company

I won’t write a long tirade on this one, at least for now, but I read this blog post today and thought I would share it over here as well. If you have ever dealt with customer service for a company, you know exactly who the vocal minority are I mentioned in a previous rant. They are the ones that make your life miserable, usually because a) they can, b) because they are mad at the world and know they can take it out on you, and c) they likely want something for free when it really shouldn’t be. Homestead.com’s CEO has good advice, fire ‘em. That’s right, get rid of those customers that are a drain on your company, allowing you to do more with those that both appreciate what you do, and are likely more profitable in the end.
Homestead.com is an outfit that provides hosting and web site creation tools. They have been around awhile, and years ago I remember trying out their free version. I haven’t done anything with them since, so I can’t comment on their specific situation. What is commented here generally though I have to agree is good advice for any service oriented company, particularly in the tech world?

From what I have read, this is quickly becoming a hot topic to discuss, with strong messages on both sides of the argument. I can understand this to be seemingly idiotic and business suicide from a customer perspective. This policy can also be abused by always thinking the company is right – there has to be some balance. Be willing to be wrong, but also be willing to act when someone else is wrong. We have all grown up hearing that the philosophy “the customer is always right” is the key to a successful business, but in today’s world, I can’t always side with that. There are a lot of demanding, unrealistic customers that are simply trying to get ahead at your expense. If they can get it cheap, free, or otherwise come out ahead, it doesn’t matter what they have to say or do to get there. That includes lying, cheating and acting as you have somehow committed an atrocity at their expense.

What makes this worse is the number of fraudsters out there using tactics against customer service departments, knowingly working the system simply to get something for free. Chargeback routines, threatening BBB and attorney general reports, and claiming shipped orders never arrived are just a few of the common practices people will use. This has grown to a level that even people you would never call an outright thief will do it, justifying that these online companies can afford it, so it is somehow ok to do.

On a level, less thieving is the tech company’s worst nightmare – the bargain-minded business enlisting their services. Small web development firms deal with type constantly. I spent years acquiring customers for my outfit I ran with some partners and great friends. We worked very hard to keep ourselves in business, and I am afraid often because we were willing to take on almost any contract, no matter the amount of work we had to agree to at any rate, just so as we had work and income coming in. I was likely the worst at this admittedly. We had a good business, though, and we enjoyed ourselves. Eventually, I left this company to pursue some other opportunities, which was a catalyst for some necessary changes in the company. Along the way, they changed their policy to “let go” the noisy, demanding and otherwise unprofitable customers and to better organize their bidding and billing procedures. Sure, they had some unhappy customers that went away, and some that stayed but complained about the apparent price increase; but in the end they are more profitable and living more sane lives as a result.

We can’t please everyone, especially those that can never be pleased. As a business, shoot for pleasing 90% of your customers, and in the end, you will be more successful. You will spend your time building and offering services or products that make the bulk of your customers happy, and you won’t be wasting time with the vocal minority that drains your resources trying to meet their demands. This is a valuable lesson for any entrepreneur to learn, hopefully, sooner than later in their business growth. Some sage advice, from a big-time CEO (Homestead) as well as a small time guy like me.

New Technologies For Auto Detailing

Auto detailing is the process of cleaning the interior, exterior and other parts of a vehicle. It could be the portion of a regular maintenance schedule or for growing the resale value of an old automobile, as in the case of utilized auto sales.

Inside the last few years, the approach of auto detailing has undergone tremendous alterations. New and far better technologies for auto cleaning have emerged that not only give vehicles a very good clean finish but also shield them from any damages that are feasible with the old strategies.

Rather of typical pressure washers, far more and much more auto detailers are employing low-flow steam pressure washers. There are many advantages of making use of these machines. Very first of all, the conventional pressure washers have a high outflow of numerous gallons per minute and therefore call for significant amounts of water for cleaning vehicles and other automobiles. Also, these machines eliminate dirt and grease by directing water at high-pressure levels, of around 2000 psi, to the soiled surface. This strategy is very good for cleaning particular surfaces but not for the delicate surface of vehicles, as painted exteriors can be damaged with high pressure.

Vehicles need to have a washing machine that is tough on dirt and stains but not on the surface, and classic pressure washers fail to meet this criterion. However, steam pressure washing machines overcome this dilemma. These machines use lower pressure levels, under 1500 psi and low flow rates ranging from .five GPM to two GPM, generating them safe for a vehicle’s exterior. In addition, they make use of high-temperature steam up to 330ºF to dissolve dirt, mud, grease, tree sap, salt, ice, road grime, and most other residues that come into making contact with vehicle surfaces. Steam auto detailing machines also use much less water, creating them safer for the environment as properly.

The other products employed in auto detailing are the chemical cleaners. They are of various varieties like carpet cleaners and surface cleaners. Nevertheless, the majority of auto detailing chemicals on the marketplace these days is toxic and can even harm your well being, the environment, or vehicle surfaces.

In the past, these dangerous chemicals were vital for auto detailing, as green alternatives just weren’t potent enough. This is no longer accurate. Now, leading suppliers offer you a selection of environmentally safe auto detailing items for a range of applications.

Deciding on the eco-friendly cleaners for vehicles is a wise option. They are good for your wellness as properly as the environment. Green chemicals for auto detailing are plant based natural substances and therefore do not release harmful particles or chemicals into the air. They are tough on stains but not on skin.

These green cleaners are based on the same principle on which an organic soap works. Water alone cannot get rid of grease, stains, and dirt as it does not mix with oil. Even so, cleaners aid in the approach of mixing of oil and water and are as a result called emulsifiers. The green cleaners include micelles when dissolved in water. Micelles formed by green chemicals are a lot smaller than those formed by conventional organic soaps. The micelle helps to break down dirt and stains in water and as a result assists to clean the surface.

Nowadays, there is a wide range of auto detailing machines and green chemicals available for cleaning different surfaces like vehicles, trucks, and carpets. Not only are the green methods for auto detailing like steam pressure washers and green chemicals great for the environment but they are effective too.

Tired of Telemarketers Hassling You? Do Something About It.

With the advent of the do-not-call list, telemarketing calls have taken a dive for me. For the most part, telemarketing outfits honor this list and because I rarely sign up for or purchase anything that would lead to a call, I don’t get many calls. There are those that call that is exempt from the list, such as charities, politicians and survey companies, but because I cut off those calls too, I think I have dropped off the priority list for those outfits too.

Keep in mind that if you purchase something or make an inquiry from a company, that gives them the legal right to contact you by phone for a period of time – and that includes telemarketing. You can ask for them to no longer make contact though and they have to stop within a period of time. I am definitely not a lawyer nor do I have all that much legal knowledge, but like most people, I try to stay up to date on my rights on things that matter to me.

So, if you are on the “sucker” list, by your own doing or by mistake, you do have steps you can take to get those calls to go away. First off, register for the national do-not-call list at donotcall.gov. This is really the best first step you can take. I did it right at the get-go and saw results within a couple of months. Companies do have a grace period to allow time for you to get on the list and into their systems. When I moved and got a new number, the calls flooded in. This reminded me I needed to register again. Within a few months most of the calls were gone, and the few that trickled in I curtly reminded them I was on the list and of their tenuous legal position because of that, and the rest of them vanished.

With all that, some calls do still happen. What prompted me to write about this today is some recent coverage of a guy that has decided to fight back…and has profited from it. Now he is sharing his methods for taking offending telemarketing companies to court and winning. Though I don’t have any interest in trying to make a profit from doing this, I think it is everyone’s right and responsibility to take these companies that ignore the law to task and make them responsible for their actions. This is really the only way to clean things up. Law abiding companies should be able to do their business, but those breaking the law make it hard for legitimate companies to stay in business. We don’t need more regulation, we need our current laws enforced.
If you have a problem with this happening to you, I suggest you check our KilltheCalls.com and see the worthwhile information being shared. Kudos to this guy to help rid the world of something that definitely has to go! Now if he could give us the easy solution for spam….

Inversion: When Did I Move to LA?

Excuse me for a minute as I cough. You see my lungs are clogged with smog these days. I live in a valley, which in effect constitutes a big weather “bowl” because of the mountains surrounding us. Most of the year I look up at the mountains and smile with their beauty and grandeur. Right now I am more wishing for a nice wide valley that would funnel out the thick soup of smog along with the cold temperatures.

Remember me mentioning a while back that it is was cold? Yup, cold temps are still here. Yeah, it’s winter so I should expect some cold, but what we are experiencing in these neck of the woods right now is artificially colder because of this inversion. If you have never lived where the effect takes place, you likely don’t know what it is. Here is the short version. A temperature inversion is an atmospheric condition where the temperature increases with height (or elevation). The warm air above traps the colder air below. Along with the colder air, the pollutants are not able to escape. The valleys of northern Utah are especially susceptible to this because it is surrounded by particularly tall mountains compared to the valley floor.

Here’s a great shot recently captured by a Salt Lake City amateur photographer that shows you exactly what I mean about the smog. Even though it is a clear day, the layer of smog (and cold temperature) is stuck right where we all live. Wonderful, eh?

Nothing like the feeling of sucking on the tailpipe of my truck with every breath. See the nice shade of brown throughout that cloud of particulates? Mmmm, can’t you just taste it. Yes, this is the time of year when I could see living somewhere else. Not winter mind you, that I can enjoy, just a few weeks of inversion we normally get – which this year has been for a couple of months. Yuck.