Author: stacy

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.’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. 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 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 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.

Sleep Like A Baby

There are a number of advantages to owning a hammock. While hammocks have been around for a very long time, portable hammock stands are new and investing in them is a great option. One of the best things about a two person hammock is that it is easy to carry from one place to another mainly because it is light in weight and it can be folded. There are various reasons why you should invest in these hammocks.

One of the major advantages of investing in a hammock is that you can sleep in peace in them. If you hate camping mainly because you can’t sleep well, it’s time to set up your hammock and see how well you sleep the next time you camp. Hammocks have a slow rocking motion which helps to put you to sleep in no time. This is because it relaxes your muscles and keeps you calm.

Once you start sleeping on a hammock you will realize the benefits of it right away. With a hammock there is no need to flip it once every six months like you do with a mattress. All you need to do is sleep comfortably on the hammock and all your sleep related problems will go away. One of the things that the hammock gives you is an active mind. With a normal mattress there is usually some tossing and turning that happens before you get sleep. This causes your mind to think about lot as it tries to tire itself to sleep. Once your mind does that it does not wake up refreshed in the morning. Compare this to a hammock where you get sleep almost immediately. This means that your mind has no time to think about anything else. You will end up waking refreshed and renewed.

Hammocks don’t always need to be set up in the open; you can set them up indoors too. People often find it tough sleeping in someone else’s bed and if you are one such person, make sure to carry your hammock with you the next time you plan on sleeping at a friend’s place.

Switching from the age old mattress to a hammock is one of the best decisions you will ever make. While the biggest advantage of the hammock is solving your problem of lack of sleep there are other health benefits that are associated with the hammock as well.

There are a number of reasons why you need to consider investing in hammock stands. One of the main benefits of using these stands is that you can now set up your hammock wherever you want. Since these stands are portable, foldable and light in weight, you can take them with you on your trips and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Hammocks are extremely useful for people who have trouble sleeping at night. People have tried all sorts of remedies like listening to music, reading a book and many more. However if you do not get sleep there is nothing that you can do to force it to come.

Miners pounded by gold rout

A three percent drop in the price of gold to the mid $1,160s/oz last week – lows not seen in years – translated into an especially painful mow-down of gold equities, majors and juniors alike.

A quick inspection of five of the top gold miners shows that as a group they were down 12%, on average, from market close Wednesday to Friday.


That was about three times the movement in the price of gold and showed more exaggeration, gold-vs.-equities, than usual, suggesting investors hit the panic button in selling their gold stock.

Kinross Gold stands out. It lost 20% last week, piling on an abysmal performance this year. Its share price is down nearly 50% in 2014.


Among the top two gold miners Barrick fared better than Goldcorp in the gold rout last week. Barrick and Goldcorp’s share prices fell 7% and 12% respectively.

But on the year Goldcorp’s share price has been far more resilient. With gold down about 3% on the year, it has lost about 8% of its share price value.

Barrick is down a whopping 28%.


Indeed, despite the fact Goldcorp produces far less gold than Barrick, its lesser debt load, and cost and growth profile, have plumped up its market valuation beyond the #1 gold miner this year.

Now like the majors many of the top gold juniors – companies with fairly sizeable gold deposits at an advanced stage – also bombed last week on heavy volumes.

The average share price losses of nine leading gold juniors was 15% Wednesday to Friday last week.

Roxgold and Romarco Minerals were most notable among losers, down 27% and 22% respectively.

Yet some context here is worth noting.


These two junior names were also the two in the group that were still up overall on the year, Romarco by 50% and Roxgold by 13%.

Among the worst performances was True Gold’s, down 20% late last week and 50% on the year.

Overall, however, junior gold developers in view here have fared better than the majors in 2014. Indeed, they were near even on the year, despite the recent gold rout. Miners pounded by gold rout.

Junior gold plays – New Orleans Investment Conference

Here we are on the floor of the New Orleans Investment Conference, organized by Brien Lundin of the Gold Newsletter, and taking a closer look at some of the advanced-stage development gold companies.

Today, Trimetals Mining, a TSX-listed gold project developer with assets in Nevada.

More companies to follow.

Trimetals (TSX:TMI)

Market-cap C$19 million

Cash C$8 million

If it works out and grows you could easily argue they’ll be worth quite a bit more than the C$19 million marketcap it has today.

We’ll see.

There’s still loads of risk to consider with Trimetals and its pursuit of a low-cost heap-leach gold project in Utah/Nevada. Keep permitting and resource size in mind.

But then there’s also some factors leaning in its favour.

First it must be said Trimetals, which now focuses on the Gold Springs project in Nevada and Utah, has fairly small gold deposits on its hands.

Some would shrug it off for this.

New Orleans Investment Conference Brent Cook, of Exploration Insights, used to own the stock, but is now wary of the number of ounces in play.

Indeed, resource wise – at least as it stands – you almost certainly won’t see a major shelling out lots of cash for this one at this point. In that vein Cook had played it for greater size than it has shown so far.

But then there’s also no lack of examples of successful miners starting on modest deposits with good low-cost features. These can form the humble beginnings of something bigger.

Trimetals, in its Gold Spring project, which comprises two deposits that straddle the Utah/Nevada border, is worth mulling over in this respect.

To those modest resources.

Trimetals counts:

  • 21.3 million tonnes @ 0.5 g/t gold and 9.8 g/t silver for 339,000 ounces gold and 6.7 million ounces silver in indicated resources.
  • 16.7 million tonnes @ 0.4 g/t gold 9.1 g/t silver for 214,000 ounces gold and 4.9 million ounces silver in inferred resources. (At 0.2 g/t Au cut-off)

At first glance these resources look rather inconsequential. But then not all deposits of 500,000-odd-ounces gold of 0.5 g/t Au are created equal and this one looks to have some strong early-stage chops.

First, it has grown in size over the past few years. Back in 2012, before South American Silver took over High Desert Gold, which then owned the deposit (and later became Trimetals) the deposit ounces stood at a quarter million.

That first gold resource was built around drillholes put into the target back in the 1990s, said Randall Moore, Trimetals’ vice president of exploration, who was manning Trimetals booth early Thursday morning at the New Orleans Investment Conference.

Resources grew consistently from about 200,000 ounces gold equivalent, inferred, in 2012 to 400,000 ounces gold equivalent in 2013 and then to 750,000 ounces gold in 2014.

(This equivalency assumes a very outdated 57:1 gold/silver ratio which is now closer to 70:1.)

Interestingly the resource growth comes from circumscribed areas of the property.

Trimetals has been limited in permitting, until recently, to near-deposit drilling. However its plan of operations for more exploration was recently approved and that opens up a number of other targets to explore – and possibly discover more ounces.

There still looks to be some unfinished business, in other words.

Moore noted that after doing a LIDAR survey, which gives a nice topographic picture of surface features, some old-timer pits (AKA quasi-ancient gold prospecting areas) showed up that Trimetals hadn’t logged before in targets little explored to the south/southwest of its Jumbo and Grey Eagle deposits.

These are the two deposits that make up the core of the project.

Likewise there are existing gold anomalies that Trimetals has yet to drill.

If it finds success in delineating more ounces gold in these targets, you wonder if the junior might get some more recognition.

Now back to the known deposits.

Gold recovery looks good in early stage testing. Trimetals put RC cuttings (think pretty coarse material that doesn’t require extra-expensive grinding) through bottle-roll metallurgical tests and got results between around 80%-90% recovery.

Finer-ground material did between 92% to 98%, Moore said.

The logical next step is to test even coarser material – 3/8-inch grind – to see how recovery does there. If the coarser material shows good recovery it could point to cheap mining costs. Silver pulled a recovery in the 40% to 50% range.

On deposit shape, the geometry doesn’t look all that bad.

New Orleans Investment Conference

It outcrops at surface – silicified ridges that form a small part of the wider system of sheeted veins and breccia – attest to that, and look amenable to a lowish strip with a waste/ore ratio in the 2:1 range. Some of the better grades are near surfaceand that could help Trimetal.

Early stage economics also look strong, though they will need more validation.

The deposits would, in Trimetals management view, support a 9-year mine working at 10,000 tonnes per day in a heap leach operation which would cost $58 million to build. At $1,000/oz gold it spins off a pre-tax net present value of $82 million, and an IRR of 33%, according to a recent preliminary economic assessment.

“It still makes good money,” said Moore, reflecting on project economics at gold prices a fair bit lower than currently.

Now there’s something of an analog that should be considered in this respect.

Midway Gold started mining a similar deposit in Nevada, the Pan project, in September (but not yet at commercial producution.)

This is interesting for two reasons.

First, the grade and size is not that different between the two projects.

Midway counts 48 million tonnes @ 0.56 g/t Au for 864,000 ounces gold in proven and probable reserves (at a much higher confidence than Trimetals inferred/indicated resources) and has also built a mining project around these reserves with a 1.8:1 life of mine strip ratio in a heap leaching scenario with a pricetag of $99 million.

The second parrallel is permitting.

Moore noted that Midway permitted in about 18 months. Pretty fast for the U.S.

Could Trimetals do the same navigating similar Nevada, Utah and federal regulations?

Like Midway, Trimetals may opt to do a full environment impact statement, Moore said. It’s more arduous than an environmental assessment, which requires less detail, but it could afford Trimetals more protection in being less easily challenged.

Do that “so it’s not going to blow up in your face later,” he said.

Pennsylvania Tourism Information

Pennsylvania isn’t the first place tourists flock in the United States, but tourism remains a viable industry. Tourists enjoy rich early American history, NASCAR, chocolate and the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.


Philadelphia hosts several historic locations and objects in American history such as Independence National Historic Park, which holds Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.


Pocono 500

Twice a year, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, NASCAR comes to town. The remote town overflows during race weekend.

Hiking and Camping

Pennsylvania contains 117 state parks and a half dozen national recreation areas, including the Delaware Recreation Area. At the Delaware Recreation Area, the Dingmans Campground connects with the McDade Trail, allowing easy access for hikers from the campground.



As the chocolate capital of Pennsylvania (maybe the world), Hershey contains many attractions dedicated to the chocolate such as Hershey Park, Hershey’s Chocolate World and the Spa at Hotel Hershey.


In 1863, both the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address occurred in Gettysburg, forever changing it. In commemoration, the Gettysburg National Military Park preserves those pivotal moments in history.

Friday Fun – Fun With Digital Humor

Friday Fun is just what the name implies – it’s Friday, so let’s have some fun. Every Friday we’ll bring you something funny, at least we think it is 🙂 Might be a picture or a post or something completely different. This week it’s fun with Digital Humor.

Fun With Digital Humor

Digital this…

Fun With Digital Humor

And digital that…

Fun With Digital HumorHey, I love all things digital as much as the next guy or girl… so why not have some fun with it?