Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BMW's New 3 Series - Entirely New Model Inside and Out, More Technology, and Finally a 3 Series Hybrid

One of the greatest cars for the last 20 some years is the BMW 3 series, and now it is getting an entirely new model for the 2013 model year.  Not only is the exterior and interior entirely different with this model, there is much more technology and gadgets in this model and something we've been waiting for for years - a 3 series hybrid!  Now you can have all the sportiness of a 3 series, including active suspension and 8-speed transmission, with the great mileage of a hybrid.  The new 3 Active Hybrid can drive entirely on electric power, or can use both electric motor and internal combustion engine to give you the speed and power you want with the awesome mileage that your wallet needs (especially after forking over up to $60,000 for a 3 series).  There is also much more technology and features in this new 3 series, hybrid or not, than previous models.  Much of this technology has been seen before in higher end BMW models, but now they can be had on the 3 series for a slightly lower price.  For instance if you want a new 7 series with all the cool cameras, heads up display, smart phone connectivity  etc. then you will be paying around $100,000, while if you get it all on a 3 series, it can be had for much less.

The styling is much like that of the current 7 series and 5 series platforms, which is much more universally accepted than the BMW models of the early 2000's.  Now BMWs accross the line are much more visibly appealing for more people inside and out.  The whole lineup has been redesigned and looks a lot better now, including the new 3 series model that has just been released.  Along with an all new exterior and interior the new 3 has all kinds of new technology and features now.  The new body style 3 series is super customizable, available in 3 distinct models: Lifestyle Edition, Sport Edition, and Exclusive Edition; and offering tons of different options.  You can get the 3 series you want to fit you and the way you drive while expressing yourself and your own personal style with a variety of different  trims, colors, interiors, wheels, body kits and more.  Whether you are interested in a cheap entry level 3 series to introduce you into the luxury lifestyle, you want a super fuel efficient hybrid model, or you want the super fast and sporty twin turbo model, BMW can accomodate.

Fuel economy is a huge factor in all the new 3 series editions, from the 3 Active Hybrid to the 335i with over 300 horsepower.  With tons of different engine options, both diesel and gasoline, as well as suspension and transmission choices the 3 series can achieve very high mileage while still offering the sportiness that BMW is known for.  An feature called Auto Start/Stop allows the car to turn off the engine while stopped in certain situations to save gas while at a red light or in traffic.  This allows the car to save fuel while still giving you the same driving experience by using input from sensors such as the alternator, battery, air conditioner, engine temperature, etc.  Brake regeneration is another feature that allows the engine to save gas.  By allowing the brakes to capture energy while slowing the vehicle, the car can use this energy to charge the battery, therefore lessening the drag the charging system has on the engine therefore causing the engine to use less gas.  Even the tires that BMW ships the 3 series cars with are designed to get maximum fuel economy by reducing the rolling resistance.  Manual transmission 3 series models come equipped with a feature that tells notifies the driver of when to shift for optimum mileage, depending on the current driving conditions, road speed, amount of acceleration and more.  All in all, the all new 3 series is thinking about your gas mileage more than you are - so no matter what you can still have a sporty car and still get great mileage.

As usual, the new 3 features tons of safety and convenience devices too.  Some features increase safety and make the car easier to drive at the same time, like active cruise control which monitors the vehicle ahead of you and modifies your driving speed accordingly.  If the car in front brakes, the active cruise control will slow down to keep the same following distance.  When going around a corner or when the wheel is turned slightly to one side while the lights are on the headlights will shine more light to that side so you can see where you are going in a bend.  The headlights also have a feature that automatically puts on the brights when necessary or turns them off when it detects other cars around that would be bothered by them.  Even the body of the car itself was designed with better crumple zones and enhanced strength to keep the passengers safe in the event of a crash.  Another feature to help in a crash is the emergency call function with location information.  As soon as a crash is detected, the car connects directly to the BMW call center who can then contact the proper authorities and let them know that you are in need of help and exactly where you are as well as such information as if the airbags were deployed and much more so that the emergency workers can be prepared enough.  Some features are purely convenient for the driver, such as the ability to start the car from the outside with a button on the key, or the heater that can turn on at certain times or when the car reaches a certain temperature to warm your car before you even get into it.

iDrive is the heart of the navigation, entertainment and control system of the car, the large LCD screen in the middle of the dash shows everything from navigation and car settings to the stereo and entertainment system and is controlled by the wheel and button located near the shifter in a perfect place to access it while driving.  The screen's functionality is enhanced when options are added as well, such as the parking distance control that shows where items are located around the car when backing up and parking, or the camera package that adds a set of color video cameras around the car to further assist in parking and navigating the car is tight situations.  If you have a compatible smart phone that you connect to the car's iDrive system, you can access apps right in your car.  Some of the things that these apps allow you to do is get traffic info, access your email and social network updates from twitter and facebook.

Just as all the previous iterations of the BMW 3 series right back to the original, this new model is groundbreaking.  The price may also do some breaking.  Like breaking your back to pay for it after it breaks your wallet!  Previous 3 series could be had for under $30,000.  However now, the cheapest 3 series is almost $40,000, and the most expensive model with all the options can almost tip the scale of $80,000 - and thats not even the high performance M3 that is sure to come in the next year or two at an even higher price.

Convert Your Website to Web 2.0 and Reap the Benefits

Web 2.0 is one of the newest and hottest buzzwords on the internet today.  But what exactly does "Web 2.0" mean and why should you convert your existing website to a Web 2.0 site?  Well the exact advantages depend on your site and what you want to get out of it, but all sites will benefit greatly.  If you have a basic business website that shows off your business and its products or services, you may not be very involved with your website.  You probably paid someone to set it up years ago and forgot about it ever since.  But I guarantee that you can get much more out of your website and make it a more integral part of your business with a Web 2.0 website.  With a Web 2.0 site you can keep your customers and clients involved and up to date with your organization's latest events and specials.  You can also enable interactivity with your website visitors, allowing them to leave comments, rate pages, easily share content with their friends via social networking sites such as Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, track where your visitors come from and where they go on your site, update content on the fly, and much more.Pretty much anything is possible with the new Web 2.0 technlogies.  Whether you create a website from scratch or convert an existing site, you can make it happen with a Web 2.0 site.

What exactly is a Web 2.0 website and what does Web 2.0 mean?  Well, there is not one specific definition for the term, but it generally refers to a site that embraces new technologies of the internet such as blogs, forums, videos, etc. and allows for interactivity of visitors, as well as letting site owners easily update and add new pages as well as change the look and feel of the entire site as a whole.  In the past, in order to update a website a programmer would have to change the code for each and every page on the site.  In order to add a new page a programmer would have to create all new sourcecode for the new page and add links to it in the navigation area of all the other pages so users can find it.  This is a long and tedious process, and the reason that in the past web programmers would limit the number of pages they would offer you and charge more for adding additional pages.

Perhaps you are a band, entertainer, or motivational speaker.  If you want to let people know where you will be and other up to date information, it is simple with a Web 2.0 site.  With a standard website, every time you want to update the site with new info, you needed to pay your website's programmer and have them go into the source code of the site and update it with the necessary info, a very long and tedious process - not to mention expensive!  However if you have a site created using Web 2.0 technology or converted to Web 2.0 from an older site, updating your site or adding pages is as easy as updating your facebook or sending an email.  Just log into your site with your username and password and with a few clicks you can update your website instantly.

If you want visitors to be able to leave comments on your site, or even if you want to create your own online forum where visitors can create accounts and converse with each other, this is all possible with Web 2.0 technology.  You can set it so you have to approve comments before they are displayed or you can allow guests to post comments on pages and immediatly have them visible to other visitors - whatever you decide is best for your site.  Or you can allow your visitors to rate or leave comments for you to see what they like best, allowing you to see what is working and what isn't.  You can even add a list the highest rated pages to the navigation of your site.

Social networking is huge these days, and if you have a website you should be doing your best to make it easily sharable on social networking sites.  Web 2.0 sites not only make this possible, but make it a no brainer - both for you and your visitors.  Your site can integrate buttons onto each page for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, allowing your visitors to share your site in one simple click.  Research has shown that this alone will make people much more likely to share your site and therefore increasing your audience.  Automated posting on your social networking accounts whenever a new page or post is added to your website or blog is another Web 2.0 feature.  Simply add your account details into the settings of your site and whenever you add a new page, the site will automatically post on your social networking sites with a link to your new page.

A highly overlooked part of website design is formatting for visitors viewing your site on mobile devices.  These days, more and more people are accessing the internet with their mobile devices instead of regular desktop or laptop PCs.  In fact the market share for mobile visitors is quickly approaching that of desktop visitors, and if you don't keep them in mind you are surely doing a large part of your audience a disservice.  Some websites will not display properly when accessing them on mobile phones or tablet devices, and most likely any potential customers will leave and go right to your competitor's site as soon as they encounter a site that doesn't display properly.  However if you have a Web 2.0 enabled site you can enable support for mobile devices, delivering custom designed pages for different types of devices such as standard mobile phones, smart phones with enhanced web browsers, tablet computers, standard PCs, etc.  This means that if a user wants to access your site on their cell phone, they can do so without losing out on all the functionality.  Instead of not being able to load your website at all, the site is customized for their device and lets them have the best browsing experience possible on that device.

Have you ever wondered if anybody is even looking at your site?  What pages are they looking at and where are they coming from - both where they are physically located in the world and what websites are driving them to your site, along with much more information about the visitors of your site is another feature available to Web 2.0 based websites.  This is called analytics, and can be added to any website without extensive modification.  It gives you insight on when and where visitors are accessing your website.  This can be a great advantage, especially if you want to test the ability of your advertising campaigns.  Thats right, you can instantly see if a new advertising campaign is driving more customers to your site by monitoring how many visitors you get, and even what keywords they are searching for in the search engines to find your site.

What other features are available?  What else can your site do for you and your business?  Well ask your questions below for more info or contact me and I can give you a customized quote so you can get a better idea on what is possible with your website.  No matter if you have an established website and you want some consultation on one aspect or you don't have a website at all and your business is new to the online world, I can help you.  Or if you prefer the hands-on approach, check out some of the books below for more in depth information.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jerry Sandusky: Guilty, Sentenced to At Least 30 Years in Prison

Jerry Sandusky has been officially been sentenced in the child molestation case and the judge has ordered him to serve at least 30 years in prison.  Sandusky has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison, making the minimum age for this 68 year old to be released 98 years.  If he serves his full sentence of 60 years, he will be 128 years of age.  So in reality Jerry Sandusky will more than likely die in his jail cell.

Listening to some of the court room testimonials by the victims of Jerry Sandusky's disturbing and disgusting crimes is very hard to do.  Most people will not be able to listen to more than a few minutes without cringing and coming to the conclusion that Jerry Sandusky is in fact guilty of child molestation - and multiple times to multiple victims as well.  When you hear one victim state how Jerry Sandusky would come in to the room of the boy who was only 11 years old at the time, and call himself the tickle monster and say that it was alright for him to touch his genitalia and do all sorts of disgusting acts, you realize how disturbing this case really is and how much of a monster Sandusky really is.  There is also evidence that may show there was a coverup at the university where Jerry Sandusky worked and where many of the molestation cases took place.  Apparently many of his coworkers didn't want word to get out about the horrific crimes taking place in the men's locker room and other locations on campus, they would rather cover it up so that their football program would not suffer.  All this convinces most people that the judge has made the right choice in determining that Sandusky is guilty.

However, now one of the things that people are arguing about on the subject is the number of years Mr. Sandusky has been sentenced to.  Some are comparing Jerry Sandusky's case and verdict to that of Bernie Madoff, who has been sentenced to 150 years.  But in all reality, if Sandusky is 68 years old and he will have to serve at an absolute minimum of 30 years,  the youngest he be released is 98 years old.  If he serves his full sentence, Mr. Sandusky will be 128 years old.  That is, of course, if he even lives to  get out.  Because I very highly doubt that he will ever be a free man again after this sentencing.  So does it really matter whether the judge sentenced Sandusky to 30 years or 300 years?  In the end it all has the same outcome.  No matter what, he will die in jail or if he is lucky he will only have a few years of very limited life left after he is released.  So why argue about the subject?  Both Madoff and Sandusky will be left to rot in their cells while us taxpayers pay the bill.

What are your thoughts?  Leave comments below and let everyone know how you feel about Jerry Sandusky, his trial, his sentencing, and the alleged coverup of his crimes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Day - Should We Still Celebrate?

Columbus Day - the second Monday of October - is a very controversial subject.  I am not really on either side of the issue when it comes to this holiday, but I do understand why people think and feel how they do about it.  On one hand, Mr. Columbus inadvertently put into motion the events that would create what many people consider to be the greatest nation on Earth.  Although Christopher Columbus wasn't the first person in the world to step foot on the North America continent, he did teach the Eastern world a lot of things.  For one thing, he proved that the world was not, in fact, flat.  Although this seems monumentally stupid that people would ever think this, it was the normal way of thinking at the time and he eventually proved that the world was a sphere and not a cube or flat plane.

However, Chris Columbus also caused countless people to be hurt and killed throughout the years after his so-called discovery.  In fact, the Europeans that came over and started to inhabit what is now known as North America pretty much ruined the entire continent for people who were already over here.  Not only did the Euros rip off the Native Americans and eventually steal all their land, but they didn't seem to care at all about the lives of those who lived in this vast land.  Especially after we know how large the United States and North America as a whole turned out to be, it seems like we could have all learned to live in peace and help each other out instead of mostly killing off the Native Americans across the US.

So should we still celebrate this holiday like we do Independence Day and President's Day?  Well if you live in my state, then that question isn't as easy as it is for most other people.  That is because Nevada does not officially celebrate the holiday at all - most state offices don't take the day off or celebrate Columbus Day at all.  However many government offices still do take the day off and it causes havoc all around.  I wish the state would just make up their mind whether to take the day off or not.  I have been inconvenienced personally today and this week in general in a way that I wish could have been averted.  But, since this is still a federal holiday and therefore such services as mail delivery has been stopped while other things such as my local library was open.  So I could go check out a book on Columbus but not get my daily mail delivery.

Anyways, what are your ideas on the subject?  Should we continue to celebrate Columbus Day?  Or does Nevada have the right idea?  Let me know in the comments section of this page.  Thanks and Happy Columbus Day!

Hello World

Hi Everybody!  Welcome to my new blog.  As is customary in the computer world, I will start with the standard Hello World post.  Basically I will use this blog to share my thoughts with the world, on subjects ranging from technology topics including gadgets and SEO/Internet Marketing, to supercars fine (and not so fine) dining, and much more.  In short, whatever is on my mind.  So without further adieu I shall begin with my first post. (As soon as I can think of what to post about.)