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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is the next bubble about to burst?

The following infographic illustrates several historical asset bubbles to portray various stages of formation, warning signs and duration. The information presented should help new and experienced investors alike prepare for and become aware of the financial risks associated with asset bubbles.

The Next Asset Bubble
Source: BizBrain.org

Does recycled glass have the same properties as the original material?

Glass recycling industry
Structural integrity is key when recycling glass 
The ease and accessibility of glass recycling has revolutionized the bottling, window and packaging industries. Through the abundant adoption of glass recycling technologies, there has been a worldwide decrease in the demand for new glass products to be manufactured, reducing the carbon footprint and raw material use of materials such as sodium carbonate, lime, dolomite, silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide, sodium sulfate, and sodium chloride. The properties of recycled glass is an interesting area of manufacturing to consider from a quality and an environmental perspective.

A background to commercial glassware

Soda-lime-silica glass, the most abundant form of commercial glass, is utilized in products such as bottles, windowpanes and glass containers and bakeware. The process by which glass in recycles varies from municipality to municipality, however the common method is for recyclers to separate glass by chemical composition, then by colour, then allow the glass to be crushed into a substance called cullet, ready for remelting. As the process of recycling glass saves the manufacturing industry millions of dollars on energy costs and saves the environment hundreds of thousands of kilograms of raw materials annually, the practice is one that is celebrated by businessmen and environmental activists alike. However, the question about the similarities of the material properties of recycled glass in comparison to its original material is one that is valid in terms of product quality.

Properties of recycled glass

Recycled glass is a material that is fully recyclable, if done in the proper manner with attention to detail and correctly configured equipment. Through the melting of glass at temperatures greater than 1200 degrees Celsius, the material becomes a liquid phase that can be set into molds for new applications. Through this very high temperature melting process, impurities in the crushed glass material are separated from the existing material, which allows for the new glass components to be free from defect. With a proper cooling process that allows for an even distribution of commonly-temperature air, the glass can settle into its final solid state with the material properties identical to those that it once had in a previous generation. Simply put, glass is a material that has the potential to recycle itself for an indefinite number of iterations in a closed-loop, maintaining a high degree of material properties throughout its recycling process. This process, however, must be conducted in a proper manner to ensure the high material property standards of commercial manufacturers and consumers alike.

Concerns for glass recycling

Glass recycling is a great potential money saver while maintaining the structural integrity of the original product, but the process is one that must be done so in an optimal manner in order to ensure the highest degree of product quality. A misassportment of glass type by a recycler of glass collecting agency can potentially lead to different chemical compositions of glass being melted together to form a mixture of impure glass material for a specific application. In addition, the improper cleaning of glass material may lead to defects in the eventual product if there are foreign contaminants in the mixture of liquid material. Finally, an unoptimized cooling process can lead to cracks, coring or a heterogeneous material composition of the final recycled product, all factors that may inadvertently lower the properties of the recycled glass in comparison to the original material.

Image license: Chmouel Boudjnah, GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0

Monday, March 17, 2014

SMS/text marketing more effective than social media

By Chris Jacobs

With technology continuing to change and reshape the way that we communicate with one another, companies must adapt their marketing efforts in order to cut through the crowd and make an impression with their target audience.

SMS/text marketing tips
SMS texting is still viable marketing
As social media grows, many market research teams feel that crafting campaigns centered on a specific platform is best to get their message out to consumers. However, social media is quickly becoming an overly crowded space, where even the most well-meaning marketer has trouble creating a message that sticks with the audience. SMS/Text Marketing, offers a way for companies to improve efficiency and achieve their business goals.

Stand apart from millions of others

When you look at other brands or celebrities on social media, Twitter for example, you will notice that some users have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. The amount of people using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook continues to grow, making it very difficult for marketers to attain and measure the results they want. The average Facebook user between the ages of 18 and 24 has 510 friends. With SMS/Text Marketing, companies are able to be more proactive and get their messages seen directly by the consumer.

Getting your message seen

With social media marketing, your company is much more dependent on the customer taking the first step toward finding your campaign. With people following hundreds of accounts on Twitter, your tweet is just one message in an endless jungle that can easily be overlooked. The same is true when it comes to Facebook. SMS/Text Marketing, on the other hand, gives marketers a direct link to their customers. When someone signs up to receive SMS/Text Message alerts from your company, you can send messages directly to that person’s mobile phone. Text messages are opened at a much higher rate (99%) than emails, oftentimes within just a few minutes of being sent (95% read the text message within the first 3 minutes). That being said, the opt-out numbers show that fewer people choose to unsubscribe from marketing text messages than emails (4% opt out of SMS/Text Marketing campaigns).

Be unique and active to attain success

The key to being successful with SMS/Text Marketing is to craft a campaign that is worth remembering. This marketing technique differs due to the fact that text is the primary method of communication. In addition to sending news alerts through SMS/Text, you can also provide subscribers with mobile coupons, exclusive offers and invites, discounts that can be redeemed and help to drive sales. When tied into your company’s mobile application, SMS/Text messages and other notifications can draw users into the app and get further information on your products and services.

As you develop your marketing strategy, consider the changing landscape of communication in order to take advantage of all of the tools available to your business. Work with your marketing team to develop a strategy that will reach out to your target demographic and allow you to create a lasting connection with your customers. SMS/Text Marketing can easily be integrated into your marketing program by getting in touch with a mobile marketing expert.

About the author: Chris Jacobs, a marketing executive with over 10 years of experience in the field of PR and Marketing working for several high level clients in a variety of industries.

Image license: Shokunin, US-PD

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The second hand market for the iPad

By Amy Rice

Used Apple iPads
Due to new generations of the iPad many used ones exist
Apple first introduced the iPad to the general public in 2010 and since then it has gone through various updates which has culminated in the ultra-thin iPad Air in late 2013. The iPad Air is actually the fifth generation of iPads. It is true to say that this device has revolutionized the technology market and of course other companies like Google and Samsung have introduced their tablets.

While many people only want the very latest technology!

Others are happy if they can get a second hand iPad as that will work out much cheaper. These often almost new iPads will still give us great technology at second hand prices. There are only four years between the first iPad and the iPad Air so it is a safe bet that many of the iPads available second hand will not have been used a whole lot. It also makes sense that many iPad users want to trade in their older models for the latest version. This is one of the reasons why the second hand market for the iPad is thriving!

While a tech person would possibly only want the newest version and trade in his or her older one, many people simply want the great functionality and possibilities of the iPad and it is not a problem for them if the iPad is older or not. So where are the places to shop to find a second hand iPad?

There are many websites that offer re-sale iPads and a quick internet search is all you need to get started. However, websites such as Gaxelle nd uSell.com operate their whole business in buying and selling used electronic equipment. As far as iPads are concerned, it is safe to say that as soon as Apple releases a new version, the older version second hand sales will start booming. It makes perfect sense as not everyone wants the newest and so-called ‘best’. Another avenue is gadget websites where consumers can buy and sell their old iPads.

Here are some other websites that you should take a look at before you commit yourself to buying an iPad second hand:


However, make sure you do your due diligence whatever website you decide to go with and a little research could potentially save you quite a bit of money. It is important to check on the reputation of the seller and if they have a money back guarantee and some second hand retailers even give a limited warranty of around three months. Also the device should be in fine working order.

Another option you could consider if you are a tech wizard is buying an iPad that you know does have a fault. This could mean a simple repair you could do yourself or you could hand the device over to a shop that does iPad repairs. This is always rather risky as you will not really know what is at fault until you received it and you could end up paying a lot of money to repair it.

Another option you could consider if you are a tech wizard is buying an iPad that you know does have a fault. If you're not a techie, this isn't the best option, as there could be problems with the iPad you weren't even aware of. This could mean a simple repair you could do yourself or you could hand the device over to a shop that does iPad repairs. This is always rather risky as you will not really know what is at fault until you received it and you could end up paying a lot of money to repair it.

Auction sites like eBay.com also do a great business selling older iPads and even the latest ones as well! In fact when Apple releases the latest version of their iPad, eBay sales volume increases significantly. You can often get real bargains at auction sites as you simply have to have the nerves to wait until the last minute to make your offer. Also, it makes sense to check out the photos of the device closely and if you have any questions at all, contact the bidder before the auction starts. iPads can also be offered very reasonably with the ‘buy now’ feature, if you are lucky.

The thing is that many people have yet to realize that the iPad truly does have a strong resale value as many of us have no problem buying an older version of this tablet. Also people in markets like Asia and South America where Apple products are not so prevalent as in North America, will happily buy re-sale iPads. Another huge website is happy to offer second hand iPads. At Amazon you can buy the newest and latest iPad Air or go to their many resellers to get a bargain with an older version.

Also the longevity of the iPad is fairly long and in fact significantly longer that what Apple suggest. The product is a high-end device which is in a very stable case and the screen itself is hardy so it is no wonder that they can be passed down to many owners before their use is over.

So if you want an iPad, check out the second hand ones before you go to the Apple Store!

About the author: Amy Rice enjoys writing for PC Help at Home and other IT blogs. When not writing she enjoys watching motor racing, playing adventure golf and visiting the cinema.
Citation: Find out all about the history of the iPad   Image license: Blake Patterson, CC BY 2.0