How “Search” is Changing Healthcare

Here are some company market values to think about:

Exxon / Mobil – $464B

General Electric – $302B

Wal-Mart – $224B

Google – $180B

General Motors – $10B

Exxon Mobil is this size because it was two different companies a few short years ago. GE owns NBC, Universal Studios, Telemundo as well as all the appliances. Wal-Mart has over 7,300 stores. Years ago there was a relevant statement regarding GM – “so goes GM, so goes the US”. And Google is a search engine started in 1998, yet its market value is right up there with these stock market powerhouses that have been around for years.

The financial markets are making a statement that “search” is changing the way we work and, more importantly, the way we will work. Said another way, the answers from “search” are the change drivers. Saying it yet one more way, the questions we are now asking and expecting “search” to answer are changing the way we work. “Search” will continue being a disruptive technology.

It is a disruptive technology because it changes the playing field. Cars were a disruptive technology to the buggy whip. PCs were a disruptive technology to the typewriter, as well as a few other things. A new set of rules follows and new industries rise with them.

Where Search is Going

“Search” has evolved from just pulling content. It has, and still is, evolving into a collaboration tool. Still on the horizon is how “search” will evolve into true problem solving. This has far reaching implications in all industries, but can take on some special properties and benefits when it comes to healthcare.

First let’s explain the content-to-collaboration-to-problem-solving cycle. For the example we will use one of the more popular topics in many households – Pokemon. I can search to discover all sorts of things about the Charizard EX card. I can learn that it comes from the Fire Red/ Green Leaf box, it has 160 hit points, can inflict 200 damage points and is sold for up to $150 on eBay (seriously). I can discuss with other pokemoners where to get the card, strategies on how to play it and the merits of having this Charizard EX versus Wailord EX. What I cannot do yet is retrieve automatic, real-time feedback about how many energy cards to use when I am battling another pokemoner.

These are good examples of the content-to-collaboration-to-problem-solving cycle. Content is the properties of Charizard EX. Collaboration is the discussions and post about it. Problem solving is the immediate feedback to the current situation.

For content, we need the knowledge base to be created, published, complete and accessible. For collaboration, we need people to absorb said knowledge base, interpret it, provide informed opinions on it and make those opinions available. For problem solving, we need the knowledge base coupled with automated methods (a.k.a. services) to provide those same opinions tailored to our specific situation and those services need to be on demand.

We use Pokemon in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Imagine healthcare “search” evolving along these same lines and the benefits we can achieve with true online problem solving. We see lots of online content and collaboration currently in healthcare, but it is missing two critical components:

  • It is not personalized in that it does not consider an individuals own medical history.
  • Real problem solving is still far off. Sites like WebMD are still collaboration.

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are the front runners in “search”. The undisputed majority of searches go through these search engines. The word “Google” is this generation’s “Xerox”. This should put Google’s market dominance in perspective. Google has the vision to see other frontiers beyond the content search. One of these frontiers is Google Health.

The Health Information Network

Google is already the starting point for most health-related searches. A lot of the core content and collaboration is there but not the personal information or the problem solving. Enter Google Health. Google Health is the first step from Google to create its own Health Information Network (HIN) that provides relevant, organized and timely information to the consumer and the healthcare community.

For those unfamiliar with Google Health, let’s lay out a few things about what is included in it. For starters, it collects the basic building blocks of information:

  • Age, sex, height , weight
  • Conditions
  • allergies
  • Medications
  • Procedures
  • Test results
  • Immunizations

Secondly, it collects some history by allowing imports from existing medical records. One can import medical records from the following sources:

  • Longs Drug Stores
  • Medco
  • CVS
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • Walgreens

Lastly, one can use online medical services like the following:

  • EPillBox – create a medication schedule based on your prescriptions and your preferences
  • VaccineView – heck how your immunization history matches the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • iHealth – lets patients communicate with their doctors online
  • Lifestar – create views of your health history that can be printed or exported for sharing with health care providers, family, and caregivers
  • NoMoreClipboard – deliver your records to your doctor before your next visit or give a loved one emergency access to your health records
  • MCT-Diabetes – diabetes monitoring tool that improves the health and wellness in people with diabetes

Google is not the only kid on the block providing this set of services. There are at least 250 other online health information networks. Most of these will be absorbed or merged by other companies.

Google Health and the other HINs are mainly content-based in terms the search evolution. Demographic and medical history are nothing more than part of the collective knowledge bases. It is on the personal side of it, but it is still content. The medical service sites are beginning to creep into the collaboration equation. What is still missing is the problem solving aspect of it. Being able to tell a user the side affects of a medication is not problem solving. Telling a user the probability of a side affect based on their medical history and combining that with their test results from this morning is problem-solving.

Moving Slowly

Healthcare is notoriously behind in IT advancements. There has been little imperative to move forward by the existing healthcare software companies and clinics that buy their products. Progress toward electronic health records, and the sharing of those records, is moving significantly slower than it should. This is especially disturbing when one realizes the potential benefits the healthcare community is not realizing.

There are many reasons for the lack of progress. Physicians feel that patients are being served well as is. This is understandable considering most of them work 40%2B hours a week doing nothing but serving patients. The patients themselves are not demanding that the physicians move to an e-records format or have their clinics systems become interoperable. The vision of the full benefits from “search” is too far out for most to absorb.

ROI Not There Yet

The cost of moving the IT strategies do not have an appealing ROI yet. A typical practice management (PM) system or electronic health record (HER) system can run a private practice $10,000 to $50,000. Community health centers, which have greater functional needs, can see price tags of $20,000 to $200,000. These systems are broad and deep considering the amount of functionality and the complexity of it. We now want to put an interoperability layer (a.k.a. services) on top of this to work with a broad spectrum of other systems. Just the price tag of the development effort alone is high.

This interoperability layer cannot be put in flippantly. An error can have devastating affects, such as a missed diagnosis or a lost life. Because of the high stakes, companies have to be rigorous in their requirements and QA processes.

Any spoke of this network system cannot experience outages. In 2008 a large ISP was in the news because they experienced a power outage that lasted over 48 hours. They had a literal explosion in their data center that caused a power outage of over 9000 servers. The fire department would not allow their backup generators to be turned on for safety reasons. If people’s lives or health depended on this, one needs greater than redundancy than one hosting facility.

These type of requirements, development, QA and infrastructure cost money. A lot of money. The ROI for a clinic or mid-size software company is not good when these are the precautions one needs to plan for. You do not achieve this level of risk averseness for $30,000, or even for $300,000.

Speeding Up

Google Health and Microsoft’s attempts at the online health records bring attention to the need to move “search” forward in healthcare. Without short term economic returns available or customer demand driving it, the need for interoperable health information only has one remaining driver moving it forward – the vision and investment of a company seeing the long term benefits and revenues.

Google, Microsoft and a few others have the deep pockets and vision to start the process. Even is Google Health gets 2 million people to store their medical history and 100 new online partners, until the current EHR and PM systems that exist decide to link into the networks, progress will be slow. The EHR and PM software is where the ambulance tire meets the road. These are the primary sources of new patient information and their doctor visits. Without these systems, our “search” will stay content.

As Google and Microsoft continue to grow their HINs, the EHR and PM software companies will be motivated to progress. Many will see this as a means to create a competitive advantage. Others will view it as a “grow or die” scenario. Regardless, the more Google Health expands, the greater the list of meaningful partners that will be added to it.

As a clinic or practice, there are things to do to help progress. When selecting and EHR or PM, go with a company that is actively talking about a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA). SOA is the building block for more companies integrating with HINs. The companies talking and doing something about it now are going to be the leaders in this movement, as well as the ones still standing.

If a software company has not yet implanted an SOA strategy, it should consider it. This will be a competitive advantage. These companies should also establish relationships with HINs. Not all of the HINs will still be around in five years, but the SW companies working with them will be.

“Search” has and is changing the nature of business. The most fundamental piece of this change is the questions we now ask and readily expect the answer. As “search” progresses, the business and clients of healthcare will reap great benefits from this. While the change and motivation to change have been slow and, at times, difficult to justify, those in the business of “search” and creating new devices that will motivate healthcare to realize all the benefits of “search”.

Culinary School Online

Learning cooking is a useful skill, whether that’s to help you learn the culinary arts to become a professional chef or even just to cook interesting meals for the family. If you’ve always wanted to learn to cook better but just haven’t found the time then a culinary school that offers online classes could be just the answer for you. These courses are designed for people to learn away from the school and at their own pace, and there are many different options available.

When you first decide to take an online cooking course you will need to think about what level you are already at, and what you would eventually like to achieve. Many online cookery classes will provide you with a diploma or certificate at the end of the course, which is important for those who wish to go on and forge a career in the restaurant business. However, there are also usually a number of options for absolute beginners, or those who have already been cooking for a while and simply want to improve their skills.

There will be a number of different learning methods employed by various online schools, so have a look around and find one to suit your circumstances. Bear in mind that they may make use of online lectures, printed materials, instructional videos, recipes and much more. The courses should also teach you how to prepare healthy meals, safety and how to present food properly.

The internet really has made it so much easier to learn a new skill. Signing up to a culinary school online couldn’t be easier – start by comparing what they have to offer.

Reasons Why You Need a Professional Real Estate Broker’s Help for Your New Business Location

When your business is on the expanding stage, growing out from your garage, spare bedroom, or office. It is important to have a vision for what the business in the future. There are certain things to think about such as where you will go? What location will suit your business? Are you looking for a place to just impress other professionals or are you dealing with a retail public or services? It is well worth your effort to find the right real estate broker to help you locate space to purchase or to lease a property that suits your needs.

If an entrepreneur contacts a realtor seeking real estate advice, the realtor should take time to get to know their client, their business, their hopes, and dreams and most important, their budget. With all this knowledge, the realtor is more aware of the best solution for their client.

Many people think they can save money by doing their own real estate transaction. There are many things nowadays that can go wrong, especially when moving into a commercial space. This is a serious financial commitment. In many cases, rent is the second-highest expense after payroll.

Depending on the nature of your business and the market, a business relocation can take six months or more to execute. It certainly takes your time and energy away from managing your business. Leasing space is a complicated business deal. Due to real estate rules and regulations that might be ever-changing, relying on professional help who represents your best interest and who you can trust is smart. It is also important to ask your realtor to recommend to you a good real estate attorney, because a lease is a specialized document.

Have you ever heard a landlord who said “If you’re not dealing with a real estate broker, I will let you move in without paying your first month’s rent?” Or if you are buying a building, the seller says “I will sell it to you for a lesser price because no realtors involved”. It is not going to happen! However, if you ask a realtor “What other properties have sold in the last 12 months?”, you will be surprised that you did not get the great deal you thought you should have. It is a good idea to work with a realtor, in many cases, the owner/seller and landlord pay the realtor’s commission.

If you are on a budget, a realtor can help you find an owner/landlord to “build to suit” for what you need. For example, this is a true story: There was a successful entrepreneur who wanted to open an impressive insurance franchise office, which would have minimum of 15 offices, 2 conference rooms, media room, kitchenette area, employee lounge and a reception front desk combo greeting area with table and couches, and a child play area for the client’s children. This is a big expense on top of franchise fees and startup costs including the phone system and copy machines etc., His realtor found him a location. The owner/landlord said he would “build to suit” with a 10-year lease.

As an entrepreneur, you are going to need to rely on many professionals because you cannot know everything about everything by yourself. It is best to know who you can use for what information that will save you time and money. A good realtor can connect you with other professionals to help facilitate buying, selling or leasing. To find the best financing and or other related services, it is common for Realtors to have a network of banks, mortgage lenders, appraisers, and tradesmen they can refer you to. A professional realtor always has the back-pocket listings, the tools to find what you need quicker and knowledge to get you in. Oftentimes, a good Realtor is aware of properties not yet listed but may be for sale or lease.

Daycare Software – A Friendly Partner: What Are the Benefits of Using Web-Based Daycare Software?

Web-based software does not require installation on your computer. It runs in a web browser over the internet. You can use the software immediately without the cumbersome and often tedious task of installing it on your computer first. Here are some more of the many advantages to using web-based daycare software.

Access from anywhere
Web-based daycare software allows you to login securely with your own user name and password from any computer, laptop, or mobile device, as long as you have internet access. With web-based software you’re not restricted to individual computers, and you always have access to the information that you need.

Using SSL technology, all of your information is encrypted, keeping it secure and away from hackers or others who should not be able to access the information. This same technology is used by banks and government agencies worldwide to protect confidential information. Security of the data is extremely important for daycare software, as it is used to store sensitive information about children and their families.

Automated backup
In many web-based software programs, your data is automatically backed up daily. This way it won’t be lost if your computer crashes, your hard-drive is stolen, or you lose your zip drive. Your data will always be safe and secure.

Membership includes all upgrades and new features
When updates are released, they are made to your daycare software automatically – no downloads are required. They updates are normally free for as long as you’re using the software, so you’re always using the latest and greatest technology available.

Includes ongoing support
If you ever run into technical difficulties, or have questions about your program, technical support staff is available by phone or email to assist you with resolving your issues or questions.

Since web-based daycare software runs in a web browser, it’s compatible with any device that has one of the major four web browsers installed: Google Chrome (recommended), Windows IE, Safari, or Firefox. No need to worry about compatibility issues. You can even use the software on different operating systems within your center at the same time.

Simple to access
You’re always able to easily access your daycare software, as well as share information with other educators and staff at your center since it’s stored in one central location. Access is controlled with login permissions, so that each user can only access the information that they need to see.

Easily budget your software costs
Web-based daycare software allows you to easily budget the ongoing costs of using and maintaining the software at your daycare or childcare center. Although it may initially seem favorable to purchase your childcare software with one upfront fee, there will invariably be unforeseen costs in the future.

Technology is always changing, and as you upgrade the computers and operating systems at your center, your daycare software will require updates as well. Just as your car requires regular maintenance, daycare software needs to continually be maintained in order to run properly. When you purchase childcare software with one upfront fee, maintenance is normally not included, and you never know when you will be required to update, or what the upgrade will cost.

Web-based daycare software allows you to easily budget your software costs in advance, and you are assured that you’ll always have the upgrades and support that you need to keep your software up-to-date and running smoothly.

The monthly cost of web-based daycare software provides you with the flexibility to cancel at any time. Since the ongoing cost of using the childcare software is spread out over monthly payments, your up-front cost is much lower, and should you ever need to cancel your membership, you can do so at any time. All of your data can normally be provided to you in a convenient format, so that it can be used wherever it’s needed next.

Not all web-based daycare software will meet the criteria or include the benefits that we’ve mentioned above, however the majority will. As you can see, there are many ways that web-based daycare management software can make your life easier. Many web-based daycare software programs will allow you to try them out free for a period of time. Search the web and see what you can find – if you’re not using web-based software at your childcare center, you might be missing out.

The Internet Marketing Game Plan

In today’s economy, millions world-wide are looking for ways to create additional income. Many of those are looking toward Internet marketing to make that happen. The problem is technology is moving at such a high pace that many are completely lost with knowing what to do. This is what this article will address. Here we will formulate a specific outline that will lay out a professional Internet marketing plan that can be used by anyone to acquire traffic that’s leads to wealth building.

Internet marketing tools

One of the questions that most beginners have concerning Internet marketing is, “What tools should I use?” This is a very good question because certain tools get much better results than other tools. In a recent study of top Internet marketing income earners, four tools were identified as the top tools being used. Those tools are;

1) Blogs

2) Auto-responders

3) Videos

4) Funnel sites

Let’s go each tool and see how one can use these tools to launch an effective Internet marketing campaign.

1) Internet marketing via Blogs: Blogging has become one of the best tools available for Internet marketing. Blogs create a platform for you to position yourself directly in front of your target market. By providing posts that answer and solve problems and concerns that you target market may have, you essentially become a problem solver. You start to be seen as an expert to your market. The focus of all your Internet marketing should always be to position yourself as an expert and leader within your particular niche. Blogging is by far the most efficient and effective way to do that. In addition, blogging helps you establish the three keys to sales success, know, like, and trust. By consistently posting good content on your blog, people will come to know you, like you, and trust you. With those three elements working in your favor, getting the right attention, and in turn, transforming that attention into sales becomes effortless.

2) Internet marketing with Auto-Responders: The money is in the list. Internet marketing is most effective when you position yourself in front of your market and begin the list building process. What you want to develop is a list of targeted prospects that you continue to follow up with. Auto-Responders allow you to follow up with prospects automatically. A major advertising study conducted several years ago revealed that most people don’t make a buying decision, on average, until their 9th exposure to the product or service. That is why auto-responders are an indispensable Internet marketing tool. And again, consistent follow up strengthens the know, like, and trust factor.

3) Internet marketing with videos: In recent years, video marketing has become a favorite tool within the Internet marketing circles. Everyone from top fortune 500 companies, to small businesses, to one man operations, are learning how to effective use the power of video. YouTube is the 3rd most visited site in the world. Anyone with a bit of creativity, and even some that have little creativity, are getting themselves in front of their cameras, shooting short 2 or 3 minute videos and in some cases getting thousands of hits within days. The best of all, this traffic is targeted and free. Websites that have video have been shown to convert as high as 200% better against websites that don’t have video. Video marketing is a very unique tool for Internet marketing because a video uploaded to a video site like YouTube, over time continues to acquire hits, which increases it’s ranking on YouTube, as well as on search engines. By the way, who owns YouTube? Answer: Google.

4) Internet marketing using funnel sites: Funnel sites, aka, capture sites, are another piece of the effective Internet marketing puzzle. The concept is simple; create a compelling offer that you present to your target market in exchange for their name, email, and phone number. Once they submit their information on your funnel website, the information is fed to your auto-responder, which follows up for you automatically. That’s where the magic begins. List building, and following up with your targeted list is the basic fundamental to Internet marketing success.

Internet marketing game plan

Now that we know the top tools needed for an effective Internet marketing campaign, let’s put it all together. Where do we start? We should always start by identifying our specific target market. Why? Because we need a specific audience to talk to. If you miss this first step, your marketing messages will be scattered. Scattered actions will produce scattered results. Focused actions will produce focused results. That is precisely why it is so important that we first identify our specific target market.

Once we have identified our market, we then create a blog to will be our platform for communicating to our market. What will we put on our blog? It is best to address issues, topics, solutions, testimonials, motivation, and anything that relates to our specific target market. Again, the best content is content that helps solve a problem that our target market is facing. What keeps your target market up at night? Find that answer, provide them with a solution, and you will draw positive attention to yourself. In addition, by posting content that solves their particular problem, you will also position yourself as an expert in a field of their interest. Everyone wants to do business with an expert.

Also, on your blog site, you will want to add an auto-responder form. This will help you begin the list building process. Your blog site will be attracting targeted visitors, that is why you want to add your auto-responder on your blog so that you can connect with your target market and follow up with them. In time, your audience will begin to know, like, and trust you. That is the magic key to sales.

You then want to start producing short videos that will be posted on YouTube and other video hosting sites. These videos themselves will begin the flow of traffic, as well as, strengthen your position as an expert and leader within your specific industry. Over time your videos will move up the ranks in the search engines and provide you with a consistent flow of traffic to your blog site.

Now we add the final element, capture pages. This will be another way that you will build your list of targeted prospects through your Internet marketing. If possible, add one of your videos to your capture page. Again, video on capture pages add a certain dimension of credibility and communication that you don’t find in static capture pages. This one addition will dramatically improve your results with list building.

Internet marketing, when done properly creates incredible incomes. The problem is most people are not doing it right. Most people simply post ads with links, and wonder why they aren’t getting any results. The reason is clear; no one wants to just click on more links. What people are looking for is solutions, experts, and leaders. Follow the Internet marketing plan outlined above and you will see massive changes in how people perceive you and the information you provide. It is the key to online marketing success.

Past, Present and Future Evolution of Technology

These days, tablets, computers and Smartphones run our lives, but in a short time, the market has exploded with technology more than most people can imagine and to the point that they cannot imagine being without it. To understand the evolution of this technology from the dark ages to today, you should began with understanding how it evolved. Technology was born out of a purpose. An example would be in the creation of search engines, which are used to sift through all the massive quantity of online data.

As upgrades are made to technology, it combines with the present technology and creates a better technology that it was before. As this continues to happen, technology evolves to the point that it is an essential thing to have. Present technology continues to evolve into being even greater and more powerful. As fast as technology has evolved, many people have to struggle to keep up. Below is a short overview showing you how fast technology and the internet have evolved in recent years.

The Past: Back in the 1990s, the internet was something new that most, but not all, businesses and households had. If you were living at that time, chances are high that you remember the sound of the extremely slow dial up signal that would connect you to the internet. Technology began to take off when more people discovered value in the internet, especially when access eliminated the need for a phone line. With the advancement of webpages, most people had either a Tripod or Geocities webpage.

It was during this time, blogging started on the consumer level making sharing information much easier. Rather than using a floppy disc or CD-ROM, people started using either email or a USB drive to store and share large files. As more new technologies began to pop-up, they would combine to form a faster, stronger and better technology. With every new technology and internet development, people’s lives, were changed, as well as the way they work and operate.

The Present: Since those early days of dial up, there are very few places you cannot find the internet. Rare are the days now that Wi-Fi internet cannot be found at the library, coffee shop or place of business. Even if you cannot find a Wi-Fi signal close enough, many people still can access the internet with their cell phone or Smartphone. Because of the anytime/anywhere internet access, most businesses have created for their customers, web applications, or apps, that will answer most common needs. Consumers can use these apps to do everything from keeping track of food portions to sending large amounts of information with just the click of a button. One difference that is most noticeable with today’s internet is its ability to be personable in a very impersonal setting, while improving the way people engage with each other online.

Even though the internet is superficial, it is a form of communication that has helped to keep people closer when they may have lost contact otherwise. You can even have face to face conversations via video/web conferencing, which bridges the geographic barriers. Businesses can also communicate with customers on a more human level and without the need for long distance travel, they can communicate face to face with people even on the other side of the world. Due to all the new technologies people use to access the internet, each other and information, the future looks promising for more technological developments.

The Future: With every present technology that is bound together, they are developed into other technologies that are even greater for the future use of both businesses and consumers alike. Future technology will undoubtedly be able to accomplish more, be even faster and will make work easier. Tablets, Smartphones and other smart devices will keep on evolving to work better together.

These devices will be able to automatically share information and limit the need for human involvement. Rather than store everything on a single device or online, most companies and people will put their companies on the cloud. Not only will this give a huge potential to change how companies do business, it will also change the traditional way an office looks as well as the way people and businesses interact.

Online Advertising Ideas – 5 Things to Help You Promote Your Business Online

If you are a business owner, whether offline or online and you want to outwit your competitors in the field, you may want to explore the many online advertising ideas that will help you promote your business online.

Indeed, many businesses are now moving towards advertising and marketing online as this can help widen your reach when it comes to getting in touch with your target audience and promoting your product to a wider audience.

Here are a few online advertising ideas to help you have a good start when it comes to advertising on the internet. Keep in mind that you have to take the costs as well as the expertise and effectiveness of each of the advertising options.

1. Advertise your business in banners. These square or rectangle ads run along the sides of a website and you can advertise your business in other websites to reach out to your potential customers. Usually, you can design your own banner ad or have someone design it for you.

2. Explore the affiliate marketing program. One of the smart ways to advertise and promote your business online is through affiliate marketing. In this marketing technique, affiliates will promote your business and get a commission every time a sale is made or a referral is made. Affiliate marketing is one of the online advertising ideas that allows you give the promotion and advertising task to the affiliates and you are ensured of sales before you can actually pay them.

3. Advertise in the search engines. When people want something on the internet, they most often go to the search engines to find answers, thus it is a wise step to make your business visible online. Google and Yahoo allows paid ads on the search engine results page, thus you may want to take advantage of this as well. However, keep in mind that although these ads, which are in the form of pay per click scheme are cheap at first glance, it can also be expensive and costly especially if your marketing plan fails.

4. Explore the free ways to promote your business online. Indeed, there are cost-free ways to make your business known online. You can join forums, share your expertise and promote your website. You can also write articles, press releases or gather testimonials from your clients. These simple online advertising ideas can indeed make a difference in your quest to make your business known online.

5. Do not just think about getting people to come to your business website. You have to make sure as well that you are making them stay longer in your site and make them patronize your business or purchase your products. Indeed, marketing online should not just stop in getting traffic to your website, you have to make sure also that you can convert online visitors into sales and eventually profit as well – which is of course, your main aim in advertising online.

Contemporary Furniture With Free Shipping

No other furniture can add such elegance to your home, as contemporary furniture. It will make your entire home look trendy and new. It is a smart thing to keep up with the latest trends, which means the need to change according to time. An example would be, people changing their clothing, shoes, and handbags and so on, with the changing trend. Same applies to the furniture as well. It is not likely you will hold on to your old furniture for a long time. To make your home look like the present generation, add some new contemporary furniture in trendy colors and designs.

Traditional furniture is falling out of favor because of high cost, bulky construction and too much weight. Contemporary furniture addresses all these concerns. Modern home furniture is known for its beautiful materials, natural finishes, craftsmanship expertise, elegant design and its ability to attract. Also this furniture is made up of light wood and wrought iron so it is not that heavy or expensive.

In today’s use and throw culture, contemporary style of furniture has gained a lot of importance versus traditional. We like trendy and modern furniture that is light in weight and stylish in looks for our house.. People are not only using it at home but also for their office, restaurant, stores, etc. This furniture is comfortable and stylish to make your place look ideal along with providing enough space for many other uses. Using this furniture, one can modernize the bedroom, living room or dining room.

Contemporary furniture uses a combination of metal, glass and wood in very unique and sophisticated manner that leaves everyone awed by its elegance. Along with elegance it also makes the room warm and welcoming for the residents as well as the guests. This kind of furniture is designed as per the new generation. This modern furniture comes with various bright and contrasting colors and its smooth, clean and geometric shape is most popular as it gives the interiors a trendy and contemporary look.

The best way to get this modern home furniture at affordable prices is to buy online as it offers many convenient services like free shipping on all the products. You also get a wide range to choose from. Online stores also have products from well known brands; all at discounted rates. So, do not wait; go and make your home look stunning and modern.

Get Under the Hood of an Automotive Technology Career

For those of you who are tired of getting your auto fix by continuously customizing and modifying your own car, or gluing yourselves to TV shows like “American Choppers” or “Pimp my Ride”, there are ways to expand — automotive technology could be a lucrative career instead of just a way of letting the day speed by on the couch.

Automotive technology schools provide students with the possibility of blending their technical and creative passions together. Your interest in design, form, color, and presentation can be satisfied along with your desire to problem solve, tinker, experiment, and work with ever-evolving technology and science.

According to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, professional automotive technicians can earn $60,000 or more per year with the appropriate training — and with good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pros in the field are in demand, with over 800,000 automotive technicians employed as of 2004. As the number of multi-car families continues to increase, job opportunities for automotive technicians are expected to grow as well.

An automotive technician career isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago, and as a result automotive technology schools have had to update their curriculum accordingly. With global positioning systems, Internet access, and alternate-fuel systems among the many increasingly common technological advancements found in cars, students at automotive technology schools cannot complete their training without knowledge in these fields. In fact, according to the College Board, more automotive technology schools are now even offering courses in stress management and customer service.

Not that automotive technology should be a stressful job — to the contrary, a successful automotive technician is one who is passionate about his or her career. But let’s face it, cars are a big part of the way we live and keeping them on the road is no small task. According to the Center for Automotive Research, by the year 2000, there were about 217 million vehicles on the road in the U.S., traveling 2.5 trillion miles, and consuming 160 billion gallons of gasoline. So sure, the job can get a little stressful at times — which is why an automotive technology career relies on education during crunch time.

Once you’ve received your training from an automotive technology school, certification is the only thing standing between you and your career. Voluntary certification by ASE is the standard credential in the automotive industry. Your certification will be in a specialty field of your choice, of which there are eight. These include electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. Master automobile technicians are certified in all eight areas .

Natural Skin Care – Why Bother?

What is Natural Skin Care?

Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those products characterised by the absence of synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, mineral oils, fragrances and harsh detergents.

Typically, natural skin care products are made using natural ingredients such as plant oils, essential oils, herbal and floral extracts (both aqueous and waxy), that have been prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or modification. Sometimes, ethically produced animal derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be present in natural skin care (1).

Natural skin care made with approved organically produced raw materials and practices can be organic certified by the relevant organic organizations.

Unfortunately, there are numerous products in the market that claim to be either natural or that are cleverly marketed for their singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst a dense cocktail of synthetic ingredients. These are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skin care product is really natural, it is recommended to read the ingredients section in the label.

Why is natural skin care better than synthetic?

Products that are made from ingredients that have been extracted naturally from sustainably maintained plants and crops manifest the essence, the energy, the qualities and the benefits of the source raw material, in ways that synthetics ingredients do not.

Simply put, the geographical location, the soil and the water the plants are grown in, as well as the sun exposure, the seasons and harvesting times contribute to the mature plants and crop yields in unique ways.

These factors cannot be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental conditions facilitates development of subtle differences in the plants. These are then reflected in the quality of the extracted oils, as well as on their specific composition, properties and benefits.

Besides, synthetic ingredients are produced in laboratories using scientific, yet often hazardous processes involving the use of carbon dioxide, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical agents may only be present is trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it is unclear what effect they might have as they accumulate in our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).

Of course, some of the natural extracts and oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods used in their preparation. For these reasons manufacturers of natural skin care products give great consideration to the sourcing of their raw materials and how natural ingredients are prepared from the latter.

What is Special About Plant Oils?

Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of these fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).

To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference in functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils as described in Kusmirek (3) are compared below.

1 – Apricot kernel oil is a mixture of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder 4 – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0.5 -0.75%.

2 – Borage oil is a mixture of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 8 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acid, 9 – 12% palmitic acid, 3 – 4% stearic acid, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 1%.

Apricot kernel oil is a great nourishing and emollient oil that is easily absorbed. These properties are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the unsaponifiable matter.

Borage oil is known for its nourishing and penetrating properties attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.

The differences in the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of other oils not discussed here, demonstrate the importance to blend various plant oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, regardless of age.

But, even if the synthetics oils were to reproduce the exact mixes and ratios of plant derived fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it would be nearly impossible to mimic into the synthetic oils the contribution from the energy that is held in the plant, from which the equivalent natural oils were extracted. Thus, natural ingredients are different from their synthetic equivalents.

What about essential oils and other botanicals?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts of aromatic and other volatile plant substances, sometimes containing growth factors known for their regenerative properties. They are the source of the scents of nature and may be used to add scent to natural products. Because of their concentrated nature and high cost to produce, only small amounts of essential oils are used in natural skin care. Besides, as essential oils may be irritating to the skin, they should never be used undiluted.

In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous extracts from flowers/plants. Naturally produced oils and aqueous extracts are made through distillation, steaming, or infusion techniques. These are slow and often inefficient processes that add to cost. But, the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are much safer and healthier than those extracted with the use of artificial methods.

Is there a problem with the variation in natural ingredient batches?

The quick answer is NO!

Certainly, naturally produced ingredients show “batch variation”, but this is part of nature, demonstrating the cycles of change. These are natural bio- rhythms, and as with everything in nature sometimes there is abundant sunshine, other times there are only clouds. Naturally, these weather changes affect the growth patterns of the plants.

This means that periodically some of the natural ingredients may contain a slightly higher or lower percentage of one or even several of the components, but over a period of time, these variations balance out. The key point is that the overall effect of using natural ingredients is still beneficial in the long run.

Supporters of the mainstream cosmetic industry object to this variation associated with natural ingredients. Instead they advocate that synthetic ingredients are a far better option to manufacture any products, including skin care. They argue that synthetic ingredients are scientifically controlled, exacting, standardised and can be made in a totally reproducible manner. But, at the end of the day…they are not natural!

What about preservatives, stabilisers and emulsifiers?

Sure, preservatives and stabilisers extend the shelf-life of any product, natural and synthetic (1,2,4). Because of this recognition European and USA organic and regulatory organisations have approved the use of certain preservatives for which there has been long standing accumulation of safety and toxicity data, e.g. blends of dehydro-acetic acid. These preservatives were designed to replace the paraben family of preservatives in the personal care products. Though natural products ought to have the minimal necessary amounts of preservatives.

Without a doubt, preservatives such as the parabens, the phenol derivatives and the denatured alcohols are extremely effective, as they increase the product shelf-life almost indefinitely! But, they are also known to interfere with hormone balance and can be allergenic (1,2). Clearly, they are not health promoting substances. As they are readily absorbed by the skin and are long lasting, their long-term effects on distal organs are unknown, and thus undesirable.

Interestingly, vitamin E is a powerful natural anti-oxidant, as well as a fantastic natural preservative for oil blends and emulsified oils (2). Extracts of rosemary and oregano are also considered natural preservatives because of their anti-bacterial properties (2). However, these are not frequently used as they impart a strong scent and may give rise to some skin irritation. This is an example of where caution has to be exercised with natural substances. Though these occurrences are more the exception than the rule.

Alginic acid obtained from brown algae is sometimes used as a stabiliser (4). But, allantoin, an extract from comfrey root is a more suitable natural stabiliser for skin care preparations (2).

Emulsifiers are substances that help to prevent the parting of the of oil and water fractions in a cream or lotion. In natural skin care these include lethicin and the wax cetearyl alcohol (1,2,4). Lecithin is extracted from soya beans and is known to soften the skin and help penetration of the skin care product. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of the high melting point cetyl and stearyl fatty acids derived from either animal or plant fats. In natural skin care it is preferable to have plant sourced cetearyl alcohol. Apart from its great emulsifying properties, this fatty acid mix facilitates maintenance of skin hydration.

So, what’s he take home message?

Regardless of some of the limitations of natural skin care, the natural ingredients in these products are still far more beneficial than those that are completely synthetic. Synthetics are unable to reproduce the unique heterogeneous and nourishing character of the natural extracts and oils, as discussed above.

Technology aside, it is also clear that there are major financial gains for manufacturers to use mostly, if not strictly synthetic ingredients. The cost of producing natural skin care products is of necessity higher than that of synthesising vast quantities of easy to make and use synthetic ingredients. Compared to their equivalent natural counterparts they afford versatility on the production line, on the shelf-life, as well as on profitability.

These attributes of scientifically designed skin care in the 20th century satisfied the increasing market desire for youth elixirs. However, since the 1960′s growing conscious awareness of what was in our food, demand for natural and organic products increased. This requirement extended to the personal care sector also. Indeed, the natural and organic cosmetics market has been the fastest growing sector of the personal care products since the late 1980′s.

Fortunately nowadays, the driver is not purely for skin care that makes you look good, but for products that can achieve this goal with respect for human beings and the environment.


1. Morrison, K & Whelligan, F. 2007. About Face. Random House NZ. Auckland.
2. Hampton, A. 1987. Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care. Organica Press. Tampa, Fl.
3. Kusmirek, Jan. 2002. Liquid Sunshine – Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy. Floramicus. Somerset. England.
4. Winters, R. 1994. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Three Rivers Press. NY.