Germany asks manufacturers to update their older diesel cars, but the industry does not want

As promised Germany will be the industry that pays the diesel bill , either through updates or through incentives. As for the hardware modifications, the German Ministry of Transport published a few days ago the document that establishes the guidelines for obtaining the permits to carry out these modifications in the oldest diesel cars .

But this operation brings a B-side: higher fuel consumption , higher CO emisiones emissions and in some cases reduced performance. Brands like BMW have refused to do so. Read more

The Environmental Impact of Nappies

Let’s face it: nappies aren’t particularly pleasant for anyone who has to deal with them. For the first few years of their lives, babies generally rely on these before they learn to use the toilet like the rest of us – most parents would probably consider them a godsend (despite being none too pleased when having to dispose of them). But when you consider the environmental impact these little garments have, you might view them in an entirely different light.

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Non-Renewable Components

Most disposable nappies are made up of polymer and cellulose fibres. These are non-renewable components, which essentially means they require a lot of energy to make and take an even longer amount of time to break down when put in landfill. This is obviously a problem when you consider the existing waste issue we have – when trying to cut down on our waste, disposable nappies are ones to avoid.

Hazardous Waste

Given that nappies enable babies to do what babies do best – namely relieve themselves – it follows that they can be classed as dangerous waste both to humans and the environment.

With the above in mind, it’s clear we need to put in the extra effort to cut down on harmful nappy waste where possible. So just what can we all do to make that change?

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So What Can I Do?

There are a few things everyone can do to help. The first thing is to consider a suitable nappy disposal system, particularly if you manage a business or public-facing establishment where it is often required. Companies such as simplehygienesolutions are among the top washroom supplier Gloucestershire and surrounding South West areas have to offer and can provide a more environmentally friendly manner of disposal.

Another method of cutting down on waste is to switch to reusable nappies. These are nappies which can be washed and used again and again, somewhat like actual underwear. Of course, whilst this would cut down on waste, parents should be aware of the increased energy costs involved in cleaning these routinely. With this in mind, it’s been estimated that around £800 is spent on disposable nappies, and this cost could be saved by cutting them out.

What do you think? Will you make the switch to reusable nappies to help reduce the amount going into our landfills?

Utilizing Mobile VPN for Your Employees

With business and mobile technologies growing, employees are no longer tethered to their desks. Mobile phones are allowing business to be conducted in places technology wouldn’t reach before. If you have employees in the field, there are mobile solutions that allow them to utilize all the resources of the office, without actually being there. One of these solutions is the mobile virtual private network or MVPN. Here are a few of the benefits of utilizing a mobile VPN for your employees.


Of course the number one benefit of a mobile VPN is mobility. By utilizing technology, your employees can be further from the office than before. Without the need of constant trips back and forth from the office to the off-site locations, your employees can spend valuable time getting things done rather than constantly commuting back and forth.


Imagine a world where everything you need is in the palm of your hand. With mobile VPN you don’t have to imagine. Everything you need will be a finger tap away. Using a WiFi connection or your mobile internet connection you have the convenience of having what you need when you need it. Never be without your important files again.


Along with convenience comes access to everything you need from your office. From documents to presentations, you will never show up to an appointment unprepared. You can also upload and download files as they are created. This will keep you up to date on any changes made to your documents.

All of your office’s resources will be available to you without having to be at the office. You will have the ability to connect to the files that are important to you when you need them. With mobile VPN you won’t worry about forgotten presentations or spreadsheets. You will always be prepared for your meeting no matter where the meeting is being held.


One of the biggest concerns with mobile VPN’s is security. When the idea and implementation first launched, there were holes. Connection and permission problems stopped those attempting to connect from actually connecting.

Now security has been improved and it is more secure, better built, and easier to use. With security measures such as one time passwords for login, multi-level access, and heightened encryption. Now users can access their office from anywhere without the worry of low level security.

The mobile world and the business world are converging, making it easier to connect to the networks you need to connect to. Whether you are on your way to a client’s site, a business meeting or just a lunch with co-workers, mobile VPN will allow you to stay up to date without being in the office.


I know what you’re thinking: list season is way over. I already listened to the best albums of 2011, read the best books of 2001 and enthusiastically stumbled through the best drinks invented in 1898. I’m exhausted, too.

First off, let me explain. This is not a list based on science or statistics. I can’t refer you to a Harvard study that will validate the findings here. These are simply what I have determined based on anecdotal evidence have been the technologies that have steered our society in the deepest ways over the past decade. It is a list, and that means you can disagree. I have a feeling some people will attack the “mainstream” nature of these “innovations”, but no matter! This is the Internet! We can discuss things with civility, can’t we?


Arbiter of doom, or basic tool of the modern first world? When global positioning systems first hit the scene, they presented a solution to the age-old problem of people who just don’t know where they’re going. Qualcomm was instrumental in the large-scale implementation of GPS (a fact evident in their continued efforts toward fleet management. They are also responsible for GPS in mobile phones, something I personally use. Now you can find GPS devices everywhere that help poor saps like myself who never eat shredded wheat get where they’re trying to go. Some argue that the proliferation of GPS technology is destroying our natural sense of direction, and while I’ve certainly turned down some One-Ways at the suggestion of the old Droid phone, I’m sure that it will take a lot more than buggy GPS to correct.


These devices came all the way out of left field before eventually warming our hearts with their pixel-dense screens. While tablets are still pretty niche devices, their popularity has altered the course for computer development. The focus moved from powerful desktops and laptops to lightweight, cloud-powered devices. The Kindle Fire brought the price of tablets down considerably and spearheaded a popular movement to get information off of devices and into the cloud. We can expect to see a lot more of this in the future.


Ostensibly in the same boat as tablets, eReaders are more important to the way we consume print media than to tech trends. Sure, they were expensive to start, but falling prices have made eReaders very popular with a demographic that traditionally doesn’t engage with new tech: the middle aged and elderly. By jump-starting the desire for tech in that demographic, eReaders have opened up a whole new market to technology that did not previously exist. Similarly, eReaders have thoroughly shaken up the publishing market and forced the industry into a seismic shift that appears to have no end. Depending on whom you ask this has been both good and bad. Tech innovation is a necessity, but many beloved publishing and print media entities have failed to keep up, swallowed up by the murky waters of change.


If you still have cable, then you know that DVR is the only way to fly in the 21st century. On-demand networks cropped up as a way to deal with an audience that was more diffuse than it had ever been. DVR created a way for us to create our own programming by recording the shows we want and watching them when we pleased. DVR laid the ground work for the eventual state of personal programming – that is, what you want to watch, whenever you want to watch it – that we are quickly moving toward.

MP3 Players

Mobile media would not be where it is without the introduction of the iPod and the players it spawned. The media format cycle was completely disrupted by the proliferation of mp3s and led to the slow, groaning death of CDs. While CDs are still sold, iTunes, the sister software for the iconic iPod, basically runs the digital content world and showed companies like Amazon, Google and countless others that selling a file was much easier than selling a plastic disc.

How to read the gas meter.

Of all the exciting and interesting and jobs that you can do around the home then surely the reading of the gas meter is right up there. You get an enormous sense of achievement once it is done and the results emailed to your energy supplier. It’s almost as good as radiator bleeding or cleaning the PVC window sills, or painting them if there wood, that’s a ladder job and a half. It’s made even more fun if the gas meter is stuck outside or in a tricky part of the house to get to. What of those that do not have your level of skills though? This is a quick look at how to read the gas meter so you don’t send some nonsense to the provider giving them an excuse to up your direct debt.  Let the quest begin.

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First off you must find the oddly shaped key, it’s usually got a triangle in it, so that you can open the gas meter box and learn its dark arcane secrets. You’ll usually find it stuffed in a draw somewhere. You know the one; the one where you keep stuff that you know might be really useful at some point but you can’t be sure when. This is the moment and that keys time has come. When you get to the box it might be an idea to actually look at the state of the thing before you procced to open it. If you need another one never fear as Gas Meter Box at can provide you with one. Holding the key firmly you insert it around the triangle and turn.

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What do the innards reveal! Depending on how old it is you might be looking at some kind of dialled up Steampunk arrangement or something out of the international Space station requiring a PhD in gas tectonics (if there is such a thing).  It’s not as hard as it first appears. If you have a digital meter you just need the five digits reading from the left to the right. Don’t worry about the numbers after the decimal point the providers don’t really need them as they are only a part therm of something. If you have a non-digital meter two things apply. One, you should look to getting a digital one and two to read it you just need the numbers form left to right. Again, forget the red numbers. If you have a dial meter you really have an old one and these needs to be updated.  It looks a bit complicated but you need to go from the left to the right again and right down the number the pointer is closets to. If it’s in the middle then go with the lower number. The only exception to  that is if it’s between zero and nine. If it’s that one go with nine.

Harnessing the power of water.

One of the most exciting features of North Devon is its extremely hill and rugged coastline. It isn’t much fun for the inhabitants as they try and navigate their way around it. The locals of the Village s Lynton and Lynmouth are a prime example. Lynton sits on the high hills (hence ton) and Lynmouth sits at the bottom (hence mouth as it’s at the bit where the river Lyn flows into the sea). It’s a tough climb so the locals have a George Croydon Marks to thank for a funicular railway that runs them to the top and back down. The best thing about is it’s powered by water! Perhaps some Plumbers Forest of Dean could have a word as the residents there have a fair few hills to get up and down. Maybe a visit to Boiler Installation Forest of Dean will see if it’s on the website but I doubt it.

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Lynton and Lynmouth are beautiful places but the hills were a bit of problem as most goods came into Lynmouth via the sea and were then carted up to Lynton by carthorse and packhorse plus donkeys. This took ages and not only that it was very intensive on the horses and mules that didn’t last very long doing this every day. Not only that but the late eighteen hundreds saw a rush of tourist to the villages and they were not prepared to go up that hill so the Donkeys and horses got even more work. By eighteen eight one it was clear that a lift on rail system was the only way forward and a traditional steam powered one was proposed.

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In stepped the George Croydon Marks whose design of using the flow of the Lyn water to power the railway, saving millions and also being environmentally friendly as we would understand it now, put in his bid. He was backed by a local business man George Newnes who had supported other railways in the county and who also had an arteria motive as he lived in the top of Lynton and was sick to the back teeth of bumpy Donkey rides. The whole thing took three years to make and was done non-mechanically.

It’s a listed monument now and was also able to carry cars at one point. It is still going strong and is quite the draw for tourists still. It’s a simple system. Large tanks under the Rail car fill with water until it is heavier than the lower car. The brakeman guides the heavier car down pulling the lighter car up simultaneously and after the 3 quarters point he slowly releases the water so that that the cars switch. Ingenious.


Some Myths About Our Visual Brains

When thinking about marketing and communication, it has long been known that humans are highly visual and so companies choose visual strategies for their websites. While it is true that people respond to videos far better than other methods, there are some myths bandied around about the psychology of the visual brain. Here we debunk some of those myths:

  1. Some are left-brained while others are right-brained

One major part of psychology that has previously led marketers is reaching their target audience by focusing on the left and right-brained sections of the population. Left-brained individuals are said to be more analytical, logical and good at maths. In contrast, right-brained people are said to creative, emotional and more arty. However, turns out this a myth.

Yes, many of the brain’s functions are compartmentalised, with certain compartments dealing with speech, vision, hearing and language for example. Some of these are processed suing both sides of the brain. Neuroscientists have proven that one side of the brain does not dominate in those with certain personality types or abilities.

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  1. People learn in a visual, kinaesthetic or auditory manner

The establishment has long relied on the knowledge that people prefer a specific learning style. People are either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. As well as those working in education, marketers have designed campaigns to reach target audiences based on this assumption. However, the theory is flawed.

We are all visual learners. We process the most information through our eyes. Yes, some people learn by absorbing information through their other senses as well but there is little evidence that people learn better when taught in any way other than visual. The best way to get your message across on your business website is through Animated Explainer Video from

  1. Subliminal messages make people buy products

There is some truth in the fact that subtle sounds and visuals can be presented so quickly that watchers fail to notice, but what is in question is the effect that has on their actions. Studies have shown that subliminal messages simply don’t work. The tale that sparked the theory was later exposed to be nonsense.

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  1. Today’s consumers can multi-task

It has been argued that in today’s world of constant media barrage, we have all become adept at multi-tasking with marketers looking for new and innovative ways to distract us. Science refutes this. Our brains are not as good at multi-tasking as would like to believe. We can switch quickly between tasks, but our attention is never really on anything other than one thing at a time. Yes, we are able to breathe and see simultaneously, but when looking at the prefrontal cortex, the part that does our thinking, we can only switch between one thing and another.



Caring for your real Christmas tree

There is much pleasure to be had in choosing the right real Christmas tree for your home. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to take care of it to the best of your ability, making sure it stays fresh and gorgeous-looking until the end of the festive season. Here are some pointers for maintaining your tree this Christmas:

Equipment you’ll need:

A stunning real Christmas tree from a Leicester Real Christmas Trees supplier. Find out more about real Christmas Trees here.

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A saw for trimming the trunk

A bucket and watering can

A tree stand or pot to put your tree in

  1. Remove the tree from its protective netting immediately you get it home to avoid any build-up of fungus or mould from beginning to grow on the damp branches.
  2. Prior to setting up the tree, spray it with a bit of water to keep it well hydrated.
  3. Trim the trunk at the base by about 25mm with a panel saw. Exactly as you would trim the stems of flowers to keep them fresh, trimming the trunk allows it to absorb more water.
  4. If you’re not ready to put the tree up, store it somewhere secure in a pot of water until you’re ready to move it into its pot or stand. Store it somewhere out of the wind and direct sun.
  5. Once you’re ready to set up the tree, give it a good shake outdoors to release any loose needles, branches or insects before bringing it inside.
  6. Place your tree in the desired pot or stand. You might need a further trim of the trunk to make it fit perfectly. Try not to place your tree in soil or sand, as it won’t receive enough hydration.
  7. Try to position your tree away from radiators or other sources of heat otherwise the needles will fall out faster as the tree dries out.

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  1. Keep your tree watered every day to keep it looking its fullest and freshest.
  2. If a tree becomes dehydrated, it will droop, and the needles will fall out much faster. Enough moisture is essential to your tree’s health. You’ll need to add at least 500ml of water to the tree’s pot each day.
  3. A real tree can consume up to 2 litres of water a day depending on its size and how warm your home is.

How Important Is Search Engine Optimization?

With the advent of the Internet as an effective social and business enhancement tool, the rise of search engines has enabled social organizations, interest groups and businesses to increase their visibility, as well as their profits.

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural”, which would mean either organic or algorithmic, search results. Generally, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it ranks, the more searchers or web users will be enticed to visit that site. An SEO can also aim for different kinds of search types, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

For most small businesses, a search engine company may guarantee top rankings for keywords with a short or low monthly search volume or get rankings for higher volume keywords in smaller search engine sites that are not relevant and probably create a very minimal amount of search engine through traffic.

According to observers, currently there are really considered the main three search engines for businesses’ or firms’ to focus on their lead generation and keyword rankings through, and these are MSN, Google and Yahoo. With these three search engines combined, analysts say a firm could cover approximately 70% of all web traffic that could potentially come through their site.

The history of search engine optimization began when webmasters and content providers began optimizing sites for search engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloguing the early web environment. At the beginning, all a webmaster needed to do was submit a page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a “spider” to “crawl” that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return information found on the page to be indexed.

The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine’s private server, where a secondary program, also called an indexer, would extract an array of information about the page, such as the words it contains and where these are located, as well as any weight for specific words, which are then placed into a scheduler for crawling probably at a later date. Currently, SEO’s like and perform accurate searches or website visibility enhancement modes that are attuned to a company or organization’s preferred objectives or desired reach.

The owners of most websites recognize that obtaining top search engine rankings for their top keywords is fundamentally important for their firm’s continued success. However, the large majority of does not yet fully understand the process of a small business SEO company’s process of achieving these keyword rankings through targeted search engine marketing and most are not aware of free SEO site appraisal. It is very important to not only invest in search engine optimization specialist techniques, but also pay-per-click management techniques also.

By 1997, the majority of search engines recognized that some webmasters were working double time in producing efforts to rank well in their search engines, and even manipulating the page rankings in search results. Early search engine startups, such as Infoseek, fine-tuned their algorithms to prevent webmasters from manipulating rankings by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords.

However, due to the high marketing value of targeted search results, there is a potential for an antagonistic relationship between search engines and SEOs. In 2005, an annual conference of the AIRWeb, or the Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web, was formed to confer and minimize the harmful effects of aggressive web content providers.

How Much Money Does Your Business Need?

As much as I can get! This would be the answer readily shouted out by most entrepreneurs. The fact is though, both over and underestimating the amount of capital needed to fund a business can have serious negative consequences.

Underestimating what you need can cause problems ranging from having to go through the whole time consuming fund raising process again, to having to shut down the company because funds have run dry. Having to go back to the original investors and ask for more money often undermines the entrepreneur’s credibility with the investors and can cause a significant dilution in the founder’s ownership.

Obtaining more than enough capital may seem like a blessing at first, but it can breed a lax attitude toward expense control. “If you have it, spend it,” is not an advisable motto for a new company. If the investment takes the form of equity, raising too much money means that the founder’s share of the business was reduced more than was necessary–and this violates one of the maxims of entrepreneurship: hold on to those equity points!

Typical advice given to entrepreneurs is to do a cash flow projection, or cash budget, and then add 10%, 20% or even 50% to this amount, for “contingencies.” These contingencies are all the things that can go wrong in a start-up venture, all the unfavorable events that can negatively affect results.

Contingency planning is a skill that does not come easily to all entrepreneurs–even those with a finance background. How do you get the cockeyed optimist (what you absolutely must be to even conceive of the idea of the starting a company), who expects the best, to plan for the worst?

To stimulate contingency planning, it helps to look at the reasons why entrepreneurs so consistently run out of money; among these are:

Not realizing how expensive it is to introduce a new product, especially consumer products, on a national basis.

Not realizing how long it takes to introduce a new product, or for the market to truly accept the product.

Delays in regulatory approval, municipal zoning, or patent approval.

Assuming that a small start-up company will get the same forbearance on payments and favorable terms that a large one will.

An entrepreneur with an early stage company must be prepared for one or more of these situations to occur. Contingency planning doesn’t mean simply adding a percentage or dollar “cushion’ to the amount of capital being sought from investor or lenders. It is a way of thinking–a recognition that the entrepreneurial road is always rocky. Envisioning what might go wrong does not equate to entrepreneurs losing faith in their product or their company; it means they accept these difficulties as steps on the path to prosperity.

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