unstruct.org My unstructured thoughts and rants


Earthquakes: Be Prepared!

In 2011 areas not normally prone to earthquakes, such as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Virginia, saw significant tectonic activity of a magnitude of 4.7 or higher. While rare in these areas, it does go to show that everyone should have an earthquake preparedness kit in the event of the unthinkable happening. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than to be sorry.

Whether you are purchasing an earthquake preparedness kit or putting one together on your own, there are definitely some guidelines and tips to follow when obtaining your earthquake preparedness kit.  It's not terribly expensive, and could save your life in the right situation.  Here's a few tips to help get you started:


Asbestos in the house…what should i do?

Okay, so you found the perfect person to marry and spend the rest of your life with, your soul mate. You've got two beautiful kids and a nice car, and now you've found the perfect house! It's big and full of unique character and was built well years and years ago. Before you get along with moving your things into your beautiful house you need to find a professional that does asbestos surveys to make sure your home is safe and asbestos free. Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos present, used as insulation. The presence of asbestos, and the discovery that one has been in close proximity both need to be dealt with immediately.

What is asbestos, and why is it so dangerous?


An Overview of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)

If you've followed the news in the recently, you've probably heard mention of Payment Protection Insurance, or PPI.   While the product isn't exclusive to the UK, the level of controversy regarding unethical selling practices, as well as issues with the current ppi claims process, has made it a huge focal point, with billions of UK pounds hanging in the balance.

With that in mind, we've collected a high level overview of what it is, as well as a bit of ppi claims advice.

What is PPI?


Does Your Small Business Need an ERP?

Since the early 90s, most large companies have made the choice to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.  In short, the purpose of an ERP is to link together the data from the various functions of the company so that they can be leveraged to the company's advantage.  For example, if the sales team has real time access to inventory levels, they can make real-time decisions about which products to push harder.  The advent of web based ERP, with it's lower cost and simpler implementation, has pushed adoption further, with many mid-sized businesses now reaping the same benefits as the big boys.   This raises of the question of whether an ERP might have benefits for a truly small business.

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Is HGH for Real?

There's certainly a lot of hype about human growth hormone (HGH) out in the media recently, with claims that range from it's power as an anti-aging agent, to claims of drastic weight loss.  The hype has gone beyond just email and television as well, with a plethora of both new businesses as well as existing businesses offering  HGH.  Perhaps you've seen the small "bandit signs" on street corners, asking you to purchase HGH, with an arrow pointing to some health food store or diet clinic?


Are Coupon and Promo Code Aggregators Doing it Right?

Coupons and promo codes, as a marketing strategy, have been successful since the dawn of marketing. However, there's a current trend that's introducing fundamental changes in how the coupon ecosystem works.   The problem is, these fundamental changes aren't purposeful, and could affect retailer's ability to use them as a successful strategy.

Coupons and promo codes work on the theory of  "price discrimination".  For example, if you use a Virgin mobile promo code when buying a cell phone,  Virgin is hoping that you're one of the few that was able to find the promo code.  


Windowfront Signage…what to consider

When considering windowfront signage for your small business, there's a few mistakes that most businesses make that keep them from realizing the full value of the advertising space.  To be sure, your front windows are one of the cheapest and easiest opportunities you have to make a branding statement, as well as an opportunity to get the attention of people passing by your store.  Not utilizing them to their full potential is a big miss!  In this article, we'll cover your two main choices on messaging, and some tips and tricks to get your signage noticed.



One Cup Coffees: Distinguishing Quality from Mediocrity


Americans have an ongoing love affair with coffee, and it is estimated that roughly 54 percent of adults in the United States drink an average of 3 cups daily. Coffee kick starts you in the morning, making you feel fresh and motivated to tackle the day ahead.

In the last few years, single serving coffee has been gaining popularity due to its relative convenience, variety, ease of use and cleanup and specialized packaging to keep the coffee fresher. Like regular coffee, not all one cup coffees are created equal. Machine type, cost per cup, coffee source, cleanup and brewing time considerations can make for a difficult decision. To help you make a more informed decision, here is a comparison of some of the most common single serve coffees on the market, everything from cheap K cups to the popular "pod-style" coffees.


Lower Your Hot Water Bill


When we think of how to lower our energy costs, most people think about turning off their lights and lowering or raising their thermostats based on the season. But another important way that you can lower the cost of energy for your home is to reduce the amount of hot water you use. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, heating our water is the second highest energy cost for a residence, so focusing on hot water usage can yield significant savings for consumers. Check out these energy saving tips for some more specific guidance...


Why you should try a BMI Calculator

A BMI calculator will allow you to quickly determine your Body Mass Index.  Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number derived from your weight and height, and is intended to be a rough estimate of the level of body fat you are carrying.  Although it's not a direct measure, the BMI reading can be a surprisingly accurate measure of overall body fat percentage for both men and women . Your BMI is not a true measure of the amount of body fat, nevertheless your Body mass index ratio has a strong correlation to it...this correlation has been proven in various studies.  It's quick and easy to do, and will provide you with a high-level indicator that lets you know if you may need to undertake some changes in your diet or lifestyle.  After reading this article, you might want to use a tool to compute your BMI and see how you fare.

Are BMI readings used by Doctors?