Uber’s Leading-Edge Autonomous Vehicle Testing in Pittsburgh

There are a lot of advancements being made over autonomous vehicles’ ability to share the road with driver-assisted vehicles. This insightful article by National Public Radio (NPR) highlights the testing process that Uber is undertaking in Pittsburg, to record the manner in which autonomous-led vehicles are behaving while on the road.

Uber assigns two drivers for each unmanned vehicle it uses on the road. The drivers accomplish two tasks while there: one driver has the possibility of taking over control of the vehicle (should the need arise) while the other driver reviews the programming of the autonomous technology, and makes changes as needed.

But how does it feel to ride in an autonomous-driven vehicle?  NPR took a ride in one of the autonomous-tested vehicles and described the experience as being a safe one: “…the car behaved like a very cautious driver, stopping for a full three seconds at stop signs and never going above the speed limit.” So with this in mind, it seems like driverless vehicles have at least one positive thing going for it–safety.

Yet another benefit to Uber’s project has come from bicyclists in the city. According to Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, “[bicyclists] feel a lot more comfortable around autonomous vehicles than human drivers.” They are programmed to drive safely and “maintain a four-foot distance from bikes.” Both of these benefits seem promising in our society, where vehicle accidents occur in much too great numbers.

Uber is making headway in its testing and programming of self-directed vehicle technology in the Pittsburgh market. By doing so, it is also injecting beaucoup dollars in the economy, making the market more attractive for other businesses to invest in. This has been a great help to the city and its much needed retention of Carnegie Mellon graduates, who tend to leave for other, more lucrative opportunities in more successful markets.

Is this technology too good to be true? I believe that we’re headed in the right direction when it comes to laying out the foundation for safer driving in society. How we’re going to get from driver-controlled vehicles to autonomous ones, is the challenge that we will no doubt need to overcome. It might be a long time off before most drivers are willing to give up control, but the safety benefits surely outweigh the growing pains that come from this advancement.

For more details on this article, visit Pittsburgh Offers Driving Lessons for Uber’s Autonomous Cars.

 

Marianna Maguire
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


Health Ambition

 

How To Lose Weight Fast: 5 Evidence-Based Steps

Have you ever struggled with your weight or weight-loss plan? Do you lose the motivation to stick with a diet if you don’t see the results quickly? You are not alone, I promise! Helen Sanders at Health Ambition published an article that speaks to everyone’s struggles with achieving successful weight-loss, and proposes a 5-step process that will let us see results soon, without starvation (say what?!), while keeping us motivated too.

We all know that quick-fix diets don’t work, but we can surely gain momentum to stick with a diet and exercise plan if we received an initial weight-loss boost that we could see and feel. So what do we do in order to drop some quick ‘lbs’ and prepare our body and metabolism for more weight loss?


Weight Loss - Measure 1

How to Lose Weight Fast: 5 Evidence Based Steps Anyone Can Follow recommends making a few changes to your diet and integrating High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) along with strength training, to ensure successful and fast weight loss. The HIIT concept has been around for a while now and promotes performing cycles of a high-intensity exercise, followed by a short period of rest, and a repeat of the high-intensity exercise. The training continues until you’ve completed a handful of exercises in the day’s routine. According to Sanders, “HIIT workouts push your body to its limits in a shorter period of time. This means you achieve better results faster.” That, coupled with strength training (which allows you to burn more fat and build lean muscle) will keep you burning calories long after you’ve completed your workout.

The best part of the 5-step process? These weight loss and dietary strategies have been tested and are proven to work! So let’s give this a try. What do we have to lose other than a little bit of ourselves? (Ha!)

Be sure to come back and let me know how the weight-loss boost worked for you!

– Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz

(About the source: Health Ambition is a wonderful, informational blog focused on providing honest, sound advice about healthy eating habits and an overall healthy lifestyle.)







Bloomberg Technology

Oh my goodness. As if there wasn’t enough excitement surrounding autonomous cars taking over your driving responsibility, California has now relaxed a few rules requiring autonomous cars to have a driver present. Instead, the rules make it acceptable for autonomous cars to be in full control of the driving experience without the use of an operator. Talk about not having much of a safety net! Autonomous technology is very exciting and is the wave of the future, but I’d be lying if I said that this particular lax in the rules doesn’t freak me out just a bit. To make matters a little more intimidating, the DMV in CA further relaxed a rule that required autonomous cars to have “a steering wheel or pedals for the operator to take back control.”

Anyone remember high school driver’s ed? Well, our driving instructor had access to a second steering wheel and pedals just in case we got ourselves in a precarious position. So who’s to save us from a possible collision if there are no steering wheels or pedals with which to take back control?!?!?  I’m normally in favor of all technological advances but this particular one is one giant step that leaves me uneasy. I like contingency plans and try to have a back-up plan for most scenarios, but this one is a bit unnerving, especially when you take away all the power or control from an operator’s hands.

To read more about the interesting direction that autonomous cars are heading in, visit Bloomberg Technology’s California Says Autonomous Cars Don’t Need Human Drivers.


Android Police Logo

Attention Android users: After Chrome released its latest version, Chrome 57 for desktop users, it pushed out the latest updates to Android users as well. The new version contains custom tab features that allow you to (1) open up web pages without restarting the browser, (2) search content within the page of a website, and (3) better control the video or audio you’re playing by allowing you play that in the background and still control other apps you’re using. There are more features available in this new version so be sure to update your Chrome application and pick up Chrome’s new Tab features. For more details, visit Android Police’s Chrome 57 Adds Custom Tabs….


The Verge logo

For those of you who do a lot of shopping on Amazon, be aware that as of April 1st Amazon will start collecting sales tax on all purchases consumers make through its website. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure sad to see this happen. With the exception of groceries, I do nearly all of my shopping on Amazon. At least I try to. What more of a convenience is there than placing an order and having it delivered within two days? Well, it was certainly nice while it lasted. For more information, visit The Verge’s Amazon Will Start Collecting Sales Tax Nationwide Starting April 1st.


Entrepreneur Magazine

Entrepreneur magazine wrote an article on what they recommend people do in order to become more productive. Now, in a nutshell, they recommend that we (1) cut out the phone and email first thing in the morning, (2) work in time blocks throughout the day, and (3) take advantage of breaks or break periods as well. While these might seem like obvious things to do, it would surprise you to know how few of us will be able to follow these simple recommendations. Take the first one, for example. How often, in the mornings, have you looked at your smartphone before even getting out of bed? How long does it take you to get your day started before the temptation of checking your phone for emails or text messages arises? For me, I know that that used to be the very first thing I did each morning and the very last thing I did at night, before closing my eyes. It took nearly six months to break myself from that habit, and I still catch myself struggling with the phone before going to bed at night. (I’ve always been a morning person, so getting up and getting going comes naturally to me. My cell phone will simply not be the reason why I start my day late!) Perhaps it’s easier for you to give up the email and phone urge first thing in the morning and late at night, than it was for me. Or perhaps you might have trouble with that suggestion but find it easier to implement the other recommendations. To read Entrepreneur’s article, visit 3 Simple But Proven Ways to Become More Productive. May the productivity force be with you!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Fortune Logo

Attention coffee afficionados! As if you needed another reason to love Starbucks (or coffee for that matter), the company has recently reported that it’s offering two new specialty drinks “made from beans aged in whiskey barrels.” One of the new drinks is a “cold brew sweetened with vanilla syrup” and the other is a “hot con creme drink that is topped with cascara sugar and foam.” I don’t know about you but this mix sounds absolutely enticing! For a quick read-up, visit Fortune’s Starbucks is Now Offering Whiskey Barrel-Aged Coffee.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


In a move that’s sure to keep Microsoft in a bit of a daze, Google recently snagged up all of Microsoft’s Verizon Communications Inc.’s customers and moved them onto Google’s storage cloud and productivity applications (communication tools like Drive, Hangouts, Calenda, Docs, Forms, Slides, Sites, Contacts, and Groups, to name a few). Google’s efforts towards luring customers from larger cloud competitors is its focus for 2017, as it aims to take a bite out of Amazon and Microsoft’s market share and improve its position as the productivity and cloud-based leader in the industry. With a solid reputation for being the highest available cloud provider (without site crashes), large corporations such as Verizon are taking notice and are moving their digital business needs onto Google’s ‘transformational technology’. A technology that is surely offering Google customers a competitive advantage.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Since early this year, Twitter has been working hard to tackle account abuse by users who often post potentially offensive material. From curse words to hate speech to nude pictures, Twitter is delving into account censorship with the purpose of cleaning up the content promoted on its platform.

Twitter claims to be improving its website for users by keeping it clean for everyone, and notes that it runs enhancements like these special filters all the time. The problem with the latest scripts is that some accounts are being flagged without triggering the filter while others aren’t even aware that their accounts are being flagged as ‘sensitive’. (See Twitter Might Hide Your Profile from Others and Not Tell You)

The program searches for sensitive content based on pre-determined parameters that continuously run as scripts on its platform. If your account is triggered, it can get a 12-hour time-out period or a 12-hour suspension (if you’re issued a red flag).

Twitter is looking into correcting some of the minor problems that are occuring as a result of the new filter, but for the time being, users need to be aware that they’re content is being reviewed and possible censorship may result.

Very interesting, coming from a provider who is in the business of promoting free speech, no?! Fore more, visit Mashable’s Twitter is Now Marking Entire Profiles as ‘Sensitive’.)

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


FORBES

If you’ve been living under a rock–like me–you might have missed the news that Google purchased YouTube last year (2016) for a cool $1.65 billion. This allowed Google to get into the online video revolution that has taken the internet world by storm. It seems that everyone engages in video-sharing these days so why not take something great like YouTube and turn it into something fantastic? Well it didn’t take Google very long to create something amazing. The birth of YouTube TV (see YouTube’s TV Shows) is answering this call!

Currently, you can watch TV online as part of your cable provider’s paid service–AT&T/DirectTV, Comcast/Verizon, etc. But what if you don’t want to pay for television service and simply want to use online streaming to access videos on-demand and regular cable networks too?  This is where the online video revolution comes in. AT&T’s DirectTV Now offers such a service for over 100 channels, for $45 a month, relieving the consumer from having to pay a heavy price for regular cable access–assuming you’re ok with a limited access to your usual television networks. But Google’s YouTube TV is starting its offering at a cheaper price, $35 a month, with a smaller lineup than DirectTV Now (fewer than 100 channels), but it will include 40 providers (from networks like Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC), regional sports, and a few dozen cable channels. It hasn’t signed deals yet with premium networks like HBO, Showtime, and such, but it’s only a matter of time before everyone gets on board.

To sweeten the deal for consumers, Google will offer consumers unlimited cloud DVR and an “AI-powered search and recommendation system.” With a billion (yes, a billion) video clips being watched or uploaded on YouTube each day, it is no surprise that Google scooped up YouTube right away! Its vision of endless online streaming opportunities is definitely an exciting one. Soon we’ll all have access to every current television lineup that exists through our cable channels, but on an online platform. I know that I’m particularly excited about being able to stream all current television-channels online, for much cheaper price than what I currently pay with AT&T’s DirectTV. For more information on this exciting new service, visit How Google’s YouTube TV Will Compete with DirectTV Now.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Appy Geek logo

Watch out Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, there’s a slew of competition in the market that’ll soon be eating away at your profit margins! These three online giants may be enjoying membership revenue that grants consumers access to a heavy list of movies and television programs, but did you know that there are a handful of trustworthy sites out there that offer all of this for free?! Appy Geek is reporting on those online services that offer “totally free and totally legal” movies that you can watch online. From common ones like Hoopla and YouTube to less common ones like Tubi TV and Internet Archive, many of these sites support a multitude of platforms including game consoles and major streaming devices; some even offer accessibility for smart TVs. So “what’s the catch?” you might ask. The down sides are minimum: you may not have access to the latest Hollywood movies or television network shows, and you may have to endure sitting through commercials and advertising (afterall, they have to pay the bills somehow), but this is one situation in which you get more benefits than drawbacks. For a list of these online service providers, visit 6 Ways to Watch Movies Online for Free.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


MarketWatch - WSJ

Starting on March 3rd, every Chevy owner can get unlimited 4G data, including OnStar WiFi Hotspot, for a prepaid $20 a month. According to an Engadget article on the topic, “Chevy gets its data from AT&T, which rolled out its own unlimited plan last month, then tweaked it with free tethering and video streaming options…” The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch reported a 200% increase in data use between 2015 and 2016, as much data as the prior two years combined! So with this type of response and demand from its consumers, its no wonder that Chevy took notice. Yet they took this information a step further and became innovators in the industry for understanding their customers and offering something that most other manufacturers had yet to do. So far, Cadillac is the only other auto maker getting into the unlimited data market, with a similar program called Book by Cadillac. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these auto makers experienced skyrocketing sales as a result, further encouraging others to follow suit! For more details, visit the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch article Chevy Now Offers Unlimited Data Plan for its Connected Cars.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


NASA Logo

If you’re a technology, gaming, or space-age junkie, you’re gonna love NASA’s latest release of its 2017-2018 Software Catalog. Featuring a fluid simulation program, NASA propulsion codes, and tools used in designing the Space Launch System (among many other cool releases), there’s bound to be something of interest for everyone! What’s even better is that the public has free access to the latest software products for a variety of technical applications. It is NASA’s way of “supporting the innovation economy by granting access to tools used by today’s top aerospace professionals to entrepreneurs, small businesses, academia and industry” says Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington. “Access to these software codes has the potential generate tangible benefits that create American jobs, earn revenue and save lives.” For more information visit NASA Software‘s article or the direct link to everything NASA Software and enjoy your findings!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


The Verge logo

Each year in March, schools across the country honor National Reading Day and encourage kids of all ages to pick up a book and read. Usually celebrated around March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, schools engage children in fun activities and events that piques their mind and promotes curiosity for everything literature. Adults have been celebrating this movement for years as well, which has grown to a full-long month of reading, called National Reading Month. In honor of this movement, The Verge compiled the 23 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Novels to Read This Month. If you’re an avid reader and book lover like me, you’ll definitely want to check out quite a few of these titles!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


The Verge logoSleep deprivation, what an epidemic this has become! We all know how important it is to get our zzz’s. But it’s not enough to just get some sleep. We need restful sleep in order for our body to regenerate itself and heal from many ailments. The CDC has published numerous articles on how sleep deprivation affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and more. Chronic sleep deprivation, which is considered your constant inability to get restful sleep, can lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, hypertension, and obesity. Aside from being unhealthy for you, sleep deprivation is also dangerous. Sleep insufficiency has been linked to motor vehicle accidents, on-the-job accidents, and medical errors. But what can we do to help ourselves overcome this problem?

How does our job influence our sleep? Well, the work that we do directly affects our sleep, this, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The Verge published an article identifying the jobs that cause people the most sleep deprivation and those that cause the least. For starters, it’s no surprise that “airline pilots and religious workers tend to get the most sleep.” But jobs that require people to work at odd hours throws off the body’s internal clock, which leads to “less, poorer quality, sleep.” These include factory jobs, health care, food preparation, and emergency services jobs as well.

So how much sleep do we really need? The CDC reports that “school-age children need at least 10 hours of sleep daily, teens need 9-10 hours, and adults need 7-8 hours.” (See Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Problem.) What can we do to establish healthy sleeping habits? The CDC recommends four things:

1- Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning
2- Avoid large meals before bedtime
3- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
4- Avoid nicotine

With these tips in mind and a healthy lifestyle consisting of healthy eating and a solid exercise regimen, we can significantly improve our sleeping habits and have a better way of life. Easier said than done, right? Let’s give it a try, afterall, we only have our life to lose! For more information, visit Your Job Could Be Costing You Sleep.

Marianna
Thank you for visiting Perfect-Imperfectionz – a personal blog offering a dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


The time has come! Amazon, my favorite online retailer (hands-down), is carving its way into the food delivery scene! Although it’s just begun to offer restaurant delivery services in the DC area, I’m hopeful that it will do extremely well and soon enough, roll out a service across major cities in the country. Imagine a world where drivers from Amazon–a well-trusted brand–deliver deliciously prepared food to anxiously awaiting customers, without interruption, fail, or hassle. If their delivery services become as dependable and trusting as their online experience is, then their roll-outs across the country shouldn’t be too far away. One can only dream! Some of you may find this amusing but I can’t help it. I love everything Amazon and am a huge fan (and customer). From purchasing everything I can think of–to save me from having to head to a mall or store–to downloading all my ebooks, I now have something else to look forward to with this company. Can I get an ‘Amen’?! For more information, visit Amazon Prime Offering Restaurant Delivery in DC Area.

Marianna
Thank you for visiting Perfect-Imperfectionz – a personal blog offering a dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


Euronews Logo

From Euronews and FoneArena: While 4G networks are still being launched around the world, the next generation of mobile networks–the ‘5G’ or fifth generation–is all the rave in the telecommunications industry. 5G is expected to become available in 2020-2022 and is promising increased speeds in excess of 500Mbps (whereas 4G’s network speeds average 25-40Mbps). The potential benefits of 5G are vast for both businesses and consumers. Businesses will benefit from faster speeds that will allow for greater mobile working while consumers stand to benefit from faster download times on their devices. Aside from speed, another benefit to 5G is grFone Arena logeater capacity for data allowances from cell phone providers as there will no longer be such a strangle hold on capacity as currently exists with a 4G network. The 5G capacity is expected to be over 1,000 times greater than 4G, making data allowances nearly a thing of the past. There will also be reduced latency, or the amount of time required for data transfer to take place, thereby allowing consumers to enjoy a much shorter buffering period when streaming a video, opening a web page, video game, or other internet-based activity. 5G seems to offer many benefits to both businesses and consumers and is expected to connect an even greater amount to people to the world around us. For more on this article visit Euronews’s Our 5G Future – Fater, More Connected, But Still Years Away and 5G-What Is It? What Are the Benefits? When Will It Launch?

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


The Hacker News

How often do you turn off the WiFi setting on your smartphone? Is your find open hotspot feature turned on all the time? The Hacker News put a notorious hacker at work, to demonstrate just how easy it is to steal people’s personal information. The hack goes like this: someone creates an EvilAP (or malicious access point) which serves as a hotspot for your phone. The access point is picked up by your smartphone–believing that it is an open network–and connects automatically to that hotspot. Once connected, the hacker can use one of a myriad of hacking programs to download your information, including passwords to your most visited sites, bank account information, credit card information, personal information (address, telephone number, social security number, etc.) and more. With this information on hand, who’s to say what it will be used for or how many people will have access to it?

How does someone protect themselves against this possibility? Well, for starters, you should understand that you really can’t protect yourself from every possible intrusion scenario, but you can make it harder for a hacker to steal your information. Among the things you can do is disable your ‘hotspot’ finder from your smartphone and further disable the WiFi service when you’re at home, the office, or when it’s not in use. When at work, it would be better to secure your network access by getting onto your job’s secure network, but keep in mind that even that network can be susceptible to a breach. Be sure to change your passwords often and make them lengthy to make it more difficult for someone to decipher. Another (and very important) suggestion is to stay away from ‘open networks’ such as the type you’d find at coffee shops, shopping malls, and the like. These open networks are invitations to have your information stolen as you’re already sharing the network with total strangers. So what’s to prevent a hacker from running a program that downloads your and others’ information?

In our interconnected society, it is very important to remain vigilant of the opportunities that exist to steal valuable information, and correspondingly, your identity. For a video showing the hacker at work and for more about this topic, visit Hacker Shows How Easy it is to Hack People While Walking Around in Public.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Android Police Logo

Quick post: If you’re an avid user of Google Docs, great news! Google just rolled out its cool notes-type feature and made it part of Docs. So say you’re typing a document on its Word-equivalent application, you now have access to type notes while you work and integrate them into your document at a later time without losing your train of thought. Your notes can be individually saved on the sidebar while you work and later appended to the document through simple drag and drop functionality. To see how this feature works, visit Android Police‘s article Google Integrates Keep with Docs for Easy Access to Your Notes.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


How Nutrition Logo

Garlic, that deliciously smelly vegetable, has been around for several thousand years and is widely used as both a food flavoring and traditional medicine by people everywhere. Grown underground, it is very easy to grow and can be grown year-around. It is a hardy plant and is not easily susceptible to pests or diseases, making it easy to grow at home, if desired.

Among the most delicious uses of this herb includes an flavorful infusion for oils, dipping sauces, and for general cooking many typical cuisines from around the world. It is an extremely healthy vegetable to include as part of your diet and is rich is vitamins, minerals, and other healthy benefits: rich in vitamin B6, C, and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and others. Among other health benefits, garlic has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease, the chances of developing some forms of cancer, support the body’s detox processes, and serve as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial agent. Other, less knows uses include serving as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain and as an insecticide to control the cabbage root fly and red mite in poultry!

For more information about this wonderfully delicious, and highly beneficial and versatile herb, visit How Nutrition’s Garlic: 7 Proven Health & Therapeutic Benefits.

Sources:
Garlic. March, 2017. Wikipedia www.wikipedia.com.

Garlic. March, 2017. WebMd www.webmd.com.

Garlic. March, 2017. World’s Healthiest Foods www.whfoods.com.

 

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Singapore, a beautiful metropolis city-state with a unique vision that balances the beauty of green living with the need for housing its highly-dense population,is known as the Garden City for a reason. With a total land size equivalent to half of metropolitan London and a population just over 5.5 million, it’s no wonder that their need to strike a balance between housing and nature is so important. And they’ve done a marvelous job at doing so.

Every newNational Geographic construction project is required to have green roofs, cascading vertical gardens, verdant walls, ample exercise and outdoor spaces; all to encourage greener and sustainable living. Perhaps one of the greater merits of Singapore is that everyone, from the richest to the most economically disadvantaged citizens, gets gets to enjoy green living. Public housing developments emphasize “community-centric towns and amenities such as ‘skyrise’ gardens and rooftop gyms.” With more than 90 percent of Singaporeans owning their own homes, it proudly has one of the highest home-ownership rates in the world.

Its model of livable density aims to create a fantastic quality of life despite having a highly-dense population. The proximity between shops, schools, transportation centers, and the outdoors is extremely convenient and enjoyed by all who live and visit there. Singapore’s innovation is showing no signs of stopping. With future developments incorporating freshwater reservoirs, a new project planned to connect all parks in the city-state through a network of transportation centers, and the creation of what they call Smart Work Centres–shared work spaces for employees from different companies–the work-life balance they’re striking is commendable and enviable. If only more countries adopted this vision, what a beautiful world we would find ourselves enjoying!

For more about this wonderful city and some impressive pictures, visit How One of the World’s Densest Cities Has Gone Green.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Reviewed Logo

Smart plugs allow us to enable and disable power outlets remotely from any smartphone app, on a schedule, and even with Amazon’s Alexa. Wi-Fi smart plugs have been around for a while but they are getting smaller and better at covering up only a single outlet. Reviewed.com has published an article on how smart home technology has taken off over the past few years and how these smart plug devices are getting cheaper too. They put ten of the best smart plugs on the market today, through rigorous tests and came up with recommendations on which ones to use and stay away from.

If you’re into smart home technology or are just starting to get into it, you will definitely benefit from this list of reviews. Check out Reviewed.com’s The Best Smart Plugs of 2017 for more!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


PC Mag

I know that not everyone is a computer junky or software developer or hardware master. So I decided to find a post on something that can easily introduce one of the most frequently used technology terms today: cloud computing. So what is the cloud, really? What does it mean when we say cloud computing or cloud sharing? PC Magazine wrote a nice article in 2016 explaining these terms and how we have been using the cloud for a couple of decades now.

In short, the cloud itself is a storage area (at a remote location that is not our local device) in cyberspace where we place files, videos, and other information that we create, with the ability to access it from anywhere in the world. Google Drive, iCloud, and DropBox are some of the more popular cloud services used today.

Cloud computing is simply the global infrastructure side of things that allows companies to pool resources (servers and data centers) so we (the Internet users) can store files in one place and access them in another. This means that our laptops, smartphones, or other peripherals can work less like a standalone computer or device and instead, benefit from network access (WIFI, high-speed internet for example) which does the storing for you.

There are security and privacy concerns with relying on cloud technology for personal or business use. When you use the cloud, your files slide across the Internet wire and then live on a physical server–usually more than one since cloud computing pools resources–in some (or many) places. This means that your work is now in the hands of corporations who own the servers and data centers that allow this technology to work. Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox typically don’t charge for basic cloud storage. However, if you pay a membership fee to benefit from a corporation’s cloud computing power (say you need larger cloud storage capabilities), then your material is now in the hands of that corporation. And depending on that company’s terms of service, you may or may not own or control your data.

Let’s face it: the cloud is convenient. It has made life easier by allowing us to place material in cyberspace so we can access it from anywhere in the world. It is not without controversy and concerns. So the next time you upload something to Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox, or any other cloud service provider, remember that your information is no longer yours. If you’re willing to give up that power, then welcome to the world of cloud computing!

For more information visit PC Magazine’s What is Cloud Computing?

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


WIRED Logo

Everything seems to be moving in the right direction when it comes to the planning and preparation for autonomous vehicles in our society. In keeping with the latest technological advancements of self-driving cars, Wired is reporting the exciting new design of a passenger car that will take car ownership and ride-sharing to a new level.

Design firm Ideo has purposed an automotive design which “places the car at the center of a new marketplace” whereby owners of future autonomous vehicles will be able to choose between offering their vehicle for ride-sharing, car-sharing, or leave it for private use. Car manufacturers like Ford and Lincoln are taking notice and are working with Ideo on some creative designs.

Among the features being considered is a modal experience that allows car-riders to define a more personalized experience for themselves by choosing between a social mode (open experience) or private mode (which blocks out noise from other passengers). Concepts like these fill the future with possibilities of a unique and exciting future! For the full article visit A Fascinating Glimpse at How We’ll Carpool in 2017.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


USA Today

As if we needed more of a reason to eat right, exercise, and stay healthy, USA Today is now reporting about an alarming study conducted by the American Cancer Society, confirming the rising rate of colon and rectal cancers among Millenials and Generation Xers. There is no exact cause at the moment but “obesity, inactivity, and poor diets” are the prime suspects.

Screenings for colon and rectal cancer is reserved for adults 50 and older, and younger persons who have a family history of such cancers. Right now, there is no plan to recommend screening for those under 50 years of age. So what can you do? Well, the symptoms include bloody stools, cramps, unexplained weight loss and changes in bowel habits, among others.  About the only thing we can do to stay healthy is to live a healthier life. Eat right. Eat more balanced and less processed foods. Exercise daily–even if it’s 30 minutes a day. And I’m not ruling out drinking plenty of water and taking our vitamins too.

For more about this alarming report visit Colon and Rectal Cancers Surge Among Millenials and Generation X.

USA TODAY 022817-cancer-study

 

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


We’re all aware of the American Health Association’s recommendation to eat a balanced diet with ample servings of fruit and vegetables. Well, the International Journal of Epidemiology has boosted that recommendation and is now advocating for an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption to ten servings per day! The Independent (UK newspaper) reported on the Journal’s findings, stating that “while eating the recommended five a day still helps reduce disease risk, the highest benefits are seen when people consume double that.” Benefits include a severe reduction in heart disease, cancer, and premature death. The article provides information on some of the superfoods you can eat for maximum benefits, as certain foods contain more nutrients than others. Visit Five-A-Day Becomes 10-A-Day as Scientists Urge People to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables for more!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


My Domaine logoI’ll make this a quick one. I came across a post on MyDomaine where it informed its readers of ten wonderful websites where super travel deals have been found. Sites that I’ve never heard of like SecretFlying and Skiplagged to two that I have heard of but never used, Costco and Kayak, are part of the list. Follow this link for a complete list!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


New Scientist logo

It is no secret that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics are fast-paced technologies that are growing more rapidly than they’re able to be applied. The prospect of improving our lives through advancements in these fields is extremely exciting yet equally worrisome, as there are serious implications to AI, its purpose, use, and possibility to cause harm. The interest and concern surrounding AI’s potential has many governments around the world taking a serious interest in the field, with Great Britain’s Parliament being no exception.

Parliament’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence report that asked numerous questions on the use of AI, and its safety and welfare to humanity: questions such as the economic and social implications of machines versus humans, and the ethical and legal issues surrounding the safety, control, and governance aspects of these technologies. The report concluded that “While it is too soon to set down sector-wide regulations for this nascent field, it is vital that careful scrutiny of the ethical, legal and societal dimensions of artificially intelligent systems begins now.”

To add to the promising and unsettling possibilities of artificial intelligence and robotics, Matt Reynolds of the New Scientist recently justified Parliament’s concern by reporting on AI’s capacity to write its own code and learn on its own by stealing from other programs. Matt writes, “DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis: creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software.”

Talk about there being a whole lot at stake here!

If an artificially-intelligent robot can program itself, learn from itself, and steal code or programs from others, then who or what is to stop it from eventually being beyond a human’s control? While there are benefits to having AI learn from itself and help out mankind, its social and economic implications are obvious. Not only will mankind be affected in unknown ways (as the possibilities to use these technologies are endless), but there will be an obvious economic impact caused by the replacement of workers in areas where AI deems them obsolete.

Technology and advancement always come at a price, and AI is a field that has taken off in its innovation, but it could surely benefit from greater public focus. If more attention were given to the breakthroughs–whether beneficial or dangerous–in these fields and their implications, we’d find ourselves (at a social level) having much needed conversations on the pros, cons, and potential need for governance and control, sooner rather than later. In fact, Parliament’s report concluded “Not only would this help to ensure that the UK remains focused on developing ‘socially beneficial’ AI systems, it would also represent an important step towards fostering public dialogue about, and trust in, such systems over time.” Dialogue and trust. Two major and important components that cannot be overlooked and will need to be addressed if the technology is to be readily accepted into society.

For more information on this very exciting and controversial topic, check out AI Learns To Read Its Own Code by Stealing from Other Programs.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Your Tech ExplainedYour Tech Explained recently reported that for all orders $35 and under, Amazon will now ship your order for free! Apparently, the online retail giant is being given a run for its money by Wal-Mart and other major competitors who are offering free shipping on a certain minimum purchase threshold that was much lower than Amazon’s previous ‘$49 minimum’ order requirement. Wal-Mart changed its limit to $35 per order and Amazon followed suit. This is a welcome change for Amazon customers as they will no longer have to incur an extra $14 in purchases, in order to qualify for free shipping. For Amazon Prime customers, however, it won’t be much of a change as members already receive free 2-day shipping on all orders as part of their Prime Membership (at a cost of $99 annually for an unlimited number of orders.) No word yet on whether this has taken effect, but ya gotta love free-market competition!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Idealist 4 EverWho knew that hydrogen peroxide could be included in the list of DIY home remedies much like apply cider vinegar? Apparently, there are a number of great uses for this chemical compound that we might not have considered or known about before. From lightening your hair to freshening your breath, take a look at Idealist 4 Ever‘s article, She Puts Hydrogen Peroxide In Her Hair…for the complete list!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.



Before It's News logo

I’m often curious about the whole prepping world. I’m more like a category before a true prepper–the type who prepares right before an informed emergency. But since I’m into ‘end of days/apocalypse’ type of novels, an interest in emergency preparedness is not a big surprise. My readiness, however, could use some work. So when I came across these 39 Fantastic Prepping Tips, I knew I had to share it with you. The article is very informative and offers some good tips that don’t take any time to do. If you have just a few minutes of time, go ahead and read this article and absorb some basic information that can go a long way to ensuring your survival in even the most basic of emergencies. And who knows, if I get positive feedback from you, I might just start a prepping series on this blog! (I know I could sure use all the help I could get in that department.) Happy reading!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


SAFEWISE.COM

As a parent, you can never have enough information at your disposable about ways to keep your child safe. And while I’ve posted safety tools and gadgets for parents in the past, this particular post helps parents with little ones. Safewise found some interesting gadgets that track your child in different ways, and help you keep up with their safety. The cool thing about this list is that the gadgets can also be used by children with special needs, and range from watches to bookbag tags to a pocket finder. So for a little extra peace of mind, why not give one of these gadgets a try?! For more on this list, visit Wearable Safety and GPS Devices for Kids.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


The Wirecutter LogoI’ve always wanted an outdoor home security system but don’t have the skills to install one–say, if I purchased one from Costco–and don’t want to pay a few thousand dollars for a system provided by my security company. So I was very excited to learn about Netgear’s Arlo Pro, which seems to have everything you could wish for in a external security system device: affordability ($250 on Amazon), wireless, long-life battery (no need for an AC connection), one-week free wireless cloud video storage, and portability (among others). For a detailed review on how this particular security camera beat the competition, check out The Wirecutter’s article, The Best Wireless Outdoor Home Security Camera, and get your fill of information on this fantastic device!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Inc Magazine's LogoEver need a little push or pep talk to muster up the courage to go after something seemingly out of range? Have you ever needed just a little extra confidence to speak up and pitch that idea or solution? This article is exactly in line with what this blog, Perfect-Imperfectionz, is all about: acting with kindness, gratitude and finding your true motivations that will help you be the best version of yourself possible. Read Inc. magazine’s extremely helpful article on actual actions that you can take, to gain greater confidence and achieve greater success. Check out 18 Ways to Be More Confident now!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Digital Trends LogoDigital Trends just published an article on iOS 10’s common problems and their workarounds. Topics include battery drain, mail apps not working properly, iOS system-update issues, and more. If you own any Apple electronic, be sure to read iOS 10 Problems and The Solutions to Deal with Them and stay up to date with the fixes and assistance that’s available!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Robotic GizmosTechnology is advancing at a such an amazing rate, making our lives more comfortable with each passing decade. Starship Technologies and Mercedes-Benz joined forces to develop an exciting self-delivery system that is sure to turn heads. Mercedes-Benz’s Robovans will transport mini robots that will deliver packages to consumers without human intervention. Visit Robotic Gizmos‘s January article, Robovan: Vans with Autonomous Delivery Robots, for a demonstration of this exciting new technology. Add this innovation to the latest autonomous driving vehicles invention, and we can easily see the future: driver-less vehicles and autonomous delivery robots, delivering all sorts of packages to consumers. A great milestone for human innovation, advancement, and technology! Not so great for the labor market. But hey, you can’t always have everything!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


FossBytes Logo
On a typical morning, I find myself conducting a few hours of research for my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog. I search hundreds of websites looking for interesting and educational tidbits of information to share with my readers, which may make our lives a little easier. So on a typical day, I easily have 100 tabs open on my computer. It dogs my system at times even though I’m getting in the habit of clearing tabs that I don’t get a chance to follow up on. But I could not believe my luck when I found this article on FossBytesToby: A Chrome Extension That Prevents Tab Overloads. Apparently, Toby allows you to manage all the tabs that are open on your browser, so you can categorize them and follow up on some ‘today’ versus ‘tomorrow’. Previously I used OneTab, which attempts to perform the same function as Toby, but in a less fancy way. So if you’re like me and could use a good Google Chrome extension to manage all your tabs, be sure to checkout Toby: A Chrome Extension That Prevents Tab Overloads.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


tech-republic-logoIf you’re like me, you can hardly wait for the self-driving car to make its debut in your market. Imagine being able to put the stress and alertness that is required when driving, into the hands of a machine that has had an abundance of artificial intelligence built into its system? Sounds a little too good to be true, but we’re really get there. Technology is always evolving and making our lives easier, and it looks like the time is finally right for the autonomous car to enter our marketplace. For a great read on this exciting topic, visit Tech Republic‘s article on Our Autonomous Future: How Driverless Cars Will Be The First Robots We Learn To Trust.

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


LifehackerListen up inner warriors! Lifehacker has shared 13 Infographics To Help You Eat Better that seem promising in making our lives a little easier when deciding what to eat. They’ve included infographics on full nutrition dinners, breakfast do’s and don’ts, healthy carbs and fats, and more! With all this information at our disposal there’s really no reason to eat non-nutritious foods. I know it’s easier said than done, but we’ve got to start somewhere! So good luck and enjoy these beautiful infographics!


LifehackerI’ve heard it all before: you need your rest, listen to your body, you look tired, and so on. I think I do well for myself in terms of listening to my body and resting when I need it. However, did you know that by not sleeping a certain number of hours, your body ages faster? What!?! That’s simply not fair. But according to the infographic that Lifehacker put together, we need our zzzz’s more than we know. Check out This is Why You’ll Regret Not Getting Enough Sleep to learn more about the importance of a good night’s rest. And tonight, be sure to get to bed early and let your body recover and regenerate before you wind up aging a decade or two earlier that you should!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


Conde Nast TravelerConde Nast Traveler put together a list of the most beautiful cities around the world. I’ve taken a look at that list and it is times like these that make me miss living in Europe, where we were better situated to visit a slew of countries in the region. Most of the places listed are outside of the continental United States, but we did manage to take three spots: NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco. For more information on the cities listed, visit the 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World. But hurry! The year is ticking by and summertime, being just around the corner, will approach us before you know it. So start planning that wonderful annual vacation and get ready to be awed by the beauty of our world!

– Marianna
Thank you for visiting my Perfect-Imperfectionz blog, offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews! Please come again.


PC Mag

PC Mag published an article last month on The Best Parental Control Software of 2017. The article lists ten software apps that are available to parents, to help them monitor and control their children’s Internet use. Whether the parent is interested in securing their child’s tablet, phone, or computer from unwanted surfing (such as to sites that promote violence, porn, or some other inappropriate topic) or the parent wants to control their child’s Internet use time, these apps work to offer that peace of mind that parents need nowadays, to better protect their child from online predators. What’s even cooler is that most of these applications will tell you if your savvy child has found a way to bypass the software and turn it off! For more information on these top monitoring utilities, visit The Best Parental Control Software of 2017.


TeenSafe logo

Talk about someone having your back! TeenSafe is a mobile app created  for parents by parents, with the purpose of tracking all activity on a smartphone and help you keep your kids safe.  For $14.95 / month you can see (1) sent, received, and deleted SMS and iMessages, (2) device location and location history, (3) web browsing history, bookmarks, and contacts, (3) Whatsapp and Kik Messnger messages, (4) block apps, (5) schedule use restrictions, and more!

I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like an invasion of privacy or a battle just waiting to happen.  Where one parent can say that it’s all about instilling trust in your child, another parent will argue that it’s not at all about trust, but instead, it’s about keeping your child safe from predators, bullies, and dangers on the street. After all, the app allows you to view the location of the phone, thereby also giving you the ability to find your child (or know their whereabouts) should something serious happen.

My girls are still pretty young, but time goes by in a blink of an eye, and I’m all about seeking any tool that will help me be better, smarter parent. Personally, we tell our kids that mommy and daddy will always do their best to keep them safe and that one day they’ll be responsible for taking care of themselves. So until the, they have to play by the house rules.

I’m not an attorney, but I do know that until a child turns 18 years of age, parents and guardians have the legal right and responsibility to care for/provide for that child. In many cases, parents will provide comforts that go beyond the basics of food, shelter, and an education. Parents will find themselves paying for a car, cell phones, and other immaterial items. So if your child wants that special phone or tablet, I see no harm in explaining that these items come with strings attached. Call me mean. Call me over-protective. I gladly accept both titles. But know this, my children will know that while they are encouraged to be themselves, they are loved enough to have parents who’ve got their backs, no matter what they have to do.

So for your child’s sake–and even your own–feel free to checkout TeenSafe’s app and rest a bit easier knowing that you’re doing something proactive–even if it’s just a monitoring application–that can help keep your child safe. Best of luck!

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


BuzzFeed Logo

Spring cleaning time is almost upon us! In preparation for that much dreaded, time-consuming task, here’s a wonderful article I came across on the many ways we can binge clean our home–with products that pretty much already have. Enjoy!

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


Let’s face it: there’s just not enough time for playing in life. We work countless hours during the week both at home and at our jobs, and weekends are usually filled with errands, homework, kids activities, or commitments. So other than the few weeks’ of vacation time a year that most people get, when else can we take BeepB Logoadvantage of life and actually live???  Well, BeepB put together a fantastic ‘bucket list’ of amazing destinations that we should try to visit before we wind up in our final resting place. A little morbid, I know, but hey, sometimes we need a little reminder to help us get moving and really live! So the next time we’re planning our annual vacation, let’s really do it right. Let’s go out of our way and treat ourselves to a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime trip, and enjoy the splendor of our world! Visit BeepB’s 40+ Travel Destinations You Must Put On Your Bucket List for some incredible ideas and destinations waiting to be explored!

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


I came across this fun website called 1000LifeHacks which offers tidbits of information on random topics that are sure to help you out when in a bind, or at least offer insights that you didn’t know about. Periodically, I’ll be sharing some of the more insightful life hacks with you, to save you the time from going through the endless amounts of pages on their site. Here are five good ones that a few of you might not be aware of:

 

Life Hacks

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


QuietKit LogoEver need a way to rid some of the anxiety you’re feeling? QuietKit has a breathing technique called Box Breathing which allows you to follow a breathing pattern that helps eliminate your stresses. Through counts of four (inhale deeply for 4-secs, hold your breath 4-secs, exhale for 4-secs, repeat for a minute or two), this breathing pattern can ease your anxiety and get you back in control of your mind and body. This technique is meant to help relieve the tension in your body and increase focus of your mind. Interestingly enough, it is widely used by Navy Seals to prepare for intense training sessions and live missions. Check out the Box Breathing technique and add this tool to your self-improvement toolkit!

(For more information on the Seals’ breathing techniques, here’s an article on eHow describing its use.)

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


Center for Story and SymbolIt seems to me that we just started the new year and we’re already entering the month of February! Well, if it’s any consolation to those of you who feel the weight of the passage of time (as I sometimes do), there are quite a few reasons to enjoy the aging process and look forward to the benefits that an older age affords us. I recently came across The Center for Story and Symbol (a unique center for the studies of the psychology of story-telling and its psycho-therapeutic application) and its truthful insight on aging. Their article, The Good News About Getting Older, helps ease the doubts we all carry with us about reaching old age. Although we may be at different stages in our lives, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to reach our golden years and enjoy the perks that come with that stage in life. I hope you enjoy the article and may it ease your mind a bit in knowing that what lies ahead can perhaps be more pleasurable than that which has already passed.

Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz
A personal blog offering a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and awesome book reviews!


GSM Arena LogoHere’s a great find!  For detailed and accurate information about mobile phones, tablets, and their features, GSMArena is for you. I recently went on this website to get some basic info on my LG and was impressed with and overwhelmed by the amount of information, reviews and articles available to consumers.   I asked myself, “how could there possibly be so much information to discuss about a phone or tablet?”  Well, give them a glance over and see for yourself.  You get specs, designs, features, pictures, performance, software and operating system info, testing, and a final review/feedback on each electronic you search for, and the best part….it’s all FREE!  You just can’t beat something this good.  Happy searching!


Trending Top MostIf you’re like me, you look forward to the end of the day when you can relax and curl up in bed with a good book. My love of books, though, truly took off once I had kids, as I desperately looked forward to escaping to an alternate time and place. Trending Top Most recently wrote an article on the Top 10 Most Popular Best eBooks Websites around. Whether your reader of choice is an iPad, Kindle, or some other device, there’s bound to be an online book site that will offer everything you need at competitive prices (some even for free). Check out the article for some great alternative sites that you may not have been aware of before. Happy reading!


MSN LogoAlright, now this article by MSN really surprised me.  I’m a ‘Generation Xer’ and while I think that social media and technology do a fairly decent job at controlling the hours of my day, I would’ve given this title to the Millenials (hands down).  But then again, what do I know? Perhaps Millenials are more efficient with their time on social media and use it to get their point across, or perhaps they just get their ‘information fix’ of the day and move on.  Well here’s a good read to get us thinking about why we (my dear generation) is so smitten with these platforms!  Ya think this article is telling us to enjoy life a little more?!   ; )


Best Security Search logoAttn Android device lovers!  Android security experts discovered a fake Netflix app created by Spynote RAT, which poses as a legitimate Netflix app for the mobile operating system.  The Trojan malware can listen to live conversations by activating the microphone, execute arbitrary commands, send files to a command and control (C&C) server, record screen captures, view contacts, and read SMS messages, among others. For more information on this very important vulnerability, visit Best Security Search‘s article SPYNOTE ANDROID TROJAN POSES AS NETFLIX APP.


USA Today LogoAttention parents!  Spring break is just around the corner and it’s really never too early to start planning your holiday getaway.  USA Today published an article on the 25 Coolest Places in the USA to Visit with Kids; from our beautiful national parks to waterparks and amusement parks, to cities around our great country, there’s never a shortage of places to visit with kids, engage in some wholesome fun, and make memories that will last a lifetime!  So what are you waiting for? Checkout their article and start planning today!


Ever wisShoptiques Logoh you had the time to visit and shop at some of the best boutique stores in your area?  How about the best boutiques in the country?  Or better yet, around the world?  If so, it’s a good thing I’ve found Shoptiques for you!  Founded in 2012 and still going strong, Shoptiques offers some of the world’s best local boutiques online–affording you the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind merchandise without the need to live in the vicinity or even wait until you’re visiting the area.  Shoptiques’ online boutiques hail from cities such as Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv to anyplace USA; in fact, their website boasts about offering merchandise from 5,000 boutiques, in 2,000 cities, and over 30 countries.  So those of you who enjoy shopping for unique finds, be sure to checkout this site and enjoy the convenience of the having some of the world’s best boutiques, all in one place!


American AirlinesIt is no secret that airlines have been nickel and diming the American consumer for years with the resolve of remaining competitive and financially viable.  Air travel is no easy feat for the consumer, with charges for preferred seating to checked-in baggage fees to in-flight food, drinks, and everything in between.  American Airlines announced last week that they have added a basic economy fare to its list of travel classes and will  be rolling out the new program to specific markets come February of this year.  Airlines like Delta and United already have their own version of the basic economy class, and offer a no-frills option for travelers that rivals Spirit and Southwest airlines.  For American, this new travel class will allow them the opportunity to generate revenue for nearly every aspect of a traveler’s experience–including a new carry-on baggage fee.  For more information on this new offering and to remain informed of the changes that will affect how we travel on this carrier, be sure to visit American Airlines’s Basic Economy Fare press release.


Planet of Success Blog

One of the themes that the Affirmations focuses on is the early riser.  Not everyone can wake up at 4:30am-5:00am on a daily basis and simply jump into the day with both feet!  I’ve always been a morning person and find that I’m most wired and productive when I rise.  My husband, on the other hand, cannot wake up if there was a freight train passing through the house!

In light of this challenge for many people, here’s a helpful post from Planet of Success, a self-improvement blog that I follow, suggesting numerous ways to help you become a better riser.  Here’s to hoping that your mornings are easier to bear!  Enjoy.


I came acPC Magross this interesting article published by PC Magazine that shares the 19 Hidden Facebook Features You Didn’t Know About.  From learning how to download a copy of your FB data (every single picture, post, and activity you’ve made from Day 1 to today), to saving posts for reading at a later time, to leaving a legacy contact assigned (should you pass away), this article is quite insightful and it would be a shame to not spend some time learning about the cool features of a social media platform that we can’t seem to live without these days.  Be sure to go through the slideshow and review all the amazing little features that you didn’t know about.  Here’s to looking out for you!

– Marianna



Entrepreneur MagazineMerriam-Webster
dictionary defines self-awareness as the knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.   Oftentimes, we are unaware of our own thought patterns, behaviors, and reactions to different situations.  Yet becoming more aware of our actions can help us recognize some of the negative and counterproductive behaviors that might be preventing us from succeeding in life.  Entrepreneur magazine recently published an article on the 12 Self-Awareness Exercises That Fuel Success which can help us be more aware of our reactions, and assist us in overcoming the barriers that deter us from reaching our full potential.  Take some time to read the article and, if you can, take some time to apply those techniques in your life.  After all, you are worth every minute spent on developing the best version of yourself possible.  Happy reading!

– Marianna


FORBESForbes magazine recently put out an article talking about the rise is power (or importance) of the often disregarded generation: generation X.  This group of people, born between 1965-1980, are the grandkids of the baby boomers of the 40s and 50s, are outnumbered by the millenials in the workforce, and yet “not only do they now make up the majority of of managers at U.S. companies, [but] they are far more entrepreneurial than millennials, both at early ages and now.” (“Generation X’s Moment of Power Is Almost Here”. Forbes.com. 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2017.)


If you are into those monthly subscription boxes that are all the rave these days, you might want to checkout this article by Cratejoy.  There are subscriptions available for everything from beauty and fashion, to book clubs, to gaming and pets, with many of them quite affordable too.   Since we’ve just started the new year, it might be nice to subscribe to some of these surprise treats and see what they’re all about. Enjoy!


TechCrunchTechCrunch Logo recently posted a video made by one of its funny contributors, Doug, in which he demonstrates the use of thirteen useful ‘OK Google’ voice commands.  First off, I wasn’t aware that Google’s voice commands were so versatile.  There doesn’t seem to be a limit on what the voice commands can search for and provide you with.  Second, I’m impressed that Google understands what I consider to be casual speak. (I guess I was expecting a more rigid and robotic system.  Boy was I wrong!)

Take a look a Doug’s video and see what you think.  It sounds pretty cool to have your own personal Internet concierge!  After you’ve seen the video, feel free to come back to us and share the way in which you use Google’s voice command tool.  We could all benefit from any additional tips and tricks shared by Perfect-Imperfectionz followers!


If you’re like me, you tend to do nearly all your shopping online in order to avoid heading to the mall (or driving all around town for just a couple of items.)  And as we all know, online scams are unfortunately part of the norm that we live with in our interconnected world.  Online shopping is definitely not without its  risks, and Amazon (as well as many customers) recently became the victim of site-wide order processing scams that I want you to be aware of.

Forbes magazine did a nice job at explaining the way in which the Amazon scams are run, and although the article leaves the consumer a little more nervous about the online risks that a shopper is exposed to, it also brings about awareness and education so that we exercise more caution when shopping online.  Please take the time to read the article and stay vigilant about the (Amazon-listed) products you buy and the vendors you buy them from, as this can either leave you satisfied with your online shopping experience or feeling like you’ve been taken to the cleaners.  Stay alert dear friends and happy shopping!


I recently came across a news clip about a company called Paribus. This company offers consumers ‘payouts’ (or ‘refunds’) on purchases made if the item’s price drops after they’ve made the purchase.

The way this works is by allowing Paribus access to your email account (much like we do when we link, say, a Gmail or Outlook account with Yahoo!–as in my case, so that I benefit from one-stop email access).  Paribus then keeps an eye out for retailers’ receipts that are sent to your email account.  (Macy’s, Nordstrom, BestBuy and other major retailers offer this service.)  If the price you paid on an item drops within 90 days, Paribus files a refund claim on your behalf with the respective merchant and pays you the price difference minus a 25% successful claim fee.  (Fortunately, Paribus notifies you of their charges prior to filing a claim on your behalf, as the claims fee varies.)

The company has been featured on the Today show, USA Today, Good Morning America, TechCrunch Disrupt, and CNBC.  It currently has a working relationship with over two dozen major retailers which can be found on their website.

At this point I’m thinking ‘what do I have to lose?’  I certainly don’t bother to do this type of research myself!  So I’ve considered ‘hiring’ their service and am ok with their successful claim fee so long as they do all the work for me.   I’m going to give Paribus some time to work for me and I will report back to you with my results.

If you’re curious and would like to give it a try yourself, you can go to www.paribus.co, sign up, and review the details (Terms of Service and Customer Support.)

Now this is what I consider purchase price security that’s worth a try!

– Marianna
Perfect-Imperfectionz


 

Consumer Reports has recently published its Best Time to Buy Things report, where it lists the best products to purchase at deep discounts, by calendar month. Although more shopping may be the last thing on your mind after this past holiday season,  seeing the huge savings you can benefit from may not be all that bad.  Fortunately for us, we can review Consumer Reports’ article without having to purchase an online subscription to the magazine.  This is definitely worth checking out!




Lifehacker LogoKristin Wong, a writer for Lifehacker.com, recently posted an article suggesting a way for Internet users to track those companies who sell their personal and/or email information, upon registering as a new user on their site.  Data mining is nothing new and if you’ve ever registered online for a new account with a retailer, news outlet, or other Internet entity, you’ve definitely engaged in some sort of data mining list that you’re unaware of.  Here’s a suggestion on how to track those companies who sell your personal information, if you’re up for it.


Netflix Logo

As of November 30th, 2016, Netflix is allowing its subscribers to download any programming of their choice, for offline viewing.  This means that during your next carpool, bus or train ride, or even your next airline flight, you’ll be able to catch up on those shows that you never have time for, or enjoy that new series that you’ve been meaning to catch.   What a wonderful thing it is to be able to download a Netflix video and watch it on-demand, without having to have a WIFI connection.  Thank you Netflix!



Ever tbetter-amazon-product-searchake notice of the ‘You Save: $$ (x% off)‘ bit of information that Amazon provides on its products description pages?  Well, if you’re in the market for a specific product and would like to find it and an even lower price (larger % discount) simply use this special search code to get to the better prices.  Happy shopping!


sunset-beach-woman

11/18/16 – Thinking of traveling for the holidays this year?  Be sure to look at more than just the price tag.  Other things to consider include on-time  performance, in-flight products offered, and loyalty rewards program perks.  FORBES provides a good perspective on other factors that can make a traveler’s experience a better one in this 2016 holiday season.


black-friday-christmas-presents11/15/16 – 9 Ways To Hack Your Black Friday This Year

If you own a smartphone, these are the apps that will save you money and time on Black Friday:

  • Black Friday @ Deal News (iOS, Android): Use this free app to get all the breaking Black Friday ads directly on your Apple or Android device. You can even get alerts for when new Black Friday ad are released. Use the app to find the best deals early on, then plan your shopping trip accordingly.
  • ShopSavvy (iOS, Android): Use this free app to quickly scan the product’s barcode in-store and find out where it may be sold cheaper on Black Friday, including online competitors.
  • DealNews (iOS, Android): On Black Friday, and the days leading up to it, you’ll be able to use their free app to quickly check out the day’s 300 hottest deals, vetted by deal experts.
  • Rather-Be-Shopping (iOS): Get thousands of Black Friday coupons to over 900 stores, directly on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Simply show the coupon to the cashier when checking out and they’ll scan it so you can collect your savings.


lifehacker

The holidays are upon us, folks!   You can avoid some of the shopping mall madness by considering filling your loved one’s  stockings with a digital gift certificate.   Online retailers like Amazon.com ($25, $50$100) and Overstock.com make great gifts for those loved ones who already have everything they need.  Likewise, consider purchasing a digital gift certificate for frequently used apps such as Uber or Lyft, or even a digital magazine subscription for those avid readers in your life.  This article from Lifehacker.com mentions a few other ideas that are worth considering, especially if you’d like to save a little bit of your sanity for the always-eventful family holiday dinner.


KIND Snack Bar

FastCompany – 10.17.16 by Nikita Richardson and Christina Farr

Milestones: In August, Kind became the first snack manufacturer to break out its added sugar numbers, two years ahead of the FDA’s deadline to publish such information. Meanwhile, the company is rolling out new fruit bars that contain between 14% and 56% less added sugar than prior recipes.

Challenges: With U.S. sales of energy and nutrition bars hitting $2.5 billion in 2015, big players Pepsi­Co and Hershey are joining the fray with their own healthy snack brands.