Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stanton Str8-150 review

If for some reason I had to buy a new turntable, my current favorite turntable is the Stanton Str8-150 (as NUMARK TURNTABLES ). It’s a Super OEM turntable like the rest of the market, and there’s nothing special about it outside of having the most features for the lowest cost that I’ve found. Super OEMs share the same great torque, and a nice platter that feels similar to a 1200. So, if you can find another Super OEM with the following features at the same price or lower, it’s probably a good buy.
Here are the key features for me:
  • Straight arm: This is the different between the Str8-150 and ST-150 models. In my experience, straight arms are superior for general DJ use and performance. They give you more room to move your hand on the record, and they skip less. The only deal breaker for a straight arm is that you can’t use elliptical needles due to the angle, and they’re quite a bit harder on your vinyl. So if you’re still spinning real vinyl often, or archiving vinyl, go for the S-arm. Nowadays most DJs either use DVS records or scratch records, both of which are easy to replace, so record burn isn’t a big downside.
  • Independent start/brake time adjustment knobs: Some of the other Super OEM models don’t have this, and they stop really quickly before you get the classic vinyl brake sound, making them almost into a mute button. So for me this is important.
  • Two brakes: Most turntables only have the brake on the right side. Having two brakes makes it so you have a brake handy no matter which side of the turntable your hand is. This is more important if you’re doing turntablist routines or something more performance intensive, but it’s handy nonetheless. The downside is if you still use Dicers, you can’t put them in the 45 adapter slot because there is none.
  • Specific playback controls: reverse, pitch lock (reset). 78 RPM. All features that you may not use every day but many other Super OEMs left one or more of them out.
Here are the downsides:
  • They are the heaviest turntables I’ve ever felt. If you’re gigging or constantly moving them, that can be a bit of a pain. However, some argue that the weight causes better isolation from vibration, so maybe this is a good thing. Just something to be aware of.
  • The buttons are cheap and break down. This isn’t a Str8-150 specific issue, many Super OEMs have the same buttons, but I own three of these turntables and the buttons are becoming less responsive on all three of them, namely the 33/45 buttons but they’re all identical.
So in short, out of all the Super OEMs the Stanton Str8-150s are near the bottom in price, and near the top in amount of features. Given that they all have the same parts inside, this is the only thing that matters. But note that there are many brands that have put out Super OEMs, so if you find one with straight arm, start/brake time controls, 2 brakes, and the other playback controls, you can probably assume it’s just as good.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Trump Is About to Stifle U.S. Solar Power. Why?

In a small Oval Office meeting this summer, President Donald Trump lashed out at his senior economic advisers for their tepidness on trade policy. After grumbling disapprovingly about the “globalists in the room,” Trump reportedly looked to his newly appointed Chief of Staff John Kelly and made a demand: “I want tariffs. And I want someone to bring me some tariffs.”

He now seems to be getting what he wanted.

Last week, the administration announced it will hit the Canadian manufacturer Bombardier with a 220% tariff on its aircraft. Just days earlier, the International Trade Commission opened the door for Trump to levy tariffs on imported solar panels (like SUNJACK 14W PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER )—a more sweeping trade policy shift. White House aides say Trump is 90% likely to enact solar tariffs through his authority under a 1974 law.

After decades of manufacturing job losses under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)-style agreements, it’s potentially positive that policymakers are considering all options on trade. But the looming solar tariffs aren’t about industrial jobs or Chinese competition or trade fairness—they’re about protecting fossil fuel interests and blocking Americans from harnessing the power of the sun.

Unlike aircraft manufacturing—in which the U.S. has world leaders like Boeing—there’s little existing American manufacturing capacity in solar. While it’s conceivable that tariffs could lead to some new domestic panel production, this is uncertain. What is clear is that with the proposed $0.40 per watt tariff for solar cells and a floor price of $0.78 per watt for solar modules, prices for most solar installations would roughly double. According to a recent study from Greentech Media, these trade policy changes would likely halt two-thirds of U.S. solar installation through 2022.

While Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement was mostly symbolic, this potential action against clean energy would have measurable destructive impacts on the climate. The world has been banking on residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar as important drivers of U.S. emissions reductions.

Trump purportedly wants tariffs to promote domestic job creation and economic growth. But by these yardsticks, solar tariffs would be self-defeating. According to recent studies, a substantial tariff could lead to the loss of 88,000 solar energy jobs out of an estimated 260,000 in the U.S. today. By comparison, there are only 54,000 coal mining jobs in the entire country. Because solar generation is dispersed across homes and businesses—not concentrated in mines, refining facilities, and power plants—it supports lots of local jobs in design, sales, finance, installation, and maintenance.

For Trump, solar tariffs probably seem like a win-win: a chance to look tough on China and other big manufacturing competitors while giving a gift to political supporters in the fossil fuel industry.

But on a closer look, restricting the growth of solar would present him with some serious headaches. Even many red state Republicans will wince at the local job losses that would come from these tariffs. Solar is no longer just a California dream: It has been taking hold rapidly in places like Texas, Utah, Georgia, and Indiana. Despite the polarized politics of climate change, 72% of Republicans still want to accelerate the growth of renewable energy options, according to a recent study from the conservative ClearPath Foundation. Look at the emergence of transpartisan energy reform movements like the Green Tea Party—a band of green groups and Tea Partiers that fight government regulations on rooftop solar.

Even the Heritage Foundation, the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council, and other right-wing organizations have joined environmental groups in opposing the tariffs on the basis of free trade ideology. Eli Lehrer, president of the libertarian R Street Institute, called the solar case “an example of the worst kind of trade protectionism.”

If Trump really wants to expand American solar manufacturing, there are plenty of ways to do it. For example, he could direct the money collected from existing solar tariffs to the development of domestic solar manufacturing; he could work to extend solar Investment Tax Credits that are set to scale down soon; or he could apply what’s worked in other countries in terms of strengthening the solar manufacturing supply chain and investing in the right research and development.

There’s certainly a case for calling out the “globalists” on trade. Over the past decade and a half of laissez faire trade policies, the U.S. has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs. But these facts are not a free pass for policies that would demonstrably destroy jobs and environmental progress.

Americans are still processing September’s split-screen images of record wildfires and hundred-year hurricanes. Puerto Rico is still in an unprecedented state of emergency after the latest Category Four storm. This is not the moment for policies that would willfully stifle the rise of renewable energy.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

7 things you didn't know about where solar energy is headed

Solar energy is becoming more diverse than rooftop panels on houses. It has become a consistent source of innovation in the U.S., guiding the flow of research dollars and policies that even the Trump administration can't seem to dodge — and is even embracing.
President Trump went as far as suggesting the idea of integrating solar panels into his border wall with Mexico after reportedly cribbing it from Las Vegas architect Thomas Gleason.

Gleason's architecture firm submitted a proposed solar border fence to the Department of Homeland Security, telling Business Insider that he had been batting around the idea "for months" and knew a few people in contact with Trump who could get the proposal in front of the president.

Gleason said the wall would take about 20 years to build, but it wouldn't be able to generate stable amounts of electricity. The Mexican border is far from a straight line, and light intensity changes from month to month, which could complicate his calculations. Gleason said his company hasn't received the go-ahead from the federal government to conduct a full evaluation of the plan.

One of the big drawbacks to solar is its intermittency, since solar panels (for example: RENOGY 100 WATT SOLAR PANEL KIT ) generate electricity only when the sun is shining. There are exceptions, such as big solar thermal plants. But those are utility-scale projects the size of small towns. Typically, smaller solar cells on a single-family home, for example, cannot generate energy when the sun goes down.

Much of the money being spent on research is aimed at solving those fundamental problems with solar electricity, with companies all over the world pushing new technologies to make solar more reliable and cheaper.

1. Prince of solar

Before his death, Prince quietly funneled millions of dollars into solar energy research. (AP Photo)

Solar energy received a lot of support from the late music icon Prince, according to Van Jones, former President Barack Obama's former green jobs adviser and a CNN commentator.

Before his death, Prince had been quietly funneling millions of dollars into solar energy research. By the time he died in April 2016, Prince had contributed $25 million. He was sending the millions to a for-profit investor group called Powerhouse that connects solar energy entrepreneurs to investors.

Prince sought out Jones when he was still working in the Obama White House to understand how he could support solar energy development.

"He asked, ‘If I have a quarter-million dollars, what can I do with it?'" Jones said in a recent interview with the Daily Good online magazine. "My wife said he should put solar panels all over Oakland, [Calif]."

2. Solar crystal power

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is developing an advanced crystal that could be the answer to making rooftop solar panels a continuous source of electricity and heat in the not-too-distant future.

The solar crystals do something that no other solar panel can do: They can produce up to 1,000 degrees Celsius worth of heat.

​"Because heat is easier to store than electricity, it should be possible to divert excess amounts generated by the device to a thermal storage system, which could then be used to produce electricity even when the sun isn't shining," according to the MIT Technology Review. "If the researchers can incorporate a storage device and ratchet up efficiency levels, the system could one day deliver clean, cheap — and continuous — solar power."

However, the MIT crystal orbs are "still a crude prototype," with an operating efficiency of about 6.8 percent. Silicon solar cells on houses are at the most about 20 percent efficient at converting sunlight into electricity currently. But with tweaks, the efficiency of the MIT heat crystals could be increased to "roughly twice as efficient as conventional photovoltaics," according to the journal.

3. Tiny and everywhere

Solar technology is proving to be increasingly adaptable to overlapping with other seemingly unrelated digital technologies.

For example, a new development in solar energy is nanotechnology, the latest trend in the push to displace fossil fuels with more renewables. And it could mean micro-solar panels on everything from smart phones to children's toys in the near future.

In Europe, 3-D printers are able to turn out ultra-thin solar cells that are no thicker than a human hair.

A European renewable energy conference this summer in the EU's sun capital of Malta featured discussions on new energy technologies to solve the issue of renewable energy intermittency and replacing the electric demand from home appliances with distributed energy production from printed solar panels.

"Nanotechnology as a field has an enormous role to play in moving our planet to sustainable and intelligent living," said professor Martin Curley from Maynooth University in Ireland, addressing the EuroNanoForum.

4. Ikea solar

Ikea recently announced that it will begin selling solar power for houses. (AP Photo)

Ikea is getting into the renewable energy business, announcing recently that it will begin selling solar power for houses, beginning in the United Kingdom.

The big-box furniture store from Sweden also could set up shop in the U.S. in the future, although continental Europe is probably first on its list of destinations.

The company is not producing its own line of solar panels, but has teamed up with a solar power company from England called Solarcentury.

Installation and set-up costs $4,000, which would make switching to solar panels achievable for many budgets.

The decision for a furniture retailer to begin selling solar panels came a few months after Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and Solar City, announced he will begin selling solar roof shingles.

5. Solar shingles

Musk's solar shingles can cover the entire rooftop, greatly expanding the electricity-generating square footage of a house over conventional solar rooftop panels that are fixed to a few areas of the home.

The "solar glass" panels are supposed to be more durable than normal shingles. The Tesla Solar Roof website shows how they stand up to hail balls being shot at them side-by-side with normal slate and tile shingles. The normal tiles explode, while the solar glass shingles show no damage.

There are multiple styles: textured, smooth, slate, and coming next year, terracotta-styled "tuscan."

"Solar Roof complements your home's architecture while turning sunlight into electricity," according to Tesla, which uses the new product to complement its line of energy storage battery packs that are also meant to integrate into a home like a painting on the wall.

"With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility," the website says.

6. Solar flowers bloom

SmartFlower Solar calls its mobile power plants an all-in-one solar energy system. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

An Austrian solar energy company is gaining attention in the U.S. for its solar energy flower, a miniature power plant that can sit outside a house or office to provide more electricity than conventional rooftop panels.

The compact "SmartFlower" tracks the sun throughout the day on a rotating turbine, whereas rooftop photovoltaic solar panels are static and cannot take advantage of the sun as it moves from east to west.

Florida State University this month unveiled its "SmartFlower" solar panels, which it will be deploying on its Tallahassee campus.

The company, SmartFlower Solar, calls its mobile power plants an all-in-one solar energy system. It offers two models, the standard model that produces power when the sun is shining and the Plus model that produces electricity day and night because of its added battery storage.

Because the smart flowers aren't fixed to one's home, they are mobile and can be moved from house to house.

7. Big is also beautiful

The U.S. is swiftly becoming a leader in building utility-scale solar power plants, with the California company Solar Reserve this month securing a 20-year contract with the government of South Australia to build and operate a huge solar thermal power plant.

The state premier said the plant in Port Augusta will be the biggest of its kind in the world, while other public officials said the power plant places the country's powerful coal industry on notice.

The company prides itself on being able to build solar power plants that deliver electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the sun isn't shining.

Solar Reserve's technology has the ability to store thermal energy that it can use during the night to run a boiler, like a coal plant, to produce electricity — except its boiler sits atop tall towers the height of the Statue of Liberty. Thousands of controlled mirrors beam sunlight at the top of the towers to boil liquid salt that is used to produce steam to run a turbine and generate power that it sends to the electric grid.

The company's Crescent Dunes plant in Nevada was the first in the world to use molten salt to store thermal energy during the day to produce power at night. The Nevada plant is one of many the company is building around the world.

Its main rival, Brightsource Energy, built the Ivanpah solar thermal plant it California that uses a similar system, but without the ability to produce electricity at night. Congressional Republicans had criticized Ivanpah for costing too much and harming migratory birds by incinerating them in flight. But the plant is still operating as the first of its kind and largest in the world. And demand for U.S. solar thermal plants appears to be increasing. The Solar Reserve plant at Port Augusta is set to dethrone Ivanpah as the largest.

Tom Koutsantonis, a member of parliament representing South Australia, said the Solar Reserve plant would make coal power plants obsolete in the country.

"A shiver has just gone up the coal generation industry's spine," he tweeted. "Solar thermal just won a competitive tender for baseload generation in SA."

The plant will provide 150 megawatts of electricity and cost $650 million to build. The power output is only a small fraction of a coal plant, but so is the cost. It is scheduled to open next year.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why Vaporizers Are Better Than Humidifiers

Vaporizers have lengthy coexisted with their sibling products humidifiers. In fact, some people believe they are exactly the same. Some individuals contact the latter items cool mist vaporizers for sale. And the former hot humidifiers.

Both vaporizers e cigarette and humidifiers support with creating the atmosphere we breathe more comforting. But vaporizers e liquid have an edge on humidifiers overall. Need to know why? Read on to learn.

First of all is cost. Because vaporizers shop are less complex to generate they prove to be cheaper than most humidifiers. Not only that but they also are generally less large as well.

The main criticism against humidifiers could be the shapes that develop within them. Along with the shapes, they eventually scatter all around the place. A humidifier that's managed significantly less than completely is a form scattering equipment. A vaporizers shop to the other-hand kills bacteria and shapes also before they're launched for the atmosphere.

Vaporizers  may be used to on medicated vapors. Some humidifiers have already been built to expel soy water-but do not come close to the medicated recipes generally designed for many vaporizers for sale.

Somewhat truth about humidifiers is that they cause tiny small water locations on shiny furniture to the bedroom they are fitted in. These water areas are so good which you'll only notice them on fragile and costly furniture. After they emerge and harden they can ruin your furniture or other clean gleaming surfaces you value.

The thing that humidifiers have over vaporizers e liquid is the fact that they are better. Given that they don't depend on large boiling temperatures release a water vapor they do not cause being a danger to burning like vaporizers e cigarette do.

A properly placed vaporizers e liquid will reduce that danger. When you are after a greater solution then you understand what is best. The next time you're in times where you'd to select one-over-one other then do you know what to acquire.
vaporizers for sale

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I have a treat for y’all today. I was given a SunJack last month to test out and review. If you’ve been looking to add one of these to your preps, read on. This solar charger ( SUNJACK 20W PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER)  rocks! Now, first, some caveats. My family is NOT heavy on battery powered devices. Hubby and I share a dum-phone. The kids don’t have phones. We have 1 Tablet and 1 mp3 player. It’s also been the rainiest, cloudiest summer EVER up here in Iowa. So, my apologies to the GigaWatt rep, for the time it took to get this review posted. It was an honest struggle to get devices that needed charging and sunny days.

By Calamity Jane, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Especially with how fast the SunJack recharged them. I’d work for days to get the mp3 player to a low battery state and then the Sunjack battery would have it back to full in just a couple of hours. And the massive battery pack with the Sunjack barely even used 20% of its charge to do that. It took multiple charges of multiple devices to get the SunJack battery to the point where I needed to recharge it in sunlight. A good problem to have.
What’s In The Box

Let’s go back for a minute though, “What comes out of the box?” you might be wondering. A great looking solar panel, folded accordion style. This looks tough but polished, the stitching looks solid, and the mesh pocket seems sturdy. The plug ins are well labeled and the wires seem of good quality. There is a battery pack, heavy, but not terribly big. That’s a child’s hand in the picture above showing the SunJack battery pack next to our mp3 player. The battery pack indicates charge level with some awesomely bright blue LEDs. And speaking of LED’s a bright LED light is one of the options with this SunJack, and it’s a nice one.

Also Read: BirkSun Solar Backpack

The LED light is so bright, my family literally complained about it and asked me to take it to a different room. I ran the light for an hour and the battery pack only went down 25%. So I’m betting you can use this light for 4 or 5 hours off a full charge. The light has a couple of downsides though, it’s a round light bulb shape, which means you can’t just set it somewhere. It has a hanging handle, but it’s not very big, and it comes with little D-rings, but be prepared with some paracord or something to hang it in a good spot. It’s a corded light, the cord is really long, but you’ve still got to keep the light connected to the big battery pack. I’m thinking I’ll whip up a carry bag to solve these downsides in a way that makes it useful for my family.

The battery pack really makes this solar charger a winner. I’ve been looking at other solar chargers, and probably half the ones I looked at didn’t come with batteries, so they would only provide power when the sun shines.
Off Grid Ready

The SunJack portable solar charger by GigaWatt is an off-the-grid charging solution for environmentally conscience consumers, military and government, travelers, medical and outdoor professionals, and emergency preparedness kits. SunJack can charge any USB device – phones, tablets, GPS, cameras, speakers, lights, and more – making it easy-to-use for the outdoor enthusiast, road warrior, field professional or a city dweller.

How long does it take to charge something? From my experiments, it took the same amount of time to charge a device from the battery as it would take to charge a device from a wall socket. So a couple of hours was sufficient to charge the mp3 player straight from the charged SunJack battery pack. Honestly, I don’t track how long these sorts of things take when they are plugged into the wall, so I didn’t care overly much about how long it took. But it was nice it didn’t take an excessively long time either.

You’ll want to try and aim to charge devices from the battery pack whenever you can. (As opposed to charging them from the solar panel.) Here’s why. I plugged the tablet into the solar panel, and took it outside. Immediately I was reminded of an owners manual warning against leaving the device in direct sun. So then I got a bag to place the tablet in so that it wouldn’t be in the direct sun, and it would also have some protection against dust and damp. Then I had to do the sun dance, where for the next 4 hours I moved both the panel and the tablet around my front lawn to dodge the tree shade. Sometimes it was on the porch, and that felt fine, but other times it was off the porch and I felt nervous. If we lived in an area with more crime, I would have been unhappy to have the tablet that far from the house. All that said, it did charge the tablet, straight from sunshine, which was AWESOME. It wasn’t as fast as plugging the tablet into the wall, mostly I think because of the shade that kept creeping up on the panel.

Also Read: Goal Zero Guide 10 Review

I think my plan from here on out though will be to charge the battery pack with the solar panel, then take everything inside to charge my devices. Losing a solar panel to thieves would be bad enough, losing a panel and a tablet to thieves would be twice as bad. After only 5 hours of direct sunlight, the 14 watt SunJack can power either 4 iPhones, 0.7 iPads or over 3.5 hours of LED light. Unlike many other chargers, the SunJack 20W Kit includes 2 batteries enabling you to simultaneously power 4 to 6 USB devices at a rate equal to on-grid charge speed (2 Amp).

Technical Specifications – Sunjack Tablet (20W)

Solar panels: 20 watts of high efficiency mono-crystalline

Max output voltage/current: Two 5V/2A USB ports

Battery: Two 8,000mAh lithium-polymer batteries

Size folded: 7.5” x 10” x 1.5” (19.05cm x 25.40cm x 3.81cm)

Size unfolded: 35.5” x 10” x 1.5” (90.17cm x 25.40cm x 3.81cm)

Weight: 2.7lbs (1224.70grams)
My Plan

Where do I see myself using this? Where don’t I see myself using this? I’ll probably take it camping, we don’t always get electric sites. It would come in handy during any duration of grid down. Although, charging the battery before a blizzard hits could be problematic, if I don’t have it done before the clouds roll in. But, there are grid down situations in sunny weather too, and I expect those will become more frequent as climate gets weirder and the grid gets older and the population gets ever larger. I would definitely take it on a bug out, especially if I thought my phone would be useful at some point for reconnecting with friends and family.

Like a lot of other preps I think the key will be to integrate it into my routines with the various devices, so that it’s the norm for the SunJack battery pack to be charged and ready, and the charging area is set up to work well for both plugging into the grid and plugging into the SunJack. Carting charging cables to and fro is just a recipe to lose them. Better to have it all in one place and set up to use both sources of power.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Guest Post: Metal Roofing - How to Finding Responsible Metal Roofing Contractor

You remember the day when one of your friends mentioned something about the benefits of a new metal roof and how great it was. At that moment you thought your friend must have been clueless on a subject matter of metal roofing in New York City, or else they would have never even consider making such a silly statement! After all, how can one imagine putting a metal roof on a house, when it probably makes loud noises when it is raining out. Not only that, a having metal on your roof would certainly make your house look like some sort of agricultural barn!

This is Absurd! So, you have simply dismissed your friend's roofing views as uneducated and silly until the day when you became a believer yourself.

Oh man, That roof is so beautiful! And, Oh wait a minute, is that metal?
Shortly after the silly roofing conversation with your friend has been almost forgotten, you have found yourself driving on your sub urban road to a friend's house when your attention was suddenly drawn to beautiful house standing magnificently among other homes on that street. At that moment, you also realized that it was the unusually sharp looking roof that has drawn your attention and made the house look so appealing that you just had to take a closer look! Suddenly, you found yourself pulling over off to the side of the road, despite the fact that you were already running late to your friends' planned get together party. You had one of those moments when you simply had to stop, and look at this unusual roof. You walked up to the house to get a better look at the roof.

Standing just some 15 feet away from the roof you could see the beautiful lines of cedar shake design and the playful reflectance of the sun. You realized the roof you were looking at, was unlike any other roof you have seen before it had a beautiful look of ceder shake shingle, but you could not quite tell what it was made out of. Or, could you? After going through many known types of roofing materials mentally, you realized that this could in roof looked nothing like what you imagined it would look like.

It is not exactly what you had in mind!
You were very surprised, even astonished to learn that a roof covered with metal can look so magnificent. After all, you have always pictured metal roofs as gray colored and rusty corrugated steel roof coverings over agricultural barns and old industrial buildings. You have heard all the rumors about the loud noises they produce when it is raining, and the danger of lightning that they can attract. However, this residential metal roof looked nothing like the image you had programmed in your mind, in fact it was the total opposite of it. It had the beautiful lines created by the well thought design of metal shingle tiles, metal ridge cap and the quality of a metal flashing detail.

Another discovery you have made was that, it was not the house itself, that was magnificent, in fact the house was rather average, but it was the metal roof that made the house look like a million bucks.

Paradigm Shift
Perhaps you were not a believer just yet, but there was something that has shifted in your view towards metal roofing New York City, the old barn metal roofing prejudice was evaporating, and the new curious interest in metal roofing was born. You told your friends about the metal roof you saw, and they were quite surprised to hear about it. All but one of them, did not have much to say about it. But, a friend of yours who tried to tell you about benefits of metal roofs before, said "See, bud, you were making fun of it, and now you are all excited about it." Indeed, your views were beginning to change. In fact, you were now becoming so curious about metal roofing that you decided to speak with a knowledgeable contractor who installs metal roofing in New York City.

Not your typical roofing job
Your friend told you that metal roofing installation is totally different form conventional roofing and that your regular roofer does not know how to install a metal roof. In fact, he told you a story of man who had conventional roofing contractor install a metal roof for somebody he knew and it was a disaster. Roofing contractor who did the installation did not know what he was doing and performed an incorrect installation. As a result, the roof was leaking badly, and a new experienced metal roofer had to be brought on the job to undo the damage, and reinstall the system from a scratch. Your friend explained to you that people who claim that metal roofing is easier to install than a conventional roof, have never installed one, and use hearsay as their frame of reference, Their misguided beliefs confuse other people and cost industry a lot money in poor and sometimes outright wrong quality of roofing installation.

If you want it done right, then you better find a contractor who is certified and specializes in metal.

The moral of your friend's story and its lesson was clear, it is better to invest time and energy to find a qualified metal roofing contractor to install your roof in the first place than, it is to hire the wrong crew that has never installed a metal roof before, and will treat it as another asphalt shingle "get it done in one day" project. Now, that there were no questions remaining as to the importance of hiring a roofing company that specializes in metal roofing, your friend advised you to use a Roofing Contractors directory broken down into categories by specialties; metal roofing contractor companies organized by location in the U.S, and by specialty categories such as standing seam and metal shingle installers.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Social Media 101 For Business

Social Media 101 For Business

A social media panel at a bowling alley? Yes, that’s how I started my Thursday morning this week, thanks to WCCO Radio (Minneapolis/St, Paul) which was host to a panel on Social Media for Business at Pinstripes in Edina.

Esteemed panelists included several familiar faces and brands including MIMA Board members: Brent Shiely (@brentshiely), Technology Director at General Mills; Ryan Arnholt (@arbenangstrom), Director of Interactive Marketing at OptumHealth; Jill Gutterman (@gigutterman), Director of Interactive Marketing at Rasmussen College; Tim Brunelle (@tbrunelle), CEO of Hello Viking. Bryan C. Del Monte of the Del Monte Agency (a sponsor) was also on the panel.

An informal poll of the audience revealed that just about everyone in the audience of 250 or so was on Facebook and LinkedIn had even better participation. There were far fewer people on Twitter and only a handful had “checked in” on Foursquare.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Content Marketing Optimization: 8 Content Ideas for Business Blogs

8 Content Ideas for Business Blogs

At the SES conference this week I gave several presentations on Content Marketing: “Content Marketing Optimization” and “The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing”. In the CMO session, I provided SEO tips for each spoke in a hub and spoke model. The hub in this situation was a blog and one of the most common issues with business blog success is fresh content. In fact, one of the most common reasons companies don’t start a blog is over their concerns with creating useful content.

I can empathize with that concern and have addressed it with many companies over the past 7+ years that I’ve been blogging. To help anyone interested in ideas for creating business blog content, check out the following 8 tips. They’ve worked for us and for many of our clients and may very well work for you too.

Oreo Cookie News Posts – Set up Google Alerts for keywords you’re tracking and when an article or blog post surfaces that meets your editorial criteria, excerpt in a blog post using your own intro and conclusion. That’s the “oreo cookie”, sandwiching a portion of the Google Alert with your own copy setting up why it’s important and your own conclusion or opinion. Always cite the source of course.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

35 Smart Social Media Business & Consumer Insights from @BrianSolis

Engage or Die

35 Smart Social Media Business & Consumer Insights from @BrianSolis

1. Our opportunity with social media is to do something more meaningful than just “marketing”.

2. Social media is not here to save you. It’s not here to make your business matter again. That’s your job. Social media are the tools to help you connect and engage.

3. Each social platform is its own community. What we do on the social web isn’t about social media at large, but cultivating community within each distinct platform. If this was easy, we wouldn’t be here.

4. Where to start: What makes you/your business so special?

5. This is not a social destination situation. On the social web, you’ve really go to be compelling to engage or visitors will just leave and go somewhere else.

6. Social media is an earned privilege. It’s not a right, but a rite of passage. We have to compete for that Like or Follow every single day.