Will Online Apps Prevent Consumer Waste Or Embolden Customers To Buy More Stuff?

If Apps using artificial intelligence help us all use less, share more, recycle things to others – then, will this hurt retailers and retailing due to reduced consumption? Will it prevent all the discarded waste, underutilized stuff we buy and own? Many believe it will. Take the sharing economy companies with popular apps; Lift, AirBnB, NetJet, Uber and other such concepts. Many corporations that build or manufacture vacation homes, hotels, automobiles and corporate jets are worried about their future, they see opportunities but also decreased volume, loss of economies of scale, overall "pie" reduction even if they garner a larger piece of that pie (Market Share) in such a future.

If everyone shares cars, aircraft, extra rooms, then of course; fewer rooms will be rented, and aircraft and cars purchased. This has economic implications of course, manufacturing and hospitality jobs for instance. Still, it provides efficiency to consumers, so, less waste, lower costs (due to sharing) and that is a plus positive for quality of life and higher standard of living – no need to buy an expensive car, share a car with others, or buy a corporate jet, share instead. Makes sense (cents) right, no actually it makes dollars.

Indeed the very same new communication technology to bring buyers and sellers together; Artificially Apps also make it easier for consumers to buy, and since consumers enjoy buying, this creates more purchases, more spending, and more consumerism. More consumerism means more redundancy, more waste, right? Sure, when capitalism speeds up its efficiency of exchange through digital money transfer, instance purchases, immediate delivery – we find more abundance due to increase in the ease of trade.

So, on one hand we have a threat to jobs and big changes to industries and certain sectors of our economy due to our new apps and smartphone mobile technology – and, then on the other hand we have a tool to help sell more stuff, faster and make more revenue and less cost, allowing corporations to enjoy increase shareholder's equity and quarterly profits while passing on some of that savings in lower prices to consumers.

When consumers buy more stuff, their homes fill up with more junk and each year a portion of the cluster gets donated to the local Thrift Stores. So, we should see more items that are bought by way of customer rewards programs, and apps from a certain sellers that have perfected that game. Okay so, we should be watching for lots of cheap Chinese made consumer goods showing up in mass at the second hand stores. While larger items like cars, planes, and time shares will decrease in the next couple of decades "IF" these current trends continue. Please consider all this.

Using Quotes To Compare Home Insurance Policies

Life is known for being unpredictable. As any experienced person would be more than ready to tell you, it is this unpredictability that is the cause of all types of happiness and sadness in a person's life. For example, a really dark side of this unpredictability is when it brings forth an accident which ends up damaging your house significantly. This would not only result in your sacred abode getting ruined but also lead to your future financial capabilities being damaged substantively.

However, you can nullify the majority of adverse impacts of these kinds of unpredictable accidents simply by insuring your home. An insurance policy that is designed to protect you from the financial implications of your home getting damaged would be perfect to sidestep the adverse impacts of such situations. There are primarily three different types, with one special category, of these policies that you can buy.

The first type is the buildings only policy which is designed to protect the structure of the house and not the contents inside. The second type is the contents only policies which are the opposite of buildings only policies. These policies just focus on the contents inside your home and not the structure. As is obvious, while the former is good for landlords, the latter is better suited for tenants. However, if you own the house that you are staying in then you will need a policy that provides protection for both the building and the contents of the home. Here, you will need the third variant ie the comprehensive cover policy. A typical comprehensive policy would include things such as protection for the structure of your home, cover for your belongings inside, up to an agreed amount and a variety of other things like outbuildings cover, specific valued item cover, moveable bearings cover etc. The special category of policies includes highly customisable policies which can be taken out for special situations.

Buying such types of policies used to be a major problem in the earlier years because it would mean multiple meetings with the insurance representatives and complicated paperwork. Furthermore, if you were buying such policies a few years back then you would also have to deal with the uncertainty that maybe you did not buy the best policy in the market because you would not be able to compare multiple options. In contrast, online providers with the help of their home insurance quotes modules have made it extremely easy for the end user ie you to buy these policies. All you have to do is provide the online provider with the right information and you would receive semi-formal offers from them in the form of home insurance quotes. You can, rarely, go about comparing these offers from different online providers and pick out the one that meets your needs the most.

The advantage of doing this is a lot more than just getting the best policy. As a matter of fact, you would not only get the best insurance product but would also get it for affordable rates. Making sure that you are getting cheap home insurance policies is one of the qualities of online providers that really sets them apart from other sources.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Weight Control And Your Longevity (1)

Weight control holds the key to longevity. You do not find overweight centenarians, do you? So, to live long, you need to lose weight, at least control it.

This week marked a milestone in the pharmaceutical industry: the launching of the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight-loss drug – ALLI. It has already created a sensation in the media: a multi-million advertising campaign for a multi-billion drug for millions of consumers craving for a miracle drug that would stave off their craving for food.

This sensation created by ALLI goes to show how desperate consumers are in their search for the holy grail of a weight-loss drug. With the blessing from the FDA, many consumers seem to have the illusion that they can now continue their binge without adding weight – something akin to "no pain and no gain."

ALLI is no magic bullet. "This is not a pill, it's a plan," says Pat Barid, a registered dietitian and consultant for the drug manufacturer. Similarly, the drug is efficient in guiding and preparing you to lose weight gradually by eating smaller portions, following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, and becoming more physically active. If that is the scenario, then why do you need to take the drug? A drug is still a drug, which is a chemical – you do not take it unless you absolutely have to.

Ah, but you want to lose weight – and you want to eat to your heart content too !. In other words, you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can do that at the expense of gaining unwanted weight. It is not only a dilemma but also a frustration.

Focusing on losing weight is like running after a red herring – it is frustrating and futile.

Why?

The bathroom scale just indicates your body weight, and that that is all. It does not tell you how much fat or muscle you may have lost during a given diet. It may not even tell if you are healthy or not, unless you are grossly overweight. Therefore, do not become obsessed with your weight. After all, your body weight always fluctuates – which is a fact, and which is very normal.

When you go on any diet, your body's metabolism immediately starts to react and to slow down, and that accounts for the initial weight loss in any diet program – so do not be overjoyed and jump to the conclusion that it works. It is only a self-delusion: initially your body loses only water, not your body fat.

Given that lean muscle mass requires calories at times of rest, the amount of muscle you maintain directly affects your metabolism in a positive way. You burn calories while you sleep. In other words, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism rate is, and the more calories you will burn. The converse is also true: as you lose your muscle mass, your metabolism rate decreases, and so does your weight-loss rate. That explains why you would stop losing weight after have been on any weight-loss program. On the other hand, fat, being inert, has little or no effect whatever on your body's rate of metabolism. These are the fundamentals for better understanding of how weight loss occurs.

The maximum amount of weight (fat or muscle) you can actually lose in one day is about one half pound. Since your body is about 60 percent water and one gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, any additional weight loss greater than one half pound may only be water, and not your body fat. Therefore, when your body replaces the water lost, weight gain will re-occur, and you are right back to where you started at an unhealthy weight. Does that sound familiar to you?

Consider this: 3,500 calories equal one pound of your body weight.

Do your math: To lose 10 pounds, you have to expend 35,000 more calories than you consume; and to lose 10 pounds in two weeks, you need to burn 2,500 more calories a day. You know very well that it is not a piece of cake! That explains why you forever can not lose your weight, not to mention controlling it. So forget about weight loss!

Losing weight is forever "impossible" to many individuals because they have become obsessed with numbers. They are forever playing the losing game of numbers. They have to count their calories, their carbohydrates, and their proteins, among others. Profit-making diet plans allure them with numbers, both "hard" and "soft" data, to the land of myths and fallacies, where they end up only in frustration and disappointment.

Remember this simple factor: Weight loss occurs only when the calories you consume are less than the calories you use up. This is the most important factor in weight loss, also one most difficult to achieve. Trying to circumvent it with state of the art is nothing short of impossibility. That is why most weight-loss plans are always about counting calories: giving you a calorie chart, calculating your daily total calorie need, and then instructing you to eat less than that, hoping against hope that your weight will drop dramatically.

So how to lose weight without drugs? Read Part Two of this article.