Category Archives: Business

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast?  What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?

IMG_2441A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop.  You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.

We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways!  Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.

Self Cleaning Fish Aquarium

This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out.  You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants.  The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.

Learn more at The Grommet.

Fight Crime with a Fashionable Hair Clip

first_sign_clip-3The First Sign Hair Clip was designed by Rachel Emanuele as a tool to protect women from violent crime.  The clip can attach to hair or even a purse strap, and then detects through algorithm  if you are being attacked (it knows the difference between a violent attack, a bump on the head, or jogging for instance).  It also has a panic button you can push in case of danger as well.  The included app collects data as evidence such as where you are, records your conversation, notifies authorities that a crime is being committed, and sends out a verbal message saying you have been located and help is on the way (thus possibly scaring away the attacker so no more harm is done, but also gathering information about him for prosecution).

Here’s the background story

You can reserve a clip for yourself or a loved one, and bring this hair clip to market through your contributions to this  Indigogo account.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article on Impact Sensing Hair Clip Helps Fight Violent Crime.

Public urinal goes green

pplanterWhat happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal?  The PPlanter.

The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands.  The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank.  From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.

I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic.  According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women.  Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that.  But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

25 year old starts innovative ride-where-you-want bus system

Due to severe Detroit city cutbacks, the bus system didn’t meet the needs of the community.  So 25 year old Andy Didorosi bought a bus and started his own innovative transportation company.  He uses an app that lets riders know exactly when the bus will arrive, creating a new kind of transit system that only runs when and where it’s needed.

Another goal of Mr. Didorosi and his now public/private partnership with The Skillman Foundation, is to get not only people to work, but the elderly and disabled to their appointments, and kids safely to after school programs.  With that in mind, he’s created an online portal to show parents every after school program available for the kids by region, and has worked with these programs to create bus stops convenient to both the kids as well as the programs themselves – and this after school transportation is FREE to the students.  By creating only the routes needed, the savings are nearly 90% of what a traditional transportation system costs!

The Detroit Bus Company runs on bio fuels, technology, and lots of community support.  Read more about this innovative founder and community transportation idea here.

My son is not going to college

Toby dressed as the 'Repair Wizard' at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education.  He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers.  His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so.   As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages.  He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website.  He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.

As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software.  Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”

He’s got a point there.

He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner.  He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes.  He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself).  He is calm about this.  He is focused.  I’m the one freaking out inside.  I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s  (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.

My child has his own vision.  I trust my son and support his wisdom.  And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt.  That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.

Make your own prosthetics for less then $10

Using free internet plans, your local 3D printer, and less than $10 for materials you can make your own hand prosthetics (what currently cost $20,000 ready-made).  Here’s what curiosity, collaboration, and a little love can do.

Can a toy help girls build our future?

GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.

Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build.  Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.

debt collection agency as heros?

The future of debt collection is customer care. In this video, an innovative business leader carves out a practical way to not only make more money, but make a difference.

Do-it-yourself furniture is open source

opendesk-3This do-it-yourself furniture design can be downloaded for local manufacture, and is the start of a very cool idea.  In it’s current rendition, there’s a fair amount of wood waste, but what if future furniture designed created less waste because it was square instead of round?  I like that the pieces fit together in such a way that you don’t need other tools.  I like that you can use whatever is your favorite local material, and give local business a leg up, instead of manufacturing in far away countries and then $hipping the products to you.  Maybe this software and technology could be used to create components for my Build-a-Building idea?

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Over 40 Fashions | women 40+ wearing/sharing clothes we like

Barb Hughes 2013

I finally did it!  Finally was able to change over the old Over 40 Fashions iweb site to a modern site with a lot more functionality and ease of use!  You can now search for styles by category  (tops, bottoms, accessories etc.) and also by tag (body shape and possibly other tags in the future).  Thank you for being so encouraging of my little volunteer experiment since 2009, allowing women of all sizes to show off fashions they like from their own closets.  Women 40+ get to play dress-up, share what works for them, educate women of all ages on what stands the test of time, as well as encourage each other.  Instead of trying to fit into styles/shapes/sizes/trends that aren’t flattering anymore (and were they even flattering back then anyway?), we are showing what DOES look flattering now, what we enjoy, and telling why we enjoy it. If you have arthritic feet and can’t wear high heels anymore..what cute shoes CAN you wear?  Show them off!

On Over 40 Fashions, we share what we like and give our opinions so we can get great new ideas on where to shop to find styles, colors, sizes, and fashions that work for us.  I’m also hoping the fashion industry and advertisers catch on and start using real women 40+ of all shapes and sizes as their models (if you model on this site, you’ll be getting exposure to that very industry…so if you’ve ever wanted to be a model, here’s your audition:) This is why I say “If you don’t see someone who looks like you as a model, then we need YOU to contribute!”  Plus, tell your friends you’re an international (internet) fashion model – how fun is THAT?

I’m looking for clothing advertisers who want to reach the 40+ female to sponsor/advertise.  I’ve been hosting and honing Over 40 Fashions since 2009 as a hobby and feel it’s to the place where it can make a larger impact.  On another note, I’ve had people asking where they could donate, so I’ve included a donation entry on the paypal button under the sponsor link.  If you feel you’ve learned something new from this site, or want to say ‘thank you’ for the opportunity for women of all shapes and sizes to be seen and heard, feel free to donate a few bucks if you feel so inclined.

I’m so happy for those excited to share this journey.  Please subscribe using the subscribe button on the Over 40 Fashions website so you can get all posts immediately and you don’t miss anything.  Tell your friends.  And please, be a model!

Sincerely,

Barb Hughes, founder and instigator of Over 40 Fashions

via Over 40 Fashions | women 40+ wearing/sharing clothes we like.

P.S.  this may mean some of the fashion ideas that I previously blogged about will only be seen on the Over 40 Fashions site in the future.

 

 

TomTato plant grows both tomatoes AND potatoes

This is not a genetic hybrid, but created with the age-old method of grafting by hand the top of a cherry tomato plant to the roots of a white potato plant, so that a single plant produces both tomatoes and potatoes at the same time.

UK Horticulture company Thompson and Morgan states that the Brix (sugar content) of the TomTato’s fruit is higher than most supermarket tomatoes, and the potatoes are fine for boiling, mashing, or roasting.  At this time the TomTato is only available in the UK, but the BBC reports that another such plant has been released in New Zealand, made by the company Incredible Edibles, and known as the Potato Tom.

Can’t wait for the US to develop such a plant – I’ve always had good luck with cherry tomatoes, but never with potatoes.  Maybe if I had a plant like this I could easily grow both on my little city lot – or better yet in a pot?

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

drug-free pain relief in seconds

bolt tapeBack in December 2012 I wrote about Dr. Dean Clark, a chiropractor who was in the process of developing a new pain relief/healing modality called Bolt Tape.  Well, it’s on the market now!   It’s been clinically proven as a pain and inflammation reducer, it works with cellular energy, it’s effective in seconds, and it’s non-toxic.   It was used by athletes at the 2012 London Olympics…and now regular people can use it, too.  Dr. Clark even found an adhesive for Bolt Tape that doesn’t cause me to break out in a rash (like it seems most bandages do) so I really appreciate the healing energy, as well as the pain free adhesive.  Here’s some other testimonials.  Check out Bolt Tape here.

Hughes/Taylor audio production site revamped

Barb & Chris 2013I’ve been busy this past week redesigning the Hughes/Taylor website.  It’s amazing what you can learn online through youtube tutorials and searching how-to information.  My techie son says the new site looks a lot better than the old one.  I think it’s a lot simpler and easier to navigate.

If your business is in need of voices for radio/TV/web commercials, message on hold, tutorials, etc. please feel free to check out the Hughes/Taylor site.

Better idea for news!

If you’ve never heard of Upworthy, I’d like to introduce you. This site is so encouraging/inspiring that I’ve subscribed to.  It’s an example of where media is going – a POSITIVE direction that’s interactive, caring, and human.  Here’s the latest details about how Upworthy is expanding their amazing business, and how you can get involved:

We Had A Kinda Crazy Idea. You Made It Real. Thank You.

Hey all,

We launched Upworthy 18 months ago based on a pretty crazy idea: that if you can catch people’s attention, they actually care more about the most important topics in the world than they do about celebrity sideboobs or iPhone rumors or weird old tips about belly fat.

The thing was: We had no idea if it was true.

We certainly wanted to believe that we could help Continue reading

Start a business for basically free

Having your own website, analytics, social media, etc.  is a great resource if you’re looking to start your own business.  With wordpress.org, not only can you get a website free, but the e-commerce plug in is free, so you can make money off your site immediately as well.

If you’ve got more time than money at the moment, why not download a few free themes and play around with them?  There’s plenty of youtube videos on how to create your own customized website with these free tools.  This is a great resource not only for current business owners looking to upgrade their sites, but also a resource for hard working people who just happen to be at the moment unemployed or underemployed.  This free technology helps level the playing field by bringing more people back into the game.

USS Enterprise-like flat LED light bulb could end up selling for $3

LED light in the shape of the Enterprise!

LED light in the shape of the Enterprise!

Not only is this a great energy saving practical idea for a light bulb, IT’S IN THE SHAPE OF THE ENTERPRISE! Here’s the whole article from Gizmag:

Not long ago, we took a look at Cree’s new LED light bulbs. At US$12.97 a pop, the 60-watt-equivalent model sounded like a pretty good deal. If NliteN’s disk-shaped 2D-Lite reaches production, however, it could make the Cree product look downright expensive. Initially slated to sell for $10, the dimmable 60-watt-equivalent “800 lumen-class” bulb is planned to drop to $6 by 2015, and to $3 by 2017.

Despite its rather unique appearance, the 2D-Lite has the same profile as a much more power-hungry and short-lived standard incandescent bulb, and Continue reading

RentTheChicken.com lets you practice raising backyard chickens

rent-the-chicken-dot-com-photo.JPG.662x0_q100_crop-scale

If you like the idea of having fresh eggs straight from the backyard, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit, RentTheChicken.com lets you rent some chickens!

Here’s how they pitch their service:

Thought of Raising Backyard Chickens? Every spring, thousands of chickens are sold at local farm supply stores. Often these chickens die before they are ready to start laying eggs (16-30 weeks). Children quickly realize that chickens are not as fun as the Xbox and parents find out that chickens cannot be house broken! The costs quickly start becoming more and more, then chickens are “sent to the farm”. Other people think about chickens but think they don’t have the space, worry about regulations, or just don’t know what they need. Do you build or buy a coop? Do you buy peeps? How do you raise an egg-laying hen if you buy a peep? Did someone tell you about a heat lamp? It can all be overwhelming and we take the guesswork out of all of the questions by offering a portable coop, the food & supplies, and the egg-laying hens!

RentTheChicken.com is based in Continue reading

Costco employees show how to be the best

Kindness pays.  You’ve heard in the news about what a great business Costco is, how it pays it’s employees well and has kind and sensible business practices.  Well, here’s a tribute to the employees who work at Costco.

Read the story here:

http://www.upworthy.com/we-already-knew-costco-is-a-great-company-heres-something-that-makes-them-fabulous?c=ufb1

If you are a kind person who respects yourself and others and goes about living life in a sensible and enthusiastic fashion, you’ll fit in with this paradigm of better living  – no matter where you live or work.

For a tiny vacation, why not stay in a tiny hotel?

For a unique vacation experience, try a tiny hotel in Portland Oregon, where you stay in a tiny house in the Alberta Arts district.  There’s lots of sights to see and things to do, plus local food shops will even give you room service!

Learn more from this article.