Sep
15
2009
0

Fire Department Equipment Modifications

Keeping safe

Keeping safe

I ran across this website a few days ago.  It’s a website devoted to the homemade modifications firefighters make to their tools and gear to make their lives easier and fighting fires safer1  Hopefully a firefighter you know might find it useful.

Most of these modifications are simple and practical – and all are designed to help save a life. 2

  1. Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk []
  2. Plus, I am a fan of customization. []
Sep
10
2009
0

He’s not feeling the recession

You have to love the ingenuity

You have to love the ingenuity

When I came home after work last Wednesday night I discovered a note taped to my front door.  I’ve scanned it in and posted it to the right.  Basically this guy is putting up notices that they’re going to be coming by the following day to repaint the numbers on the curb.  I LOVE this idea!

  • It’s easy. Just fill out the flyer and hang it outside – they take care of everything else.
  • No risk. If they are going to paint your address and then come around asking for payment, you can always refuse if you think they did a bad job.
  • It’s cheap. His flyer was printed up on half a sheet of paper, so it probably cost him no more than $0.10 for two flyers – plus the half-inch of masking tape.  The advertising costs are bare-bones.  The materials amount to a few stencils and some spray paint.
  • It’s quick. I’m guessing with a proper stencil and some paint, you could whip out a curb address number in about a minute or so.
  • It’s a cash business. I didn’t see anything there about their tax ID number.
  • Slick advertising. They appeal to your sense of safety and security (helping the police, fire department, et cetera find you quickly) and your sense of community (suggesting it is more effective when the whole neighborhood joins in).

But, why stop there?  I bet you could make even MORE money if you took this entire enterprise further:

  • Volume is key. Having as many houses on a single street is probably optimal.  So, putting a little extra polish on these flyers could probably help a lot.  Invest in better paper and use a paper cutter rather than scissors.  Anything to help score a few more houses per street.
  • Price is key. I have to wonder how many people are paying for this service.  What’s the optimal price point?  I’m guessing for $10.00 you might be able to capture a lot more homes on a given street than the $20.00 they’re suggesting.
  • Look important. I’m always getting official looking junk mail – sometimes I even open it.  I’d say use bond paper, a decent home printer or your local printer, print something up that implies you are affiliated with the city or county.  Have an address, phone number, and website ready.
  • Location, location, location. If I were running such a business I would do a little homework.  I would find a well kept neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association – some area that probably has a vested interest in maintaining the upkeep around their homes.
  • Look really important. If I were doing this, my letterhead would say I was with the “Home Owner’s Association Maintenance Co-Operative of Contra Costa County.”  I’d send out letters a week ahead saying that a person’s street has been scheduled for yearly curbside maintenance, that the HOAMCOCCC was going to through the following week to paint the numbers on an entire street a uniform color and returning the following day to collect payment.

Why in the world did I go to law school?  What a colossal waste of time!  I could probably more per hour stenciling sidewalks than I do as an attorney.  I’m half tempted to give it a shot anyhow.  :)

Anyhow, this just goes to show no matter how bad things are, someone has thought of a way to make money.

Jul
24
2009
0

Website Update: WordPress 2.8.2!

Wordpress Upgrade

WordPress Upgrade

Since updating this website to WordPress v2.8 in the middle of June they’ve released two additional security updates.  Unfortunately, the latest update also required a little extra tinkering and work on my part.  I look on constant security fixes for this fantastic (free!) open source software as a small price to pay for increased security.

Again, the calculators should all be completely impervious to changes in the WordPress program itself.  However, its theoretically possible you might notice a little weirdness in how the website looks/acts.  If so, please drop me a line and let me know so I can take a look.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled rating…

Jul
21
2009
0

Stupid Disclaimers or Stupid People?

Please don't sue us!

Please don't sue us!

This last weekend I stayed overnight at a hotel in Chico.  In the planters next to the parking lot they had placed these disclaimers/warning labels that read, “OXFORD SUITE HOTEL NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER SPOTTING DUE TO SPRINKLERS.”1

This brought to mind any number of responses:

  • “Oxford Suite Hotel not responsible for water”
  • “Oxfor Suite Hotel not responsible for H2O on your H2”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  You failed physics in high school, didn’t you?”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  Newton and Einstein – what bastards!”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel:  Life’s tough.  Buy a helmet.”
  • “Oxford Suite Hotel not responsible for the administration of midnight beating for people who complain about water spotting due to sprinklers.  You brought that on yourself.”

I’m sure some idiot called their management to complain about how the sprinklers had left spots on their car.  When you think about it, Oxford Suite Hotel should be responsible for the installation, functioning, and maintenance of their own sprinklers, just as people who own vehicles should be responsible for the care and maintenance of their own vehicles.

There’s no making some people happy.  If they are going to complain about thier vehicle getting wet, while it’s outside, they’re going to complain about the lighting, the room, the service, the sheets, the ice being too cold, the A.C. being too loud, and the TV being too dry.

Here’s a decent business model: sprinklers automatically spray a customer’s car as soon as they pull up.  If they moan about spotting, send them on their way.  If they thank you for washing their car, offer them a complimentary breakfast with their stay.

In any case, I blame the huge evil sign industry that has purchased our elected officials.

  1. Sign, parking lot, shrubbery, and wood chips are the sole responsibility of Oxford Suite Hotel – no matter what disclaimers they put up.  Photo by Jay Shergill, all rights reserved. []
Jun
18
2009
0

Goggles4U Coupon Code for 20% Off!

Glasses, online

Glasses, online!

A few months ago I ordered glasses online from Goggles4U.com and GlobalEyeGlasses.  (Click those links to go to my full reviews of each website).  The quality of the glasses was excellent and I paid about $80.00 for four pairs.1 At those prices its like they were paying me to take the glasses off their hands.2

I just received a coupon code from Goggles4U for 20% off an order.  The Goggles4U.com coupon code is: “glasses20″

Before you order glasses online, you should really take a look at my post about how to order glasses online in 5 easy steps. It even includes a chart for you to print out and take with you to your eye doctor! 3

  1. Including one pair of sunglasses and one pair of transition lenses []
  2. Photo courtesy of Morningstar Lee []
  3. Just another way I try to make your life easier… []

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