Friday, March 30, 2012

How The iPad Could Destroy Google's Lucrative Search Business

When most people talk about what business the iPad is going to destroy, they focus on Microsoft's Windows monopoly.

You never hear Google mentioned, which is odd, because it could end up losing out on a lot more if the iPad takes over the world, according to two Wall Street analysts.

Read more:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Rise of Visual Storytelling In Marketing

This guest post is by Magdalena Georgieva of Hubspot. The September 2011 introduction of Facebook’s Timeline proved prophetic. “It’s a lot more visual,” wrote Sam Lessin, a product manager at Facebook, about the new look of the social network. Visual, as it turns out, is also the direction in which the world of online marketing has headed. The rise of visual storytelling as a means of spreading a marketing message couldn’t possibly have evaded you. A number of image-based platforms out there, including Pinterest, Instagram, and SlideShare, have already made a strong statement about how visual content can impact business results.

What’s so irresistible about images?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association Auction Site Features Two-Night Stay at Oyster Bay Beach Resort

The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association recently launched its travel auction site to drive tourism to the destination by offering vacationers the option to bid on hotel stays and activities to create the most of a St. Maarten vacation. Beginning March 19 through April 2, 2012, Oyster Bay Beach Resort is on the bidding block with a three-day stay for two in a studio apartment with the vacation starting at $50. This month's deal includes hotel accommodations for two at Oyster Bay Beach Resort in a studio apartment, welcome and farewell cocktail party, two VIP tickets for the 12-metre regatta (where guests will enjoy the journey of a lifetime where they can participate and become a crew member as they are assigned positions onboard a retired racing ship for a mini-race); shopping trip courtesy of AMA Jewelers including a $50 AMA voucher, professional shopping guide, transportation to and from the hotel, unlimited beverages and raffle for a bottle of wine. This offer is valid through Dec. 15, 2012 (blackout dates of Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plane Crashes On Way To St. Maarten

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A vintage cargo plane loaded with bread crashed in a lagoon near Puerto Rico’s international airport on Thursday, killing the airline’s owner and another crew member, authorities said. The plane had just taken off when the pilot told air traffic control that the plane was having engine trouble, said Juan Rivera, spokesman for the Luiz Munoz Marin airport. It was returning to the airport when it crashed, killing both people aboard, Rivera said. Officials earlier said three had died. The plane was operated by Florida-based Jet One Express and was bound for the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Alejandro Bristol, CEO of Jet One Express, said his father, who is owner of the company, died in the crash. He identified the plane as a Convair 340, which was manufactured in 1953, according to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration records. Bristol said he was en route to Puerto Rico and declined further comment. Authorities earlier identified the plane as a Convair 440. Melina Simeonides, spokeswoman for the island’s emergency management agency, identified the victims as Uriel Bristol, 67, and Anthony Tavares, 45. She said it is not clear yet who was the pilot. The plane would make about 15 trips a week to deliver bread to several Caribbean islands, said Arnaldo de Leo, airport manager. It was carrying 2,500 pounds (1,134 kilograms) of bread when it crashed, he said.

Google + Doesn't Do It For The Average Joe

Monday, March 12, 2012

5 Crazy Chapters in the History of Daylight Saving Time

On Sunday, most Americans will wake up only to realize they've lost an hour of their weekend to daylight saving time — the price we pay for eight months of well-lit evenings.
Unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii, which don't observe daylight saving, you're probably used to this routine by now. But the history ofdaylight saving time has been anything but peaceful, from its first wartime introduction to its ongoing controversy today.
Bright idea
Ben Franklin gets credit for thinking up the idea of daylight saving time, albeit with his trademark wit. As ambassador to Paris, Franklin wrote a letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784 of his "discovery" that the sun gives light as soon as it rises, and needling Parisians for their night-owl, candle-burning ways.

"Ben Franklin had the basic concept," said David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005). What Franklin lacked, Prerau said, was a useful way to force everyone into living by the sun's rules — other than some "humorous ideas" that Parisians surely wouldn't have found very funny, including shooting off cannons at sunrise every morning.
Others took daylight saving time much more seriously, particularly William Willett, an Englishman who loved his early-morning horseback rides, Prerau told LiveScience; Willett he couldn't believe that everyone else wanted to sleep in after the sun came up. He also touted the benefits of longer hours of daylight in the evenings. [Gallery: Our Amazing Sun]
Willett managed to get the idea of moving the clock forward during the summer months proposed in Parliament in 1908, but it was shot down.
"Willett was a steadfast guy, and so he proposed it again in 1909, 1910, 1911, and Parliament rejected it all those times," Prerau said.
Willett might have kept this up, but he died in 1915, never to see his beloved daylight saving plan reach fruition.
Wartime rally
If Willett couldn't convince the British populace that daylight saving time was needed, the Germans could. In 1916, with World War I ratcheting up, Germany put itself on daylight saving time to save energy for the war effort. Britain followed a month later.
When the United States got involved in the war in 1918, they too instituted daylight saving time. President Woodrow Wilson even wanted to keep the new system after the war ended. But at the time, the country was mostly rural. Farmers hated the time change, because their jobs were dependent on the sun, and daylight saving time put them out of sync with the city people who sold them goods and bought their products. Congress repealed daylight saving time, Wilson vetoed the repeal, and Congress promptly overrode his veto, a fairly rare occurrence.
"It's been contentious," Prerau said.
Total confusion
When World War II hit, daylight saving time came back into vogue, again to save energy for the war effort. The U.S. instituted daylight saving time less than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Prerau said. This time, though, America's increasingly industrialized population wasn't as keen on losing their post-work daylight after the war ended. So when the national law requiring the time switch was repealed, some towns stuck with daylight saving. [Hit Snooze: 10 Best Alarm Clocks]
It was chaos. One 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, W.Va., to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through no less than seven different time changes, Prerau said. At one point, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks, creating confusion for workers who lived in one city and commuted to the other.
"The suburbs didn't know what to do at all," Prerau said.
Uniform time

Sunday, March 11, 2012

USA sees St. Maarten, Curacao as major money-laundering countries

~ Together with Argentina added to more acute watch-list ~ PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten is one of three countries the US State Department has just designated as "major money-laundering countries." The other two are Argentina and Curacao. A French News Agency AFP report out of Washington on Wednesday quoting the US State Department's annual International Narcotics Control Strategy report said Argentina and the two "Caribbean island entities" Curaçao and St. Maarten had been moved up a notch on the department's money-laundering watch-list. They have been moved to the list of "jurisdictions of primary concern" from the less acute "jurisdictions of concern" category. In that category, Argentina, Curaçao and St. Maarten join a wide-ranging list of 66 countries that includes Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe. The report said the three had become "major money-laundering countries," or those "whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking." As in the previous reports, the March 2012 report has been sent to Congress, State Department officials said. "Argentine and international observers express the concern that money-laundering related to narcotics trafficking, corruption, contraband and tax evasion occurs throughout the financial system," the report said. "It is also believed that most money laundering operations in Argentina are conducted through transactions involving specific offshore centers." The report also noted that Curaçao and St. Maarten had become new autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom in 2010. "Curaçao is a regional financial centre and a transhipment point for drugs from South America bound for the United States and Europe. Money laundering is primarily related to proceeds from illegal narcotics," it said. "The combating of drug trafficking is an ongoing concern for St. Maarten. Money-laundering is primarily related to proceeds from illegal narcotics. ... "Bulk cash-smuggling and trade-based money-laundering may be a problem due to the close proximity of other Caribbean islands and the French part of the island, Saint Martin. ..."

Is The Caribbean Prepared For a Cruise Ship Environmental Disaster?

Is the Caribbean prepared for a cruise ship environmental disaster? In the last six weeks two cruise ships from the same company, Costa Cruises, have experienced very serious incidents which could have resulted in potentially disastrous damage to the marine environment in tourism sensitive areas of the world. - Feb 28, 2012 - In the last six weeks two cruise ships from the same company, Costa Cruises, have experienced very serious incidents which could have resulted in potentially disastrous damage to the marine environment in tourism sensitive areas of the world. Both ships drifted helplessly, without power or steering capability, the Costa Concordia capsizing on rocks near the Italian tourist island of Giglio and the Costa Allegra coming within 20 miles of the pristine Alphonse group of coral atolls in the Seychelles. In the Caribbean - which is THE most tourism dependent region in the world – Costa Cruises have ships calling in ports in Jamaica, The Turks & Caicos Islands, St Maarten, The Bahamas, Antigua, The British Virgin Islands, Belize and The Cayman Islands. Costa is part of Carnival Group and their ships, including Princess, P&O, Holland America, Cunard, Seabourne and Aida cruise lines, call at almost every major island in the region and the group’s financial resources dwarf the GDP of most Caribbean economies. In total, over 60% of the world cruise ship fleet is in the Caribbean in the winter high season – bigger and bigger ships today, which apparently have less than adequate emergency back-up systems to allow safe operation of the vessel in the event of a major fire or severe grounding or collision. The Italian Coast Guard employed multiple vessels and helicopters in rescue attempts at the scene of the Costa Concordia and a large French fishing vessel first took the Costa Allegra under tow. A Dutch salvage company was soon alongside, pumping out the Costa Concordia’s fuel tanks to reduce the pollution potential, although the ship apparently may still break up on the rocks and scatter all kinds of debris. What resources exist in most Caribbean islands to limit the effect of a similar or greater cruise ship disaster? Off the Italian coast the ship hit rocks, while in the Seychelles and in the Caribbean the resulting damage would likely be caused to reefs. The damage to Caribbean reefs and the marine environment - simply from cruise ship anchors and disposal of garbage overboard - has been well documented in the past. However, a serious grounding or collision could result in a devastating long term environmental disaster. Most cruise ships move to other regions of the world at the end of the winter season and detailed Caribbean island cruise itineraries can be readily changed. Therefore, in the event of a disaster, it is a single or small group of island governments which will bear the full impact. How much assistance and cooperation have Caribbean governments received from cruise lines to finance and resource effective disaster planning to mitigate these risks? In recent years the spend on island per cruise ship passenger appears to have declined significantly, while Caribbean government port taxes have not even kept up with inflation in the region. Today’s cruise ship business model is a highly aggressive one, in terms of both its competitive position with Caribbean hotels in high season, and its resultant negative impact on inward investment for new resorts. Is it not time that the fiscal contribution of cruise lines to the Caribbean more fairly reflected their impact on the local environment and, ultimately, their potential for environmental disaster in the region?

Friday, March 9, 2012

OVERVIEW Search engines remain popular—and users are more satisfied than ever with the quality of search results—but many are anxious about the collection of personal information by search engines and other websites and say they do not like the idea of personalized search results or targeted advertising. Though they generally do not support targeted search or ads, these users report very positive outcomes when it comes to the quality of information search provides, and more positive than negative experiences using search. ABOUT THE SURVEY The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,729), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.