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No sweat: Pedaling around Portland with an electric bike from Bosch

bosch-ebikes-side-full-640x427-cBosch has put together one of the smoothest, most advanced pedal-assist ebike systems we’ve ever seen

When I first moved to the bike mecca of Portland, OR a couple of years ago, I did what just about everyone else in this city does: I sat down and seriously considered trading in my car for a bicycle. But after doing a trial run and pedaling into work one day, I quickly discovered that the hills between my house and the office make it practically impossible to go anywhere without getting drenched in sweat.

In just one ride, my naive dreams of relying solely on pedal power were dashed — but it only took one more ride to restore them. Last week, I took Bosch’s high-end ebike system for a spin around downtown Portland, and I’m considering selling my Subaru all over again.

I say “system” because Bosch doesn’t actually sell an ebike – it sells the parts to power them, which manufacturers can buy and fold into their own designs. So you can get anything from a cushy commuter to a beastly mountain bike with Bosch parts helping to turn the gears. I rode a SPORTe 95 from Felt.

How it works

Much like other electric bikes you may have seen before, Bosch’s version uses what’s known as a pedal-assist system rather than a traditional throttle. This means that you still need to pedal to move the bike forward, but when you do, the bike’s motor kicks in and multiplies the power you put into it.

Thanks to this system, riding the bike basically feels like having a set of bionic legs that never get tired. Depending on which one of the four riding modes you choose (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo) the bike can give you a boost of anywhere from 50 to 250 percent of the power you put into the pedals — making it a breeze to ride up hills, blast along straightaways, and get from A to B without breaking a sweat.

Bosch definitely isn’t the first company to make a pedal assist system like this, but it does have a few features that you won’t find on other eBikes. Take the drive unit, for instance. Unlike the rear-wheel motor you’ll find on most electric bikes, Bosch’s system is designed to be mounted right in the middle of the frame, around the crank, to give the bike a more balanced feel for the rider.

The drive unit itself is also super advanced compared to your average eBike. It’s absolutely stuffed with sensors, and even features its own dedicated microprocessor to track and interpret your movements. These measure the force you’re putting into the pedals hundreds of times per second while you ride, and as soon as you start pumping, the motor kicks in almost instantaneously. This translates into a ridiculously smooth and natural ride — there’s no jarring or jerking of any kind, and the assist action is so smooth and silent that you can hardly tell the motor is working.

Pedal/Power

I only had enough time to do a couple miles on the thing, but Bosch tells me that the bike’s 400 kilowatt-hour battery can zip you around for anywhere from 40 to 100 miles on a single charge. Obviously, this varies widely depending on the level of assist you’re using and the type of terrain you’re riding over, but even at the low end of the spectrum, that’s a fair amount of range. A guy could easily make it to and from work with that kind of capacity.

let’s not forget that even without any battery life it’s still a fully functional bicycle.

When the battery eventually runs out, it can be plugged directly into a standard AC outlet to recharge. According to Bosch, can reach a full charge in less than 3.5 hours, and of course, let’s not forget that even without any battery life it’s still a fully functional bicycle. You can still pedal it around without electrical assistance if you’re out of juice, or just feel like conserving battery and getting some exercise.

The only downside to all this is the system’s exorbitant price tag. There’s a lot to love about this eBike, and it may very well be one of the most advanced on the market right now, but when the cheapest model starts at a whopping $4,000, it’s kind of a difficult purchase to justify. More expensive models can go as high as $7,000 — and for that kind of money you could easily get yourself a decent used car, a good motorcycle, or a totally pimped-out moped.

Bosch says it has a few lower-priced models planned for the future, though, so if you’re like me and you’re seriously considering making the switch to electrically-assisted pedal power, it might be worth waiting a year or two to saddle up on one.

Highs

  • Incredibly smooth assist
  • Intuitive controls
  • Well-balanced design
  • Great range

Lows

  • Expensive
  • Only fits on certain bikes

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By brandenvoy
The iFlex, an airless tire designed by Hankook, proves successful in initial tests

screen-shot-2015-07-24-at-4-42-03-pm-640x0If checking your tire pressure feels like the bane of your existence, we have good news for you — South Korean company Hankook is on its way to developing airless tires that never go flat, and while they’re still not quite ready for the road, initial tests have proven very promising indeed. The non-pneumatic tire (NPT) Hankook iFlex, built entirely with eco-friendly materials, has successfully completed its ride and handling tests, and is inching closer and closer toward consumer vehicles.

Hankook has dedicated research to air pressure-independent tires since 2011, and in the last four years has made significant strides in turning this futuristic tire into a product that is widely accessible by drivers across the world. Relying on geometric shapes insteadof air to provide the bouncy, springy qualities that are normally a product of air pressure, this latest version of a Hankook tire, the iFlex, can be mounted onto any traditional rim. Previous models of the tire combined both the rim and the tire into a single unit, which meant that vehicles would have to be entirely re-outfitted to make use of Hankook’s offerings.

A German electric car just beat the 0-to-62 world record with a time of 1.779 seconds

But now, the iFlex is ostensibly compatible with any current vehicle, making it that much easier to bring to market. In recent tests, the innovative company tested the newfangled tire in five categories: durability, hardness, stability, slalom (zigzag), and speed. And as the company proudly announced in a press release, “In the speed test, the electric car equipped with iFlex tires reached 130 kph (around 80 mph). The impressive results in all five categories demonstrated that the NPTs could match conventional tires in terms of performance.”

An extremely environmentally conscious company as well, Hankook took extra precautions to ensure that it was minimizing its carbon footprint, using an eco-friendly material that “significantly enhances the energy efficiency” and also “allows the iFlex to be recycled with greater ease.” Furthermore, Hankook noted, its “new tire construction techniques … simplify the manufacturing process from eight stages to just four,” thereby ensuring that Hankook is doing as little as possible to pollute the atmosphere.

“The Hankook iFlex’s ability to deliver the perfect high-speed driving performance is the result of Hankook Tire’s longstanding commitment to independently developing progressive, innovative tire technology,” said Seung-Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire in a press release. “Aiming to strengthen our technological leadership in the global tire market, we will continue to develop cutting edge eco-friendly and future-oriented tires.

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By brandenvoy
Living in Versace: if you loved the outfit, you can buy the flat

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Welcome to the UK’s first block of flats where the style and interiors have all been designed by the global fashion-house, Versace.

As a result, fashionistas who choose to live their lives smothered in Versace, will soon be able to live under its roof as well.

Every morning they’ll be able to wake up in Versace sheets, wallow in a Versace bath and walk on Versace-patterned carpets – even before accessing their Versace wardrobe.

From now on, let no one else tell you that they live in a designer flat.

In the future, more and more interiors may come from fashion designers. After all, they are already established brands. Few other interior designers – apart from perhaps Kelly Hoppen – are household names.

The developers of the Nine Elms project, Damac, have already used Versace to design apartment blocks in Saudi Arabia and Beirut.

And its Italian rival Armani is currently building a block of apartments in Florida, with prices of up to $6m for ocean-front units.

“We are going to see more of this,” says Daniel Hopwood.

“It’s a scary future, but it will happen, especially with internationalism

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By brandenvoy
Ad of the Day: Ikea Fills a Jungle Kitchen With Monkeys Just to See What Will Happen

ikea-monkeys-hed-2015 (1)

This Ikea ad is as much fun as a kitchen full of monkeys.

In fact, it is a kitchen full of monkeys. Plus some tropical birds, snakes, a deer and an elephant, too.

Part of the Swedish furniture company’s “Wonderful Everyday” campaign from Mother London, the 90-second video, filmed at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica, features lots of real monkeys set loose in an Ikea Metod kitchen, which has been set up in the middle of a rainforest. (Alas, there’s no sign of Jane Lynch swinging through on a vine.)

Does harried mayhem ensue? Damn straight! You don’t put monkeys in an ad for any other reason. They scamper and explore, trying out all the fixtures and climbing into every cabinet and drawer. At one point, a fridge full of bananas bursts open, much to the cast’s delight.

“We know there’s fun to be had for all the family in the kitchen, and we hope these cheeky monkeys will help people experience that for themselves,” says Peter Wright, marketing manager for Ikea in the U.K. and Ireland (which is fond of animals stunts like these, having thrown 100 cats into a commercial a few years back).

Ultimately, a shattered coffee cup brings the jungle shenanigans to a halt. Monkeys have failed at java prep in ads before, notably in this Costa coffeehouses spot from a few years back. I guess they haven’t evolved much since then.

You’d think things would go more smoothly for Ikea, though, with all those capuchins on hand. See what I did there? I’m the cheeky monkey!

Check out the behind-the-scenes clip below, which clearly aims to disarms critics who frown upon the use of monkeys in ads—by playing up Ikea’s involvement in the rescue center.

CREDITS
Client: Ikea
Agency: Mother London
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Juan Cabral
VFX: MPC
VFX Producer: Julie Evans
VFX Shoot Supervisor: Bill Macnamara
CG Supervisor: Fabian Frank
VFX Lead: Alex Lovejoy

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By admin
12 Intriguing Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

serena-wimbledon-hed-2015

The past week has been filled with great data points about many things—particularly the dominance of Serena Williams and Apple. Here are the 12 most interesting numbers we came across:
1. Out of the world’s eight biggest mobile phone makers, Apple received 92 percent of the global smartphone profits during the first quarter, according to new research from Canaccord Genuity in The Wall Street Journal. Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy phones, got 15 percent, Canaccord said. Think that math doesn’t add up? Well, Apple and Samsung accounted for more than 100 percent of the sector’s profits during Q1 because other smartphone manufacturers either lost money or broke even.
2. Serena Williams is staking a hard-to-argue-with claim for the title of best women’s tennis player in history, and she’s dominating social media as well. Williams—who won Wimbledon for the sixth time Sunday—led female and male tennis players from July 2 through July 8 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. with 20,473 mentions, according to MVPIndex.
3. FC Barcelona has the biggest social media following of any sports content creator in the world, with more than 116 million followers on social media. Check out Adweek’s exclusive global top 10 list here.
4. According to investment bank firm Coady Diemar Partners, mergers and acquisitions in the digital media space totaled 1,243 during the first six months of 2015, up from 1,000 during the same period in 2014.
5. While the Minions movie was a smash hit over the weekend, all of the publicity around the animated flick has created plenty of online naysayers. In fact, there’s a group on Reddit called MinionHate with 15,600 members.
6. Online job ads are sometimes targeted in a clearly sexist way. A Carnegie Mellon University project simulated 1,000 online consumer profiles and set them loose to visit employment websites and behave like job seekers would—500 of the user profiles were male, and 500 were female. After job searching, the simulated users were sent to top websites where the ads were recorded. An ad for high-paid executives was served 1,816 times to men and just 311 times to women.
7. United Airlines’ network outage last week negatively impacted the brand online. Networked Insights found that conversations occurring on social media between July 6 and July 8 were negative 25 percent of the time and positive only 6 percent of the time. The analytics company said “hatred” accounted for 35 percent of the chatter during those two days. Ouch.
8. The Media Rating Council’s latest ad viewability study—which entailed 4 billion impressions—finds that while 63 percent of campaigns had consistent viewability, mobile screens were a key element for those that did not. More stats from the MRC’s research can be found here.
9. RadiumOne surveyed 1,300 people—with a median age of 26—and found that 67 percent said digital media and social sharing influenced where they travel. The rest of the ad-tech company’s research can be seen below in an infographic near the bottom of the page.
10. An eBay user posted a Ziploc bag of Brooklyn air for sale last week, and the bidding actually reached $20,100. Then, the online auction site removed the listing due to its policy that listings must include physical items or actual services.
11. According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, the most buzzed about topic online around this year’s Comic-Con was neither a DC Comics nor Marvel franchise. Instead, it was HBO’s Game of Thrones, grabbing 13 percent of all the digital consumption between July 8 and July 12 at the San Diego festival.
12. IgnitionOne’s Q2 research shows that when it comes to mobile search, it’s all about the phone. The marketing technology company said smartphones accounted for 59 percent of mobile search spending, while tablets accounted for 41 percent, reported Direct Marketing News.

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By admin
ADWEEK: TIPS TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS SHINE

Useful-Tips-Promote-Your-Business-Online

As Tech age advances, requirements for staying relevant gets more complex and businesses that values the use of internet keeps springing up fast, sidelining existing businesses that makes little or no use of the internet in either publicising or sales.

For instance, Company XYZ is celebrating its 10th year anniversary in business and has no internet presence. However, another Company XYZ is planning to launch in a week and has gotten the internet presence settled with buzzes and noise about the launch. A third party hearing about Business XYZ and decides to contact them from the internet will only get directed to the new XYZ while getting NO information on the existing XYZ.

New business spring up every minute in the world today and it has become harder than ever to stake your claim on the Web. Companies with similar names or splashier domain names—along with random online product listings and completely unrelated results—too often beat your business to the top of Google’s results. If you’re in a commoditised industry, such as plumbing, engineering, dry cleaning, coffee sales, or even fast foods, standing out online is increasingly difficult.

Managing your own website and submitting it to Google are good first steps, but they’re no longer enough. Read on to learn how to upgrade your online presence on your own website and on third-party sites, so that people can find you on the Web when they come looking.

1. Websites: Today, a one-page website is the equivalent of an ad in birdseed type in the Yellow Pages. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can find it—but most shoppers will skip right past you.

Fortunately, the first key to standing out involves a tactic that lies completely within your control: building up the size of your website. Though Google’s algorithms aren’t public, sites with more pages tend to rank higher in search engine results. Google also devotes more links and real estate to pages that have a deeper page structure, embedding secondary links called Google Sitelinks to subsidiary pages on your website. A Google result of this type can consume up to three times as much screen space as a standard search result.
a) Get a good number of pages for your website – helps with search engine results.
b) Segment your homepages with headings such as About us, Contact us, Services, Rate Information, Reviews and Locations. Photos, Blogging and Comments goes a long way as well. Avoid flash designs as much as possible.

2. Social Media Pills: Having an account on facebook, twitter, linkedin and/or any other social media is good enough for you to be relevant in the social media world. Building your brand on social media channels enhances your visibility to Google.

Obviously, the only way to become visible on Twitter is by actively tweeting. And the more often you write, the more visible you’ll become. Set up business accounts on (at a minimum) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Pinterest is another good bet, but it may not be relevant to every business.

Social media has a second, arguably more useful function in small-business visibility: Your social media pages will be indexed by search engines, and searches for your company name will turn up results for all of these sites. Over time, you’ll want your website to be the top result in a search for your business name, your Twitter account to appear next, and your LinkedIn page to be third (or similar). A Google+ page for your business is especially critical. If you have one, a Google search for your company name will add an extra box-out with your Google+ information placed to the right of the search results. This box includes your contact information and your recent Google+ posts, greatly enhancing your visibility to searchers. If you want to make a further investment, consider buying ads on popular social media sites.

3. Set up Google Services: Google has a number of services besides Google+ that can increase your business’s online visibility, especially if you have a physical location.

Google Places is a free service available to any business with a mailing address. Even if you run a roving food truck, you can set up a free Google Places account and populate it with helpful information—including business hours and relevant product or service photos—about your company.

4. Press Releases: It’s always a good thing to have a couple or more of other sites, blogs, online magazines as partners. Press releases are another easy way to generate a large number of back links to your website and to legitimizie it in the eyes of many readers. The purpose of a press release is to encourage media to write or broadcast a story about you, but online press releases have a secondary function. Because hundreds of sites looking for free content may reprint an online press release verbatim, such releases can translate into instant links and page views…and higher visibility

5. Don’t overlook web directories: Web directories don’t have much value today, as Google largely discounts these vestiges of the 1990s Web in its search results. Still, if you find yourself with a spare half hour to kill, it’s not a bad idea to submit your site to a few of them.

6. Video-lise your business: Many businesses have made a huge success via youtube video platform and other video publishing platforms. Given the weight that Google accords to YouTube videos in search results, putting some effort into devising an engaging and/or humorous mini-movie to promote your business can be time very well spent. If it’s a hit, your sales could go through the roof overnight. If it’s not, it will still improve your visibility online. Remember to link back prodigiously on your YouTube Channel page and on each video’s page itself. Link to your other social media sites, too, and use keyword tags thoughtfully. Can’t come up with a funny video to promote yourself? Try putting together a webinar that will show potential customers your expertise.

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By admin