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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Learning about Malibu safety features at ‪#‎bostonautoshow‬

Learning about Malibu safety features. #bostonautoshow

Posted by Steve Garfield on Thursday, January 14, 2016



Image courtesy Chevrolet.

Have teenagers, they are going to hate the Malibu safety features:

Malibu is the first vehicle in the industry to offer a built-in system to help encourage safe driving habits and let parents know how their teenager drove the vehicle. By inputting a PIN into your Chevrolet MyLink† display, available Teen Driver technology† can enable a whole host of features including:
Muting audio when front seat occupants aren’t wearing their safety belts
• Giving audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling over predetermined speeds
• Set limits on music volume
Informing you if safety features like available Forward Collision Alert or Lane Departure Warning were triggered.


Big brother is here!

Learning about Jeep and seeing the Jeep Overland reveal at #bostonautoshow

Jeep Overland reveal at #bostonautoshow

Posted by Steve Garfield on Thursday, January 14, 2016


It was interesting to learn about the Jeep lineup, especially how good they are in the snow, which we have none of right now. ;-)

Bill Griffith of the Boston Globe talked about what we saw during the press preview in his article, Insider’s guide: What to look for at the New England Auto Show:
Manufacturers love to see us purchase well-optioned versions of our favorite vehicles.

And, in years between redesigns, nothing freshens up a model lineup like a fancy new trim level.

Jeep is bringing one by offering a premium Overland version of the 2016 Cherokee midsize SUV, a vehicle that saw a 23 percent sales jump in 2015.

“The new Cherokee Overland model is a direct response to consumers looking for benchmark 4x4 capability that only Jeep can offer, in a stunning, more luxurious package loaded with premium amenities,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep brand for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

In case you need a reminder, the Cherokee also comes in Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk models. Features? Call this new one loaded. An optional Technology Group offers pre-collision braking and lane-keeping assist.

Learning about the new Chrysler Pacifica at #bostonautoshow


Image: Pacifica

Chrysler Pacifica at #bostonautoshow

Posted by Steve Garfield on Thursday, January 14, 2016


Watch video on Facebook.

I'm not in the market for a minivan, but this 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has some very cool features including:
- Redesigned Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system, which is easier than ever to use with the innovative Stow ‘n Go Assist
- New Stow ‘n Vac system offers most powerful vacuum in segment for quick and easy cleaning
I was very impressed with how the back seat folded into the floor.





Also, a vacuum! Cool. No AWD though.

Images courtesy Chrysler.

Learning about the Ford Fund at #bostonautoshow with Gerry Miles

Learning about the Ford Fund at #bostonautoshow with Gerry Miles

Posted by Steve Garfield on Thursday, January 14, 2016


Ford Motor Company Expands Hunger-Relief Programs in New England


Ford Press release:

FORD MOTOR COMPANY EXPANDS HUNGER-RELIEF PROGRAMS IN NEW ENGLAND AS PART OF BROADER COMMUNITY COMMITMENT
Ford Motor Company and its dealers are investing $2 million over five years to address hunger in New England

Ford contributions include a new Transit van for The Greater Boston Food Bank, and Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) teen driving programs in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut

Innovative community outreach programs are part of Ford’s growing community presence across the U.S.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass., Oct. 15, 2015 – Ford Motor Company is expanding its commitment in New England by launching a new philanthropic initiative with local dealers that will include $2 million to fight hunger across the region.

Ford Motor Company Fund, the charitable arm of Ford Motor Company, will provide support, including vehicles, to 10 food banks in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont over five years. Ford is working with Feeding America®, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, in connection with its outreach in New England.

“More than 12 percent of those living in the New England area lack reliable access to the food and nutrition needed to thrive,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, we are stepping up our efforts in the fight against hunger.”*

Vella made the announcement at an event with local dealers, community leaders, and food bank representatives where Ford delivered the keys to a new Ford Transit van to The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). GBFB will use the van to help deliver food to individuals facing hunger in eastern Massachusetts, becoming part of a national network of Ford Transits the company launched six years ago to meet hunger needs.

Over the last decade, Ford has helped provide more than 100 additional vehicles to Feeding America member food banks. These vehicles enable food banks to collect food and grocery donations received from retail stores, farmers and manufacturers and get it to people facing hunger.

“The support from Feeding America and Ford Motor Company Fund is extremely valuable to The Greater Boston Food Bank and our mission, which is to ‘End Hunger Here,’” said Cheryl Schondek, vice president of Food Acquisition and Supply Chain at GBFB. “As we enter the busiest time of year, this partnership will help us distribute more nutritious food and fresh produce throughout eastern Massachusetts.”

Last year, GBFB distributed 54 million pounds of healthy food. This year it plans to distribute even more to help the one in nine residents of eastern Massachusetts who struggle to have enough to eat. Other recipients of the new hunger-relief grants include the following Feeding America member food banks:

Connecticut: Connecticut Food Bank, East Haven; Foodshare, Bloomfield;
Maine: Good Shepherd Food Bank, Auburn;
Massachusetts: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Hatfield; Worcester County Food Bank, Inc., Shrewsbury;
New Hampshire: New Hampshire Food Bank, Manchester;
New York: Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Latham;
Vermont: Vermont Foodbank, Barre;
Rhode Island: Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Providence

Ford announced the latest philanthropic collaboration with its dealers at an event that also brought the award-winning Ford DSFL program to New England. Hundreds of teen drivers from the area will experience a safe driving course that puts them behind the wheel with professional instructors. Including today’s new programs, Ford and the Ford Fund have invested more than $12 million in hunger-relief, education and other New England community service programs over the past 10 years.

Ford’s expanded investments in the New England region are part of Ford Fund’s Operation Better World initiative. Launched in 2008, the Operation Better World framework enables the Ford Fund, Ford dealers and other groups to collaborate on a strategic approach to philanthropy and more effectively meet community needs. Including New England, the Ford Fund has launched Operation Better World programs in 25 cities and regions around the U.S.

Looking at the new Prius with Toyota at ‪#‎BostonAutoShow‬

Live with Toyota at #BostonAutoShow

Posted by Steve Garfield on Thursday, January 14, 2016







Images courtesy Toyota.



Watch video on Facebook.

From Toyota Press Release:
After selling more than 3.5 million hybrids worldwide and helping steer the industry toward hybridization, the fourth-generation 2016 Prius serves as a new disruptor. The fresh version of this global green icon takes the hybrid concept further than ever with a striking design, greater ride comfort and improved fuel economy. Fuel economy ratings have risen to 58 mpg city / 53 mpg highway / 56 mpg combined, thanks to lighter weight and further optimized aerodynamics.

New to the RAV4 family for 2016, the Higher levels of driving satisfaction and refinement will reward the Prius faithful and surprise those new to the move

Boston Auto Show 2016 Photo Album

Click through to look at all the photos.
Boston Auto Show 2016

New England International Auto Show
JANUARY 14-18, 2016
BOSTON CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTER

Photos taken with Samsung #NX1

Friday, January 08, 2016

What's the Best Webcam to Get for a Laptop Computer

I’d get the newer (2013) one below…

Logitech C920 has been the best and it has a tripod mount.

NEW
Looks like Logitech have a new one, the Pro Webcam: The Logitech Webcam C930e.



Here are the specs:

PRO WEBCAM
Ultra Wide Angle HD Webcam
For desktop video meetings, live feeds, webinars and more

LIST PRICE: $ 129.99
The Ultra Wide Angle webcam that brings pro-quality HD video and stereo audio to desktop video meetings.

• Full HD 1080p video calling (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels) 720p HD video calling (up to 1280 x 720 pixels) with supported clients
• 90 degree field of view
• H.264/SVC video compression
• Supports H.264 1080p for Skype® for Business, along with optimizations for best call performance in single or multiparty HD video.
• Zoom to 4X in 1080p
• Optional light application for control of pan, tilt and zoom
• ZEISS® lens certification
• Autofocus
• External privacy shutter
• Rightlight™ 2 Technology for clear image in various lighting environments, even low light
• Built-in dual stereo mics
• Automatic low-light correction
• Hi-Speed USB 2.0 certified (USB 3.0 ready)
• Tripod-ready universal clip fits laptops, LCD or CRT monitors

From Amazon.com, The Logitech Webcam C930e:

The latest technology for fluid full HD video calls
First 1080p HD webcam with on-camera video processing

Make a professional impression in vivid full HD video at up to a smooth 30 frames per second—without taxing your PC processing power. UVC H.264 encoding technology frees up bandwidth by putting video processing within the camera.

Easily focus in on details
Pan, tilt and zoom

With the ability to digitally pan, tilt and zoom, you can easily focus on visuals and presentations with the highest level of HD video detail. (To control experience, downloadable software application may be required.)

Extended 90-degree field of view
Widest-view business webcam

Now your video meetings can easily include whiteboard presentations or product demos. With an extended 90-degree field of view your clients and colleagues can clearly see you and whatever you’re presenting. And when the webcam is not in use, a convenient privacy screen covers the lens for added privacy and security.

Certified for Lync and Skype
Compatible with most video conferencing apps
Plug-and-play deployment

Enjoy easy USB connectivity to PCs or Macs and seamless compatibility with your familiar video apps—certified for Microsoft Lync 2013 and Skype, compatible with most UC and web conferencing applications, and supports H.264 1080p for Lync 2013.

Automatically adjusts for poor lighting
Autofocus. Auto light correction.

Smooth autofocus keeps your video image razor sharp, even in close ups. Logitech RightLight 2 technology automatically adjusts for low light or backlit situations so you’re always seen in just the right light.

Buy it at Amazon.com (affiliate link)


Logitech C930e 960-000971 USB 2.0 1920 x 1080 Video Webcam

Stay tuned for a hands on review. Here's PCMAG a review from 2013.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

REVIEW: XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit With Remote


Image: XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit with Remote

I got an XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit with Remote for review. I've been a fan of XShot Camera Extenders for a long time and wondered why they didn't jump on the Selfie Stick craze. Well now they have, and just in time sine all the promo selfie sticks that I've gotten for free have broken. All of them. They were all cheaply made.

Now that XShot has a Selfie Stick with Remote, I've got one that looks a lot sturdier than the cheap imports.

XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit with Remote has some impressive specs:
Six brilliant colors in fully anodized aluminum construction.
Incredibly light and compact design perfect to take anywhere.
Quickly opens and stays in position at any length.
Includes Bluetooth®-compatible remote shutter.
Includes XShot premium phone holder for iPhone® or Android.™
Extends reach by 31” / 79 cm & closes to 8” / 20cm.
You can also get the Basic 2-Button Bluetooth remote and XShot Basic Phone Holder separately.

SETUP
My iPhone fit the holder very easily and the holder attached the the XSHot camera extender. The dial that you use to tighten the holder is plastic. The complete package is $29.95.

XShot Selfie Stick

XShot Selfie Stick

BLUETOOTH CONNECTION
You turn the route power on, then turn Bluetooth on in the iPhone settings. The iPhone finds the remote and adds it as a keyboard. This allows it to take photos using the large CAMERA IOS button. The other button is labeled Android.

XShot Selfie Stick

TAKING PHOTOS
Press the CAMERA IOS button. Simple.

XShot Selfie Stick

SHARING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
After taking the photo, you can share as usual with social media. I shared on Flickr, I know old school, and when I tried to enter a title, my iPhone keyboard didn't pop up. I figured that it's because the Selfie Stick button took over the keyboard. So I turned Bluetooth off and was able to enter text with the iPhone keyboard.

CONCLUSION
If you've already got an XSHOT camera extender, the Bluetooth remote and phone holder would be a nice addition to your kit. If you want the whole package, this is a reasonable way to go without the fear of having it break in a week. The phone holder and attachment hardware looks very well made.

It seems like selfies and selfie sticks will be with us for a while, except for certain museums that have a well placed fear of people damaging fine art. If you want to experiment with a selfie stick, the XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit With Remote is a good way to go.

Buy on Amazon.com (Affiliate Link)


XShot Deluxe Selfie Kit, Blue Color (with Remote)

View the full XShot product line on Amazon.com

Friday, January 01, 2016

My Three Words for 2016: PLAY, FUN, and SURPRISE

I've been doing Chris Brogan's THREE WORDS exercise for New Years for a while now. What's ended up working for me is keeping the same words year to year.

It's become my mantra.

These three words help me focus on what's important to me.

Here they are:

PLAY

Carol and I are Social Media Travelers. Brands and Destinations have us share their story in real time via social media.

That includes sharing our experiences using popular tools like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, while we are expieriencing the brand or destination.

We are always experimenting with how best to tell stories.



Some fun examples from this past year are:

Superbowl XLIX as a #VIPwithGMC










Please contact me if you'd like to tell a real-time story about your brand or destination.

FUN

I only choose to work with people who are fun. I enjoy helping fun people and companies grow. I'm good at saying NO. If a project isn't going to be fun, I won't do it. ;-)

I had a lot of fun helping my portfolio companies grow this year.

Boomsauce. Loving it! Cheers. @lordhobobrewing

A photo posted by Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) on

Mercedes-AMG Elite Center. First in the US. Come by to try it out.

A video posted by Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) on



Working with the Mercedes-Benz of Burlington and Lord Hobo Brewing Company social media teams to help guide their storytelling was fullfiling.

I had lots of fun test driving some new Mercedes-Benz cars, the S550 for example, and look forward to what's new in 2016. If you are in the market for a new car, please contact Sean King at the dealership and tell him Steve sent you. You have a friend in the business. ;-)

I also enjoyed taste-testing the new batches of Lord Hobo's Boomsauce throughout the year and think it's gotten to the point where it exceeds some of the best reviewed IPAs. Look for it and Steal this Can in a store or bar near you, (New England States, Colorado and NYC for now), and let me know what you think. I'm excited for the rollout of new beer styles this year including a Session IPA and a Wheat beer. Also, visit the brewery at 5 Draper Street in Woburn for some FREE tastings.

For 2016 I'm going to do more than just go the the driving range. I am going to get out on the golf course again.

SURPRISE

I'm excited for what's next and open to new adventures. Last year's biggest surprise was being invited to the Super Bowl as a guest of GMC. Let's see if anything can beat that this year. ;-) Go Pats!

Do you choose three words to start the year? I'd love to hear them.

City of Boston - Online Real Estate Payments

Happy 2016.

The year just kicked off in a good way from the City of Boston online payments system.

For a while now, the payments system would send an email with my real estate bill. To view the status, you'd have to log on and take a look to see your amount due.

View Online
It used to look like this.


Image: Old email

"A new invoice is now available to view online.

City of Boston has implemented a convenient online billing and payment system for you to access and pay your bills. Simply click on the View Invoice or Pay Now button to get started. You can review and print your invoice, pay electronically now, or schedule the date your invoice will be paid.

You may also access your invoice via our Customer Portal at https://www.invoicecloud.com/cityofboston."

No action is required
Today, 1/1/2016, I got a new bill notification email that states right in the email that my bill is already paid and no action is required.


Image: New Email

"NO ACTION NEEDED
Your account is currently enrolled in our auto pay program.

Your payment will automatically be made on 2/1/2016. Should you need to update or change the credit card or bank account information associated with your auto payment, please log into the customer portal. Note that you should receive one more payment reminder approximately 3 days prior to the automatic payment."

Thank you City of Boston. I've been asking for this change for a long time.

2016 is looking up!