Transportation Management Key to Competitiveness in Global Wireless Marketplace

Wireless communication and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets have launched an online marketplace where people can shop at all times. The Internet provides a way to inexpensively market goods around the world and reach the palm of a customer's hand. At the same time, public offices depend on local sales tax revenue from area merchants. Healthy communities and quality public schools rely on local merchants to have what they want, when they want it, and at a price they are willing to pay.

There are many forces at work in delivering goods to wholesalers and consumers. Ports, rail, air, and interstate highways each play a role in bringing products from country of origin to final destination. Choosing the appropriate combination of intermodal transport involves balancing speed, cost, and frequency. In most businesses, effective transportation management makes a significant difference on the bottom line. Competitiveness depends on being able to find the fastest and cheapest way to move products.

As connectivity spreads to more parts of the world, current logistic patterns and transportation systems will adapt to new markets as they are created. During times like these, access to these new markets depends directly on expertise in transportation. For most businesses, this means partnering with a company that specializes in moving certain kinds of products and working in specific markets. Companies who undertake international trade without the appropriate level of expertise typically suffer lost revenues and productivity as they are presented with unanticipated challenges and additional costs.

Transportation management and logistic coordination are integral to success, and each mode of transport may be considered its own subfield with unique strengths and associated experts. Produce needs to move fast, but online retailers can offer a variety of shipping options at different profit margins. Aside from profits, transportation management can also contribute to competitiveness, both socially and environmentally. Socially conscious businesses want to demonstrate to customers that their processes are minimally impactful. Businesses concerned with long-term sustainability might view robust transport management as an integral part of their responsible action model.

Each business must carefully research transportation systems in its current and target markets to determine which modes of transport will be appropriate, as well as what policies are in place. A competent of universities have high quality transportation research centers that seek to explore policy, commercial transport, and comprehensive land use planning. These centers may have outreach programs to assist in local economic development by advising small businesses with endeavors that lack in-house logistical capacity. Ultimately, establishing the best transportation management system for any organization requires developing a relationship with the partner and outstanding clear goals and plans.

Weight Control And Your Longevity (1)

Weight control holds the key to longevity. You do not find overweight centenarians, do you? So, to live long, you need to lose weight, at least control it.

This week marked a milestone in the pharmaceutical industry: the launching of the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight-loss drug – ALLI. It has already created a sensation in the media: a multi-million advertising campaign for a multi-billion drug for millions of consumers craving for a miracle drug that would stave off their craving for food.

This sensation created by ALLI goes to show how desperate consumers are in their search for the holy grail of a weight-loss drug. With the blessing from the FDA, many consumers seem to have the illusion that they can now continue their binge without adding weight – something akin to "no pain and no gain."

ALLI is no magic bullet. "This is not a pill, it's a plan," says Pat Barid, a registered dietitian and consultant for the drug manufacturer. Similarly, the drug is efficient in guiding and preparing you to lose weight gradually by eating smaller portions, following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, and becoming more physically active. If that is the scenario, then why do you need to take the drug? A drug is still a drug, which is a chemical – you do not take it unless you absolutely have to.

Ah, but you want to lose weight – and you want to eat to your heart content too !. In other words, you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can do that at the expense of gaining unwanted weight. It is not only a dilemma but also a frustration.

Focusing on losing weight is like running after a red herring – it is frustrating and futile.

Why?

The bathroom scale just indicates your body weight, and that that is all. It does not tell you how much fat or muscle you may have lost during a given diet. It may not even tell if you are healthy or not, unless you are grossly overweight. Therefore, do not become obsessed with your weight. After all, your body weight always fluctuates – which is a fact, and which is very normal.

When you go on any diet, your body's metabolism immediately starts to react and to slow down, and that accounts for the initial weight loss in any diet program – so do not be overjoyed and jump to the conclusion that it works. It is only a self-delusion: initially your body loses only water, not your body fat.

Given that lean muscle mass requires calories at times of rest, the amount of muscle you maintain directly affects your metabolism in a positive way. You burn calories while you sleep. In other words, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism rate is, and the more calories you will burn. The converse is also true: as you lose your muscle mass, your metabolism rate decreases, and so does your weight-loss rate. That explains why you would stop losing weight after have been on any weight-loss program. On the other hand, fat, being inert, has little or no effect whatever on your body's rate of metabolism. These are the fundamentals for better understanding of how weight loss occurs.

The maximum amount of weight (fat or muscle) you can actually lose in one day is about one half pound. Since your body is about 60 percent water and one gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, any additional weight loss greater than one half pound may only be water, and not your body fat. Therefore, when your body replaces the water lost, weight gain will re-occur, and you are right back to where you started at an unhealthy weight. Does that sound familiar to you?

Consider this: 3,500 calories equal one pound of your body weight.

Do your math: To lose 10 pounds, you have to expend 35,000 more calories than you consume; and to lose 10 pounds in two weeks, you need to burn 2,500 more calories a day. You know very well that it is not a piece of cake! That explains why you forever can not lose your weight, not to mention controlling it. So forget about weight loss!

Losing weight is forever "impossible" to many individuals because they have become obsessed with numbers. They are forever playing the losing game of numbers. They have to count their calories, their carbohydrates, and their proteins, among others. Profit-making diet plans allure them with numbers, both "hard" and "soft" data, to the land of myths and fallacies, where they end up only in frustration and disappointment.

Remember this simple factor: Weight loss occurs only when the calories you consume are less than the calories you use up. This is the most important factor in weight loss, also one most difficult to achieve. Trying to circumvent it with state of the art is nothing short of impossibility. That is why most weight-loss plans are always about counting calories: giving you a calorie chart, calculating your daily total calorie need, and then instructing you to eat less than that, hoping against hope that your weight will drop dramatically.

So how to lose weight without drugs? Read Part Two of this article.

Will Online Apps Prevent Consumer Waste Or Embolden Customers To Buy More Stuff?

If Apps using artificial intelligence help us all use less, share more, recycle things to others – then, will this hurt retailers and retailing due to reduced consumption? Will it prevent all the discarded waste, underutilized stuff we buy and own? Many believe it will. Take the sharing economy companies with popular apps; Lift, AirBnB, NetJet, Uber and other such concepts. Many corporations that build or manufacture vacation homes, hotels, automobiles and corporate jets are worried about their future, they see opportunities but also decreased volume, loss of economies of scale, overall "pie" reduction even if they garner a larger piece of that pie (Market Share) in such a future.

If everyone shares cars, aircraft, extra rooms, then of course; fewer rooms will be rented, and aircraft and cars purchased. This has economic implications of course, manufacturing and hospitality jobs for instance. Still, it provides efficiency to consumers, so, less waste, lower costs (due to sharing) and that is a plus positive for quality of life and higher standard of living – no need to buy an expensive car, share a car with others, or buy a corporate jet, share instead. Makes sense (cents) right, no actually it makes dollars.

Indeed the very same new communication technology to bring buyers and sellers together; Artificially Apps also make it easier for consumers to buy, and since consumers enjoy buying, this creates more purchases, more spending, and more consumerism. More consumerism means more redundancy, more waste, right? Sure, when capitalism speeds up its efficiency of exchange through digital money transfer, instance purchases, immediate delivery – we find more abundance due to increase in the ease of trade.

So, on one hand we have a threat to jobs and big changes to industries and certain sectors of our economy due to our new apps and smartphone mobile technology – and, then on the other hand we have a tool to help sell more stuff, faster and make more revenue and less cost, allowing corporations to enjoy increase shareholder's equity and quarterly profits while passing on some of that savings in lower prices to consumers.

When consumers buy more stuff, their homes fill up with more junk and each year a portion of the cluster gets donated to the local Thrift Stores. So, we should see more items that are bought by way of customer rewards programs, and apps from a certain sellers that have perfected that game. Okay so, we should be watching for lots of cheap Chinese made consumer goods showing up in mass at the second hand stores. While larger items like cars, planes, and time shares will decrease in the next couple of decades "IF" these current trends continue. Please consider all this.

Do Alt and Title Attributes Help With SEO?

A highly talked about topic is the SEO world is, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” Well to help shed a little light on this topic, I did some research and came up with a few good conclusions. I’m not suggesting these are 100% accurate but from my initial research they seem to be right on target. I welcome all other SEO experts to share their opinions on this topic by posting their comments – because as we all know, every little bit of information can help us all.

Well to start, I want to provide a brief introduction of each attribute to help you understand their “intended” purpose.

The alt attribute is, popularly and incorrectly referred to as an alt tag and is commonly misunderstood to provide a tool-tip for an image. Both of these are incorrect. First of all, the alt attribute is an attribute and not a tag. The alt attribute was always intended to provide alternative information about an element and is generally required for image and image maps and is not meant to be used to display a tool-tip. The alt attribute, can be used for the img, area, and input elements to help provide alternative information to users who cannot display that element in their browser. As an example, here is how you would define an alt attribute for an image: <img src=”imagepath.gif” alt=”this is our company logo”>. If the image is not displayed the text, “this is our company logo” will be displayed in the place of the image.

The title attribute, on the other hand, is meant to provide additional information about an element, which is displayed as a tool-tip by most graphical browsers. The title attribute can be used to describe any HTML element except for base, basefont, head, html, meta, param, script, and title.

An excellent use for the title attribute is to provide descriptive text within an anchor tag to let the users know where the link will direct them if they click on it. When the user places their mouse over the link, it will display a small tool-tip displaying the title text that you’ve provided. An example would be

So as you can see the alt and title attributes have different purposes but how do they affect SEO? This is the true question we all want to know and understand. Do they help with SEO or are they simply ignored by the search engines? I tested several different scenarios, all in Google, and after my research I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Alt attributes seem to be picked up by Google, whether or not there was a link within that element. Some SEO experts have mentioned that if there is no link, then the alt attribute would not be indexed… from my research I’ve found this to be false.

Going further, I noticed in one testing scenario, if there was an image with an alt attribute and a link to a completely other site, that other site was also indexed by Google when searching for the text within the alt attribute. It was difficult for me to verify this multiple times but I definitely verified it in one testing scenario.

I also took this one step further and analyzed my results with what Google Images was displaying. I immediately noticed that Google sometimes takes the alt attribute text and provides this text as the description for the image in Google Images, something that is very valuable to know and understand when doing SEO for your website.

In all of my testing scenarios, the title attribute do not seem to be picked up by Google and adding a link to that element did not seem to affect this result at all. If you really think about it, this makes complete sense. Since you can place title attributes in almost every element of a website, it would be very easy for a user to affect the search engines by keyword stuffing throughout their web pages, something that Google and the other major players do not want, hence why title attributes do not help with SEO.

In my opinion, you should use the title attribute to help with your user’s experience and not with SEO. Since tool-tips provide more useful information to the user about images, links, fields and much more, you will help your users to understand what is happening around the web page.

So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.

When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=”". Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.

I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.

I welcome all comments and/or feedback.