Business Administration Education Guide

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Driver’s License / Gas Debit Card

Everyone is trying to save money these days. What use to be a silly ‘not worth it’ savings of fifty cents is now a rarely forgotten savings. Gas continues to roll back and forth between a few cents but constantly above three dollars. So when National Payment Card (NPC) created a new program that would allow gas savings, people took notice.

The new program doesn’t require customers to slip on yet anther key chain discount card, it instead uses the driver’s license. How it works: You set up an account by entering your driver's license number and bank account information online. After the account has been set up, account holders would be able to pay for gas by just by swiping the driver's license (linked directly, via the existing magnetic stripe, to the bank account), and entering a personal identification number.

The benefit for gas station owners is that NPC processes the payment as an e-check with the Automated Clearing House (ACH), a network most commonly used for direct deposits, participating retailers bypass credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard. The processing fee is already attached to the account owner and isn’t applied to the gas station owner. The current processing charges add up to more than small change for gas station owners.

National Payment Card started piloting the patent-pending technology at a handful of gas stations in Texas this year. Since then the company has begun singing new contracts to start the system to five more regional convenience store chains later this year. By 2010, NPC Chief Executive Officer Joe Randazza expects the system will be in place at more than 36,000 locations.

While a $36 traditional credit card purchase could cost a gas station around 86 cents (or more), NPC charges a flat 15 cents fee for each transaction it processes. Randazza says the technology has applications in other industries, but for now the company is focusing on gas stations, where already-slim profit margins have been particularly hard hit by fees
Another reason for the current focus: It's one of the only markets price-sensitive enough that a few pennies off can count as a serious incentive for consumers.

In Texas, a spokeswoman for the state's Public Safety Dept. issued a statement advising that consumers use caution when providing any retailer with their driver's license number, and emphasized that the Public Safety Dept does not endorse National Payment Card or any other programs that piggyback on state-issued drivers' licenses.

People are too well connected to believe a lie.

As a blog writer / hopeful, I read Real Story of JPG Magazine and thought “wow, I’m not the only one”. So while it has nothing to do with me, I found the story of "Do Not Lie" an interesting but sad lesson that apparently needs to be consistently taught and learned.

From Laughing Squid: JPG Magazine Founders Leave 8020 Publishing / Derek Powazek and Heather Powazek Champ, founders of JPG Magazine, are leaving the magazine’s parent company 8020 Publishing due to a “fundamental disagreement” with 8020’s CEO Paul Cloutier.

Derek's post titled “The Real Story of JPG Magazine”.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Red Carpet premiere of Pirates 3 Tixs:$1,500

Red Carpet premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End
Saturday May 19th 2007
Location: Disneyland - CA
Tickets $1,500
All ticket sales goes to Make A Wish Foundation

Rides, buffet, free valet parking, Entertainment such as
Kaptain Raymond Kula

Release Date Change: Disney Moves Pirates of the Caribbean Release Date

Disney has confirmed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End has been moved up for a Thursday night release --one night earlier than planned.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Night Before Monday Morning

The last couple of weeks have been really stressful for me as I learned the painful lesson of how changes in people due to they’re surrounding circumstances affect ourselves. Part of that lesson was that you may think you know someone even when you are particularly close to them, but you still only see the side of them that reacts to your personality and their current surrounding circumstances. When they’re circumstances change in ways they would rather not accept, people around them may fall prey to they’re negative scrutiny.

This in-depth awareness came about in a very random and disjointed way. In thinking about it though, I am still somewhat disappointed in recent failures of other people. They’re negative scrutiny came from them based on them not me.

Since I do have the luxury of blogging about a variety of topics. The blogs sometimes become a more ‘lost in thought’ extension of myself; where as my weekend (for really that’s my only available play time) is more an abundance of energy that’s been conserved during the week and finally able to let go. Every day I’m bombarded with images, business concepts, news horrors, technological advances, carer trends, human regression and media bias… and than of course there’s Lio and Danae to keep me sane in an insane world. Hundreds of thoughts pass though my mind every day and maybe I’m lucky for the times I am able to allow these traveling thoughts in and seperate the keepables from the throw-aways.

People in general tend to perceive and judge others based on they're previous experiences that has nothing to do with us individually. We know that people’s personalities are generally very multi-faceted. No one is ever “what you see is what you get” because people change and react according to their circumstances and the people around them. But if you can never truly know a person, how could you ever dare to judge them?

Moving onto a completely different train track, I had a fabulous little weekend filled with lazy sunshine hours of California sun. It didn’t start so well, but it’s amazing what happens when you just let the steam out and move on. I ranted and bitched and even screamed wondering if the entire world had been effected with a softer 28 Days Later agent virus knowing that I wasn’t the only women experiencing insane circumstances or delusional people.

In spite of this, the heroines won out and we beat society’s melodrama by going to a movie night called Fright Night here in Los Angeles to see Peter’s Jackson’s Bad Taste aliens with really big butts.

Refusing to let the melodrama tremors effect me anymore, we three (friends & I) went to or at least tried to roller-skate down Huntington Beach trail but the gravel trail was worse than an wood roller coaster after eating 3 hot dogs. So we opted to cruising Belmont Shores -- a peaceful dog friendly cove of Long Beach, CA.

We started the evening by going to my favorite Greek restaurant with the still most friendly restaurant owner in the world who welcomed us with hugs… even MRMan (friend of mine) received a family like hug after a jibe of “no hug for you” (with a very cute Greek accent). As always the calamari was amazing. The evening was finished by having a makeshift slumber party staying up late and watching movies….

Sunday we just spent the day lazily walking around and just life watching. Thankfully, the newest tradition hasn’t been broken by negativity. Later that night we made dinner together and just talked and watched one more movie before we had to succumbed to returning to our own realities of The Night Before Monday Morning.

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Profits Verses Art - When Strange & Beautiful Isn’t Legal.

Homelessness refers to the grungy, dirty and criminal like individuals that most of society tries to ignore. They are classified as only people who cannot or refuse to acquire permanent housing because they supposedly too drunk or on too many drugs to afford “safe” and or adequate shelter. Homelessness is an umbrella term that is used to classify anyone and everyone whom does not neatly fit into the boxed like definition of acceptable…much like most of today’s computer manufactured homes.

Berkeley artists built a Road Warrior / Beyond Thunderdome approach to a beehive of artists using 30 shipping containers. But as of today (May 14th) they have been forced to vacate. The ‘Shipyard’ artists began amassing the shipping containers about five years ago by stacking them two or three together on an industrial lot in West Berkeley. The containers were used for studios, performance art, welding, storage and occasional living quarters.

The Shipyard has been home to countless large-scale art projects & installations, events and alternative energy experimentation, including a Survival Research Labs show (2001), How To Destroy The Universe Festival (2004 & 2005) and Burning Man projects The Clock Works (2005), Neverwas Haul (2006) and The Mechabolic (2007).

But on Friday May 11th Berkeley's building and fire departments served The Shipyard, a group of several dozen Burning Man original creators, with a "cease and desist" order due to ongoing building and fire code violations, said Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief David Orth.

"We don't want to drive artists out of Berkeley. Their work is cool," Orth said. "But we can't have them living in shipping containers."

The artists, however, feel they've been trying to work with the city but Berkeley's codes are too stringent and expensive to comply with. Jim Mason the landowner has sent letters and has tried to work with city officials but contrary to what Deputy Fire Chief David Orth’s statement, city officials have offered little movement in expanding building codes from traditional structures. In addition to the contrary “we love art” declaration, the Fire Marshall maintained a get out or be fined ($2,500 per day) overload tyranny.

As San Francisco’s rent remains consistently high and rises, rent in Berkeley, CA can be just as repressive. The containers offer cheap and secure space for local artists, many of whom can't afford Berkeley's steep rental prices. Below are just two advertisements found at the popular Craig’s List website. Several advertisements were for summer sublets, over a thousand monthly rents and boarding home-style room rentals.

  • $1800 / 1br - A Must SEE CONDO in Gourmet Ghetto
  • $2495 / 2br - New Downtown Berkeley

This is a fight that has steadily been building steam. When the city denied them access to the electrical grid. Jim Mason responded by designing a solar power system so that The Shipyard produced all the energy it consumed. Than the city argued that the shipping containers were not safe, a weak argument at best.

One of the most interesting trends in the green building movement of today is utilizing old shipping containers. Jones Partners is an Architect who has received high acclaim for his “critical manipulation of technology” building design using shipping containers… and SG Blocks Inc has partnered with local shipyards in depleting the over abundance of shipping containers and making new homes in the Louis area. So the argument that shipping containers are not safe is an unstable argument.

In London, the government announced plans to build thousands of shipping container apartment / homes in the capital so public sector workers will not forced to move because of rising house prices. No news on rather this actually happened or not though.

Berkeley is an alternative cultural Mecca and everyone is wondering why would Berkeley city officials would evict what they on their own website promote as being a city that has “cultural diversity, art, beautiful parks, innovative businesses, and friendliness amongst neighbors.”

There are different theories as to why the city previously tolerated the Shipyard art community and than suddenly looked for reasons to evict the artists. One of the more popular beliefs is the upscale Berkeley Bowl supermarket near by.

"The boxes are a 'Road Warrior,' 'Waterworld' castle of steel," O'Hare a Shipyard artist said. "They're completely safe. But the city doesn't recognize them under the building code."

If Berkeley officials would have worked with artists instead of against the artists, both parties could have found the relationship mutually attractive. Berkeley should have given them a grant for being energy-efficient and attracting tourists to the area, while the artists would have gained not only additional funds for future projects but maintained a place to work and live.

With new development constantly bulldozing their way through historic and depressed areas, is high profile manufactured art the only acceptable art?

Creating Diamonds From Human Ashes

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