By Ed Duffy
I just received "Final Notice" of my good fortune! It's a very official looking check-like document made out to US Airlines on behalf of ME, for $1,298.00! Upon closer inspection it says I can redeem this certificate for 2 round trip tickets to anywhere in the Continental US from any major international US airport. Of course, "some restrictions apply" you see, it's a limited time offer that may be withdrawn at any time. Flights fill quickly, so I should call 866-962-7085 and claim my prize!
I'm naturally skeptical of such gifts, but a big red flag was the statement they felt a need to put on the stub "this is not a timeshare or land sales offer". Okay, time to go to the Internet.
I typed in the words "US Airlines Travel Voucher" in the Google search box and found exactly what I expected to find.
These guys to a pretty good job of summing it up. - Fodors.com
Bottom line, as I suspected, nothing good will come from claiming this "prize".
Taking a tip from tech, food incubators launch startups
A new group of food-based startups are applying tricks learned from the technology industry to grow a new wave of businesses to cash in on the growing "foodie" movement across the U.S.
Like tech entrepreneurs starting out in a Starbucks, foodies who find themselves needing space to prepare boutique treats are turning to shared programs called incubators and accelerators that help them launch by offering communal business spaces and logistical assistance.
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Amazon Invests in Original Shows, Taking on Netflix and TV
Amazon is now officially competing on the same playing field as Netflix‚Äînot to mention cable TV. The online retailer announced on Thursday it's producing six original comedy pilots for its Amazon Instant Video streaming service.
Here's the best part: Amazon is looking for viewer input.
"We want Amazon customers to help us decide which original series we should produce," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.
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'Fixer' movement fights today's throw-away society
Everything old is new again at the West Seattle Fixers Collective. From sewing machines to fans to lawn mowers, if it's broke, they'll try to fix it.
"It's just a group of us that like to get together and help each other fix whatever we own," said Greg Kono, who runs the group, which meets on the first Thursday of every month.
The concept started several years ago in the Netherlands, where people would come together about once a month, meet over coffee and bring in items they would like to have repaired. Members would learn how to fix the items or watch other volunteers who are handy and know how.
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Business is up in downtown Colorado Springs
Local business owners work to encourage people to shop local, and a successful program made a return to keep business coming.
Old Colorado City and downtown Colorado Springs used Ambassadors to help shoppers to find what they were looking for. The volunteers walked in pairs with maps and other information helping tourists and causal shoppers that don't frequent the areas.
For Saboz owner, Linda Bridger, business has been very good compared to past years, and she said customers seem to enjoy having the ambassadors available, but that the economy must be healing too.
"This year has been a whole lot more fun. Ladies are coming in and helping each other pick things out. They are enjoying spending money.
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By Ed Duffy
Kum & Go convenience store is now open at 8050 Fountain Mesa Rd in Fountain, Colorado.
The 5,000 square foot store features 16 pumping stations, a large product section, center checkout area and a Go Fresh Market that offers made-to-order pizza, breakfast and deli sandwiches.
The Fountain store is one of up to 25 stores the company has opened or plans to open in the Pikes Peak region over the next few years, including one at Vickers and Academy, and one nearly completed at Hancock and Academy.
For more information about Kum & Go visit Kumandgo.com.
A man was shot dead today at the Seven Eleven at 5 Widefield Blvd.
According to reporters and people at the scene, law enforcement had the man in question under surveillance for at least the last several days. Earlier today, they were following him on Hwy 85 when he took evasive action, turning on to Fontaine and driving behind the Aamco and New Generations Homes buildings.
At that point law enforcement officers decided they needed to move in and blocked the vehicle as it pulled out along side the Seven Eleven. The driver rammed their vehicle. They opened fire, killing the man, whose name has not yet been released. Police believed the man was armed, but it is not yet clear if the suspect fired at officers.
note: edited 7:59 Friday 12/21
The VFW is offering 2013 calendars that enter you in a drawing for every day of the year. The fundraiser calendars, which benefit the VFW, are $20 each.
The smallest prize on any given day is $40. There will also be 2 drawing for $1,000 and 8 drawings for $100 each. If you win a prize, your name remains in play for all future drawings throughout the year.
A total of 6,000 calendars have been printed for this program. If you'd like to get in on it, call Dave Stone at 719-391-9470,
By Ed Duffy
As labor costs rose and foreign competition heated up, many large manufacturers turned to robots to stay competitive. Robots don't take breaks, ask for raises, go on strike or threaten to sue you. The initial investment can be quite hefty though, at hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
Now it seems the stars are aligning for a revolution in robotic employment for even the small business world. A company called 'rethink robotics' has produced a worker robot called Baxter which it sells for just $22,000. Its abilities are a bit limited. It can pick things off a conveyor belt and put them in a box or on another belt, so long as they don't weigh more than about 10 pounds. It doesn't require a technician to program or run it. It even has a facial display screen which indicates whether your instructions are clear or not. It's small enough to fit at a normal person's workstation and it's easily portable. Competitors are getting into the game as well. Yaskawa Electric and ABB ltd are working on their own small commercial robots.
Again, the first wave may have limited capability, but there's already been good response from companies that want to use them for picking and packing jobs. If these robots show promise, you'll see faster, better, perhaps even cheaper models on the market before long.
With even minimum wage employees costing around $17,000/year, not including any mandatory health benefits, it doesn't take a CPA to figure out a $22,000 one-time investment in an automated replacement could be a real cost saver. If companies are able to market these successfully, the race will be on to replace more and more human jobs with robot jobs. At least in the case of 'rethink robotics' the robots are assembled in the U.S.. But, I suppose it's only a matter of time before robots are making the robots. That doesn't mean the human worker goes away. It does mean they may have to be more imaginative and self-sufficient however. If you're job can be done by a machine, it probably will be. So start thinking about developing a skill, product or service that can't.