Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was more of the same in May for U.S. retail sales of ag tractors and combines, with under 40HP tractors leading the way and sales of larger tractors and combines continuing to lag, according to data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the leading trade organization for off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers.U.S retail sales of farm tractors under 40HP were up 9.4 percent in May 2016 compared to the same time period last year, and up 15.5 percent January through May. For 2WD tractors 40-100HP, sales were up slightly for May compared to last year – plus 1.4 percent, and year-to-date are tracking at minus 2.1 percent.May sales of 2WD 100+HP tractors in the U.S. declined 3.5 percent, with year-to-date sales down 24.3 percent, while 4WD tractors dropped 26.1 percent year-over-year and dipped 30.6 percent year-to-date.Combine sales declined 40.2 percent year-over-year for May but for January through May dropped 28.8 percent compared to 2015 year-to-date sales.“The May retail sales numbers, taken together, are higher than the 5-year average, mostly driven by the smaller under 40HP machines, which remain an area of growth compared to the negative numbers for production equipment. However, farm tractors 40-100HP continued their stable trend, and the 2WD tractors 100+HP experienced a lower decline than earlier this year,” said Charlie O’Brien, AEM senior vice president.“Farm incomes are expected to be more stable this year and we are seeing some growth in crop receipts in certain areas of the country, but we will most likely have to wait until later this year or 2017 to see an appreciable impact on equipment sales.”
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologistAs we continue to wait another week for the fields to dry out, this provides some time to sample soil for the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations. The SCN Coalition theme for the next few years is “What’s your number?” Do you know where SCN is in your fields and what the current population is sitting at? If its high, then there is a second number: what is the SCN type? This addresses the bigger concern: can it reproduce on the SCN resistance source PI 88788 or Peking? All of these numbers can impact management of this root pathogen and future losses.In Ohio, we know that the state is now “polluted” with SCN. Fortunately most of those fields are at very low levels, which is where they should be kept.From samples received to date as part of an initial survey for Ohio of 33 counties as part of the SCN Coalition sampling, we found the following results. Our first round of data collection is from members of the American Soybean Association sponsored by Ohio Soybean Council.However, there are some surprising locations where individual fields are getting or have gotten into trouble with very high populations (>5,000). So let’s review the loss levels for SCN.If your SCN report in the past has come back as:Not detected: this is not surprising. Remember that SCN sits in pockets and can be quite variable. Continue to monitor your fields.Trace: May begin to measure some yield loss on susceptible varieties, especially on lighter soils.Low: Plant SCN resistant varieties or rotate to a non-host crop (corn or wheat).Moderate: Rotate to a non-host crop and follow with SCN resistant varieties the following year. We have planted susceptible varieties in fields with this level of SCN and have recorded 20% to 50% yield loss.High: rotate to a non-host crop for two to three years, then sample SCN to determine if populations have declined to a level where soybeans can be planted again.SCN is picky about what it feeds and reproduces on but it does like a few weed hosts andcover crops as well as soybean. If you have SCN in your fields it is important to also control winter annuals such as purple deadnettle, but also avoid cover crops such as several of the clovers, cowpea, common vetch, and hairy vetch.We recommend sampling in the fall because in most cases this is what the population will be in the spring. With the warmer weather this year and hopefully no frozen ground, there should be ample time to collect and process the samples for spring planting. Processing of samples does cost time and money, so here are a few thoughts on how to sample or how to target your sampling to get the best information for your money.Updated information on where to send the samples for processing for a fee:OSU C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic8995 E. Main St. Bldg 23Reynoldsburg, OH 43068Phone: 614-292-5006www.ppdc.osu.edu – follow this link to download forms to go along with the samples Brookside Laboratory Inc.200 White Mountain Dr.New Bremen, OH 45869417-977-2766,email@example.com Spectrum Analytic Inc.1087 Jamison Rd. NWWashington Court House, OH 43160740-335-1562www.spectrumanalytic.com For some additional information on Management of SCN always check Ohio’s SCN fact sheet and several other resources as well including: https://u.osu.edu/ohscn/,http://soybeanresearchinfo.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQgg-UPQdcs&feature=youtu.be.
8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market bradley berman A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#collision avoidance#Disruptive Technology#Drive#radar#smart cars Related Posts ReadWriteDrive is an ongoing series covering the future of transportation.Most cars on the road will soon be smart enough to detect and avoid collisions—with little or no help from drivers who all too easily get tired, drunk, or distracted by incoming texts. And that could radically change a lot of things around the auto industry.Proven automotive safety technologies—most notably radar-based automated braking—are expected to produce an auto industry shift that is more transformational than the introduction of safety belts and air bags a generation ago. These technologies require a wholesale reconsideration of the overlapping industries that insure and repair cars (and people) damaged in car crashes. These expenses are measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year.Nissan-Infiniti offers “Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning” on select vehicles. The technology continues to improve.Several companies, including Mercedes, Volvo, and Nissan, are already envisioning a “zero fatality” scenario by the end of the decade. Today, more than 30,000 Americans die in car crashes every year.“The emphasis over the past half-century has been on engineering vehicles so that occupants survive a crash,” said Robert Hartwig, president and economist at the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization. “The new generation of technology seeks to avoid the crash to begin with. That’s a fundamentally new way of thinking about safety.”Disruption AheadCars equipped with radars, lasers and lightning-fast processors can detect, with great accuracy, an imminent collision with another vehicle. These systems—already found in luxury vehicles from the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Volvo—issue warnings to drivers to apply brakes. If the driver doesn’t respond, the car will automatically bring the car to a stop or otherwise avoid the collision.In 2013, sales of Volvo cars equipped with systems for automatic braking passed the one million mark.Expect to see crash avoidance systems spread throughout the industry, first as pricey options, then as standard features—and maybe one day as federally mandated technology.Americans paid approximately $170 billion in auto insurance premiums in 2013. About 77 percent of that was used to pay on claims, with the remainder going roughly half to the insurance company’s operating expenses and half to profit.Alain Kornhauser, a professor of operations research and financial engineering at Princeton, has absolutely no doubt about the economic benefits of driver-assist technologies. “Money that would otherwise go to body shops, lawyers, ambulance drivers, MRIs, clinics, and hospital emergency rooms will now go to technologists working on safety systems,” he said. “This is disruptive as hell.”Kornhauser is not exactly sure—and not overly concerned about—how the disruption will play out. “This is fundamental economics,” he said. “The technology to do collision avoidance is so inexpensive that it’s cheaper than the amount of chaos and carnage that it takes out of the system.”New Business ModelsThe Mercedes-Benz Distronic Plus system has proximity control with an operating range of about 1 to 500 feet. It’s capable of braking the car all the way to a standstill and accelerating it back up to a pre-set desired speed as the traffic situation permits.As billions of dollars are liberated from the current system, it’s only a matter of time before enterprising insurance providers begin offering steep discounts to owners of cars using crash-avoidance technology. That represents a consumer subsidy to help car buyers pay for the technology.In fact, Kornhauser believes the car companies selling much safer vehicles could directly offer insurance—much the way they provide financing today. Besides, with increasing levels of automation, the liability in an accident might very well rest with the carmaker, rather than the driver.In essence, the broad interconnected markets regarding auto safety market would shift from insuring cars that we all fully expect will experience accidents to development and deployment of technology intended to ensure that accidents rarely happen.“About 80 percent of what auto insurers take in goes to hospitals, lawyers and body shops. Assume you chop that in half,” said Kornhauser. “I would prefer to see the money in the pockets of the technologists who do the vision systems, the cameras and the radar.”Lead image by Flickr user Ben Margolin, CC 2.0; others courtesy of Nissan, Volvo and Daimler Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting
Controversial hardline Hindutva advocate Yogi Adityanath took oath as the 21st Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, March 19. Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma also took oath as deputy chief ministers. Mr. Sharma has been the mayor of Lucknow twice, while Mr. Maurya is the U.P. BJP president. Both were touted as probable contenders for the post of CM. Along with them, a total of 22 cabinet ministers, nine ministers (independent charge) and 13 ministers of state were also sworn in. There only five female ministers, among whom only one is a cabinet minister — Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Ms. Joshi spent 16 years as part of the Congress before shifting over to the BJP. Her father Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna was the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, while her brother Vijay Bahuguna served as the Uttarakhand Chief Minister from 2012 to 2014. There are two female ministers (independent charge) — Anupama Jaiswal and Swati Singh, and two female Ministers of State — Gulab Devi. Of the 22 cabinet ministers, 10 have criminal cases against them, with the highest being Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi and Satyapal Singh Baghel with seven cases each against them.Here is the full list:Cabinet Ministers* Surya Pratap Shahi, former UP BJP president and former minister under Kalyan Singh regime.* Suresh Khanna, MLA from Shahjahanpur is an eight time MLA.* Swami Prasad Maurya rebelled from BSP, is former leader of opposition.* Satish Mahana, senior MLA from Kanpur, a former minister, he is a Punjabi.* Rajesh Agarwal, a two-time MLA from Bareilly cantonment, first-time minister.* Rita Bahuguna Joshi is former UP Congress president and MLA from Lucknow Cantonment. * Dhara Singh Chouhan* Dharampal Singh* S.P. Singh Baghel, BJP’s backward morcha president, a Dalit MLA from Tundla in Firozabad.* Satyadev Pachauri, MLA from Govindnagar in Kanpur, Senior leader.* Ramapati Shastri, former minister in BJP govt. MLA from Mankapur in Gonda.* Jai Pratap Singh, MLA from Bansi in Siddharth Nagar in east UP.* Om Prakash Rajbhar, president of SBSP, BJP’s ally, MLA from Zahoorabad in Ghazipur.* Brijesh, BSP rebel, former MP and present MLA from Lucknow Central.* Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, MLA from Chata, former BSP leader.* Chetan Chauhan, former cricketer in Indian team, two-time MP from Amroha.* Srikanth Sharma, BJP national spokesperson, won from Mathura. * Rajendra Pratap Singh is a four-time MLA.* Siddharth Nath Singh is an MLA from Allahabad West. National secretary of BJP.* Mukut Bihari Verma is an MLA from Kaiserganj.* Ashutosh Tandon, son of former MP Lalji Tandon. He is MLA from Lucknow East.* Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi is an MLA from Allahabad. Former BSP minster and Congress Lok Sabha candidate.Ministers (Independent charge) * Anupama Jaiswal MLA from Bahraich* Suresh Rana (riot-accused) MLA from thana bhawan, Meerut* Upendra Tiwari, MLA from Phephna in Ballia. Brahmin leader* Mahendra Singh, MLA from Hasanpur in Amroha, defeated cabinet minister Kamal Akhtar* Swatantra Dev Singh, Kurmi leader and organization man. BJP gen sec in UP* Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary was elected MLC last year, Jat leader from Moradabad* Dharm Singh Saini, MLA from Nakud in Saharanpur. Former BSP minister. Defeated Congress strongman Imran Masood. Is an OBC. * Anil Rajbhar, MLA from Varanasi’s Shivpur seat.* Swati Singh, debutant MLA from Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow, wife of Daya Shankar Singh who made sexist remarks on Mayawati. Thakur by caste. Defeated Anurag Yadav, nephew of Mulayam Singh.Ministers of State* Gulab Devi: MLA from Chandausi. Dalit.* Jai Prakash Nishad: a most backward caste, MLA from Rudrapur in Deoria* Archana Pandey MLA from Chibramau in Kannauj, Brahmin* Jai Kumar Singh: MLA from Jahanabad seat in Fatehpur. Kurmi by caste. Fought on Apna Dal ticket* Atul Garg: MLA from Ghaziabad seat.* Ranvendra Pratap Singh: MLA from Hasanganj in Fatehpur, Thakur by caste* Neelkanth Tiwari: MLA from Varanasi South. Modi held road show in his constituency. First-time legislator and advocate by profession. * Mohsin Raza: Shia Muslim former cricketer from Lucknow. Not member of any house. BJP spokesperson on TV channels.* Girish Yadav: MLA from Jaunpur. OBC* Baldev Olakh: MLA from Bilaspur, and Sikh face* Mannu Kori: Dalit, MLA from Mehroni in Jhansi* Sandeep Singh: grandson of Kalyan Singh, MLA from Atrauli, only 26 years old. Youngest minister, Lodh by caste (OBC)* Suresh Pasi: Dalit, winner from Jagdishpur in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat.
Expressing concern over the declining trade between India and Pakistan due to escalation in tensions along the borders in recent months, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood on Tuesday stressed the need for concerted efforts on both sides to ease tensions through people-centric measures.At an informal meet here, both Capt. Amarinder and Mr. Mahmood agreed that the downslide in trade was detrimental to both the countries.While Capt. Amarinder favoured reviving the Indo-Pak Punjab games, saying sporting events could play a pivotal role in boosting people-to-people relations on both sides of the Punjab border, Mr. Mahmood said that more people-level contacts between the two nations could help pave the way for long-term peace and stability in the region.Spirit of harmony“It was important for the development and progress of both the countries that they work in a spirit of harmony to promote the welfare of their respective people,” said Mr. Mahmood.The games that were launched in 2004 from Patiala included hockey, cycling, athletics, gymnastics, polo, handball, wrestling, badminton, volleyball, tug-of-war, shooting and kabaddi.Capt. Amaridner said that the enthusiasm with which these were received by sports persons and others from both sides was remarkable.Prisoners’ repatriation Mr. Mahmood raised the issue of repatriation of prisoners from both sides who had completed their terms, saying that the clearances should be expedited for the purpose.An official statement said that both Capt. Amarinder and Mr. Mahmood underscored the need for promoting bilateral trade as a means to further the peace process, and also strengthen the fundamentals in both the countries to facilitate their economic and social development.“They agreed that both India and Pakistan could ill-afford to alienate themselves from each other in the transforming global milieu, where the two nations were faced with many common threats and enemies,” said the statement.Mr. Mahmood, also met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and pointed out that as there are lot of similarities between the countries, there should be an exchange from both sides in the field of sports and culture so as to strengthen bilateral relations.
Celebrities always inspire the commoners with their flat, toned stomachs. One can achieve that perfect midriff if one follows right exercise regime and diet, says an expert.Personal trainer and outdoor fitness expert Rob Jones shares five tips to achieve the toned stomach, reports femalefirst.co.uk.If you still think that doing crunches will score you amazing abs, you’re in for a rude awakeningIt’s not all about sit-upsSit-ups and ab crunches work your six-pack. But for better defined abs, spend the majority of your workout on exercises that burn more calories and shift body fat.Be consistentDedicate time every day to focus on your training and make abs an integral part of each and every workout.There’s probably no body part women obsess over more than their midsectionsHone your dietYou eat your way to a six pack, so watch what you munch and focus on foods and sports supplements high in protein that help muscle growth and keep body fat low.Vary your workoutsVary your ab workouts daily to work the different muscles that run across that area of the body for the perfect balance.Core and moreInclude both isometric exercises (holding exercises such as a plank or side plank) with dynamic exercises (where you contract the muscles such as an ab crunch) in every workout.
After decades of fulfilling promises made to others, Louie Alas is trying to make good with one that he made to himself.“It’s sort of an unfinished business,” he told the Inquirer after Phoenix Pulse practice at Upper Deck Gym in Pasig on Tuesday afternoon as the Fuel Masters await a semifinal foe in the PBA Philippine Cup.ADVERTISEMENT Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated “[That episode] started off on the wrong foot,” he recalled. “When everything got settled, Asi (Taulava) was deported. Everything went wrong.”Fortunately, the job at Phoenix is letting him address that.“I would want to win one on my own,” Alas said. “Also, this is for my children—who pushed me, who asked me to pursue this (PBA head coaching) once more.”And given his experience—one that has started from the amateur arenas in St. Francis of Assisi in Las Piñas and stops in the defunct MBA and NCAA as champion with Letran and Manila, to the the big boys’ league in the PBA—Alas knows it won’t be easy.He knows what he’s talking about, for waiting on the other end would be either TNT or San Miguel Beer, which no team has been able to touch in the all-Filipino Finals in the last four years.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Alas said he has long yearned for another crack at being head coach after an initial try that didn’t go well.He’s had offers to join Red Bull as a deputy and even take over GlobalPort in the past, but scheduling woes got in the way and he stuck it out for a long time as a chief assistant at Alaska.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“The farthest I made it [to winning a title in the PBA] was in the semis,” he said. “Of course, I would love to become a champion as a head coach. I’ve had titles, but they all came during a time where I was an assistant.”That PBA shot came in 2001 with Mobiline. And it was a turbulent one. Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch PLAY LIST 01:33Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch00:50Trending Articles01:28’Walang bigayan’: Expect all-out war between sister teams Magnolia, San Miguel02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Ateneo rallies to rip St. Clare Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew View comments
Going into this match, we were warned that Watertown had a very scrappy defense, but not a very potent offense. We stressed to the girls how important it was for them to keep the ball in play against a scrappy team. Keep our errors to a minimum and look for our opportunities to score.The Wildcats came out strong in the first set. Watertown ran very few attacks, relying instead on just keeping the ball in play with free balls trying to score on 2nd ball over. Wilmington stayed patient and kept the ball in play, running their own attacks and scoring when they could. Once again, after a dominant first set, there was some let-down in the second set. To their credit Watertown did a much better job of running an offense and managed to score more often, but Wilmington held tough and gutted out a narrow victory. We made a small change to the lineup in the third set to let Raegan Sweeney play all the way around again, and have her use her powerful swings to generate some energy. She did a great job, sparking the team to a dominant third set victory.Serving was a strength again this set with 96% serving, 10 aces and only 3 errors. Six of our nine active players served 100%! Our lowest serving percentage was 75%. It was great to see the girls putting our instructions into practice and not giving points away.Our game plan in this match was to attack Watertown out of the middle. Both Gianna Brunetto and Maeve Cadogan rose to the challenge. Gianna continues to thrive in the middle with 7 kills and only one error. Maeve contributed another 6 kills and only one error. Gabby Bond had 7 kills from the outside.Coming UpThe match against Watertown marked the mid-point in our 2018 season. Wilmington now stands at 3-5 in the Middlesex League and 5-5 overall. The season continues with a match against perennial powerhouse Winchester (6-2) at home on Tuesday, Oct 2nd at 4:00 pm, and away at Arlington (0-5) on Thursday, Oct 4th at 4:00 pm.Dig PinkWe seeking community support for our annual “Dig Pink” fundraiser in support of the Sideout Foundation and the work they do to support Stage 4 Breast Cancer patients and their families as the fight this terrible disease that continues to afflict so many in our community and in our families.This season, our Dig Pink fundraiser will be taking place on Friday, October 12th, during our match against Melrose. The JV and Freshman teams will be taking the court at 6:00 pm, followed by the Varsity match at 7:00 pm.We will be selling baked goods, as well as raffling off gift baskets between matches as well as between sets of the varsity match. All proceeds for the evening will go directly to the Sideout Foundation.We appreciate your support, and we look forward to seeing you in the gym.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWHS VOLLEYBALL: Wildcats Go 2-1 For The Week With Wins Over Triton & WakefieldIn “Sports”WHS VOLLEYBALL: Wildcats Fall To Reading & Melrose In Close MatchesIn “Sports”WHS VOLLEYBALL: Wildcats Have Best Week Of The Season (So Far)In “Sports” Newburyport115251917 Watertown012239 Wilmington3252525 On Tuesday, we travelled to Stoneham to take on the Spartans. Coming off a few recent victories the girls seemed ready to turn it on against Stoneham. I continued to stress the need to play smart. Serve in! Hit in!Apparently Brittany Cimaglia took my instructions to heart. After we got our first point on a great play from serve receive, Britt went on a run of 14 straight serves to stake us to a 15-0 lead. Wilmington never looked back in that set, allowing Stoneham only six more points in that set. As is often the case after a blow-out victory, there was a let-down in intensity and focus on our part, leading to a 4-8 deficit early on. But they were able to pull it together, tie it up and extend out to a 22-10 lead, before closing out the second set 25-14. The third set was closer, but Wilmington held the lead from start to finish.This was the Wildcats best serving performance of the season, serving 93% with 17 aces and only 5 errors! As mentioned earlier, Britt Cimaglia was outstanding, serving 97% with 10 aces and only 1 error on 33 service attempts. Anna Rideout and Khrystyna Fedynyak contributed perfect serving outings as well.We saw great improvement in our offense during this match as well, with a total of 22 kills and only 12 errors during the match. Our new middle hitter, Gianna Brunetto had a great night with 8 kills and only one error. Gabby Bond also contributed 8 kills with only one error. Maeve Cadogan had 5 kills with only one error.We were very pleased with the way that the team played their game during this match, no matter whether Stoneham was running an offense at them or just dumping free balls at them. They maintained their composure and got their jobs done.Watertown Wilmington325232525 Newburyport continues to improve, and is proving to be a competitive adversary. We have been trying to stress to the team how important it is to play smart: serve aggressive, but serve smart; hit aggressively, but hit in.. Don’t just try to overpower our opponents, but keep them out of system to get more opportunities to run an offense. Hit the ball over the net and find the court. We have a few really tough servers who were able to do exactly what we were looking for.In the first set, we got out to a lead and were able to maintain it all the way to the end. The second set started out the same, but Newburyport was able to stay close and finally close out a tight set, 25-23. In the third set, the team got out to an early lead again. Newburyport came close, but this time, Wilmington was able to hold on for the win. In the fourth set, Wilmington came out strong opened a wider lead and was able to close out the match.Overall we served 88% with 25 aces and only 11 errors. Maeve Cadogan led the team with 100% serving and three aces. Britt Cimaglia and Gabby Bond once again were strong servers for us with 96% serving and 8 aces and 5 aces respectively with only a single error each.We were not as pleased with our offense, which got 20 kills in the match, but also made 19 attack errors. Again, we need to play smarter in order to continue to be successful. Gabby Bond led the team with 6 kills, and Raegan Sweeney contributed 5 kills.Injuries are bound to happen during the course of a season, and we lost one of our Middle Hitters during the first set of this match. We tried a couple of different players at middle, and finally decided on playing Gianna Brunetto at middle. This decision worked out well in the Newburyport match and the remaining matches this week.Stoneham Wilmington3252525 Stoneham071419 WILMINGTON, MA — Below is the latest weekly recap from WHS Volleyball Coach Bruce Shainwald.Newburyport
Gail DelaughterNew reloadable EZ Tags are now being sold at HCTRA’s Ship Channel Bridge.News 88.7 Transportation Reporter Gail Delaughter recently visited the Harris County Toll Road Authority to talk with Deputy Director Lisa Castaneda. They discussed HCTRA’s new website, along with the continuing challenge of tracking down toll road violators. Delaughter: Tell us a little about the website and what it’s going to do for people.Castaneda: We looked at what people were calling into our call center, what kind of business they needed to take care of. And we tried to be as self-service as possible. So offering a website 24/7, 365, putting most of the things that customers are calling into the call center for, getting them off the phone, and being able to be self-service if they want to be. Delaughter: What kind of self-service is available there?Castaneda: Managing your account, that’s probably the biggest one, and all the things associated with managing an account. But also when a lot of people are calling in they’ve had a violation. And so instead of having to call in through the call center, we’ve put in two new features to deal with violations to make it self-service for the customer. Delaughter: So how are those violations going to be handled on the website?Castaneda: If you have accidentally used the facility, you can go on and through a small convenience fee you can take care of your violation. The sooner you go to take care of your violation, the cheaper it is. The longer it goes the more expensive it gets. The process involved with trying to collect those tolls through the violation process is very expensive. We try not to pass that off to the customers who are paying. Delaughter: So why doesn’t the Harris County Toll Road Authority just let people pay after they’ve gotten on the toll road, either by phone or online?Castaneda: That’s a very expensive business model. We don’t have a big demand for that. We don’t want to take the additional cost of doing that and add it to the burden of people who are already paying in our existing model. Paying later, it’s hard to enforce. It costs more money. It starts by an image that’s taken of the license plate. First of all, some of those image aren’t going to be great. Some of them are intentionally obstructed. They have mud on them, whatever. You may never find that person, but you’ve got all these other people who are paying. Delaughter: How much of a problem is that, when people don’t get around to paying? We’re heard stories about people who’ve racked up some very egregious violations over a period of time, so how much of a problem is that, to track down people who just don’t pay?Castaneda: It’s a very costly problem to track it down for all those people who pay their tolls. We try to keep the tolls reduced to a reasonable amount. The people that we have to track down, that’s why the fees do get expensive. We’re not in the business to make money off people’s violations. We’re just passing the cost of what that violation is to the people who aren’t paying. But it’s pretty complicated to look for somebody after the fact. Delaughter: How complicated is that, to actually track down someone on the toll road when they haven’t paid?Castaneda: We have set up some systems for our law enforcement. They have dedicated resources that are set up to always be looking for these top violators. And they pull over maybe 100 of them a day. Egregious is the key word. These aren’t first-time violators. These shouldn’t be people who didn’t know they owed the money. It shouldn’t be people who are lost. If someone is new to Houston or visiting, they’re not going to wind up on that list. But they should know they are on the toll road. And that’s part of the website. It allows people to be self-serviced, 24/7, 365. They can go on and they can take care of it for a very reasonable amount. They just can’t repeat and do it again and again. Listen Share 00:00 /03:46 X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:
PC’s aren’t that different from a lot of us: They just sit around all day getting flabby. So if you want to squeeze another year out of your machine–or even retrofit it with Windows Vista in ’07–there’s no better time to put it on a regular program of tuning up and toning up.I don’t know your machine personally, of course. But even if it isn’t bogged down with Trojans and spyware (as so many are), just the way Windows goes about its business will pack flab on the fastest hunk of hardware. A PC’s Registry can get cluttered with outdated keys that waste processor cycles and have marginally useful or even harmful proc-esses in system memory. Just one day of computing will thoroughly fragment a C: drive. And out-of-shape PCs are more likely to be pushed around by hackers.We’ve covered the security aspect before, so let’s fast-forward through that discussion: Run Windows Update regu-larly and use ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite as well as Mozilla’s Firefox browser and its Thunderbird e-mail editor. Install Lavasoft Ad-Aware and Spybot-S&D to nuke new bugs that sneak through your firewall. You may even need a specific tool like Trend Micro’s CWShredder for some strains. ZoneAlarm is $50 (all prices street); the rest are free.As for keeping your PC in shape, we’re not talking about triathlon shape, which would mean spending half your workdays on computer maintenance. But if your computer is going to load Windows and browse the web without wheezing, its disks, memory and Windows Registry need regular tuneups.Whose PC Is It?Theoretically, you control what gets put onto your hard drives and into system memory by clicking icons. But in reality, the only PC property rights you have are those you’re prepared to enforce–which has become pretty complicated since you signed up for broadband.A lot of programs and web pages today treat your PC as though they own it. Remember that “I accept the license agreement” button? They consider that carte blanche to load whatever self-serving processes they want, hold onto as much RAM as they can and, when unloaded, leave behind a Fourth of July weekend’s worth of litter.You shouldn’t have to spend your time policing your machine, but if you don’t, you’re going to be exploited. As with security, start with a good general-purpose suite like Symantec’s $70 Norton SystemWorks 2006 or Iolo’s $50 System Mechanic 6. Both are jumbo toolboxes of scanners and utilities that will root out and fix 95 percent of your PC snafus, and you can choose whether they do it en masse or one problem at a time.It’s My ProcessJust for fun, I ran a couple of PCs for several weeks without maintenance to see how much plaque would build up. Norton’s scanners uncovered 118 invalid ActiveX entries, three invalid application paths, five missing file extensions, seven invalid help files, 38 broken shortcuts and 10 missing shared files on one. System Mechanic found a similar complement of system snarls on the other, along with 430MB of unneeded Windows and internet files. Both C: drives were a mess, and one had about 200MB worth of system memory tied up by processes whose applications were no longer running.With a couple of mouse clicks, both suites had most of that junk swept out and Registry and RAM tuned so programs could load and unload cleanly. Some jobs, like disk diagnosis and optimization, are better addressed individually so you can determine the which, when and how. In fact, even though you could schedule most maintenance tasks to run automatically at off-peak times, that’s not a good idea. Any program that can change a PC the way these suites can needs supervision.It can seem foreign at first, but over time, these scanners and sweepers will help you get to know what’s going on behind your foreground applications. Launch Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl-Alt-Del) and you’ll see that every machine has a couple dozen strange-sounding processes running all the time. Which are Windows services, which belong to your applications, and which are potentially harmful strangers?Task Manager won’t say. But the alternative process viewers in System Mechanic and SystemWorks can help you decipher them. Problems vary, so you may also need Codestuff’s Starter and HijackThis–a shareware pair favored by blogs and forums that helps solve parasite problems.I wish you just needed to buy one program and push one button. But it’s 2007, the bad guys are clever, and you can’t afford not to keep up. There’s no such thing as being fat and happy anymore.Personal TrainersThese sites help you figure out what’s necessary, what’s safe and what’s not.Shieldsup!: This Gibson Research site will probe your perimeter every which way to tell whether yours shields are UP!Tech Support Forum: Got a question? Someboy in this geek nation should have the answer.Winguides:Support forums and other technical resources maintained by PC Tools, publisher of several PC tuneup utilities.Spywareinfo:Volunteer sysops will hold your hand while you remove spyware and other bric-a-brac from system memory.Spyware Warrior: A list of what’s naughty and what’s nice out there. Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur’s technology editor. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now January 1, 2007 This story appears in the January 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » 5 min read Enroll Now for Free