Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How To Make Sure You're Getting A Good Deal On Your Next Car

Unless you have official qualifications in mechanics (or your husband does), buying a second hand car can be fraught with difficulties. Not only will you have to spend time considering all your options when it comes to model and colour, but you’ll also need to keep your wits about you with regards to engine status and any hidden issues private sellers may try to cover up.

For that reason, it’s almost always better to buy used models from a reputable dealership, even if it means paying a little more for your car. While you might have to spend more money initially, you’ll have much more cover should something untoward happen, and so you’re bound to save hundreds, if not thousands in the long run. I recently read on the Big Motoring World Twitter page that the months of June and July are always the best for buying a used vehicle at the best prices, so there’s no time to lose. You need to start your research now to ensure you capitalise fully on this.

With that in mind, the article you’ve found today has been written in the hope of giving you some handy advice that could result in you getting a better deal. Obviously, you should always try to take a qualified mechanic along when purchasing anything second hand, but if that’s simply not possible, the information in this article should help to limit the chances of you getting ripped off.

Look at the history

So long as you’re buying from a second hand dealership, you should have the opportunity to read through the car’s full history before committing to a purchase. This is something you should definitely take advantage of. Don’t start panicking if it’s had a lot of repair work, that is completely normal for something more than five years old. However, if you notice that most of the work has been done on the same area of the engine, this should set alarm bells ringing. Like it or not, some automobiles are just prone to issues, and if the one you’re looking at seems to fit this category, you should move on and find something less risky.

Use basic negotiation skills

Not everyone is good at this naturally, and so it might be worth reading through some online guides to brush up on your negotiation skills. There’s lots of useful information in these guides that could vastly improve the chances of you coming out on top. Just to get you started though, the basic rule of thumb for haggling involves you letting the seller state the first price. If you do this, the only way is down (contrary to what Yazz told us during the 1980’s)

Don’t be afraid of walking away

Second hand car sellers can often tell if you really like a particular vehicle, and so if they think you want it bad enough, they’re unlikely to budge too much on the price. For this reason, you need to get your best poker face on when looking at cars this summer, and if the seller refuses to reduce the price enough, you need to say something like “I’ll just get one from somewhere else then”. At the end of the day, a sale is a sale, and no dealership can afford to let money walk out of the building. Just make sure you leave your phone number, and they’ll probably call you back within a couple of days with a better deal.

So ladies, now you know a bit more about what you need to do to get the best deal on your next car, we hope you’ll save enough money to pay for an extra holiday or something enjoyable in 2015.


The Serious Dangers of Distracted and Drowsy Driving

Local law enforcement and highway patrol outfits have become increasingly more effective at cracking down on those who make the terrible decision to drive inebriated. We all see the commercials and electronic road signs stating something similar to “You Drink.. You Drive.. You Lose.” or “DUI Decide Before You Drive”. This campaign has certainly made the public more aware of the dangers associated with drinking and driving and the costs if you are found guilty of the act. Much less has been done to make drivers more aware of the dangers associated with driving drowsy or distracted driving. The facts and figures continue to mount outlining the increased risks of each act. While in recent years, most states have made it illegal to text and drive, many other acts while driving remain legal, and there is very little being done across the country to address the dangers of drowsy driving.

Distracted Driving.. What is it and are we all guilty?

There aren’t many people today who are unaware of the dangers associated with texting and driving. It has become a new focus of many traffic enforcement agencies as the number of crashes have skyrocketed due to this ill-advised act. In many states this has a “primary enforcement” level meaning an officer can pull a driver over without any other offense taking place. In roughly a dozen states, this law is carried over to all hand held phone use which has been more effective in deterring phone use by drivers. Law Enforcement has become increasingly more effective in spotting cell phone offenders but the onus is on us as individuals to keep our phones away and focus on the road.

Distracted driving extends beyond cell phone use in the car. While the cell phone is a principal offender, other acts such as eating and drinking, fumbling with navigation units, spending too much time adjusting the audio, talking with passengers, and grooming or putting on makeup all increase the likelihood of an accident. While the fatalities associated with distracted driving has decreased slightly over the last couple years, injuries associated with such and the number of crashes overall continue to steadily increase. Most alarming is the age group with the highest percentage of distracted driving fatalities relative to the amount of drivers on the road belong to drivers under 20. Not eliminating these habits in the most inexperienced of drivers is a mistake parents and communities must work harder not to commit. However, the onus is again on the driver to understand that while they possess a drivers license, most are far poorer drivers than they realize. Any trip near a local high school around 3pm can surely attest to that.

Drowsy Driving.. Drunk Driving’s Just-As Fatal Cousin

In recent studies conducted over the last 10 years, 60% of all drivers have admitted to driving drowsy with 37% actually reported falling asleep behind the wheel. In an increasingly fast paced, round the clock working environment coupled with children and household responsibilities it is easy to see why a majority of us feel tired a lot of the time. The ever more normal 10+ hour workday and loaded schedules of our children have all of us driving around town “on fumes.” While most drivers recognize the dangers of driving while intoxicated and would never do so, far fewer ignore the dangers of drowsy driving. This is often a costly and fatal mistake as roughly 2000 crashes yearly can be attributed to drowsy driving. Likely the actual numbers are much higher as it is still difficult to determine whether or not drowsy driving was a contributing factor.

Unfortunately some inferential evidence suggest that similar characteristics in drowsy related crashes suggest a more serious outcome than those occurring due to other driving faults. Generally drowsy driving accidents occur on high speed roadways where a vehicle generally leaves the road completely making no attempt to avoid a collision. Often times the driver is unaware they have drifted from the highway and is usually alone during times of day where the roads are scarcely traveled. This makes a fast response time by emergency personnel very unlikely which undoubtedly increases the chance of serious injury or death. In no way is this meant to discount the dangers of driving while intoxicated, only to serve warning that when you make the decision to drive drowsy you are effectively getting behind the wheel in a similar state as someone who has been drinking.

Whether it’s sending a text, putting on your makeup, reaching for that sandwich, or drowsy driving, most of us are guilty of one of these offenses. Many of us believe we are good drivers that can manage to get from point A to point B safely with less than our full attention. With the number of distracted or drowsy driving crashes continuing to climb this is clearly false. Driving a car is a responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. You and the drivers around you have too much to lose in an accident and while some may be unavoidable, eliminating these dangerous driving habits are.

About the author:

This article was written by Brian Levesque.  Brian is the manager and a car rental company in Atlanta, GA and has a great passion for the car industry.  He has been contributing content to due to this interest.  You can find him on Google+ to learn more about Brian.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Globe Telecom bets on high school techies

Globe Telecom President & CEO Ernest Cu welcomes at The Globe Tower 32 high school students who were selected to participate in this year’s Globe Junior Mobile Wizard program.

Go on vacation, enroll in a tutorial class, learn new skills, apply for a job - these are just some of the many ways where students can spend their summer.But for some high school techies they grab this rare opportunity to build their future through Globe Telecom’s Junior Mobile Wizard program. It is a six-week summer program offered to Globe employees' high school children. It gives the teens a chance to learn outside a campus setting and become a part of a real company setting as they interact with customers.

They are tasked to demonstrate and discuss the latest gadgets and mobile data services, as well as other Globe offers and services, providing them the opportunity to assist customers who may wish to apply for the latest postpaid and broadband plans or avail of other Globe promos.

This year, a total of 32 qualified for the program, with 25 coming from Metro Manila, 5 from Cebu and 2 from Davao. The students, aged 15 to 17, are in second to fourth year high school level.

It began with a 2-day training at the telecommunication’s headquarters in Bonifacio Global City. The students were then assigned in 7 Globe stores located in several areas in the Philippines.

Truly a great way to spend their summer right? Not only that they were able to learn about Globe products but it also develops their social, business and entrepreneurial skills.

Friday, May 09, 2014

How Today's Cars Can Self-Diagnose Problems Using Technology

Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed free across the land (OK - I’m exaggerating a little, but it was 16 years ago!), I had just passed my driving test and bought my first car, a battered old Volkswagen Golf mk1.

I seem to remember that it was silver in colour, although at first glance you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell given that the car appeared to be made up largely of body filler and rust! In hindsight, I probably should have saved up a bit more for something that wasn’t a piece of scrap metal on wheels, but even in those days it was a rare sight on the roads, so I just had to buy it!

But, I digress. The reason why I was bringing up my old banger of a Golf was because the car didn’t actually have any form of warning system to tell me that my car had a serious engine problem, for example. The only dashboard icons that alerted me to any problems were the battery and handbrake icons.

These days, things are very different. It is now possible for all modern cars to effectively self-diagnose themselves, with most giving drivers a simple explanation as to the reason the problem has occurred.

So, just how do today’s cars self-diagnose themselves, and are they useful at doing so? In this blog post, I walk you through the different systems checks that the cars of today perform.

Service indicators

Most cars built today come with service indicators built into them. Car manufacturers are clearly worried about car owners forgetting to bring their cars in for their annual service, so they have decided to incorporate a reminder system which will immediately flag up when it’s time for the owner to book their car in.

These service indicators could be as simple as a dashboard icon, or something more intuitive in a car’s infotainment system.

Tyre pressures

Back in the day when cars had very little in the way of electronics, motorists would have to physically check each single tyre to determine whether they needed to be inflated or not.

But with today’s modern cars, one can simply rely on advanced electronic systems and tyre pressure monitoring systems to tell us how inflated each tyre is without even getting out of the car!

Brake pads

One “consumable” item on cars is its brake pads. These small items fit around brake discs and help us to stop our cars when we need them to. Although you can often see how worn brake pads are by simply looking through the spokes of alloy wheels, it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether they need replacement soon or not.

The only time we would normally find this information out is when we book our cars in to be serviced. According to Ian from, most cars on the road these days have brake pad sensors which can alert us when these small, but useful safety items need replacement.

Save Money on Your Mobile Phone Bill

Ever since the world of smart phones took over the entire mobile device industry, data plans, billing, and charges have been a thorn in the side of most smart phone using consumers. Data usage is never quite as intuitive or simple to navigate as it might be; users must decide how much 'data', or wireless bandwidth, they typically use in a month, and then purchase a plan that includes just that much and no more or less. Then, data users must pay close and regular attention to the amount of wireless connectivity that they are utilizing so as not to go over and engage in large overage charges. If you are unfortunate enough to have to pay these fees, can help.

As a result of facing heavy handed data overage charges unintentionally by going over the specified monthly allotment, users have realized that data usage is something to be reckoned with. Just one unknowingly large download or one too many images viewed can mean a mean data overage fee that can push a phone bill up and over the edge. Fortunately, a mass of handy tricks and tips now exists to help frustrated mobile users to reign in and be conscious of their data use. Some of the most useful ways of controlling your use are free, and right at your fingertips if you are savvy with the world of apps.

Apps to Control Your Data Usage

There are a handful of no cost apps now that are specifically designed to make you aware of your data usage, and help you to control your phone bill if it is going overboard. Some of the best will actually turn your data off and restrict it if you exceed a certain amount of usage, and many will tell you exactly what it is you are doing on your phone that is using up all of this data. In this way, you can craft a completely customized phone environment that will make it easy for you to conserve data by closing apps, specifying notifications and alerts, and toggling settings with downloads and images, two of the data heavy aspects of mobile phones.
  • My Data Manager for Android helps users simply and easily assess how much data they are using on a day to day basis and where precisely all of their largest bandwidth is being utilized. If, for instance, there is an app running in the background that you hardly use or don't use at all, but it is utilizing a lot of data, My Data Manager will help you to shut that app down and save on data and expenses.
  • Onavo Count for Android and iPhone is an award winning application that has helped hundreds of thousands of mobile phone users quell their data usage and nip extra charges in the bud. The app is free, seamlessly integrates into your mobile phone home page and has a beautiful interface. You set your personal limits into the program and then Onavo works with you to protect you from going over your data usage, while telling you how your data is being used and how you can improve the performance of your mobile device. You can even check on how much data you are saving by using the app, an encouraging aspect of the program for all high data users.
By using one of these two apps, or a similar one that suits your preferences more closely, you will set up cautious boundaries around your data usage and ensure your stability. By paying close attention to your data limits and having the added protection of a data management app, you will be well prepared for anything on your mobile phone.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

4 Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn't Buy A Car

Do a simple Google search and you will find thousands of articles that tell you why you should or need to buy a car, explaining the various benefits and reasons why it makes sense to have a car. But how many articles do you see from people that explain why you shouldn't buy a car?

Not that many is the answer! Don’t get me wrong; cars are a useful necessity for many households around the world, but mankind didn't always rely on cars to get them from A to B. Today I am going to look at the other side of the car ownership coin and explore the reasons why you probably shouldn't buy a car!

1. You hate driving

I must admit; I think I am one of those seasoned motorists that are now starting to head towards the “I hate driving” camp! I have been driving since 1998 and, at first, I used to enjoy getting behind the wheel of my car and driving here, there and everywhere!

But today, the roads are somewhat more densely-populated than they were back in those days, and the usual negative points of driving (traffic, road rage, idiotic driving) seems to have grown exponentially.

If you actually start to feel stressed and have raised levels of blood pressure before you even get behind the wheel of a car, chances are you hate driving and should probably let someone else get in the driver’s seat.

2. You hate people

There are two types of people in this world; those that are happy to interact with others, and those that aren't.

Do you spend most of your time moaning about people, going into detail on a regular basis about why people annoy you and how you wished you lived on a small island by yourself with only marine life for company?

If so, you are probably not a people person. Driving definitely isn't for you, as you will most probably spend a large proportion of your time on the road swearing at other road users and getting angry at them.

Do yourself a favour: get rid of those “red mist” moments by surrendering your driving licence!

3. You don't need a car 

I know that there is a difference between “wanting” and “needing” a car, but if you are within walking distance of local amenities such as shopping malls, schools, libraries, restaurants and so forth, and your area is well-provisioned for public transport, you probably don’t need a car.

It might be tempting to walk into your local Thames Motor Group dealership to buy that sweet-looking car you’ve had your eye on recently, but you would be better off saving your money for something else like home improvement works if you are only going to drive your car once a week!

4. You want to be greener

The environment is a hot topic in all countries around the world, and it’s no secret that car engines contribute to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, despite car manufacturers working to make their engines more eco-friendly.

By not owning a car and instead walking, cycling or taking public transport everywhere, you significantly decrease your carbon footprint.