Archives for February 2019

Dock Square Parking Garage – Getting The Basics Right

Two of the biggest challenges for anyone who drives to work here in Boston,MA are the traffic which we must fight though each day, and then the parking situation. Whilst there is nothing that I can do to prevent the traffic, searching for a parking garage is something which I have dedicated a lot of time to. Now there are quite a number of parking garages around Boston, MA, but the majority simply don’t deliver. After much searching I found the wonderful Dock Square parking garage, a parking spot which just gets things right were others don’t, and here is how. 


One of the absolute basics which a parking garage should be able to provide you with is security, a place where you can leave your car, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to it in terms of any kind of damage or even theft. I have heard numerous reports from friends and colleagues who park in other garages in Boston, MA, which involve cars being scratched, broken into and in some cases, even stolen. This is something that Dock Square garage ensures doesn’t happen and that is why I feel so safe leaving my car there.  


There are many who run garages in the city who try to cram in as many cars as possible to their garage, which results in people being blocked in and of course increases the risk of damage to the vehicles. Dock Square are not greedy like many are and they have ample space in their garage for all sizes of cars, with plenty of space between each vehicle.

Customer Service

I’ll be completely honest and say that customer service is rarely something that I would look for in a parking garage but it is very nice when it comes your way. I park in the garage each day so of course the guys have gotten to know me a little bit, enough that they will stop and ask how I am or how my day was. This is such a nice detail and one which makes me feel very happy about leaving my car in their charge.


Here in Boston, MA there are a number of garages who don’t really have much competition and as a result of this little monopoly that they have, they think that this gives them the right to charge extortionate prices. Here at Dock Square however they have a genuine understanding for how much they should charge and I like that long stay customers like myself pay a little less per hour than short stay. Recently they have launched something of a loyalty scheme where you get a discount on every tenth stay with them.

This is a garage which isn’t only well priced and secure, but one which is very well located, very well managed and somewhere that you can feel completely confident about leaving your car there all day.

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Anouk Govil – What is Life Like On The East Coast of America?

I met my now partner Anouk Govil in Connecticut when we were just children, growing up together in the same street, and then we even studied together as students once we reached university age. The strange thing about all of this was that I never really knew Anouk until we reached university, and the rest as they say is history. Three years ago we made the decision to move from Connecticut to the bright light of New York. Naturally we often meet people from all over the world who are here to visit, and many often ask me what life is like here in the east coast. I have had a think about this question and here are the points that I would make.

Cold Winters 

You often see shots of the Connecticut coast or New York in summertime and it always look absolutely beautiful, and the truth is that when the sun shines down, it most certainly is. The wintertime and fall on the other hand, are not pleasant months. During these months we get snow and icy temperatures, plus the fact that the days are much shorter. Strangely this actually has an impact on people’s mood and it makes sense I guess when you wake up in the dark, and go to bed in the dark, constantly wrapping up to protect yourself from the cold.


Having traveled quite a bit around the USA, especially the West Coast, I wholeheartedly accept that there is an argument to be made about how much happier everyone else is apart from the east coast. I think that this comes down to the history of the area, with a lot of industry here on the east like dock yards and construction which dominated employment for many years. That combined with the cold winter temperatures have made us a hardy bunch who get things done. You find that in sunnier areas that people are happier because there is a lot that they don’t need to worry about, the beach, fresh fruit and sunshine are often all people need to be happy, a luxury which we just don’t have here on the east coast.


It isn’t so bad in places like Connecticut but in New Jersey and New York there is a notion that we are quite rude, but I like to think we are just direct. We can appear rude when talking to people but the truth is that we just don’t have any time for flannel, we need to know what we need to know and then move on. Again i think that much of this comes down to the climate, the way of life and the hard-working nature of the east coast, and that is why nobody argues like they do over this side of the US.

I love the east coast and I am proud to say that I am from here and despite the negatives that people may throw our way, it is the best place to live in the country!

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Jonathan Levin Philadelphia – Planning to Write a Story

Jonathan Levin Philadelphia based journalist is a master if storytelling and someone who has a wealth of experience in this field. Originally he actually trained to be an attorney but after he went to college to study journalism, he very quickly realized that this was were his heart lay. Jonathan is a serial writer who conjures up all manner of stories and we were lucky enough to meet with him last week as he was waiting for a client of his, to discuss how one could plan to write a story.


Before you get started with your story you must invest enough time into the learning process and the research process for your story. Try to expose yourself to as much written work as possible and try to highlight the styles which you like. In terms of the nature of your book, research will be vitally important so that you can tell the story accurately. If you are telling the story of a group of misfits in Philadelphia for example, you need to know what life is like, how culture and counter-culture is, and what makes that group of people tick. This prep work is crucial.


Characters will be the most important part of your story, beyond what they do and where they go. You need to think of each characters personality, character traits, their state of mind, what they do and where they have come from. In creating a life for each of the characters you will find it far easier to place them into the storyline. Try to use people who you already know and exaggerate their features or their ways, mix up stories from different people who you know in order to create your very own character.


A story is only as good as its framework and this is why you should be sure that you stick to one which you like. Telling a story doesn’t always have rules but for the reader’s enjoyment you should always look to tell it in a way that is easy for them to read and digest. If you tell a story that is flitting between the past, present and future, you can easily confused the reader. Keep it simple and on point, and create a framework which you believe will be the best way to deliver the story.


Finally you need to think about what kind of style you will write the story in, will this be a narrative? Expository? Descriptive? Try to think about which of these styles best suits the way in which you write, and consider whether they are appropriate for the story that you are trying to tell.   

Final Tip 

Few of us have the required funds to quit our jobs and write for a living and actually making time to write can be tough with a full time job. With this being said however, it is important that you make at least an hour per day to write, whether this is the planning of your story or the story itself. More time would be great but if you don’t have it, you need to make do with what you do have.

To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.

eTargetMedia Reviews – The Benefits of Targeted Email Marketing

When digital marketing first began to find its feet it was email marketing which became an instant hit and many businesses saw the benefit of this style of marketing, my own included. As time went on however this marketing strategy became saturated and that meant that recipients of such promotional content were less likely to engage with or interact with the messages that they received. Last year I made the decision to invest once again in marketing for my restaurant here in Coconut Creek, Florida, and this time around I decided on targeted email marketing. There is a local company here in Coconut Creek, Florida and they specialize in targeted marketing like this, after reading the eTargetMedia reviews, I was convinced that this would work for me and it certainly did. If you are looking for a marketing strategy for your business, here is why targeted email marketing could be the answer.  

Higher Click Rate

As mentioned, the reason why email marketing failed was because the click through rate was so low that it simply wasn’t worthwhile. This is not the case at all with targeted email marketing and that is because you are sending this information to people who already sign up for things like this and for people who will be genuinely interested in what you are promoting.  

Less Unsubscribe 

When you start off with 1000 email addresses and after just a few months more than 50% have unsubscribed, you know that something isn’t quite right with what you are doing. When it comes to targeted marketing however, this figure is drastically lower, for the same reasons mentioned above. These people are more likely to be interested in what you are offering because of the way that they have behaved online in the past.  

Cost Effective

To compare targeted email marketing with traditional email marketing, one of the biggest benefits is that targeted marketing is far cheaper. The reason for this is because you are not sending out a huge blanket of emails, instead sending less emails but doing so in a smarter and more specific way. Email marketing was already one of the cheapest marketing options and targeted marketing brings that price down even more.  

Brand Growth  

We have become far more sophisticated when it comes to measuring our marketing campaigns and that goes for email marketing too. Something which many businesses who have opted for this marketing strategy enjoy is the brand growth which they see. This can be measured by how much a company is talked about on forums or on social media and the reason why this happens is because a great number of the people who have received promotional marketing from you, are interested in what you have to say, and far more likely to then go and spread the word.

This is a low cost and high return investment which can help you to boost sales and increase brand awareness, why not give it a go!

Do you want to read more about business? Well you’re in luck, we have a whole category on it!

Jared Seyl Farmers Insurance Expert on Why Insurance Companies Utilize Managing Agents

For Jared Seyl farmers insurance is what he has dedicated his life to and for someone who grew up surrounded by agriculture here in Greenwood, CO, it was the perfect career choice. Throughout the years he has become an expert on insurance as an industry and he has achieved the position of Director in his firm, heading up the team of advisors and seeking to improve his agency on the whole. Jared is also a District Manager for his firm and this is why he can be considered as something of a guru on this subject. Managing agents are a key position for insurance companies and to find out more we spoke to Jared, and here is why he says that so many insurance companies use these professionals.  

What is a Managing Agent?

To give you a brief description of what managing agent is, here is the official definition; 

“An individual or business entity appointed by an insurer to solicit applications from agents for insurance contracts or to negotiate insurance contracts on behalf of an insurer and, if authorized to do so by an insurer, to effectuate and countersign insurance contracts”

We can see from this definition that they are basically a sub-contractor who supports the insurance company.

Know How

One of the main reasons why an insurance company may outsource some of their contract work to a managing agent is because they have the know-how which will ensure that the job is completed to a high standard. Take farmers insurance as an example, most large scale insurance companies won’t have in-house experts for all types of insurance which they offer and they will focus on the most common forms. Farmers insurance won’t dominate the insurance company like auto insurance will, so they will outsource any checks and contract signings to an agent who is a specialist in the field.


Owing to this expertise the job can be performed far quicker when using a management agent. Couple with their expertise the managing agent will be hired for a single job and so they will not be focusing on other aspects of the business, meaning that they can give all of their time and attention to the particular job in hand. Insurance companies know that in hiring a management agent that the job will be handled in a swift manner.

The Gift of Time  

Insurance companies, much like any other business, will outsource tasks like this in order to free up time within the company. When they hire a managing agent they are safe in the knowledge that this job will be taken care of, which then allows them to focus on more important or more pressing issues within the company. Time is a rare commodity in business and so anything that can be done to gain time makes perfect sense, including the hiring of a management agent.

To ready more on topics like this, check out the business category.

Tatiana Kukanova Surviving in the UK

I first met Tatiana Kukanova when I was 18, I was on a school trip to a business event for students in New York and she was representing her local school. In fact we first butted heads over a debate which were having about the impact of fossil fuels, a debate which I would probably say that I just edged. Anyway we swapped details and stayed in touch and then some years later we decided to go into business together here in the UK. Tatiana is originally from California so you can only imagine the culture shock which she received when she eventually hit British shores, especially given the fact that we were going to be working between London and the north of Scotland. I have almost enjoyed watching Tatiana over the last 12 months, learning how to cope with the UK and finding her place here, and here is how her first year has gone.


I actually met Tatiana in Edinburgh airpot when she first came over and from there we headed up to Inverness. Shortly after we hit the road I decided to stop at a service station for a drink, we both got out of the car and began chatting when suddenly I realized that I hadn’t heard from her for a little while. I turned around to see her frozen still, some 10 meters back, exclaiming that it was too cold to move. I will never forget that moment, it was absolutely hilarious and a perfect introduction for her. Needless to say she now wraps up and puts on plenty of layers to cope with the cold.


Although we speak the same language it is fair to say that it isn’t always easy for a Californian to make themselves understood, or even understand others. Naturally this is far more interesting when we go to northern Scotland because the accent is so thick up there. I must tell you that to watch two people who speak the same language not being able to understand a word of what the other says was absolutely hilarious and I have probably lost count of the amount of times that I have had to translate English into easy-to-understand English.


Us Brits love our manners, almost too much I would suggest and that is something which Tatiana learned very quickly as well. The one that catches most people out is when we apologize for something which quite clearly wasn’t our fault, and this is something which has completely bemused Tatiana on more than one occasion. I can remember our first week in London together when we were in a supermarket and Tatiana smashed into someone else’s trolley, naturally Tatiana apologized but so too did the poor soul who got the whack, and it left Tatiana completely confused.  

There have been many funny anecdotes like this since Tatiana came to the UK and it is truly fascinating to watch someone learn to fit into a different culture, and often very funny.

To read more on topics like this, check out the travel category.

Computer Myths You Have To Stop Believing

Computers are all around us but most people do not really know much about them. We tend to use gadgets, technology and computers on a daily basis and believe what others tell us about them. Unfortunately, since most people talking about them are not professionals, various myths and misconceptions appeared in the past. We are going to talk about the most common ones so that you can stop thinking that they are correct.

Drives Have To Be Frequently Defragmented

You do not really have to defragment the modern computer. This is because they include defragmentation utilities that will automatically run on a schedule that is pre-defined. That is basically true for both Macs and PCs. We also have different devices that include flash storage or SSDs. These do not have to be defragmented since that can actually ruin them. Solid state drives are more common every day so defragmenting is not something you should worry about.

Spyware And Viruses Will Slow Down The Computer

Most computer users believe that when the PC slows down it is because of malware. The computer may be infected but the modern malware is now profit-driven. Creators are mainly interested in running stealthily without leaving traces. Performance decreases are rarely noticed these days when viruses and spyware appear. However, this does not mean that you do not need to be protected. Having all the software you need is definitely something of necessity.

Proxies Are Used By Hackers

There are many regular users that can take advantages of the numerous advantages associated with proxy use. For instance, the Netflix proxy error fix is a great example of something that gained a lot of popularity in the recent past. Using proxies is highly beneficial because you gain an extra level of security to your computer. That is something many do not actually know about. Hackers nowadays use much more than just a proxy. Basically, using proxies can be highly beneficial.

Cleaner Software Will Improve Computer Performance

Every single computer user out there saw ads for cleaner software that guarantees the fact that cleaning registry errors will make the units work faster. According to Louis Hernandez Jr, who tested numerous such software, many interesting programs are beneficial for the computer but the truth is that such heavily advertised software is not on the list. What you need to do is to basically learn all that you can about the programs that are actually beneficial for the computer and that would bring in speed updates.

Data Is Erased When Deleted From The Hard Drive

When pressing the delete button you tend to think that the data is erased forever. This is not actually the case. Only visible existence traces disappear. All the data remains on the hard drive until it will be overwritten. When you tell your computer to delete a file, it is actually marked as space that is available. In the future, new data will be put over it. That is something that is going to happen in the future but you never actually know when that is the case. It is even possible that data on your computer is still there from the first day you bought it, even years after.

Ian Weisberg – Predicting the Next King of World Football

Over the last 15 years we have all been very blessed to have Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi competing against each other in the same moment and regardless of who you believe to be the best, we should just cherish what we have been able to witness. This happens once in a lifetime, perhaps even a Century and it is fair to say that once they go, there will not be another battle like this for many moons. There is nobody coming through the ranks who can compete with these two, but there must still be a world’s best. I caught up with football blogger Ian Weisberg to see who that might be.

Neymar Jr

Many believed that Neymar was going to take the place of the two giants but his career just hasn’t worked out that way. He played in Messi’s shadow for a long time at Barca and when he stepped out of it he took the easy option of going to PSG. Neymar will always be considered an incredible talent, but he isn’t fit to tie the laces of CR7 and Messi. Unless he can lead PSG to the Champions League trophy and ramp up his goal scoring, he will be remembered as someone who failed to reach his potential.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is probably the one who will take the crown next, he is just 19 years old, he has already lead his national side to a World Cup victory and to be completely honest, he is so good that it is scary. What is even scarier is that Mbappe is yet to reach his potential and the expectation is that he’ll move to Real or Barca, and take his game to the next level.

Harry Kane

At just 24 years of age Harry Kane has already amassed a huge amount of goals and whilst he may not have the pace and the guile of messers Messi and Ronaldo, he may be the one who can get closest to their ridiculous scoring records. In fact in 2017 Kane outscored both Messi and Ronaldo as he became the world’s highest scoring player in a calendar year. Spurs fans won’t like this but if he is to achieve that success, he surely has to do it elsewhere.

Jadon Sancho

Young Englishman Jadon Sancho caused quite a stir last year when he left the Manchester City academy to join Borussia Dortmund, but the move seems to be paying off. Sancho has soared 12 and assisted 8 in his last 23 league games for Dortmund and he is getting plenty of chances to prove his ability. At just 18 years old it may be too early to tell whether or not he will have what it takes to become a world leader, but all of the signs indicate that he certainly has the potential to do so.

Who do you believe will be the next big thing? You can contact us and let us know!


How The American Musical and Dramatic Academy Reviews Became More Accurate

AMDA or the American Musical and Dramatic Academy is a fine educational institution which has seen some highly successful students come through its doors, who have gone on to do wonderful things in the arts. The school is widely recognized as being a great college and this is why it was somewhat bemusing to the board of directors when around 5 years ago the American Musical and Dramatic Academy reviews didn’t replicate the feedback which they were seeing or the credit which they were receiving from the education community. The team set about trying to ensure that these reviews and any future reviews would be accurate, and here is how they were able to set things right.


Much of the negativity which had been written about the college was difficult for many to understand but as with any negative feedback, they still wanted to see if these comments had any ring of truth about them. There were some small issues uncovered and fixed but in the main the comments were probably unfairly harsh on the college, left by students who possibly had an axe to grind. What I admire about this is that they didn’t just pass off these negative comments as hogwash, but instead intended to get to the bottom of them.


The number of reviews which had been left were quite minimal, especially given the number of students who have come through the doors here at AMDA and so the board decided that they wanted more reviews from their current student body, in order to see if the original reviews had been accurate. In order to get the students to do this the college offered some little incentives for the final year students to leave reviews. At no point in time were these students coerced into leaving positive reviews, far from it in fact, the college simply wanted honest reviews from them. They did this two years in a row and across these two years the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Celebration of Success

Something which the team did identify as an issue was the fact that as a college they were not very good at tooting their own horns and reminding the students just how much good the college has done, and what a special place they were lucky enough to study in. Over the course of the following semesters they sought to right this wrong and they began to publicize far more of the positive news which was coming out of the college such as the success of ex-students, any awards which had been given to the college and the brilliance of their teaching staff. Sometimes people can forget about the good things and fixate on the negatives, which is likely why the college did have poor reviews in the past.

The reviews of the college now are very positive and most importantly, they are accurately representing what everyone else is saying about this brilliant college.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Zoo Too, click here.

The Technology Behind Structural Insulated Panels


Modern building techniques emphasise the importance of building performance and energy efficiency. This stems from a greater awareness and desire to conserve natural resources. Structural insulated panels or SIPs are one of the many building materials that can help realise these goals. SIPs can slow down air, vapour, and heat transfer thus creating an airtight enclosure with impressive thermal performance.

Development of SIPs

The idea that became the predecessor for the technology which resulted in modern SIP panels originated in Madison, Wisconsin in 1935. The Forest Products Laboratory made a prototype using a framing member, some plywood, insulation, and hardboard sheathing.

These prototype panels were used to assemble test homes which were dismantled 30 years later revealing how these prototype panels retained much of their characteristics. In the 1960s, it was Alden B. Dow who first created SIPs with a foam core for mass production. Today, modern SIPs are fabricated in factories and used extensively for walls, roofs, and floors in construction.

The composition of SIPs

Each panel is primarily composed of an insulation core sandwiched between two rigid sheathing materials. The insulation core is either made of expanded polystyrene or polyurethane foam. EPS insulation core is laminated into the boards using high pressure, while PUR foam is a liquid that is injected into the middle of the panel and cured using high pressure.

Comparison of foam core types

Expanded polystyrene foam is the cheapest core material available and can be modified easily in the field. Extruded polystyrene, on the other hand, is stronger than EPS and is also water resistant. SIPs with polyurethane foam have the highest thermal performance, are water resistant, and more durable than other core insulation types. However, polyurethane foam is more expensive and has thickness limitations.

Comparison of sheathing types

The most common sheathing material used in SIP fabrication is oriented strand board. It has a high load bearing capacity and can be fabricated in large panels. Unfortunately, OSB is prone to mould growth when exposed to moisture. Since it is not fire-resistant, it has to be treated with a fire retardant.

Another sheathing option is sheet metal which has the advantage of mould resistance. However, sheathing SIPs with sheet metal means it needs to be stainless steel or galvanised iron.

Performance of SIPs

When SIPs are correctly used in creating an airtight building envelope, it is possible to prevent outdoor air infiltration and construct a building with excellent thermal performance. Generally, SIPs are durable and robust provided that the proper construction techniques are used. SIPs are not inherently fireproof; hence, it is essential to consult with the manufacturer as well as the planning engineer if additional fireproofing is required.

The same applies to create a moisture barrier to protect the panels. If using a weather barrier during construction, it needs to be permeable so that boards can dry out. All joints, as well as door and window openings, need to be appropriately sealed to prevent moisture from infiltrating into the panels.