Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amazon's Kindle to enter physical stores in deal

Online retail giants Best Deals are reportedly looking to offer physical book stores the opportunity to sell Kindle e-books as well as traditional books.

According to reports, Amazon will offer stores Kindle tablets and credit cards for them to use in transactions as well as potential services in web development and data analysis.

This could provide a lifeline to the traditional bookseller who sees the growth of e-book readers as a serious threat to their businesses.

The sources close to the company also stated that these are early-stage plans of yet but could be rolled out in the near future.

Amazon has already made significant steps into the possibility of selling in stores after the company hired a number of engineers from another company called GoPago who developed technology in the areas of checkout systems through smartphone apps.

Experts in the field of smartphone payments believe that this is a necessary step for the company's future. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Richard Crone, chief executive of Crone Consulting, said: ""The game of mobile payments is going to be won or lost at the physical checkout, that's where nearly all of commerce is done today. At the end of the day, a merchant wants to make a sale, to drive up business. And if Amazon or anyone else can help them do that, that's tough to turn away."

The company's e-book division has continued to flourish and is by-far the largest distributor.

2013 in particular was a bumper year for the company with 426 items sold every second in the build-up to Christmas.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Checks Unlimited Coupon Code Website Launched Online

<Discountp>(PRWEB) January 27, 2014

Promo Codes & Coupon Codes will launch a new web portal,, that finally centralizes resources and information about online checks and reviews of the best online check options. Following launch, for example, 1 Discount Coupon Code will introduce a full review guide to all online checks and online check store options. For site visitors, provides centralized and efficiently organized information about recent promotions and deals on top checks brands that will help readers save up to 50% on checking offers (

Users will also be able to quickly and easily locate the best current check offers from such established brands as Checks Unlimited, 4Checks and Deluxe ( In addition, site users will also be able to find articles that answer important consumer questions such as, "how to choose the best checking accessories?", "how to customize checks?", "what are good address labels?" and "which companies uses advanced security features"?

According to the CEO of 1 Discount Coupon Code, Susan Jones ( ), "there is so much diverse and often difficult-to-source-easily or outdated information about current check coupon codes and promo codes. Our main goal at Promo Codes & Coupon Codes is to finally centralize those resources and to offer consumers up-to-the-minute information on the latest offers...and we are delighted that major partners like Checks Unlimited have decided to join our project."

For more information, please feel free to visit,

Monday, January 27, 2014


<Promo Codeh2>Cover

Tim Van Epps Fuels Growth at Sandri Mike Behn was in Boston, "on a mission." His assignment in that spring of 2005 was to essentially finish the work started by [...]



City Tire Wants to Build on an 85-year Legacy It was the Thursday after New Year's Day. A Nor'easter was slowly moving its way through the region, blending light but [...]


Amherst Is Redefining the Phrase 'College Town' Through most of its history, Tony Maroulis says, Amherst has been a college town, or, to be more precise, the quintessential college town. [...]


Special Features

REB's New Director Wants to Build on Recent Momentum Dave Cruise's desk - or, more specifically, what sits on it - speaks volumes about his work with the Regional Employment [...]


Advances, Challenges Are Changing the Patient Experience It's a story of opposing trends colliding across the healthcare landscape. For example, on one hand, the population is aging rapidly; on the [...]


Carol Campbell Thrives in the Male-dominated Construction Field As she spoke with BusinessWest last week, Carol Campbell was preparing to head down to Walt Disney World to run in her [...]


Vacation Time Isn't a Benefit If Workers Don't Use It When it comes to vacations, Patti D'Amaddio said, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that employees [...]


Griffin Staffing Network Goes Extra Mile to Help Job Applicants Like many people working in the broad realm of staffing and human resources, Nicole Griffin identifies employees as every company's [...]


A chart of area employment agencies Click here to download the PDF


Mercy Medical Center Takes High-tech Path to Greater Efficiency The screens tell the story. Hundreds of stories, actually. They line the walls of a room at Mercy Medical Center, appropriately [...]


Advanced Imaging Is Improving Disease Diagnosis and Treatment When many women think about medical imaging, they think of the mammogram. And that is rarely a pleasant experience, due in part [...]


A chart of eye care specialists in Western Mass. Click here to download the PDF


SBA Stakes Out Strategies to Help Women-owned Businesses Grow By KAREN GORDON MILLS Today, women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of new businesses in our economy. In fact, an analysis [...]


Social Media Poses a Legal Minefield for Employers The missive on Facebook reads like a typical workplace rant. "It's pretty obvious that my manager is as immature as a person [...]


Casino Buzz Puts Spotlight on Gambling Addiction The casino age may be underway in Massachusetts, causing some to worry that large, flashy gaming resorts will introduce the scourge of gambling [...]



Taking Time Off Just Makes Sense Everyone wants time off from work, right? So why doesn't everyone take it? That's the question many workforce observers are asking in the wake [...]


Assessing the View From Downriver By DAVID B. PANAGORE When I relocated, personally and professionally, to Connecticut, I did so with some questions - would I be expected to like [...]


Friday, January 24, 2014

We are about to see some incredibly sweet smartphone deals

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Samsung's fourth-quarter earnings report showed a 9% decline in mobile device sales from Q3, mirroring eerily the Nokia smartphone volume decline from autumn to holiday quarters. Of course, the two companies could not be more different... but that's the point. Both the vibrantly strong, massive Samsung and the tiny, struggling Nokia delivered Christmas quarters that were far weaker than industry expected two months ago.

Neither is likely to give up dreams of volume growth, of course, and now that Microsoft owns Nokia's phone business, both of these behemoths have money to burn in their bids to elbow out HTC, LG, Sony and their ilk.

Here's the good news for all of us: There is likely some sort of a glut of smartphones that formed during the disappointing Christmas quarter and vendors will soon have to start goosing sales by new promotions. Microsoft cannot operate its smartphone business at current market share levels and it will have to buy share at any price to have a shot at viability.

Not coincidentally, United States mobile carriers are finally drifting to the edge of a genuine price war. As the American phone market finally hits saturation point, both hardware vendors and operators are simultaneously facing the necessity of price aggression. The T-Mobile decision to pay a substantial bounty to defectors from rival carriers was likely a genuine turning point.

As other carriers respond, the barriers to switching will suddenly drop down as people stop fretting over the penalties for breaking contracts. The next logical step is to sweeten the pot by offering handset discounts. That has been a big part of the brutal mobile price wars that have broken out in Spain and France over the past two years.

Phone vendor desperation to gain share via discounting combined with carrier battles for new subscribers could reshape the U.S. handset market in stunning ways in 2014. This could be a year of miracles for consumers. How about a 6 inch phablet for $99 with a cheap data plan by summer?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Despite Beating Estimates, Unilever Remains Cautious

LONDON - The global economy might be slowly recovering and consumers gradually gaining confidence, but Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer products companies, said Tuesday it remained cautious.

The maker of Dove soap, Knorr soup stock and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, despite reporting fourth-quarter sales growth that beat some analysts' estimates, warned that global markets would continue to be volatile this year. Like many of its rivals, which include Nestlé and Procter & Gamble, Unilever was hit by slowing growth in emerging markets including Vietnam, Thailand and South Africa. .

The company also said that more positive economic data in developed markets had not yet translated into improved sales.

"Growth continued to slow in emerging markets as a result of the impact of economic uncertainty and currency depreciation," Paul Polman, Unilever's chief executive, said in a statement. "Developed markets remained weak with little sign of any overall improvement despite the more positive macro-economic indicators in recent months."

The company said that the pace of its sales growth slowed last year for the first time since 2009, mainly because of its operations in emerging markets, where the company makes more than half its revenue. Sales growth for 2013 overall was 4.3 percent, down from 6.9 percent in 2012. More difficult trading conditions in emerging markets prompted Unilever last September to warn that sales growth in the third quarter of last year was slowing.

Still, Unilever said sales in emerging markets grew 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 5.9 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

Unilever, which is based in the Dutch city of Rotterdam and London, said sales growth in the fourth quarter was helped by Russia, Turkey, China and Indonesia. But consumers in Vietnam, Thailand and South Africa continued to spend less on its products, Unilever said.

Best Deals of 49.8 billion euros, or roughly $67.4 billion, the company's fourth-quarter profit rose to €4.84 billion euros, up from €4.37 billion in the comparable period a year earlier.

Shares in Unilever had risen 3.5 percent in afternoon trading in Amsterdam on Tuesday as some investors welcomed the improvement in the quarter.

The European Union is widely expected to raise its forecast for economic growth soon. Its commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, said earlier this month that the economic recovery was moving ahead faster than anticipated. Growth in emerging markets continued to slow last year and some investors raised concerns that an unwinding of central bank stimulus in the United States could choke capital flows to those regions.

"Looking forward, we anticipate ongoing volatility in the external environment and are positioning Unilever accordingly," Mr. Polman said.

Despite the slower growth, "emerging markets very much remains the growth engine for Unilever," Jeff Stent, an analyst at BNP Paribas in London, said. "The market has gotten tougher and we might be in a soft patch of the emerging markets cycle, but structurally you just have to be optimistic about consumer goods exposure in emerging markets."

SABMiller, the brewing giant, on Tuesday also said its earnings growth in the quarter that ended in December of last year was driven by demand in emerging markets. Burberry, the luxury clothing and apparel maker, is also among companies whose earnings have also been benefiting from growing sales in emerging markets.

Other consumer goods makers, though, have recently been withdrawing from Asia some products whose sales did not meet their expectations. L'Oréal of France decided to stop selling its Garnier products in China while Revlon said last month that it would exit the market after failing to win market share.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review: The Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD delivers top performance at a discount

<Buy Cheapp>Many capable SSDs are out there, but don't overlook a relative newcomer: Toshiba's Q Series Pro. Toshiba's drives are among the very fastest we've tested, and in an unusual development, we saw no drop in performance in its smaller capacities. Throw in heavy online discounts, and you have an excellent bargain in a top-performing drive.

The Q Series Pro drives are only 7mm thick, so they'll fit in just about any laptop that supports a 2.5-inch drive. The controller is Toshiba's own TC358790XBG, as is the 19nm Toggle-mode MLC NAND. In our tests reading and writing a single 10GB file (using a 16GB RAM drive on our test bed), each of the three capacities Toshiba sent us-128GB, 256GB, and 512GB-proved excellent performers.

Toshiba's drive delivered very high performance when reading and writing a single 10GB file (click to enlarge).

Until now, the rule as been that the smaller the capacity, the slower the drive (because of fewer chips and fewer channels), but the Q Series blew that up and then some. The 128GB drive actually ended up being the fastest capacity we tested, although the difference was so small as to be statistically irrelevant.

The 128GB Q Series Pro wrote our 10GB mix of files and folders at 409.9 MBps and read it at 412.25 MBps. With a single large 10GB file, that jumped to 635.4 MBps writing and 481.4 MBps reading. No single result was fast enough for first place, but where many drives shine at either reading or writing, the Q Series Pro is top-notch at both.

Toshiba's Q Pro Series SSD also delivered excellent performance when reading and writing 20GB of folders and small files.

As mentioned, the larger capacities were slower, but only by very slight margins. Overall, the 128GB finished third among all the unaided drives (no software on the PC) that we've tested of any capacity, and it finished far ahead of other 128GB drives we've tested.

The 256GB and 512GB drives placed fifth and sixth respectively; you should note, however, that first and sixth place are separated in performance by just 3 percent.

The bottom line

The Toshiba Q Series Pro drives carry some rather hefty suggested retail pricing: $160 for the 128GB, $310 for the 256GB, and a sky-high $740 for the 512GB model. But a quick trip online revealed stunning discounts that drop the price below 80 cents per gigabyte. That's a bargain in a drive this fast. The only downside is that the Q Series Pro is warrantied for just three years, while its Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ Vector competitors carry five-year warranties.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

F^3 Lake Half Marathon: Discount Code

<Deal Of The Dayp>stride

Looking for a race to shake winter up a bit? Check out the F^3 Lake Half Marathon coming up on Jan. 25. The race starts and ends in Montrose Harbor, stretching up and down 13.1 miles of Lake Michigan. It'll be chilly, but dress warmly and let the skyline distract you!

Registration is $70.00, but use the promo code "CAEB14" for $7.00 off of the fee. Participants all receive a technical long sleeve 1/4 zip shirt and a one-of-a-kind finisher's medal that doubles as a bottle opener-- perfect for the after party at Deuces and The Cubby Bear, sponsored by Goose Island Beer Co.

Sponsors will be on hand for injury questions, and giving out goodies like Muscle Milk and Clif Bars. There's a $2,000 prize purse for the top three male and female finishers too. For more information, check out their website, register here, and let us know: how are you shaking up your winter running?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nor'easter blasts millions with snow, wind and bitter cold

cnn live/dam/assets/140104210131-06-winter-weather-0104-horizontal-gallery.jpg">Basketball fans brave the cold and snow as they cross to the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, January 4.

(CNN) -- An onslaught of fast-falling snow, whipping winds and bitter cold socked parts of the Northeast on Thursday, spurring a slew of travel woes, highway closures and worries that the headaches will only get worse as temperatures fall further.

This kind of weather, this time of year, in this region is nothing new: Connecticut's governor, for instance, noted the snow totals won't come close to the 40 inches that buried parts of his state last February.

At the same time, by Thursday night, it was already causing a mess -- whether you were waiting at an airport, had skidded off a road or were stuck at home hoping that your lights and perhaps your heat wouldn't suddenly stop working.

"Mother Nature has come to wish us happy new year," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The nor'easter, forming off the East Coast of the United States, prompted blizzard warnings from Thursday into Friday for New York's Long Island, Cape Cod, Massachusetts' South and North Shores, plus communities along Maine's coast. Boston, for example, was already getting buried by snow late Thursday afternoon.

About one-third of the nation, approximately 100 million people in 22 states, was in the path of the storm, which was expected to be at its fiercest between 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday, according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

Track the storm: Radar, temperatures

The complicated storm system "will raise havoc" this week, dumping a foot of snow and spreading subzero wind chills across parts of the region, the National Weather Service warned.

"Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely," the Weather Service said. "This will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel."

Across the country, the nasty weather has snarled travel plans for many.

More than 2,200 U.S. flights had been canceled as of 10:45 p.m. Thursday, reported, which tracks cancellations due to weather and mechanical problems. It's not like things will suddenly clear up: the same website reports that some 1,000 flights already have been canceled in advance for Friday.

Thursday's most affected airport was Chicago's O'Hare, with more than 650 cancellations in and out and about the same number of delays. Newark's Liberty International Airport, New York's LaGuardia and Cleveland's Hopkins also were affected.

Many airlines are allowing passengers to make fee-free itinerary changes for destinations expected to be affected by winter storms. Delta, American, US Airways, United, Southwest/AirTran and JetBlue have all posted weather advisories on their websites.

Inside some airports, would-have-been travelers scrambled to rearrange flights or find a place to stay knowing that some things were out of their control.

"The warning has been coming for a couple of days, so we expected it," a man from South Carolina said from Boston's Logan Airport, as he headed with his family to a hotel and, hopefully, a Boston Bruins game knowing they couldn't fly, reported CNN affiliate WCVB. "We are stuck, we'll make the best of it."

Brenda Kopytko is luckily home in South Windsor, Connecticut, having ventured out into the snow earlier. A New England winter veteran, she's taking it in stride -- "This is nothing" -- if not the possibility of strong winds and power outages, particularly after being in the dark for nine days after last winter's storm.

"Once the winds start going and the branches start snapping, then I get a little nervous," Kopytko said.

Here's a breakdown of what to expect where:

New York and Long Island

As of Thursday night, New York City was under a winter storm warning, as were many other densely populated areas in seven other states.

The city of 8 million people could get 9 inches of snow, subzero wind chills and turbulent winds, forecasters said.

New York City is expecting to see 6 to 12 inches of snow overnight, with more possible on Long Island, where Nassau and Suffolk counties will be under a blizzard warning until 1 p.m. Friday, with predictions of 8 to 10 inches of snow, wind chills as low as 10 below zero and sustained winds of at least 35 mph.

Bitter cold will follow, with temperatures in the single digits by Saturday morning.

Upstate, the capital city of Albany could get buried under 14 inches of snow, with wind chills of 15 to 25 below zero, the National Weather Service said.

Cuomo declared a state of emergency for all of New York shortly after 3:45 p.m. Thursday, one of several steps taken to try to minimize the wild wintry weather's toll.

Among them is shutting down parts of Interstate 84, an east-west highway that goes from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, to commercial vehicles late Thursday afternoon, with nearby I-87 south of Albany closing at midnight.

That's the same time the Long Island Expressway -- in a different part of the state -- will close to traffic at the border between Nassau County and the Queens borough of New York. The hope is to reopen all these roads around 5 a.m., though that timing is very much subject to change.

"We'll make sure no one is in a state of danger on those roads," said Cuomo.


By Friday night, Boston is expected to be covered by 10 to 18 inches of snow, about twice the amount forecast just one day ago, and shivering in temperatures as low as 6 degrees below zero.

Citing likely "near blizzard" conditions Thursday night into late Friday morning, the state's emergency management agency warned that some areas could be hit hard -- including up to two feet of snow on parts of the North Shore and South Shore, as well as Cape Cod.

The forecast was so bad for Boston that the city canceled school for Friday two days in advance, with scores of other school districts quickly following suit.

"I guess Mother Nature wanted to give me one more gift," Mayor Thomas Menino told reporters Thursday in one of his last days in the job he has held since 1993.

"Take precautions and take public transportation and take care of one another," he urged. But, he added, the city was doing its part, with 700 pieces of equipment on city streets. "Our team is ready," he said.

The combination of extreme cold, snow and strong winds had officials at homeless shelters preparing.

"Our main emphasis is getting people inside, where it is safer and warmer," said Jennifer Harris, a spokeswoman for the Pine Street Inn shelter system in Boston, where a snow emergency has been declared. "Pine Street Inn is making sure to have extra staff and food and water. We are geared up to provide to a greater number of people."

Blizzard warnings haven't been issued for Boston itself, but are in effect for parts of nearby Essex and Plymouth counties -- including the communities of Gloucester, Brockton and Plymouth -- as well as the Cape.

Because of the storm, the state Emergency Management Agency warned that the midnight and Friday midday high tides could produce "significant flooding" along the coast. To this point, the towns of Scituate and Duxbury requested voluntary evacuations for residents of certain low-lying areas.


Wind chills in parts of Connecticut are expected to range from -5 to -20 degrees Thursday night and Friday; the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for most of the state through Friday morning.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged residents to take it slow and give themselves extra time for their commutes Thursday and Friday. He said he expects there will be delays, but not cancellations, in public transit.

Addressing reporters, Malloy said the worst time for the state would be overnight -- between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., when there could be blizzard conditions. Still, the storm's impact could linger well beyond that if roads are blocked or the electricity goes out.

He acknowledged that this kind of weather is hardly unprecedented in Connecticut this time of year. Still, the governor added, what sets this system apart is the frigid temperatures forecast for the coming days.

That's a big concern throughout the region, especially for the homeless and people stranded -- whether along a road or inside without adequate heat or power -- by the bad weather.

"(This) is not a big New England storm, but it is a particularly cold New England storm," Malloy said.

Chicago and points beyond

Seven to 11 inches of snow were possible Thursday in Chicago, according to the National Weather Service. Windy City residents will feel frigid temps -- wind chills during the day Friday will creep down to minus 12 -- and emergency director Gary Schenkel said more snow is possible later in the week.

Though snow in Chicago in the winter is a common event, it "can still wreak havoc on daily routines," he noted.

Next week could be no better for some U.S. residents.

A new shot of colder air will start to move into the northern Midwest by Saturday and will dive south Monday and Tuesday, carrying zero-degree cold as far south as Nashville. "That's the coldest air we've seen that far south in several years," said Hennen, the CNN meteorologist.

The cold air will kick off a new storm Sunday into Monday that could affect a number of high-profile NFL playoff games this weekend.

In Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers will give a cold welcome to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, when temperatures could bottom out at -17.

But it will be relatively balmy Sunday in Cincinnati, where snow and rain are possible when the city's Bengals host the San Diego Chargers in another NFL playoff matchup.

Of course, while the players might not have a choice, fans don't have to brave the cold for either game. The big worries are for those who travel in the coming days. Authorities in New York, for example, said they may shut the Long Island Expressway if whiteout conditions make driving along the east-west highway too perilous.

Kevin Willims isn't taking any chances, nor is he predicting a world-ending storm. The New Yorker said he plans to sit tight and let Mother Nature do her thing.

"There's not much you can do," Willims said. "When it's snowing and these streets lock up, there's really nowhere you can go, so it's best to just stay in."

That sentiment was echoed by James Montford, who told CNN Boston affiliate WHDH that he is looking forward to creating some art in the comforts of home.

"This a great day to kind of hunker down," Montford said.

CNN's Carma Hassan, Marnie Hunter, Joe Sutton, Holly Yan, Lorenzo Ferrigno, Chris Boyette and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.