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A recent survey conducted by this writer on the Internet for a quick, snap shot sense of the subject matter, immediately revealed that there’s a state of relatively scanty knowledge of, or information about, this particular refined petroleum product called the AGO, among international oil dealers and suppliers. In deed, in one rather remarkable instance involving a popular ‘Ask for Answers’ online discussion portal, one reader expressly posited the question, soliciting information from the readers as to what is/was ‘the meaning’ of the petroleum term AGO, among three other refined petroleum products, which he went on to list – DPK, PMS, JET A1. There was just one response – a response that has stood the same for 5 years since. Oddly enough, however, of the 4 oil products that the answerer named, the answerer was exactly accurate in the definition he proffered on three of those. But, on ONLY one of them, the AGO product, the answer given by the answerer was somewhat slightly off, as he gave the definition of the product as meaning ‘Automotive Gas & Oils.’

So, first, we start with this basic question: What is AGO Oil Product, or the Automotive Gas Oil?

What the AGO Oil Product Is

The term AGO, which specifically stands for the Automotive Gas Oil, is the name given to the fuel type that’s used by road vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, vans, and the like) that are powered by DIESEL engines. That is, in a word, it is the diesel vehicle engine fuel. In terms of how the fuel gets to be produced or manufactured, the fuel is the type that, in the distillation and processing of crude oil work, is obtained in the mid-boiling range of that process. Related fuels which are used for non-road applications including off-road diesel engines, such as the Industrial Gas Oils (IGOs), are obtained from the same ‘fraction’ of the crude oil barrel.

Technically speaking, the term Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) is the technical name used by the oil industry in describing this particular fuel. However, in terms of the ordinary consumers in the market, the term ‘automotive diesel fuel,’ or just plain ‘diesel,’ is the more commonly used and more widespread name that the ordinary consumer uses in describing this fuel. Petroleum products are usually grouped into THREE categories: the ‘light distillates’ (LPG, gasoline, naphtha), the ‘middle’ distillates (kerosene, diesel), and the ‘heavy’ distillates and residuum (heavy fuel oil, lubricating oils, wax, asphalt). This classification is based primarily on the way crude oil is distilled and separated into fractions (called distillates and residuum). Within the oil industry, the generic oil industry name that’s used to describe gasoils – which include both AGO and IGO – fall under the ‘Middle Distillates’ category, meaning those kinds of refined oil products whose ‘boiling range’ fall in the MIDDLE, that is, between those whose range fall in the higher levels or in the lower levels. (See the Chart below). As you can readily see in the Chart below, at a Boiling Range of between 520 to 650, the AGO falls right in the middle range of most categories of the refined oil products.

The Market & Primary Uses of the AGO oil Product Among Its Customers

AGO is used in two main types of vehicles: 1) the heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses, and 2) the light-duty vehicles, such as vans and passenger cars. In most countries, including the USA as well as the developing countries, the heavy-duty vehicles make up the bulk of the market for AGO. In a country such as Japan, there is a significant light-duty vehicle sector, but it is in Europe that the demand for AGO from this sector is highest, with more than one-third coming from the passenger cars and other light vehicles. Customer requirements between the two types of fuel usage differ to some extent. Diesel engines are widely used in heavy-duty vehicles. Such vehicles are frequently operated in fleets and are re-fuelled centrally with the fuel delivered directly from the supplier. In the light-duty vehicle sector, recent advances in engine design now also allow light-duty diesel engines to compete with gasoline engines in terms of the performance standards. Light-duty vehicles are generally re-fuelled through retail outlets. In any case, whether it is in the light-duty sector or in the heavy-duty sector, in both sectors the customer will generally be looking for the fuel that provides economy, power, reliability and environmental acceptability.

Use As Car Fuel

Diesel-powered vehicles, such as AGO-powered vehicles, generally have a better fuel economy than equivalent gasoline engines and produce less greenhouse gas emission. Their greater economy is due to the higher energy per-liter content of diesel fuel and the intrinsic efficiency of the diesel engine. True, petrodiesel’s higher density results in higher greenhouse gas emissions per liter compared to gasoline. However, the modern diesel-engine automobiles have a 20-40% better fuel economy, and this well offsets the higher per-liter emissions of greenhouse gases, while a diesel-powered vehicle emits 10-20 percent less greenhouse gas than comparable gasoline vehicles. Biodiesel-powered diesel engines offer substantially improved emission reductions compared to petrodiesel or gasoline-powered engines, while retaining most of the fuel economy advantages over conventional gasoline-powered automobiles.

How Crude Oil Fractions Are Processed Into Refined Oil Products, Including AGO and Other Products

How do we get to have refined petroleum products, of which a product like AGO is one? Put simply, it is out of the refinery processing (i.e., out of the ‘refining’) of crude oil that many other usable products – products that we generally refer to as refined or finished petroleum products – are produced. Meaning products such as gasoil, gasoline, kerosene, AGO, etc. The process of oil ‘refining’ or processing is a very complex one, and involves both chemical reactions and physical separations. The substance that’s called Crude Oil is composed of thousands of different ‘molecules,’ and according to chemical engineers and molecular experts, it would be nearly impossible to isolate every molecule that exists in crude oil and thereby make finished products from each molecule.

Consequently, the way chemists and engineers deal with this problem, is simply by them isolating the mixtures (also called ‘fractions’) of molecules according to what is known as the mixture’s “boiling point range.” For example, molecules for the gasoline product might boil within the ‘range’ of from 90 to 400 oF. While the range at which the home heating oil product’s molecular mixes could boil might be from 500 to 650 oF, and so on. For purposes of convenience and simplification, each mixture or fraction is assigned a specific name to identify it.

The following chart illustrates the ‘boiling range’ and name of the petroleum fractions.

Fraction

Boiling Range,oF.

Butanes and lighter

<90

Light straight run gasoline (LSR)

or light naphtha (LN)

90-190

Naphtha or heavy naphtha (HN)

190-380

Kerosene

380-520

Distillate or atmospheric gas oil (AGO)

520-650

Residua

650 +

Vacuum gas oil (VGO)

650-1000

Vacuum Residua

1000 +

In sum, refined products are products that are produced by isolating the mixtures or fractions of molecules that come from the raw crude oil, and combining them, along with those from various refinery processing units. These fractions are ‘blended’ or mixed to satisfy specific properties that are important in allowing the refined product to perform in accordance with the specifications or requirements that are designed by or in an engine, in terms of ease in handling, reducing the undesirable emissions produced when the product is burned, etc

FINDING OR OBTAINING A SUPPLY OF THE AGO

Simply stated, the KEY term and task here is finding an authentic AGO oil product supply or supplier. Or an AGO buyer, as the case may be. Why? This is simply because, today, in the international refined oil products trading market, specially in the so-called “secondary” market, probably the single most fundamental and most difficult common problem which legitimate dealers who seek to find reliable suppliers have, is often NOT so much finding a party who will claim heaven and earth that he/she has the AGO oil product to sell and can supply you the product. Or that he can buy one from you, as the case may be. BUT finding such a party who is actually AUTHENTIC & LEGITIMATE, and can actually DELIVER on the product.

MOST PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY’RE SUPPLIERS OF PRODUCT PROVIDE NO VERIFIED OR VERIFIABLE PROOFS OR SOURCES

A well-established reality and a given today, is that in world oil deals involving trading in the crude oil and refined petroleum products, specially in the so-called international “secondary” market, probably the single most fundamental and most difficult common problem which legitimate buyers frequently confront today, is the problem of the genuineness and authenticity of the supplier of product and his ability to deliver on the sales offer he presents. Refined petroleum products, such as AGO, D2, Mazut, Jet fuel, etc., are certainly not immune or exempt from such endemic problem that seems to plague the entire secondary market oil trade industry, but rather are, in deed, right in the middle of it.

It’s a problem whose central source can simply be summed up in one word – namely, that not unlike most persons or entities who claim via the Internet to be oil or petroleum products suppliers or “sellers,” most who claim to be suppliers of AGO, as well (or of similar refined oil products, such as the diesel gasoil or Russian D2, Mazut, Jet fuels, and the like), either provide NO proofs or evidence at all of that, or provide proofs or evidence that are often absolutely meaningless because they’re unverified and unverifiable. That is, for the serious or credible Internet petroleum buyer involved in the world oil deals and seriously intent on finding duly verifiable authentic AGO oil product supply or supplier, there are generally just NO such supply or suppliers of the product in the so-called “secondary” market.

Most such serious or genuine AGO buyers (or suppliers, as well, as the case may be) seeking to find equally genuine AGO suppliers (or sellers seeking buyers, when applicable) in the international secondary market, find that the problem is particularly acute and compounded by the fact that almost all “sellers” (or suppliers), or their brokers or intermediaries, that one meets on the Internet, are essentially unknown, unestablished dealers who lack any name, reputation or identity, or any known location on the planet, and lack any record or history of past performance in doing the business. In consequence, a serious AGO buyer, for example, is often being asked – and actually being realistically expected – to, in effect, merely take “the word” of some dubious, anonymous, unidentified and apparently unidentifiable, phantom “seller” or “supplier” for it, with no credible supporting evidence provided, and no verification or authentication whatsoever of the Internet seller’s offer or claims.

In sum, he’s being asked – and actually being expected – to risk, or, rather, to gamble away, his hard-earned mini-fortune of some hundreds of millions of dollars merely on such a “word.”! This, it should be added, is being expected of the buyer in a business environment and climate that is patently awash in fraud and a network of notorious scammers worldwide!

WHERE TO BUY AGO OIL PRODUCT, HOW DO YOU FIND THE SUPPLIERS?

Clearly, then, if you are a real buyer of product seriously intent on finding authentic diesel AGO oil product supply or suppliers (or those of any similar refined oil products, such as the diesel gasoil or Russian D2, Mazut, Jet fuels, and the like) – meaning one that is duly verified and verifiable – probably the most critical, vital, even life-or-death task for you, is that you had better be sure to develop, in some way or manner, a skilled and effective strategy for finding, vetting, selecting out and authenticated suppliers that can provide you reliable steady supply of the product, and which will be scam-free, assured, and long-lasting.

How?

Quite oddly enough, the answer to that question is actually not that complicated or complex. For our limited purposes here, suffice it simply to just say, that there is, in fact, such a methodology, tool and strategy for doing just that long in practical use in the industry. Long in practical use by knowledgeable, experienced and trained eyes and experts, and the successful traders, in the business. If you are, yourself, in fact a provable legitimate trader or authentic practitioner of the petroleum trade (assuming you are actually one) operating in the secondary market, and are truly serious about finding and securing authentic and reliable AGO oil product supply or supplier, or about finding and securing a buyer of equivalent caliber for the product, as the case may be, that’s actually readily within your reach. There’s just really one crucial proviso, only – namely, PROVIDING that you’re equipped with the requisite knowledge, skill, training, tool, methodology and practical experience, by which to undertake the whole process of doing so.

To be sure, true, in today’s world oil deals of the international secondary market, including sourcing for AGO product, which is largely an Internet-dominated world, and is for the most part prevalently awash in fake dealers and scammers, finding duly verified authentic petroleum or automotive gas oil product supply, suppliers and sellers of such caliber (or buyers, just as well), is not ordinary or commonplace. Nor is it at all an easy task to attain. It is, however, by no means impracticable, nor are such suppliers non-existent. Far, far from it! Quite to the contrary, such suppliers abound. It’s only that you just have to search around for such suppliers (or the legitimate buyers, as well, as the case may be) more diligently and skillfully and in the right places from the right sources, and know precisely how and where. That requires, unavoidably, supreme industry knowledge, skills set, training, know-how, connections, precious time expenditure, and experience.

FOR A FOLLOW UP

YOU WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON HOW TO FIND AUTHENTIC AGO OIL PRODUCT SUPPLY OR SUPPLIERS, OR EVEN BUYERS, THAT ARE ALREADY VERIFIED, CONFIRMED AND VERIFIABLE AND SCAM-FREE? Please see the link provided in the author’s Resource Box below.

What is a skater? A skater is anyone that loves the feeling of freedom they get when skating. Skaters come in all ages with all types of personalities. It can be the boy next door or the punk rocker down the street. It can be the nerd that never leaves his computer except for skating or the group of Goth kids that live in town.

Skaters love the feeling they get when they do an incredible jump perfect every time. They love the thrill of pushing themselves beyond their limits and climbing new heights and reaching new goals.

What types of skaters are there?

There are several different types of skaters and each type requires different equipment. The most common type of skater is the roller skater. This group includes kids and adults of all ages. Usually this type of skating is done at a skating rink and they either wear roller skates or inline skates. You can also purchase outdoor skates that you can wear anywhere.

Another popular type of skater is the ice skater. Ice skating is done by many just for fun in ice rinks located all over the world. However, it is also many professional ice skaters that perform in competitions for metals. Some of these have become quite famous. The performance that a figure skater provides is amazing and takes years of practice and patients. These skaters are to be greatly admired.

Skateboarders are another type of skater that has grown in popularity over the years. Skateboarders make up a unique group of people that love to have fun and spend time together. This type of skating requires skill and a desire for excitement.

Are there stereotypes about skaters?

The answer is yes. Unfortunately, there are many people that have the wrong idea about the skater lifestyle. This is especially true when it comes to skateboarders. Due to the fact that many of them roam the city streets and other areas searching for a place to ride others look at them in a negative way. They describe these skaters as dropouts and trouble makers. Many believe they are throwing away their life and that they have no respect for the law. Others look at them as being dirty and don’t want them in their neighborhood.

However, this is not normally the case. Most skateboarders are good, educated honest people that just enjoy having a lot of fun and socializing with others that enjoy the same things. They love the thrill of skating and take pride in what they do. They spend many hours practicing and learning new tricks and many skateboarders become extremely famous for their abilities as well.

The 1990s witnessed one of the most rapid rates of technological innovation in the 20th Century. A movement which spurred an increase in the availability of mass media and helped usher in an era where music was shaped by emerging technologies, transforming not only the songs of the 90s, but changing the world of music for the decades ahead.

At the epicenter of the new wave of technological innovations in the 90s was the digital revolution. Bulky, single-purpose mobile phones were replaced with smaller devices loaded with lots of embedded functionality. The internet grew exponentially from anonymity to become a digital communication and information super highway adopted by 50% of Western Countries. Helping to increase the dominance of the internet was Intel’s creation of the Pentium chip. For their part, computer hardware manufacturers added staples to their personal computer offerings such as CD burners and CD Rom drives.

With the onslaught of new technology came a transformation of the songs of the 90s. The 1990s heralded the dawn of the boy band, teen pop sensations, commercial and sampled hip-hop music tracks. Even armchair musicians would be given a chance to make more significant musical contributions with the glut in musical technology as it became possible for a wider number of musicians to produce electronic music. What started out sounding like dance music was gradually less targeted towards the dance-floor audience and more towards home listeners. This genre later became known as “Electronica”, or in its slower manifestations, “Chill-out” or “Ambient music”.

In late spring 1998, the first Mp3 player was released, alongside the 32 and 64MB Mp3 players. By the mid 2000’s the Mp3 format would overtake the CD player in popularity. Early adopters of the technology – mostly younger music audiences would be given the opportunity to endorse their preferred music tastes — the pop songs of the 90s, catapulting pop stars into the spot-light. Not surprisingly, between 1997 and 1999, American teen pop stars and groups were all the rage, with some of the more popular acts being the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. This scene targeted the younger members of Generation Y.

Today, technology continues to play a vital role in deciding which music we allow into our personal space. The internet and new media have built on top of the foundations laid down in the 1990s bringing better access to talent that might have gone undiscovered in the past. Songs of the 90s evoke a sense of nostalgia of perhaps the decade in which the dominant music genres of today were still in their infancy.

There are some instances where travel agents can travel for free, but for the most part they do come out of their pocket. Below are three instances where travel agents can rack up extra savings and put money back into their pockets.

I will share my savings experience as a home-based agent, which has caused me to save hundreds of dollars!

Get Paid on Retail or Sale Pricing

When I travel as an insider, I get paid when I book travel for myself (and of course I get paid when I do it for others). The price I pay could be the same as any one that is not part of the industry, the difference would be I get a check and you don’t! Commissions are already built-into the price of what you see online or what your travel agent quote you already has the commissions built-in. (they are never in addition to price quoted, if you are told extra fees need to be added to cover commission… run)

Travel at Net or Wholesale Pricing

Now, if I decide that I want to travel at a lower cost and forgo my commission, I still have to pay the net cost, I just would not get paid for the trip. You can get travel at great bargains if you travel this way!

But, I must add that various agencies may have ‘special’ discounted trips that agents can take for themselves or sell to their clients and STILL get a commission! I love these because your getting paid AND the rates can be even better than net rate PLUS you have a great deal you can offer to your clients. Only downside is that there may be a limit on how many can travel and restricted to specific dates.

Travel on the Industries Dime

What about those really dirt cheap trips? Yes, dirt cheap destinations do exist and are exclusive for travel agents and are typically known as FAM trips or Familiarization trips. These trips are more educational for travel agents and teach agents about the property or destination experience they are visiting.

Vendors invite agents on these ‘FAM’ trips so they can get more in-depth knowledge to share with their clientele. The goal is to promote to get more bookings for those properties or destinations. Prices for these trips are such a steal that they might as well be free!

Just to recap, travel agents pay for their trips in four ways:

1. Travel at retail pricing & get paid the already built-in commission

2. Travel at retail minus already built-in pricing (therefore no commissions are paid)

3. Travel at wholesale plus get a commission (vary per agency and limits dates & quantity)

4. Travel on a FAM trip – steeply discounted trips (exclusive to travel agents

The KWP2000 protocol has become a de facto standard in automotive diagnostic applications. It is standardized as ISO 14230-3. KWP2000 describes the implementation of various diagnostic services you can accethrough the protocol. You can run KWP2000 on several transport layers such as K-line (serial) or CAN.

Transport Protocol

As KWP2000 uses messages of variable byte lengths, a transport protocol is necessary on layers with only a well defined (short) message length, such as CAN. The transport protocol splits a long KWP2000 message into pieces that can be transferred over the network and reassembles those pieces to recover the original message.

KWP2000 runs on CAN on various transport protocols such as ISO TP (ISO 15765-2), TP 1.6, TP 2. 0 (Volkswagen), and SAE J1939-21. For KWP2000, the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports only the ISO TP (standardized in ISO 15765-2) and manufacturer-specific VW TP 2.0 transport protocols.

Diagnostic Services

The diagnostic services available in KWP2000 are grouped in functional units and identified by a one-byte code (ServiceId). The standard does not define all codes; for some codes, the standard refers to other SAE or ISO standards, and some are reserved for manufacturer-specific extensions. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports the following services:

• Diagnostic Management

• Data Transmission

• Stored Data Transmission (Diagnostic Trouble Codes)

• Input/Output Control

• Remote Activation of Routine

Upload/Download and Extended services are not part of the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set.

Diagnostic Service Format

Diagnostic services have a common message format. Each service defines a Request Message, Positive Response Message, and Negative Response Message. The Request Message has the ServiceId as first byte, plus additional service-defined parameters. The Positive Response Message has an echo of the ServiceId with bit 6 set as first byte, plus the service-defined response parameters.

The Negative Response Message is usually a three-byte message: it has the Negative Response ServiceId as first byte, an echo of the original ServiceId as second byte, and a ResponseCode as third byte. The only exception to this format is the negative response to an EscapeCode service; here, the third byte is an echo of the user-defined service code, and the fourth byte is the ResponseCode. The KWP2000 standard partly defines the ResponseCodes, but there is room left for manufacturer-specific extensions. For some of the ResponseCodes, KWP2000 defines an error handling procedure. Because both positive and negative responses have an echo of the requested service, you can always assign the responses to their corresponding request.

Connect/Disconnect

KWP2000 expects a diagnostic session to be started with StartDiagnosticSession and terminated with StopDiagnosticSession. However, StartDiagnosticSession has a DiagnosticMode parameter that determines the diagnostic session type. Depending on this type, the ECU may or may not support other diagnostic services, or operate in a restricted mode where not all ECU functions are available. The DiagnosticMode parameter values are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard. For a diagnostic session to remain active, it must execute the TesterPresent service periodically if no other service is executed. If the TesterPresent service is missing for a certain period of time, the diagnostic session is terminated, and the ECU returns to normal operation mode.

GetSeed/Unlock

A GetSeed/Unlock mechanism may protect some diagnostic services. However, the applicable services are left to the manufacturer and not defined by the standard.You can execute the GetSeed/Unlock mechanism through the SecurityAccess service. This defines several levels of security, but the manufacturer assigns these levels to certain services.

Read/Write Memory

Use the Read/WriteMemoryByAddress services to upload/download data to certain memory addresses on an ECU. The address is a three-byte quantity in KWP2000 and a five-byte quantity (four-byte address and one-byte extension) in the calibration protocols. The Upload/Download functional unit services are highly manufacturer specific and not well defined in the standard, so they are not a good way to provide a general upload/download mechanism.

Measurements

Use the ReadDataByLocal/CommonIdentifier services to access ECU data in a way similar to a DAQ list. A Local/CommonIdentifier describes a list of ECU quantities that are then transferred from the ECU to the tester. The transfer can be either single value or periodic, with a slow, medium, or fast transfer rate. The transfer rates are manufacturer specific; you can use the SetDataRates service to set them, but this setting is manufacturer specific. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports single-point measurements.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes

A major diagnostic feature is the readout of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). KWP2000 defines several services that access DTCs based on their group or status.

Input/Output Control

KWP2000 defines services to modify internal or external ECU signals. One example is redirecting ECU sensor inputs to stimulated signals. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

Remote Activation of a Routine

These services are similar to the ActionService and DiagService functions of CCP. You can invoke an ECU internal routine identified by a Local/CommonIdentifier or a memory address. Contrary to the CCP case, execution of this routine can be asynchronous; that is, there are separate Start, Stop, and RequestResult services. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

External References

For more information about the KWP2000 Standard, refer to the ISO 14230-3 standard.

When it comes to the choice between using an online travel agency or not for your next trip, there are several factors to consider with several pros and cons.

One of the main concerns that seem to arise with online travel agencies is the trustworthiness and security of paying such large amounts of money online. While online security is a major factor for any online travel agency, this is true of all online businesses. So it is more a matter of choosing a travel agency online with a quality reputation by looking at their customer reviews and see what their actual site itself is like. What’s more, when you are logging on and preparing to pay for any online costs, there should always be that small symbol of a lock at the bottom right hand side of the screen as a sign of the level of security attached.

The benefits of using online travel agencies are that unlike their physical counterparts, they are available at any time, ideal for emergency travel situations, and also for any late after-hours bookings that you need to complete. Additionally you can compare travel deals and special available all over the world in order to find the very best deal for you and your travels. What this means is that while a physical travel agency will have a great range of deals for you, they are limited by who they can work with in terms of other travel professionals. With these online agencies, it up to you to decide who you work with, allowing you to create your ideal travel plans.

What you may also find when working with online travel agencies that you will have a great range of methods to pay for the holiday, offering greater flexibility and financial choice. These choices can range from the standard credit cards and accounts to payment plans and travel accounts.

Overall when talking online travel agencies it is more a matter of preference of the customer and how they prefer to do their business, either online or in person, that should dictate how they book their travel plans.

 

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:

– identification of broad, large markets

– segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.

Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as “all teenagers are rebels”, “all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands” and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.

The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.

STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market

You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.

The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.

STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers’ needs

This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.

What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.

Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.

STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets

McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your “typical customer”, then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.

Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form – a further step will ask you to name them.

There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.

STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions

Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.

Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.

STEP 5: Name possible segment markets

You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.

A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.

STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments

Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they’re still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.

STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment

Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.

Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.

These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.

This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.

Nobody knows your business better than you do. After all, you are the CEO. You know what the engineers do; you know what the production managers do; and nobody understands the sales process better than you. You know who is carrying their weight and who isn’t. That is, unless we’re talking about the finance and accounting managers.

Most CEO’s, especially in small and mid-size enterprises, come from operational or sales backgrounds. They have often gained some knowledge of finance and accounting through their careers, but only to the extent necessary. But as the CEO, they must make judgments about the performance and competence of the accountants as well as the operations and sales managers.

So, how does the diligent CEO evaluate the finance and accounting functions in his company? All too often, the CEO assigns a qualitative value based on the quantitative message. In other words, if the Controller delivers a positive, upbeat financial report, the CEO will have positive feelings toward the Controller. And if the Controller delivers a bleak message, the CEO will have a negative reaction to the person. Unfortunately, “shooting the messenger” is not at all uncommon.

The dangers inherent in this approach should be obvious. The Controller (or CFO, bookkeeper, whoever) may realize that in order to protect their career, they need to make the numbers look better than they really are, or they need to draw attention away from negative matters and focus on positive matters. This raises the probability that important issues won’t get the attention they deserve. It also raises the probability that good people will be lost for the wrong reasons.

The CEO’s of large public companies have a big advantage when it comes to evaluating the performance of the finance department. They have the audit committee of the board of directors, the auditors, the SEC, Wall Street analyst and public shareholders giving them feedback. In smaller businesses, however, CEO’s need to develop their own methods and processes for evaluating the performance of their financial managers.

Here are a few suggestions for the small business CEO:

Timely and Accurate Financial Reports

Chances are that at some point in your career, you have been advised that you should insist on “timely and accurate” financial reports from your accounting group. Unfortunately, you are probably a very good judge of what is timely, but you may not be nearly as good a judge of what is accurate. Certainly, you don’t have the time to test the recording of transactions and to verify the accuracy of reports, but there are some things that you can and should do.

  • Insist that financial reports include comparisons over a number of periods. This will allow you to judge the consistency of recording and reporting transactions.
  • Make sure that all anomalies are explained.
  • Recurring expenses such as rents and utilities should be reported in the appropriate period. An explanation that – “there are two rents in April because we paid May early” – is unacceptable. The May rent should be reported as a May expense.
  • Occasionally, ask to be reminded about the company’s policies for recording revenues, capitalizing costs, etc.

Beyond Monthly Financial Reports

You should expect to get information from your accounting and finance groups on a daily basis, not just when monthly financial reports are due. Some good examples are:

  • Daily cash balance reports.
  • Accounts receivable collection updates.
  • Cash flow forecasts (cash requirements)
  • Significant or unusual transactions.

Consistent Work Habits

We’ve all known people who took it easy for weeks, then pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. Such inconsistent work habits are strong indicators that the individual is not attentive to processes. It also sharply raises the probability of errors in the frantic last-minute activities.

Willingness to Be Controversial

As the CEO, you need to make it very clear to the finance/accounting managers that you expect frank and honest information and that they will not be victims of “shoot the messenger” thinking. Once that assurance is given, your financial managers should be an integral part of your company’s management team. They should not be reluctant to express their opinions and concerns to you or to other department leaders.

What does the term ethnic food mean to you? To me, I think of the different countries and the cuisines they have to offer. One such type of food that greatly prevails all others is Indian Food. Well what does Indian cuisine consist of you may ask? Indian food is derived from India and uses a blend of subtle herbs and spices. In this form of cooking, there is a great amount of variation in the meat, vegetables, and spices used. The majority of Indian cooking is made up of vegetables and yet there are several meat and poultry dishes as well. Within India, there are two main yet distinct methods of cooking seen in both North India and South India.

Common Food Found in Northern India:

– roti: a traditional Indian flat bread eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables

– naan: resembles the western “pita” bread and is eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables as well

– kulcha: another form of tasty flat bread, usually found from Punjab

– tandoori chicken: form of chicken that is marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices, it is cooked in a large clay oven

– palak paneer: cooked spinach with minor cheese cubes and marinated with curry powder

– channa masala: chickpeas smothered in zesty sauce and marinated with curry powders and masalas

Common Food Found in Southern India:

– dosa: a type of South Indian crepe and made from rice and black lentil

– idli: a small spongy cake made from rice and black lentil

– vada: a small snack made from lentils and containing small pieces of onions as well as green chilies

– sambar: a thick spicy soup consisting of lentils and vegetables

As you can see, the above dishes are quite unique from western foods such as hamburgers and fries. In Northern India, there is a considerable amount of curry powder used in specific items. Whereas in South India, the spices are not strong and are much less filling than North Indian food.