Category Archives: Business

States Take Larger Role in Passenger Rail

A federal law enacted in the late days of the Bush administration is starting to force states to take a closer look at local Amtrak routes that they subsidize.

Illinois, which sits at the center of the country’s railroad network, has long promoted passenger rail. It’s rebuilt track so trains could travel faster between Chicago and St. Louis, added service along preexisting routes and even began planning for expansions to new cities. Ridership on Illinois routes grew by 85 percent in the last decade. But now the talk in Springfield is about cuts to Amtrak, not expansions.

That’s no surprise considering Illinois’ precarious finances. Nearly every service provided by the state is under scrutiny as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the legislature try to come to an agreement on the budget.

But the uncertainty over Illinois’ passenger rail isn’t all the doing of lawmakers in Springfield. Illinois, like many other states, recently had to start paying higher subsidies in order to continue providing local Amtrak service to its residents. The increased state costs come as a result of a 2008 federal law, called the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, that required many states to pick up a bigger part of the tab for 28 Amtrak routes that are shorter than 750 miles. Those routes cross 19 states and carry almost half of Amtrak’s passengers.

As more states pay higher subsidies to Amtrak, their scrutiny of the rail company has also increased. Lawmakers in Oregon have explored reducing its payments. Indiana officials are bringing in an outside contractor to try to improve Amtrak service there. And other state officials around the country are trying to clarify what they can expect from Amtrak going forward. “If you’re making an investment in something, you have an obligation to make sure it’s a certain quality,” said Patricia Quinn, chair of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition. “This is a new relationship with all of the states and Amtrak.”

The same 2008 law that increased the cost of subsidies also gave states more flexibility to use vendors other than Amtrak to provide rail service. Indiana officials are using that to try to improve service on the Hoosier State line, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis.

It is working on an arrangement where a separate contractor, Iowa Pacific Holdings, would take over key functions. It would provide the train equipment, marketing and on-board services, such as food sales and Wi-Fi. But Amtrak would remain the primary operator, providing the train crews and ticketing services.

10 Ways Marissa Mayer Is Reinventing Yahoo


Yup, we have talked about her before.

For nearly three years, CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to reinvent Yahoo, the Web search and services company that reigned supreme in the early days of the Internet. But the incredible growth of Google’s search engine and Web advertising business drained away revenue that once would have been Yahoo’s. Mayer, a former senior Google executive, was recruited to put Yahoo back on track to growth. Reviews are mixed on Mayer’s performance so far. Some have said that Mayer has done little to fix Yahoo’s fundamental issues, pointing to the company’s poor financials and falling search ad revenue. Still others note that it took turnaround experts, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, several years before they could truly make a difference in their ailing companies. Despite the criticism, Mayer is persevering with a strategy she believes will lead to future success. This slide show…

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Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Don Charisma

«Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.»

— Dale Carnegie quotes are sponsored by – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”

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How to Activate your ‘Full Creative Instincts’

Let's talk about life and business

Find your Passion

Each and every one of us has our passion of what we want to do in the rest of our lives. In order to activate your full creativity you must first know your passion. What you love to do. Find the perfect work or career path where you will have a profound inclination with it.

 Deep observation

In your chosen field, collect ideas and understand them deeply. Never stop wondering how they came up with these novel ideas from great people. It is also ideal to benchmark great people and know things about them.

Master the basics and rewrite the rules

Before you can be creative you must be an expert in the basic foundations of your chosen field. I recall when I was an art varsity in way back in high school when my coach once said that no one has the right to make an…

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Biometric Passports Speed International Arrivals

A Resource Guide to Expedite US Passport Services

Biometric passports technology improves immigration efficiency and speeds up international arrivalsHave you ever wondered what that little gold rectangle on your passport cover means? It’s the international symbol for a biometric passport, which are also referred to as e-passports or digital passports. Biometric passports contain a small computer chip that holding digital information that can be read by scanners at border control stations at international airports.

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Explanation of EDI and How It Came To Be


Your first thought might be: “I know already or I wouldn’t be reading this publication.” Yes, we will give you the “schoolbook” definition. We will even tell you a brief history of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), but our real purpose is to give you the modern era definition of EDI; and back it up with an expert opinion.Developed in the United States in the mid-1960s, the idea of what became known as EDI today originated with a group of railroad companies.

The standardization of documents proved to be necessary. They formed an organization known as the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee (TDCC) . Renamed the Electronic Data Interchange Association (EDIA) , they received a charter from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and became the ANSI X12 Committee.

Other businesses began to use proprietary systems to exchange invoices and purchase orders. They recognized the economic advantages of fast, efficient and…

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No Risk EDI

EDI is a secure environment. At least that’s the premise that most supply chain professionals work by. And the truth is that for the most part the EDI transaction chain is very secure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas to monitor and steps to take to make certain your assumptions about security are correct… and that your transactions are not going to be compromised.
Here’s an overview of the main steps to take to assure your transactions and in fact, your business as a whole is secure and doesn’t have gaping holes that competitors or just bad guys in general can turn against you.

In many ways assessing the security of your EDI environment is the same as managing any other portion of your enterprise security. The main point is to know how your data is exposed and where the most vulnerable points are. Once those issues are known it’s a matter of working through standard security processes.

First step: Identify what is to be protected

Second step: Determine where your data is sensitive
Third step: Determine what security needs to be in place

Fourth step: Decide what protections to enable

A Picture really is Worth a Thousand Words! #InfoGraphics


A Picture really is Worth a Thousand Words!

                                                              February 9th,  2015.


Hello everyone,

You may have noticed a trend all around you – CONTENT is becoming visual, more aesthetic, summarized and data online and digitally is starting to be presented in a more compact manner. Why should your Newsletter be any different? Do you use the full potential of HTML?

Info-graphics are the future of digital marketing. Why? Simply because 50%+ of users are receiving your campaigns on mobile devices, tablets or wearable technologies.

With information overload, the number of seconds of the attention span of your audience is reduced. Each minute they spend online or checking their E-mail is competing with multile other…

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Something New, Something Old


Experience of a friend:
My Apple iPhone 4S was acting up so in a moment of unwarranted extravagance, I upgraded to an iPhone 6 which now has more do-dads on it than a BMW.

Anyway, Ann and I took the Pacific Surfliner (the San Clemente Creeper) to San Diego this morning.
Guess what?  No tickets.  No email. No credit card.  No cash.  Got to the San Juan Capistrano depot and opened the iPhone app for Amtrak and punched in the 9:47 AM to San Diego.  We got on the train, held up the phone, showed the conductor the image of the QR Code (barcode) on the screen, he scanned it with his gizmo and moved on.


I was thinking how cool is that but then he had to take out a piece of paper, write “San Diego “on it then stick it in an overhead slot.. Just like in the…

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