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2018 Ford Expedition Review- First Impression

Ford has made some major tweaks to the earlier SUV model to present a bigger and lighter Ford Expedition 2018 model. The company revealed the newbie at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show and it will be hitting the markets for sale this fall season. It is an advanced version of the F-150 with an entirely new frame, extended length and width, more powerful engine and much more technologically advanced. The key factor here is that the company has strived to add in extra features with a reduced 300-pound weight.

2018 Ford Expedition

Exterior

The exterior design is bolder and sticks to the typical truck framework with the front design that matches mostly to that of the Explorer. A chrome line runs under the windows all the way to the back of the SUV. Even though it has a square design with a box look, the designers have paid attention to add round wheel arches adding impact to the SUV design. The chrome rim, along with the roof trails and other chrome embellishments gives it the luxury look. The Platinum trim variation is the worth mentioning for its exterior with the grille and chrome trim extras.

Utility

The main functionality of the Ford Expedition is the sports utility. Tow hooks are added in the front bumper. There has been increasing requirement for towing capacity and it is expected to have better capability than the earlier 9,200 pounds. The exact figure is not out yet. The cargo floor is flatter making it easy to load stuff. The cargo area of the Max version can hold about 4 by 8 sheets of Sheetrock, the capacity as defined by the makers.

Interior

The dashboard of the F-150 design is maintained. It is the top notch and gives more importance to efficiency than to mere looks. There are drive control options for different terrains. It is similar to Explorer and Raptor designs with settings for different terrains and driving conditions. The Terrain Management System makes it easier for the driver along with the 4WD gear system. The seats are leather with proper perforation and ventilation.

The dashboard has also been made for the family minivan utility. It has two USB ports, wireless phone charging units, 110-volt household plug and four 12 volt outlets. The music system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. FordPass enables remote access to the car for locating, opening or the starting the car from the phone.

Leg space is the main plus factor and this has been maintained even in the third row. The two rows can fold electronically converting it into a cargo van. With the easy access to the third row, Ford Expedition 2018 is the best car for a family with three generations. More info about Ford Expedition and other SUVs you can find on the website: www.familyautoguide.com

2018 Ford Expedition will be available on sale in four variations, XLT, Limited Edition, Platinum Trim, XL Fleets and Expedition Max.

The company has announced that it will be adding in five more new SUV models by the year 2020. EcoSport and the comeback of the Bronco are the most expected in the US.

obesity

Mississippi and Alabama Top States in Terms of Obesity

Mississippi is once again the state with the highest rate of obese people. Alabama follows closely behind at number 2. A person is considered obese when they have a body mass index higher than 30. BMI is based on your weight and height. The entire country is struggling with an obesity problem, but the South is where the problem is most prevalent. Unhealthy fried foods are a part of the culture in our part of the world and that is one reason our region has the worst obesity problems.

First lady Michelle Obama has taken to fighting childhood obesity. She is pushing for healthier lunches in schools and getting kids more active. Former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee is also speaking out about the obesity problem in this country.

sears logo

Sears Closing Mobile Store

Sears has announced that they will be closing their Bel Air Mall location later this year. The store will begin a liquidation sale on July 17th. The Auto Center will also be closing. Sears is expected to remain open until August or September.

The store and Auto Center have around 100 employees. Some will be given severance or offered positions at other Sears or K-Mart locations.

Sears has been struggling for some time. The company was founded in 1886 as a mail order catalog. The first retail location opened in 1925. It was the largest retailer in the US until it was surpassed by Walmart in 1989. Sears was bought out by K-Mart in 2005.

Sears, like its parent company K-Mart, has struggled with competition. Walmart led the first wave of fatal blows, followed quickly by online retailers.

us cuba relations

US, Cuba Agree To Restore Diplomatic Relations

The US and Cuba announced a historic shift in relations between the two countries yesterday, setting the stage for a restoration of ties between the close neighbors. The talks coincided with negotiations for the release of American Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba for the past five years. Gross was returned to US soil yesterday in exchange for 3 Cuban agents held by the US.

While the announcement yesterday does not mean an end to the embargo, it is still a huge policy shift. The embargo was passed by Congress, and it will take action from the legislative branch to fully undo it. However, the US will be opening an embassy in Cuba, and more Americans will be allowed to visit the country.

Closer ties with Cuba could have significant impact on Mobile. The city’s port could play a huge role in trade between the two nations. Business leaders are already excited about the prospect of a new market opening up to them.

The US embargo against Cuba began on October 19th, 1960. The policy can only be described as an utter failure, as the Castro brothers still rule the island. Given that the US has ties with communist nations such as China, the stance towards Cuba has long been questionable. Ties likely would have been restored sooner, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, if not for the politics surrounding a large Cuban population in south Florida. The Sunshine State is a key swing state in presidential elections, and older Cuban Americans have opposed restoring ties with Cuba.

Reactions were split in both parties on the subject. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey slammed the deal, saying it rewarded the Castro regimes brutal behavior. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also came out against the deal. However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, also a Republican, came out in favor of the plan. Paul said the embargo hasn’t worked, and that the deal was probably a good idea.

 

Facebook Risks Becoming Myspace

Facebook Risks Becoming Myspace

Facebook is one of the most popular websites in internet history. Hundreds of millions visit the site daily, and spend hours browsing. The social network has grown far larger than the previous kingpin in the field, Myspace, and has lasted longer on top. Internet users are a fickle bunch though, and todays phenomenon can easily become tomorrows afterthought. Now, Facebook is planning to implement a feature that could bring just such a fate to the company.

The latest rumor is that Facebook plans to implement 15 second video ads into users feeds. While more ads are almost always frowned upon by users, video ads could end up being a deal breaker. Most people now browse Facebook through their phone. Many of these consumers are doing so through wireless broadband provided by their cell phone carrier. Wireless broadband typically has small bandwidth limits that are quickly eaten by by video.

The rumored plan calls for 15 second videos that would play automatically. According to Bloomberg, the 15 second ads would cost companies between $1 and $2.5 million per day. Users would not see a certain ad more than three times in a day. Apparently, Facebook has pushed back the launch of this new program because they too are worried it will degrade the user experience.

The idea is completely understandable from a business perspective. Video ads are the future of internet advertising. Now that Facebook is a publicly traded company, they face the constant task of increasing revenue and profits. Their last report showed very promising growth in mobile revenue, which most experts agree is critical towards the companys future. Placing video ads is the next logical step.

One need only to look to the downfall of Myspace to see why this may be a bad idea. One of the reasons Facebook was able to topple Myspace is because it had a much cleaner, simpler look. The Myspace homepage was always dominated by flashy, invasive advertisements. User profiles were contorted by poorly sized images and auto playing audio that lagged page loading time. It was a mess, and switching to Facebook was like moving into a nicer neighborhood.

Implementing video ads is a risky move at this point in the game. The social networking market has exploded in the past few years. Users, particularly young users, are branching out into many different networks. Google+ remains a significant threat, especially if Google Glass takes off once it is launched. Facebook could drive their users right into their competitors hands.

mobile votes on mayor today

Mobile Votes On Mayor Today

Its election day in Mobile. The city will choose between incumbent Sam Jones and challenger Sandy Stimpson for mayor. Districts 2,3, and 4 will also vote on their city council representatives. Voters couldnt ask for a more beautiful day to vote, as the skies will be clear and the humidity will be relatively low. Voting will last until 7:00 PM.

The race between Jones and Stimpson has been contentious at times. The race is expected to be relatively close, with Jones seen as a slight favorite due to being the incumbent. Mayor Jones has also picked up key endorsements such as former Mayor Mike Dow and several unions. Stimpson has the backing of business related groups in Mobile.

Before getting into politics, Sam Jones spent 9 years in the US Navy. He served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal under the command of John McCain. Jones later was elected to four terms as Mobile County Commissioner. He was first elected Mayor in 2005, succeeding Mike Dow.

Sandy Stimpson was born and raised in Mobile, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He worked for 37 years at Gulf Coast Lumber Company and its successor, Scotch Gulf Lumber LLC. He has served as chairman of several organizations, such as the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Alliance of Business and Industry, the Business Council of Alabama, and the Alabama Policy Institute.

The race for Mayor is very important to Mobiles future. The city could be on the verge of unprecedented growth. Airbus will soon be building jets in the port city, and Austal already builds warships down at the docks. The port itself is being expanded as well. Mobile could soon be a manufacturing powerhouse. Whoever leads the city over the next few years will be spearheading that growth.

alabama unemployment

Alabama Unemployment Rate Down To 6%

Alabama’s unemployment rate has once again fell, and now stands at 6%. This figure is down from 6.3% in October. The state is still slightly above the national average of 5.8%. Roughly 126,000 people remain unemployed in Alabama.

Overall, the national economy continues to grow, and unemployment continues to fall. While divided government in Washington could provide some roadblocks next year, a big budget battle was avoided this month as Congress passed a bipartisan bill to fund the government. Most economic metrics point to continued growth in 2015.

Mobile got a potential dose of good news with the White House’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. If Congress takes the next step and kills the embargo, Mobile stands to profit handsomely due to its close proximity to the island nation. The city has one of the closest ports to Cuba. Trade, cruise ships, and much more could be coming if ties continue to deepen.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Set To Launch

In 2010, Google announced its Google Fiber project. This project would deliver a gigabit network to a chosen community. Kansas City was ultimately chosen for the tech companys test run. Next week, Google Fiber finally goes lives.

A gigabit network is one that runs on fiber optics, and reaches download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The average American only has download speeds of up to 4 megabits per second. This network will offer speeds over 100 times faster than the average speed, and it will be bi-directional.

Why is Google launching a fiber network? Experts see two possible reasons. Google itself has stated that it wants to see what people would do with a gigabit network connection. Given the companys plethora of online content, particularly at video sharing website Youtube, this seems like a logical enough reason. Youtube has begun streaming movies and TV shows in the past few years, and faster network speeds would help the company grow this business.

Others speculate that the move is Googles answer to attacks on network neutrality by the big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and ATT. These companies complain about the price of upgrading and maintaining their network, and want to charge websites like Google extra money to allow customers fast access to its sites. This practice would violate the long held spirit of the internet, where all data traffic is treated equally. Google may be out to prove that fast networks can be built and maintained at reasonable prices.

If the latter is true, then Google is to be commended. The attacks on network neutrality by the big service providers threatens not just the internet, but the economy as a whole. Our economy is deeply connected to the internet now, and we can not afford to have internet service providers picking the winners and losers online. Discrimination of network traffic can not be allowed, or the open and free internet we have grown to love will be destroyed.

 

tropical storm fernand

Tropical Storm Fernand Makes Landfall

If you blinked, you missed it. Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon. By late Sunday night/early Monday morning, the storm had already made landfall in Mexico. The tropical storm is not particularly powerful, and is expected to mostly be a rain event.

Fernand formed in the Bay of Campeche, which is in the southern Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula. At its strongest, the storm reached winds of 50 mph. As of the 7:00 AM update, Fernand was currently packing winds of 40 mph and moving NW at 9 mph. As the storm is now over land, no more strengthening is expected. The storm will weaken into a tropical depression later today.

The storm is not expected to affect weather along the US Gulf Coast. After being drenched in rain the past few weeks, the forecast over the next few days calls for much more sun. Temperatures will be in the low 90s in the day, and dip down into the low 70s at night.

Meteorologists are now watching another tropical wave in the Caribbean. While this particular wave may not develop, conditions are turning much more favorable over the next two weeks in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Basin as we approach the very peak of hurricane season. Another tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles is also being watched.

FCC

The Danger In Exempting Wireless From Net Neutrality

Nearly two years ago, the FCC outlined its rules for net neutrality. Notably absent were rules for wireless networks. There are several legitimate reasons that the same rules applied to wired networks can not apply to wireless networks. However, the same danger lies in leaving wireless networks unguarded against the whims of its administrators. As we move more and more towards a wireless dominated internet, those dangers will become more pronounced.

The importance of wireless data can not be understated. Facebooks plummeting stock is a primary example. One of the reasons Facebook is taking a beating is because investors do not believe the company can properly monetize its mobile product. Investors are already punishing large companies that fail to monetize on the mobile front. When money talks, it is wise to listen.

Smartphones would have changed the internet landscape by themselves, but with tablets joining them on the mobile front there is no doubt that it will become at least on par with wired access. The quick emergence of products like the iPad and the Kindle Fire have many harking the end of the desktop era. While that may be premature, there is no doubt that these new platforms are going to command a large portion of the market place.

It is perfectly understandable that wireless networks can not be managed the same way that wired networks are. The technology is not quite good enough for wireless networks to run as smoothly and efficiently as wired networks do. A massive amount of infrastructure is needed if this goal is ever to be accomplished, and that is not an easy task to undertake.

Improving wireless internet infrastructure means building more towers. People are generally not happy with the number of towers that dot the landscape now. Red tape is also a factor, as it can take years to get approval to put up new towers. That will not suffice when wireless data traffic is growing at over 100% a year for the last several years.

We are going to need a massive investment in infrastructure in this country regardless of net neutrality rules. Demand for wireless is going to continue to grow for many years to come, and providers are not going to be able to let up. Data caps and throttling are understandable now as demand is far outpacing infrastructure growth. Eventually, demand will slow, and these practices will have to be addressed.

This is where allowing internet providers to regulate themselves becomes an issue. Self regulation usually does not end well for the consumer. Imagine allowing power plants and oil refineries to determine what chemicals they could pour into the air. Would they have the populations best interest at heart when making that determination?

In the future when the infrastructure can match the demand, what will stop internet providers from picking winners and losers over their wireless networks? As conglomerates like Comcast gobble up content providers like NBC, a conflict of interest begins to emerge. There would be nothing from stopping one of the big wireless providers like ATT or Verizon from scooping up a content provider and prioritizing its data speed over the network.

The internet community has had a good year in terms of influence in 2012. The wireless issue is one the community must keep a watchful eye on in the future. It is not a matter of if the service providers will abuse the system, but when. As wireless internet becomes the dominant or even default medium, the problem will become more pronounced.

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