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Trick Or Treat Networking

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Boca Festival Days 2009

I am pleased to be the co-Chair of Boca Festival Days 2009 and to be working with Linda Gove, Boca Helping Hands, who is this year’s Chair. This is a great opportunity to advertise your business while helping a local non-profit agency. Please consider participating in this year’s program.

About Boca Festival Days: a series of fun-filled events held at different locations in the greater Boca Raton area during the month of August, when the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce (GBRCC) pairs non-profit members with for-profit members to raise funds and awareness during their event. Events usually include elements of food, drink and/or entertainment.

For more information about Boca Festival Days, or to plan your own event for 2009, please contact GBRCC Communications Coordinator, Desiré Salazar at 561.395.4433 ext. 235.

For more information click this link: Boca Festival Days 2009

John Schneyer, Boca Consultants

A Problem of the Brain, Not the Hands: Group Urges Phone Ban for Drivers

From the NY Times

Read and ask your self how this might impact your business. What potential problems? What opportunities?

Call us, we can help
John Schneyer
Boca Consultants

A Problem of the Brain, Not the Hands: Group Urges Phone Ban for Drivers

Published: January 12, 2009

In half a dozen states and many cities and counties, it is illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving — but perfectly all right to talk on a hands-free device.

The theory is that it’s distracting to hold a phone and drive with just one hand. But a large body of research now shows that a hands-free phone poses no less danger than a hand-held one — that the problem is not your hands but your brain.

“It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel,” said David Strayer, director of the Applied Cognition Laboratory at the University of Utah and a leading researcher on cellphone safety. “It’s that your mind is not on the road.”

Now Dr. Strayer’s research has gained a potent ally. On Monday, the National Safety Council, the nonprofit advocacy group that has pushed for seat belt laws and drunken driving awareness, called for an all-out ban on using cellphones while driving.

“There is a huge misperception with the public that it’s O.K. if they are using a hands-free phone,” said Janet Froetscher, the council’s president and chief executive. “It’s the same challenge we had with seat belts and drunk driving — we’ve got to get people thinking the same way about cellphones.”

Laboratory experiments using simulators, real-world road studies and accident statistics all tell the same story: drivers talking on a cellphone are four times as likely to have an accident as drivers who are not. That’s the same level of risk posed by a driver who is legally drunk.

Why cellphone use behind the wheel is so risky isn’t entirely clear, but studies suggest several factors. No matter what the device, phone conversations appear to take a significant toll on attention and visual processing skills.

It may be that talking on the phone generates mental images that conflict with the spatial processing needed for safe driving. Eye-tracking studies show that while drivers continually look side to side, cellphone users tend to stare straight ahead.

They may also be distracted to the point that their engaged brains no longer process much of the information that falls on their retinas, which leads to slower reaction times and other driving problems.

At the University of Utah, Dr. Strayer and his colleagues use driving simulators to study the effects of cellphone conversations. A simulator’s interior looks like that of a Ford Crown Victoria, and a computer allows researchers to control driving conditions. Study participants are asked to drive under a variety of conditions: while talking on a hand-held phone or a hands-free one, while chatting with a friend in the next seat, and even after consuming enough alcohol to make them legally drunk.

While in the simulator, drivers are asked to complete simple tasks, like driving for several miles along a highway and finding a particular exit, or navigating local streets where they must brake for traffic lights, change lanes and watch for pedestrians. How fast they drive, how well they stay in their lane, driving speed and eye movement are closely monitored.

The Utah researchers have also placed electrodes on participants’ scalps to gauge how they process information. Similar studies, using brain imaging, have been done at Carnegie Mellon.

The studies show that cellphone conversations are highly distracting compared with other speaking and listening activities in the car.

One might think that listening to talk radio or an audio book would degrade driving skill; it does not. (A quiz after the driving test confirmed that the drivers were really paying attention to the programs.)

Likewise, it is easy to equate talking to a friend on a cellphone with talking to a friend in the passenger seat. But a December report in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied debunked that notion. Utah researchers put 96 drivers in a simulator, instructing them to drive several miles down the road and pull off at a rest stop. Sometimes the drivers were talking on a hands-free cell phone, and sometimes they were chatting with a friend in the next sea

Nearly every driver with a passenger found the rest stop, in part because the passenger often acted as an extra set of eyes, alerting the driver to the approaching exit. But among those talking on the cellphone, half missed the exit.

“The paradox is that if the friend is sitting next to you, you drive safer,” Dr. Strayer said. “When you talk to that person on a cellphone, you’re much more likely to be involved in an accident.”

Despite the overwhelming body of evidence that cellphone use while driving is risky, the idea of a total ban is sure to be controversial.

“People understand the dangers, but they just don’t want to give it up themselves,” said Ms. Froetscher, of the National Safety Council. “But years ago we didn’t put on seat belts, or people who might have had a drink before driving wouldn’t think of it now.

“We have to educate people that it’s a risky behavior.”

Companies expand ‘green’ office options beyond regular recycling

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and will have a safe and prosperous new year.

Read the Denver Business Journal article on increasing recycling through composting here.

With more and more employees and customers looking for and expecting greener solutions, this is a way you can make a difference for little or no cost.

Give us a call, we can help.
John Schneyer
Boca Consultants

More Companies Are Cutting Labor Costs Without Layoffs

Click for the NY Times article

Read this article to find how some companies are reducing their costs while keeping their valuable employees. Consider how important this can be to your company. The economy always comes back and you want to be ready take advantage when it does. Having to start hiring and then training new employees is very expensive in terms of money and time.

We can help you come up with the ways to cut costs and retain your best employees. We can also help you take advantage of today’s environment.

Give us a call, we can help.
John Schneyer
Boca Consultants