Drivers Dislike Voice-Recognition Systems in Cars

Drivers say voice recognition is the feature in new cars that troubles them the most, according to a new study. The technology that allows drivers to vocally give requests is becoming more common in new cars, but researchers say there’s a lot to be done before voice recognition is perfected.

A recent J.D. Power quality studies report says that 32 percent of all infotainment-related complaints are due to voice recognition errors in cars. Some cars only can understand a few commands and work only if the driver is on a corresponding screen. For example, telling the system to find an address won’t work if the system is searching for radio stations.

VoiceRecognition“People think it’s their fault,” says Kristin Kolodge, J.D. Power’s executive director for driver interaction and human machine interface. “They start to raise their voices, and it still doesn’t work.”

The systems have limited memory and processing power, says Mike Thompson, an executive vice president at Nuance Communications. More vehicles need to be connected to the Internet in order to take advantage of the processing power and storage available online, Thompson says.

Thompson says the systems will eventually understand more synonyms and allow drivers to speak naturally.

Tech Trends Will Transform the Way You Live

From bendable smartphones to driverless cars, these upcoming technological advances will change your daily routine on the job.

This could be your future: You’re driving hands-free, taking your visitors on a city tour. While you’re behind the wheel – though you’re not actually steering the car – you pull from your pocket a bendable smartphone or tablet and bring up locations for nearby coffee shops. Then you remember you left the lights on and the door unlocked at home. No problem, you use your smart phone to turn off the lights and lock the doors. Some of these capabilities are already here – or are coming soon.

Here’s at peek at the latest tech from the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.


smartwatchWearable tech is a big buzzword right now. The smartwatch business alone is expected to grow from 400,000 shipments this year to 35 million by 2017, according to market research firm Berg Insight. Watchmaker Pebble touts a $249 Pebble Steel smartwatch with leather or metal straps. It can connect to apps from iOS or Android devices for accessing e-mails, calendar alerts, news updates, social media accounts and maps.

It is anticipated that for the technology to fully catch on it will need to have voice-control capability and connect to all your smartphone apps so that you don’t ever have to take out your phone.


Several products are being developed with the goal of creating “connected homes,” which will allow for greater control and monitoring of home appliances and systems from a smartphone. The tech is getting more affordable and simpler to use, mostly through smartphone apps, and could make the connected homes more mainstream within the next decade, says Matt Rogers, cofounder of Nest, a home technology manufacturer recently purchased by Google.


Real estate pros, filmmakers, land surveyors and farmers, among others, are waiting for the green light for drone use. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to release rules addressing safety and privacy issues for commercial drone use next year.D

Drone manufacturing company Parrot has an upcoming MiniDrone, which can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet to shoot photos and video while flying up to 160 feet high. It also has wheels to climb walls or move across ceilings. It is slated to debut later this year, and while the price has not yet been announced, it is expected to be cheaper than the company’s upgraded $300 A.R. Drone. Also, global drone manufacturer DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision, retailing for about $1,200, can snap 14-megapixel images and record high-definition video.


driverlesscarCould texting while driving one day be safe? Automakers are racing to release the first publicly available self-driving car. Manufacturers such as Audi, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and BMW, among others, are testing the technology. Officials with Bosch, a global automotive supplier, says the company is about seven to 10 years away from having a fully automatic powered car on the roads.

The cars use 360–degree sensors without human intervention for accelerating, braking, maneuvering turns and parking. Driverless cars have been approved by lawmakers for experimentation in several states, including California, Nevada and Florida.


FlexPhoneLG Electronics has created a smartphone that bends. The LG G Flex is the first smartphone with a flexible screen, and has just become available to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile customers, starting at $600. Wireless carriers offer a steep discount with a contract. The G Flex features a 6-inch display and a slightly curved screen at the top and bottom. LG officials say the curved screen offers better sound, voice and picture clarity. You can also bend it slightly without cracking the screen. Smartphone manufacturers as a whole are focusing on curvier devices. Samsung has launched its flexible Galaxy Round phone in South Korea, while Apple was granted a patent in 2013 for a curved display back, which has some tech forecasters predicting curvier, more bendable shapes for future Apple devices.

Smith says bendable glass helps protect devices from shattering. Bendable glass offers a way to keep the devices looking the way they were built as well as some protection against breakage.


You Can Make A Difference

DinoDifferenceDino’s Storage has partnered with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska to help foster children and others in need.

Donate a new winter coat, winter boots, hats and/or gloves to Lutheran Family Services and you will receive a discount on your first month of storage.

Your gift will help foster children in need and all donations are tax deductible. Your first DinosLutheranmonth storage deduction will be $25 off on a small space, $50 off on a medium space and $75 off on a large space. The offer applies to the first month’s rent for new move-ins only with a minimum three-month lease. Your donations to Lutheran Family Services must be new and include price tags.

For more information about Lutheran Family Services or how to become a foster parent, please call 402-661-7100.


Recycled Commercial Buildings Turn Residential

Remodelers are taking former barns, churches and factories and converting them into unique, multimillion dollar homes. The idea is to “recycle” old, defunct property and offer buyers something beyond a cookie-cutter house, CNBC reports. These old properties may be refurbished and retrofitted, but still retain characteristics of their former purpose.

The luxury housing market is enjoying a strong recovery at the moment. The only segment of the market that saw prices increase over last year was comprised of homes priced at more than $1 million, according to June data from the National Association of Realtors®.

“These clever conversions often command a hefty price tag because the interior rehabs can be far more high-end than regular new-builds,” CNBC notes. “They are usually a labor of love by the buyer, who has the vision to take, perhaps a water filtration plant and turn it into a home.”

As demand rises, some in the high-end market are finding they can rehab unique properties into their dream home.

A few examples include:

822PacificA building at 822 Pacific Street in Omaha, Neb.,that originally served as the mechanical plant for the Burlington Train Station in the early 1900s was converted into a residence with a unique second-floor art studio and a huge main level workshop. The structure features a large roof-top patio and built-in 2-story garage. There’s also a grand gated entrance on the nearly half-acre lot with extensive landscaping, trees, boulders and waterfall.

A historic stone church from the 1800s in Watertown, Mass., that was converted into a 2,800 square foot condo that occupies the church’s bell tower. Remodelers preserved the church’s old woodwork in the modern space.

Outside of Philadelphia, an early 19th century cattle barn was transformed into a five-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot home.


Don’t Lose Big Because of Inferior Boxes

Moving your possessions – whether to a new home, or placing things in storage – can lead to damaged goods if you fail to use adequate containers. Simply put, inadequate moving boxes may not adequately protect your belongs.

CrushedboxesBoxes have certain strengths and thicknesses. Two simple guides, the Edge Crush Test and burst strength can guide you to make wise box choices. Either or both of these figures usually can be found on the bottom of the box. Look for an ECT of at least 32 pounds per square inch to ensure that your boxes won’t crush when stacked up. The Burst Strength Test, also known as the Mullen Test, should be at least 200 lbs., preferably 250 lbs., so the boxes won’t split open. And try to keep the weight of your packed boxes at or below 50 lbs. to facilitate easy handling.

Boxes you might scavenge from grocery or liquor stores are often far too flimsy for moving your goods. What’s more, used boxes may have insects or insect eggs in them. Boxes purchased from the big box stores usually are made from recycled – and therefore weaker – materials and often don’t meet the needed burst and edge crust standards.

The few dollars you might save by employing used boxes or purchasing cheap ones may end up costing you dearly if your possessions are broken or ruined because of flimsy boxes.

DinoBoxAt Dino’s, we have a large assortment of moving boxes and supplies to make your job easier. Our boxes are suitable for your needs at reasonable prices.

Stacking moving boxes in a truck or self storage unit is kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle. Having a number of similar sized boxes can make this easier. Remember to put the heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on the top to help prevent crushing. Packing the boxes full will help prevent crushing and damage. Damage is often caused when boxes are not full and things move around during the moving process.

Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Use strong, well constructed boxes for your moving.


Live-Work Space, A New Old Idea

Remember the old neighborhood grocery? A place where the owners lived in the back rooms, or the upstairs of the small grocery store. Or the neighborhood music teacher whose home doubled as a studio. Or the beauty shop in the walkout basement of a friend’s home.

Maybe you, or someone you know, works from a home office. Perhaps you have visited a deli or small café where the owners lived on the premises.

The common thread in all of these situations is a double duty space for living and working. A few years back an Omaha developer created several units offering live-work space at Giovanna Rows at 6th & Pierce Streets.

Live-work space is a niche market today, but it is making inroads as an old idea gains new popularity. It offers a comfortable place to live with no commuting needed for work. These properties range from condos to stand-alone homes or, in some cases, even larger buildings with lots of room both for living and working.

3040 CumingLandmark Group in Omaha, our partner company, currently has an ideal property for live-work available and it even has seller financing available. The property at 3040 Cuming Street near downtown Omaha is being offered at just $250,000 and contains roughly 20,000 square feet of space that can be made into an ideal live-work environment. Interested? Call David Paladino at 402-672-6566.


Landscaping Can Cut Your Energy Bill

TreeCold weather has given way to air conditioning season and home owners are ready to find new ways to save on their energy bills. suggests a variety of techniques for those who want to stay comfortable on the cheap.

Top among the site’s recommendations is to landscape for shade: landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 50 percent. Neighborhoods with plenty of trees can see daytime temperatures of 6 degrees less than treeless areas, too. Shrubs and ground cover can cool air before it reaches the house, providing an even bigger break on bills.

Landscapes can also be designed to conserve water. Group plants with similar water requirements together, raise your lawn mower’s cutting height and water in the early morning to keep water from evaporating in the heat.

A landscape designed with these and other tips in mind can pay for itself in less than eight years, according to the website.




At Dino’s, We’re All About Service

At Dino’s, we know that you have many choices for storage services. Naturally, we want you to choose Dino’s and we do everything we can to ensure that your experience with Dino’s is a pleasant one.

We often receive comments from our customers that indicate we are meeting their expectations. Here are just a couple we recently received:

One of our customers used our midtown Omaha facility for more than six months before selling his home and buying another which gave him enough space to move his stored items to the new property. He described Dino’s as “friendly and helpful”and said he would recommend us to others. The customer said he was referred to Dino’s for its convenient location and customer service and found our facility to be clean and to provide the features he wanted.

A customer at our southeast Des Moines facility recently wrote us to say: “Just wanted to let you know how much my family and I appreciate how helpful Jill (the facility manager) was during our recent experience. We decided to try to sell both our homes and needed a place to store our “clutter”. Not only did Jill get a unit for us right away but she also helped with billing. We always got it cleared up right away. Unfortunately, we did not get a sale this time, but we will definitely visit Jill the next time we need your service. We just want to say thanks to Jill and Dino’s!

If you or someone you know needs a storage unit, please give us a call at 402-916-4015. We’re always ready to help.


Canadian Anti-Spam Law Takes Effect July 1

Making sure the people who get your marketing emails have explicitly asked to receive them is best practice anyway. But the Canadian Anti-Spam Law going into effect in Canada on July 1 makes it even more of a necessity. And, yes, it could impact small businesses in the U.S. too — if you email regularly to customers in Canada.

The new legislation is technically designed to protect Canadian citizens against particularly nasty spam messages used for phishing, identity theft and spyware.

Unless you use the proper precautions, your business could be found in violation. And you could be open to penalties of up to $10 million (in Canadian Dollar rates) and even private civil suits. The law applies even if you are located outside of Canada, but send to recipients who access the messages from within Canada.

The law applies to all commercial electronic messages including email, text messages, social media, IM and voice messages. The law is much broader than its U.S counterpart, the CAN-SPAM Act, which has been in effect for a number of years.

AntiSpamChartThe chart at left highlights the differences in the U.S. and Canadian anti-spam laws.

In an email interview with Small Business Trends, Connie Sung Moyle, manager of public relations and digital strategy at San Francisco-based email marketing company VerticalResponse, explained:

“Our customer support team has fielded a few inquiries from customers, and we’re telling them to consult with a legal advisor to make sure they’re fully cooperating with the new law.”

The new regulation gives a three-year grace period for email marketers to obtain permission from recipients they already email inside Canada. After that time the Canadian government will be able to file suit for up to $10 million against violators. Even Canadian citizens will be empowered to bring suit against you and your business for a violation, warns Chandler, Ariz.-based email and sales software services provider Infusionsoft.

In a recent post on the official Infusionsoft blog, product marketing specialist Justin Topliff wrote: “Because it may be difficult to determine which contacts in your database are located in Canada, Infusionsoft encourages you to obtain a double opt-in from your entire database. This is a best practice for email marketing and will ensure you are in total compliance with all Canadian and U.S. spam laws on this issue.”

Meanwhile Constant Contact, the Waltham, Mass.-based company whose online marketing toolkit includes email and other services, says it is focusing on educating customers about the law. Lisa Kember, the company’s Regional Director for Eastern Canada explains: “We are proactively reaching out to our customers-both those in Canada and those that market to Canada-to help guide them through the process of being CASL compliant.”

At Dino’s your security is of utmost importance to us – whether it be your goods in storage or your personal information. We never sell our email lists to anyone else and always treat our customer information with appropriate respect.