Tag Archives: online

Efficient Urban Transportation in a Zip

February 24, 2017 by

Living in a technologically advanced world has its advantages, like convenience and fiscal recompenses we never could have envisioned.

As a Los Angeles native who paid car insurance the price of a mortgage in some places, one new convenience I can appreciate is Zipcar.

The program has graced Omaha with its presence for seven years. Zipcar was founded in 2000 by Antje Danielson, current director of education at MIT Energy Initiative, and  Robin Chase, co-founder of French chartering service Buzzcar. The pair created Zipcar to provide a more efficient, affordable method of driving in the city.

Zipcar P.R. manager Lindsay Wester, who is based in Boston, explains that Zipcar is as simple as join, reserve, and drive.

Business customers begin by signing up online, where they pay a one-time setup fee of $75 and annual membership dues of $35 for each driver. This membership covers fuel, insurance, mileage, parking, and maintenance. Individuals can pay a $25 one-time setup fee annual dues of $70, or a monthly fee of $7 plus the one-time setup fee.

The Omaha fleet includes two Honda Civics and a Ford Escape. The Hondas and the Ford cost $8.50 per hour Monday through Thursday, or $69 per day. The Friday through Sunday rate is $9.50 per hour, or $77 per day for the Hondas and $83 per day for the Escape.  The other car available in Omaha is a Volkswagen Jetta, which costs $9 per hour or $69 daily at all times. The cars are parked on Creighton and UNMC’s campuses, downtown at 17th Street and Capitol Avenue, and at Mammel Hall near Aksarben Village.

Upon becoming a member, the company sends the user a Zipcard, which functions as an entry key. The ignition key stays inside the vehicle. Each user gets one card with their membership, which gives them access to Zipcar’s nationwide fleet. Upon reserving a car, the company digitally connects the Zipcard to the specific car reserved. The user gains access to the vehicle by holding the card to the card reader placed in the windshield. After scanning in with the Zipcard, a user’s smartphone can be a backup to the Zipcard for locking or unlocking the car doors throughout a reservation.

The company first brought their concept to Omaha in 2010, launching at Creighton University, followed by University of Nebraska in 2012, then the Medical Center in October 2015. In Omaha, the target market has been students, but Zipcars also are useful for travelers.

Melanie Stewart, sustainability manager at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine, is in charge of UNMC’s program.

“Last year we had a visiting professor come in, and they had a friend in Lincoln, so they used a Zipcar to visit their friend while in Omaha,” Stewart says.

The Zipcars are also used by visitors of patients who may need to purchase supplies or just take a break from being at the hospital.

Patrick Lin, a 21-year-old Omaha resident, says, “I used Zipcar roughly four to six hours every week during my sophomore year. I first heard about it from some friends in California because they couldn’t have cars during their first year at college.”

Lin enjoys the ability to use a car when needed without the expense of owning it. “Personally, it allows a lot more to get done compared to other services. The only restraint I have is that since there is a time limit, you must plan your activities accordingly. But the per-mile usage you can get when a trip is planned right is entirely worth the time constraints,” he says.

Wester says that Zipcar has remained successful and growing for more than a decade and a half. And as city dwellers become more disenchanted with the idea of owning cars, their success should continue to accelerate.

Visit zipcar.com for more information.

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Dating Over 60

August 28, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Jim Hanson peruses a sea of online profiles, hoping to find his match. What sets this self-professed Renaissance man apart from thousands of other men doing the same exact thing? His age: 65. At a time in life when most people his age are thinking of retirement and mutual funds, he is looking for love.

After being happily married for 33 years, Hanson, a widower, found himself in a position understood by many of his generation: He was alone. Never one to give up, he has tirelessly searched for the right person for the last seven years. “I have met a lot of neat people in that time,” he says. “The main thing I noticed that’s different dating now than then [in his 20s] is people have twice the baggage.” He explains that there are two groups of people he has encountered on his quest: widows and divorcees. “The thing about baggage is you gotta find someone to help you unpack it.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people 65 and over make up 13.9 percent of Nebraska’s population. Many local seniors are experiencing being single again after the death or divorce of a spouse. Plenty are turning to online dating sites to meet other people.

This was the case for Linda Knapp. “It is really difficult to meet people,” she admits. Despite the fact that she owns her own business and interacts with countless people both socially and professionally, the 66-year-old has not dated much in the last year and a half. “I don’t like going to bars. It’s difficult to find a venue to meet people of my generation.” Like many, she turned to online dating. After a couple of bad experiences, she decided it wasn’t for her.

“The thing about baggage is you gotta find someone to help you unpack it.” – Jim Hanson

Karen Larson doesn’t look at seniors dating as any different from the younger generations. “No matter what age, it’s difficult to meet people.” Which is why the local 56-year-old started organizing meetup groups on Plenty of Fish, an online dating forum, to help people get out there and meet new people. “I like to host in small venues so people can actually get a chance to talk,” she says adding, “It’s a safe environment where people can meet.” According to her, a safe environment is what women want. “Many women from my generation have never walked into a bar by themselves.” She will meet up with people and help ease their anxiety, acting as a modern-day matchmaker.

“I have success stories,” she says. One woman who was nervous about attending a meet-and-greet that Karen organized found her special someone after attending the gatherings for a few months.

“Everyone has baggage,” Larson says, echoing Hanson. “I don’t even like to look at it as baggage. I think of it as experiences that shape who you are. It can be positive or negative. Just like your past experiences, dating can be the same way, depending on how you look at it. It’s a scary adventure. People don’t want to be taken. There are those who play games and want to play with your heart. You have to discern the difference. One sign? Can the person describe their past without extreme emotion? Without anger or sadness? If not, they aren’t ready to date again.”

“The way I see it, it’s a numbers game,” Hanson says with the zeal of a pep squad cheerleader. “You have to love without fear. It takes honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor. Yesterday is gone forever. Learn from it and move on. I lost my beautiful wife of 33 years in an instant. Nothing is a given. Embrace today. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.”

After many years of dating and many more being married, he will tell you the importance of communication and making compromises. At the end of the day, he says he is looking for the same thing everyone looks for: that person who is the last person you think of at night and the first thing you think of in the morning.

“It’s like that famous quote,” Hanson explains, “‘Love is like a butterfly.’ If you chase after it, it will fly away. But if you are patient and wait long enough, it will land in your hands.”

Dating Sites
plentyoffish.com
seniorpeoplemeet.com
eharmony.com/senior-dating
datingforseniors.com
dating.aarp.org
seniorpassions.com
ourtime.com

Meetup Sites
seniors.meetup.com
single-seniors.meetup.com
seniors-social.meetup.com
senior-singles-get-together.meetup.com

Freecycle

June 20, 2013 by

One of the most daunting aspects of downsizing possessions is trying to figure out what to do with all the excess. Perhaps you don’t have a way to haul that old chest of drawers to Goodwill, or it’s not worth it to you to try to sell your broken lawnmower on Craigslist, or those unused landscaping bricks are too heavy to set out for the trash.

Freecycle just might be the answer to your downsizing dilemma. It’s an online organization devoted to keeping useable items out of landfills by giving them free of charge to people within your own community. Local groups are found in most cities across the United States (Freecycle.org states that its network includes 5,096 groups and 9,332,889 members globally, as a matter of fact). So it’s quite similar to Craigslist, except all exchanges are, well, free. Omaha’s Freecycle group has over 11,000 members, and objects are requested and offered online daily.

“As a green-accredited professional, the whole idea of putting all these samples in a landfill was just abhorrent to me,” says Amy Boesen, an Omaha interior decorator. A friend clued her into Freecycle last year, and Boesen gave a book of wallpaper samples to a guy for use as crafts in his wife’s daycare. Another batch of upholstery swatches were turned into hammocks for an animal rescue. Gazing ball stands were used as birdbaths. “When stuff started moving and I could see how it was being used, it was so awesome for me,” Boesen says.

She, herself, has only requested one thing on Freecycle: fishing poles as event décor. “It’s a fantastic way to very quickly get rid of things you don’t need and find things you don’t want to buy,” she says.

Participating in Freecycle does mean dealing with Yahoo!’s Groups feature, which is inelegantly linked to Freecycle.org. You’ll need a username and password each for both Freecycle and Yahoo!

To join the Omaha group, follow these steps (thank goodness you only have to do this once):

  • Go to freecycle.org. In the Find a Group Near You window, type in Omaha. Select Omaha from the search results, and click the Sign up/Log in button. Choose a username and password, and you’ll be taken to Omaha’s Group Info page.
  • Click Visit the Omaha group and see the posts. You’ll be taken to a Yahoo! Groups page. Click the blue Join This Group! button.
  • Log in to Yahoo! Create a Yahoo! account if you don’t already have one. If Yahoo! isn’t your normal e-mail client, you can choose to have e-mails forwarded to, say, your Gmail address instead.
  • Choose how you want to find out about new posts. Consider opting for Web Only. Don’t forget to click Save Changes.
  • Browse posts. You can also post messages yourself and respond to other members’ posts.

Once you’ve posted an item (called an Offer), your post will go through a moderator who will make certain you’ve included essential info such as a nearby cross street (never put your address in a post). When another member e-mails you (via Freecycle…your e-mail isn’t exposed) expressing interest in that chest of drawers, you can respond with your address and let them know it’s waiting for them outside. They’ll pick it up without needing to set up a specific time and without having to meet you. All you have to do is enjoy your decluttered home and the knowledge that you’ve done your part to save the Earth.

Bareknuckle Bazaar

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Partners Cameron and Audio Helkuik are the owners of Bareknuckle Bazaar, a new online home goods business based in Omaha. The company, “in the business of making art,” launched in May and features pillows, small housewares, and other home décor items, all hand-crafted by the duo.

“I have a string of highly creative jobs under my belt: art tutor, costume designer, art gallery manager, arts & crafts instructor, fashion designer…” shares Audio. “Cameron has a resume filled with more traditional business experience but has always wished to do something creative with his hands. We finally decided to join forces and take the plunge. Here we are now with Bareknuckle Bazaar, and we have so much creative energy we can barely stand it.”20130531_bs_8594_web

Audio says the business aims to infuse high-quality, rugged yet refined design into the lives of its customers. “They might be looking to make tiny home improvements here or there, or to do a total overhaul [of their living space], but they’re focused on surrounding themselves with great design that will last.” Included in the store’s initial collection is a line of linen pillows with leather detailing, available in several patterns. All of the products featured on Bareknuckle Bazaar’s Etsy site are priced affordably at $40-$150.

Audio hopes to eventually expand the business into upholstery work—vintage furniture makeovers, custom bicycle seats, even auto “hotrod” upholstery. A brick and mortar storefront is not out of the question either.

For now, the business is using primarily social media—a blog and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—to share photos of new items and market their goods to customers.

Bareknuckle Bazaar
bareknucklebazaar.etsy.com
facebook.com/bareknucklebazaar

Believe the Omahype

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha resident Will Simons has worn many hats. As the managing editor of the now defunct Omaha City Weekly, he flexed his journalistic prowess while balancing a music career in the local band Thunder Power and jumpstarting his own business venture, Omahype. The curated online events calendar aims to provide locals with all of their entertainment needs. It solves the problem of having to sift through several different websites and papers just to find out what’s going on, plus it’s optimized for mobile operating systems. Simons had a little help coming up with the concept.

“I can’t say it was my idea initially. It was definitely a team effort. I used to interview local musicians at a previous job. One of those interviews was with Laura Burhenn, who, at the time, was a recent Omaha transplant from D.C. She was about to release the debut album for her group, The Mynabirds,” Simons explains. “She mentioned that she was in the early stages putting together an online youth culture-oriented events calendar and blog for the Omaha area and asked if I’d liked to help out. Of course, I said yes. With a background in arts and entertainment journalism, I knew Omaha sorely needed a one-stop website that listed all the best events in town for a younger, more culture-savvy audience. What sealed the deal was when Laura told me that two of the most talented web designers in town, Dave Nelson and Cody Peterson [of Secret Penguin], were already on board to help build it.”

Getting it off the ground hasn’t exactly been simple. To run Omahype successfully, obtaining multiple advertisers is key for Simons and the rest of the team. People are slowing coming around, but with all four founders having time-consuming day jobs (and rock careers), it’s difficult to juggle it all. However, Simons is working on a solution.

“The biggest challenge is generating enough money from advertising to justify someone working for Omahype full-time. I am transitioning into a part-time situation at my job so I can direct most of my energy toward Omahype,” he says.

Will Simons

Will Simons

“Aside from advertising, we’re seeking sponsorships from companies with employees and customers in sync with the readers of Omahype. We also plan on throwing more events. Our goal at Omahype is to support, nurture, and expand the cultural landscape of the city.”

Peterson is currently working on Omahype’s redesign and once that’s done, Simons assures visiting Omahype will be a “beautiful and intuitive experience.” In addition, browsers will discover the most relevant listings for concerts, art galleries, comedy shows, and independent films. Also, local restaurant reviews and concert photographs are popping up more regularly. Simons is optimistic.

“With the new redesign, we hope to realize our goal of having an online calendar that is the one go-to source for all of the Omaha area’s best events and major cultural happenings,” he concludes. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to expand to [other] cities at some point. Oh, and an office space would be nice, too [laughs].”

In the meantime, Simons and crew have executed a handful of fundraising events to help generate funds. They are planning on throwing more music events to keep up the momentum. Most recently, Omahype sponsored its third annual Rock-n-Shop event at The Slowdown on December 14. It featured a slew of prominent Omaha bands such as All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds and, of course, Thunder Power. Several local vendors were also on hand to showcase their goods. If Simons keeps this up, Omahype could very well be the go-to calendar for all of Omaha’s “cool kids.”

Make Any Photo a Great Gift

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Framing a photo for your special someone can make for a great Valentine’s Day gift. But why just settle for a regular frame and print when you can get creative with your gift? Canvas prints, puzzles, t-shirts—you name it! There are plenty of unique ways to share photos with your sweetheart this holiday.

Rockbrook Camera

If you’re thinking about getting a big photo gift, consider Rockbrook Camera’s wall-size Presentation Print or Gallery Wrapped Canvas Print. They’ll print from negatives, slides, prints, or digital files. Canvases come in Rolled Canvas, Stretched, or Gallery-Wrapped Canvas, and Textured Fine Art Prints. The service time for a canvas print is three working days for unstretched and five working days for stretched or gallery-wrapped. Depending on the size and the type of canvas, projects can range from $49.99 to $269.99.

But Rockbrook Camera has more than just canvas prints for photo gifting—they also have photo memorabilia options. You can have photos crafted into a beautifully bound 11×8½ book. Covers come in black, royal blue, burgundy, or metallic silver, and cost $29.99 for 20 pages or $39.99 for 40 pages. You can also have photos printed onto puzzles ($13.99 for 110-piece or $26.99 for 252-piece), t-shirts ($16.99-19.99), woven pillows ($75.99 for 17×17), woven throw ($129.99 for 50×60), ceramic mugs ($12.99-16.99), and many more gifts.

Rockbrook Camera at Rockbrook Village
2717 S. 108th St.
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm
402-397-1171
rockbrookcamera.com

Rockbrook Camera at Legacy
2909 S. 169th Plz., Ste 100
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm
402-691-0003
rockbrookcamera.com

CanvasPop

If you’re more of an online bargain hunter, check out CanvasPop, which often has great deals on its photo gifts. Since 2009, CanvasPop has been providing customers with the highest quality canvas photo prints anywhere. Unlike other photo printing locations, CanvasPop can create canvas prints from images beyond negatives and digital files. They can actually access your Facebook or Instagram accounts or pull photos directly from your mobile phone! With every canvas print you order, CanvasPop can also send you a free digital proof by e-mail so that you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Depending on the size, the type of canvas, and the framing, photo projects with CanvasPop can range from $30 to $419 (not including the flat rate of $14 for shipping and handling). If your order over $150, however, you can get free shipping. And if you don’t love it, CanvasPop will either reprint it or give you your money back.

CanvasPop also has multiple options for photo presentation. Photo collages can incorporate 3-20 photos (starting at $60); photo mosaics can incorporate 9-200 photos (starting at $60); and panoramic photo prints are available in 18×48, 24×72, or any custom size.

CanvasPop
1-866-619-9574
canvaspop.com