The Arrival of Windows 10
Microsoft’s latest OS upgrade is available for free—now through July 29, 2016. The biggest changes? A new start menu, Cortana—the voice-activated personal assistant, a new tablet mode and the launch of Edge—the web browser replacement for Internet Explorer. The early reviews are in, and it’s considered a huge improvement over Windows 8, its predecessor, which frustrated longtime users. To learn more, visit microsoft.com/en-us/windows/Windows-10-faq.
Trends in Business Matchmaking
According to CNN Money’s recent assessment of business searches on Thumbtack.com, a site that connects small businesses with prospective clients, the following businesses are topping customer searches—making them prime, and sometimes unusual, startup ideas:
- Bed bug exterminator. Bed bugs are back—and searches for experts to combat them totaled 17,316, up from 10,512 in 2014.
- Xeriscaping expert. The number of listings for this landscaping service, which reduces the need for supplemental water from irrigation, has nearly doubled over last year.
- Ukelele teacher. They’re portable, inexpensive and hot in pop culture. Searches for lessons on Thumbtack have increased by nearly four times since 2014.
- Yoga instructor. Is your body beaten down by stress or the natural aging process? Thumbtack searches were 14,040, up from just over 8,000 in 2014.
- Muralist. Murals aren’t just hot in Peoria! Searches for muralists on Thumbtack are up 25 percent over last year.
- Food truck provider. Customer searches in 2015 were 18,516, up from 10,872 in 2014. And we hear there are opportunities in Peoria…
See the full list at money.cnn.com.
It’s 5:00 Somewhere…
Prohibited in the Land of Lincoln since 1989, Happy Hours are back! Significant changes to Illinois’ “Happy Hour” law—Public Act 99-0046—now allow for hourly drink specials, replacing the previous constraints of all-day specials only. But some restrictions still apply:
- The price of a drink during Happy Hour cannot be changed;
- Happy Hour price specials are limited to four hours a day and cannot occur after 10pm;
- Happy Hours may not exceed 15 hours in a week;
- Happy Hour times and prices must be posted at the establishment or on its website at least seven days prior to the Happy Hour event.
Learn more at 1.usa.gov/1yan5Al.
The Illinois Green Office Challenge encourages friendly competition amongst office buildings to achieve energy and water conservation and waste reduction. The results of the 2014-2015 competition are in, and three of the top 10 were from Peoria! The winner for the Peoria area—and ranking third overall—was Peoria Charter Coach for its Peoria Charter Plaza. Not far behind was Peoria County, ranked fifth for the Peoria County Courthouse, while engineering firm Dewberry ranked seventh for its Peoria office. For more information on this pilot program of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, visit illinoisgoc.com.
Five [at] 55
A majority of adult Americans lack the legal documents to protect them and their families from serious legal complications that can arise in a health emergency or death. That’s why elder law firms around the country are leading the [email protected] campaign, an effort to inform the public of the importance of obtaining legal protection no later than the age of 55. According to [email protected], the basic documents everyone should complete by age 55 include:
- The healthcare proxy;
- The power of attorney;
- The living will;
- An estate plan (last will or trust); and
- A cyber will or digital diary.
“This is going to be more important going forward as Medicare has proposed a new rule which, starting in January 2016, will allow doctors to be compensated for having an end-of-life discussion with their patients,” says [email protected] attorney William C. Wombacher of Peoria. “It is going to be important to have documents in place in order to carry out patient wishes.” For more information, visit 5at55.com.
Startup in a Day
Peoria was one of 25 U.S. cities to be awarded $50,000 from the Startup in a Day Competition, an initiative by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Cesar Suarez, City of Peoria senior business development specialist, led the local effort in preparing the application, with support from Startup Peoria, Peoria County and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. The funds will be used to streamline processes so startups can receive applications for licenses, permits and other requirements in a single business day. For more information, visit sba.gov/startup. iBi