New 100 Dollar Bill – What Changed?

Two Hundred Dollars 1

The new $100 dollar bill was introduced to the world recently and Benjamin Franklin, the iconic figure who has traditionally graced the C note for decades, would, as a garish and innovative guy himself, completely approve.

What’s new about it? 

The Federal Reserve added many clever designs to thwart counterfeiters. First of all, there’s lot more color. The older designs that were all variations of green, black and gray have been glammed up with oranges, copper and blues, all with the purpose of adding extra security.

A blue ribbon that runs vertically through the bill is actually hundreds of thousands of little liberty bells that change shape as the bill is turned different angles. So if you’re in the habit of giving crisp Benjamins to family members, you might want to show them how the bells change into “100s” right before their eyes. Cool, huh?

Is that a feather? No, it’s a quill. Not just any quill, it is put there, in a lovely shade of copper, to represent the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Phrases from that document are on the bill too, in tiny letters, so readers can get a micro-lesson in American history (and counterfeiters groan in frustration!)

If that weren’t enough, and it isn’t if you’re trying to one-up the bad guys, a colored ink well has another liberty bell in it. This bell changes from green to copper as the perspective on it changes, just like the 100 that’s next to it.

New textures along Franklin’s shoulder are also more than just a delight for the senses, they could also challenge any counterfeiter. Raised textures are all over the bill and makes holding a C note more fun than ever. With over three billion of these Benjamins in circulation, the government has no choice but to take every measure to protect its currency.

Franklin also makes an appearance in a watermark. If you hold it up to the light, you can see him again. What would he think of all these changes?

If you turn the bill over, besides seeing a bold 100 in bright gold/orange numbers, you’ll also see Independence Hall in Philadelphia, from the back. The back? Why would the Federal Reserve want a photo of this historic landmark where they keep the lawn mower and recycling bins? (Thankfully, they’re not in the picture.) Again, this is for the counterfeiters’ benefit. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of counterfeiting, now you’ll have to get Colonial architecture accurate. (Counterfeiting is a felony and can earn you some serious jail time. It’s not worth it, kids!)

The new $100 bill is a work of art, a technological achievement and a tribute to our great nation, and more specifically, a prominent figure in our history. Benjamin Franklin, inventor, printer, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Philadelphia’s most famous kite flyer, would probably be thrilled with the technological upgrades, the bling and all those Liberty Bells on the new $100 bill.

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GTA 5: Do Moving Release Dates Boost Sales?

English: The Rockstar Games logo. Português: O...

English: The Rockstar Games logo. Português: O logotipo da Rockstar Games. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grand Theft Auto 5 is the upcoming gaming title developed by Rockstar Games, set in the . Grand Theft Auto has been a perennial classic and the definitive gaming series for Rockstar Games, creating the modern urban sandbox game and similar gaming titles such as Saint’s Row. The release date for GTA 5 was originally planned at the beginning of the year in spring 2013, but was pushed back to September 17. Does moving release dates have any noticeable effect on the sales of video games?

One of the most important effects of moving release dates is to afford the studio and developers of the game more time to put finishing touches on the game. Two examples of games being rushed by developers, possibly in order to meet release dates by studios, are Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3. In this case, moving the release date may appease anxious fans for a short amount of time, but the quality of the game may not hold up to expectations. This is particularly obvious in Mass Effect 3, where the lackluster ending stood out as an enormous drawback to the game and may even lower sales of future games planned in the Mass Effect universe. There was a huge divergence in the quality of the ending compared to the quality of the rest of the game that prompted many gamers to deduce that the ending to the game was rushed. This is particularly damaging to a game which has built up to the ending in the trilogy only to disappoint the gamers who have played through Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 to see the ending. The fiasco created by the ending even caused the studio to release another ending, although the damage may be permanent.
Otherwise, even late in the development cycle in a game, there are important stages for the game to go through such as bug testing, so that any potential bugs or glitches may be fixed before release. This is important particularly in AAA titles such as GTA 5, where fans have a great deal of expectations about the realism and immersion of the game itself, which can be broken by an abundance of bugs. In this case, it may be better for the studio to delay the release date instead of releasing a mediocre, or even worse, an unfinished product. It is particularly worthwhile for Rockstar Games to take their time considering that GTA 5 is one of their most important titles; it is of paramount importance for them to preserve the quality of the game rather than rush any part of the game’s release.
Finally, there is indication that moving the release date of games later can actually boost sales. If the delaying of the release date can result in a better product, the game can sell both on release and from pre-orders as well down the road, if it becomes critically acclaimed as a quality AAA game. One of the breakout success stories in gaming this year was Bioshock Infinite, released by Irrational Games which had its release date moved to February 26, 2013 from October 16, 2012. However, the ending of the game was almost universally regarded as one of the best in AAA titles, and it is conceivable that more games will be sold because of the higher quality.
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WWE: Money in the Bank, or all Hype?

Most people will never realize what it’s like to lose $350 million in a single day, but if you’re Vince McMahon you know the feeling all too well. However, before you start collecting money to give to the WWE CEO, let’s remember that despite that setback he’s still worth a cool $750 million. So while he got knocked out of the billionaire’s club, he’s still a full-fledged member of the multi-millionaire’s club.

English: Vince McMahon at a WWE Raw event. Bra...

English: Vince McMahon at a WWE Raw event. Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 242007. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World Wrestling Entertainment, thinking anything it does is money in the bank, has been busy lately securing television deals for its various programs such as Raw and Smackdown. While Mr. McMahon got the deals finalized with networks owned by NBCUniversal, the price he got was considered by analysts to be far lower than what he was looking for. As a result, WWE stock prices plunged nearly 43 percent in a single day, costing Vince his billionaire club card.

However, despite the rough financial spot in the road, don’t think the WWE is ready to tap out anytime soon. The WWE Network, an on-demand streaming service launched by the company earlier this year, is already approaching one million subscribers. Despite what will probably be an initial loss of $50 million for the fledgling network, McMahon and other WWE executives believe the network will eventually become a money-maker for the company.

So while Triple H, the Rock and John Cena have helped make the WWE what it is today, there are many other superstars who are helping take the company to even greater heights. In recent years, perhaps none are more well-known and liked than the company’s Divas. Whoever said sex sells sure knew what they were talking about, because it seems the wrestling fans simply can’t get enough of the beauties who fight it out every week for glory and gold. With the show Total Divas on the E! Network for the next several years, fans will continue to get their weekly dose of the ring beauties there as well as on the other shows in the WWE camp.

So while it’s not money in the bank that all of the company’s ventures will pan out as hoped, it’s a good bet Mr. McMahon and those associated with the WWE will continue to figure out what fans are wanting and deliver it to them on a regular basis. And whether or not you are a wrestling fan, you’ve got to admit the WWE is a captivating experience in sports entertainment that keeps fans coming back for more each and every week.

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My First Storage Auction

I’ve mentioned before that my wife is unemployed.  Please note, this is unemployment, not “stay at home mom”.  The differences are simple:

  1. She’s looking for a job
  2. The kids are still in daycare

While she’s looking for work, we’ve decided that it’s a good time to explore some other options for income.  Recently, we decided to look into storage auctions.

For the uninitiated, a storage auction is held when someone with a rented storage locker quits paying their bill.  Eventually, auctioneers come in and sell the unit–with minimal inspection–to the highest bidder.  If you’ve watched Storage Wars or any of the dozen spin-offs or rip-offs, you’ve seen a storage auction.

Yesterday, a local auctioneer ran a circuit of 7 auctions for the different locations of one company.   At 10AM, my wife set off for the first one with $1000 of seed money, a flashlight, and a couple of padlocks.

She didn’t get anything at that auction and she skipped the next two because they weren’t in very good neighborhoods.  Poor neighborhoods come with safety issues and low-value stuff.

The 4th auction was just 2 miles from our house, so she picked me up.  We got there about noon and were told they weren’t expecting the auctioneer until 1.   They couldn’t tell us exactly because the auctions take as long as they take.  If a lot of people show up, the inspection can take a long time, since everybody has to stand in line to get a minute or two to peer in at the unit up for sale.  The auction actually started about 1:30.

There were 3 units up for sale.  The listing said 4, but one of the renters ran in at the last minute to pay her bill.

None of the units were anything special.  One had two dozen boxes of Grainger catalogs and $50 worth of tools.   Another was full of broken box springs, but may have had a dresser in the back.  The last had a tub full of (frozen) paint bottles and a box full of kids’ books.

After that, I went back home to work, while she left for her third and final auction of the day.  Again, she didn’t get a locker, but she did convince someone to sell her a fancy mirror out of one of the lockers.  She paid $60, and after a bit of touch-up, it should sell for $2-300.

We didn’t buy anything, but it was interesting to see the process.  Dealing with an auctioneer rattling off numbers isn’t nearly as intimidating as it seems.

The whole setup is pretty simple.

My wife registered at the first auction, so we didn’t have to worry about that at the later auctions.   That consisted of reading the rules, writing down her name, and signing the paper.

At each unit that was up for grabs, the door was opened and all of the potential buyers lined up to take a minute to see what they could.   We weren’t allowed in the unit, and we couldn’t open any boxes.

Once everyone had a chance to peak, the auction started.

When each unit was sold, the winning bidder stuck a lock on it, and everybody moved to the next unit to repeat the process.  The three units were done in 15-20 minutes.

If you’re going to a storage auction, you need to bring cash, a flashlight, and a padlock.  Without those three things, you can’t inspect a unit or pay for it if you win.

Finding auctions isn’t intuitive, in any way.  The best sites I’ve found are AuctionZip.com and StorageTreasures.com.

My wife also got contact information for the largest storage facility chain in the area and we got on that list so we’ll get the full schedule of their storage auctions each month.  Next week, they have auctions in some of the richest suburbs in the area.

My wife is planning on running that circuit at least one day next week.

It’s not “easy” money, but it should be a good way to bring in a little more money.  If we can make enough to keep her from having to get a traditional job, that’s gravy.

Have you ever tried out a storage auction?  How did it go?

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