WireFly files for chapter 7

Although most signs that this company ever existed are gone, their YouTube page is still up.

***UPDATE 3/18/2014- As of my original post, I have discovered that Simplexity, LLC (owner of WireFly) has actually filed for the lesser detrimental Chapter 11 (Reorganization) bankruptcy courtesy of their lawyers’ website. Still, bankruptcy is bankruptcy! Law suit on behalf of 350+ ex-employees follows.****

—————–

Does Northern Virginia have a potential episode of American Greed brewing in our very own town of Reston? It’s not yet very clear, but as news travels from Android forums to social media outlets, prospects are not looking good for parent company Simplexity. Who’s Simplexity? Good question, I had no idea either until I did a little digging on the good old Google.

Simply visiting their website (cleverly simplexity.com) you are greeted by a website that is just as vague and obscure as the name itself, but if you wade just deep enough past all the pretty geometric images and stock photos of professional models, you will find that they own and operate WireFly.com. Most of us know about WireFly because they were, prior to this week, one of the cheapest places to buy cell phones on-contract thanks to their insane deals with the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint & AT&T.

If you ever bought a cell phone through the online versions of Walmart, Radio Shack, Target or Tiger Direct (probably more I’m missing), then your entire transaction was actually processed through WireFly (or is it Simplexity? not sure. I’m just as confused as you are on this). In either case, just for kicks, I tried to access these channels tonight and either got error’d out or received a static page with links to Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint, in case I didn’t know their URLs already. Here give it a shot yourself:

http://wireless.walmart.com

https://radioshackwireless.com/

https://www.tigerdirectwireless.com/


You get the point. At the time of this writing, I received the following text from each of those sites:

This site is currently not available 

No fancy images, nothing, just plain Times New Roman text in generic blue. 

In any case, my only sources of news came from fan forum sites, which I value just slightly above Fox News as a credible source for information. According to AndroidPolice.com, it turns out that WireFly has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 7 is the really bad one, where everything MUST GO..and be liquidated to pay off creditors and the company never pays back a dime later.

Based on another source, RipOffReport, I was able to dig up this gem that could have portended things to come had we paid more attention to the guy that never got his rebate back thanks to another suspicious bankruptcy filing just a few years ago under the name of Inphonic.

WireFly as part of Simplexity

Bet they’re regretting this decision now.

Lastly, I felt it was prudent to point out that Simplexity only had 483 complaints against them (118 of which occurred in the last 12 months) on the Better Business Bureau website. That paltry 483 complaints awarded the company with a glowing ‘B’ rating on the BBB. I shutter to think what must be done to earn a ‘C’ or below.

While it’s still early and news can change at will, this junior level detective work I have pieced together doesn’t make WireFly or parent Simplexity look that hot right now. Will definitely be keeping an eye out on this story as it develops.

In all seriousness though, my hearts do go out to all the employees that suddenly lost their jobs. I hope these people gain some restitution when the dust ultimately settles.

[source: http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/03/13/phone-retailer-wireflysimplexity-allegedly-closing-down-and-filing-for-chapter-7-bankruptcy/]

 

{ 0 comments }

heart healthy pancakeOver the last 30 days I decided to kick the habit of bad eating and get into the habit of eating healthier. This sudden lifestyle change when I had my annual check-up and was told that all of my vitals were elevated; not good! My life dreams of eating like a FoodTV star were pretty much shattered when i saw the list of foods that I need to eat to get back to a health level that won’t kill me by the time I’m 40.

This brought me to write this post about a meal that is very dear to me; breakfast. This is usually where I pile in some serious fat, sugar & carbs to start my day off right. Foolish me, all this time I should have been eating the gruel that is plain oatmeal instead. I decided to compromise here and came up with this recipe for some seriously hearty and heart healthy pancakes. My working title for this post was going to be the “accidental” pancake recipe, I’ll go into that more at the end. Let’s get this started!

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of plain rolled oats (ground milled oats work here too, if you don’t have a coffee bean grinder)
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or just over 3/4 cup of skim milk works too)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 2.5 tablespoons of SmartBalance Olive Oil butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 brown egg (cage-free brown egg is preferred)

What to do with it:

Let’s start with the oatmeal. Preferably, you should measure out just over 1/2 cup of rolled oats and lightly roast it in a pan over medium-high heat. Once nice and toasty, funnel the contents into a coffee bean grinder (or use a mortar & pestle) to ground it into about 1/2 cup of powder. You can substitute this with just milled/ground oats as well, but where’s the fun in that?

Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl.

In a 2nd bowl, mercilessly beat the lone egg for about 60 seconds. Add in the melted butter plus vegetable oil. Pour in the almond milk and finally the vanilla extract. Mix this all well and finally pour it all into the dry ingredient bowl.

Gently mix this mass, but don’t over mix it unless you want to make cookies instead of pancakes.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium to med-high heat. Spray some fat-free Pam (or just more of that healthy butter) to lightly coat the hot pan. Pour in 1/4 to 1/3 cup-sized globs of batter into the hot pan. Wait for it to bubble on top, flip it over. Cook for another 60 seconds and move into a warmed toaster-oven or regular convention oven set to 200 degrees. Repeat until batter is done. Should make about 4 fairly large pancakes that will be quite filling!

Alternate endings:

So here is where I made my accident. In a morning rush to make this, I accidentally mixed in 2 teaspoons of cumin powder instead of cinnamon. After cursing at myself, I decided to mask the smell of the cumin with 4 teaspoons of cinnamon. I continued the rest of the recipe as it was and to my shock, this actually turned out to be a decent spiced-Indian style pancake. Amazingly the cumin adds yet another heart-healthy ingredient that is also an antioxidant.

Finishing Moves:

It is highly advisable that you eat these pancakes with maple syrup poured generously over it (nullifying most health benefits) or you can top it with fresh fruit or preserves, or even Nutella that’s somewhat healthy. Go crazy!

oatmeal pancake with maple syrup

The finished product will be crisp on the outside, moist on the inside.

{ 0 comments }

How to eat Pho like a PRO

Chicken Pho - Pho GaAfter a week of fighting a nasty cold, I’m back! Sub-30 degree temps will tend to do that.

I will tell you my new favorite way to get over a debilitating cold: OTC drugs, lots of them! (Advil, Tylenol, what ever works for you). Joking, although those drugs do help in small doses. My biggest ally was lots of liquids and lots of Vietnamese Pho, specifically the chicken pho that most people ignore in favor of the beef variety. As some wise men on this radio show say, don’t sleep on the chicken pho (Pho Ga), it’s actually like a more robust and delicious variation of American style chicken noodle soup.

When you work for yourself you have no sick leave, there’s no PTO and the bills don’t wait for you to get better; bottom line: you need to stay healthy and keep working or you will starve and probably go out of business; not good – neither are run-on sentences which this just became…sorry.

Northern Virginia has an abundance of 2 things: automobiles to flood every artery of roadway imaginable and Pho restaurants. You will fall in one of two categories when it comes to Pho; love it or despise its existence. I have noticed the vast majority of people that outright hate Pho are most likely people that never tried it and are afraid of this insane urban legend that Pho contains dog meat. This is absolutely not true (at least I hope not).

What is Pho?

Short answer: it’s an amazing soup.

Long answer: a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat. (thanks Wikipedia!)

Let’s say it’s your first time in a Pho restaurant. You have to be like Ben Affleck from Boiler Room and “act as if” you’ve eaten Pho a thousand time and know the drill.

pho-greens-fairfaxist

This is how you do Pho right:

Step 1: If you want to be a real badass, don’t even look at the menu, sit down right away and tell the server you want a small bowl of Pho Ga (pronounced: Fa Gah). Side note – Small is actually like 2 servings for a grown adult and this is the chicken noodle soup variety, the beef version is Pho Tai; this post only focuses on chicken.

Step 2: When your bowl comes out, sip some of the broth with your awkward white spoon soup spoon they provide, as if you’re a connoisseur of all broth.

Step 3: You will also receive a plate of greens (as shown in image). Start by taking a few sprigs of Basil and tear the leaves down the middle with your hands and throw it in the bowl. Squeeze the lime wedge in there next. Lastly, toss in at least 1 of the sliced hot peppers. Stir it up with your chopsticks. You now have the base “mild” Pho Ga ready to go.

Option 1: Make it spicy.

Look more like a pro by squirting in a few shots of the Sriracha hot sauce on the table. Careful, this can get really spicy, really fast. Additionally, you can toss in a few more of those green pepper slices. This will heat up that broth’s spicy factor to point of tears and running nose if you over-do it. I do this all the time, but I believe it helps get over my cold faster too.

Option 2: Make it tangy/sweet.

You have another bottle that is typically unmarked. This the plum sauce. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor to your broth, use this along with a small squirt of the Sriracha to get a nice balanced sweet/spicy kick. Be moderate with your usage though, the broth usually has enough flavor as it is.

Use your chopsticks to eat the meat and noodles and sip the both using your white spoon ladel device they provide til your stomach and heart’s content.

Choose your Pho restaurant wisely. Use  Yelp reviews! They are your friend. The Pho community here is vast and will tell you right away what is good and bad Pho. Don’t settle for any place with 3 stars or less, especially for your first time.

Congrats, you have now been initiated! Now go eat Pho like a pro.

 

 

Wiki reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pho

{ 0 comments }

jail life teaches productivityOver the last weekend I took a break from posts and gained some fresh ideas. One of them came to me at a Super Bowl party I attended last weekend where I met someone who had spent the last 8 months of his life behind bars in a federal prison. You must be wondering, what kind of degenerate is behind this blog that he cohorts with ex-cons on his time off. It turns out this guy was a white collar criminal and didn’t care to indulge me on why he was sent to prison, but after a few drinks, he did share some pretty useful insight that I thought I should share, so here we go! For the sake of my story, I will call him Don.

Time Management

If  you’ve ever watched any jail-related dramas you will notice that everyone is allocated an exact amount of time for each activity. Everyone must be out of bed at the same time every morning, meals are set strictly at about noon, lots of activities in between then lights out is at the exact same time each night. It definitely blows to be institutionalized like this and told when to sleep & eat, but it allows for you to really take advantage of those minutes since you know exactly when they will start and when they will end.

Structure

This brings me to the biggest point I learned from talkative Don: daily structure. Admittedly, he told me that the first 3 or so weeks were hell, mostly avoiding violence and finding his ‘prison allies’ but after nearly a month, all of the activities became so routine that he just knew almost to the minute when he would eat, when he would work out, when he would take time to read and ultimately get ready to sleep. This level of structure clearly works well in an environment like prison because the guards and warden have full accountability over what you do. Once you’re out though, it’s all up to you to keep yourself accountable and keep that stringent structure alive. Don did admit that the greatest thing he actually missed about jail was having that rigid structure. That was pretty much the only thing he missed.

Fitness

It’s no surprise that you have plenty of time in jail to reflect on all the stupid things you did to get you there, but channeling that anger into a fitness regiment is what Don did to pass the time. This serves multiple positive purposes in and out of jail. Primarily, keeping you in shape minimized his chances of getting bullied and attacked. More importantly though, the routine fitness allows you to stay mentally and physically in shape which will avoid depression, obesity and a slew of other potential illnesses.

Break time

This may not be true of all jail systems, but Don mentioned that he would take a good 2 hours each day to just relax and he took full use of that. He was part of a prison religious group that encouraged meditation whenever possible. In our daily lives as business owners or entrepreneurs we need to find that time ourselves and just take even 30 minutes to sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe. Relaxation is critical to keeping your sanity and staying sharp throughout the day otherwise you WILL burn out and it will not be pretty when that day comes.

Before this weekend I never thought I would be posting about a comparison of jail life to being a business owner, but crazier things have happened. Now get out and be happy you’re not actually in jail.

{ 0 comments }

Mrs Greens Fair Lakes – Now Open

Fair Lakes Mrs Greens Natural Market - Open NowA little while back I posted about this new entrant to our organic foods market in the Fair Lakes neighborhood and how it would compete with the likes of cross-town rival Whole Foods. Well, after a very brief stop by their grand preview last night (1/23) and a closer look at their dedicated website, my initial impression is that Mrs. Green’s should nicely fill the void that only a Trader Joe’s could have filled, without the super hippy vibe that TJ’s gives out.

Tonight (1/24/14), Mrs. Green’s Natural Market officially opens its Fair Lakes location and I’m actually pretty pumped to spend a little more time there tonight when I make my weekly grocery run. I mean what better way to spend a Friday night than roam a grocery store right?

The initial promo prices at Mrs Greens look pretty good based on the online flier. Oh by the way, did I mention they have a really user-friendly web-based circular ad? Check it out here. Why does this matter? Because these guys know that if they want to compete with Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joes & even Harris Teeter , it helps to have fresh Web 2.0 layout.

Organic Market Ad Wars!

Here is what the local competition looks like:

Whole Foods - Having a wine, sports, cheese, beer & seafood bar probably gives these guys a slight edge

Wegmans – The local grocery juggernaut doesn’t even to advertise any more. You had me at ‘Hello’

Trader Joes – No local flyers, but they do hand out free coffee shots in the AM

Harris Teeter – Not really organic, but nice listing of Weekly Specials

I may have left some out, but that’s only because this post could get huge really fast if I added in the Asian markets too like Grand Mart, H Mart, etc.

Too many grocers to choose from! Our area has a great problem on its hands if you ask me. Now get to shopping.

{ 0 comments }

Snowed in? Read PORM.Across most of the country right now, it’s snowing, so that means most people are staying home and telecommuting. Unless you work from home, otherwise it’s just another day in the office like for me!

In a given day, most of us probably read the length of a 300-page novel if you count reading all of the random articles, blog posts, Facebook status updates, countless Tweets and if you’re so inclined, the never ending Reddit posts. Chances are, most of this reading will in no way better your life or career ambitions. In fact, this kind of reading could actually be damaging your professional growth by causing  you to focus more on pointless minutia in other peoples’ lives and less on posts that can actually be helpful.

I decided to compile a few lists of sources of what I call “productive online reading material” (PORM). Say what you will, but next time your significant other yells at you for spending too much time on the computer, tell them you’re reading PORM, it’s the truth! I make it a habit to ONLY read these kinds of posts whenever I am not actually doing work or posting on here. (All links at bottom of post)

Internet PORM

LinkedIn (Pulse) – Probably the best compilation of relevant articles, posts and discussions you will find on just about every profession, assuming of course your profession is a legal enterprise. Follow masters of your industry and see what they’re writing or recommending.

Twitter – This can be a huge time sink if not used properly. However, if you follow other users within your target industry including your competition, you can gain some invaluable insight into what they’re reading and who they are following to improve on your perspective and gain new ideas to implement.

Quora – I signed up for this linking it to my Gmail account, it basically stalks you and figures out which categories you enjoy the most based on your social media interactions. Once you get through the initial set-up, and skip all the screens where they want to spam your friends, you get a pretty decent social media-based feed of relevant news & posts geared to your actual interests. Some of these topics can go pretty deep so be warned, stay focused! I switch between this and Feedly (an RSS news reader)

Offline PORM (a.k.a. Books)

The Lean Startup (Eric Reis) – Probably my most referenced book when ever doling out any advice to people looking to start out fresh on their own.

How to Have Confidence & Power In Dealing With People (Les Giblin) – The title reminds me of that guy from Office Space that gets fired because he does nothing but “deal with customers!” The fact is, most people hate or just plain suck at dealing with people in general, this time-tested book is for you. No really, it’s actually helpful.

How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie) – If you ever read any books from Dale, this is the one you need to try. In my early 20′s I thought I was awesome at dealing people when I was working in sales, but I actually picked up some pointers that I still use today from this book. Thanks Dale! Oh, and it’s only $3 now on Kindle. No excuses!

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Chip Heath) – Think you have a great idea but scared to implement it? This is a great read.

Remember, there’s nothing shameful about reading some PORM, in fact it’s quite beneficial to your professional development. Stop reading this and get to it!

Links mentioned in this post:
LinkedIn.com
Quora.com
Twitter.com

In order to provide full transparency, my book recommendations are REAL and also linked to Amazon to not only give you the best price available to you on the web, but also as a sign of appreciation to help me out as an Amazon affiliate. Thanks readers!

{ 0 comments }