The floor technicians at Pro-Kleen smarten up shag and refine tile with a combination of industrial-age steam power and cutting-edge technology. After a free estimate nails down a firm flat rate, berber inspectors put rugs through an eight-step process that includes inspection and pretreating stains. A truck-mounted Rotovac 360 machine dissolves soil, grease, and spots with 180-degree water before a high-powered vacuum extracts the mix, leaving behind soft, allergen-free fibers and terrified Lego people. The process removes most of the water it uses to saturate the fibers, reducing drying time to a few hours. All jobs are guaranteed and backed up with the promise to reclean any unsatisfactory jobs or refund the total cost.
Bruno’s Bath House elevates the dog-boarding experience by housing pups inside plush suites that will remind them of home. Two times a day, room service peeks in, checking to make sure beds are comfy and bowls are brimming with filtered water. Dog-loving caregivers oversee dogs so that each pet receives ample attention as they gambol across the indoor and outdoor play areas or nap on communal couches. This attentive treatment carries over into Bruno’s Spaw, where dogs receive baths with plush add-ons such as aromatherapy, massage, and Pawdicures. Edible and wearable doggie accessories are also available at Bruno’s Bistro and Boutique.
A smartphone's tiny screen relies on the strange properties of liquid crystals. Check out Groupon's study of LCDs to learn how they create the vivid pictures in your pocket.
The term liquid crystal seems a contradiction, but a liquid crystal is actually neither a liquid nor a solid?it's both, stuck in a sort of chemical limbo with its molecules somewhere between the liquid and solid phases. When an electrical current passes through a liquid crystal, its molecular orientation changes, and so does the direction of light that passes through it. By sandwiching these crystals between polarized glass and manipulating the current passing through them, your phone is able to control the light they channel, resulting in the high-contrast images that appear on screen. Although our brains only see each pixel as a single dot, each consists of red, blue, and green subpixels that, when lit at various intensities, can emit more than 16 million colors.
Despite their advanced applications, liquid crystals are not a recent discovery. They were first identified in the late 19th century by a scientist studying cholesterol extracted from carrots?a natural source of liquid crystals, as are human beings and most other living things, which tend to have them in their cell membranes. Liquid crystals and LCDs were the subject of research and patent applications throughout the early 20th century?including one filed by Marconi?s Wireless Telegraph Company in 1936?and finally hit consumer electronics in the early 1970s, when they were introduced in wristwatches.
The Ukraine, 1914. Sam Braslau, the son of a miller, has saved enough money to immigrate to America. When he arrives, he peddles clothing from a horse-drawn buggy to earn the money to send for his brothers. In 1925, the brothers open the first Braslau’s—a dry-goods store. In 1927, the brothers expand their scope, adding furniture to their inventory. With this decision, they ensure that their name would stay on the lips of design-minded homeowners for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Today, Braslau's Fine Home Furnishings has evolved into a 70,000-square-foot furniture showroom, where Blake Breslau continues to hone his family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in the furniture industry. Inside, customers browse desks, chairs, sofas, and dinettes from brands such as Ashley Furniture, Broyhill, Klaussner Home Furnishings, and LaCrosse. In the sleep center, mattresses from Sealy, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic promise the perfect night’s sleep, or the perfect testing ground for amateur trampoline routines.
In the eight years since the start of Local Furniture Outlet, the cherished baby business of Mr. Aaron Masterson has grown up fast—from a 2,000-square-foot metal warehouse to four locations and more than 80,000 combined square feet of furniture. But the success didn't go to Aaron’s head. The proud father still traverses showrooms in casual flip-flops, enforcing a no-competition policy so that loyal staff members don’t feel pressured to make a quota. The stripped-down showrooms allow for lower price tags on direct-from-manufacturer brands such as Ashley, Simmons, and Crown Mark. Patrons are invited to peruse dining-room, living-room, and bedroom sets—or “kick the tires,” as Aaron puts it—without the pushy-push of larger retailers, who may use turkey legs to reward team members for sales.
At 7:15 in the morning, kids begin to arrive at Odyssey Early Learning, with 4- and 5-year-olds dashing to the door, and babies and younger children drowse on a parent's shoulder. Inside, the staff—all trained in early childhood care—greet the kids and direct parents to a sign outside posting the activities of the day. Teachers corral students as young as 6 weeks and as old as 5 years into age-appropriate peer groups.
In class, instructors blend play and academics, engaging little right brains with music and art lessons and creating new left-brain folds with science projects, math problems, and reading. Throughout the activities, the staff aims to develop social, emotional, intellectual, and motor skills to better prepare kids for the classroom, playground, and tree-house conference room. At the end of the day, parents get a daily feedback report, and every month, staffers prepare a progress report. Parents can also monitor classroom behavior via an eye-in-the-sky webcam, accessible through a password-protected website.