Minnesota law fails to protect consumers

edit_IMG_3014The right front wheel on  my Ford Fusion fell off after 67,120 miles. This failure was not normal wear and tear and not due to an accident. Instead, the ball joint cracked and the wheel fell off, bringing my car to a screeching, uncontrolled stop. Fortunately, I was going rather slowly and was not hurt.

I felt the axle to the car was defective when it was p and Ford was negligent in manufacturing my vehicle with this part. In my experience metal parts do not spontaneously crack unless a defect is present. Ford refused to accept any responsibility, and I filed a small claims conciliation court case against Ford. The trial took place Friday, August 25, 2017 and here is what I learned:

  • Minnesota law does not allow a claim of negligence against a manufacturer if the only damage is property damage. Had I been injured or killed then I would have had a potential negligence claim against Ford.
  • Ford has done an effective job of limiting their exposure through carefully worded warranty statements that restrict claims that may be brought against them under Minnesota law, including the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose and merchantability.

I lost the case, and I believe the judge correctly decided the case according to Minnesota law. However, it doesn’t make me feel better, and next time I buy a car, it will very likely not be a Ford.

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Growth Continues at Forever

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Forever is a direct sales company focused on digital storage and photographic products. It follows a direct sales business model with Ambassadors who promote its product and services. Forever has a lot of the positive aspects from Creative Memories without the baggage of traditional scrapbooking. Ambassadors are not required to inventory products and instead earn money by selling products that are fulfilled by the company. Their most unique product is Forever Permanent Storage, which relies on an endowment to fund future storage costs for photo preservation.

2017-08-17 Additional Info for Mark Mizen_Page_05Two things are required for a successful direct sales business: a growing sales force and an expanding market. They are related in that it is difficult for a direct sales company to grow its sales force if the overall market is contracting.

2017-08-17 Additional Info for Mark Mizen_Page_04At Forever Live! I was excited to learn that Forever is succeeding at its mission.  During the past year, the cumulative number of photos uploaded has increased from 16 million to 41 million and the  number of Ambassadors has increased from 2,200 to 5,200. Sales have increased along with these gains.

Forever has shown that direct sales can be a successful business strategy for digital photography. Their success is particularly noteworthy given the number of businesses in the photographic industry that are either struggling or have shut down entirely.

 

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Long-Term Preservation of Photo Books

Mizen_ForeverLive2017_MAINSTAGE_hr_Page_06Preservation of photo books requires preserving the digital file as well as the physical photo book since millennials and others frequently prefer digital photos to an actual book. This is theory behind a presentation I gave at Forever Live! on August 4, 2017 emphasizing the importance of saving the PDF file that is available through Forever Artisan software along with the physical photo book. For the complete presentation see Mizen_Long-Term Preservation of Photo Books_2017_BLOG.

Posted in Digital Files, online storage, Photo Books, Presentations | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Six Colors Are Better Than Four

Color

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At Forever Live, I learned more about the Indigo printing process that Forever uses to produce photo books. Specifically, Forever uses a six color production process that produces improved color but is rarely used for consumer products. Six-color printing is generally used only for professional products since it costs approximately 50% more than four-color printing.

Printer Digital Image Halftone-35Light cyan and light magenta are the two additional inks used for six-color CcMmYK printing. With the expanded colors, printers rely less on grainy halftone dots to produce continuous tones. Light cyan and light magenta particularly evident in portraits, where light magenta improves skin tone reproduction, and in landscapes, where light cyan reduces the graininess of the blue sky. The next time you are looking at a six-color photo book or digital print, look carefully and you will see a difference.

 

 

 

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Why I bought a New Camera

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I finally took the leap and replaced my twelve year old digital SLR with a brand new Nikon D7500. I had purchased a Nikon D70s when my youngest son was born so I was somewhat attached to the camera; however D70s’ flash was not working and he was suffering from traumatic brain injuries that frequently left him unable to function. He has not aged gracefully.

I had been using my iPhone for most photos, and I dreaded it when my wife would ask me to get out the “real camera.” We were also planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Buying a camera requires some thought. After all, everyone has a cell phone that takes perfectly good photos. I needed a camera for three reasons:

  • A real zoom and the ability to use multiple lenses. The digital zoom that is built into cell phone cameras will only go so far.
  • Dynamic range. It is difficult to properly expose bright and dark areas in an image with a cell phone camera.
  • Light sensitivity. Cell phone cameras have a small sensor that is unable to collect sufficient light in low-light  situations.

I considered newfangled cameras such as the Samsung NX1 28 MP 4K Wireless Smart Camera. The Samsung is basically a cross between a smart phone and a high-end digital camera; however I had a budget of about $1000 and the Samsung camera  at $2400 was simply too expensive. Full-frame DSLRs were also too expensive, and I could not convince myself that the larger sensor was worth the additional cost.

As a compromise between price and quality, I settled on the Nikon D7500. The reviews were good, I could use the lenses I already owned, and at $1247 it was only slightly more expensive than my targeted budget. I ordered my camera from Amazon Prime and had it the next day, with free overnight shipping.

By the way, does anybody have any recommendations on what to do with a half working Nikon D70s?

 

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Beware the 2013 Ford Fusion or at least the right front wheel

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As I was driving my Ford Fusion down a city street, about to turn into Costco, the right front wheel fell off my car. I lost control of the car, and it came screeching to a halt. Fortunately, I was only driving about 20 miles per hour. Had I been going faster, the failure could have resulted in death or injury.

The wheel fell off the car due to a failed ball joint even though the vehicle only had
67,120 miles, had received regular maintenance, and had not been in an accident. Ford denies any responsibility for the failure, although it seems obvious that the wheel of
a four year old car with relatively low mileage should not simply fall off the car.  Ford told me exactly what I could do with my request for assistance with the repairs. Ford’s response shocked me, given that the company’s potential liability would have been far greater had their been death or injury.

Damage to the vehicle was significant enough that I am not planning to drop my claim against Ford. I will just have to wait and see if the courts hold Ford responsible for a clearly defective vehicle, or perhaps Ford will become more flexible once a case is filed.

I also filed a Vehicle safety complaint with NHTSA to make others aware of this potential safety defect.

The photos I took after this incident show exactly what happens when a wheel falls off a Ford Fusion.  It’s not pretty.

Please share this post. I would like to make others aware of this potential defect.

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A Toad at My Door

edit_IMG_1126This little fellow was waiting at my door step. I told him to eat a few mosquitoes. Wonka just barked, and my wife, who was sleeping, recoiled in terror at the thought that he might be taking up residence at our house.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that you can take photos like this with a cell phone. This photo was taken at night with the light of a single porch light.

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