Top Gear Series 25 Episode 1 review: The future finally looks bright

Matt LeBlanc and Chris Harris in Top Gear

Top Gear is revving its engines as it looks to accelerate full-speed ahead into a new era after its stalled start in 2016. But if the first series without Clarkson, May and Hammond was a *cough* car crash – Chris Evans’ iteration was a disappointment with critics and audiences alike – and last year’s series was an attempt at rebuilding, then the new run looks ready to put the pedal to the metal and maybe even guide it back to its glory days.

It’s down to Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid to find their own identity while winning back long-time fans of Top Gear – and on the evidence of the first episode of series 25, they look very close to striking a winning formula that stays true to the show without becoming a cheap imitation of its past.

LeBlanc appeared comfortable at the helm in the first episode of the new season, although if truth be told, with his presenting team of Chris Harris and Rory Reid, it feels like the three petrolheads are on an equal footing, enjoying their time together.

The banter between the trio is fantastic – and it was an inspired choice to kick the series off with an episode almost entirely dedicated to a road trip across Nevada in tribute to the V8 engine.

Their cheeky humour shines through, especially with a number of impromptu tasks, including a Wild West “duel in the dirt”. After which, the loser is faced with a nail-biting challenge – the watch-between-your-fingers ‘Chain Car Figure of 8’ which really has to be seen to be believed.

It’s not all long open roads and inventive tasks, though – at one point, the trio face a race against Officer Block as they run a crate of moonshine to the state line. And we’ve also got the return of the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment, which is a very welcome move.

BBC's Top Gear season 25 - The Stig

This week, it’s comedian Rob Brydon in the hot seat – and it’s worth watching for his commentary on his run alone. Charming, hilarious and knowledgeable, he’s a great guest to kick off the series, even if Matt and Rory can’t resist tearing into some of his choices in cars.

He set himself a goal of beating Tinie Tempah’s time of 1:50.04 – you’ll have to check the episode this weekend to see if he was able to – but the excuses came in early as the track was absolutely drenched.

Battling the elements, Rob struggled with the gears but got enough control to put in a very good effort. Commentating on his run, he teased from the studio: “The classic Roman profile gripping the wheel with assuredness and a strange sensuality.”

Naturally, it’s not perfect – some lines and segments come across as a little awkward and too scripted, with the three stars still finding their feet and getting used to each other. Reid admitted last year that chemistry doesn’t come overnight, and while that’s definitely true, they’ve still taken great strides and now come across as much more likeable.

There was a slight disappointment that the trio couldn’t complete a challenge at Bonneville – the US’ fastest race track – because freak rain left it waterlogged, but they seem just as gutted as us. Harris admitted: “I suppose I’ve now got one of the worst Bonneville stories out of anyone I know.”

All in all, the biggest take away from the first episode is just how easy it is to watch without comparing it to what has come before, and enjoy it for what it is. Sure, The Grand Tour has Top Gear’s successful and beloved trio at the helm, but LeBlanc, Harris and Reid are in the driving seat of a new era and the road ahead looks clear. Hit the gas, boys.

[“Source-digitalspy”]

25 Android and iPhone Apps to Add a Second Phone Number for Business Only Calls

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls

A smartphone is just as much a business communication device as it is a personal one. But using a single number for both on your phone is unprofessional and unnecessarily problematic. But smartphone technology and the many apps available in the marketplace allow you to easily get a second phone number avoiding these problems entirely.

If your phone can accept a second SIM card, you can get another number from your service provider. However, if you don’t want to use this option or can’t because you don’t have a secondary SIM slot, you can use an app to get a second number on your phone.

Why Get a Separate Business Number?

First, it clearly separates your personal and business conversations, while at the same time protecting your personal private number. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about figuring out who is calling you because the dedicated line identifies it. Last but not least, it gives you a professional appearance.

Some apps may have either a free version or trial period, so if you can, try them out before you purchase a plan. And be sure to read the fine print, because unlimited calls, SMS and text are in most cases between users of the app.

Second Phone Number Apps for Small Businesses

Here are 25 apps you can use to add a second number. All of the second phone number apps are available for Android and iOS, except for LineUp, Numbers Plus, Second Phone Number, and Swytch, which are only for iOS.

GoDaddy Smartline

The GoDaddy SmartLine was just announced recently by the domain name company. You can get a local phone number with a US area code plus customizable voicemail, business hour ring option, text messages and more. You can try it free for 30 days.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - GoDaddy Smartline

Burner

Burner is one of the more popular apps for creating a secondary number. It was originally designed to create a temporary number, but permanent options are now available. The mini burner will give you 14 days with limited talk time and text messages, while the permanent version is a monthly plan for as long as you need the number. There is also a three-line plan if you happen to need more numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Burner

Google Voice

With Google Voice, all you need is a Google account to get a new phone number. The calls can be routed to your mobile phone, computer, home, office or another location. In addition to standard calling features, the app also transcribes voicemail messages to text.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Google Voice

Hushed

Like Burner, Hushed has temporary and permanent options for your second phone number. It starts with a free number for three days, followed by seven-day and permanent plans you have to pay for. Features include custom voicemail messages and call-forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Hushed

Dingtone

Dingtone gives you a free US number so you can make calls or text to any landline or mobile device in over 230 countries. The company uses its dedicated VoIP network to deliver HD voice and also provides instant messaging to share photos, videos, locations and contacts. Yearly and monthly subscriptions are available in the US, UK, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Dingtone

Free Tone

Free Tone says it gives you unlimited free calls and texts to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers when you get your own number from any area code with no trials or hidden costs. The company uses VoIP technology to deliver the service. The free calls only apply to the contiguous US and Canada, so make sure you check if you plan calling anywhere else.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Free Tone

CoverMe

CoverMe gives you end-to-end encryption to make secure private calls and send texts with your new number. The app also has a private vault to hide photos, videos, passwords and files. You can get US and Canadian numbers for many different area codes.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - CoverMe

Cloudphone

Cloud Phone  describes itself as a business phone system for managing your business and personal calls. It includes one touch access to call recording, conference calling, eavesdrop, voicemail transcription and flip call features. The app includes a professional company greeting and an auto attendant for call routing, voicemail and call forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Cloudphone

iPlum

iPlum has domestic and international functionality with support for 22 global languages on smartphones and tablets. You pay as you go by only purchasing the credits you need for your second number. You can port your existing phone number with caller ID, dedicated voicemail, call forwarding and picture and video messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - iPlum

Line2

Line2 offers full feature business phone systems for your second number starting with 1,500 minutes of outbound calling or forwarding. You can get a number in any city in the U.S. or Canada with visual caller ID, group calling and messaging, number blocking and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Line2

LineUp

The second number LineUp provides offers texting, photo messaging, calling and voicemail. The subscription-free pricing lets you use the number for a single call or long-term use. The company also provides vanity numbers for your business with calling and texting features. The calling and texting minutes you pay for roll over instead of expiring, and they are good for any LineUp numbers you have.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - LineUp

Numbers Plus

Numbers Plus lets you create multiple numbers and keep them as long as you want. Currently it only supports US and Canadian numbers for making calls and texting. You can try it for free and use the in-app purchase feature for additional time and numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Numbers Plus

Phoner

The Phoner app has a random phone number generator to quickly give you a temporary or permanent number. Once you get the number, you can access reverse phone number lookup, phone call recording functions, anonymous texting and calling, along with SMS and MMS.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Phoner

Ring4

Ring4 gives you a local or international number in 20 countries with features such as text with emoji, call recording, do not disturb mode and more. If you make international calls, you can make or receive calls and texts overseas with a US number, with no roaming charges.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Ring4

TalkU

TalkU gives you a free second number to make and receive calls in the US and internationally. Call any mobile or landline phone number in more than 200 countries with unlimited free calling and texting between TalkU users. Features include Visual voicemail with instant listening, call screens, group calling with free group conference calls, and walkie-talkie.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TalkU

Talkatone

Talkatone gives you a free US or Canadian phone number to make free calls in those countries. Inbound international calls are also free, with monthly subscription fee for making calls to select countries. The app supports ads, but you can pay for the service to have them removed.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Talkatone

Swytch

Swytch has designed its app so businesses can give their employees work mobile numbers, instead of work mobile phones. This is a great cost effective option for many small businesses. For the employees it means not having to change personal handset, network operator or SIM card. And for business owners, it means saving on the purchase of increasingly expensive smartphones.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Swytch

Sideline

Sideline built its business with a free version loaded with features, but now it is only available as a paid service. Still the high-quality features such as auto-attendant, along with standard calling options seem worth the price for many businesses.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Sideline

Second Phone Number

Second Phone Number  gives you as many numbers as you want with monthly or yearly subscriptions. The phone numbers are available for 31 countries with features including contact management, numbers for specific business use, texting, SMS and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Second Phone Number

Telos

Telos gives you unlimited calling and texting with a second phone number. You can get a US phone number in any area code as well as international numbers in several countries. Calls can be forwarded to any landline or mobile number with voicemail, auto reply messages and blocking features.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Telos

Textfree

Textfree starts with free text messages, inbound calls and limited outbound calls for your second number. It is important to remember you have to use your free number at least once within a 30 day period or the company will reclaim it. You can keep the paid numbers for as long as you want.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textfree

TextMe Up

TextMe Up lets you manage as many numbers as you like and switch between multiple numbers in one screen. Features include HD voice and video calling, as well as group messages with texting, photo and video sharing. You can call numbers in the US, Canada, UK and 200 countries with monthly plans.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TextMe Up

Textplus

Textplus provides real free US phone numbers with unlimited free SMS text and MMS to any US or Canadian number. While inbound calls are free, you can only make ad-supported free calls. If you don’t want the ads, you can opt for the paid service. The app uses push notifications to instantly deliver text messages. You can also send emojis, stickers, animated GIFs, and voice notes with support for group blast messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textplus

Virtual Phone

You can place and receive calls and text messages to any phone number or SIP device with Virtual Phone. The app includes features to keep track of all caller information, such as geographical location, time zone, caller’s name, and phone. Advanced business call management and routing rules, interactive voice menus, custom greetings, multiple voice mailboxes and more are also available.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Virtual Phone

WhatsCall

WhatsCall lets you make calls to users even if they don’t have the app or an internet connection. It includes one touch recording for incoming and outgoing calls, call block and caller ID. The company has different offers to earn credit for free calls, including watching ads, playing games, completing tasks and inviting friends.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - WhatsCallMan With 2 Smartphones Photo via Shutterstock

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

25 colleges that are worth the money

Students react as they prepare to receive their diplomas at commencement at Harvard University.

Students react as they prepare to receive their diplomas at commencement at Harvard University.

Where you go to college isn’t just an investment in the next four years, it’s an investment in the rest of your life.

And although price certainly isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding where to attend, it doesn’t hurt to go to a school that’s a good value.

Payscale’s annual College ROI Report determines the return on investment for schools across the U.S. by subtracting the cost of attendance from graduates’ 20-year pay.

For the report, Payscale draws its data from the approximately 1.3 million college-educated workers who successfully completed PayScale’s Employee Survey over the last 10 years. Read a complete breakdown of the methodology here.

For this list, CNBC included schools based on the cost of out-of-state tuition, where applicable.

Though we can’t guarantee that attending any particular school will result in the same ROI, here are 25 schools that give you a good shot.

Baker Hall stands on the campus of Dartmouth College, the smallest school in the Ivy League, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Cheryl Senter/Bloomberg | Getty Images
Baker Hall stands on the campus of Dartmouth College, the smallest school in the Ivy League, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

25. Dartmouth College

20 year net ROI: $650,000
Total cost for four years: $257,000
Average loan amount: $23,200

24. Capitol College

20 year net ROI: $653,000
Total cost for four years: $135,000
Average loan amount: $37,000

23. Missouri University of Science and Technology

20 year net ROI: $654,000
Total cost for four years: $147,000
Average loan amount: $27,500

22. University of Pennsylvania

20 year net ROI: $673,000
Total cost for four years: $252,000
Average loan amount: $25,400

21. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

20 year net ROI: $676,000
Total cost for four years: $252,000
Average loan amount: $42,800

Carnegie Mellon University

Zolashine | Getty Images
Carnegie Mellon University

20. Carnegie Mellon University

20 year net ROI: $678,000
Total cost for four years: $251,000
Average loan amount: $31,500

19. Maine Maritime Academy

20 year net ROI: $680,000
Total cost for four years: $145,000
Average loan amount: $43,200

18. Harvard University

20 year net ROI: $700,000
Total cost for four years: $244,000
Average loan amount: $20,300

17. Massachusetts Maritime Academy

20 year net ROI: $712,000
Total cost for four years :$244,00
Average loan amount: $32,000

16. Babson College

20 year net ROI: $726,000
Total cost for four years: $246,000
Average loan amount: $30,000

Hatfield Hall and the Flame of the Millennium statue are shown at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.

Yipdw | Wikimedia Commons
Hatfield Hall and the Flame of the Millennium statue are shown at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.

15. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

20 year net ROI: $738,000
Total cost for four years: $232,000
Average loan amount: $45,500

14. Kettering University

20 year net ROI: $743,000
Total cost for four years: $208,000
Average loan amount: $41,700

13. Georgia Institute of Technology

20 year net ROI: $746,000
Total cost for four years: $174,000
Average loan amount: $31,700

12. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

20 year net ROI: $752,000
Total cost for four years: $235,000
Average loan amount: $43,000

11. Stanford University

20 year net ROI: $761,000
Total cost for four years: $247,000
Average loan amount: $29,100

Students walking to classes at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Barry Winiker | Getty Images
Students walking to classes at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

10. Princeton University

20 year net ROI: $764,000
Total cost for four years: $231,000
Average loan amount: $14,100

9. California State University, Maritime

20 year net ROI: $781,000
Total cost for four years: $133,000
Average loan amount: $30,600

8. Stevens Institute of Technology

20 year net ROI: $800,000
Total cost for four years: $244,000
Average loan amount: $45,800

7. Colorado School of Mines

20 year net ROI: $818,000
Total cost for four years: $188,000
Average loan amount: $33,400

6. Webb Institute

20 year net ROI: $854,000
Total cost for four years: $209,000
Average loan amount: $25,200

The SUNY system administration building

demerzel21 | Getty Images
The SUNY system administration building

5. SUNY, Maritime College

20 year net ROI: $857,000
Total cost for four years: $130,000
Average loan amount: $32,000

4. California Institute of Technology

20 year net ROI: $864,000
Total cost for four years: $240,000
Average loan amount: $19,000

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

20 year net ROI: $959,000
Total cost for four years: $240,000
Average loan amount: $32,200

2. Harvey Mudd College

20 year net ROI: $962,000
Total cost for four years: $260,000
Average loan amount: $24,400

1. United States Merchant Marine Academy

20 year net ROI: $1,056,000
Total cost for four years: $33,100
Average loan amount: $12,300

Don’t miss: 28 in-demand jobs that pay over $90,000

[“Source-cnbc”]

25 Phone Sales Tips for Successful Cold Calling

Phone Sales Tips for Successful Cold Calling

Making cold calls might not be the most fun part of the sales process. But in many industries and businesses, it is necessary. To perfect the art of cold calling, take a look at some of the tips and tricks in the list below.

25 Phone Sales Tips

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Cold calls can be intimidating, especially if you’re unprepared. So before you get started, you need to get yourself in the right state of mind. This means coming up with a general script or talking points. But it also means coming up with a routine so that you’re comfortable and relaxed on each call.

Have One Goal in Mind

You should also have a specific goal in mind for each call so that you’re more likely to stay on task. Usually, your goal is to make a sale. But in some instances, your goal could be to sell a specific item, to upsell a new version of your product or even to just gather information from new prospects.

Practice Your Tone

In general, you want to sound relaxed but professional on each cold call. But you can’t hope to achieve that blend without some practice. So before and during each call, pay special attention to your tone and make note of any areas you might notice that need improvement.

Record Yourself

In addition, you might consider setting up an audio recorder on calls or practice calls so that you can hear yourself and make notes of areas that need improvement later on.

Build Up Your Confidence

Confidence is an absolutely essential part of creating a relaxed tone for cold calls. So that means you need to work on improving but also think about some of the things you do really well. And simply practicing and making a lot of calls can make you feel more confident over time.

Don’t Dwell on Small Talk

Small talk at the beginning of each call might seem friendly and natural. But too much of it can be distracting and time wasting. So say a quick hello and then try to get to the point of your call quickly.

Anticipate Obstacles

Not every cold call is going to go smoothly. In fact, there are some obstacles that might come up fairly regularly. If you notice some of those common issues, you should be able to anticipate them and come up with good responses to use on your cold calls going forward.

Keep Talking Points Handy

While you don’t necessarily need to stick to an exact script on every cold call, it can be a good idea to have a general outline. If you keep a few talking points nearby, it can help you stay on track in case you get distracted or thrown off.

Be Conversational

However, it’s important to not get too attached to those talking points. If you sound like you’re reading from a script, customers are less likely to buy. Instead, respond to each customer inquiry or response in a natural way that allows you to then lead back to your talking points.

Find a Way to Connect

If possible, it can be beneficial to find some kind of connection with your prospect early on in the call. If you’re from the same city or have a colleague in common, for instance, that can be a good way to build a rapport with them early on.

Create a Comfortable Space

When you’re making cold calls, you need to be both mentally and physically comfortable. So that means you need to set up your workspace in a way that will support you. Get a comfortable chair, put up some family photos and otherwise personalize your space.

Don’t Multitask

If you want to get a lot done, you might think that you should make cold calls while also completing other tasks. But your prospects deserve your full attention. And you don’t want to sound distracted on calls either.

Build Up Your Energy

You also don’t want to sound tired or disinterested on calls. So build up your energy with some healthy snacks or light exercise beforehand.

Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

When talking to potential customers, it’s important to word things in a way that they’re likely to relate to. So think about what types of problems or needs they might have in order to better sell to them.

Keep the Focus on Their Benefit

In addition, it’s important that you always keep the focus on how your product or services can benefit them. So instead of just talking about the features you offer, focus on what your product or service can actually accomplish for your customers. For example, if you’re offering a software program, you can talk about the time saving benefits rather than outlining all the different capabilities it offers.

Highlight Your Track Record

You can also talk a bit about what your company has accomplished in order to offer some proof that it would be beneficial for customers to buy from you. For example, you can call attention to high ratings or reviews, or talk about how many years you’ve been successfully in business.

Ask Questions

You also need to fully understand your customers in order to effectively sell to them. That means that it can be a good idea to ask a fair amount of questions to gain a better understanding and keep the conversation going.

Don’t Be Pushy

However, you don’t want to be too pushy throughout your conversation. Doing so can turn customers off and ruin any future chance you might have of doing business with them.

Keep It Quick

You also don’t want your calls to run too long. If you go on and on forever, your prospects might get bored or disinterested. Or they might just not have the time to sit on the phone with you for that long, even if they are interested in purchasing. So get to your point fairly quickly and if it doesn’t work out, move on.

Make as Many Calls as Possible

Along those same lines, you also need to keep calls quick so that you can make as many of them as possible. You’re likely to get a lot of rejections, so the more calls you make, the bigger your chances are of making some sales.

Try Batch Calling

But don’t make just one or two calls at a time. Once you’re in the groove of making calls, make a lot of them. You’re likely to have all the information fresh in your mind. And you might even get more comfortable making those calls as you go.

Don’t Get Discouraged

It’s also important that you don’t get discouraged by rejection. When you’re calling people out of nowhere, you can’t expect them all to be ready to buy right away. So when you get rejections, just let it go and move onto the next call.

Take Breaks

Once you’ve made a fair amount of calls, you can take breaks to refresh and build your energy and confidence back up, especially if you need a break after some particularly harsh rejections.

Keep Records

As you make calls, you can take notes or keep records of each call in case those notes might help you make that sale or others in the future.

Follow Up If Necessary

And sometimes, making the sale might require that you make more than one call. So after your cold call, make any necessary notes and then follow up with them again later.

Phone Call Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]