Sunday, April 29, 2007

Higher Education Developing

For years now the various online colleges (and other "non-traditional" places) have been slightly looked down on as not being quite the same as a real college, most especially in the commitment or not to research.

There are signs that this is now changing, that whether delivered online or on campus, higher education is becoming more homogenous. Here's one example, faculty at Capella University, one of the online only colleges, have recently published ‘Appreciative Coaching: A Positive Process for Change’ a title worthy of any number of more traditional departments.

The other major change which few seem to have quite grasped yet is that the rules on who may get federally subsidised student loans have changed in recent months. I used to be that only places with a regular physical campus could offer their students access to this. This has now changed, so that the fully online institutions such as Capella can now also do so.

Given the way that the internet has made physcial presence at a school unneccessary, this is an obviously good thing, bringing access to education to many who previously were denied it.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Horse Race Betting

Now here's something hat I didn't know. The recent US ban on internet gambling, that entirely silly piece of prodnose law making that so enrages my mate Greg does not in fact apply to horse racing.

The result of this is that betting on such racing is still entirely legal right across the country. So it's possible to join a site like Xpressbet (click through the link to get there) and bet in legal safety. They run pari-mutual betting across race courses in America, Europe and Australia, so there's action nearly all the time for you to have a go at.

Thank goodness there actually was someone, at least one person, sensible around when that truly stupid law was passed, so that while card playing for money might be banned at least adults are, in part, still allowed to do what they want with their own money.

Rehab Referrals

Despite (or perhaps because of) my stout libertarian principles on the subject of drugs, that any consenting adult should be allowed to ingest whatever substances they choose, I'm all in favour of things like drug rehab.

The thing is you see, that they are addictive. Some are pharmocologically so (or physically) and others psychologically, but there's no doubt that addiction can and does occur. At this point the drug taker is no longer really consenting.

The problem then becomes where to find the drug rehab required? How to find a place that deals with that specific problem, in the way that is needed? Click through either of those links to get to a service that does exactly this. Offers a non-profit guide to where and how you can access the treatment that you or a loved one needs.

Just because I think that drug legalisation is the correct answer doesn't mean I can't acknowledge that drugs do indeed cause problems, and that some will always need help to overcome those.

Disclosure Policy.

Dressing for Work

Stunning, really, just totally amazing.

When you dress for work you should dress like an adult who is going to work.

Shopping for summer clothes to wear to work? Forget the tank tops and lose the flip-flops.

A new survey showed tank tops and visible underwear are the biggest fashion faux pas on the job, according to Monster, an online job and recruiting site, which compiled more than 18,000 responses to an online poll.

Results were released this week by Monster, whose parent company is Monster Worldwide Inc.

Flip-flop sandals weighed in next on the list of fashion mistakes, followed by Hawaiian prints and shorts, it said.

Really, whoever would have thought it, eh?

Bidding for Prizes

Now here's an interesting little site that's well worth a visit. To use it properly you'll need either some luck or a very good understanding of game theory. It's bid4prizes and it works in a rather unique manner.
It's an auction, yes, but not as you generally know it. There's things like big plasma screens and so on available for you to bid on, but it isn't the highest bid that wins. It's the lowest!
Well, nearly, it's the lowest unique bid that actually wins. So if there are two people bidding 1 cent, then it'll be the one person who bid 2 cents that actually wins, you see?
All you do is log on to the site and then select the item you're bidding on. Then you send an SMS (or text message) to them stating how much you're bidding. They will then respond as to whether you've made a unique bid and how many there are lower than your bid.
So it's not a single one shot auction, you're encouraged to try again and again.
Fascinating but I do think that those who win will in fact be those who best understand game theory, something I'm extremely bad at. Still, why not click through that link and try it out?
Now if I were in fact to win (perhaps one of those large screen plasma TVs, that's what I'd try to get, anyway) I'd simply keep it. No, it wouldn't go to charity, it wouldn't be passed along to friends or relations. Nope, for me alone, to watch the game on in my study.
Selfish, aren't I?
Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Getting a Mortgage

One of the most intensely frustrating things can be going off to try and get a mortgage. We all know roughly what they are of course but there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different available options. Fixed rates, floating, self-reporting on income, 80%, 100%, sometimes even for 125% of the value, pension mortgages, interest only, straight repayment...and all of the different providers have different takes on what you might or might not want in a loan.

This can make it very wearing indeed trying to find the best deal. In my own case it took me about two months to find the one and only provider in the market who could actually meet my needs (which were, to be candid, rather odd but still. Surely I can't be the only person who wanted an offshore self-reporting buy to let mortgage?).

This is the pain and grief caused by free markets of course, too much choice. However, such markets do provide their own solution, in this case for mortgages. They've already done all of this hard work and can therefore guide you through the system making your life a lot easier.

One thing I particularly like is their mortgage calculator, which makes plain the difference that the various different possible choices will make to your monthly payments. Very useful indeed actually.

They're well worth checking out so click through one of the links to do so.

Home Broadband

Anyone still on dial up really needs to start getting serious about this here internet thing, home broadband is now so ridiculously cheap that anyone not using it really does need to have their head examined. Just as an example, by adding Skype to your telephone options you'll almost certainly save more each month than you're spending on getting the broadband service.

Seriously, when you look at it the right way, you actually get all your surfing for free. Click through that link to find out more about what Eclipse can offer you.

Disclosure Policy,

Secured Loans

If you're looking to borrow money then there's somthing of a problem in the UK. There's simply so many people willing to offer you secured loans and the like that it's near impossible to make sure that you're getting the best deal possible. How can anyone wade through the information from hundreds of lenders, with all the associated small print, to find which is best?

Fortunately, it's not actually necessary to do that. There's nivce people out there who have already gone through this process for you, who can then direct you easily to those who are indeed offering the good deal. Click through here to find just the people you're looking for.

Whether it's a mortgage or a remortgage, commercial finance or a consolidation loan, they've got all the facts and figures at their fingertips and they'll be able to help you get it all sorted out.

Hey, why do all the work yourself if someone's already done it for you?


On problem with the American medical system is that being totally free market (normally a good thing) drugs are actually rather expensive here. That's why using a Canadian pharmacy can be such a good idea.

Up there in the frozen north they have a more socialist system of medical care. This leads to two is a certain amount of public subsidy of the system but this doesn't extend to the purchase of drugs unfortunately.

The other is that the government itself negotiates with the drug companies over the prices they will charge. As you can imagine, this means that, with the bulk buying power, that prices are lower in Canada.

So, by clicking through that link above you can in fact get the best of both worlds. The speed and no waiting lines of the US system but by buying your prescription meds online fron Canada you get to save money as well.

Not bad, eh?

Is Blogger Working?

A test post to find out whether blogger is actually working this morning.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gene Vincent

This quick bio of Gene Vincent rather fascinates. We only really know him now from Be Bop A Lula nowadays but there was much more to his career.

The boys generated a lot of memorable, vibrant songs in those early days, including “Cruisin”, and “Race With The Devil”. They were a talented bunch, and are now considered among of the best of the early groups. The music was first class, and lead guitarist Gallup was one of the best strummers around. But he was also the first to move on, as seemed to happen so often in those days. It began a period of several years in which personnel changes became the norm, but Gene and the group continued to put out solid sellers — unfortunately though, none approached the popularity of their first hit.

As time passed, Gene began to move away from the early rockabilly sound and into a softer style with more ballads, and his second-biggest seller, “Lotta Lovin”, is an example of that sound. He continued to perform well, and many of his songs in that stage of his career are solid, if not quite as exciting as his earlier style. Gradually though, he popularity slowed and he entered a period of decline.

As the piece goes on to ay he was injured in the car crash in England that killed Eddie Cochran and declined thereafter.

One thing few people know is quite where that crash occured: on the A4 leading from Bath to Chippenham. In fact, just about where Peter Gabriel's studio and house are in Box, and overlooked by Solsbury Hill that gives it's name to Gabriel's first big hit after leaving Genesis.

No, nothing important, just trivia.

Gene Vincent

This quick bio of Gene Vincent rather fascinates. We only really know him now from Be Bop A Lula nowadays but there was much more to his career.

The boys generated a lot of memorable, vibrant songs in those early days, including “Cruisin”, and “Race With The Devil”. They were a talented bunch, and are now considered among of the best of the early groups. The music was first class, and lead guitarist Gallup was one of the best strummers around. But he was also the first to move on, as seemed to happen so often in those days. It began a period of several years in which personnel changes became the norm, but Gene and the group continued to put out solid sellers — unfortunately though, none approached the popularity of their first hit.

As time passed, Gene began to move away from the early rockabilly sound and into a softer style with more ballads, and his second-biggest seller, “Lotta Lovin”, is an example of that sound. He continued to perform well, and many of his songs in that stage of his career are solid, if not quite as exciting as his earlier style. Gradually though, he popularity slowed and he entered a period of decline.

As the piece goes on to ay he was injured in the car crash in England that killed Eddie Cochran and declined thereafter.

One thing few people know is quite where that crash occured: on the A4 leading from Bath to Chippenham. In fact, just about where Peter Gabriel's studio and house are in Box, and overlooked by Solsbury Hill that gives it's name to Gabriel's first big hit after leaving Genesis.

No, nothing important, just trivia.


Now here's an interesting and excellent idea using the powers of the web to make things better.

There's a huge information asymmetry in the workplace at the moment. Bosses know what everyone is earning, but workers don't. So this puts the power in the hands of said bosses when it comes to negotiating about wages.

However, if the workers knew what was the going rate for a job, then they'd be able to negotiate more effectively, thus changing the power balance.

That's exactly what SalaryBase is all about, a place where you can get free salary reports.

You can join and add your own of course, thus making the database ever more effective. Strongly recommended, well worth checking out.

Disclosure Policy.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Knew It, I Knew It!

Alcohol is good for you!

A fruity cocktail may not only be fun to drink but may count as health food, U.S. and Thai researchers said on Thursday.

Adding ethanol -- the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found.

Any colored fruit might be made even more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol, they report in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.

Excellent news, right, I'm off for a few mojitos. I'll have that extra one to do me more good then.

PHP Training

There's something that some businesses have got about the modern world and it's the same thing that others haven't. What makes it important is that the former group will be those who survive in the years to come and the latter those who go bust.

I'm talking of course about those who invest in the future and those who don't. These days that doesn't mean buying new equipment at all, we've moved away from physical capital being the determinant of success at all. It's now human capital that breeds success. This then means that companies that invest in the training of their workforce are going to be the ons who survive and prosper.

Take, for example, PHP training.

It simply isn't true that this is something that can be picked up on the fly. It needs to taught formally, in a well structured environment, in classroom style in fact.

This is exactly what the Open Technology Group provides and if you're interested in further details they can all be found here.

But the important thing to remember is that only those companies who do invest in their workforces are going to survive.

Disclosure Policy.

PA Auto Insurance

As and when you move state in the US you have to be really rather careful about how things change. Each of the 50 has somethng different about the local laws and you need to make sure that you alter your behaviour, insurance and so on to take account of these changes in hte laws.

For example, pa auto insurance (or if you prefer, pennslyvania auto insurance) works a little differently from other states. This is because, like most other states, there's an insurance commissioner and he has to deal with the various spcial interest groups: the insurance companies themselves who obviously want the law to go one way and the various special interest groups claiming to represent the public who want it to go the other.

What this leads to is the usual appalling mess of counter-productive to-ing and fro-ing as the law gets mangled to try and suit both sides.

The simple way to deal with all of this is simply not to. Don't try to understand what's going on, simply get yourself some
pennslyvania auto insurance quotes.

Alternatively, you can click through and get all the details you will need to try and make sense of the subject.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Vacation Time!

This is something I've never actually done but perhaps this year I ought to think about it? What's the "this" I hear you cry? Well, taken an all inclusive resort vacation.

I've been to the Caribbean, where most of them are to be found so that's not an issue, but I have to admit it would be nice to be able to just stump up one wedge of cash and then not to have to worry any more. Over and above the room all the food is included, for example, so there's never any worry over how much things will cost for dinner. At most booze is also included so again, you've not realy got to worry about such things as bar bills (and, err, does the excess of free booze make encounters with the ladies more likely?)

Anyway, while I ponder that I'm going to click through that link and see what can offer me in the form of this sort of vacation. They're the experts in the field, they've got full descriptions of all the resorts, customer feedback and so on, and they say that at times their deals are so good I can save 50% on the costs.

Sounds pretty good, eh?

You Knuts!

Good Lord, as if this bear isn't having a hard enough time!

Germany's celebrity polar bear cub Knut has received an anonymous death threat, causing alarm at Berlin Zoo Thursday and prompting heightened security.

"We were contacted by the zoo about a (threatening) letter it had received," said a police spokeswoman, adding officers had investigated but they did not believe it was serious.

Top-selling Bild newspaper said the zoo had received a hand-written fax from a suspected animal hater with the words: "Knut is dead! Thursday midday."

The poor lad was rejected at birth by his mother, then his twin brother died. Soon after that there were animal rights activists who were saying that he should be killed because he was being brought up by humans and would thus never be a "real" polar bear.

Now this, direct death threats.

Eric Schiffer News

As ever, we're bringing you the best of celebrity blogging, this time an update on Eric Schiffer.

He's up to do a buddy movie with a major A List star which is of course great news for his career. an Action Comedy it will be and let's hope that negotiations go well, shall we?

He's also already signed up to do the remake of the Death Wish Returns movie of which the original starred Charles Bronson (and as you may or may not know was the foundation of Michael Winner's fortunes. Yes, we get to see all those pieces about Winner's Dinners as a result of that movie series).

Shooting on the movie is due to start in December in Glasgow and it should be out for the summer season in 2008.
Hey, let's wish him all the best eh? I for one am looking forward to both movies when they come out.

Disclosure Policy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Commodities Investments

Go to any investment manager and ask them for the secret of investing and they'll tell you, it's really very simple. Diversification. You want to have your money in a spread of things, not just in one idea, market or place.

One of the places you do want to be is in precious metals, the reason being that these are traditionally a hedge against inflation. While some of them (platinum, palladium and even more so rhodium and osmium) are really not for investors, rather they are for speculators, it's is true that a wise investor might have either gold or silver in their portfolio. These have traditionally moved counter-cyclically to other assets, especially those (like bonds) that can be badly damaged by inflation.

But this then brings us on to which, if any, of the various forms of the metals that you should look at. Futures and options are really rather risky for the private investor, and bullion comes in very large chunks (the standard gold bullion bar is 14 kg for example, over $300,000 worth) so probably the best way to gain exposure to the market is to buy gold coins.

Click through the link there and you'll find the Monex Deposit Company who can help you with the details of all of this area of investing.

Debt Consolidation

Oh, this is lovely, I've found a great little blog that can help you to consolidate debt.

You know what the basic idea is, yes? No? OK, at its simplest, the idea is that you might have a number of different debts to different people. You might have one or more credit cards, with outstanding debt upon them, maybe some store credit, a car, plus a mortgage and perhaps also bank loans.

Well, instead of juggling all of these, it can at times make sense to work on them, to manage them to bring them down. For example, switching the credit card debt to one that allows zero percent balance transfers can be a good one to reduce monthly costs.

Debt consolidation though is the idea that instead of dealing with lots of different lenders, you roll it all up into one big loan. That might be secured against your hose for exaple, and security means that the interest rate, and thus the payments, will be lower.

Anyway, the blog goes through all of this in detail and they've also taken a nice line with it, mixing and matching the lessons with other material. This list of famous quotes about money, for example, of the Carnival of Debt Relief which they recently hosted.

Well worth a look, even if you're not in debt, there's some very good tips there.

Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sex Education Everywhere

I'm sure this is driven by the idea that no part of life, no children's story, can be about pure amusement, rather, "lessons" must be learned.

The writer of one of Germany's best known fictional characters, an imp called Pumuckl, is heading to court to battle his illustrator over whether the red-headed mischief maker can marry or should stay chaste.

Writer Ellis Kaut is unhappy that illustrator Barbara von Johnson has given her support to a local TV show's contest to design a girlfriend for Pumuckl.

The winner will get to visit von Johnson's Munich villa and take part in a "wedding" staged for the popular fictional character.

Von Johnson says Pumuckl deserves a girlfriend after more than 40 years of fooling around in books and on the radio and television. However, Kaut says the cheeky imp must stay true to his spirit nature.

Arriving soon no doubt, Pooh on pornography and Cinderella on condoms.

Co-Op Bank Accounts

With the vast number of different possibilities about where to have your bank accounts these days it can be difficult to work our where to actually do so. So many choices, so few differences between the various providers.

Just about everyone offers free banking, overdrafts, credit cards (all on very much the same terms) so what is there that can make on offer stand out from the rest?

Given that the service is all very much the same you might want to think about the Cooperative Bank. They're governed in their interactions, not ust with you the customer, but also in their wider activities, by this rather strict code of conduct, a really rather good ethical policy.

If you care about the larger issues, not just about the minutiae of the bank service, then this might be the best reason you can have to make the decision about who is to handle your banking needs.

Disclosure Policy

Music Not To Drive By

As anyone who has ever driven to music will tell you, you really don't want to play some songs while you're doing so:

Want to stay safe on the roads? Then avoid listening to Guns N Roses, Meat Loaf and Bruce Springsteen behind the wheel.

The trio are among the artists featured on a top 10 of tracks that get people's blood pumping and in the mood to drive aggressively.

Some 1,700 voters have so far responded to an online poll run by Electronic Arts and AOL to mark the launch of a new racing videogame, "Burnout Dominator."

The resultant shortlist of tracks that get people revved up -- and that drivers should avoid listening to in the real world -- spans more than 30 years of chart favorites, although none of them actually reached number 1.

It includes classic rock tracks, such as Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" and Springsteen's "Born to Run," as well as tracks such as Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" and Guns N Roses' "Paradise City."

Older readers will remember that Mozart arias make you weave from side to side and hte Ride of the Valkyries causes outbreaks of surfing. Best avoided too.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lead Management

Sadly, this is an area of business that all too many people miss out on. Yes, I'm talking about lead management.

It costs you a fortune to advertise and market your business across the economy. From that you'll obviously get a number of people making contact to ask more about your goods and services, to try and make a purchase, or simply to clarify one or other aspect of your offers.

And this is where all too many people fall down, in keeping track of those inquiries, in making sure that everyone has the information and service that they desire, and then making sure that they receive the appropriate follow up and future contact.

AIM promote offers a feature rich lead management system at vastly lower ownership costs than other and competing systems.

If you're not currently using such a system then you should be, for you're not making the most of your current marketing spend. If you are using one you'll want to check out what they have to offer anyway, as saving money is good, right?

Disclosure Policy.

New Google Search

You can now get a local search, similar to trying to trawl through the phone books, for free via Google. It's based on the Google Maps technology and looks like it could become a very useful addition to hte possibilities of finding things locally.

Computer Web search leader Google Inc. on Friday stepped up an experiment to use speech recognition on telephones so consumers can ask for local information, in a challenge to directory assistance providers.

The company is inviting U.S. callers to dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone to test a voice-activated service free-of-charge that it calls Google Voice Local Search, which is available on its experimental Google Labs site.

"Using this service, you get fast access to the same local information you'd find on Google Maps," an explanation of the new experiment said on the Google Labs site. "You don't need a computer, you don't need an Internet connection, and you don't even need to use your cellphone keypad," it said.

You can all the details here.

Hey, if you're in the US try it out and let us know how it works.


Now this is an excellent little site, dedicated to teaching you how to make the most out of one of the online dating sites eHarmony.

Why would we need that do you think? Surely you just troll through the entries and simply choose someone for a date? Well, no, there's a great deal more to the dating scene than that actually. There are a series of unwritten but still quite formal rules about what happens on the first date, the second and so on, rules that can be quite confusing to outsiders and foreigners like me.

It isn't, unfortunately, as simple as just clicking on a link and finding romance.

To give you a quick guide, the site goes through the advantages (and disadvantages) of eHarmony itself, things you should think about before you join, howw to get the best deal when you do indeed join and so on. How to set up your profile for the best results, for example.

It really is an excellent guide to how to use the system and comes strongly recommended.

Disclosure Policy.

The Coming DVD War

I love it when people start to make predictions based upon past events. Far too many don't realise that history does not repeat itself, neither as tragedy nor farce.

In the battle over next generation DVDs, pornography could prove to be the XXX factor that helps determine a winner.

Thirty years ago, VHS toppled Betamax in part because of the adult film industry, and now some see blue movies playing a key role again as backers of HD-DVD and Blu-ray maneuver to make their formats the standard.

The stakes are high. As prices of high-definition televisions and DVD players fall, backers of the rival -- and incompatible -- formats are looking to tap a home and rental DVD market approaching $25 billion.

OK, so there's the history. But, will porn also be the determinant of the winner of the two current contenders?

The problem is though, who really wants to see Ron Jeremy in HDTV detail?  

Friday, April 06, 2007

Affordable Web Design

We've banged on before here about how important it is that you get your web presence sorted out properly, usually meaning that you've got to put some effort into making it visible to the search engines so that people can find you.

I've just found a site that deals with the step before that and I have to say that I think it's actually a very impressive site. It's all about affordable web site design and just from the first page I can see that it's been well though through and designed itself.

For example, almost immediately they ask whether a business even needs a web site at all. And they provide and answer which I should have known already, indeed did, but had never consciously realised. For most people under 25 never actually use the phone book or call information at all. They look up whatever it is that they want online. Now that is important information, if you don't have a web presence you're cutting yourself off from a whole segment of the market: and the one which has the highest disposable income too, a lot of the time.

There's more to it than insights like this though, of course. They take you through the steps and jargon as if you've never heard any of it before. Which, if you're just setting up your first site is probably true, you don't know what a URL is, or a web hosting service.

They also then go on to tell you which are the good services to use as hosts, where you can get all the ecommerce tools you need and so on.

What I like about the site is that everything is couched in beginners language, as it should be, but there are still lessons and tips useful to those with much greater knowledge and experience, like the one above about the under 25s.

Strongly recommended as a useful, even excellent, resource.

Disclosure Policy.

The full press release is as follows:


Affordable Quality Web Site Design Is Now Available

The experts at now offer inexpensive web site design. Their team knows what it takes to have a successful web presence and can guide you through every step.
Liverpool, New York (PRWEB) April 5, 2007-- Every new business starting out in this computer age is discovering they have a need for an internet presence. Whether it’s simply a place where potential customers can learn a little about the product or service being offered, contact information, or a full-fledged online sales store, an online presence today is a must. Every web site on the internet has an ultimate or underlying goal, to make money, and you deserve your share.

Today’s computer-minded population seldom pick up a phone book, they do not want to spend $1.50 on a call to information, and while newspaper ads provide some information, today’s generation is reading their news online.

When most 20 or 30-somethings need to find something they sign onto their computer and search for what they want. Many, while still reluctant to give their credit card information and make a purchase online, will still search for products and research what is available before finding a company and traveling there to but it. By the time they get there, they know the make and model and how much it should cost.

If you still doubt there is a need for an online home on the internet, go back and read the last paragraph.

Like every other type of business, if people do not know your store is open, they will not visit. Internet locations are exactly the same, only your customers do not have to drive and some may come from the other side of the globe. If they cannot find you, you may as well close the door and go home.

The people at can offer you the advice and expertise you need to put together a dynamite-looking web site as well as offer the advice needed to make it attractive to the search engines so visitors can find you in the vast space of the internet.
You can spend thousands of dollars on a web site, and offer the absolute best product or service at the best price, but if people can’t find you, again, you might as well shut it down.

A web site, designed and optimized to be attractive to the search engines, is needed in today’s internet market so that your web site will pop up to the visitors who search for the product or service you are offering. This service is also available through at a reasonable price as they understand the cost-constraints of a new business.

And for a business just getting off the ground, the need for an internet presence cannot wait until you start making money. Your web presence should be considered a part of your traditional business plan, being in place and functional on the day your business opens. Don’t have the time or money you think it will take to build your own site? can help you there as well. Offering hints and opportunities to help you get your web site up and running in a short period of time. Their expertise can help build a quality site, guide you to help you build your own, have it optimized for internet search, as well as steer you towards the right hosting solutions. We know your time is important, don’t spend it on trying to learn web design. Let the experts take care of it for you. You’ll be amazed how affordable having an internet presence can be.

For additional information on affordable web site design and other internet services, please visit
Suite 2A, 7797 Bainbridge Dr.
Liverpool, NY 13090


Miss Marple Rides Again!

Yes, there really are little old ladies out there who manage to entrap and catch thieves:

A 95-year-old German woman solved a series of mystery thefts in a retirement home when she set a trap, hid in a toilet, and caught the thief red-handed.

"It was a real case of Miss Marple," said a police spokesman in the eastern town of Saalfeld Thursday. "It's good to know there are still courageous old ladies out there."

The elderly sleuth left cash out in her room as bait and then withdrew to the toilet to lie in wait. A cleaner then entered and pocketed the money, unaware she was being watched.

"Then the old lady hit the alarm button in the toilet and staff in the home nabbed the cleaner," the spokesman said.

The cleaner, 36, later confessed to police she was responsible for other thefts from the home near the spa resort of Bad Lobenstein.

All that at an age which, if we actually reach it, would have most of us dribbling into our cocoa. Impressive.

VoIP Forum

Know what VoIP is yet? No?» Then you're missing a great way to save yourself a great deal of money. If you want to find out more you should go over to this VoIP forum run by one of the companies in the market, Vonage.

They've got a news section, reviews, and much much more importantly, a series of forums. So it isn't just a supplier telling you how wonderful their own services are, it's the actual and potential users swapping information about what it's really like.

Get ahead of the telecoms game, save money and find out what Vonage has to offer.

Disclosure Policy.

The Bilingual Society

Well, it is, isn't it? Canada that is? Truly bilingual? Or perhaps not?

Canada will remove the French-language exhibit at a major military memorial after a reporter discovered it was riddled with grammatical errors, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said on Thursday.

Public broadcaster Radio-Canada found numerous mistakes in interpretive panels at Vimy Ridge in France, where more than 10,000 Canadian soldiers were killed or wounded in April 1917 during World War One.

"I have just been made aware of this situation and it is totally unacceptable. As soon as the errors were confirmed, it was obvious the only solution was to remove the panels," Thompson said in a statement. The panels will be replaced.

The issue is an embarrassment for Ottawa, since Canada has been officially bilingual for 40 years and millions of French-speakers are very sensitive about their fate in a country where most people speak English.

They're quick on the uptake too. It's been there since 1936.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fixed Assets

There's one part of the accounting process that all too few companies pay the correct amount of attention to. Thats the fixed assets owned by the company.

If we actually had a rational tax system then this wouldn't matter very much. Corporations would not be taxed at all,it would only be the distributions to shareholders that were. However, as we don't have a rational taxation system, we have to deal with the one we have. This provides for allowances, at dizzyingly different rates and over different timespans, and not getting them right can make huge differences to hte amounts of tax actually paid.

Because, as you might know, you can offset depreciation of your assets against your taxable profits so as to take advantage of the various tax reliefs.

This is, however, a right pain in the proverbial to actually do. You've got to go around and physically count every single thing that the corporation owns, just as a start.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to do this, employ the services of IM Solutions and the use of their fixed asset software. They use the best in the business (from Sage) and send a team around to do all of the counting and identifying for you.

This all gets logged into the software and the correct depreciation rates can then be applied. It really does make life so much easier, so that youcan get on with th core of your business, making your customers happy, while someone else is doing the grunt work of making the taxman happy (by providing the detailed information you want) and simoultaneously making the taxman unhappy by reducing the tax you pay. 

Strongly recommended.

Disclosure Policy.

Growth and Value Stockpicking.

Here we go again, the classic diversification problem:

An increasing number of fund managers are blending growth and value tactics to pick stocks, but this trend is not popular with some investors, who want to diversify by using two distinctive styles.

Morningstar has moved 41 equity mutual funds from the value category to classify them as blends in the past 14 months. Over the same period, 13 funds have moved from the growth category to blend, and four funds have moved from growth to value styles, the fund research firm said.

Value stocks typically trade at lower multiples than growth stocks and pay high dividends. Growth stocks are pricier and are bought for their earnings potential.

It's sorta an offshoot of Coase. If as and when the costs of diversifying by hte individual investor are high, but by the professional one low, then the diversification should be done professionally, within funds. However, when we're in our current situation, with the lowest ever such costs, it should be done by the individual investor.

The thing is though, the professionals don't like this, because that doesn't leave anyone to pay them for doing so. 

Forex, Futures and Options

One of the lesser known corners of the investment world is the global futures market. It's worth looking at as a part of your investment strategy.

The essential point about the whole thing is that it provides gearing. That is, instead of only investing the money that you actually have on hand, you can get exposure to much larger amounts of the item. You can trade futures and options in currencies, metals, agricultural products, even ther weather itself.

Because you've got gearing there are two things that can happen: one is that, if you get it right, profits can be very high. The other is that you can lose a lot too. The difference between futures and options is that with options your maximum loss is whatever you put into hte market in the first place, with futures, it can be larger than that.

But as I say, it can still be a useful part of your investment portfolio and if you want to know more about global futures click through there to contact Global Futures Trading & Exchange Co, Inc, to see how you can enter the market with as little as $250.

But do remember: "There is risk of loss trading Futures, options and forex"

Disclosure Policy.

Mummified Corpses

Japan can be a weird place, can't it? Almost as odd as the place on hte other side of the Pacific, California:

Five decomposed bodies, possibly of a couple and their children who died one after another several years ago, have been found in a house in Japan, triggering media speculation on religious death rites.

Japanese police have not been able to identify the partly mummified, partly skeletonised bodies, which were found lying on their backs on mattresses in a house in Omuta on the southwestern island of Kyushu, a police spokesman said.

Japanese media said the bodies could be of a couple in their 90s and their two daughters and son who had lived in the house.

"They died between about 20 years ago and four years ago, one after another," the Yomiuri newspaper quoted a relative as saying. "They believed that dead persons would return to life if they were left alone."

Still, at least they didn't castrate themselves and think they were being taken off by a comet.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mold Testing

One of the boring things about actually being a housholder (rather than a renter) is that you've got to do the maintenance on the place. Paint it, make sure the roof and windows are sound and so on. These things aren't cheap alas, either.

One thing that many forget, especially in areas like New Jersey, where the weather varies a lot between summer and winter, is mold testing. It's essential to do as if you start getting mold in the basement or, horrors, in the roof area, it can quickly eat away at the structural integrity of the house.

As well as being just gross, you know. So, take this as a hint to click through above there and get the guys around to test for mold.

Disclosure Policy.

Samson Sor Siriporn

This sounds like something out of a very bad movie indeed. Valiant prisoner competes in a sport and by winning also wins their freedom. In fact, haven't there been many movies with that plot line?

Thai inmate Samson Sor Siriporn boosted her chances of freedom by beating Japan's Ayaka Miyano to win the vacant women's WBC light-flyweight title at the notorious "Bangkok Hilton" prison Tuesday.

Under the gaze of dozens of prison guards, Siriporn, a convicted drugs dealer, battled through the unforgiving Thai heat to score a unanimous points victory and kick-start parole proceedings for her early release.

"I've been in jail for a long time now, I hope this will see me released early," said Siriporn, flanked by mean-looking guards and surrounded by photographers.

"When I'm free I'll carry on fighting. I want to fight all over the world."

Fighting in a makeshift ring in the grounds of the infamous Klong Prem prison with the Thai crowd chanting "fight, fight," Siriporn was on the attack from the start and repeatedly forced Miyano on to the ropes with a barrage of punches.

The intense afternoon heat took its toll on Miyano, who twice fell to the canvas as a result of Siriporn's relentless attacks, which drew rapturous applause from the few thousand prison staff, factory workers and taxi drivers who flocked to see her fight for freedom.

Despite the fact that the movie has already been made I'd bet more than a few dollars that there's some studio exec half-way over the Pacific right now with a contract for the movie rights to the story clutched in his sweaty little paws. 

Just a Chiropracter in New York

I'm off to New York soon, my first visit there for many years, indeed, my first time in the US for nearly a decade. Two major things have happened since I was there last time: I've taken up cycling as a fitness method (due to the lamentable lack of swimming pools around here)  and I've got a decade older.

This means I'm always in need of some basic treatment for back problems, which makes my finding of this New York Chiropractor somewhat serendipitous. I'll be taking that address with me, just in case it all seizes up at some point while I'm there. Nothing like being prepared, eh?

Disclosure Policy

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Discount tickets

I've found more information on where to get tickets for attractions in Orlando. So if you're planning a trip there you might want to take on this advice about where to get Discount Universal Studios Tickets.

Orlando is, as we've said before, so stuffed full of attractions that it's become a self-reinforcing cycle. More people come to the city to see the shows and theme parks (there's now six Disney ones alone, four theme parks and two water ones), in fact, in numbers each year greater than the entire population of California.

This means that more people are interested in building yet more such attractions, for they know that there's a huge population interested in coming. It's also true that the infrastructure to cater to such numbers already exists. Thus the new attractions set off another insurge of tourists and this then starts the cycle off again, people being interested in building more attractions.

It's the sort of self-reinforcing cycle that every city tries to create but all too few actually do.

Although, if we were to be fair in an historical sense, it's actually the story of the creation of urban centres themselves, more people meaning more to do and thus attracting yet more people.

Norwegians, Eh?

This really only would work in a country like Norway:

Passengers arriving at Norway's busiest airports can declare their additional tipple or cigarettes to an automatic teller instead of a customs officer in what Oslo says is a world first.

"This will enable us to use our personnel to fight more serious smuggling," Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen was quoted as saying by daily Aftenposten.

Halvorsen, arriving from abroad, was the first to use the automatic customs machine, which became operational on April 1.

Public NRK television said she declared an extra bottle of wine, and pictures showed she paid the duty by bank card before walking out with a receipt in her hand.

I try to imagine Russians or Italians lining up (in itself unbelievable) to use such a machine. They tend to treat tax avoidance as a sport, so it really would be amazing to see any of them using a machine like that.