Thursday, June 28, 2007

Applying for a Credit Card

OK, so we all know that having a credit card is essential in today's economy. You can't buy things online without one, can't rent a car, can't build a credit record: in short, you find it very hard to live without one.

But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different offers out there: how do you know which one to take?

Are you looking for low interest on carried balances? Or zero interest on transfered ones? Or a rewards program? Or a high credit limit? Or a loyatly program that pays to your favourite charity? How are you to sort through all of the different posibilities?

Fortunately there's a search engine out there to help you. You can, by clicking through the link, search through all of the various different credit card applications possibilities.

It's well worth doing: for even though you know you need a credit card, it's even better to get the best card for your needs.

What a Headache!

Yes, this will cause a headache:

A Florida man awoke with a severe headache and asked his wife to drive him to a hospital, where doctors found a bullet lodged behind his right ear, sheriff's deputies said.

"The nurse looked at him and said, 'It appears that you've been shot,'" the Fort Pierce Tribune quoted St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara as saying. "And he said, 'No way.'"

The wife, April Moylan, fled the emergency room when the bullet was discovered but later told deputies she had accidentally shot her husband as he slept early on Tuesday. She was jailed on a weapons violation charge while deputies pursued additional charges.

The husband, 45-year-old Michael Moylan, woke up with a head pain so severe he suspected he was having an aneurysm and asked his wife to take him to the emergency room, deputies said.

The thing is though, if she really shot him by mistake, why didn't she call the ambulance: and if it wasn't by mistake, why did she take him to the hospital when he asked?

Something a little odd about this whole case, don't you think?

Coupon Shopping

OK, we all know how this goes out there in hte world of bricks and mortar shopping. We check the newspaper, clip the coupons and then save money when we go buy things. Not exactly painless but at least we all do understand how the system works.

Ah, but, how do we do this with the online stores? Syrely they also have coupon offers? I_ndeed they do have such offers and the way to fin them is to go here for the discount codes ,

Doesn't cost you aything, you don't have to join, just, when you're off to buy something check in there to see what it is that you can save money on today.

For example, if you were going to shop for shoes, you'd like to find this Payless ShoeSource coupon for (as I write this) $2 off a $10 purchase.

There's hundreds of such coupons, all updated daily to reflect the latest offers. Go ahead and check it out.

Disclosure Policy.

Credit Reports

One of the most essential things about our modern society, one that many people manage to forget, is that your credit score matters enormously. So much so that you can find yourself literally unable to borrow money at all if you don't maintain a good one.

It's also true that having no credit score can be even worse than having a bad one: it's true, a newly minted bankrupt can borrow money more easily than someone with no credit record at all.

Which is why you'll want to check out Picture Credit, where you can learn about credit report score and what that means.

There's a mine of information there, things that will explain how the whole system works, how you can look up your own credit score, how you can improve it and how, even, having a better credit score can save you a lot of money.

Well recommended.

Clever Criminal

No0w that's not normally a headline you see: most criminals are plainly dumb, that's why they're criminals. Well, OK, you could look at it another way: we only get to hear about those dumb enough to get caught. However, this was clever:

An Israeli criminal slipped away from house arrest by putting his electronic ankle monitor on his dog, police said on Thursday.

It wasn't until police came to take Nabil Farumi, convicted of attempted murder, to a sentencing hearing, that he was gone without a trace.

"After we searched the house we saw that he somehow managed to take the monitor off his leg and place it around he neck of his dog, who continued to walk around the house," said Yoram Danieli, a police commander in northern Israel.

Attempted murder carries a heavy sentence so yes, it almost certainly was worth trying this out.

Cat Fleas

Living, as we do, here in hte warm and humid south, we have certain problems with cat fleas . In fact, with two adult cats, two teenage and five kittens, we have more than our fair share of problems with them. (How we ended up with that many is a long story.)

So I regard myself as fortunate to have found this site all about, or more accurately, about how to deal with cat fleas . Now all I have to do is get my wife, who is in charge of such things, to actually read it. I think another night or two of getting bitten will be sufficient, don't you?

Disclosure Policy.

New Search Engine

OK, now we all know how we use the search engines, don't we? Start with a general search for something vaguely like what we're looking for and then start to narrow it down.

We also know how it is that we actually buy big ticket items like, just as an example, a KitchenAid refrigerator. Do all of the checking about warranties, prices, capacity and so on, reliability etc, online. Sure, we all do that.

But then for most of us, at least with these big items, we then go out to hte bricks and mortar store to actually buy it. Which is where this excellent new search engine, Krillon (just click through the link above) comes in.

It's a local search engine, tells you who in your area stocks and sells such things. An excellent idea and I'm surprised, now that I've actually seen it, that someone didn't start doing this years ago. But then all great ideas are like that: it's only when someone tells you about it that you go "Dang! Of course!"


NTB is the shorthand for "not too bright":

Two German teenagers robbed a girl but accidentally left their own pictures behind for police on a discarded mobile phone.

After stealing a 15-year-old's shoes, money and mobile phone, the two older girls gave her an old mobile phone, police in the western city of Bochum said on Wednesday.

But the two 17-year-olds had forgotten the phone had their own photos, striking smiley poses, which police published online on Tuesday in an effort to find the culprits.

The two muggers turned themselves in almost simultaneously when the pictures appeared on the evening news.

Turning mugger is not normally a sign of great intelligence but these two really were NTB.

Spicy Reunion!

So it looks as if the Spice Girls Reunion is on then.

Isn't that just so wonderfully joyous? Five women who can't sing being paid some tens of millions each to remind us all that they can't sing very well?

Fortunately, there are no teenage girls within wallet reach of this household so it doesn't actually have to affect me: but those who do have youngsters around, watch out. This is aimed firmly at getting you to spend you pension fund right now.

Spice Girls reunion? Pah!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Anniston's New Man

We've finally found out more about Jennifer Anniston's new man, Paul Sculfor.

An ex- brickie from England he's also thought to be a coke user (although that's hardly unusual in the world of celebrities) and works as a male model.

Great, so we know what she sees in him but what does Paul Sculfor see in her?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Investment Balancing

As we're told over and over again, the secret to successful investing is diversification. If you want it in plain English, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Now it does depend upon the size of your investment portfolio: it might well be that you'll be best served by some cash and an index linked fund. But once you get over a certain size you'll want to be more proactive in how you organize your diversification.

You'll want to make sure that you have a spread of asset classes: most importantly, that you have things which react differently to outside shocks like inflation. Bonds, for example, fall in value when inflation rises, just as they rise when it falls.

To protect against this you want to have some money in assets which move against this cycle. Gold bars are one such: Traditionally, when inflation or uncertainty rise, so does the gold price.

If you're looking for more information on such matters, the opportunities to invest in physical precious metals, click through that link to see what the Monex Deposit Company can do for you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Katie Holmes Information

There's an interesting little site (well, for a given value of "interesting") out there to bring you all of your essential celebrity news about Katie Holmes.

Yes, of couse her marriage and her husband, Tom Cruise are talked about, how could anyone not be interested in the marriage of Katie Holmes?

There's also a section of photos of her and then again of news stories concerning her.

There's also some news videos about her.

Click through to get to your one stop shop for information about your favourite celebrity, Katie Holmes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bet 365

Fortunately, we in the UK do not have entirely insane people making the laws for us. Admitedly, they're not entirely sane, as things like SOCPA and ID cards show, but not as absolutely insane as the Americans. At least we're not stopped from spending our own money as we wish: nor banned from doing online what we can do offline.

Thus we are still able to enjoy the services of companies like Bet 365:online poker for example. They also run a massive sports book, allowing gambling on events around the world.

More than that there's an interactive games section, an online casino and the bet365 poker system.

Given that our Lords and Masters haven't gone entirely crazy and banned such things it's almost a duty to go and use them isn't it?

But more importantly about the law, they havcen't gone so absurdly crazed as to stop as doing as we wish with our own damn money.

Disclosure Policy.

Ban the Purity Ring!

Of course, the purity ring is a symbol, one that cannot be allowed in a modern country like Britain:

A teenage schoolgirl will appeal to the High Court on Friday to overturn a ban on her wearing a "purity ring" at school to symbolize her decision to abstain from sex before marriage.

Lydia Playfoot, 16, from West Sussex, says the silver ring is an expression of her faith and should be exempt from the school's rules on wearing jewellery.

"It is really important to me because in the Bible it says we should do this," she told BBC radio. "Muslims are allowed to wear headscarves and other faiths can wear bangles and other types of jewellery. It feels like Christians are being discriminated against."

Playfoot's lawyers will argue that her right to express religious belief is upheld by the Human Rights Act.

There have been a series of rows in schools in recent years over the right of pupils to wear religious symbols or clothing, such as crucifixes and veils.

Quite simply, wheree would that leave sex education if people were going to reject it's teachings?

Information for Guardian Readers

If you are, like me, a regular reader of The Guardian, and thus are aware of their podcast on mini-breaks in Stockholm, then you'll want to check out this other website, offering information on Cheap Hotels in Stockholm .

Getting there is no problem and the place itself is gorgeous, especially in the summer. The islands, a vertiable archipelago in fact, just outside, rather make the pace. There's also the rather interesting sight of the rather shapely natives disporting themselves in the sunshie.

However, the place is expensive. £ 6 or £ 7 for a beer is not unusual, and it's not any cheaper from an off licence either. So you will want to try and save as much money as you can by geting a cheap hotel in Stockholm.

On other very strange tip for saving money in Sweden. All the off licences are state owned. They charge exactly the same margin on all products. So while alcohol is indeed very expensive, they're oddly, a very good place to buy fine wines. Not only is the chain the largest purchaser of wine in the world, because of the low margins, it's often cheaper to buy the really good wines than it is at home.

Disclosure Policy.

Battling the Menace

Yes, I'm sure this is a highly necessary use of scarce police resources:

Police in Indian Kashmir usually accustomed to fighting separatist militants have a new target in their sights -- teenagers canoodling in parks, restaurants and at Internet cafes.

The crackdown aims to curb "immoral activities," a senior police officer said on Friday, adding that dozens of places had been raided across Srinagar, the main city of the region, and at least 10 couples detained over the last three days.

Restaurant and Internet cafe owners had also been asked to get rid of cabins and cubicles as they were being "misused" by teenagers in the Muslim-majority region, he said.

"We received a number of complaints from parents that their children, mostly teenagers, would stray into cyber cafes and restaurants instead of schools and colleges," Parvez Ahmad told Reuters.

"Many boys and girls were seen in objectionable postures ... we informed their parents to take them home," he said.

Srinagar, the centre of a 17-year revolt against Indian rule, has seen women separatists raid restaurants, Internet cafes, liquor shops and suspected brothels in the past to stop what they say are immoral and un-Islamic activities.

So it's not just at home that we have the prodnoses wasting police time and money then.

When will people wake up to the idea that you don't want expensive things like the police chasing the easy things? We don't want courting couples to be harrassed. What we actually want is the police to do the difficult things. Hassling inappropriate boyfriends is a job for parents. Chasing down the burglars and the murderers is what the police are for.

They're expensive, so use them for the expensive jobs, not the cheap ones.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lead Management

This is something which I really do hope all business people understand, the process of lead management .

One of the most wasteful things businesses do is to advertise and market and then not pay proper attention to the leads that come in. It's a waste of a huge amount of the budget: money that could feed straight through to the bottom line if it weren't thrown away in this manner.

With the rise in the power (and the sophistication of programming) of computing this can now be fairly easily dealth with, with crm software, or customer relationship management software. What CRM is all about is making sure that all contacts by potential customers, whether they're just asking for a little more information, or trying to get prices, or a visit from a salesperson, that all of them are properly followed up.

Did they get their information? Have they been followed up to make sure, and did they understand it? Do they want anything else? Are they ready to make an order?

Another name for this is lead tracking (or lead management). You paid enough money to generate these leads in the first place so you really ought to be making sure that you get the most value out of each and every one of them.

Disclosure Policy.

The Revenge of the Geese

Doesn't really sound like a great title for a movie, does it?

Geese force-fed and then slaughtered for their livers may get their final revenge on people who favor the delicacy known as foie gras: It may transmit a little-known disease known as amyloidosis, researchers reported on Monday.

Tests on mice suggest the liver, popular in French cuisine which uses it to make pate de foie gras and other dishes, may cause the condition in animals that have a genetic susceptibility to such diseases, Alan Solomon of the University of Tennessee and colleagues reported.

That would suggest that amyloidosis can be transmitted via food in a way akin to brain diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, which can cause a rare version of mad cow disease in some people who eat affected meat products or brains.

Amyloidosis can affect various organ systems in the body, which accumulate damaging deposits of abnormal proteins known as amyloid. The heart, kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract are most often affected but amyloidosis can also cause a blood condition.


Symptoms are often vague and range from fatigue and weight loss to swelling and kidney damage.

So imagine this as a horror flick. In hte opeing scene our victim has lunch. In the closing one, 30 years later, she loses a few pounds of weight.

Hhhmm. Needs more work, don't you think?

NTB Mugger

NTB standing here for Not Too Bright:

A would-be German thief went from predator to victim when he tried to mug a taxi driver but ended up having his own wallet snatched instead.

After the 20-year-old stole the driver's wallet, a scuffle broke out between the two, in which the cabbie not only recovered his property but also took his attacker's wallet, police in the western town of Aldenhoven said Tuesday.

The driver then locked himself in his taxi and called the police, who were amazed to find the mugger waiting patiently for them on the curb next to the vehicle when they arrived.

"He wanted his wallet back," a police spokesman said.

I means seriously, mugging isn't exactly the most intellectual or pursuits anyway, but what sort of stupidity is that?

Should We Get Blinds?

As regular readers will know we've been renovating a house here. It's an old style place and we've been wondering whether we should have blinds or not for many people think that you shouldn't have them in period homes.

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that they're wrong though, as I look through the options at Terry's Blinds.

Yes, there's roller blonds, Venetian, wooden and so on, but then I see the section on Roman blinds. So, if that technique of folding the fabric to make the blind is indeed Roman, then, well, given that a Roman house would these days be considered extremely "period", how can they not be suitable for period homes?

Disclosure Policy.

Coke and Politicians

What is it about politicians that they think they can get away with things?

The latest is Thomas Ravenel who bought, to give out to friends, a half kilo of cocaine.

Is there some thinking that there's one law for the poor black folk (possession, mere possession, of five grams of crack cocaine triggers a 5 year mandatory sentence, it has to be 500 grammes of powder cocaine for this to happen) and another for the rich white ones?

Well, given that Thomas Ravenel comes from one of the more powerful and rich political families inhhte State, perhaps so.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I nthe process of getting this new (to us) house sorted out there's one that I'd not thought of but really do need to: getting one of those mailboxes. We're in a rural area so there's no deliveries to the house, we have to go down to the end of the road and pick up the mail from there.

Now we do have one but several things have happened. Firstly, the key has broken off in the lock, which is a right pain. It being the only key as well. Secondly, it's coming away from the wall, which is even more of a pain.

So looking through catalogues for new mailboxes it is then.

But then there comes another question. Should it be one of the dinky little residential mailboxes? I get a lot of books sent to me for review and so on so that's actually something of a pain. I'm forever going off down to the post office to collect the packages.

So perhaps I should splash out on one of the commercial mailboxes?

Hmmm. More thought and more browsing needed I think.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Understanding Data

Something that many don't quite realize is that we're going through an economic change as large as the one that brought us electricity. It's a decades long process and will be both the making of many fortunes and also the breaking of many more. It's all about computers, of course, but that's just the beginning.

WalMart, just as an example, is really the best retailer on the planet not because they're staffed with the finest retailers, but because they have the finest retail information systems on the planet.

This applies to all businesses, small and large, and so it is worth paying great attention to this. You already collect masses of information, about your customers, your employees, performance, prices, and so on, but do you make proper use of it?

What you really need to do is go and talk to Business Objects Consultancy Services and find out how they can help you with this task.

It's not for nothing that we call this the information age and if you're going to prosper in it you need to understand how to make the best use of the information you already have and also how to collect that which you need but don't as yet have.

Disclosure Policy.

A New Use For Ringtones

I knew somebody would come up with something useful to do with these things at some point:

Forest guards in western India are using cell phones with ringtones of cows mooing, goats bleating and roosters crowing to attract leopards that have wandered into human settlements, officials said on Monday.

The wild cats in the state of Gujarat often roam into villages near forests in search of food, say officials, adding that this results in attacks on people.

But rather than use methods such as live bait like goats tied to trees to lure the leopards, which then fall into large pits dug by guards, officials say they have found a safer method to trap the cats.

"The moos of a cow, bleating of a goat from the phone has proved effective to trap leopards," said D. Vasani, a senior forest official in Gujarat. "This trick works."

Vasani said forest guards have downloaded the sounds of over a dozen animals as ringtones on their mobiles which they attach to speakers and fix behind a cage.

They then play the ringtone continuously for up to two hours until the curious leopard appears and moves into the cage looking for its easy meal

Now, if only we could find a leopard that would actually eat that Crazy Frog.

Striking for Sex

I'll admit, this is an interesting reason to go on strike, not one I've heard before:

South African workers striking over pay and benefits have a new complaint -- they no longer have the energy for sex.

Monroe Mkalipi, a regional chairman of the powerful COSATU federations of trade unions, complained that work conditions are so tough workers can't perform in the bedroom.

"The harshness that we have in all our workplaces is so severe to such a point that when you get home at night it becomes a problem expanding our families," the SAPA news agency quoted him as saying.

Public sector workers are negotiating with the government to increase pay for the first time since 2004.

OK, but even if it's true, what god will a pay rise be? They'll just be knackered and their wives will be off spending the extra money with somebody else.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Yellow Metal Boot Camp

If you're thinking about training to be a heavy equipment operator then you'll want to go look at these two videos.

In fact, even if you're not thinking of this training you'll still want to go to and see the two videos.

The first is an overview of what you'll need to learn and how, the second (under training and then Yellow Metal Boot Camp) explains how 3D modelling and simulators are now used to help you train.

Have a look because the whole system of training just got better, so if you're not already thinking about heavy equipment as a career, maybe now's the time to start doing so?

Disclosure Policy

Michael and Maya Polsky Divorce

Ooops, it looks like Michael Polsky, the head of Invenergy, is about to lost half of what he's spent the last 30 years earning. All $184 million of what he's spent that time earning is to go to his just divorced wife, Maya Polsky:

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Michael Polsky, 57, the chief executive of Invenergy, is trying to get the ruling from his divorce case, which awards his wife Maya Polsky, 55, $176 million or about half of his fortune, overturned.

During the trial last year, Michael's lawyers said it was he who acquired the wealth after the couple had emigrated from Russia in the 1970s with very little money. Maya's lawyers argued that throughout their 31-year marriage, she had been Michael's trusted confidante and stood by him through good and bad times, and therefore should be considered a full partner in his success. It was argued that although Maya primary responsibilities were homemaker and mother, she had supported her husband throughout the years, providing advice, empathy and comfort which contributed to their success.

Instead of reducing teh award the judge has increased it? Take that Michael, Maya gets 50 % of it all!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dating For Nerds

Yes, you know it is possible, that nerds do indeed like to date. Why, there are even single women interested in meeting nerds to date.

This of course has it's implications. There's Simon Baron Cohen's work on assortative mating to consider plus of course the old joke that Linux was invented so that nerds could get a date.

But leaving those sorts of things aside, we really should note that It's Just Coffee is set up specifically to cater to the discerning tastes of those who actually know what they're doing in this modern world. That is, those who can operate the complex machinery, the computers, the operating systems and software, that make the whole thing work.

It is, like all good things these days, both online and free and it's packed with hte brainiacs and nerds who are the interesting people in this life. Not a meat market of a soulmate site, think of it as an extended seminar with optional dating.

After all, you're going to spend a lot more time talking to a date than you are anything else, aren't you?

Disclosure Policy.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rodriguez and the Blonde

So now we know the name of the mystery blonde that A Rod himself has been escorting around town.

Joslyn Noel Morse.

Apparently Mrs. Rodriguez has made surr to arrive in town to make sure that no more of this canoodling goes on.