Monday, December 29, 2008

Maybe this would have been easier?

Further to the earlier post about how we've been sorting out this new to us house down here. It's always after you've started (or got nearly to the end) of a project that you realise that there might have been an easier way to do this. Instead of our repairing the extant stone and brick buildings, we might have done better by simply demolishing and building anew.

For example, the use of steel buildings makes things a great deal faster...and thus, dependent upon labour costs, a great deal cheaper as well. There are also a number of useful ways that you can make them green buildings. Glass in the ceilings, greater insulation: and of course the building itself is recyclable at the end of its life.

Not to mention that prefabricated buildings are, because they're made in a factory, not onsite, likely to be a great deal better built than what you get when employing the local likely lads.

Hey, maybe instead of converting one of the outbuildings into an office I should simply have got myself one of these mini-storage prefab buildings and put a desk and a heater in it?

As I say, you always find these things out later, don't you? Ah well, perhaps for the next project.

Lighting the house

As regular readers will know we're in the process of sorting out this new to us house down here and we've now got another part of the place near finished. One of the outbuildings, the old washroom, has now been converted into my office. Yes, finally, I will be able to write from a heated room! Rather than what I have been doing for the past year and more, scribbling away in two jerseys and a jacket in winter!

Of course, with another part finished comes the thought of what do we do about lamps?

Of course, the basic set up of the room includes lamps and lampshades in the ceiling, but for an office, something that's going to be used 8 hours a day (for I do indeed work from home) that's not really enough is it?

So I'm roaming around the Farrey's site (very good indeed actually, click through any link to see it) trying to work out what it is that I should supplement them with. Table or desk lamps? Floor?

I have to admit that I've a soft spot for torchieres....maybe that's the solution.

Anyone got any bright ideas (sorry, couldn't resist the pun)?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Or maybe elsewhere?

While I'm thinking about moving perhaps I shouldn't just be thinking about places where I've already lived? Perhaps there are places where I ought to want to live instead?

Looking through the Bushari Group Real Estate site maybe one of the Boston lofts would be the thing for me? Or, if I can swing it (and in today's market that's obviously going to be easier) one of the Boston luxury lofts? Or a Boston condo?

Those all have the advantage that I would indede be in the centre of things, as I prefer to be. There's not much for a childless man to do out in the suburbs....better by far to be where all the action is. Hmm, I'm going to have to keep looking at this real estate in Boston stuff.

Just where is it that I want to be? Fortunately, I'm not tied by work to any one place, so I really do have the opportunity to go where I wish. So where should it be then?

Maybe Moving

I'm thinking about moving back to a place that I used to live in and have very fond memories of. It was years ago that I was there of course and I'm not sure quite how much of my memories are about being a couple of decades younger than I am now and how much is to do with the actual place.

Be that as it may, I'm now interested in a new home Virginia....or a new home in Virginia, to be grammatically correct. I'm still not sure about whether I'd go for a new home or a used one.....I do like being in the centre of town and that argues for an old one.

But if I look around at Richmond new homes, or check out the various Virginia home builders that might change. I guess it really depends upon what they're building at the moment....and, of course, the sort of prices they're looking for.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Those debt problems

This is a site that a lot of people will be able to make good use of in these difficult times. There's an awful lot of us who need help with debts and how to cut them, after all.

There's a lot of good information on how to get out of debt here. Things like how to get credit counselling and so on.

There's also an excellent section here on credit card consolidation. The essential point of that is that you cut the monthly payments you need to make by bundling up your debts and getting a lower interest rate on them.

If that doesn't work then there are a number of innovative ways that you can take advantage of personal bankruptcy. Not something to be done lightly, to be sure, but it can be a way out, to minimise problems.

And of course, for companies there is also always chapter 7 bankruptcy, but that's something more complex and difficult to go through.

But an nice little site with some excellent information you might find useful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Singers Room

This is an interesting littlesite.

It's one of the new breed of web only magazines that are growing up. This is of course the way that the media will all go in he end, there's not going to be any point in killing trees to deliver news and stories to people. concentrates on multimedia online stories. It's a long way away from the Wall Street Journal which is what makes it interesting of course.

For example, check out 's celebrity blog: as I'm looking at it the top story is how Bey and Jey have just spent $70,000 on a table.....that's some realy money there for something to eat breakfast off, ain't it?

Or how about the news feed, the top story of which is Adreinne Bailon's loss of her laptop....with nude photographs of herself on it. Those photos now spreading across the internet. also carried music videos, photos and interviews. If you're into hte urban scene looks like a great place to check out.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

PK Zip

This will surprise those of us who have been playing on the web and the net for some time, but there really are people out there who don't know about PKZip. As we rich in those years of maturity know, it's simply the essential utility, allowing us to compress and unpack files at the click or two of a mouse.

For the unveiling of SecureZIP Express there's a new site that's been created. where you can win things by trying out the new system and the great things it can do for you. There are various ways you can win things at the site, things from gas cards and bicycles through Wiis and even a Honda scooter.

Well worth checking out the site for the games alone, but the software is pretty cool too!

The sleeping rapist

Umm, sorry, what?

A New Zealand rape victim drove her rapist to a police station when he fell asleep in his car after assaulting the woman, local media reported on Wednesday.

Vipul Sharma, 22, was found guilty of abduction and two charges of rape by the Auckland District Court Tuesday, court officials told Reuters Wednesday.

The New Zealand newspaper said Sharma met the woman at an Auckland bar in 2006 and later drove her first to a park where he raped her in the back seat of his car.

After the attack Sharma allowed the woman to drive and fell asleep in the passenger seat, so the woman drove him to Auckland Central police station where he was arrested, said the newspaper.

Good grief, it's one thing to be the sort of vicious animal that rapes a woman ,,,,,but to be the sort of idiot that falls asleep afterwards is entirely another.

And yes, I know that a lot of men fall asleep directly after sex but really. Stupidity rulesI suppose.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A new way to shop online

OK, so we all know that shopping online gives us a better choice of products and also better prices, yes?

The better choice os of course because the retailer doesn't need to have hundreds of everything in hundreds of stores: they can just have one great big warehouse. The better prices are because they don't have to be paying for hundreds of stores,, just the one great big warehouse.

Well, that's all well and good, but then we face another problem, how do we find the people who are selling what we want? Search engines, of course, or perhaps a comparison engine? But the problem with those latter is that they normally only include the companies that have paid to be included. Which isn't really quite what we're really after. We want to see all of them, yes, all of the possible deals?

That's where ShopWiki comes in. It's a comparison engine, yes, but as well as those who ask to be included the show the results of crawling the web as well. So you get everyone offering the goods you're looking for.

But again, they go further than that, and provide guides to what is available, then drilling down to the individual offers. For example, here's a search for women's trainers. Then, nested under that you've got the results for women's puma trainers. And so on down to individual styles and the various retailers offering them and at what prices.

It's a very cool way of handling things and it's thoroughly recommended.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Local information

One of the things that this here internet is doing is giving us new sources of information: OK, we knew that, things like Wikipedia and soon. But it's also giving us new methods of having information presented to us. We also know about that, things like Google and so on.

But there's a welcome trend now to giving us local, even hyperlocal, in formation. Local yellowpages, local search, that sort of thing. There's no point in using Google to look for a locksmith for example: the top 10 entires could all be some guy in Yokohama, which isn't of much use to you in Eugene.

So why not check out this local search site. It's like a combination of Yelp, Yellowpages, Citysearch and Superages....excellent stuff and hugely useful if you're looking for something in a particular area, rather than globally or nationally.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Getting this house finished off

As you lucky regular readers will know we've been working on this house for some time now. Lucky us as well, eh? Living on a building site.

However, things are looking good, getting very close to completion in fact. Now it's time to start looking for those light fixtures. Now of course shopping online is the way to go here. Rather than trapising around store after store to see that fraction of the available styles that they have in stock, we can see all of everything at just one store.

But just what is it that we want? Chandeliers? Ceiling light fixtures? Or just home lighting in general?

Somehow I'm sure we'll overcome this embarrasssment of choices and actually find what we want. Fortunately, online, we can do that sitting here with a drink in hand. Good idea, eh?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

That Cabo San Lucas Vacation

So, thinking of preparing for Spring Break? Or maybe you're a little older and are thinking more about what you might do at a more peaceful time of year? Well, whatever the age group you're in and whatever it is you're looking for from a vacation you'll want to check out these Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rental offers.

The place has everything, sparkiling blue seas, great weather (just perfect for that winter break)...what about one of these Cabo San Lucas villas for a week or two to recover from (or avoid!) the snow?

Cabo San Lucas accomodations come in every shape size and form, suitable for every pocket, lifestyle and type of vacation. Well worth checking out if you're looking for a little bit of that sun sand and sangria this winter.

And let's face it, who wouldn't like a little bit of sun, sand and sangria in the middle of winter?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Poker Codes

Yes, yes, we all know about the killjoys who would prevent us from playing poker over the internet. For some reason they think that our doing what we wish with our own money is a bad idea.

Fortunately, while they've tried to make it illegal everywhere they haven't succeeded so there are indeed still places....but where are those places? And, more importantly, how can you get great deals on using them?

Again, fortunately, there are people who can help you out with this. Have a look here for example for the PokerStars marketing code, or here for the PokerStars bonus code or, if you prefer, the Full Tilt referral code.

The good news is that not only can you still do what you want with your own time and money, there are people out there willing to help you do so.

Now there's a hefty sentence

We've got (sadly) rather strong laws against organ trading. We all know that a market in them would lead to more people living longer. However, the laws are there and when people break them they should be punished, yes?

Singapore retail tycoon Tang Wee Sung was Wednesday jailed for two hours and fined S$17,000 ($11,850) for lying to get approval for a kidney transplant and for organ trading, the Straits Times newspaper said.

He had been sentenced to jail for a day, but was set free by the end of the business day, the paper said Thursday.

That's one hell of a sentence, don't you think?

Really have them all shaking in their boots?

Reverse Phone Lookups

Do you find that you get problems with phone calls? No, not the usual horrible service that you get from your call plan provider. No, rather, do people phone you and just breath down the line at you? Do you get dropped or missed calls? People who won't leave a meassage?

You can find out who they are now thanks to an interesting little website. CallerBase allows you to look up any number that your caller ID has captured and find out who they are and where they are.

The basic service is free on the CallerBase website and there's paid for services possible for unlisted and cell phone numbers. If you're being troubled by these types of calls then it looks like a great service to help you.

Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers

You've really rather got to go for it to win this prize. Serious hard work is required.

"Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers" benefited from a late surge in public support to win the title Friday of oddest book title of the past 30 years, The Bookseller magazine said.

The book -- a comprehensive record of Greek postal routes by Derek Willan -- grabbed 13 percent of the 1,000 international public votes cast to chose the oddest title from the winners of the annual competition that began in 1978.

It beat "People Who Don't Know They're Dead" and "How To Avoid Huge Ships" into second and third places with 11 and 10 percent respectively.

But it's not so much the title of the book that requires the hard work. Yes, OK, a certain amount of effort has to go into thinking up such a title.

But in order to be entered into this contest you not only have to come up with such a've also got to go and write a whole book about it.

Think about it, if you think that reading such a book might be just a tad boring, imagine the narcolepsy brought on by trying to write it?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chalfont Pennsylvania

Are you round and about Chalfont Pennsylvania? You are? Excellent, might you also be looking for a hair salon Chalfont? You are?

Even better. Why not click through that link there to check out Tony D's place? Not just a full service place, it's a total body concept place.

Not just a hair salon color chalfont sort of place, they also do massages, waxes and of course, the full set of wash, cut, dry and colorings. The prices look pretty good too.

Hey to get you to try them out they'll even offer $10 off any service if you're a new customer.

It's the full service salon Chalfont desires, don't you think?

Worth clicking through to see their prices and the full set of services. It's also a pretty good website actually, recommended as a good example of a small business site.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trade Show Gear

One of the things we businessmen know is that you've got to go for the marketing gusto. There's no point in being shy or reluctant in proclaiming the value and worth of your own products.

That's why when you go off to tradeshows there's no point in simplyhaving a few mimeographs to hand out from your table and chair booth. You need to actually spend some time and money on your trade show exhibits. Click through that link to see what I mean: those sorts of stands and designs scream that you've got something interesting to tell people. Which of course, is half the battle in any type of marketing, getting people's attention in the first place.

You might also want to have a look at what they can do for you about exhibit booths as well, to see more detail of what is on offer. Yes, trade show displays are also available.

You only get that one chance to make a first impression on a potential customer: to convert them into an actual customer that impression has to be a good one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Generators R Us

Where we are we've got a very nervous electricty supply system. It seems to vary hugely, from brownout to over bearingly bright. It also fails consistently. So I've been looking into the possibility (nay, necessity!) of getting us a generator. It simply doesn't work trying to make a living on hte internets without reliable electricity supplies.

This one, a kubota diesel generator might be a little over the top for my needs but that site looks like an excellent guide to what I do in fact need. I've even got a buddy who can pack it up and ship it to me...although from what I can see the distributor will do that too.

What I need to work out first is what size of diesel generator I need. Not all that big I would guess, I'm only looking to run one household off of it. With a 10 minute UPS system and battery on hte computer, then run the incoming power line through a trip switch to start the generator if power is cut....that's the way it is done isn't it?

So, what I need to do now is run through the site and see which of the various diesel generators

will meet that spec.

Fortunately the site is well laid out and really simple so that even I can understand it. Right, excuse me, I'm off, got work to do on getting this place properly sorted out.

Cupid's arrow hits Olympic archers

You know, that's the sort of headline that sub editors spend their entire working lives looking forward to. A bad pun and the opportunity to use it.

South Korea's top male and female archers capped gold medal performances at the Beijing Olympics by announcing wedding plans just as the games ended, an archery official said on Tuesday.

Park Sung-hyun, 25, who led the women's team to a gold medal and won an individual silver in Beijing, is to marry Park Kyung-mo, 33, who had similar success at the Games.

"The exact date hasn't been decided yet but, yes, they are dating each other and planning to get married," said an official from the Korea Archery Association.

The two, known for their cool composure in competition, struck up a relationship while training for the Olympics.

They surprised team mates and coaches by announcing at a Beijing restaurant that they were engaged, local media reported people close to the two archers as saying.

For those of you who don't know the intricacies of the news business there's two entirely different groups of people out there who bring it to you. The reporters, who investigate and write the actual stories. And the sub editors: they're the ones who lay them out, check them, edit them and yes, they also write the headlines. The two rarely meet and certainly hold each other in contempt...but the subs live for the day when they can get such crashingly awful puns into hte headlines.

Dental Care

You may or may not believe this but good dental care is the biggest marker of success in the US today.

No, really. The technology has become so advanced and so developed that anyone with less than perfect teeth is facing a really hard problem in getting ahead in American society. So given this, and given the cheapness of so many of the dental products, you might want to think about having a look over here at dental health products . Use your head to get ahead sort of thing :-)

Actually the technology has advanced so much that dental care and dental products are not just for us humans any more. As we learn more about the problems that can come from gum disease and so on, we now have available things like this: dog plaque remover . Just as with our own teeth it's important to make sure that your pets don't suffer from those debilitating diseases which lead to teeth falling out and even, in extreme cases, heart disease (yes, gum infections can indeed lead to that).

And for those who like to get up close and personal with their dogs, how about this? dog bad breath treatments?

That's a site well worth having a look at so check out today!.

Mobile Phone throwing championship

No, this isn'tsomthing done in urban Amerioca as people realise what cr*p they're signed up to with Sprint. Rather, the world mobile phone (or cellphone if you prefer) throwing championships are held in Finland.

Writer Risto Etelamaki said mobile-phone throwing -- which originated from Finland's national strength in the sport of javelin throwing -- combines recycling philosophy with play.

"The sport is also a symbolical mental liberation from the restraining yoke of being constantly within reach," he wrote in his book "Funny Finnish Pursuits."

Finland, home of mobile phone giant Nokia, boasts one of the most mature mobile phone markets in the world, where people pay for pizzas, parking and tram tickets using cellphones.

It's not actually the weirdest of the summer competitions either. There's swamp soccer, there's milk pail sitting, wife lifting:

Organizers say the wife-carrying contest is rooted in the legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who in the 19th century tested aspiring gang members by forcing them to lug sacks of grain or live swine over a similar course.

Another notion is that it stems from an even earlier tribal practice of wife-stealing, in honor of which many contestants now take up the challenge with someone else's wife.

Those hundreds of Finns who vie each year to keep their behinds longest in nests occupied by some 40,000 ants are, it is claimed, actually following an ancient health ritual -- one which keeps all their senses alive.

The real reason they do all of thios though is that the winters are so appalling that they'll do anything to get outside in hte summer.

Õr at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Russian Brides

OK, so everyone (OK, all single men are) is interested in the secrets of Russian Dating , yes?

As someone who lived there for more years than I care to remember perhaps I can give you some pointers?

Actually, to be honest, it's rather easier for me to point you to this site about Russian Women . I think they've got it pretty much right. There is a very different attitude to life and marriage over there.

One scene in a movie that describes it all rather well. It's Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer in, umm, The Russia House I think. They're in her apartment and they've just had dinner. He helps her with the plates and tries to start doing the dishes. She asks "Why would you take my privileges?".

This is, as you might note, a vastly different division of the labour of the household than we're used to in other countries. There is still very much a division into what is rightfully men's work and what is rightfully women's.

Heck, I remember a date there when I cooked dinner for a couple of girls in the papartment. They refused to believe that a man would have cooked dinner (no, it wasn't very good, it was it being done at all that surprised them).

No,Russian Brides are not a walk over, it's not a mail order operation, much travel and time must be spent in capturing their heart, just as with any other woman. But the end result, as the site (go on, click through to see) points out can be a very different style of relationship.

Nun Beauty Pageant

It's a shame, this sounded like it could have been a really fun time: a nun's beauty pageant.

Yes, an Italian priest was thinking of having a beauty pageant for nuns. Who wouldn't be looking forward to the swimsuit round?

Sadly it looks like it's not going to happen.

An Italian priest who had planned an online "pageant" for nuns has suspended the project, saying he was misinterpreted and had no intention of putting sisters on a beauty catwalk.

"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Antonio Rungi told Reuters by telephone from his convent in southern Italy Tuesday.

"It was not at all my intention to put nuns on the catwalk," said Rungi, a priest of the Passionists religious order, speaking from his convent in the town of Mondragone.

Rungi's idea appeared in newspapers around the world after he wrote of a contest for nuns on his blog, called by some "Sister Italy 2008."

"It was interpreted as more of a physical thing. Now, no-one is saying that nuns can't be beautiful, but I was thinking about something more complete," he said.

He said his concept for the contest, in which nuns would vote for themselves on his blog, would include attributes such as their spirituality, social awareness, charity and other qualities.

Ah, now that makes more sense: it would have been a pageant for the beauty of their souls. But even that has risks: wouldn't the winner risk being overcome by the sin of pride?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Murad Acne

OK, so we know that acne is one of those teenage things, right? It comes and goes simply as part of that influx of hormones at about that time?

Well, it certainly can do, yes, but it's actually a great deal more than just that in fact. For some people it can be quite life changing in two different ways. The first is that if you get it bad it can end up scarring your skin for ever. The second is that for some people it carries on, it can even grumble on into someone's 30s or 40s, something which is more likely amongst women than men.

Acne Complex
can also happen.

So, no it isn't just one of those little teenage rites that we all have to pass through: it's a great deal more than that in fact. It can be something quite serious.

Fortunately there's also Murad Acne, something which can help deal with these problems.

It's great that the medical industry is ableto help us with these things, of course: now all we have to wait for is the treatment for helping us getting over that crush on the quarterback: that also seems to be one of those teenage things we all go through....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Understanding Dementia

The great plague of our times if the series of demetias and senilities that affect many people as they grow older. Some researchers think that 30 or 40 % of those over 80 show some signs of one or other of them, like Alzheimer's. Over 90 the numbers become even higher. Tehre are also those cases like Terry Pratchett, who has early onset dementia and who is unlikey to be recognisably himself past his 65th birthday.

These sorts of numbers make it all the more imperative that we start understanding dementia. In a scientific manner, of course, so that new and better treatments can be esigned, but also in a societal manner.

For example, it's vital that we understand dementia symptoms: these problems don't just come out of the blue, they take time to develop. And many of the dementia treatments do not reverse the symptoms: but they do stop them advancing. So early diagnosis is vital.

Click through any of the links for a great site to help you and give guidance to you on all these points.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dining Tables

Yes, we've got more furniture blogging as I continue to scour the net for the items with which to furnish our newly reconstructed house. Today it's dining room tables and I'm happy to say that I've found an excellent supplier.

The problem we've got with the locally supplied dining room tables is that people around here tend to be a great deal shorter than we are. Thus almost anything locally made or supplied leads to us banging our knees. Yes, I'm aware that this happens at those huge family lunches, where three or four generations try to assemble around one or more inadequate dining room tables, but I'd rather like that sort of thing to stay there, as an occasional rather than normal experience.

So thus the search and thus the joy at finding someone who seems to do a great line in dining room tables suitable for the taller adult. If your local supplpiers also seem to specialise in tables for the height challenged then I suggest you have a look too: just click through any of those links.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Modern Furniture

As regular readers will know we're sorting out this new to us house down here and we've got to the stage that we need to furnish it. Now it's an old house that we've entirely gutted and redone: so we're not restricted in our choice of furniture for it.

Rather, we can make a choice between modern furniture and old style: something which means we have some thinking to do. For again, while it's on old house the rebuild means that it's now got really clean lines to it, so modern furniture wouldn't look out of place at all. Indeed, the entirely redone walls and floors probably mean that it would look very good indeed.

Anyway, in trying to work out what to do I've found this excellent purveyor of modern furniture: I'm definitely leaning to this rather than old. The only problem is that with this selection (and these prices!) I'm left wondering which piece rather than which style.

Ho hum.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Commercial Mailboxes

You mayor may not be in the market for a commercial mailbox. If you are, might I suggest clicking through one of these links and looking at the different styles of commercial mailbox available?

There are different designs of course: wall mounted, free standing, on columns even kits where you can create a whole little hut with roof and all made of commercial mailboxes.

It shouldn't be all that much of a surprise of course, that these are all availabelfrom just one company. That's the beauty of buying from an internet store: they've always got everything in stock, just ready and waiting for you. And when that store is the leading retailer of those commercial mailboxes, well, you're going to find the full selection of them.

And all at great prices, with an easy to use interface and a well designed site.

So why not take a look?

(You'll also be interested to know they've got an affiliate program where you can earn $20 just for signing up!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finding Web Hosting

Fine, so we all know that to get our business rolling in these modern times we need to have an outlet on the web. If you're not on the internet then you're not anywhere.

Excellent, but having established that point, how do you work out what sort of web hosting you need? Fortunately, the excellent lads here have done a lot of that work for you by providing a series of web hosting tutorials. Describing the different types of hosting that you can have, shared, multiple domains and so on.

That's not all they do though, there's much more than just that. For example, they rate the different hosting companies so that you can see who is in the top ten web hosts. Or more detailed information about FrontPage hosting. Or perhaps you'd be more interested in more depth in cPanel tutorials?

Whether you're just looking for basic information on what type of hosting is potentially available, or you need guidance to who are the best at the various types, or you need detailed guidance on technical issues, this site is a great resource.

Well worth checking out before you try to sign up to any web hosts.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mitral Valves

You know what the mitral valve is, yes? It's that all important part that allows your heart to closes when it's pumping and then opens to let more blood in to be pumped and so on. And it's working 40-100 times a minute every hour of your life so you can imagine that it's one of those parts of the body which might go wrong.

Now there's several ways of doing this, several different forms of mitral valve surgery. Not just the difference between the old style, of cracking open the chest and then then diving in with both hands, and the new which is minimally invasive by laparoscopy.

But further than that, in recent years there's been a change in what is actually done once the surgeon gets in there. It used to be that the basic thought was mitral valve replacement. Hey, it's going wrong so let's put a new one in.

Nowadays though there's a move to mitral valve repair: let's only replace it if we have to. The benefit of this appraoch (where it can be used) is that the patient (that's you or I= doesn't then have to take blood thinning drugs for the rest of their (our) lives.

Fewer drugs sounds good to me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Visiting Australia

I'm pondering what I should do for my midlife crisis, something I know all too well is due sometimes soon. Getting a sportscar and toupee and chasing teenage cocktail waitresses, well, its just been so done, hasn't it?

So perhaps something a little different might be in order. Should I try and track down my Australian relatives? It's slightly odd, but gg grandmother emigrated *from* Australia in the 1860s. She'd gone there with her three sisters and brother under one of the Britiosh government schemes to populate the place and found she didn't like it. So she moved on.

But that of course means that there are the (possible) descendants of her siblings out there as distant cousins. Might be slightly fun to try and find them.

While I vaguely plan this (inbetween checking the ads for sports cars and teenage cocktail waitresses) I've been able to find an excellent site to help me plan my travel. Flights and international flights, of course. But more than that, Singapore Airlines flights (they do after all have the best service reputation of any long distance airline) as well as Jetstar for those internal to Australia flights.

I'm still not sure whether I'll actually go but checking up and dreaming about it sure is fun.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

ShopWiki for Toys

This is really rather a good idea, ShopWiki. We're all aware of the various price comparison sites but there's a problem with them. The rankings and the listings are determined usually by who pays the compilers of the site. So it's possible that you'll get directed to hte people who have paid the most to be recommended rather than who is offering the very best deal or selection. operates rather differently: more like a search engine that a database. It cralws the net just like Google does and is thus able to find all of the people offering a particular item and then rank them according to what their offer is like.

Check out their classic toys section for example. They break the whole subject down into a series of sub units: retro toys for example. Umm, slightly disturbingly, the things I used to play with as a child are described as retro. Ahem.

Or perhaps you would prefer magic trick sets, or stuffed animals (yes, of course the have Pooh!).

They way they do it, by crawling the net, means you get to see all the very best offers: a tool well worth checking out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Those Online Poker Sites

Yes, we all know there are huge numbers of poker sites out there, but which ones should you in fact be using? Assuming that you are in fact in the free parts of the world, where you are in fact allowed to spend your time as you wish that is.

Further, how do you find out which of the good sites actually cater to people who use Apple Macs? Ah, now, there I can help. What you you want is Mac Poker. It's an excellent little site devoted to pointing out the good places where you can indeed use a Mac to play your poker.

As an example, have a look at their review of Poker Stars. That gives you a very good taste of what they're all about. Grading the site in respect of things like customer service, real money traffic and so on.

Or perhaps this review of Poker Bonus will give you a further idea? That's the listing of which sites (along with the associated necessary codes to get them!) will offer you a bonus for signing up or depositing money. Or a similar listing for the online casino bonuses.

All in all it's a very useful and informative site about where you might want to pay poker on your Mac: who can argue with or complain about that, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Furnishing the Locker Room

I have to admit that it's not something we've had to deal with yet in this refurbishment of this new to us house: but it will arrive, we will get there at some point. Around and about the time the pool goes in, actually.

We're going to need to have some lockers: for the pool will be large enough that it won't be just us as the family that use it. That's very nice for us, of course, but it does mean that if we've got a lot of people using it then they'll need somewhere to keep their stuff while they do so.

So, what do you think? Should I be thinking about steel lockers? That does actually sound a little over the top, doesn't it? I mean we're not exactly in a school lockers situation here are we? They don't so much need to be secure as we just need to have somewhere to put things.

Maybe the gym lockers or even the simple plastic lockers would suffice?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Finding the Best Digital Camera

If you're out there trying to find the best digital camera you've actually got something of a problem. For there are so many variations that it's not possible to say that one is the best. The best for whom? For what purposes? What's the best digital camera for you?

Now it is true, you can go to one of the review sites and you can trawl through all of the reviews and try to work it out. Takes a lot of time but it can be done. Or you can click through any of the links and go to a review site that does it rather differently. They start with a real case: take a person and work out what it is that they want to use a camera for. Then use experts to do the searching ffor that use and person, the results being written up as a recommendation.

So, for example, we might have the best travel digital camera, or the best wide angle digital camera, or the best ultra compact digital camera.

It's an excellent idea: instead of you having to wade through reams of information, allow the experts to apply their knowledge on your behalf.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

GPS Tracking

This GPS tracking technology is like most new such technologies: we can think of the excellent and interesting ways that it can be used and also of ways in which it could be used to reduce our freedoms and liberties.

If GPS technology is used for asset tracking, for example, then we can all see the good sides of it. A company can keep an eye on where its trucks are, or a courier where the packages are. Quite excellent and there's no problems there for anybody: all good and no bad.

However, if GPS technology is used for personal tracking, then it's a little more problematic. Sure, it's nice to know where your teenage children are in the car, but do we really want people to start tracking where their spouses are?

Where GPs technology really becomes problematic is in law enforcement. Yes, sure, we can see the utility of it, being able to trace parolees, or suspects. But there's something that we need to balance with this, our own civil rights. And remember, these aren't to protect criminals at all, they're to protect us from the government.

So it's all something of a mixed bag: as is so often true with a new technology. There's good uses and bad uses possible and we'll not really get sorted out which are which and which we're going to allow people to use for a decade or two.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gadget Reviews

The problem with this never ending stream of gadetry that pours out of the manufacturers is that you never know when someone has released something you might actually want. Sure, there's 15 new phones every afternoon, but which, if any of them, are actually worth having?

Which is why I'm rather happy to have found this great site full of gadget reviews. Up to date, comprehensive, clear and simple in their evaluations. Sounds simple for them to do of course but there's a huge amount of effort that goes into trying to organise something like that and keep it up to date.

For an example of their latest gadgets have a look here. It gives you a very good idea of the sort of range of gadgetry they cover: it's not all just phones or laptops. There's also this page which allows you to access a series of top 10 reviews. The top 10 games consoles, the top 10 PC accessories, the top 10 robots....

And excellent site to go browsing through and a must visit one if you're thinking of adding to your stock of man toys and gadgets.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Second Stage of the House

As regular readers will know we've been working on this new (to us at least) house for some time now. We've got one half entirely finished and now we've got to decide what to do with what were the storage buildings for this small farm. Should we try to convert them as they are? Pull them down and rebuild in traditional style?

Or perhaps we might think of doing something a little more radical? I'm rather a fan of steel buildings....not least because we're in an earthquake zone and making sure that such metal buildings meet standards is really quite simple. It's not just metal carports or metal garages either, there's some really rather interesting things you can do with this building technique. In fact, if you're looking to get a high roof, or a large glass expanse in one wall, then this can be a great deal cheaper than more traditional bricks and mortar.

Fortunately I know the local guy for these products...I'll have to ask him over for a beer sometime....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Kauffman Foundaton and Entrepreneurship

If you're interested in entrepreneurship at all then you'll really want to check out this site of the Kauffman Foundation. For me the biggest interest is their scholarly work into entrepreneurs, what makes them tick and how to encourage more of them.

But what they actually do is a great deal more than that. Founded from the fortune of Ewing Kauffman (the founder of Marion Industries) they do a great deal more than just the dry and dusty scholarship.

For example, on campuses right across the country the encourage college entrepreneurship: if you're looking around for someone who might be able to help with a bright idea you've got that wouldn't be a bad place to start.

They've also created a network of angels and investors who will actually fund (obviously, some but not all) good ideas and good people.

But I think that the part that I like best is that they've noted that minority entrepreneurship is less common than in other groups, and theyre working to do something about that.

All in all they do education, outreach, funding, training and public advocacy on the subjects of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship: all good stuff for it's that next generation of them that's going to pay for all our retirements.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Auto Transport

Recent events have made me start to think a great deal about auto transport. Yes, I know, an odd subject to be pondering, but the changes in gas prices around the world have led to some very different behaviour in different parts of the world. And, being the sort of globe trotting international guy that I am this might open up some interesting opportunities.

In the US the rise in gas prices has led to people ditching their large trucks and SUVs in favour of more economical vehicles. This is pushing down hte price of used versions of them, as basic Economics 101 would indicate. Now I also know people in other countries that don't have high gas prices: so if I could get decent car shipping to move used cars from the US to those countries then there could be a good profit to be made, don't you think?

Now the people I know outside the US are in Angola and Venezuela: both big oil producers and also places which subsidise the domestic price of gas. So the prices of used large cars in those countries haven't been hit in the same way.

Buy cheap, sell higher, that's the way to make money, isn't it?

And having looked around the web I've been able to find a company that does indeed deal with international car shipping. And at higly reasonable prices as well: now all I need to find out is whether my buddies are up for the challenge....

Wikis and Shopping

Now here's an idea: one that I wish I had thought of first. Combine the technology of a wiki (like Wikipedia etc) and the functions of a shopping comparison engine. What do you end up with? Shopwiki. And excellent and interesting innovation to my mind.

So, imagine that you want to shop for something. Should you simply take the word of those who are trying to sell you something? Or perhaps a community populated site, where you can get the advice of those who have actually seen, bought or used the tiems would be better? Well, who is going to tell you more of the truth?

So, for example, look at this section on nursery furniture. You can drill down further to rocking chairs, to changing tables, to toy chests, whatever is your specific desire.

But over and above this great functionality (and it's a very clean and quick site as well) you've got one further great bonus. On hte more normal shopping comparison engines you only get shown (at least, in the first few pages of results) those people who have paid to be presented in those first few pages. Here, you get a real comparison of all of the different offers, making it much easier for you to find both what you want and the best deal on it.

Finishing Off The House.

As regular readers will know we've been working on this new (to us) house for some time now. And while pretty much everything is now done as always, when you think you've finished, you haven't quite. With hte heat of the summer (finally!) upon us, there's some discussion about how we need to get some ceiling fans into the place to move the hot air around.

Fortunately, we know where to go for a great selection at great prices: these ellington fans look really good for example. Or maybe these casablanca fans would be better?

But from my point of view the best thing about being able to do all of this shopping on hte net is that I don't have to do it. Having found this great supplier, all I have to do is hand the mouse over to the wife and let her get on with it.....Dear? perhaps these hunter fans are more what you're looking for? I'm off for a beer while you look around.....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reverse Mortgages

OK, we're all familiar with the various permutations of a regular mortgage: you borrow money (in a variety of ways, to be sure) to purchase a house or apartment and then you pay back that loan over time.

Something that's becoming a great deal more popular as the population ages is (and especially in California for some reason) are CA reverse mortgages. The essential point here is that instead of using one of these California reverse mortgages to purchase a home you are in effect selling it.....but you get to stay in the home until you decide (or find that fate has decided for you) to leave it permanently. You might get a lump sum from such a program, but the more usual reason is to provide a regular income.

Yes, that's right, Ca reverse mortgages are about freeing up he equity in your home, but you get to stay living in it, and those offering the reverse mortgage are paying you regularly for the right to take possession of the house in the future.

It can be an excellent way for those asset rich but income poor to turn one asset into an income. Click through any of the links above to find out more about these programs.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Greek Gear

It's one of those hugely important things about the university campus, of course: the fraternity and sorority houses. Which you belong to helps to define who you are on campus and with such a definition of course you want to be dressed the part as well.

Which is why you might want to go over and have a look at this page dealing with Greek Clothing: if you're going to dress the part then you might as well get the best quality Greek Apparel at the very finest prices, no?

Or perhaps you'd prefer a Greek Hoody Sweatshirt? And yes, you can add your own letters sso as to make up the name of your fraternity: it wouldn't do to have to take off the shelf clothing now, would it?

If noe of the clothing lines quite take your fancy why not show your loyalty with any of this set of Greek Gear?

Whatever it is you're looking for in terms of fraternity and sorority gear, that's the place you're going to find it so why not click through one of the links?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Exercising the Horses

Now this is something I'd never really thought about before but now that I've seen it I think it's wonderful. It's a horse exerciser.

No, yes, I know what you're thinking....we keep horses to get exercise ourselves, don't we? So why would we want a horse walker that gives them that exercise automatically? And there's a point there, but when you look at how we actually live our lives today, you begin to see why. How many of us can actually ride our horse each and every day? Well, yes, quite. Plenty of us cannot manager to walk our dogs every day....

So that's the niche that horse walkers occupy: yes, we get to ride when we want to , when we can, but the horse himself (and let's not be sexist here, herself as well) gets the exercise that they want and need when we can't be there too.

All around, an excellent idea, don't you think?

Treating That Acne

No, it's not true that acne is just something sent to try hormonal teenagers. Rather, it's something that can happen to any of us at just about any time. So it's good news that there are in fact acne products that can do something about it.

Do note though that it's something about it, not cureing it. That's as yet not possible, to simply take a treatment and it all disappears. But there is an acne product which will both treat it when it does occur and will reduce the liklihood and impact of any further flare ups. There are in fact many of them but most have one rather large problem.

They contain benzoyl peroxide, and while this can indeed help it can also in fact make both hte current symptoms worse and also dry out your skin too much. So why not click through to find out about the best acne products, those from Murad, which don't contain benzoyl peroxide?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sorting out the Basement

Regular readers will know that we've been getting this new (to us at least) house sorted out for some time now. We've got the external and interal parts just about finished now (a little tiling and grouting in the kitchen, not much more to go) and now we need to start getting the things that will keep it in shipshape fashion.

Like basement dehumidifiers. Being where we are, in a region that is both warm and humid (we're near the sea) one of the basement dehumidifiers is pretty much essential for us. During the day of course it's fine down there, but if we don't take care, as night falls and temperature drops, then the moisture will sink out of the air and we'll end up with who knows what funghi growing on the walls.

Yes, funghi, not fun guys. So, in my search for basement dehumidifiers I found this company and their web pgage on them. Looks pretty good to be honest, a good range and great prices. So, excuse me while I go and flash the credit card at them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting Your Insurance Sorted Out

It's one of those things that no one really likes to think about: that none of us will live forever. However, while the single with no dependents might simply have to accept this ugly fact about life and its end, those either married or with dependents do need to think a little more about matters.

If you were to die, would your partner be able to keep on living the life they are accustomed to? Would your children still have enough money for college and so on?

This is what the insurance business is all about, insuring against such risks. Here there's two major types of it. For example, 20 year term life insurance. This involves you paying a premium each month for the 20 year term and if you should be unfortunate enough to die in that period then your dependents get taken care of.

There's also with profits insurance, where in return for a higher premium you get not just he life cover but also a savings plan: some of the money you pay over is invested and comes back to you.

The real point about these forms of insurance is that if you're going to get it, you need to get quotes from a number of different suppliers. Like, say, AIG term insurance or Prudential term insurance. Only by looking at what the market has to offer can you be sure of getting the best deal.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nanny Cameras

Now here's something of a conundrum over the appropriate uses of a nanny camera.

Well, to start with of course there's the use for which a nanny camera was designed. So that you can see what said nanny is doing when you're out of the house. Is she entertaining her boyfriend upon the couch while your child struggles in the bath? Or is she taking care of the little darlings in the way you want?

But then we find ourselves wandering off into rather more controversial uses for a nanny camera. Let's imagine that she was rather hot and was indeed entertaining her boyfirend? Is this something you would then watch? And would that be with or without your wife then?

To get to really extreme uses, what if she was indeed hot and was willing to entertain you on the couch? Something to show the wife or not?

Hmm, these things can become a little complicated, can't they?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Marketing Programs

It's a few years since I was involved in this industry but it's still true, the basics of it. The value of any marketing campaign depends upon how tightly you target your advertising. There's no point in your trying to advertise cars either to non-drivers or those too poor to afford one, no point in advertising diapers to those without children.

So the start of any campaign has to be the aquisition of a target list, for example, a marketing list. I recall one campaign we ran where our targets were solicitors (one of the two types of lawyer in England). The customer expected us to use the phone book and simply call every advert in it....we argued that to be a solicitor you had to, by law, be a member of the Law Society. So we shoud use the Law Society membership list, which is what we actually did.

Now not every list of mailing leads is as easy to discover as that: which is why for most such you'll probably want to go to a list broker, they collect and collate these for a specialty.

For example, there's no simple way of collating your own mortgage mailing list so why not click through any of the links and see what the specialists can do for you?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Breast Form Boutique

So here is something a little different for the discerning shopper. The Breast Form Boutique. It describes itself as all you need to "become the woman you've always wanted to be". Umm, no, it's not aimed at the female audience either. Rather, at those who are not female but rather wished they were.

Yes, it's a shop for everyone from the cross-dresser through to the pre-surgery transexual. Not quite my cup of tea but I do find it fascinating that they say that they've been catering to the cross dressing community since the early 1900''s been going on that long?

Still, an interesting selection of goods, many just what you might think of: buttock enhancers, emulating the feminine deposits of adipose tissue, and some you might not have. Who, for example, would have thought that someone made a prosthetic pudendum?

Still if that's what floats your boat, go for it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Furnishing the House

As regular readers will know we're in hte process of dealing with this new (to us) house and now that we've got most of it done we are approaching the final part of stage one. The final part of one half of the house that is.

We've got the builders coming in with the kitchen and utlitly room stuff! Yay!. Already bought almost all of the necessary bits and pieces, only one more to go. The washing machine. So given my dislike of going shopping (I've been known to walk into a store, see something and say "I'll have that", rather than bothering to compare things) I've been casting around the web for places that will sell me a washing machine.

And I've got to say, these guys at Wize seem to do a pretty good selection in the washing machine line. The prices are good as well: they compare very favourably with the other sites I've seen. Of course, there is still a gender difference in how these things work: I'm certainly not going to be allowed to simply buy one. That will be the decision of the wife. No, not because I'm a sexsist pig but because that's just the way things work around here. I'm not allowed to buy anything important without her say so: for precisely the reason mentioned above, I'll buy the first thing I see.

Still, at least I know where to point her now, which website she'll get to choose from.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Structured Settlements

This is a little understood part of the financial world, the way in wihch you can sell a structured settlement. Another word for the same practice (although with subtle differences) is viaticals.

OK, so that's made no sense to anyone at all. Think of it this way. You get an insurance payout say, or have a pension being paid to you perhaps. But instead of that weekly or monthly check you'd prefer to have the money in one lump sum now. A more formal description is here.

Essentially what you're doing is trading a stream of payments for a lump sum now. The buyer of the stream of payments and the provider of the lump sum is doing the opposite of course. Again, you can click here for more details.

But if this is something that you want to do how do you actually go about it? How do you make sure that you're getting a good deal? One suggestion would be that you start with Settlement Quotes LLC. Click through there to see their site. If you tell them of the details of your structured settlement they'll be able to get you quotes on what the lump sum will be.

Thomas Delgado

No, really, this is taking the piss. He cannot be serious about this, can he? Really?

A Spanish driver who collided with a cyclist is suing the dead youth's family $29,300 for the damage the impact of his body did to his luxury car, a Spanish newspaper reported on Friday.

Businessman Tomas Delgado says 17-year-old Enaitz Iriondo caused $20,500 of damage to his Audi A8 in the fatal 2004 crash in La Rioja region, the El Pais newspaper reported.

Delgado, who has faced no criminal charges for the incident, wants a further 6,000 euros to cover the cost of hiring another vehicle while his car was being repaired, El Pais said.

The youth had been cycling alone at night without reflective clothing or a helmet, according to a police report cited by El Pais.

I mean I laughed when I read it: but not that funny laughter, that one you get when someone tells you a good joke.

No, the disgusted kind, the "Awwww, noooo" and then a chuckle. It's not enough to kill the kid (and the driover has already been found at fault for driving too fast that night), he's claiming damages about the incident. He might even have a case in law but no, this is simply not the behaviour of a gentleman.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Truth About Martial Arts

Now this really looks rather interesting, a site that attempts to tell us the truth about martial arts. Put out of your mind for a moment all that rubbish about Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, unless you're willing to spend 15-20 years training up you're not going to get anywhere near to that level of skill: and you certainly won't be able to do retakes like they could.

So a much more sensible idea would be to take a free road test of the close combat training system offered by world expert Chris Prizzo. He's a world leader in self defense (which is of course what you want to know about. You're not interested in balletic kicks and makingyourself look good, you want to know how to disable an attacker for long enough that you can get away) and as I sway, you can test his system for free just by clicking through one of those links.

So why not try it out? Captain Chris' close combat, nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.


So, you're a convicted car thief and joyrider. You've got to go to a special class for convicted car thieves and joyriders. Yes? Got the basic set up? It's also freezing cold out there and you've got no transport except shank's pony. So, what do you do? Got it yet?

A group of teenage car thieves took a joy ride to a court-ordered counseling program aimed to keep them away from stealing cars, Winnipeg police said on Tuesday.

The four suspects, aged 16 and 17, were attending the counseling program in the Canadian prairie city as part of a court order relating to previous auto thefts, said Detective Sergeant Kevin Kavitch of the city's stolen-autos unit.

A local newspaper suggested the teens had stolen the car because it was "too cold to walk" to their court ordered training program, although Kavitch described it as a crime of opportunity. Winnipeg daytime temperatures dipped to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 Fahrenheit) last week, with wind chill.

Yup, that's right, you steal a car to go to your class on how much of a naughty buy you are for stealing cars.

Honestly, some people.

Matchmaking Service Reviews

Yes, we've all got used to using internet personals to spice up the possibilities of our love and romantic life. But thie thing is, it's really rather difficult to work out which of the sites to use. There are so many of them, some geared to such tiny niches as to be valueless to most, others so general that finding someone special on them would be impossible. And paying to join all of them to test them would be ruinously expensive.

Fortunately, as is so often true, markets have a way of solving these problems: someone steps in to offer you a guide throuh the various options. Which is exactly what this matchmaking service site does, offering reviews of the different sites. For example, here's their review and here's the Lavalife review.

If you're thinking of joining in the internet datin revolution, it's an extremely useful site telling you where it might be best for you, with your own special interests, to start.


Jokes are copyright now?

"Tonight Show" host Jay Leno got the last laugh Wednesday in his legal battle with the creator of numerous joke books filled with stolen gags and punch lines.

The publishers of such compendiums as "Jokes to Go," "Comedy Thesaurus" and "The Funny Pages" vowed to immediately stop printing and distributing the books in a settlement with Leno and fellow comedians who sued author Judy Brown.

Under the legal deal announced by Leno's lawyers, Brown and her publishers also agreed to pay monetary compensation, and she apologized to the entertainers whose jokes she copied. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

That's a very weird decision indeed. Most odd. You can copyright writing, of course, and you can copyright music, but a stand up joke? I'm not really sure how that decision cvould have been reached. Most especially as so much comedy is in the timing of the telling, the method of expression, rather than the jokes themselves. Sorry, I don't understand this.

Leno acknowledged much of the material attributed to him originated with his "Tonight Show" writing team.

"On behalf of the tremendous and talented group of writers we have at 'The Tonight Show' and many other hard-working comedians, I'm very glad we've been able to stop this practice once and for all," he said in a statement.

OK, that I understand: he's paid good money for those jokes and doesn'twant someone to use them without paying him. But I still don't understand the legal basis of the ruling.

Cheap Office Supplies

OK, so we all know how to save money using coupons on the things we buy for home: that's not to difficult, you simply get the local newspaper and clip out the coupons. As and when you go shopping you use the coupons and save the money. Very good, all very simple.

However, it's rather more difficult to work out where to find the coupons you might be able to use on office supplies and business products. The local newspaper is unlikely to carry them, after all. It's also very tough to find out where you can get coupons and discount codes for the online stores. After all, you can't send the paper coupons down your modem, can you?

Which is what makes this site so great. They're into cheap office supplies, discount business furniture and deals on computer printer ink cartridges and their site does just what it says on the tin there. They help you find the good deals which are out there on your office and business supplies. How they do this is also delightfully simple.

They maintain a database of the online coupons and discount codes that are available. For example, here are their WalMart coupons and their Office Depot discounts. So if you're about to buy something from those (or many other) stores, you simply go to their site and see whether they can save you money. And it's all free, of course.

And even better, you don't have to scour the newspapers, nor clip anything out of them. Well worth checking out.

Snail Mail!

I know, we techno-types have been calling it snail mail for decades. Why send a letter when email is so much faster?

But it's actually true, incertain circumstances, that a snail could in fact deliver the letter faster than the actual mail service:

An IT worker, after receiving a letter on January 3 that was sent on December 20 as priority mail, calculated that a snail would have made it even faster to his home than the letter.

Daily Gazeta Wyborcza said Michal Szybalski calculated that it took 294 hours for the letter to arrive at his home. He also said the distance between his home and the sender was 11.1 kilometers.

Given the distance and the time, the speed of the letter was 0.03775 kilometers per hour. Szybalski calculated that a garden snail travels at around 0.048 kilometers per hour.

Now all we've got to do is work out how to get a uniform and a mail bag onto the little critters....

Oh, and stop them eating the glue off the stamps.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UK Credit Cards

Now for something a little different, directed more at our UK readership than anyone else.

We all know that the are hundreds, if not thousands, of varations of credit cards forced upon us all the time. Annual fee, no annual fee, zero interest transfers, lower rates on balances, points mkae prizes cards: th list of alternatives is endless. But, of course, that leaves us with the problem of which credit card (or cards) to actually use. You don't want to apply for a credit card if someone else is offering you a better deal now, do you?

For example, if you were thinking of switching cards you would want to research all about interest free credit cards, rather than having to pay on a balance transfer, wouldn't you? And you certainly don't want to take the first offer that appears through your letter box.

Fortunately there is a solution. Click through any of those links and you'll be taken to a site which aids you in comparing all of the different offers and thus enables you to makethe right decision for you.

Turkmenbashi Bashed

The last ruler of Turkmenistan was a Grade A, primo nutcase. Not content with simply stealing all the money and building statues of himself everywhere, he banned Turkmen women from marrying abroad, renamed one of the months of the year after his mother, generally drove the place even further into oppression and poverty (and after the Soviet rule, that was tough) and in what was perhaps the least objectionable of his rulings, banned the circus and the opera.

Turkmenistan will end its seven-year ban on opera and the circus introduced by the Caspian nation's former eccentric leader, state media reported.

Saparmurat Niyazov, who cultivated an elaborate personality cult during his 21-year rule, died in late 2006 of a heart attack. He banned opera, ballet and the circus, saying they are "alien" to Turkmen culture.

The new leader, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has sought to promote a softer image for the gas-rich nation bordering Iran -- and reversed some of Niyazov's most eccentric policies.

Late Sunday, state television announced his plans to reopen an opera house, resume circus shows and build a cinema in the capital Ashgabat.

OK, wonderful, he's dead and they're changing policies. Unfortunately, the poverty remains but they will now be allowed to see fat birds warbling and clowns. An advance, if not all that much of one.