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?