Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The coming changes in education

It's just one of those things about new inventions that we don't really know what they're going to be used for, how they'll change the world, until they've been out there for a bit and we can observe what people are actually using them for. for example, this internet thing we're on right now. Most seem to think that it's for porn and stealing MP3 files.

However, I think there's a very good argument that what it's really going to change is education. For at the moment we gather everyone together in one room and someone talks at them. This is the essential education model and it's been the same for the past few centuries. What the internet allows is that people don't all have to be gathered together in order to be talked at.

Have a look at this site for example. Free math help is their opening offer. But that's really the some on. What they're really offering is one to one tutoring over the 'net. Maths (and they work on other subjects too) is no longer something you learn in groups of 20 or more. You can work at your own pace, with guidance.

They go as far as college algebra and factoring polynomials as well. I really do think that this sort of use of the internet is the wave of the future: so much so that I think the industry that will be changed most over the long term will be education.

Where to find your webhosting

As we've pointed out several times around here there's no way a business is going to survive without having a web presence these days. No, you don't have to go the whole hog and only sell over the web, like, say, Amazon does. But you do need at least something to tell potential customers that you're there. If you're not in the search engines, you're just not going to be getting the business, your competitors will be.

The first stage of getting onto the web of course is to work out who your webhosting is going to be with. Are you really going to go and try and sell everything on the web? Market, sell, upgrade, interact with your customers purel;y online? In which case you're almost certainly going to want to look at dedicated server hosting. That's what's going to give you the control over the platform that you need.

Or perhaps you just want a small site to make sure that potential customers can find you? In which case you might want to look at something much simpler (and cheaper) like Wordpress hosting.

But whichever end of the market you're aiming for, or even whatever point in the middle, click through those links to see a useful site which can give you the details on who and where you can get those services.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Understanding spread betting

Understanding spread betting can be a little tricky at first. The basic point is that one isn't betting upon so much the outcome of an event but upon the precision of your forecast of an event. To think in horse racing terms, we're not trying to bet on which horse wins the race: but by how many lengths the horse wins the race.

Now it's true we tend not to do spread betting on horses in that manner: but there's an entire world out there of events upon which we can. Sports events, where we've got points being socred, are an obvious place for us to be doing that. If a soccer match could be won 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 and so on, there are a number of possibilities to be more accurate than simply Team X to win. Given that there are more possible outcomes of course odds tend to be larger. Thus the excitement is greater. As are all the variations in what can be done.

But as with anything else new it's necessary to understand the basics and spread betting is no different. Fortunately there's anice site, which you can get to simply by clicking through any of the links, that can guide you through this process. Perhaps most importantly, guide you as to which companies are offering inducements to you to try out their systems and platforms on which to do such betting. Especially the free bets they offer.

Good luck and have fun!

The story of Melissa Petro

I have to admit that I find all of this absolutely fascinating, the story of Melissa Petro. To give you a flavour.

Hooker-turned-teacher Melissa Petro yesterday admitted she knew her sex-for-hire past would land her in detention.

"Didn't you see this coming?" fellow Bronx teacher Ruben Brosbe asked Petro via Facebook after her sordid former sideline was revealed in The Post.

"We talked about it on the first day of training," Brosbe reminded his pal.

"Of course I saw it coming," the feisty Petro, a third-year art teacher at PS 70, wrote back.

Brosbe and Petro declined comment yesterday.

But Petro -- who has been reassigned amid an Education Department probe of her blogging about her exploits as a "former sex worker" -- joked on Facebook about how she hoped a car outside was a teachers-union escort and not "one of the 200 creepy dudes now trying to 'friend' me."

Now the thing is you see, what's supposed to happen in Nwe York once youn qualify as a teacher is that you spend three yeasr on a sort of probation. Only after you've passed that probation do you get tenure: effectively, it''s near impossible for you to get fired at that point.

The claimed aim of this three year period is to make sure that you are of sound character, of the sort of moral type, that peeps would like to have teaching their children. And there are supposed to be background checks and so on to make sure this is true.

While in this three year period Ms. Petro was not exactly quiet about her former trade as a hooker. She was in fact blogging about it under her own name. And yet those checks didn't manage to pick up on it.

Something of an embarrassment for those running the checks, don't you think?

On the subject of mens' clothes

Hmm, actually, should that be men's clothes or mens' clothes? Our approximation at solving the riddle of the Greengrocer's Apostrophe of the day perhaps (or is that Greengrocers'?). The clue to where the placement of that little piece of punctuation is is whether we are talking of clothes for a man or clothes for many men. And it could indeed still be both for while they might be clothes that would appeal to many men we usually expect that they'll be worn by just the one man. At any particular time at least.

Hmm, anyway, to get away from the pedantry, this is of course the time of year when wardrobes get cleared out, last year's warm winter woollies checked for signs of moth damage and then the necessary replacements found. Of course, the necessity of topping up the men's clothes selection foudn in said wardrobes does mean that one is also able to advance one's look to this season's fashions rather than being, like so many of our fellow Brits, stuck somewhere around 2002. Or, in particulalry sad cases, whatever year one's mother is stuck in when she buys your clothes for you.

Which leads us to a little recommendation if you are indeed on the hunt for expansions in the selection of men's clothes available to you. Just click through any of the links and you'll be taken to a site carrying the best of the best, up to date fashion for men. There's free delivery (if you're qquick) on orders over £50 and there's even a student discount. And if you don't like online shopping then there's a store locator so you can find out where to find the clothes in meatspace. What more could you possibly want?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How could Jessica Alba appear naked?

Quite, how could Jessica Alba appear naked in a movie when she'd told us all that she wasn't going to do something like that. She is an actress by gum and nudity to turn on the audience is something done purely by starlets, the young wannabees, not something done by those who can actually act.

And yet there she is, Jessica Alba in all her naked, nude, glory in her new movie Machete. So how can this come about? Actually, this Jessica Alba naked thing is quite simple. Here's how you do it:

Jessica Alba looks like she has broken her promise never to strip off for a movie role.

But her white undies in the shot were actually digitally removed in Machete.

Yes, that's right kiddies. You only think that you're seeing Jessica Alba nude. Jessica Alba knows that she filmed the scene in a bikini. What you're seeing is just the digital pixels that someone has painted for you.

So that's how you can have an actress both naked on film and not naked on film and thus is artistic integrity preserved.

Cool jeans online

Yes, it's time to stock up that winter wardrobe and get ready for the joys of the British winter. By now, the end of September, we've already had the traditional seasonal turning points of successive Daily Mail headlines telling us that we're in for a frozen winter, Indian summer is here and on the third day, why the Met Office is always wrong. Even though said Met is more consistent than Daily Mail headlines. And this season's essential wardrobe component is, as it has been for the past 30 years or so, a few pairs of cool jeans.

No, this isn't, of course, referring to jeans which will fail to do their job of keeping out that British winter. Far from it, we are not using the word cool in that sense. Cool jeans refers rather to fashion, to what is hip n' happenin', what is, with a bit of good luck and a following wind, going to raise the temperature not lower it as your display of current fashionability increases the number of people who want to get close to you. Hopefully, if all goes well, very close, inside your jeans type close.

And where better to get your cool jeans than online? As we all know the greatest concern facing us all at present is the climate (no, this is very different from the weather complained of above) and we'd all like to do our bit to make sure that that climate doesn't get any worse. And as that report in the papers yesterday said, as long as the delivery truck is delivering more than 25 items (and they all do, they all do) then there are fewer carbon emissions than if we went down to the shops ourselves individually. Save the planet and look good at the same time?

Bit of a bargain, surely?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is Blanket Jackson really British?

Could it be true that Blanket Jackson, Michael Jackson's son, is really British? Or at least part British?

That's the claim being made by a former bodyguard to Michael Jackson at least. He says that he was offered $500,000 to make a donation, a fee which he turned down, but he did make the donation. And at about the right time for the conception to have been possible.

MICHAEL Jackson's former British bodyguard Matt Fiddes will this week claim he is the biological father of the dead star's youngest son Blanket.

Fiddes, of Barnstaple, Devon, will tell Australian TV he fathered the eight-year-old by sperm donation for nothing - turning down a £500,000 offer from the superstar. He has told pals he will fight for custody if anything happens to Jacko's mum Katherine.

He's obviously going to have a fight on his hands over that claiming custody though. For a start, Diana Ross is named in Jackson's will as being the next in line to take custody. But more than that, assuming that they completed the paperwork for a standard donation, he will have given up all his parental rights anyway.

Hey, the story might even be true as well but I doubt very much that anyone's going to let such a rich child potter off with a claimed but unproven sperm donor.

Where to play bingo: online of course!

The world of bingo has been rather turned on its head of late: the last decade has seen what will probably be the death knell of the industry, one that only really grew after WWII. Well, the death of the bingo industry in bingo halls that is, not the death of bingo games themselves: those atre just migrating online. There's a number of different things that have caused thisw death and it's worth running through them for some seem almost deliberate and others, well, that's just the way it is.

The most obvious problem that the bingo halls have had is the smoking ban. The people who were running them all make exactly the same point. Attendance dropped off right at the time of the ban and it simply hasn't risen again since. And this in itself causes further losses in attendance: bingo games, while being just as popular as ever, don't work all that well in large but empty halls. Something of a coordination problem there.

But the other major one, the one that's just happenstance, is the rise of the online bingo games. This is partly the availability of the technology, it simply wasn't possible to do this on any large scale only a decade ago. That the availability of this technology coincided with the smoking ban is just that: happenstance. But it does mean that those who like their game can do so from the comfort of their front rooms now, and simply don't need to brave the weather nor stop smoking while they play.

Bingo just isn't going to go back to the halls, whatever people try to do about it and with that ends one of the great post war leisure activities: beaten by a combination of technological revolution and government stupidity.

Is Lindsay Lohan on heroin?

Pictures of Lindsay Lohan posing with a syringe and torniquet have surfaced leading some to think that she was taking heroin.

About the only thing we can actually be certain of is that she's not been taking heroin recently: it would have shown up on the drug test which found the cocaine which sent her back to jail over the weekend.
However, the pictures are more than suggestive:

CROUCHING in a dark corner, Lindsay Lohan is poised to inject herself with what appears to be a syringe of heroin.

Our shocking picture shows the troubled Mean Girls star wrapping a tourniquet around her lower arm - the method addicts use to raise a vein.

Her right hand hovers the needle over the skin of her left arm.

Perhaps she was taking heroin: she wouldn't be the first and won't be the last person whio has tried it and doesn't carry on taking it.

Maybe it was just a pose for the cameras, a laugh with the girls?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finding the right web host

We all know that...well, all of us still in business know that anyway......in order to keep a business going these days you've got to have a presence on the web.

You don't have to be running your whole business on the web, this is true. You don't have to be selling over the web, or to be servicing your customers that way, but you do at least need to have a presence, a reference site.

And of course you can actually service your customers, sell to them, over the web as well. What you want to do is really up to you: and is of course contrained by the real world. A business which sold bridges over the web wouldn't be all that successful while one that sold MP3 files certainly could be. But even so, a bridge building company will need a web presence just to let people know where they can go to get bridges.

Once we've decided what we're going to do online then we need to decide who is going to host it. If all you need is a static site with a bit of email for your bridge building company then one host or type of host may be all you need. If you're going to be selling MP3s then a whole host of different matters come into play. Bandwidth, reliability, how quickly can you expand servers and memory, all these sorts of things. Which is where vps hosting might be worth looking at.

It's a sorta half way stage between a shared server and a dedicated one. You get the interface, the access to the nuts and bolts of the machine, of a dedicated server but still running on a shared server. the detail of one system and the cheapness and flexibility of the other.

Worth checking out.

The Danielle Staub sextape

So, things aren't working out all that well for Danielle Staub at present.

She's been booted off the reality show, Real Housewives of New Jersey....partly because it's now surfaced that there's a Danielle Straub sextape out there.

And this sextape comes only a couple of days after the revelation of a drug and prostitution soaked past.

All of which is really rather sad I think. for if we're going to have a reality TV show then we probably should have one that includes, you know, reality. And yes, there really are a number of women of a certain age who in their youth did other things. So why should this reality not be shown on a reality TV show?

I guess there's always the possibility that this is too much reality....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Private tutoring has never been so cheap

One of the things that economist are puzzled about is that no one is really quite sure what people are going to use the internet for. Sure, we know it's a great big new technology, just like electricity, mass production or the train was. But just as when those were first invented, what people actually use it for is unknown.

Why this matters is because we're not really sure which industries are going to be over turned by it. One bet, one that really hasn't quite been grasped as yet, is that it will be education that is transformed. If you can learn everything you need to over the net, with one to one instruction when needed, videos of lectures at other times, or with online textbooks, what's the point of having to go to a school each day?

And there are services springing up which show how this can be done. For example, need tutoring on Algebra 2? Can't quite grasp 5th grade math? Need some help in adding fractions? Maybe it's the formula for volume which is your problem?

Now, OK, that's just maths....but this one company will give you all the tutoring any one child or pupil desires, 24/7, in any and every subject they cover, for just $99 a month. Add that sort of tutoring to a decent set of textbooks and why would anyone be spending $12,000 a year per child on the public schools? You can get a better education for one tenth of the cost!

It really is possible that the major industry that will be overturned by the internet isn't newspapers, or movies, but education.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fascinating stuff about the gold price

This is a fun little article talking about how the price of gold is set. It's really rather archaic and dates all the way back to 1919. OK, they've moved a little bit with the times now and they use a telephone rather than actually all meeting in the same room but the old ways still do seem to persist.

Perhaps we shouldn't say gold price, but one of the gold prices is fixed in this funny old manner. The five main dealer banks all meet up (telephonically now of course) and essentially barter about the price at which they're willing to buy or sell gold. Under the old system if they wanted to take a little break in the bartering (to talk to someone else, just to think for a moment) they would raise a little union jack flag they had on their desk.

When they lower it then it all starts again. When the bartering was finished then all the flags would stay down. Now, of course, over the phone, no one can see the flags: so, instead, they say "flag" when they want that break. Funny how these things go really, old traditions hanging on.

But do understand, this is how the gold spot price is fixed: futures and options prices change all the time. And it's only the London spot gold price that is fixed this way: everyone else just does it on the internet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding those women's t-shirts

Yes, yes, we've all heard what globalisation has done for the costs of clothing. You can nip down to the shopping centre and get a t-shirt for less than the cost of a beer and wear it straight home. However, the problem is with the quality: the t-shirt is unlikely to last as long as an open beer at a student party. And that's not the only problem. Given that everyone will have seen the same t-shirts for sale everyone will equally know that you're wearing some really very cheap and tatty t-shirt. Not really what you want to be flaunting.

On the other hand we all also know that really good quality designer clothes cost a fortune. What we'd really like, if only we could find it, is some way of getting the good quality gear for a more reasonable price. Not the easiest of things to do that. But it would be good if we could, yes? For then we'd be able to show that we've the good sense and good taste to buy and wear that good quality designer gear without having had to pay the full price for it. We're smart and well clothed and yet even smarter than those who simply buy it from the stores, right?

Which is why you might want to look at this site and their women's t-shirts. They've got the brands you want, French Connection, Henley's, Goi Goi, but at prices which could save you as much as 50% of the recommended retail. Look good, look smart and save money: what could possibly go wrong?

Leaving, of course, more money for those other necessities of a life well lived: no, it doesn't have to be beer, there are plenty of other things which can add to such. For example, the savings on a Goi Goi t-shirt can be enough to purchase a Motel one: designer clothes at two for one prices!

Where can I find a job in the Middle East?

In these hard times for all of us, it's worth thinking outside the box if you're looking for a job. We all know that it's not all that easy (and in some parts of the country, darn near impossible) to find any job at all let alone a good one.

So, rather than shlepping from one classified ad to yet another interview for a call sales centre, why not seriously think about how you're going to get your career back on track, about how to break out of the sterile confines of simply UK based jobs?

For the recession, the slump in good jobs, isn't true all around the world. There are economies out there which are still booming, indeed some which are growing faster than before. And they're, many of them, just a short hop away on a plane. You should, or at least could, be thinking of jobs in the UAE for example.

Any why not? The United Arab Emirates are booming, there's construction and new business all over the place: driven by the still insatiable hunger for the oil and gas of the region. And the authorities are actively looking for foreigners, expats, to come in and do the jobs that the locals aren't trained to do as yet. These jobs aren't just in the oil and gas sectors either.

They're actively looking for people to work in the financial industry (they've identified finance as one of those sectors which they want and need to grow), banking....and of course the inevitable IT and telecoms as they build the foundations and structures of a modern economy.

Why not check it out by clicking through the link?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Passing on my experience

As someone who has actually been running a business that operates internationally for many years now allow me to pass on one of the most vital points to you.

You really do need to use professional tranlsation services. No, you cannot get by just hiring a combination girlfriend/bilingual secretary. It really is important that you get major and important documents properly checked over, have a proper professional translation done.

This is obviously important for contracts: if you're not absolutely certain of what is in a contract then you shouldn't be signing it. And if the translation isn't perfect then you won't be catching the nuance of what is in the contract.

You also need a translation service when you're looking at offers: so much of the problem that we all have with other languages is over tenses. It makes really a rather large difference if you've got to pay people before they do anything or whether you have to pay them after they've done something.

So, if you're going to be doing business internationally then really, take my word for it, a lesson that I've learned very expensively. You really do want to use language translation services. Yes, you really do want to pay for them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yes, I've a new car!

It's taken me long enough I have to admit. We've of course long had a car, even two at times, but they've always been practical and reliable ones. You know, the sort that just work when you want them to but don't have any pizzazz or interest to them. I've finally been able to change this as a result of my having been working an extra job or two over recent years. Finally been able to buy something I'd like to drive just for the joy of driving it, not for the reason of wanting to actually get somewhere.

The thing is though, I'm of that age where buying a two seater sports car is simply viewed as my mid life crisis. And while this may be true I have a feeling that more than one diagnosis of said min-lifer is in fact simply a diagnosis of finally, someone's actually been able to save enough money to get what they have wanted for years. Which is, I insist, what is true in my case.

Still, having saved and scrimped to get the car I've still got to be able to run it. Which is why I'm off to search for cheap auto insurance. Just because I've finally been able to afford the car doesn't mean that I can stop being careful about the costs of having it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The trials of adolesence

A disturbing thing happened to me in my adolescence....no, not the spots or the strange night time urges. Rather, I couldn't understand what everyone else was going on about.

There I would be in class, listening along, checking the textbook and the teacher would wave at the blackboard and ask a question. I would have no idea what he was talking about and there would be this shout of, "But it's obvious!, See, it's written there!".

Eh? You mean people can actually read what it is that you're writing up there? I thought that was just notes for you!

Much the same happened at movies. I could't really work out why people liked them so much. OK, there was the fun soundtrack and dialogue but really, there wasn't much to see, was there, just some blurry impressionistic stuff.

Well, OK, you've guessed it already, yes, I went along to have my eyes tested and found that I needed eye glasses. Not quite what I really wanted when out to impress the ladies (another thing that happens to most of us in adolescence) but at least I could now see whether they were ladies or not.

Ho hum....still, that's my lesson for you youngsters out there. Yes, you are supposed to be able to see the world, yes, movies really do have actors not just colours in them and yes, you really should be able to read what the teacher is putting on the blackboard. Get your eyes tested: it's worth it, believe me.

Santonio Holmes

This is fun: Santonio Holmes has got himself into trouble with hte law. Or at least, with a woman who is using the law against him.

Also on Monday, it became public that receiver Santonio Holmes, who was the Super Bowl most valuable player last year, is facing a civil lawsuit alleging that he threw a drink in a woman’s face at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

Now think about this just for a little moment. If someone threw a rink in your face in a nightclub would your first reaction be to sue them? Punch them in the face perhaps. Maybe even call over the bouncers to get them thrwon out of the night club maybe?

But reach for a lawyer?

OK, when faced with an NFL player perhaps punching them isn't going to work. But I'll bet that the decision to reach for a lawyer was highly influenced by the thought that he was an NFL player....and thus rich enough to be worth suing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Different health and dental plans

With all the fuss going on about how to reform health care insurance, perhaps it's time to look at different ways in which the market already caters for different methods. For example, there's no need to get a traditional medical plan: there's also no need to have a traditional dental plan.

We tend to think that there's only three ways of dealing with the need for some sort of health insurance: either the government does it all for us, we get full insurance coverage through our work or we just have to pay for each and every treatment as we get it. But this really isn't true.

There's a very different way of having a health plan. A discount plan.
Here's how it works. If you click through the links there you'll see the details but simply: they've got hundreds of thousands of customers. This gives them buying power. So providers of medical and dental services want the business of those hundreds of thousands and are willing to offer special prices. This isn't insurance: this is access to discount price medical care.

For routine work, this is probably even better than insurance: you might end up paying less than the traditional copay for example. If you add on to this a catastrophic health care insurance plan (say, an annual deductible of $10,000, just as an example) this might well give you better health insurance than either the government or a job could give you.

Well worth checking out, at least.