Thursday, August 25, 2011

Looking for webhosting

I think we're all up to speed now on the way in which to run a business these days we've got to have a presence on the web? Yes?

We don't have to be running a business entirely on the web, don't have to be selling something digital in a digital or online manner. But we do at the very least need to have a presence, something telling people that we're here and what we do.

And the first stage of getting that presence is to look into webhosting. The various different places you can put that presence offer diferent bundles of the things you might want.Different levels of reliability, of uptime, different bundles of memory, of bandwidth. Which is why you might want to check out the linked site.

They've a section of hosting reviews for example, another on hosting news. If you're thinking about what your web presence should be and where you should put it, worth having a rootle around that site to see what's on offer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club

I doubt there's all that much surprise, shock yes, regret yes, but surprise perhaps not, about the death of Amy Winehouse. The thing is though, given the age of her death, Amy Winehouse is in the 27 Club.

That's the club you really don't want to belong to, of musicians who have died at that young age.

Now it all might just be coincidence but perhaps it isn't:

Almost all of us go through a wild stage at some point but almost all of us are financially constrained when we do. Not so for those who earn millions in their teens or soon after. That spike in the death rate at age 27 can thus be seen as a marker of how long unconstrained excess takes to kill.

That's one theory anyway.

The other question that arises is that she left a large fortune behind her. So who gets Amy Winehouse's money?

Even in the presence of a will written pre-marriage which states otherwise the surviving spouse, or ex-spouse, will again be the natural inheritor. Only if, and I repeat only if, there was a new will written post-divorce which specifically left the estate elsewhere would Blake Fielder-Civil not be the natural inheritor of Winehouse’s estate.

While a marriage is a contrat that over rides all previous wills, divorce isn't a contract which over rides the marriage contract assumptions about inheritance.

So, unless she wrote a new will after the divorce then it looks like it could be her ex, Bruce Fielder-Civil, who gets all the money.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weaponry sales

One of the weirder episodes of my life was when I went into weapons sales.

No, not quite like that, I wasn't shipping tanks off to Ethiopia and places like that. Rather, it was at the end of communism and I was working in Russia. The military factories there, given the end of the Soviet military altogether, were simply lost. Didn't have any orders, weren't getting any money: but given the way the old system rumbled on for a few years, they were still getting raw materials.

This led to some pretty strange decisions by certain factories: there was one that used their plastic injection moulding machines to make sex toys. Didn't work very well as they didn't really know all that well what sex toys were. I didn't get involved with them but I did with the guys making night sights. It was extremely frustrating actually: there was more money to be made (by everyone) by simply taking the germanium metal they were using and selling that. They got it at such a subsidised price that the profit was larger doing that than actually making a night sight.

We got that fixed though and ended up shipping quite a few off to various places. Then, of course, everyone started tightening up on the rules and we ended up in a morass of paperwork so bad that the entire business just wasn't worth the while.

The whole experience made me rather jealous of people doing the same sort of work in the US. Those Second Amendment protections mean that they simply don't face the same sort of problems. They can ship ar 15 accessories, m4 accessories, these sorts of things, as they please and to whom they wish.

All just so much easier, you know?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Understanding the American medical system

It can be confusing when you first try to understand the American medical system: it's so different from what happens across the rest of the world. The important point to remember is that it is, despite the government actually paying for a good chunk of it and the insurance companies most of the rest, a free market medical system. This means that the various providers are all in competition with each other to try and get the business of tending to your medical needs.

So, unlike the UK for example, where if you need travel vaccinations you just go to the local general practitioner who deals with almost all of your other first line medical care, if you were in say San Francisco, you'd need to do a search for a travel clinic sf. This would give you those groups and physicians in San Francisco who specialise in travel vaccinations.

This is pretty much true of all of the US medical system. That specific tasks are handled by experts and specific clinics much more than is common in the health care system of other countries.

Yes, of course, they do have general physicians, you don't need to try and work out what problem you've got on your own before you can find the correct specialist. For example, a search for doctors manhattan would give you a listing of such general purpose physicians in that part of New York.

But as I say, the general way to look at the US medical system is that there's a huge network of different specialists, each chasing your custom. Which is one of the reasons why, as long as you can afford it or have the right insurance, the system is so good of course.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Stick gold in your IRA

One of the things that few people seem to realise is that it's possible to have a gold IRA. There are some limitations and specific rules that have to be followed but is possible to have part of your savings as IRA gold.

It's also possible to have a gold 401k, this meaning that you can have as part of your 401k gold.

The real question of course is whether something like this, or a gold IRA transfer, is a good idea or not?

Leave aside the vagaries of the gold market, that we're at an all time nominal high (although not yet in real terms) and think about the basis of any decent savings plan: diversification.

There is no such thing as an absolutely secure investment: there is also no such thing as an absolutely, no doubt about it, profitable one nor is there one that is entirely inflation proof. All investments are a mixture of the three.

And the point of diversification is to make sure that we have a series of different investments, each of which has a different mixture of the three characteristics. We do want to have some "high growth" stocks despite the risks attatched to them. We do want to have some Treasury bonds, despite the low returns, for they are also low risk. But the risk to bonds is inflation: so we also want to have some gold, for while gold might not earn us investment income it has historically been a very good hedge against inflation.

Having all your retirement funds in gold probably isn't a good idea, just like having all your savings in the latest internet darling that's going to replace Google real soon now isn't a good idea.

But a judicious mix of different investments, diversification, is a good idea.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buying blinds on the net

As regular readers will know we've been restoring and sorting out a couple of houses here in sunny climes for some time now. Fortunately we've got past the building stage and are now just doing the last bit of fitting out.

Which, as every male knows and dreads, means traipsing around the shops looking at home furnishings. Absolutely not my favourite activity, even if the wife seems to enjoy it all (fortunately, not too much otherwise I'd nver get her out of such stores).

As a way of reducing the pain on me we've been looking at blinds on the internet. Where we are they're a necessity. In the summer, it being sunny climes, we need them to keep the place cool and also to stop the light itself from fading all of the furniture.

In the winter, given the way in which houses here are built for the warm, not the cold, we need them to keep the heat in. So we must have them yet those out of town stores just don't do it for me.

Fortunately, as you can see at that link. I've been able to find a way to get them from my desk. Hurrah! we get to finish the house and I don't have to leave it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Algarve Golf Association

We've just startde a new little adventure called Algarve Golf. It's actually two things working together. The Southern Golf Association, which is a not for profit members club and Algarve Golf LLP, which is a reseller of golf and other sporting tickets.

The aim is that between the two we can bundle together the economic weight of our members and thus negotiate discounts on the green fees at various golf courses around the Algarve.

And it's working too. We don't even launch until tomorrow but if you become a member of Algarve Golf then we can provide you with discounted green fees on about half of the golf courses in the Algarve.

Plus money off scuba diving, parachuting, Zoomarine, Splash and Slide and a variety of bars and restaurants along the coast.

There are of course other golf associations in the area: but we're the only one with a club house and the only one that provides money off things other than golf.

So, if you're coming down here, you might want to think about signing up for Algarve Golf. You'll save much more than it will cost you...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Where to get your ceiling fans

As regular readers will know we've been working on sorting out these two houses down here for some time. And living, as we do, in a warm climate we've needed to work on how to keep things cool more than we have on how to keep them warm. Log fires do fine for the latter but ceiling fans are definitely necessary for the heat.

So of course I've been roaming around online looking for the best place to get such a ceiling fan. And fortunately I've been able to find a great resource. In fact, you can find out who makes the best ceiling fans here. It's a really good guide, taking you through het various technologies, styles and prices. How big do you want it to be, how fast do you need it to turn. what would you like it to be made of? And perhaps most importantly, what would you like it to look like?

Of course, the site is run by Hansen Wholesale Ceiling Fans, but that's fine. Sure they'd like you to buy from them but they are providing a great set of information about the whole field, which is great. The educated consumer is the better customer after all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So just what is the price of gold?

I think we're all aware that gold has been a great investment for those who got into it a year or two back. Yes?

The thing is, when riding an investment wave like this, it's necessary to keep an eye on what the prices, the gold prices that is, actually are. For while prices might be rising at present, the one thing we do know about rising prices is that eventually they will fall.

No, this doesn't mean that the gold price is going to fall below its current level. It could go much higher than it is now and then fall without coming back to current levels.

All I'm trying to point out is that if you're going to play in this market you need to keep a close eye on the price of gold.

Something which, fortunately, you can indeed do simply by clicking through one of those links.

And finally, yes, I know, what you want to know is whether I am a buyer of seller of gold?

Well, actually, neither, as my day job is in the metals trade. So when I diversify my investment portfolio, I go away from metals, not towards them.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Where should I get my hosting?

I think we all know by now that we really do need to have an outlet on hte web if we're going to have a business these days? Yes? Even if we're not going to be a "web business", we need to have a website, just as no one would these days dream of having a business without a phone line?

Well, quite, but having understood that we do rather need to go through the various alternatives about how we could do this: are we going to try selling from the site? Is it for infomation only? Just so that people know we exist? Perhaps it might not be a selling interface, but something people can refer to for post sales technical information?

The reason we need to work these things out is because upon those decisions will rest the decision of who to use for what type of web hosting. We might just need the plain vanilla availability of such hosting. Or we might with higher volumes be much more interested in managed hosting. Or if we're going to be going further than that, then perhaps colocation would be the right answer.

This is the thing: while we might know that we need a web presence, until we've worked out what that presence is going to be ew can't decide upon the most basic technical decision, what sort of hosting we should have.