November 02, 2011

How to find a bargain holiday

For decades now I've been hearing about people who manage to find the most amazing holidays. They just go off to the airport with a passport and take the last unsold seat and go somewhere exotic for peanuts perhaps. Or they've known someone at the travel agents and get the phone call when someone can't fill that flight to Greece or hotel in Egypt.

The thing is though while I've heard about these holidays for those decades, I've never actually been able to snag one myself. I did manage to get on the British Airways courier list but that was long after they'd stopped paying for that task to be done and only offered a cheap ticket for you doing the work.

So, while I've been told that these bargain holidays, these late sales and immediate departures, do exist I never actually seen one in the flesh. Until now that is, I've finally actually found somewhere that lets me see what is on offer.

Of course, this is a site on the internet, that great unbundler (the technical term is "disintermediation") of all those special contacts and knowledge that you need in so many fields. All you need to do now is click through that link above and there you have, in sortable form, the bargains available from the airports of your choice in the near future.

Sure, maybe there's nothing there you'd like today, or tomorrow, but there are times when we all want to just take a break, get away for a bit. So check it out and perhaps bookmark it for when you do want to use it. The way this winter is going already I'll be ready in about three weeks for some sun I think......

November 2, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

November 01, 2011

Where to find an all inclusive holiday

We all know that all inclusive holidays exist out there. My problem has always been that I've never really known where to find them.

The idea of just being able to plonk oneself down and know, absolutely, what the whole thing is going to cost, food and booze included, has always rather appealed to me. But as I say, I've never really known where to find them. And which country do you go to? Which tour operator? Obviously not to a Muslim country where the wine will never run red (although there are plenty of Muslim countries where it does).

I've been able to find an interesting little site, that one linked above, which helps to solve all of these problems for me. Rather than thinking all these things out well in advance it offers a way to search for which deals are available right now. Or leaving tomorrow, or next week. Instead of agonising for ages over where to go just take off and go where it's possible to go with a day or two's notice.

This does rather appeal to me, as does the whole all inclusive idea itself. I've worked in enough restaurants over the years to know how to make the most of such an offer. As with buffets, you go for the expensive seafood and meats. Leave all the rice, potatoes and vegetables for when you're back home and broke. Load up on the most expensive proteins they're offering. Don't have a risotto, have a steak. Forget the crabsticks and devour the prawns.

As to the booze if you've got to pay a premium for it then stick with the beer or the house wine (which you probably won't have to pay for). If you don't have to pay for it, if you can drink whatever you like, then single malts and decent gins all the way.

But that's all about what you do if you do go all inclusive. The point of this post is to point you at that page which can tell you where you can go and when for an all inclusive.

November 1, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 27, 2011

How to find the appropriate webhosting

One of the things we've got to be aware of in business is the difference between "best" and "appropriate".

Another way of putting this is that "appropriate" means "best for this task".

This is true when it comes to discussing webhosting. We all know that as a business we've got to be online, on the web, these days. But there are any number of different business models we can follow. Maybe we're trying to be an entirely online business? Maybe we can't be such, we just want to provide a signpost to our meatspace one?

So, it's difficult for us to really say that there's something called "the best" hosting, either package or provider. What we really want is the appropriate one, the best for what we want to do. So we can have "best blog hosting" or "best budget hosting" but the very concept of "best hosting" is one that doesn't have a great deal of meaning.

Best at what? And as that's what we've got to decide about our own business, before we go online, once we have, then we can decide on what is the best appropriate host and or hosting package for our plans.

September 27, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2011

Where to get reasonably priced tickets

Or, where to get very reasonably priced tickets.

This is one of the things the internet has been great for: oldsters like me can remember the days you had to travel out to the venue the day that the tickets went on sale and maybe you got some and maybe you didn't. Nowadays, you can check the availability of Seigfried tickets, Rascal Flatts tickets, from the comfort of your own computer.

If those aren't quite to your taste, how about Celine Dion tickets? Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets or Peter Pan tickets.

You young people just don't realise how lucky you are, the way that the world's been made easier for you by the hard work of your elders.

Or, if you'd like to put it another way, the deals we have to offer you, the ease with which we have to cater to your desires, as we attempt to offer you the pleasures of the entertainment world.


August 23, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 03, 2011

Dealfun: a new idea

Dealfun looks like an interesting new way to buy things on the 'net.

Here's a few people looking at it: on Yahoo, MSNBC. This isn't an entirely new idea. There have been sites that work this way before.

The thing about dealfun is that you purchase the right to bid. Tickets, coupons, bid points, call them what you like. You can then bid on the items, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, LCD TVs and so on, using the bidding points that you've purchased to do so.

As I say, this isn't an entirely new idea, there were several sites that worked the same way. However, the other sites, when you bid, at what looked like great prices, you had just used up the bid points that you had purchased.

What makes dealfun different is that this isn't what happens. Even if you don't win the bid your bidding points can still be used against the purchase price of the product at the regular site pricing.

Which is really rather interesting, both as a business model and for people using the site. It might be that you get one of the great deals, the bargains at incredibly low prices: but if not, everything is not lost. It's still possible to buy what you want with the money you're spending.

August 3, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse death: Who inherits?

Amy Winehouse has died: that we know. The question is, who inherits her £10 million fortune?

One possible answer to the speulative question of who gets Amy Winehouse's money is that it's Blake Fielder-Civil:

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.

The thing is that while a marriage over rides all previous wills, a divorce does not over ride the presumption that the spouse will inherit. So it all depends upon whether Amy Winehouse made a new will, after her divorce, or not.

And of course there's the Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club thing as well. Is this all just nonsense? Or is there really some spike in deaths of musicians at this age: and if there is, is there a reason for it?

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.

Could be, maybe, maybe not. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if it were true.


July 24, 2011 in Amy Winehouse | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2011

Buying blinds

As I mentioned above we've been sorting out this house in sunny climes and as part and parcel of that we've been looking into blinds. For of course part of the problem with being in sunny climes is that while you're indeed there for the sun, you don't want it inside with you all the time.

The middle of the day for example, you'd rather keep the sun outside: not just for temperature reasons but to avoid it fading all that furniture we've just so expensively put into the place.

And as is also normalin sunny climes, the houses aren't exactly built for the inevitable but short winter. There's not much heating in them, not a great deal of insulation (what there is being used to keep the summer heat out, not the winter heat in) so once again blinds are a both desirable and necessary addition.

I to have to admit that one of the things I really like about this modern world is that not only can we live and work here in these sunny climes, something the internet has made possible, we can also do our shopping from the comfort of my desk.

I can't think of anything worse than traipsing around looking at home furnishings (umm, well, OK, maybe shoe shopping) but being able to do it with a few clicks of the mouse is getting close to enjoyable.



June 16, 2011 in Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2011

Where to get your webhosting

I think we're all aware by now that we need to have a website for any business that we're trying to run? Even if you're not running a web business, you do still need a website, yes?

Which means that when we're thinking about a new business then one of the first things we need to think about is website hosting: have a website, we're going to need a host.

So how should we go about trawling through all of those myriad different possible hosts to find the one that we actually want to use? Well, fortunately, there are sites, like the one linked above, which helps to take your through this process.

For example, do you need help with domain names? Well, if you do, or even think you do, then going through that section will help you decide who you'll use to help you.

Similarly, with ecommerce. Is your site going to be just a presence, just a way for people to know that you're there? Or are you going to be doing ecommerce, actually selling from your site? So look at that section to see who will provide you with all of the tools you'll need to do that.

It's a good resource, helps you find out what's available out there.

May 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2011

Algarve Golf

You can, if you would like, go and look at our new adventure, Algarve Golf.

It's a pretty simple concept. But banding together as a golf association we can begin to negotiate discounts from various of the golf courses in the Algarve.

And begin we have. Algarve Golf can already get you discounts on roughly half of the courses in the Algarve.

That's just on the green fees of course. We've also managhed to negotiate cut prices in various clubs, pubs and restaurants. There's even money off scuba diving and parachuting.

Over time, it looks like it's going to become a general all purpose money off card for those holidaying in Portugal. As well as doing what it's really meant todo: get money off green fees for memmbers.


March 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2011

Nuclear explosion in Japan

There's been a nuclear explosion in Japan.

The Fukushima reactor has blown up after the earthquake and the following tsunami.

As that article asks, what is actually going to be the effect of this? Are we about to see another Chernobyl type disaster? Or are nuclear reactors really as safe as their manufacturers say they are?

So, as far as we can tell at the moment, the radiation coming from the Fukushima explosion is 1/3,600,000 th of the radiation from the Chernobyl explosion. This isn't quite right for a number of complicated reasons (for example, we don't know how far the Japanese radiation will spread, what the total release will be and so on) but it does give an idea of the relative magnitude.

It is 0.00002% of the Chernobyl levels of radiation.

Another way of saying the same thing is that if you were standing at the reactor now you would, in one hour, receive the usual permitted level of radiation for an entire year. About half what you would get if you had a medical CT scan (which is 2,000,- 2,200 micro sieverts). This is of course a very, very, much lower level of radiation than at Chernobyl, where workers got in minutes amounts that killed them.

We just don't have enough information at present but we most certainly are going to find out. Is nuclear power safe or not?

March 12, 2011 in Nuclear | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2010

The $1,200 a month garage

Blimey, I knew that New York was expensive but seriously, $1,200 a month just to park your car?

And more if it's an SUV?

The monthly parking rate at The Empire, a condominium building on 78th Street and Third Avenue, rolled up to $1,200 on Dec. 1. The rate -- which may well be Manhattan's highest -- adds up to $14,400 a year. And parking an SUV or another oversize car costs an extra $100 a month. "It's gotta be the most expensive rate in the city," said an Empire employee. "That's more than I pay in rent." Empire rates also look to be about $250 more than those of the priciest neighborhood competitors, according to

It's stuff like this that makes a mockery of having one taxation system for a place the size of the US. Or even one definition of poverty or wealth. Because any such single, national, system, doesn't take account of the different costs of living in the different areas.

Take, as an example, the fight going on over income taxes. Sure, yes, $250,000 a year as household income is pretty good going. But in New York City, certainly in Manhattan, that doesn't really add up to being "rich". Just as an example, a couple of public sector employees married to each other can get close to that sort of level: and I'm not talking about senior managers either. A subway train driver married to a bus driver will be getting up to that sort of level if they've both got a bit of seniority.

Rich does really rather depend on expenses as well as incomes....

December 11, 2010 in Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 02, 2010

David Beckham in divorce battle!

This may or may not surprise you but David Beckham's been caught up in a divorce battle.

No, not from his own wife, Posh Spice, this David Beckham divorce story is about the marriage of another couple. What seems to have happened is that the father of children that go to school with the Beckham's children has decided that his wife has been having an affair. Then, on hte basis of little or no evidence, he's decided that the affair must have been with David Beckham.

Coming after the allegations (strongly denied accusations it must be said) that Beckham has been having threesomes with a prostitute, this isn't perhaps the easiest of stories for Becks and Posh to have to bear:

DAVID Beckham has been named in a court case over claims of an affair with a married mother of two.

The 35-year-old footballer was forced last night to deny having an illicit fling with Shery Shabani, a Hollywood jeweller to the stars.

A source close to the Beckhams has commented as follows:

‘It’s a very odd situation. Obviously, David’s not complicit in this at all – and he’s only learned of it today. This is all false and there’s absolutely no suggestion that there is any truth in the husband’s claims of an affair between David and the woman. It’s all a bit bizarre to be honest.’

Given that the allegations are in court documents and are therefore privileged there's not really anything anyone can do about the allegations either. Except deny them and move on.



October 2, 2010 in Celebrities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 29, 2010

Segway surprise!

I know I'm a little late to this but I just think that while it's sad it's also wonderful.

The Segway company, that one that was going to revolutionise the world, got sold off at the end of last year. It turned out that it didn't revolutionise the world but it did swallow a huge amount of capital while not doing so. Hving done so, it was worth what was paid for it: a great deal less than had been invested in it.

OK, so far so normal for venture capital. But the bloke who bought it? He decided to test out a new model, one designed for rough terrain, for cross country work.

What happened?

A mogul who had just spent millions to buy the Segway motor-scooter company died after taking one of the two-wheeled gizmos for a ride around his English estate -- and going over a cliff. The crumpled body of self-made millionaire philanthropist Jimi Heselden, 62, was found next to a river along his property Sunday, his electric scooter in the water nearby. "At this time, we do not believe the death to be suspicious," said a spokesman for the police in the town of West Yorkshire in northern England. Heselden -- one of the richest men in Britain with a reported net worth of around $300 million -- is believed to have been doing double duty test-driving a new, more durable, cross-country Segway model while also tooling around his property for an inspection when the freak accident occurred around 11:40 a.m.

Now, me, I'm sorry, but I laughed like a drain.

Sad, both what happened and that I laughed but I did.

September 29, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Melissa Petro

This really is rather a fun case, that of Melissa Petro and her job as a teacher in the New York school system.

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."

Let's go back to the beginning. Ms. Petro worked, before she trained as a teacher, as both a stripper and an escort. Escort as in the less repulsive name for a hooker. Not something I partake of myself but nor is it something that I think others shouldn't partake of nor supply. And certainly if someone has done such and then decided that they want to change careers well, why not?
Teaching might be a slightly odd choice but then again so what?
Where it all gets really fun is that Petro was blogging this story, even as she was working the three yeasr she had to to gain tenure as a teacher. During this three years her references, character and so on are supposed to be checked out so that it can be seen as just and righteous that she does gain tenure: essentially, that she cannot be fired.
But of course, given that she was writing publicly about tall of this, it turns out that, for yes, she has just been granted tenure, no one was in fact checking references and character.
The egg is on hte school system here, not on Ms. Petro's unconventional former career.

September 29, 2010 in Sex | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2010

Jessica Alba naked

We all know that Jessica Alba said she would never appear naked in a movie.

That's the sort of thing that starlets do, not the sort of thing that respected (however gorgeous) actresses do.

However, we do have Jessica Alba appearing nude in her recent movie, Machete. So, err, have we had a regression from actress to starlet here? Perhaps a breaking of the word?

No, it can be explained. Getting to Jessica Alba naked is easy:

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, well, there you go. It's not a naked Jessica Alba you fleetingly see, it's a few digitally painted pixels that you do. Most disappointing but then that's what you've got to do to give the audience their titillation while not conducting oneself in a manner unbecoming an actress.

September 28, 2010 in Celebrities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)