Home Business Concepts: April 2011
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How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Posted by Linda | 2:42 PM

First of all I would like to thank Tyrese Gibson for opening up to the world and shedding light to us in a fatherly way - This books content is strong..every page has a lesson to learn about..highs and lows all the way through..from being a troublesome child ..being kicked from school to growing up and facing growing pains,to having weight issues uncontrollable eating disorders,also having issues with women..

Tyrese Gibson also talks about how he almost messes his career up due to being extra selfish and immature..
This book here definitely has the power to change people's lives and surroundings.

High and low therapy all the way through
Tyrese is no different from any of us,he has made mistakes..NO..and CAN'T is not in his vocabulary..
I was personally going through problems when I read this book.. It motivated me to the point of looking for jobs (not run 5 miles yet lol)  But yeah I love the book it is definitely a book worth reading.

I personally learnt alot from it and hope you too take a few positive things away when you read it.
Get your copy here

How I Made $800 Last Month Promoting The 17 Day Diet Book

Posted by Linda | 5:13 AM

In the last couple of months, I have been experimenting on the strategies highlighted in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Secrets by Erik Dafforn and Danny Dover. This has got to be one of the best resources I've used so far on SEO - it covers most of the things that small-time marketers like myself overlook - which is very vital. These mistakes are not only common with people like myself, but some super affiliates do not take advantage of them as well because their attention is on building their list.

So, what is this method you ask, well, its all about monitoring how your visitors navigate around your landing page and trying to give them what they want rather than letting them click out to other sites or pages when you could have converted them. You need to know what works and what doesn't. If you can't tell why you have high bounce rate, how can you increase your conversions? So, this free online software helps you monitor every visitor and how they mouse their mouse around your site. This is very powerful as you can see, graphically what attracts their attention when already on your landing page.

To put some of the tips into practice, I installed the free software and followed some of the tips described in the book, waited a few weeks and started seeing results almost over night. Within a 3-week period, I was able to shift The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results which netted me almost $800 in commission in one month - that is almost 300 copies and a couple  Dreamgirl Classixx Chemise. Hint: search online for *The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results*

To give you an idea of the earning, I have included the screenshot below. Mind you this is for March only and that figure is guaranteed to double at the end of April as the pages have been seeing a lot of click-throughs over that last couple of weeks. I don't usually put up screenshots like this, but I just thought I would post it here for those who don't believe in the power of SEO.

Mind you, this is not my full time job. I work as a software engineer which, as you will know occupies most of your time during the day, I also spend time on open source developments when I can. So, product promotion is something I thought I would do on the side; and last month's report shows what you can achieve if you follow some of the tips suggested and put in a decent amount of effort.

I, like most people have spent far too long reading people's blogs, sites and forums, affiliate materials, free ebooks; but didn't take any practical action. So, in January I decided to put all the tips into practice and grabbed a copy of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Secrets - highly recommended BTW. It has changed the way I now look are making money only. With Google's latest Panda update hitting big names, I think now's the perfect time to out-rank them and start making serious money.

If you have been thinking about making money only, I suggest you start taking action now - get a copy of the book, download a free copy of Clickmonitor and start getting paid within days.

What you need

  • Pick a product and start getting paid within days.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Posted by Linda | 11:18 AM

First of all, let me say that I mostly enjoyed this book and the writing style, and think some of the tips/ideas are great. Some of Tim's methods and his personality could rub people the wrong way, though, especially if they have no sense of humor. He's great at exploiting loopholes. Some people call that cheating. Some people call it smart. He definitely dances on that line. Either way, I imagine he makes the victims of these antics either revise their rulebooks, or find creative ways to deal with would-be Tim copycats. Some might say that is helping them improve and innovate. Some of Tim's ideas are not new or original, but he does put a different spin on them. Many of his methods will be hard to apply, especially given our current economy. I'm not sure if his newest revisions address the changes, but I suspect they probably don't.

As many others have stated, despite the misleading (marketing ploy) title, Tim is not trying to tell you a way to sit around and do nothing. Don't ever judge a book by its cover (or title)! On the contrary, I think Tim likely spends a great deal of time (probably more than 40 hours a week) working on things he enjoys. He spends money paying to avoid the things he doesn't enjoy. He doesn't always consider his endeavors work, but some people would. He just tries to outsource anything that bores him. It's not evil slave labor if you're paying a helpful person a livable wage for wherever they live, whether it's India, Indonesia, or Indiana. It's also not taking jobs from more local workers if they can't be as polite, productive, and professional. Tim also measure wealth in more than money and material goods. Most people that adopt this mentality are wise to do so.

If you don't have a personality like Tim's, then some suggestions will be very difficult for you to make work unless you have the ability to look at things differently, or at least sell ice cubes to an Eskimo! There are other books that are similar, but I haven't read them all. I don't have much of a scale for comparison for this type. I appreciated this book more than some I've read in the same category, though, because he does give examples that don't just apply to teens and college freshmen (although they can still use them and would have an easier time of it).

He also points to some resources that many people could find valuable. Tim seems intelligent, driven, and charismatic. He goes after what he wants, and while he's no angel, he seems like a decent, ambitious guy. I say "seems" because I have never met him and don't know him. Those claiming to know him in person seem to be either hate or love him, with very few falling somewhere in between. He does appear to have some noteworthy charity interests, and I like that he offers much of the info for his books on his blog for free. If you don't like his blogs, you may not like the books, though, so I advise checking them out before purchasing. Unfortunately I'm not on Amazon enough to reply to everyone, so please forgive me if I don't see your comments. I'm sure there are others with more time to respond. :)

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

Posted by Linda | 2:42 PM

I will preface my review with this: my boyfriend and I cook a lot. We aren't professional chefs, we haven't been properly educated in culinary academia, we just really like food. After a long wait and a week of pouring through these books this is what I can tell you.

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is a veritable encyclopaedia of all things food that somehow remains easy to read. As an all encompassing work there is literally something for everyone in here. Into traditional cooking methods? Here you'll find the history, science, and techniques of traditional methods to make you a better cook. Interested in something more exotic? Here you'll find the most cohesive and comprehensive breakdown on sous-vide cooking anywhere.

Herein lies a great equalizer of this set. All topics are given equal treatment. The science and functionality of a humble kitchen skillet is disseminated with as much respect and dignity as is complex lab equipment. It doesn't seem to be so much about the use of expensive equipment in the kitchen but the enormous scope of these books. If there's any way you can cook with it - it it's in here.

That said there is much more to this set than Techniques and Equipment. The breadth and depth of information in these books is staggering but not overwhelming. The pictures are fantastic. The best I've ever seen in a cook book. The topics are well organized and the explanations of often complicated topics (i.e. cellular composition of a muscle) are nevertheless written in easy to understand language. Basically these books are just awesome.

The price of this set is really it's only drawback. Yes, it is expensive, but you get what you pay for and this is no exception. This set is a self contained culinary education. I highly recommend it.

Grab one if you are lucky, otherwise they will all be gone before you finish reading this post.
Click here to see if there's any copy left.

Eureka 313A Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer

Posted by Linda | 4:29 PM

My brand new Eureka 313A Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer for our wooden floor arrived today, and will find time to blog about it when I get to use it for the first time. It is still in the packaging, not in a hurry to use it though as there's still much to clear around the house.

Arsene Wenger Wiki

Posted by Linda | 3:44 PM

Arsene Wenger Wiki - For some of us who are die-hard football fans, we like to keep abreast of what most managers as well as players are up to. Especially if they play for any one of England's top teams...then we love to follow their trends.

For those who do not know Arsene Wenger - he's the manager of Arsenal football club - one of the world's best club. Arsene Wenger Wiki page refers to him as the best manager Arsenal has ever had as a club. Well, I don't know much about past managers, but having followed the club since I was little, I can easily agree with that comment. We love him, in fact, some us have books on our shelves that are dedicated to the club and the great man himself.

As a French man, he has brought some of the fashion, discipline and glamour to the game in this country...which is one of the reason most fans love about him. Besides that, he's also known to be a no-none-sense manager. In fact, because of his tough standard, most of the players have begin to clean up their acts and started focusing more on football than the life of celebrities.

We love him and hope he stays with the club as long, if not longer than Alex Ferguson has been with Man United.

I don't want to give you Arsene Wenger Wiki history here, instead, I will point you to great materials online that covers everything there is to know about the great French man. This includes pictures, biography, gossips, scandals, romance and latest news. But first, make sure to pick up a copy of his latest book here.

Dreamgirl Girls Dreamgirl Classixx Chemise

Posted by Linda | 5:32 AM

I ordered this Dreamgirl Classixx Chemise cause I was looking for a sexy chemise to make my guy go crazy - I know guys like dirty revealing stuff :). Above and beyond, this nightdress is sexy enough for play but also comfortable enough to sleep in on those nights you're just wearing it to feel hot.Quick easy to peal off with one finger

It is see-through, but I'm not the skinniest woman either and it still made me look good. I didn't like the thong, but I'm not fond of thongs in general, I prefer being naked underneath this hot sexy chemise - so that is more a personal preference thing. My guy likes it when he finds that there's nothing under my dress... he's such a dirty boy; so he got really excited when I wore it, and I mean really-really excited. All in all, if lace makes you feel sexy, you'll love it. I personally think of it as an investment piece.

I wasn't too concerned with the price being over about $20 because again, I think of it as an investment piece, it makes me feel pretty, and I got free shipping(though I cannot guarantee you will get free shipping on said item). Be sure to see how much they're still going for - remember prices won't stay the same.

You can't go wrong - this Dreamgirl Classixx Chemise will surely do the job to get those sticky juices dripping. Treat yourself to a dirty, lusty time...you've worked too hard. Isn't time you rewarded yourself?

Compare other revealing Dreamgirl Classixx Chemise.

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard

Posted by Linda | 4:55 PM

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard - Wow, I finally managed to sit down and finished this awesome book by the author of Harry Potter.

I first became aware of this book way back in 2008 just before Amazon published the book because it was widely publicised that they bought the right from the author for the sum of $2M. So, being the company that focused primarily on books back them, they were able to use their marketing  muscle to push the book and generate enough buzz for the book to hit the top best-seller list within hours of publishing it days later.

Funnily enough, it was only on Amazon that you could pick up the The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition - the ordinary version could be bought just about any good book shop.

Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I quickly bought both the soft copy of The Tales Of Beedle The Bard and the Collector's edition. I really wanted to get the piece of the collector's item as well as have the ordinary version that I could read on my commute to work.

And believe me you have to see the author did a marvellous job with The Tales Of Beedle The Bard.
Unlike anything you've seen or read before, this is like five books in one. It covers five different thrilling, wizardry tales; each with a heart-pumping journey through the mystery world wizards and witches.

What I really like about this book is not only the stories it contains, but the book itself as a collectors item. It comes with a leather back disguised as a wizarding textbook from the Hogwarts library, replica gem stone, skull and metal corners - to give it that authentic collector's item look and feel.

Mine is still very new and I just finished reading it - but I won't be lending it to friends, instead, I plan on saving getting a few more copies as they seem to be going up in value. I just checked on Amazon the other day and the number of reviews there have gone beyond 400 - all 5 stars; that goes to show the level of interest this book is still commanding.

So, if you are reading this piece and thinking of buying a copy, I strongly suggest you get one now. If you are not ready and still want to think about it, well, before you finish thinking, all the special offers will have gone. In fact, click here now to give watch the trailer and give you an idea of how fast they are exchanging hands on Amazon.

Or Click here to buy a copy The Tales Of Beedle The Bard.

The Joy Of Open Source Operating System

Posted by Linda | 1:13 PM

For a software engineer that works on Ubuntu Linux, it was a great feeling to see this video the other day. I planned on posting it here since then, but totally forgot until I bumped into it again this afternoon.

So, I'm posting it now in the hopes that it will inspire you as well and maybe inspire you enough to make you check out Ubuntu Linux - and hopefully join us in shaping its future. By the way, there's a week-long developer event currently running at Ubuntu website that will end this Friday. If you'd like to have fun and learn how Applications are developed for the platform, please do check out the link now.

For me, the journey into using Ubuntu - and finally helping to develop it started a few years ago. While at the university, I had a chance to see what other students were doing and wanted to get in the action. So, we used the Live CDs to create sides and other stuff that would disappear the moment the computer restarted. Loved it so much I started experimenting.

Today, I now do most of my work on Ubuntu platform and also help to promote it.  So, if you are a student and would like to get into working with great folks on cool open source software, I would recommend you check the Ubuntu website as there's always something for anyone to help with. You don't have to write code, it could be anything from just using the software and reporting blogs, to proofreading.

Watch the video below, see how people are using Linux ...and be part of that movement.

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide

Posted by Linda | 7:46 AM

We all know that since Oracle  took over Sun, things have not been the same in the Java world - the JCP has effectively lost its mojo, companies that once relied on Java are having to consider other languages that are not tied to one company. In fact, the future of Java is not as rock solid as it used to be, say a couple of years back. What a shame!

I have been developing in Java for well over 9 years, but since the last two, my attention has moved to Python and Ruby...mainly because I thought it was important to keep learning and updating my programming skills.

One thing in the software industry is that if you do not update your skills with latest languages and technologies, you can quickly find yourself rotting in away with just one or two programming skills under your belt. You need to continually learning - your employers will NEVER push you to update your skill. And how better to do it than to see what others are using and try to update as well.

One of the languages outside Python, Ruby, Scala and C# that you might want to look at is Haskell.

There's a new book on Haskell that just hit the shelves, and it covers everything you'll need to start using it in anger. Being the Programming language nerd that I am, I have bought the book after spending weeks on the online version. I love the feel of the real book, flipping through pages, making notes and generally picking a chapter to focus on.

This Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! is written in a way that is very simple for even a beginner to pick up quite fast. Once you've covered the book, you can move to more advanced topics such as the Real World Heskell by Bryan O'Sullivan, John Goerzen and Don Stewart.

If you have been seriously thinking of updating your programming skills and you like the challenge of not waiting for someone to give you a push, well, now looks like a great way to start. Get yourself a copy of This Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide! and start today.

Canon PowerShot SX130IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3.0-Inch LCD

Posted by Linda | 1:58 PM

I bought this camera after months of looking at every point and shoot, ultra-zoom and DSLR on Amazon. I knew what I wanted to be able to do, but really didn't want to drop the $1,000+ to get it...I bought this camera a month ago and I have not had one single regret. The negatives that I noticed before I made my decision; like: microphone holes under finger slot, AA batteries, difficult to find the various options within menus, etc. I personally do not find these as negative.

It does take a little work to learn the menus and where the features are located, but no more than the menus on your DVD or new LCD television. A far as the AA battery situation, I purchased the Sanyo Eneloop brand AA and AAA and LOVE THEM VERY MUCH!! They are awesome. If you get this camera, you must get the Eneloops.

I've taken over 3500 pics in the first 2 weeks and I love every single one! The features of being able to manipulate the colors, the smart face recognition, smile detection/wink detection...all of these things you would expect to find on a much more expensive camera. I purchased this for $176 and I could not be more pleased.

If you are looking for a great digital camera under $200 with features...all kinds of great features, then this is the one for you. Luckily, Amazon is doing a deal on this camera, so you are in luck. Go grab one now before they all run out. The price won't remain this low for the rest of the week; I'm sure of that - or you may want to see which other one is on offer.

Click here to buy now.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty - Collector's Edition (PC & Mac)

Posted by Linda | 6:20 AM

Quite simply put, this game is a near perfect, balanced experience.
Take the original uniqueness of Starcraft: Wings of Liberty - Collector's Edition . Add massive improvements in graphics, and an even more considered and careful approach to the level designs, and you have SC2. It would be little use for me to wax lyrical about this game, many other people/reviewers/websites have already done this. For what it is, it is perfect for the job. Excellent level design, longevity, excellent music and FX and great acting. If you like action RTS games, you'll like this.

If we move on to the multiplayer, the options are considerable, with lots of achievements to aim for and endless options for 2/3/4/5/6/7 or 8 player games, with friends or the rest of your assigned global quadrant ( only EU players can play other EU players, or only USA players can play USA players etc etc )

Once the single player campaign is done, you will find more depth and longevity in the multiplayer or singleplayer skirmish modes. I myself have spent lots of time in these modes and have enjoyed every minute.

Whichever edition of this game you get will offer you great value for money, and this is an RTS experience that has simply re-written the rules. I wait in confidence for Blizz to do the same with WOW-Cataclysm. If only they would fix the twinks in PVP and get rid of gearscore.

Starcraft 2. Recommended beyond any doubt - Clcik here to buy it.

Reading Techical Books On Kindle

Posted by Linda | 3:48 AM

I love my Amazon Kindle 3G - when I first bought it, I didn't think it was going to be a fun gadget to have all the time. It now goes with me everywhere...I use it to read some of the free ebooks I downloaded from Amazon, and others I bought.

However, there's a little issue I have with it when reading some of the technical .pdf books I transferred across to the device. Over the years, some publishers have sent me copies of the books in .pdf for reviews. They open nicely on my desktop and laptop, but are not displaying properly on Kindle. The usual code formatting is gone, instead, you have all the code left adjusted and the syntax highlighting is not showing as well.

Just wondering, is it just me or has anyone else experienced this sort of display issue? The diagrams in these .pdf files don't show up where they are meant to show. A bit pissed really - any tips on how you solved yours if you had this sort of display problem?

Ubuntu App Developer Week - Free To Join

Posted by Linda | 10:59 AM

Last week, I posted a note that we will be having a whole week of free Ubuntu App Developer classes. This is open to everyone - it allows us to discuss how to develop applications that run on the Ubuntu Linux desktop computer. If you have been wondering how tools are developed for this platform, now is your chance to find out and hopefully have fun whilst getting your hands dirty in the process.

This free online programme runs for the whole of this week - lots of guys will be there to show you everything you've always wanted to know and more. If you have any question or an app idea, bring them all along with you and we will try our best to address them.

The focus of this Ubuntu App Developer week is to enable developers - beginners and advanced - to scratch their itches by helping them put together various applications; and showcase the wide range of development tools on the Ubuntu platform. We will also present other applications that have already been developed and talk about how they were written.

Be sure to join us from the 11th of April if you'd like to take part in the Ubuntu App Developer Week.

Latest WordPress 3.1.1 Available for Download

Posted by Linda | 10:36 AM

Wordpress, the worlds most widely used blogging platform has released the latest version 3.1.1. It is now available for download. As you can see, this blog does not use it, but a lot others out there run on the very popular wordpress platform.

According to their update log, this release fixes over 30 security and maintenance issues which include:

  • Some security hardening to media uploads
  • Performance improvements
  • Fixes for IIS6 support
  • Fixes for taxonomy and PATHINFO (/index.php/) permalinks
  • Fixes for various query and taxonomy edge cases that caused some plugin compatibility issues
One very important issue fixed is the media uploader hole - this ensures that media files are properly checked prior to granting access and allowed to run on the system.

If you run your site on an older version, you may want to update now as older versions could be open to exploits. If you host with some of the major hosting providers, upgrading is very easy - it takes just a click of a button and you're running the latest version.

Note: this post is not to alert you that there's an update - of course you usually see a notice on your dashboard. But this post is to simply draw your attention to some of the security and maintenance issues fixed in the update. 

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

Posted by Linda | 4:34 AM

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

About the Author

Manning Marable is M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University. He was founding director of African American Studies at Columbia from 1993 to 2003. Since 2002, he has directed Columbia's Center for Contemporary Black History. The author of fifteen books, Marable is also the editor of the quarterly journal Souls.

Hungry Girl 300 Under 300: 300 Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Dishes Under 300 Calories

Posted by Linda | 3:21 PM

If I had a nickel for every time that phrase came out of my mouth, I'd be a wealthy woman! I really, really like this book!

I made my first recipe today for breakfast, the Bean 'N Cheesy Soft Taco in an Egg Mug. I usually have Egg Beaters every morning for breakfast, so it wasn't a big departure for me. I definitely liked the Mexican flavor as a wake-me-up, and, with under 200 calories, it was a protein-packed, low-cal way to start the day. I can't wait to try out the Ten-Alarm Southwestern Corn Chowder, Crock-Pot Cinna-Apples 'N Oats, Crock-Pot Fake-Baked Beans, and Crock-Pot Coq Au Vin, too!

I lost 35 pounds last year, and Hungry Girl recipes and food recommendations were a big part of that. Some reviewers have knocked Lisa's practice of name brand name dropping. I actually really appreciate it, because then I know what product she used to get her calorie totals and therefore, what to search for at the grocery store. She admits up front she is not a nutritionist (she doesn't call herself Healthy Girl!), so the people who knock her for her "unnatural" ingredients need to get over it -- her books are about low calories.

No one is going to be healthy eating too many calories! And although I don't care for some of her ingredient choices (the tofu shirataki noodles and Cool Whip come to mind), I either modify the recipes to meet my tastes, or I select another from her myriad of choices!

Keep it up, Hungry Girl!!

JavaScript: The Good Parts

Posted by Linda | 3:00 PM

Most programming languages contain good and bad parts, but JavaScript has more than its share of the bad, having been developed and released in a hurry before it could be refined. This authoritative book scrapes away these bad features to reveal a subset of JavaScript that's more reliable, readable, and maintainable than the language as a whole-a subset you can use to create truly extensible and efficient code.

Considered the JavaScript expert by many people in the development community, author Douglas Crockford identifies the abundance of good ideas that make JavaScript an outstanding object-oriented programming language-ideas such as functions, loose typing, dynamic objects, and an expressive object literal notation. Unfortunately, these good ideas are mixed in with bad and downright awful ideas, like a programming model based on global variables.

When Java applets failed, JavaScript became the language of the Web by default, making its popularity almost completely independent of its qualities as a programming language. In JavaScript: The Good Parts, Crockford finally digs through the steaming pile of good intentions and blunders to give you a detailed look at all the genuinely elegant parts of JavaScript, including:

  • Syntax
  • Objects
  • Functions
  • Inheritance
  • Arrays
  • Regular expressions
  • Methods
  • Style
  • Beautiful features
The real beauty? As you move ahead with the subset of JavaScript that this book presents, you'll also sidestep the need to unlearn all the bad parts. Of course, if you want to find out more about the bad parts and how to use them badly, simply consult any other JavaScript book.

With JavaScript: The Good Parts, you'll discover a beautiful, elegant, lightweight and highly expressive language that lets you create effective code, whether you're managing object libraries or just trying to get Ajax to run fast. If you develop sites or applications for the Web, this book is an absolute must.

About the Author

Douglas Crockford is a Senior JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!, well known for introducing and maintaining the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. He's a regular speaker at conferences on advanced JavaScript topics, and serves on the ECMAScript committee.

Always pay off debts with savings

Posted by Linda | 8:12 AM

Most people who try and save while they're in debt are simply throwing their money away; even if the debt is a mortgage.
The amount of interest you pay to borrow is much more than you earn on your savings, so pay the debt off with your savings and you're quids in.

How much?
Someone with $5,000 on a credit card and $5,000 saved is likely to be $700 a year better off by paying off the debt with the savings. This is a typical example of how most people can save just by looking at how much of their debt can be paid off.

Another thing you should explore is how much other banks will pay you in interest if you moved your account over to them. In credit card business, loyalty does not pay - most providers give great introductory rates to new customers. So simply by closing your account and re-registering could net you anything around $200 a year.

In this hard economic times, it's worth shopping around for better credit card rates than what your current provider is offer.

Working From Home - Why You Should Consider It!

Posted by Linda | 12:34 PM

Working From Home - For some people, working Monday to Friday, 7 days a week is not something they would consider. They would rather not work at all than to be stuck in an office for a whole day, come home tired and not able to read bed time stories to the kids. But for some, they love the routine of daily commute; just soaking up the office environment, networking, generating wealth and pumping up ones ego.

That is all great if you are still single and have no young family to bring up. But once there's a family, the whole plan changes. So, how do you ensure that you keep the job you love and still manage to spend quality time with the family? Well, you could decide to pack it all in and look for something closer to home, ask that your hours be reduced...or you could ask to be moved to a branch office where the work load is less.

How about working from home. Since the explosion of the internet and free VOIP and cheap broadband network, most people have been taking the opportunity to change their working life. Traditionally, most people had to commute to work every single day, but that is now changing. In fact, a recent poll showed that more than 10% of the computing and financial professionals regularly work from home.This of course is still very low when there should be more people doing it.

Why you should consider working from home -
There are many reasons why one should consider working from home; not only does it save you money and stress in the long term, it also allows you to work in an environment that you are most happy - your home. The stresses of commuting and daily round trip is reduced. The time you would normally spend on the road could be spent on something else. As most developers know, a great deal of code can be written within just 2 hours. This is the average time that a typical commuter spends on the road on a daily basis.

Apart from that, it is believed that most people's home computers are in most cases more powerful than their office equipments. You get to use your own computer configuration that you know and trust. Another plus with working from home is that it allows you to focus on working on the problem domain with little or no distractions like noise and chatter from across the cubicle.

The most important reason of all is to be able to spend that vital quality time with your kid(s). For me, my kids are my priority - and to be able to spend time with them means I don't have to live my life in my 17 inch laptop backpack.

Who works from home?
 But you don't need to have a young family for you to work from home. All sorts of people choose to work from home for different reasons - again, these could be because they are disabled and need the flexibility to work in an environment where there's little or no obstacle to their mobility. Others do it because, as mentioned before, they are more productive in their own home office.

So, what are the downsides?
Well, despite the long list of benefits of working from home, there are a few gotchas -
For a start, it is easy to work beyond your normal 9 -5 hours because you are in a home environment. And remember, any extra time you put into your work may not count and won't get paid for it. You may even end up not spending the time working on your office project as there's no one to monitor your progress.

A few people have found themselves working at night because they spent the day on things entirely outside their office project. Because you used your own electricity, broadband, telephone and VOIP, who pays the bills? These are some of the things one needs to consider before working from home.

The Take away -
While working with colleagues together under the same roof in an office is important, you should also consider working from home. Speak to your manager and if possible help put a system in place to encourage flexible working environment. As lots of researches have shown, to be really productive developers need to be in an environments that is not only flexible, but a place where they are free to roam, be creative and feel very much at home.

Dragon Age 2

Posted by Linda | 9:02 AM

I am not sure this game is better than DA:O. Don't get me wrong, I love this game! But, I also loved DA Origins before it. Thats said, I would recommend this game for anyone that has enjoyed any Bioware RPG in the past. Obviously, like with most Bioware games, if you can buy the game for PC do that instead. I couldn't, so i got the console version, and I am pretty happy with it.


The graphics for the game are much, much improved over the first one. This time around, there is (not accounting for mods by Bioware or the community) very little difference between the graphic quality of the console version and the PC one. On the Xbox, the game no longer look like someone covered the whole world in a thin layer of mud and everyone around you was in some sort of terrible disfiguring accident.

The gameplay is flexible. You can play this game as an action game (mostly) or more as a strategy game (my personal recommendation). Obviously I am biased because I loved the first instalment, which was almost impossible to play as a real-time action game. The combat feels great in both cases and the game really benefits from it.

The combat looks fluid and interesting. The first game's combat animation was boxy and awkward, this one is sleek and sexy.

The dialogue is AMAZING. Being the kings of gameplay voice-acting and dialogue, Bioware rarely get any point for this anymore, because it has to be mentioned. The writing (at far as what the characters say and how it is delivered) is witty and near flawless. This game will make you laugh and laugh.

The game has tons of re-playability. Not only can you play as different classes that approach combat differently, you can also redo some decisions you made throughout the game that change the dialogue and how people interact with you. Also, keeping with Bioware's recent emphasis on continuity, your decisions from Origins slightly affect the world of DA2. Its neat to see how your choices affect people. If you didn't play Origins, you can choose from a variety of backstory options.


The level designers were lazier than anything I have seen in years. Yes, level design is hard work. Yes, the game levels that are well made are interesting and pretty. But no, you are not allowed to reuse level templates as much as they do in this game! I didn't think I would mind myself, but wow was I wrong. Near the end of the game you feel more like you are some escaped mental patient running around the same hospital room over and over again living out a delusion of medieval fancy. There are times when the level rehash breaks the suspension of disbelief so much that the game even comments on it.

The story isn't nearly as good as the first one. It doesn't feel as grand and all encompassing as the first. No fate of the world hanging in the balance kind of thing. can't get into too much more without spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.

The bugs can be pretty bad. As of the writing of this review, two of your possible companion characters are bugged so that if you are super good friends with them, there is a chance that they will cripple your character to the point of ruining your game. Due to some funky code, your friends can accidentally lower your stats and basically make is impossible to win in combat. worst part is, this happens really late in the game, potentially killing hours of time (do I sound bitter? I may be a tad bitter). Bioware has always been good about patching these sort of crippling bugs, but right now they are still at large.

The romance is shallow. One of the things I loved about the first game, was the ability to connect with some of your party members in a seemingly human way. it wasn't just about the steamy bits, it was about the dialogue afterwards. It was about how other party members reacted to it. This time around, there is the sexy time, and then pretty much nothing until the end of the game. Is it really that insane to want to talk afterwards? Is cuddling really that vile?

The Settlers of Catan - MayFair Games

Posted by Linda | 6:01 AM

The Settlers of Catan - When you first open Catan game, you may be a little underwhelmed by the prevalence of cardboard pieces (I wish there was a more durable wood version of the board tiles) and the seemingly complicated rule book. I admit, there were a few minor questions it didn't answer that I had to go to the website to figure out from the Q&A section.

With that being said: Never fear! The positives far outweigh those criticisms.

The rule book covers all of the basics you'll need to know to start playing, and, after giving it a good read through, you should be ready to play, even if only one person has the time to read it. Everyone I've played with learns quickly from my basic description of the rules and picks up the rest naturally and intuitively throughout the game.

For some reason, the new person to play The Settlers of Catan game always seems to win in the games I play. Perhaps that speaks poorly of my Catan skills, but, on a positive note, it has contributed greatly to the game's popularity with my friends. You can use a suggested set-up for new players and then after a game or two you can try more advanced set ups... that is a random set up of the board. The coolest thing about Catan is simply that unlike Monopoly the board changes every time you play if you set up the tiles randomly (see the above illustration provided by Amazon). It makes each game challenging and unique and fun to play.

Warning, the game can be a little cutthroat as you vie with other players to occupy the best areas of the board and as you use the "robber" piece to steal cards from other players. Still, everyone's had fun with it and there are ways to adjust the game to make it suitable for kids to play too without hurt feelings.

The Settlers of Catan is the first "Euro" style strategy game I have ever played and I already think it is much better than Risk, though I'd still give "Diplomacy" the edge in terms of my favorite strategy board game. This game is hands down better than your typical American game, from Monopoly to Life, and a nice change of pace from the games that seem to be most popular with the 20s crowd these days: Cranium, Scene-It, and Banagrams.

Also, you can play The Settlers of Catan game with two players as there is an official variant designed by Klaus Teber himself available online with some searching. Still, I'd recommend playing with 3-4 if at all possible because the two player version is not as interactive in that the voluntary trading phase of each player's turn doesn't exist and is replaced by a forced trading mechanism using tokens.

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