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Monday, August 31, 2015

How to Train Dogs, essential tips for dog owners

How to Train Dogs.
Image provided by webmaster.

Everyone loves a well trained dog. Sure, they don’t make the news headlines for being well behaved, but they can win friends, prizes and praise for being easy to get on with, good with strangers or children, not pulling on the lead or barking too much.

However, training a dog takes time and effort, especially if you have to teach them not to do certain things they’ve been accustomed to getting away with in a previous home. To find out the best way to train your dog to behave well in every situation, you need a site like How To Train Dogs. This blog is just one of several similar websites which all contain articles on the basics of training your dog. Recent topics covered here include toilet training your dog, teaching your dog to come to you on command and tips on training a dog not to bite. There is certainly plenty of choice when concerned owners need to research details on ensuring their pet is well behaved and healthy. These days, there is much at stake for owners found to have a dangerous dog. Some breeds have been officially designated ‘dangerous dogs’ in the UK and strict legislation applies to keeping them. Other breeds, such as chihuahuas, require special care due to their nature, as pointed out on this site. Owners of smaller dogs should be aware of the necessity to put a dog coat on their animal before taking it for a walk in the winter, for instance, due to the fact that the smaller breeds will naturally feel the cold more. In any case, vets’ bills are too high to be taking chances with an unhealthy dog, so as a responsible pet owner it pays to research correct care on a site such as this, which provides a more personal touch than some of the more official sites.

The last five articles are linked on the right hand side of the blog; for more entries, readers will have to check the archives. Caring for a new puppy should also include training from the earliest days of their independence, and for older dogs, new to the owner, any corrective training should begin as soon as they notice undesirable traits in their pet. The articles are generally broken down into step by step processes to make the training process easy to follow, and although some of the explanations are quite convoluted, readers should be able to get the gist of the instructions.

Of course, as you would expect, this site also has many pictures of puppies and dogs for animal lovers to admire. For a gentle introduction to the fine art of training a dog, How To Train Dogs is certainly worth a look.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Local Plumbers Directory lists Australian plumbers nationwide

Local Plumbers Directory, Australia
Image supplied and used with permission.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a local locksmiths’ directory in Kansas City. Now I’ve discovered a similar listings service for plumbers in Australia. Local Plumbers Directory is simple to use, in that customers needing a plumber enter their postcode, any specialty they require, suitable keywords or a business name if they know it. The database then provides them with a list of possible matches to their specifications. They choose the ones they like and contact them for quotes before engaging their preferred plumber or the one whose experience most closely matches their job. The service is free to both customers and plumbers, and puts customers in touch with specialist, qualified, licensed local plumbers they might not have known about otherwise.

The site is also open to plumbers looking to expand their client base. And let’s face it, plumbers are always eagerly sought after. When a tap bursts, a shower fails or a toilet gets blocked, it’s a major inconvenience, after all, and most people need the problem fixed as soon as possible. For plumbers this means a constant stream of new clients without having to pay commission fees, as well as a chance to have a full mini-website for their business and a boost to their search engine rankings.

Local Plumbers Directory has a number of features to help customers find their perfect plumber. The site simplifies the quote-finding process by allowing multiple plumbers to be contacted at once and also offers a Quick Quote option for local plumbers to contact the customer themselves. This is especially useful when customers are looking for an immediate resolution, as only the plumbers who are available there and then will contact the customer.

The site also has a list of ten questions for customers to ask any plumbers when obtaining a quote, as well as a blog and a video area. The thing which always strikes me about tradesmen’s listings is that these sites fill a gap in the market. These guys ought by rights to be too busy fixing drains, sinks, showers and toilets to have time to maintain a website. Like barbers, general handymen, painters and flooring specialists, they work with their hands all day, every day. Yet the rest of us expect them to be available online as well, which sometimes they might find difficult given the messiness of their daily occupation. A site such as Local Plumbers Directory in Australia helps them know where their next job is coming from and allows them to build their reputation with the best customers of all – local clients.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Klink - Share Content, Get Paid

Klink app logo. Image supplied and used with permission.
This could be interesting. I’m not a video fan and I’m too old to ‘get’ Instagram. Anyway, Instagram is a Facebook company and I don’t ‘get’ that either.

But for those who love those little Vine video clips and share Instagrams the way I share Tweets, the new Klink social media app is a mix of the two. And you get paid for sharing your content too. Well, it was going to happen eventually, after the rise and fall of revshare sites for words, as the fashion moved on to videos and images, so the revshare model would follow.

Interested potential users should be aware that this app requires a 5th generation Apple device running iOS7. My iPod Touch is a 4th generation so stops at version 6.1.6. Shame, because being paid to find out about the fuss surrounding Instagram-style apps would have been fun.

This app is brand new, only available on Apple (no Android version yet as they only launched a month ago). The developers tell me the app supports full screen, high quality photos and video, which makes it easy to capture, share and monetize your still or moving images. Yes, monetize. This app works just like the revshare sites for writers, or YouTube for podcasters, and pays you for sharing your content. This is achieved by including small banner ads with your content and sharing the revenues between all those users whose work has displayed those adverts. The screenshot on the support page link indicates a rate of $1 for 1,000 views which is around the industry average for written or visual content on this new breed of mobile social media. Anyone familiar with the Like system on Facebook will feel right at home here, where a like more or less indicates having viewed the content. A featured post can be purchased for 99 cents, or you can save the money earned from your views and withdraw it at a later date.

If you check the hashtag #klinkapp on Twitter or Instagram, you will see examples of the app in use and find out more about how it works. The latest version is only a couple of days old and features a live feed of all new content and better video quality, including video ads. Even though I can’t download it, it looks from the screenshots as if it should be fairly easy to use, and certainly the comments seem to bear that out. There’s a toggle switch to swipe between video and photo and buttons to like, comment and upload content. Swiping corrects blurred view and the piggy bank icon allows you to share the app and invite friends to join too. Naturally, the main idea is that you share your content across other social media sites. Facebook may not take too kindly to monetized content from other sites being shared on feeds, but Instagram and Twitter seem to be pretty cool about it, at least judging from the site’s popularity on those platforms.

Of course, Klink app is new, and despite serious testing there have still been reports of bugs. The developers hope they have ironed many of them out with the latest update but comments, moans, gripes and suggestions are all welcome via the support email. Early adopters are eligible for a Super Elite Klink Creator badge, and should email the developers for more information on applying.

Now, if the developers could just release an Android version, I would be able to give it a really good test and report back in a month or so with my findings. Anyone fancy seeing photographs of the neighborhood cats?

Tibetan Thangka Pendant Necklaces and Feng Shui Jewelry from Explosion Luck

Explosion Luck logo.
Image supplied and used with permission.
Regular readers will recall that one of my favorite sites is Explosion Luck. Their range of feng shui items is both beautiful and inspiring, complemented by Inuit sculpture and Oriental wall art, all designed to bring good fortune upon the house or office where they are displayed. Feng shui has been practiced for around six thousand years and encompasses the idea of alignment and harmony of objects with surroundings. Think of Stonehenge, aligned to the summer solstice, and the great Egyptian temples and tombs, designed to catch the sun in certain angles at certain points of the year. That's feng shui in action.

Explosion Luck have recently started to offer feng shui jewelry, in the form of Tibetan thangka and Chinese Buddha pendant necklaces. These are available in similar designs to the wall hanging thangkas already stocked. The jewelry is a personal, portable good luck symbol and these statement pendant necklaces will certainly ensure that the wearer receives plenty of comments about their intricately rendered design as well as the associated good fortune. Of course, buyers could also hang a feng shui pendant in their office, cubicle or car, but for the best effect, it should be worn close to the heart for good luck all day, every day.

The colorful wearable art jewelry items can also be used as yoga jewelry or meditational pieces. Focusing on the detailed 1.63" x 1.19" teardrop shaped pictures will allow the buyer to see the most delicate of details and provide an ideal central point to any meditation.

A Tibetan thangka White Tara pendant.
Image used with permission.
A Tibetan thangka pendant necklace would be a thoughtful gift to someone who either appreciates unusual jewelry or has a good understanding of the meanings behind feng shui. For someone in the medical profession, a White Tara thangka necklace would be appropriate, as she is said to counteract illness, embody compassion and bring healing and peace.

Orange Jade Buddha feng shui necklace.
Image used with permission.
For a positive lift on a dreary day or extra energy to make through a difficult encounter, buyers should consider the rather cheeky looking orange jade Buddha. He is positively fizzing with energy and although slightly smaller than the thangkas, at 1.25" x 1", no less packed with positive vibes.

Explosion Luck also offer a selection of rich Tibetan thangka wall hangings. These will provide a focal point for any large space and will also bestow good fortune on the location where they are displayed. Like the feng shui pendants, they also depict colorful deities.

Explosion Luck's full range of inspirational art includes sand art and sculptures as well as feng shui and inspirational wall hangings. If you, your home or your workplace is in need of some calming inspiration, look no further.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy: the ideal way to unwind

Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy. Logo provided and used with permission.

A massage is a treat to many of us. Often part of spa days and pamper packages, the idea of someone gently soothing your cares away is the stuff of countless dreams. In the workplace a massage voucher to a local spa is often offered as a corporate incentive or reward, and many sportspeople will make a massage part of their normal wind down after competition.

Now Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy can make this dream a reality. You too can experience the wind down that a pro sports competitor does. The company will visit your workplace, home or hotel with their mobile massage service to give you (and your partner or friends) a therapeutic massage. The company offers a range of specially targeted massages, from desk or chair massages at the office to antenatal relaxation massages for frazzled moms to be and postnatal recovery treatments for worn out new moms. Massage is one of those things that hits the spot and brings relief from so many ills. A mobile massage relaxes, unwinds, boosts circulation, releases endorphins (those hormones that are said to make you feel good) and helps soothe away pain and discomfort. For that reason it is suitable for all ages, as well as being useful in the treatment of chronic pain, sports injuries, anxiety, muscle tension and more.

Imagine arriving at your hotel in New York or New Jersey after a typical transatlantic flight in coach. An hour or so after you arrive, the hotel reception buzzes to say that the mobile massage therapist is on the way up to your room. That’ll see the kinks right out of your legs, arms, back and neck as well as giving the jetlag a shove too. That’s the level of service you can expect from Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy. For a truly transformational experience, a four-hand massage offers the ultimate in calming hands-on therapy, where two experienced massage therapists will work on you together for an hour or more. For those who suffer with tension headaches or sinus issues, an ayurvedic scalp and facial massage might be of assistance.

Over the years, massage has acquired a slightly seedy reputation. However, therapeutic massage is anything but seedy. It’s positively good for you, in fact, offering a whole array of physical benefits from reduction of pain to improved circulation. In addition, a therapeutic massage from Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy will offer much needed time for you to simply zone out from your usual daily cares and enjoy the experience.

Friday, August 21, 2015

ATIS Digital Agency - Tirana

ATIS Digital Agency - Tirana
Logo supplied and used with permission.

ATIS (Albanian Telecommunication and Information Services) are a digital agency based in Tirana, Albania. In common with many companies in this connected life, they work with customers all over the world. Indeed, the agency expresses a preference for working in the field of ‘offshore web development’ so they would positively welcome enquiries from overseas.

What marks ATIS out from the others is that they are a one-stop shop for just about everything a firm could need, digitally speaking. This team of 12 hard-working men and women have delivered almost two million lines of code (1,956,628, to be exact) for 83 projects.

That's 1,328 and a third lines of code for every one of the 1,473 cups of coffee the team have drunk. Or an average of almost 23,574 lines of code per customer. That equals some pretty late nights and large projects.

Between them, ATIS can look after all aspects of a company's digital marketing requirements. They design mobile apps, offer web design and development services and have in-house copywriting specialists as well as creative design and digital marketing service experts. Whether assisting with a new email or social media marketing campaign, or revamping an older website for the mobile-centric Smartphone/tablet era, ATIS can help. If it's digital, the chances are that they have experience with it. The team is truly multi-talented, being able to design everything from a new logo to stationery or branding for uniforms as well as all the usual digital media. If it can be rendered digitally, ATIS will provide it, and I get the impression that the team enjoy a challenge.

The ATIS team’s web development service covers CMS, e-commerce, frameworks and web applications. This is complemented by web design; giving the site a great look, making it intuitive and easy to use. Of course, a web site might look good, but it needs persuasive copy if visitors are to become customers and buy services or goods. ATIS has multilingual copywriters to take care of that, and ensure that the keywords are in place to show good search engine optimization (SEO). When the website is ready, the team will attend to the social media marketing (SMM) and pay per click advertising (PPC) that make a well designed website not just look good but work well too. To be ranked highly in search engines today, websites need to work just as well on a range of devices from a 24” widescreen to a 10” tablet and a 4” Smartphone. A dedicated app might be the answer, and with ATIS, mobile apps are designed and tested in house. They can be produced for and published on iOS, Android and Windows as needed. A company is nothing without advertising and branding, and this is where the creative design side kicks in, covering logos, banner advertisements, business cards and other branding.

ATIS Digital Agency are, as you might expect, active on social media. The best place to find them is on Linked In but they also welcome enquiries directly through their website or via Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Allergy Field - zap those allergies forever

Allergy Field logo. Used with permission.

Allergies can ruin the summer, blight exams and generally make a mess of your life all year round if you're really unlucky. They cause sniffles, breathlessness, itchiness, rashes, headaches, upset digestion and more. Many people end up on restrictive diets or reliant on anti-histamines and inhalers which mean it can be difficult to enjoy life to the full.

That’s no way to live, but help is at hand in the form of Allergy Field. Owner Tomaya Weiser offers a treatment called Integrated Physical Emotional Clearing (IPEC), which tests the muscles to determine areas of imbalance, blockage, weakness or sensitivity. Once the issue has been addressed, patients generally see a 10%-80% reduction in the allergy being treated. It is common for Tomaya to treat more than one allergy at a time, as many will reduce after just one treatment.

The great thing about IPEC therapy is that there are no medications, there is no surgery, no invasive treatment, no pain. Allergy intervention can even be carried out at a distance, over Skype. Somehow, having someone look at realigning your body and mind just works. Breaking a blockage you can’t actually see, strengthening yourself against a sensitivity and correcting weaknesses and imbalances returns many patients to a full life, and gives great relief to others. Many patients report a lightening of the mind as well as a strengthening of the body after undergoing a course of these treatments.

Tomaya is so certain that the Integrated Physical Emotional Clearing treatment will work that she is prepared to offer a full money back guarantee if no improvement is seen in the specific allergy being treated after three sessions. Her testimonials seem to suggest that an improvement will be seen though, even when operating by distance healing.

Allergy Field's treatment aims to give relief from many common allergens such as dust, dust mites, pollen and animal hair. Food sensitivities can be made livable with rather than life-ruling and side effects from medication lessened considerably, according to the testimonials.

There is an initial free online consultation, then an appointment to carry out the tests needed to determine sensitivities to around 50 different allergens. The testing and a course of three treatments will cost A$465 or around US$350, €180 or £220 in total. Given that medication to suppress allergies is so expensive, patients may well find that not only do they recoup the cost of their treatment in savings on prescription charges, they may also end up financially better off in the long run as they will not have the ongoing costs of repeat medication.

I am seriously thinking of giving this a go, if only to see what Allergy Field's IPEC treatment can do for me. In these modern times, when additives are everywhere, it makes sense to look for alternatives to ingesting more chemicals in the form of expensive pharmaceuticals. If you share that view, then Tomaya at Allergy Field will be happy to hear from you, no matter where you are in the world.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Giveaway Club offers free licence keys to new software

Giveaway Club. Logo supplied and used with permission.

Giveaway Club shares free license keys for premium software products. Before you suggest this may not be entirely legal, their blurb states right up front: ‘Every day we partner with top rated software developers to bring you the best products for free. Test popular software, discover new products and enjoy free licenses with us!’

If you fancy trying out new or recently upgraded software for free, or at greatly reduced prices, this site could be quite useful. They offer the keys for a maximum of 48 hours (the more popular ones are only likely to be available for 24 hours) so you have to move fast. Offers are currently available for webcam software that works without a webcam, a vocoder style program, a media specialist’s suite and more.

Further down the home page is a banner announcing upcoming giveaways so you know whether you need to set your alarm to get something the nanosecond it is released. There are also suggestions of similar items to the ones currently on offer, maybe similar software or from the same supplier. Software tends to fall into two categories, either fun programs which enhance the capability of your computer or the useful kinds of programs that you wouldn’t go out and buy but really ought to have if you use computers regularly, like driver checkers and data recovery tools. Those are the programs you would have to pay a specialist a serious amount of money to run if you had a problem with your machine, but here you can buy them at deeply discounted prices or even try them for free.

Giveaway Club. Free software, anyone?
Banner supplied and used with permission.

Users are encouraged to submit ratings and reviews of the available products, which must be downloaded and installed at the time of the limited free offer. Once the offer ends, so does the validity of the associated license key unless the software has already been installed. Members of the site will be able to access more content, but anyone can acquire the software at a discount without registering. Nor do you have to sit through promotional videos or sign up for email promotions either. There will be other offers promoted when the software is installed, but users will have the chance to opt out of any additional software on offer. There is no requirement to pay for a bundle when the user is only going to access part of it, although if you like one program, it stands to reason that you might like others which are similar.

Installation is simple – every download comes with a readme.txt file. Users should also be aware that some registry cleaners will cause software registration details to be erased. Once the machine or software package is updated, the free version will either revert to trial mode or cease to work, at which point users will have to purchase a new copy from the software house which made the program in the first place.

That aside, Giveaway Club is a good way to try new and different software which otherwise would be expensive to buy.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Regular Travelers need a Jacket by Global Travel Clothing

Global Travel Clothing logo. Image used with permission.

Imagine being able to travel and not instantly look like a tourist with a roll-along suitcase in tow.

Imagine not having to empty out your pockets at the TSA or customs scanners.

Imagine being able to keep your ticket and passport safe and not have to constantly check they're in your pocket. 

The Black Cotton Global
Travel Clothing Jacket

With the Global Travel Clothing jacket you will be able to do all this and more. The designer behind this was just as fed up as the rest of us can be at the security headaches which modern travel presents. So he decided to design a jacket that had enough pockets and flaps to make any journey a breeze.

There's a pair of holes on the collar for your earphones, an inside zip pocket for a passport or wallet, a strap for a drinks bottle, a pocket that's big enough for a tablet or e-reader. The cuffs and waist are adjustable and there is a pen/sunglasses holder as well as a removable hood. Not enough? OK, there’s a total of three inside zippered pockets, three Velcro pockets, and two outside zipper pockets. All the Velcro pockets are hidden inside the zipped pockets for extra security. 

The Blue Canvas Global Travel
Clothing Jacket
The way the jacket is designed means it doesn’t look like the wearer is stashing much inside, so it won’t attract attention from pickpockets or thieves. It is easy to remove for the scanner, as everything you need can stay inside and there’s even room in some of the pockets for your jewelry too (in the UK the customs staff usually ask you to remove your jewelry as well as shoes).

The Global Travel Jacket is available in three designs: Blue Canvas, Windbreaker and Black Cotton. They all have the same multi-pocket design and are available in men’s and women’s sizes from Small to XXXL in either version. As a solid female citizen, I tend to prefer men’s sizing, but it’s good to know that there are women’s sizes available for those ladies who are blessed with a figure.

Prices start at $79.99 for the black cotton version and rise to $104.99 for the blue canvas version. That’s between £50 and £70, which given that standard high street store windbreaker jackets with two pockets retail at £45+, is not a bad deal. I prefer to have everything in one place, either a rucksack or pockets, so this jacket is ideal for me. I rarely leave the house without my bus pass, work ID, office keys, house keys, phone and wallet, so this jacket gives me enough pockets to carry all of that plus the packages of things I’ve sold on eBay the night before. As it’s machine washable, I can also carry my smoothie flask as well without worry. My husband likes to carry his keys, wallet and phone on his person too so this jacket will make a really good Christmas present for him. Thanks, Global Travel Clothing! That's a big problem solved.
The Windbreaker Global Travel Clothing Jacket

Thursday, August 13, 2015

SkyDiveNow - tick skydiving off your bucket list

SkyDiveNow logo supplied by the company and used with permission.

Skydiving is a bucket list activity for many people. Some even manage to make the leap for charity, usually in tandem with an experienced skydiver. UK company SkyDiveNow has tandem parachuting opportunities for between £200 and £300, with the chance for video and photographs for an additional fee payable on the day.

Parachute jumping in tandem is actually easier to achieve than it might sound. There is often a local aerodrome nearby offering the chance to skydive - my nearest is about 45 minutes away. It's also, perhaps surprisingly, very safe, as figures show 228 accidents for almost 220,000 skydives between 2009 and 2013.

SkyDiveNow operate from several locations throughout the UK. The company has a variety of aircraft in use, depending on the location. Aircraft take between seven and fourteen skydivers and ascend to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet. For tandem dives the novice and an experienced partner, safely strapped together, leave the aircraft and freefall at 120mph until the experienced skydiver pulls the cord to open the chute. They then head for the drop zone and land in the designated area.

As expected there are a few rules and regulations to observe. Generally the maximum weight of any would-be skydiver is 15 stone, or just over 95kg, including clothes and shoes. Dogs are usually not permitted on the airfields and alcohol can only be consumed after the day's flying has finished.

SkyDiveNow can also help those who want to learn to skydive themselves. The company runs static line (RAPS) courses in five locations around the country where participants learn the basics of skydiving with an automated parachute. The course allows for a lower exit altitude, and alongside the automatically deployed parachute, trainees also have a radio for backup as they steer the canopy towards the drop zone. Learning is at an individual’s own pace, and may suit people who prefer a gentler learning curve or find it difficult to book the necessary free time for training, either through family or work commitments. There are up to 12 participants on any course, and training can be scheduled with longer breaks between classes if needed.

For more intensive training, there is the Accelerated Free Fall course, which involves a first jump from 12,500 feet with two instructors alongside during the freefall phase. Trainees will pilot their own parachute to the drop zone from 5,000 feet although the instructors will keep a close eye on them too. Novices need to progress through 8 levels and complete 10 solo jumps to become a fully qualified skydiver in their own right. This approach will suit those who want a concentrated course in skydiving and safe use of a parachute. It is offered in small groups of up to four trainees, and the price reflects this. The Accelerated Free Fall course is also offered at five locations nationwide, but they are not the same five as the RAPS course.

SkyDiveNow can help anyone in the UK to access skydiving, whatever their level of interest. In addition to the prominently displayed telephone and email contact details, the website also has links to various social media platforms displaying photographs and videos giving further information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jeda Voice - CD: Abstract Mind, track: Your Name

Jeda Voice - Abstract Mind cover shot, released May 2015.
Image supplied by the artist and used with permission.

I’ve written before about the wonderfully sweet and mellow r’n’b of Jeda Voice, who goes by @ThePrinceJeda on Twitter.

The track he’s shared with me this week is a song called Your Name, which is the musical equivalent of warm, melted chocolate, it’s that smooth. Why this guy isn’t a huge star already I have no idea, as his soulful vocals sound much better than some of the rough edged and ranting hip hop tinged r’n’b in the charts these days. This is four minutes of seriously classy music. The track oozes quality, multi tracked with close harmonies and not a note out of place. The acapella closing bars are a testament to the purity of the 25 year-old’s voice, repeating the chorus clearly with every word fully enunciated. I like songs I can hear the lyrics on, and with this one there is no doubt.

Jeda Voice’s Instagram account is full of photos and video snippets documenting his musical and acting experiences to date. He’s having a good few months, just turned 25 and with a new CD, Abstract Mind, released at the end of May. Track 14 of this 18-track extravaganza is Your Name, the one he sent over this week. He’s just completed a video shoot too, in Riverside, California. Too bad I wasn’t visiting the state or I’d have been up there watching the filming. In one of the earlier shots on Instagram, he looks like a young Dr Dre, all tattoos and attitude. In another, he’s freshly shorn, with a collared shirt and tie, every inch the young, successful businessman. A few pictures later, he shares one of his mom at a book signing, so he proves his creativity is no accident. He moves in the right circles, too, as there’s also a photograph of him with actress Kyla Pratt from the Dr Doolittle films, taken at a BET event. Last year he even had the video for 1-2-3 premiered on Vevo as part of his promotional grind, and you don’t get that without serious networking and hard work. Jeda Voice has been putting out an album a year since 2012 though, and there aren’t many mainstream musicians who manage that level of production these days.

Jeda Voice and his fans are still hoping he’ll be picked for XXL Magazine’s lineup of Freshmen 2016, maybe thanks to the fact that his usual soulful, sundrenched brand of r’n’b is more accessible than some. In the meantime, I guess the musician will just keep on grinding, as he has done for the past few years, networking furiously, making music and videos, doing what he does best.

Monday, August 10, 2015 - sport-related competitions, offers, voucher codes and vacancies

Competitions are big business in the UK these days (look at how many entries the recent Tour de France bike-winning competition had, after all). Offers and voucher codes are always welcome, especially to those of us with an eye for a bargain or savings. Specialist jobs are highly sought after. Sport is perennially popular.

So a site like should be on everyone's radar. It combines the best sports-based competitions, plus relevant offers, voucher codes and job vacancies for coaches, development staff and experts in widening participation in sports. Whether you're looking to try a gym for the first time on a discount or looking for a coaching job, this site probably has the answer.

And it's not just popular big money sports. Sure, there's the chance to win a sports bra or a signed cricket bat. But there's also an opportunity to get your mitts on a set of running poles and competitions for children to win bikes or the chance to become a flagbearer at an international football match. Unlike many chances to win, these competitions are free to enter. No mobile phone message charges, no seeking the bill payer's permission before ringing a premium rate number. There are currently 41 free to enter competitions running, with the team behind updating the site often with new chances to win.

If you're looking to move into working in sport or are seeking your next opportunity, there are 44 job vacancies listed. From a cycling instructor for Northamptonshire schools to opportunities in lesser known sports like futsal and lacrosse, coaches, business managers and mentors are all sought here.

In the voucher codes section, offers include discounts on supplements, equipment and retro sports kit (shirts and jackets). Typically, offers available through cover areas such as trial memberships of various gyms, discounts on health food and supplements plus cut price entry to sporting events.

Many entries link in to two related items, so a promotional discount on football kit, for instance, might contain links at the end both to an advertisement for a football coach and a chance to enter a football themed competition. The site also has the chance to search by sport so dedicated fans can choose to see only the items relevant to their particular speciality. is a good resource for anyone keen on sport, those who have an eye for a bargain, and interested spectators wanting to see more of a sport they last caught at the London 2012 Olympics. If any of those descriptions is an accurate picture of you, then the team at looks forward to welcoming you to the site soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 - does what it says in the tagline logo.’s tagline is ‘The Koolest S**t On Earth’. Some tagline, especially when you’re a fully paid up Geek Club member and a gadgetini like me.

There are reviews and links to jokes and gags, cool lighting, add ons for PCs, things that glow in the dark, tricked out set top boxes for gaming. You name it, it’s here. For my friend who needs the toilet every couple of hours, even overnight, there is glow in the dark toilet roll. So she won’t have to wake the rest of us up by putting the light on yet again. To save me killing any more innocent goldfish, there is a bubble wall. Mind you, there are also aquariums for real fish too. To take to a coding party geeks have a choice of an LED effect PC gaming case, a gold plated games controller or music-activated glasses.

You get the picture. is all about things that glow, things that bleep, things that change color and things that are simply ‘kool gadgetz’. The site is divided into twelve different subsections, and many items are cross referenced in several of them. Each review has a selection of pictures, a description, a price and a link to the website where it can be purchased.

Of course there are some gadgetz that you just know will suit a particular type of person. For the Star Trek fan (ahem, guilty m’lud) you could consider a replica tricorder, complete with sound and light effects. Regrettably there are no hoverboards for my friend who is a Back to the Future nut, but she might like the Flux Capacitor car charger instead.

For someone who likes saving their pennies, instead of one of those china piggy banks that you have to break to open, how about one shaped like a real ATM, with a screen displaying how much money there is in the bank and how much further to go until a specified target. It will play Happy Birthday and a Christmas song on the appropriate days of the year too.

So many items have been reviewed on this site, the top level indexes can’t hold them all. You’ll have to go looking for the jellyfish mood lamp, the volcano lamp, the facial animation software or the laser light show projector. Having spent the last 90 minutes or so poking and clicking around the site, I’ve also come to the conclusion that there are enough gadgets here to allow a true gadgetini to make over their bathroom with light up taps, glow in the dark toilet roll and an LED lit shower head; to add innumerable LED powered items to their living and sleeping space and even their kitchen, with care.

This is one of those sites where you are likely to find a fun gift for someone who is generally impossible to buy for. I suspect I’ll be consulting next time I need to buy something for my father. An Amazon or Kindle gift card gets so boring after a while, it would be good to have something a bit more unusual to give him.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Therapy-ER to enhance relationships and life experience

Therapy ER. Logo supplied and used with permission. All Rights Reserved to Therapy ER.

Therapy-ER came about after Cristina, a former lawyer turned teacher, decided that the techniques she had used to help overcome her own lifestyle stress could be useful to other people too. Now, under the Therapy-ER (Therapy-ER Facebook link) banner, she offers life coaching, hypnosis, yoga nidra and theta healing. This combination is designed to leave her clients relaxed and refreshed, positive and in tune with the world.

The effects of life coaching are very individual with reported benefits including increased self esteem and confidence, better decision making skills and a greater ability to lead and inspire others. Clients can concentrate on one area of their lives, or look to achieve clarity as a whole. Life coaches can help set goals and work with clients to improve their outlook on life. Life coaches are not counselors though, their approach is to move clients forward, not find out what put them in the place they are. Best of all, most coaching is carried out by phone, rather than in person.

Hypnosis has a bad rap in some places. But used properly, it is a powerful tool to help overcome many forms of stress and anxiety. Guided imagery is often used in conjunction with hypnosis and is designed to direct thoughts to a more positive plane in a relaxed situation. Hypnosis is sometimes used in a medical context but more often in stressful or high adrenaline situations as a means of focusing and clearing the mind.

Everyone knows what yoga is, right? It’s a form of exercise for the mind and body, leaving the muscles stretched and the mind at peace. Yoga nidra is a way of developing an awareness of your body and its workings which induces deep relaxation but mental alertness, leading into the necessary state for theta healing. Physical benefits include better sleep, increased focus, and a reduction of stress and anxiety.

Theta healing is a form of meditation taking advantage of the brain wavelength responsible for vivid dreaming during REM sleep. The advantages of working with this brain wavelength in particular is that practitioners can influence their own thoughts and fears, reaction to stress or phobias and indulge in creative thinking. If you’ve ever woken up with a great idea, written a novel plot, finished an essay mentally, the chances are that’s thanks to your theta brain waves doing the heavy lifting for you while your body relaxed.

These three avenues designed to improve your personal image of yourself and control over your mental state combined with life coaching to put this new positive thinking into practice are offered by Therapy-ER. Cristina will be happy to help you, no matter whether you feel your life would simply benefit from a quick tune-up or whether you believe you need more in depth assistance.

SwifTrans Qualcomm-approved Quick Charge 2.0 Dual Port Car Charger

SwifTrans(TM) Quick Charge 2,0 dual port USB car charger.
Image supplied by SwifTrans(TM) and used with permission,

There are often articles bemoaning the fact that battery life on our devices hasn’t kept up with the complexity of the devices themselves. The need to have a fully charged battery is now ubiquitous, such that a man recently jumped on stage before the start of a Broadway play in an effort to charge his phone. Turns out the socket he was trying to use was fake, just part of the set, but the incident amply illustrates our reliance on charging points.

For those who drive everywhere, help is now at hand. Of course, car adapters and chargers are not new, but how about one which has two USB ports and charges compatible devices from the cigarette lighter up to 75% faster than similar chargers? Using Qualcomm certified Quick Charge 2.0 technology, more or less any small electronic device (Android and iOS) which runs on a micro USB or Apple standard charger can be plugged in. Suppliers SwifTrans(TM)
provide a list of compatible models on their charger’s Amazon listing, which includes popular phones and tablets from Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Asus and more. The device also works with Apple fast charging standards, and even with phones and tablets not listed so long as they are able to be auto detected by the charger. The device delivers a charge of up to 5 volts and is certified by several safety bodies against malfunction. There is also a full 18 month warranty.

Currently SwifTrans(TM) are offering a 50% discount, quoting code 4DZC6KAV. The Quick Charge 2.0 car charger already ships with a free 3.1 ft/1m USB to micro-USB cable but now you can have it with 50% off. The reviews are generally positive, with owners of LG, Samsung, HTC and Apple devices all singing its praises. It fits well into the car port, says one reviewer, which means that a device can go from 20% charged to 75% charged in around 20 minutes. (Now that’s fast!) Another mentions that it is great when running Google Maps on the phone during a journey, as the battery power is maintained.

I own a dual USB port wall charger, which is the most awesome piece of kit when my phone and iPod both need charging at the same time. With this charger from SwifTrans(TM), I can charge devices on the go. If they’re QC 2.0 compatible, they’ll be done in no time, and even if they’re not I can still use them while they’re charging. Seeing as last time I went on a trip I had a tablet, a smartphone, a Kindle and an iPod, the law of averages states that at least one of those devices is going to need charging at any one time. My husband travels with a similar number of items so I think one of these SwifTrans(TM) Quick Charge 2.0 chargers will be finding its way into our car at some point.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Penguin Run, Cartoon - Addictive Antarctic Fun for all Ages

Flappy Penguin Run, Cartoon game from Universal Games.
Logo used with permission.

This is a public health warning.

Penguin Run Cartoon is a highly addictive, cool animal game that should be handled with care. If not, it will result in serious loss of productive time and total lack of any social life.

The thing is that Universal Games have produced a classically addicting game here. An Android game available from the Play Store, this free game is a tapping challenge in the manner of Flappy Bird. The idea is simple - little penguin is hungry. To feed your little chibi friend you have to move him so he can catch fish coming down the pipe towards him. But there are also ice spikes that your penguin has to avoid to survive. Hit one and it's game over.

Tap to jump and your penguin will wind up on the other side of the pipe. Fish and spikes occur on both sides of the pipe and at varying distances from each other. As in many racing games, the speed also randomly varies, so you can't relax or become complacent, because your penguin will be either hungry or spiked.

Tap to start and you're away. Points are awarded for each spike successfully avoided and each fish caught. The current high score is 77 but with practice you will regularly score 20 points a game on average. You can track your penguin's progress up the leaderboard through the middle button marked with the podium graphic. This will show you not only how you are doing in your circle but also globally.
Your penguin starts out black and white but once he's
Change your penguin's color
when you have 30 points
eaten 30 fish you can use the points to change his color. I'm currently rocking a purple penguin after playing the game several times yesterday (in the cause of research, you understand).

There is a soundtrack to the game, which includes an endlessly looping backing track and sounds when your penguin jumps or eats a fish. If you prefer to play with the sound off then you will have to turn off the 'music, video, games and other media' setting on the phone itself as there are no in-game controls.

If you're still in two minds about Angry Birds 2, with its much talked about in-game purchase option, you should try this free game app. Penguin Run, Cartoon is a fun game which is marketed to appeal to kids, especially girls, but it's really suitable for all ages due to its simplicity. That's the thing about pokemon style games, they are easy to learn and have a good quality of graphics.

Penguin Run, Cartoon is a wonderfully simple game which will appeal to all ages. I can even see it being used in rehabilitation programs to improve hand-eye co-ordination and exercise damaged fingers back towards mobility. On an Android tablet it would be ideal for elderly mentally active folk to play as part of a brain training regime, or for youngsters to play to while away car journeys. The game is suitable for all ages, as even when the music and sounds are on, even when the penguin lands on or collides with a spike, there is only a sound like a raspberry, no gore. The colors and graphics are very clean and it’s easy to work out how to play. There are no instructions, which is always an indication of an easy-to-learn game. Penguin Run Cartoon adheres perfectly to the old saying about successful games: they must be easy to learn and hard to put down.

Penguin climbs the pole in Flappy Penguin Run Cartoon for Android

Sunday, August 2, 2015

YourCrowdfundingTeam is the next generation of crowdfunding

Currency money dollar by geralt on pixabay. CC0.

Crowdfunding is a big deal these days. People are setting up pages for all kinds of reasons and with many different sites. I’ve written about people seeking crowdfunding for medical treatment for themselves and others or looking for investors to bankroll an invention. Personally, I have attended events paid for by crowdfunding donations, and received freebies for being there. I’ve heard about crowd sourced money helping families hit by house fires, animal shelters restocking toys and food after flooding and even newly-married couples asking perfect strangers to pay for their honeymoon.

It wasn’t going to be long, therefore, before a site arrived to show would-be crowdfunders how to achieve their goals of funding just about anything. YourCrowdfundingTeam, an intentional leveraged sharing community, suggests they have found the perfect way to receive funding for everything from tuition fees to church projects, medical bills, business startups and community projects. They bill themselves as the ‘next generation crowdfunding platform’.

The introductory video mentions all the reasons I’ve just touched on above for starting a crowdfunding project. Their suggestion is that either causes are begging or selling something in order to get funding, even if they use traditional crowdfunding methods. But with this new system, the project originator becomes a solution provider. The way crowdfunding is run through YourCrowdfundingTeam is that each new member pays a donation to the project of the person who introduced them. They then earn the right to open their own project and receive funding in turn from others. There are no quotas, no fees and no minimum amounts. As each person reaches each goal, they can choose to share a percentage of the money they have received with other projects, in a 50-25-25 split to bump up others’ totals. This ‘stepping up’ means that they move up a level in the funding tree. It’s like a viral effect for crowdfunding, based on the ‘reap what you sow’ school of thought. By paying it forward to others, funders will lead by example and be more likely to reach their own goal. Meantime, their own exposure remains at the level of the initial donation they gave to the person who introduced them, as everything else raised is from donations to their own project. It’s similar to word of mouth marketing, where success breeds success.

For prospective crowdfunding candidates, there are three steps to starting a new project. First, join the site. Then, donate to the person who introduced you (because you followed a link to get there), then finally set your own project up and promote it. Self entitlement is not going to get anyone anywhere long term, sharing is good and the more members share, the quicker they will rise through the steps and be able to help others with the money raised. Of course, YourCrowdfundingTeam also provides training materials and tips on how best to proceed, so even people who have a dream but no idea how to realize it can look to crowdfunding for the solution.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

EZ Sleep Travel Pillow, the world's most effective travel pillow

EZ Sleep Travel Pillow. Image used with permission and supplied by the compnay.

Aircraft seats are evil.

As a shortie I can say that this is a fact. They are too wide in the seat, too high off the ground and altogether uncomfortable. There are no footrests and less space, especially in coach (economy). Sleep is the last thing on the mind of the average human under 5”5’ tall traveling long haul in coach. I’ve been traveling to the States from the UK annually for the last decade, and I’ve slept for maybe an hour or so max on any redeye flight. It’s never so bad flying out (although the jetlag punches pretty hard when I do land in the US), but on the way back, the jetlag is a live being if I can’t sleep on the flight.

Fortunately, it looks as if help is at hand. The EZ Sleep Travel Pillow is small enough to carry on, but large enough when inflated to form a wall between you and your seatmates. It is apparently sturdy enough to withstand being leant on even in a middle or aisle seat, but also works as a window seat pad and positioned forward against the seat in front. I guess it helps if you have a slightly winged seat to prop it against, or if you are traveling with family or friends, but I’m certainly willing to try it. As an aisle seat regular, I don’t get much sleep between the window seat passenger and my husband wanting to climb out, so any rest I can have is a bonus.

The EZ Sleep(TM) Travel Pillow’s secret is not just its size (10” wide x 2” thick x 21” long and 8 ounces in weight) but also the sturdiness of its construction. Of course, potential purchasers will find some reviews which disagree, and some which suggest buying additional pillows so that the EZ Sleep(TM) Travel Pillow’s only function is to stop the passenger next to you from encroaching on your space. I’m tempted to try it between my husband and myself next time we fly and see if he finds it more comfortable to lean against when he’s tired too. I would also like to take good advantage of the inevitable passenger in front who decides to recline their seat to within 6 inches of my nose, thus rendering it impossible to read or type anything for most of the duration of the transatlantic flight.

The company’s founder tells me that the EZ Sleep Travel Pillow is available for order and delivery worldwide and he will be happy to hear from all interested buyers. Sounds like there truly is hope for me to sleep on a flight yet.