Protected by Copyscape Unique Content Checker

Sunday, July 17, 2016

PositiveSingles specialist dating app

PositiveSingles logo.Image provided and used with permission.

These days, there is an app for everything. Niche is king, and no matter what smartphone users want, there’s likely an app for it out there somewhere. When it comes to dating, it’s easy to find a specialist site and/or app that matches any requirement. I met my husband on one of those early specialist dating sites, and we’re not alone in meeting online these days as more and more sites and apps spring up.

PositiveSingles is a specialist dating site and app for those with STDs including herpes, HPV and HIV/AIDS. The company, registered in Canada, has been in operation since 2002, offering the chance of friendship, dating, relationships and romance to STD-positive singles worldwide. Like many other dating sites, most of the services offered are available to paid members only, with only a limited range of services that can be accessed for free. The trick is to get the subscription levels correct, a puzzle which not every app or site manages successfully.

Subscription-driven or not, there are 900,000 members on PositiveSingles in total, and the app has been downloaded somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 times, so they must be doing something right. It offers the chance for members to interact with STD-positive singles from many different locations, religions and races. The free initial access provides pattern locking security and allows users to browse and match anonymously but sending messages is not included. Those using the app for free can send winks to those they like the look of, and reply to other members’ messages. Subscriptions start at a cent under $34 a month, 3 months will cost $70 and 6 months $110. For UK readers, that’s membership starting from around £26 a month.

Not everyone is happy, with the most recent reviews being more or less evenly split between praise and complaints. The most recent updates to the app seem to have caused some people to complain, as they are unhappy with the restriction on formerly free services. However, that is in the nature of things – developers can please some people some of the time but will certainly not please everyone and definitely not all of the time. That’s why there are so many dating apps, because everyone is different, with varying ideas of what is important to them.

For those singles facing the future living with an STD, PositiveSingles gives the chance of a relationship without having to explain their situation every time they meet someone new. Dating is difficult enough as it is, let’s be honest. PositiveSingles also helps those who simply need support from similar people in their neighborhood, by bringing them together as friends. A shared experience helps users of the app pool knowledge, offer support and build new networks of friends on- and offline. The buddy system may well have started in the military and spread to gym members, but in truth, finding someone similar reassures anyone that they are not alone, and allows discussion of situations previously faced without help. For that fact alone, PositiveSingles is an important app.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games, free on Android

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Image provided and used with permission.

From Universal Games comes the latest Android app: Bus Simulator Racing. And the home of the ‘tricky tapper game’ does not disappoint.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Basic instructions with female manga-style driver.
Image provided and used with permission.
Bus Simulator Racing was produced because the developer, like many people, loves the traditional and iconic London red double decker buses. I bet the drivers of the New London Routemaster buses never have to drive like this though! This is definitely a game, not a real life driving simulator. Players can see the whole bus viewed from above and behind the vehicle, rather than playing from the driver's viewpoint sitting at the wheel. As with all great games, the idea is simple – keep the bus on the road and chase the stars that are scattered in front of the vehicle. In practice, it is a test of dexterity and skill, and certainly not easy to play sitting upstairs on the local double deckers while jolting over the uneven town centre streets and twisty country lanes found in this area.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Level played in night mode.
Image provided and used with permission.
On the right hand side of the game screen are three handset buttons, on the left, the driving wheel. This is definitely a two handed game. The three buttons (right to left) are race, brake and handbrake. With sound turned on, there is a realistic engine noise as the bus sits on the road, engine revving, ready to depart. My tip for novice players is to turn the wheel in the direction of travel before hitting the race button. This will ensure that the bus is pointing in the right direction when it starts moving. And it moves fast! Players have to twirl the wheel with a finger or thumb while jabbing on the brake button with the other hand. This brings the rear brake lights on and results in the sound of tyres and air breaks squealing. I have had more than one Italian Job moment with the bus hanging off the edge of the road when I hit the brake too late, that’s for sure. As it is supposed to be a bus transporting school children from the depot to their school, this is not an ideal scenario. Just to add to the challenge the levels will show different weather conditions at random. This means players are having to drive in snow, rain or sunshine, as well as both day and night settings.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games
Typical gameplay screen..
Image provided and used with permission.
This is a game best played with the sound on, as the in-game music is suitably upbeat, while the sound effects are rich and frequent. On one side of the road lies rocky terrain. When the bus crashes here, players will hear a depressing crunching noise. On the other side is water, and going over that side will freeze the level with the sound of an almighty splash and an image of a plume of water rising upwards as the bus hits it.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Racing the bus over the bridge.
Image provided and used with permission.
The help menu is presented by a uniformed manga-style female driver who explains the basic rules quickly and simply. Through the settings menu, the graphics display sharpness can be adjusted from low to high, although the medium default setting looks sharp enough on a mobile phone screen. The app is tablet optimized, and my guess is that if players have a suitable device to hook their tablets into a 50” widescreen TV or similar, they will be able to play the game on a big screen with cinema-level surround sound. There are also options to adjust the maximum steering lock and a choice of whether the accelerometer feature is on or off. For newcomers to the game, off is the default, and if players are not used to racing games, this is the recommended setting.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
End of Level screen.
Image provided and used with permission.
The app is ad-supported, so at the end of each attempt there is at least one advertisement that players must dismiss or opt into if they want to continue the game. As with all of Universal Games’ recent offerings, this app is fully Google-integrated, allowing players to see the international best player rankings and enjoy multi-player games. Facebook login is an option too, so those players who are active there will be able to enjoy sharing their scores with their friends and perhaps challenging them to a round or two.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Image provided and used with permission.
Bus Simulator Racing is a game for the modern era. With tricky gameplay, high level graphics, slick coding and interactive multiplayer mode, it has been downloaded between 1,000 and 5,000 times since release in late June. The vast majority of reviews are positive, showing that Universal Games is gaining a reputation for producing quality, fun games with a twist.

Bus Simulator Racing from Universal Games.
Image provided and used with permission.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Amazing Wedding provides overseas wedding services to Hong Kong residents

Wedding guests at garden party
Image provided by Amazing Wedding and used with permission.

Overseas weddings are a growing market. Couples who marry later in life, or those with a taste for travel, are increasingly choosing to marry abroad, maybe with a party or small ceremony at home too. For some couples, an overseas wedding is a status symbol, a sign that they have enough cash to splash to afford a luxurious celebration. For others, it may be a way of dealing with dysfunctional families, or simply a chance to visit a dream location. It is estimated that around eighty per cent of Hong Kong couples now choose to marry abroad in a church rather than hosting a banquet at home.

Weddings can be complicated enough to organize, let alone at a distance. A package deal, such as that available from Hong Kong-based Amazing Wedding, and sister company Amazes Travel, includes all the necessities for an overseas wedding in a choice of tropical or historic European locations.

There is a bilingual Chinese and English language blog to inspire both Chinese speakers and the many expats working in Hong Kong. The destination list, meanwhile, gives a choice of amazing locations which would be worth a holiday trip in themselves, never mind as a wedding destination. These are some of the most sought-after destinations in the world and any one of them would make a great location for an overseas wedding ceremony. A selection of recent venues includes:


An overseas wedding in Guam mixes many different cultures in a huge melting pot and serves them up under a tropical sky. For shopaholics, there are several malls, while the tropical backdrop makes for stunning wedding photographs.

The historic European city of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quite apart from the architecture, an overseas wedding ceremony held here benefits from a large number of museums, galleries and theatres to keep the wedding party entertained when they’re not involved in pre-wedding arrangements.

The Indonesian island of Bali is another tropical paradise providing beautiful backdrops for wedding photographs. There is also a wide range of watersport options available to fill guests’ hours and enable visitors to make the most of their stay here.

Okinawa island is part of the southernmost prefecture of Japan, and has many distinct customs and habits unique to the area. For martial arts fans, Okinawa is a centre of karate, while the typhoon-proof buildings provide a safe haven for the wedding celebration even if the weather does turn bad.

Couples whose interest in history goes back to ancient times might choose to hold their wedding in Greece. Imagine the ruins of a temple in the background of the ceremony, or alternatively, the sparkling sea glittering in the sun. The whitewashed stone walls of the volcanic caldera of Santorini set the whole scene into an undeniably mythical location against the azure blue sea and form a magical spot for any wedding.

Organizing a wedding through Amazing Wedding couldn’t be simpler. So long as couples book at least six months in advance, the team will take care of every aspect, including all the prewedding details such as dress and tux fitting, finding and booking the ideal venue with all the trimmings and flights to the destination. Once in the resort, as the big day approaches, Amazing Wedding organizes a rehearsal, then makeup and hair styling services and transport to the venue. After the ceremony and the obligatory photographs, there is the option of having a dinner banquet and after party so everyone can relax.

The website is constantly changing and currently features photos from overseas wedding ceremonies in Bali, Okinawa, Hokkaido, the Maldives, Guam, Phuket, Samui, Prague, Australia, Greece and Hawaii. Click on any photograph to see detailed options on the venues in that location. Chapel weddings, garden settings, water backdrops, private villas and beach ceremonies are all offered, depending on the choice of venue. The indoor and outdoor locations vary in size from 10 to 100 guest capacity, and feature sunset views, privacy and with some venues, the option to be the only wedding hosted on that day. Some locations are a drive away from the main town or city, while some of the European venues offer a wedding blessing service only, with the actual civil wedding ceremony taking place elsewhere close by. Some locations will also request that couples need to arrive a day before and depart a day after the ceremony. This is standard practice; in some countries, couples wishing to marry have to be resident in the country for a set number of days before the ceremony, if only to give enough time for the pre-wedding administration. Applying for the certificate to marry, meeting the celebrant, rehearsing the wedding and checking last minute details all take time – and being as it’s a wedding the happy couple’s relations will not want to be left out.

For Hong Kong couples looking for a touch of something different about their wedding, an overseas ceremony organized by Amazing Wedding could be the perfect choice.