HashOut: 2007.04
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Finding businesses online made easy

Masterseek B2B Business Search Engine - find businesses or companies selling products that you want.Google these days is sort of throwing up all irrelevant search results. I've been totally annoyed and was hoping to find a better way to find information that I wanted.

I feel information specific search engines like people search engines are doing a better job these days. These kind of search engines have advanced data mining technology that helps them crawl information from the web and then sort and arrange them automatically for systematic viewing.

Just like how people search engines help you find real information about people, masterseek helps one find real information about businesses.

Masterseek lets you search for businesses using whatever information you have about the company like company name, phone numbers, email address, website address etc. You can also find companies selling a product in a particular country. As of September 2006 Masterseek's database contains 45 million companies from 75 countries.

One advantage of using such search engines is that you get information that you want and are less likely to suffer the WILF syndrome, by not accidentally bumping into some website which is of no use to you but which cleverly distracts your attention.
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What Was I Looking For?

WILF: What Was I Looking For? Browing the internet aimlessly? Wilfing?When you log in to the Net, are you surfing or 'wilfing'? Surveys show that two out of three Web users are distracted by the unlimited pool of online information and 'wilf' -- an abbreviation of "What Was I Looking For?"

The survey says that wilfers lose two working days a month from aimless browsing, with men being the worst offenders. Shopping sites are rated most distracting. One-third of men quizzed confirmed that wilfing through tempting adult entertainment sites had damaged relationships with their partners. The survey pointed out that people log in with a purpose, get distracted by the choices and then forget what they are there for. » Continue reading

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Local money, a step backwards in global economics?

Despite being part of the US, the souther Berkshire region of Massachusetts has launched a local currency. Termed BerkShares, the exchange rate is set at 90 cents. That is, $90 will yield 100 BerkShares. BerkShares are printed in several denominations. Local businessmen accept these shares at full dollar value (i.e. 0 BerkShares=$10), thereby giving the consumer a 10 percent incentive for trading locally and strengthening the regional economy.

Berkshire region is not the first to get a local currency of its own. Local currencies are an old idea. Thousands of them were used during the Great Depression, according to Bernard Lietaer, author of The Future of Money and a former currency trader who helped implement the euro. They're a subset of a grouping called complementary currencies, which also includes airline frequent-flier programs.

BerkShares Accepted Here Sign at a Cafe

The motive behind such local money, also termed as social money, is to promote local businesses that accept the currency, thereby building stronger relationships and a greater affinity between the traders and the public.

Local currency first resurfaced in the U.S. in 1991 in Ithaca, New York. Then-resident Paul Glover, now living in Philadelphia, says many of his neighbors were unemployed or underpaid, and he was looking for a way to fatten their wallets. He and a group of supporters created the Ithaca Hour, each one equal to either $10 or one hour of work.

Today there are over 2500 different local currency systems operating in countries throughout the world. LETS, Local Exchange Trading System, being one of the most prominent trading network supporting its own internal currency. LETS originated in Vancouver, Canada and as on the date of this writing there are 30 LETS systems operating in Canada and over 400 in the United Kingdom. Australia, France, New Zealand and Switzerland have similar systems. Time dollars, Burlington Bread and PEN exchange are among the most successful systems in the USA. In Germany, there are at least 16 regional currencies.

Even though these local currencies are treated as illegal in most countries and are under the watchful eyes of their country's controlling banks, do these numbers mean that we are moving back from globalization of economies to localization?

Sources: The Week, Forbes.com, BBC News, Wikipedia.
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Lenovo-Designed Olympic Torch for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

Lenovo-Designed Olympic Torch for the 2008 Olympic Games in BeijingWhen everything is going hight-tech, why not the Olympic torch?

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympiad Games of XXIX (BOCOG) in the presence of the International Olympic Committee, unveiled the Lenovo-Designed Olympic Torch for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Lenovo's design, the "Cloud of Promise," was chosen over 300 competitor themes and will be carried by torchbearers around the world in the Olympic Torch Relay preceding the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Lenovo is also the TOP (worldwide) Sponsor of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Since its inception in 1936, the Olympic torch has come to represent the history and culture of its host country and city. Lenovo's unique approach for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch incorporates a sleek and modern design with historical Chinese symbolism. The primary theme of the torch’s artwork is clouds, which are intimately associated with Chinese culture, and are often represented in works of Chinese architecture, drawing and painting, furniture and story-telling.

Design of the Torch

The torch, fashioned from a polished aluminum-magnesium alloy, measures 720 millimeters x 50 mm x 40 mm (28.35 inches x 1.97 in x 1.56 in) and is exceptionally lightweight at about 1,000 grams (2.21 pounds).
Additional features of the torch design include:
  • Primary coloring of deep red and bright silver, a fusion of traditional Chinese art and contemporary design, blending symbols of Chinese culture, philosophy and art;
  • A handle designed not only for comfort, but to emulate the unique sensation of one hand holding another thanks to a coating of rubber-based paint; and
  • An embossed pattern of clouds, which represent the ever-developing Chinese culture.

Lenovo's award-winning design team spent more than 10 months on the design of the torch. Altogether, more than 30 Lenovo design specialists were involved in the torch project including the core team of 10. The team was truly multinational, including designers from Germany, Singapore, US, Japan, New Zealand, Italy and China. The experience and specialties of the designers were equally diverse, and included majors in graphic design, chemistry, engineering, materials, anthropology, art and history. For months the teams engaged in intensive brainstorming, including game playing and creativity exercises, to help them look at the torch design from many different perspectives.

And if you enjoy watching videos, here is one for you from Lenovo.
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Black gold for the loo

Renova diamond-encrusted gold-plated black toilet paper holder / dispenserYour loo-break need not be cheap, anymore. Portugal based Renova, one of Europe's biggest producers of household paper products, has put a diamond-encrusted gold-plated toilet paper holder on sale for $132,000 USD (€100,000 euros).

Hand-made by traditional jewelers in Lisbon, the box's logo plate is encrusted with 148 diamonds to mark the worldwide sale of one million rolls of the firm's novelty black toilet paper.

Whoever buys the toilet paper holder will receive one roll of Renova's black toilet paper every day, for the rest of their lives.

Other items from Renova, worth mention, are toilet paper with moisturising lotion and multi-coloured paper towels. Renova has also introduced toilet papers in red, orange, and green after the huge success of its black toilet paper.
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Samsung's WEP-420 Bluetooth Headset for the upmarket consumer

Samsung's WEP-420 Micro Mini Round Bluetooth Headset designed by Bang and Olufsen (B&O) for the upmarket consumerThe Samsung WEP-420 Bluetooth Headset looks elegant and supposedly has a good sound quality, after all, it has been designed by Danish manufacturer of upscale audio products, Bang and Olufsen (B&O), for the upmarket consumer.

The WEP-420's buttons are neatly hidden behind a sliding cover. The special sliding cover increases the overall sound quality of this headset. To enhance its value, the WEP 420 comes packaged with a uniquely designed charger cradle that may be used as an interior decoration item.

Samsung's WEP-500 Micro Mini Round Bluetooth Headset designed by Bang and Olufsen (B&O) for the upmarket consumerShowcased for the first time at CeBIT 2007 in Hanover, Germany, the WEP 420 Bluetooth Headset is available from just $89.99 at Amazon.

Samsung also showcased at CeBIT 2007 the yet to be launched WEP-500 micro headset. It is round in shape and has easy-to-use features. It is expected to be launched this quarter in Europe and Asia.
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Ashes to Asses

Former English Cricketer, Fast Bowlerm Graham_DilleyWhen fast bowler Graham Dilley made his England debut in the first Ashes test in Perth in 1979, it was a momentous occasion for him. Unfortunately, the gravity of the situation was fatally undermined when he dismissed Aussie batsman, Dennis Lillee, through a catch by fellow teammate, Peter Willey. The scorecard read: "Lillee c Willey b Dilley" i.e., Lillee, caught Willey, bowled Dilley.

Former English Cricketer, Right-handed Batsman and Right-arm Offbreak Bowler, Retired Test Umpire, Peter WilleyPeter Willey is also part of another famous commentary on BBC. During a Test match between the West Indies and England, Michael Holding was to bowl to Willey. The commentator at the time, Brian Johnston, described the action, quite accurately, as "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey". This would have been a large double entendre as the word "willy" is English slang for a penis.
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Tips on building brand credibility

Jennifer McLean, Market Communications Strategist and Author of the book The Credibility Factor and The Credibility Branding BlogIt was an honor for my blog to be reviewed by Jennifer McLean, Market Communications Strategist and Author of the book "The Credibility Factor", on her Credibility Branding Blog, as part of the "Review My Blog" campaign. She was also the first and quiet quick to review my blog.

On The Credibility Branding Blog, Jennifer McLean gives some valuable insight into the credibility branding aspect of marketing. She also emphasizes on the importance of marketing in any business as opposed to a salesman-driven business.

Is your sales guy running the show? This is very common. The sales guys come in and they want the sale, no matter the cost. And that cost is what I call a "seat-of-the- pants" approach,

Some of her note-worthy posts are Preparing a Marketing Press Release for Editors and Customers and Not Your Boss and Pitching the Big Guys – How to Get Their Attention

In one of her recent posts she even talks about building a brand persona through blogging.

In short, her blog is a great resource for those looking forward to master the art of marketing. You could be a business man, the head of marketing in your company or even a blogger, you will definitely find her posts of relevance to you and for sure you're going to add her blog's feed to your reader.

I'm glad to have made a friend like you through this campaign, Jennifer! The next time I need the help of a marketing strategist, I'm gonna bank on you.

And for those of you readers who got annoyed with the exceptionally excessive links to Jennifer McLean's blog on this post, I'm terribly sorry. I couldn't help but highlight some of the best posts I liked on her blog. Actually, there was more, but I cut it short.

This post was actually scheduled to be published on May 1, 2007, but since it was already ready to be published, I couldn't help but just publish to let you guys know about her blog. It will also serve as a reminder to you that the Review my blog campaign is still up and running. Just 7 days to go before the first roundup of the campaign. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and take advantage of this opportunity.
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Get your social networking and other Web 2.0 profiles in one place

ShowYourself, Social Networking & Web 2.0 Aggregator WidgetAnd share them with friends, family, relatives & colleagues on your blog, web site and MySpace using Aggregator Widgets.

I had earlier mentioned about the Wink Widget which helps you organize a list of links to your profiles on various social networks in one place. However, it has some shortcomings.

  1. First off, you have to sign up on Wink.com to use the Wink widget.
  2. It is pretty complicated and takes time to get it up and running.
  3. It does not let you add profiles from services other than the default ones on the list.
  4. It's a "blatant Wink advertisement" - Paul Stamatiou
  5. Since it is hosted on the Wink server, its sluggish and sometimes slows down the performance of your web page / blog and if the Wink server goes down, so does your widget.

In order to overcome these shortcomings, Dustin Bachrach created a simple CSS/HTML widget, ShowYourself.

  1. It has 25 default built-in Web 2.0 sites/services/networks and also gives you the flexibility to add ones not on the list, the ajax function automatically fetches the favicon image for the sites not on the default list.
  2. The widget automatically displays a logo beside your AIM and Skype profiles indicating whether you are online or not.
  3. It uses plain CSS & HTML, no hosting required.
  4. Lets you customize the colors.
  5. The favicon (logo) images can be hosted on your own web server.
  6. There is no need to sign up for anything to use the service.
  7. There are no advertisements. You just need to leave a link back to the ShowYourself web site.
  8. Its free!

Get yourself ShowYourself now!

Do you know of a better aggregator widget? Share it here, now!
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Tips to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) on long distance flights

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) caused on long duration flights. Use graduated compression travel socks / stockings to prevent DVT.If you are a frequent long distance air traveller, you need to know about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and take some precautions.

DVT is the formation of blood clots in the legs. Prolonged inactivity can be a factor and it has been linked to cramped conditions during air travel. The US government's Aviation Health Unit offers this advice:

  • All of us should exercise the calf muscles regularly, drink enough water, but avoid alcohol and coffee.
  • Minor risk (If you have any of these factors: age over 40; very tall, short or obese; history of leg swelling; recent minor surgery or extensive varicose veins.) Do not sleep for long periods or take sleeping pills.
  • Moderate risk (Recent heart disease; pregnant; on the Pill or HRT family history of DVT.) Take a doctor's advice about travel. You may need special stockings known as "graduated compression stockings" to prevent DVT.
  • High risk (Recent major surgery, stroke or leg injury, known clotting tendency.) Take medical advice. You may need blood-thinning medication.

And here's a video by NewYouLifestyle on DVT.
You can buy graduated compression stockings to prevent DVT here or here.

Related posts:
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Review of the Genius Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keyboard

Genius Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keyboard for PC GamesAre you a compulsive PC gamer? Or do you just hate PC gaming because you hate using keyboard during game play and you're fixed to playing games on a dedicated console? Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keyboard (read Keypad) from Taiwan based Genius is the gadget which will change the way you game on a PC.

I just received my piece from Amazon and I was so much fascinated with the ergonomic design of the keypad, it really looks good sitting on my desktop. Alas I can't click a pic of it as my camera phone is under repair. But here I have some photos from the official website of Genius, for you to see. The unique hand friendly design ensures that there is minimum amount of hand movement and maximum comfort. It helps support your palm to avoid discomfort and fatigue when playing for longer periods. It also gives a very good feel and control over the game with the mouse in the right hand and the Ergomedia in the left.

Genius Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keypad has a hand friendly design with an ergonomic palm rest for long playing time.
Ergonomic palm rest design to support your hand for long time playing.

The eleven keys on the keypad are programmable and supports one touch recording and playback of macro sequences. Apart from that there is a 4 way direction button. The blue keypad back-lighting makes sure all keys are highly visible even in darkness.

Genius Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keypad has an inbuilt sound card, earphone and microphone jacks for in-game use and chatting online.
Installation, like most other USB devices, is easy. Just plug and play. However, it comes along with an inbuilt sound card, earphone and microphone jacks (for in-game use and chatting online). So if you prefer to use your own sound card and audio setup, you have to enable them again in the Windows sound settings configuration as the installation process disables these by default.

Key layout of the Genius Ergomedia 500 USB Gaming Keypad
Mic in and speaker out jack - great feature to eliminate inconvenient cable switching.

On the cons side, the Ergomedia 500 lacks the facility to print macros that you record. The only option would be to write them down unless you have a very sharp memory.

Ergomedia 500 is an additional peripheral rather than a keyboard replacement. You may still need the standard keyboard to type in messages, entering an IP address or dropping out of the action as there is no ESC key on the Ergomedia.

On the whole, it is a must buy for all compulsive PC gamers. It can also change the perception of those who are hooked to dedicated gaming consoles, like Playstation, Xbox or Nintendo Wii, towards PC gaming. So here is the link to the amazon store where you can get your Genius Ergomedia 500 for just $34.99 USD.
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All the juice on the gossip grapevine

We're Not Gossiping, We Are NetworkingDo you remember all the more mundane details about your friends' lives, or are you more likely to remember juicy gossip? UK-based researchers Alex Mesoudi and Andrew Whiten of the University of St Andrews and Robin Dunbar of the University of Liverpool used a "Chinese whispers" style of experiment to find out, and it seems gossip wins hands down.

The researchers gave ten people four different passages to read, then asked them to write down what they could remember. Then their writings were passed to another five rounds of volunteers. Not surprisingly, the researchers found that gossip-like information involving deception and infidelity was remembered and transmitted in far greater quantity and with greater accuracy. In a separate study, a British market research company called 72 Point surveyed 2000 volunteers and found 97% of women and 93% of men admitted they like spreading tittle-tattle. Their favorite topic? Information about friends and family, closely followed by details of office affairs and celebrities' lives.
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Is your cell phone Germ-free?

Use disinfectant wipes to kill mobile cell phone bacteria and germsYour cell phone is probably covered with bacteria, says University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba. "Everywhere we go, we can contaminate them," he says. In a study of 50 phones, all had bacteria; two had bugs that can cause skin infections -- a risk if you share your cell. To clean your stuff, use disinfecting wipes or buy Motorola mobile phones because some of its phones have an anti-microbial coating, which prevents bacteria from growing. » Continue reading

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Can dogs watch TV?

Do dogs watch television?Many people contend their dogs watch TV. But don't run out and buy Lassie to entertain your pooch just yet.

A dog's eyes are specially designed to pick out motion. At the level of a single cell in the eye, a moving target appears as a flicker. The average human doesn't see flickering above a speed of 55 cycles a second (55 Hz). The image on a television is redrawn at a rate of 60 Hz. Humans don't see this flicker, and the image appears continuous. However, because many dogs can resolve images at higher speed, the TV screen probably still appears to them as a rapid flicker, making the images look less real. Thus, many dogs don't direct much attention to what's happening onscreen. Some dogs ignore the flickering and respond to interesting images on screen. These dogs often follow the images, even looking behind the TV to see where something went after disappearing from view. However, since a dog's dominant sense is its sense of smell and objects onscreen have no scent, most dogs will quickly lose interest and wander off. This might be a blessing. Imagine Rottweilers defending their owners from the criminals in a police drama!

By Stanley Coren in PETS Magazine
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Chow Soup for the Soul... oops! Sorry, for the Bank Account

Chow Soup for your Soul... oops! Sorry, for the health of your Bank AccountHow healthy is your Bank Account? Not very? Get some Chow Soup from JohnChow.com to help you make money online!

What! Never heard of John Chow? You must be kidding...

This Chinese born, living in Vancouver-Cananda, is not just a self proclaimed Dot Com Moghul but is quite popular in the blogosphere for his creative rather than evil ways to make money online.

John Chow started The Tech Zone back then during the dot com boom and heavily cashed-on on it. Now that the dot com boom is over, he still continues to take advantage of the various opportunities that the Internet offers to make money online, blogging being one of them.

His personal blog "John Chow Dot Com". Yes, literally "John Chow Dot Com" -- I know how funny and unprofessional it sounds, but don't go by the name! It ranks 157 on Technorati at the time of this writing and grossed $8,000 USD in the month of March. So no matter how unprofessional he might be at his job, he has got some real good stuff to offer for you to prosper.

John Chow already leads a retired life - Yes, retired! Even though he still actively blogs and helps thousands, if not millions, to make money online. According to him retirement is the freedom to do what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

The best part is John and I have very similar interests -- computers, cars, traveling and anything that has to do with the Internet. Not just that! My blog, like his, does not follow any niche... So am I the next Dot Com Moghul?

By the way, if you remember, John Chow has been really very creative in attracting readers from other A-list blogs. Take a look at his love for Darren Rowse and helping him make money, as though Darren needed his help desperately.

Another of John Chow's evil but creative idea, which he is rather proud of than being ashamed of, is his "Review my blog" campaign. In this campaign he offers to link to your blog in return for reviewing his blog. Yes, that is why you are reading this post here! Well actually he wants to be listed No.1 on Google for the search phrase "make money online" and hence to amass links to his blog with that phrase. Hope that reminds you of my own review my blog campaign.
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Click a photo from your window and win a digital camera!

Collage of the 'View from my window' photography competition imagesIf you are a pro photographer or if you have ever freakishly clicked a pro photograph of something from a window, this is your chance to get your hands on a digital camera worth several hundred dollars.

FuelMyBlog with Sponsorship from Sportingo is running a competition, where in you can submit a photograph that you have taken from a window of your home, office, car, hotel room or even a stadium and win a digital camera -- however which camera is not very clear, all they mention is a "digital camera worth several hundred dollars".

In order to enter the competition, you need to have a blog and write about the photograph you want submitted, in the competition, on your blog and submit the link to the post along with the photograph (sized 300x225 pixels) and a short description of why you took it and where.

Wanna go for it? Hurry up, submit now! Contest ends April 20, 2007.
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India should be prime intermediary between Sri Lanka and LTTE

To do or not to do' is the dilemma that has been plaguing India's policies in Sri Lanka for 17 years, ever since Prime Minister V.P.Singh decided to call the Indian Peace Keeping Force back. We were nearing a solution to the ethnic problem and the negotiated devolution package would have given the Tamils everything, except independent statehood. But V.Prabhakaran could not see through the guiles of President Premadasa who cunningly supplied him arms to fight the IPKF. Prabhakaran assumed that with Indians out of the way, his position would become unassailable. Instead, the Sri Lankan military and hardliners have regained dominance.

The attack on Katunayake airport was more sensational than devastating, but the very fact that something like this could happen is worrying. Aircraft cannot be procured over the counter. They and those who fly them, are registered and licensed and their whereabouts well monitored. Clearly, the LTTE wanted to delivery a message. Unconventional incidents, more traumatic in their impact, cannot be ruled out.

Nevertheless, fears being expressed that points in southern Tamil Nadu are now vulnerable to LTTE air attacks do not carry conviction. The LTTE's military power has diminished and the Sea Tigers have suffered sever losses, too.

On its part, India neither wishes the LTTE to be able to threaten the integrity of Sri Lanka nor wants it so weakend that the Sri Lankans begin to feel that they can resolve the problem militarily. Our interests require that the Sri Lankan Tamils get their due rights within Sri Lanka. Therefore, any process in which India does not act as the prime intermediary can never succeed.

Sri Lanka is critically important in India's strategic concerns and even a partially hostile stance can be damaging to our interests. For example, the present Pakistan High Commissioner in Colombo is a former air force officer; his predecessor was an ISI officer. Even as we fight shy of providing military hardware to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China have no such inhibition.

In short, it is time for India to awaken. A serious confrontation is imminent in Sri Lanka and we will be forced to take sides. It is in our interest that such a stage is not reached. We now stand at the crossroads, and as the Mad Hatter told Alice, the road to be taken depends on where we want to go.
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Time for some link love - review or comment about Hashout on your blog or website and get the honour returned

As part of my link building strategy, I am hereby kicking off the review this blog campaign. You can not only review HashOut but also you can write or comment about any of the posts on HashOut on your blog or website and link back to it using appropriate link phrase, to get a mention of your blog or website and a link back to your post from Hashout, at the end of the campaign. Not just that! The first 10 reviewers / commentators will get a full fledged review of their blog or website on HashOut!

Here are some basic rules:

  1. You must some where in the post, link back to this post and
  2. Link back to the homepage (http://hashout.blogspot.com/) or a post on hashout which you are writing about, using Anchor text only. Do not link back using "Hashout" or "http://hashout.blogspot.com/" as the anchor text. Either use the title of the hashout post, you are writing / commenting about, as your anchor text or be creative and use keywords relevant to the hashout post as your anchor text.
  3. In order to avail the first 10 reviews offer, your blog needs to be atleast a month old or have a minimum of 30 posts. Sorry, you just can't expect a review of an empty blog or website.
  4. Submit your entries along with your name, a link to your post and any other information that you may want included in the link to your blog by April 30, 2007 to
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Finding your long lost friend in a blink of an eye

Find people online on the web and social networks like MySpace, Orkut, Hi5, twitter, Facebook, MyBlogLog, Bebo, LinkedIn, Live Spaces, Friendster etc.Did you every try searching for a long lost friend or the guy you had a crush on in school? Isn't is so difficult to search for people on the web using Google or social networking sites like MySpace, Orkut, Hi5, Twitter, Facebook, MyBlogLog, Bebo, LinkedIn, Live Spaces, Friendster etc?

What if you can search across all the social networking sites and the web with just a single search? Yes, its possible through Wink. Currently the wink search engine searches across the MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, LinkedIn, Live Spaces networks. More networks may be added to this list in the future. Search for people by name, location, school, work, and interest anywhere on the web. Not just that you can also have your profile on Wink which is searchable from traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo, Windows Live (MSN) and Altavista.

You can also add a Wink widget to your blog which lets you organize a list of links to your profiles on various social networks in one place and let others know about them too.

Update (April 15, 2007): I just came across this new People Search Engine called Spock which is yet to be unveiled. More details available here.
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The alarm clock which keeps you healthy and wealthy

Got a habit of switching off or snoozing the alarm and going back to sleep only to be late for work or ever planned to go for the jog but too lazy to get out of bed? The alarm clock (of Ig-Nobel awards fame) that starts running away and hiding from you when the alarm goes off and you try to snooze it. The bright idea -- you wake up and run after it. It's small, can survive a jump of three feet, and comes in three colors.

Clocky is available for $49.99 at nandahome.com
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Neolog Watch

If you're bored of digital and analog clocks try a Neolog watch - the A-24 II. It uses bars stacked on top of each other to indicate the time. You might develop a squint trying to read those bars, and possibly take a little longer figuring out what time it is, but it's a fun gimmick, and beautifully finished.

The watch has a Negative-LC-display, quartz operation, stainless high-grade steel casing and buckle (316L), mineral glass, silicon watchstrap, backlight button, measures 34 x 45 x 14 mm and is 3 ATM water resistant.

The Neolog watch is available for £149 at neolog.co.uk and for €200 at neologstore.com.

You can also get a Neolog timepiece for your website or blog like the one on the right from the neologstore.com website. Just click download, click Neolog time for webmasters, check the licence agreement, click Continue, customize your clock and copy-paste the code into your web page or template source code, save and publish.
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Easy Come, Ezeego

Travel India and abroad with ezzego1.com and makemytrip.com - book flight tickets, train tickets, cruises, hotel rooms, package tours, holidays, sight seeing, car rentals, foreign exchange (forex), insurance and visaThis new website is truly a first for India. While other travel portals like makemytrip.com also offer comparative options for flights and hotels, ezeego1.com expands the field by taking on international travel in a big way. You can search domestic and international alternatives for flights, sights and package tours, and even buy travel insurance. The biggest selling point is the web site's unique tie-up with Rail Europe -- next time you're planning a vacation in Europe, book your rail tickets right here. Or if you'd rather drive through your next trip abroad, the site offers international car rentals. And if you're not yet accustomed to making large payments online, the website enables you to pay offline through 2,200 EasyBill outlets across India. » Continue reading

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Fidgety Flyer?

Travel sick, Exhausted, Uncomfortable on long duration flight journeysFew people like air travel for long periods, but you can do a few things to minimize discomfort.:

Travel sick: Take-off, turbulence and landing promote queasiness. Choose seats over the wings (most stable) and focus on a still object until the feeling passes.

Exhausted: To minimize fatigue, once on board, switch to your destination's time zone and try to sleep or rest according to that.

Uncomfortable: Move around regularly and do stretching exercises in your seat. The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), although small, is higher for those with pre-existing conditions, so seek medical advice before traveling.

Hungry: Inactivity makes it harder to digest food, so avoid excessive snacking. Humidity levels in the cabin are low, so drink plenty of water-tea, coffee and alcohol will dehydrate you.
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Coping with kids in transit

Planning a long road trip with kidsPlanning a long car journey?

Limit children's "Are we there yet?" moans with these distraction tips:

  • Plan the journey in advance and mark it on a map, so the children can follow your progress. Highlight landmarks so they can point these out too.
  • Make regular short stops -- even if you stop on the side of the road. Fresh air will revive all of you.
  • Music passes the time. Give everyone in the car a song request to avoid arguments.
  • Try playing word games, such as I Spy. If kids are alert, car sickness and boredom are less likely.
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Beware the Online Quack

Beware of Online Quacks, Loonies, Tricksters, Frauds, Cheaters with QuackwatchLoonies and tricksters have always been ready to sell us "miracle cures", but the Internet has made it so much easier. Dr. Stephen Barrett has spent 30 years campaigning against dodgy tests and cures and now does it online at www.quackwatch.org. Here are some of his warning signs to watch out for:

  • Claims that most diseases are caused by diet or can be cured with supplements.
  • Pseudo-medical jargon, eg, offers to "detoxify" or "balance" your body.
  • Anyone claiming that doctors, drug companies or the government want to suppress their find.
  • "Secret cures" -- quacks only keep them secret to stop others proving they don't work.
  • Products claimed to work against many unrelated diseases.
  • Encouragement to ignore established scientific thinking and "think for yourself."
  • Testimonials or (misquoted) scientific references.
  • Allowing desperation to cloud your judgement.
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Maps to download to your Phone and MP3 Player

Google Maps (Mobile GMaps) on your cell phone.Forget carrying around chunky guidebooks. Several websites now offer maps that can be downloaded to your phone or MP3 Player, Choose from thousands of diagrams of cities and transport networks from all over the world. You can even zoom in and locate the closest ATM or hotel, and customize your map to suit your itinerary. For starters, try:
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Why of the Wag

How to interpret dog tail wagHow to interpret some common dog tail wags.

Perhaps the most common misinterpretation of dog behavior is the myth that a dog wagging its tail is happy and friendly. While some wags are associated with happiness, others can mean fear, insecurity or even a warning that if you approach, you're apt to be bitten. Here's how to interpret some common tail wags:

A slight wag, usually seen during greetings, is a tentative "hello there" or a hopeful "I'm here."

A broad wag is friendly: "I am not challenging or threatening you." It can also mean, "I'm pleased" - the closest to the popular notion of the happy wag, especially if the tail seems to drag the hips with it.

A slow wag with tail at "half-mast" is less social than most other tail signals. Generally speaking slow wags with the tail in neither a particularly dominant (high) nor a submissive (low) position are signs of insecurity.

Tiny, high-speed wags that give the impression of the tail vibrating are signs the dog is about to do something -- usually run or fight. If the tail is held high while vibrating, it's most likely an active threat.

Stanley Coren, PETS Magazine
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Catch an Online Fibber

Catch an online lier or catch someone lying on the phoneWe connect with others online more than ever, making it tougher to tell when someone is lying, says communications professor Jeff Hancock of Cornell Univesity. The main tipoffs:

Wordiness: Liars use more words and details to try to sound believable. If a colleague emails from home how bad her cough sounds and how clogged her head feels, chances are she's not that sick.

Avoidding I's: Liars use more he, she, they and we pronouns than I. "We're late because the cabdriver didn't know where he was going" is more likely to be a lie than "I couldn't get a cab."
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Money savers for your trip

Travel Holiday Trip Save MoneyIt's hip to clip. Before you leave, surf for printable coupons for attractions, hotels and restaurants.

Take a pass. Destinations such as London, Venice and Paris offer fixed-price passes for museums and attractions, allowing you access to as many as you'd like over a set period of time.

Be a guinea pig. Stay at a new resort and you may reap the benefits of special introductory rates. Check hotel's website for such offers and keep an eye on hotelchatter.com

Greet the street. How about a gratis tour guide? Cities such as Chicago have greeter programs (www.chicagogreeter.com), where a streetwise local volunteer shows you round town. Your new best friend can even show how not to get lost riding the subway.

Shop stateside. When in the US compare airfares for flights departing from your nearest airport. The price difference may make border-hopping worth it.
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How to Complain

Customer Service Call Centre How to complaint

You call customer service to complain about a product, and you hang up angrier than when you started. That's customer rage, a feeling experienced by millions of people with a major complaint, says Scott Broetzmann, president of an American firm that tells companies how to offer the best customer service. His secrets to getting good service:

  1. Have a goal: If you want your product repaired, say so. Want an apology? Speak up.
  2. Keep it short: Focus on one problem, and be succinct.
  3. Stick with it: You have to invest the time it takes. Don't get what you want? Ask for a supervisor.
  4. Skip ultimatums: Don't threaten not to do business with them again. Why should they help you if you won't buy from them in the future?
  5. Plead you case: Many companies have information such as how much money you've spent with them and how often you complain. If you're a good customer they may be more willing to help.
  6. Be nice: You're unlikely to get what you want if you're rude.
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Good ways to give bad news

Saying something someone doesn't want to hear is never easy, but these tips from The Mind Gym (Time Warner Books) will help.

  • Set aside enough time and make sure you won't be interrupted--turn off your mobile at the least.
  • Rehearse your opening line, but get to the point.
  • Consider how you frame the news: "For a man of your age, apart from high blood pressure, you're in good shape," sounds better than, "you have hypertension, which can lead to hear disease."
  • Know your facts and be prepared for questions.
  • Show you care but don't mind-read or say how uncomfortable you feel. Focus on them.
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