Planning to Get Away?

Over at  they have a great online trip planner that allows you to build your itinerary for your complete trip.

Once you have added all of your intended destinations, you can sort out the dates and route that you intend to take.
They also have a great dynamic route map that shows your planned trip in an easy to follow layout.

When trying to organize a trip like this, one of the hardest parts is having to visit multiple sites to find all the information you need.  I’ve used the site to plan an upcoming trip, and the trip planner made the whole thing painless.

And if you are unsure of the place you are visiting, there are plenty of reviews and photographs from others who been there previously.

It even allows you to create your own notes and any other useful links that you find and save them with your itinerary.

Once you have saved your trip, you can email it to friends and family to keep them informed about your trip. (A great idea for young people to keep parents aware of your plans).

UK Rainfall Radar

What with all the recent rain and floods of late, I’ve just only found a great site for checking out the latest UK Weather Radar.

There is one at the UK Met Office but the advantage of the new one I found at Meteox is that they provide an RSS Feed (see below).

They also allow you to define your UK location using a neat Google Map API interface to give a picture of your actual location.

With the weather coming up this weekend, it might be a good idea to use something like this to keep an eye on the rain.

If you want to use the following JS on your site, just cut and paste the following code into your template where you want the feed to be used:

<script language="JavaScript" src="https://yaps4u.net/feed2js/
feed2js.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Frss.meteox.co.uk%2F&chan=y&
num=1&date=y&html=a"
type="text/javascript">
</
script> <noscript>
<a href="https://yaps4u.net/feed2js/feed2js.php?
src=http%3A%2F%2Frss.meteox.co.uk%2F&chan=y&num=1&date=y&
html=y"
>View RSS feed</a>
</noscript>

Robotic Rubic Cube Solver

I hated that damn thing when I was a kid. We had a guy in our class who could solve the thing with his eyes shut, it wasn’t worth competing with him (at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).
Only way I could ever solve it was by peeling all the damn stickers off.

I don’t know whether the thing above can actually solve it, or whether it’s just a simple, muck it up, and then reverse it’s changes (screen doesn’t match the cube).
See, I hate it that much, I’m still skeptical about people solving the damn thing.

Those damn nightmares are going to return again…

Embassy No 1’s : Beat the Smoking Ban

A Southampton licensee is hoping to get round the smoking ban by declaring his pub is ‘foreign soil’.

Source: http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news_detail.asp…

This article made me laugh, quite a novel idea to try and get round the upcoming smoking ban.

By declaring his pub as an Embassy, it would be classed as foreign soil, and therefore not covered by UK law.  Does that mean that all his drinks would be tax free too?

 A later article does quote a British Foreign Office official as saying:

Redonda is a territory of Antigua and Barbuda, and so is not entitled to an embassy.

Shame… Apparently he does have some other tricks up his sleeve.

 

Antigua and Barbudahttp://www.antigua-barbuda.org/

 I just might and find some space on the beach in Antigua and smoke instead. Not sure if it would be legal though 😉  (And I’m not talking about a law forbidding smoking in public places either).

Josh Goot – Spooky Coincidence

When I was living in the US, one of the stores we occasionally visited for our shopping was Target. I suppose the UK equivalent was the BHS / Sainsburys combination stores, (sometimes called SavaCenters).  These days, most of the large UK stores (Tesco’s, ASDA’s, Sainsburys and Morrisons), all seem to do similar things, but still not quite on the scale that we saw in Texas, (and no, not just because everything is bigger in Texas)…

Target used to have grocery, clothing, household goods, electrical goods and various other products all under one massive roof.
It wasn’t the regular place you would do your normal grocery shopping, since the local Wally’s (Walmart) was a lot closer.

Well a spooky thing happened the other day, a colleague of mine in Australia mentioned that his local Target was going to be stocking a range of designer clothing by Josh Goot and Sally Green, the author or The Chic Alert had done an article on it.

Josh Goot at Target ?  Why so spooky? Because I happened to have the radio on at the time and they were doing a piece on the upsurge of Josh Goot at the very same time he mentioned it to me.

Josh is an Australian fashion designer, but his clothes are also featured at a number of stores in London, and I think they were talking about that on the radio.

Small world.

Anyway, check out Sally’s article because it has all the real fashion news about it.
Me, I know nothing about fashion…

Looking at Hawaii This Year?

We are only a few weeks away from this years holiday, but an email from a friend in the US has me thinking about where to go next year.
They are off to Hawaii in a few weeks and he was telling me about the Hawaii beachfront cottages available to view online at Hawaiian Beach Rentals where he found his cottage.

Now to us Brits, a trip to Hawaii seems a bit beyond us, but to most Americans its as common as a day trip to the beach would be for us.  
Hawaii to the Americans is within easy reach even though it could be many 100’s if not 1000’s of miles away from their homes.
It’s not that far away from the UK other than an 8 hour flight and price wise, it can be as cheap as many European holiday destinations.

But when you look at what the island has to offer, it far surpasses anything that Europe could provide. 

And one of the advantage of using Hawaiian Beach Rentals is that you can avoid the large holiday hotels where you often end up fading into the masses that would be staying there.

You can choose between a Maui condo or Kauai vacation rental home, you can find any type of holiday home to suit your needs, and within your budget too.

Hawaii Beach Front Cottage

 

 When you look at something like this home, it’s hard to believe that it probably costs less than most hotels.  It would be like a home from home and yours for the whole time of your stay.

And you get to buy your own food and that can be a lot cheaper than most hotel food, but that won’t stop you from eating out in the 100’s of top class restaurants along the many beach fronts and towns.

It’s something that we are going to seriously look at for next year, and Hawaiian Beach Rentals will be one site we’ll be spending plenty of time on.

Masterseek: Why Google for anything less?

Masterseek | Business to Business Search EngineWhen you search any popular search engine, the results are varied, cluttered and full of results that you generally have no interest in.

Masterseek is a business to business search engine.  Basically it’s a yellow pages of nearly all the business links and information that you would ever need or want.  It’s global too, so you are not restricted to a specific country.  To that effect, it has a nifty little search for quick searches, and a simple to use Advanced search when you really know what you are looking for, but just don’t know where to find it.

 

 

 

To quote from their website

Masterseek® Business Search Engine

Masterseek’s global search engine provides quick and free access to company profiles, contact information, and descriptions of products and services from more than 45 million companies in 75 countries.
You can also search in your own country or worldwide and find business partners, sales opportunities and new avenues to expand your business and increase your company’s profitability
Enter your company profile and showcase your products and services to the global community

Check out masterseek for yourself.

Knockoff Goods, Replica Purses? Legal or Immoral?

I was just about to send out a task to the guy that writes articles for me today when at the last moment I thought I would check out the web site requested.

Basically the job description said something along the lines of :

Ashleysboutique.com sells inspired by handbags of Louis Vuitton, Coach, Prada, Gucci, etc. Our target market is USA fashion conscious women.

Fair do’s said I.  Should be simple for them to complete.
But then visiting the web site I notice that they sell Replica Purses, Knockoff Handbags, Knockoff Wrist Bands and much much more.  I didn’t realize that inspired in the job description actually mean ‘knockoff’ or ‘replica’.  Now ‘knocked off’ in the UK means stolen, but these goods don’t appear to be stolen.

Now admittedly, they do not hide this fact.  And since the site is based is hosted in Canada, perhaps these are legal copies of the originals and what the site is doing is legal too.

When you compare the prices of the goods at Ashleysboutique.com  to those at the original artists sites, there is a big big difference.

Louis Vuitton: luxury leather luggage, French fashion designer

Coach Leather Goods

Prada

Gucci

Now I wonder what these sites think of Ashleysboutique.com.  The site isn’t new, so you would think that if it ‘were’ illegal in the US/Canada, it would have been shut down a long time ago.

Go visit the site and see for yourself.  If it were not for the price, you couldn’t tell the difference. (Can’t say anything for the workmanship, I’ve never seen one before).

Wi-Fi Theft

Two people have been cautioned for using people’s wi-fi broadband internet connections without permission.

Neighbours in Redditch, Worcestershire, contacted police on Saturday after seeing a man inside a car using a laptop while parked outside a house.

He was arrested and cautioned. A woman was arrested in similar circumstances in the town earlier this month.

From:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hereford/worcs/…

Official Wi-Fi LogoThere are those who would argue that leaving your broadband connection open for others to share is harmless. Providing you have locked down access to machines on your internal network, what is wrong with giving away bandwidth that you are not using?

Some argue that drive-by users who enter illegal porn sites, or send massive amounts of spam would be hard to trace and that the owner of the network would held liable for any actions by these free loaders.

Wi-Fi Planet – Securing your Wi-Fi Connection

intelligentedu – 5 Simple Steps to Securing your Wi-Fi Network

Linux.com – Secure your Wi-Fi Traffic Using FOSS Utilities

 

From Wikipedia – Wi-Fi Social Concerns

Measures to deter unauthorized users include suppressing the AP’s service set identifier (SSID) broadcast, allowing only computers with known MAC addresses to join the network, and various encryption standards. Access points and computers using no encryption are vulnerable to eavesdropping by an attacker armed with packet sniffer software. If the eavesdropper has the ability to change his MAC address then he can potentially join the network by spoofing an authorised address.

WEP encryption can protect against casual snooping but may also produce a misguided sense of security since freely available tools such as AirSnort can quickly recover WEP encryption keys. Once it has seen 5-10 million encrypted packets, AirSnort will determine the encryption password in under a second.[10] The newer Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and IEEE 802.11i (WPA2) encryption standards do not have the serious weaknesses of WEP encryption, but require strong passphrases for full security.

Recreational exploration of other people’s access points has become known as wardriving, and the leaving of graffiti describing available services as warchalking. These activities may be illegal in certain jurisdictions, but existing legislation and case-law is often unclear.

However, it is also common for people to unintentionally use others’ Wi-Fi networks without explicit authorization. Operating systems such as Windows XP SP2 and Mac OS X automatically connect to an available wireless network, depending on the network configuration. A user who happens to start up a laptop in the vicinity of an access point may find the computer has joined the network without any visible indication. Moreover, a user intending to join one network may instead end up on another one if the latter’s signal is stronger. In combination with automatic discovery of other network resources (see DHCP and Zeroconf) this could possibly lead wireless users to send sensitive data to the wrong destination, as described by Chris Meadows in the February 2004 RISKS Digest. [3]

In Singapore, using another person’s Wi-Fi network is illegal under the Computer Misuse Act. A 17 year old has been arrested for simply tapping into his neighbor’s wireless Internet connection and faces up to 3 years’ imprisonment and a fine.[11]