Saturday, December 29, 2007

Creative party invitations on the rise

These days the world of kids parties has completely gone an overhaul and unless you have some really unique kids party invitations, your party is not complete. Specialization in party planners has been happening for a long time, but with the boost given by the internet, these invitations are taking on a whole new meaning. The more creative you get, the more successful the party is likely to be, as well as more memorable of course. So put on your thinking caps, the next time you're planning a party.

Reliance Retail to become supplier

After continuing to face protests against Reliance Fresh, Reliance Retail is becoming a trader and will be entering the food trading sector so that it can restructure its food and grocery business. Reliance Retail has already created 2 supply chains; one to trade commodities at mandis and a second to supply merchandise to its own Reliance Fresh outlets. Food prices will be increasing significantly in the coming year, and Reliance has understood the importance of being a trader. Reliance is setting up its stores at mandis where it will stock fruits, vegetables as well as other staples. At these stores it will be able to make a profit without worrying about costly overheads or having to give discounts to consumers. The company already has signed agreements to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to Spencers’ retail chain as well as other retailers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The trend for men's jewelry

As most Christmas shopping excursions go, the average consumer does not really look for men's jewelry as much as they look at women's jewelry, but the trend for men's jewelry is fast catching on and is definitely only going to get bigger and better. Thanks to the countless celebrity magazines who spend so much time of showcasing the grooming and jewelry of the fashionable male, this segment is getting a lot of publicity lately.

Retailers should focus on existing online customers

Online commerce already is one of fastest growing segments of the Indian retail industry, regardless of the fact that there is still very low penetration of personal computers in the country. At a seminar at the Retail Summit 2007 in Hyderabad, Online retailing - Future of Retailing, Manish Agarwal, vice-president for e-commerce at Rediff.com, lay emphasis on retailers needing to focus on existing ecustomers, instead of solely focusing on creating new ones. Online retailing is the way to create a new channel that retailers can sell products, one that lets them broaden their reach to newer places where their branches are not yet open.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting professional help

You can't pick up any magazine these days without reading out celebrities' addiction treatment and the more that celebrities are being open about their personal problems, the more the effect is trickling down to the average person, for who it is likely to be a more profound decision. Most trends to have a trickle down effect and this is definitely one of them that is gaining more popularity with each passing month.

Have you ever abandonded a blog?

So how many blogs do you really have? And how many blogs do you maintain regularly? I must say that I have been a bit laggard in maintaining all of my blogs equally. While I have not abandoned any of my blogs, some of them do get more attention than others. I think it's time do some winter cleaning. I wonder if something like this were to happen to me?

Your Last Post

Researching before buying

When it comes to buying technical or mechanical stuff, I make sure I read up on as much information first and only then attempt going out to buy something like this Delta machinery, so I know exactly what I am looking for and don't end up making a fool of myself. Having the internet to search for stuff makes it a lot easier than having to go to the library or dig out a reference book, so buying complicated stuff has become so much easier now. I will admit that it has made us a bit lazier about doing the work and putting in the effort to search though.

Future Group's Home Retail expanding aggresively

Home Solutions Retail Ltd (HSRL) which is owned by the Future Group, announced that it will be investing Rs. 500 crore for both of its consumer durables and electronics retail segments. The proposed investment will be over the duration of the next two years.Its eZone outlets will increase from 26 to 100 stores, and Electronics Bazaar will increase from 65 to 200 stores. Hemchandra Javeri, chief executive officer of HSRL, emphasized that both segments were expected to bring in revenues of Rs 800 crore by 2007-08 and Rs 3,000 crore by 2009-10. He said that, “By expanding both the value and premium formats, we want to explore the total opportunity. We want to dominate big cities and tier-II towns and stay ahead of competition.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Visiting Las Vegas?

For a short break, there really is no place like Las Vegas. A lot of people think of the city only for gambling and quickie marriages, but Las Vegas is so much more than that. The city has created a name for itself in the world of spa treatments and luxury pampering, but if you want to have an affordable vacation, that is also possible in the city. You can find the entire range of hotels in Las Vegas, from discount motels to top of the line luxury hotels, all it takes is a little searching to find the right place.

Reliance TimeOut opens in Bangalore

Reliance Retail Ltd. launched the book and music specialty store it had earlier announced which will be called Reliance TimeOut, and will stock music, books, stationary, toys and assorted gift items. Reliance TimeOut stores will stock more than 30,000 book titles from both national and international publishers, and over 12,000 music titles. Its is located in Bangalore's Cunningham Road and is spread over 21,000 sq ft of space, with a stock of more than 56,000 items.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do you really know how to 'live'?

For a lot of people, working overtime, commuting endlessly and living a stressed life is the normal way to earn a living. Most people don;t have a choice and have to live where based on where they work. There are an increasing number of people lately that are deciding to make do with lower paying jobs, less stress and live in smaller towns so that they can really 'live'. Wilmington NC real estate has seen a rise in interested consumers who want to live a good life, but not one where they are chasing money and deadlines all the time. There has to be a balance in one's lives, and living in a medium sized town is one way to achieve it.

Targus keen on India

Targus, the mobile computing products and accessories firm will be focusing on growin gin the Indian market, and will be forming a partnership with I consumer electronic companies like Croma, Staples and Bharti-Wal-Mart. The company has been running in India for the past 3 years, and its India operations accounts for $12 million of its annual revenue. An estimated 85% of its annual revenue comes from supply of products to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) such as Lenovo, HP, Sony, HCL and Acer and the remaining amount from retail sales.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A worthy cause

I guess, this is really the best time of the year to write about something like this. If you're one of those people to love to hear about miracles and other wonderful stories, then you'll love this. There is a non-profit organization called Car Angel, which facilitates car donations for those in need, whether they are coming out of rehab, or are a single mom, or a homeless person trying to live and work. Car Angel uses its car and other donations to make videos for children and have given away more than 2.4 million videos so far. It is definitely a very worthy cause and writing about it just before Christmas is perfect timing as well. Here's one of the videos that Car Angel has made: http://youtube.com/user/boatangel.

Reliance to convert its shut Fresh stores into specialty formats

Reliance Retail will be using its shut Reliance Fresh stores in West Bengal as specialty stores for lines such as footwear, jewelry, books and apparel. Reliance had to shut down its Fresh stores after voracious protests by local merchants and middle men who were organized by various political parties. The low prices that Reliance Fresh offered for its products were the main reason for the protests.

Reliance Retail has had trouble with the publicity it received right from the beginning, even though there are lots of other retailers present, it is only Reliance Fresh stores that are facing the brunt of the protests. There are lots of other launches planned for the state and it remains to be seen if they will face similar protests when they open as well.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A great gift item

While malls are coming up with creative offers to bring in customers, stores such as Cartier don't need to do much at all. With an amazing Cartier watch such as this, customers are willing to spend as much money as required to get an elite product such as this. Christmas shoppers are looking for both splurges as well as price conscious gifts this year. With the bulk of the population wary about spending too much on non-essential items, the higher spenders are the ones who are going in for such items. Watches are a great gift item as they beautifully bridge the utilitarian and the luxurious so easily.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Malls becoming inventive at wooing customers

Malls in India are coming up with new ways of bringing in customers to the malls, most of which are not doing well. By offering specials such as taxis and buses to bring in customers, adding more stores that offer utility functions such as banks, dry cleaners, gyms etc, coming up with a plan to make the mall a morning walk and breakfast destinations and offering mall loyalty programs are all ways that mall managers are wooing customers. All in all, these special offers do make customers come to the mall more often, especially with the utility shops and grocery stores, and once they visit more often, they will tend to shop more.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Investing in real estate

When it comes to investments for the long term, there really is only one choice and that is real estate. It is the one investment that you should start thinking of and putting aside money for as soon as you get a regular job, so that in maybe 5 years you have a substantial amount to put as a down payment towards a plot or apartment or office etc. While stocks and bonds need to be followed more closely when you're holding them, real estate is for those who have holding power and can stay in the game for the long term. We're making our first major investment in an apartment, purely for investment purposes, and we're excited about the prospect of starting our real estate investments.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More on team buying

In an earlier post titled Team buying for higher discounts, I had written about a popular Japanese concept called Team Buying and was pleasantly surprised to hear from Eliot Sykes in the US who has started StoreMob which will run pretty much along the same lines. Team buying is a practice where consumers form groups to increase their bargaining power. Groups of customers gather at predetermined locations to purchase products which they can "mob" the store into giving them a discount. StoreMob will have the honor of introducing the system to US consumers who will be able to get bulk discounts on products.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Long weekend coming up

After not being able to take a regular two day weekend for simply ages, I was thrilled to realize this morning that this is a long weekend. So we actually have a three day weekend coming up and I am so excited about it. I have to figure out my schedule as I do have some pending work that I have to complete either before of after the weekends, so I'm not totally free, but it will be nice to have a nice long weekend for nothing but relaxation. Nothing quite like working to appreciate the weekend, is there?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Protestors attack Reliance Fresh store in Bhopal

Bhartiya Janashakti (BJS) party workers and activists attacked a Reliance Fresh store in Bhopal. The incident occurred when the party leader Uma Bharti, called on party workers to demonstrate against the opening of such stores in the state. Party workers attacked the Reliance Fresh store and ransacking it, breaking its windowpanes and tossing vegetables outside on the road. There have been lots of other protests against Reliance Fresh stores across India, and protests in Madhya Pradesh have also been increasing to other cities.

Shopping for tools

If you're racking your brain thinking of the perfect gift for your handyman husband, father or brother, then these Ingersoll Rand air tools are one of the best gifts you can buy. For a lot of people thinking of tools is a confusing subject and its no fun to get stuck purchasing the wrong tools. So go to the experts and get their help in selecting the right kind of tool gifts for the family this year. Believe me you will be thankful that you made the effort.

Earn money working at home

Since I started working at home almost two years back, I have been promoting it to everyone I know. It's simply the best switch I ever did. The kind of opportunities there are these days for working at home is simply amazing. Even a year back they didn't exist or were not as well publicized. While it still might be hard to find jobs on the Internet, there are lots of sites where you can find information on working at home and get started on earning some extra income while working at home. There is no cost to join and you'll find lots of job postings, articles and tips on how to earn money from your home.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday diet plans

Have you got your diet plan ready for the holidays? Just about everyone gains weight during the holidays and having a plan such as Miracle burn is a good way to avoid the weight gain or control it before it gets out of hand. Holiday food is such that one ends up overeating as well as eating all the wrong things, so it's not an easy task to control. I for one, try not to overdo any one item and try to have a little of everything, so I don't feel deprived but can also enjoy and relish the sense of a holiday.

Finding market reports

As a researcher, I sometimes reach a dead end on finding information about a company that I know exists somewhere on the Internet, but its a question on how to access it. A lot of market research and reports are not open to the public and that can seriously hinder my work. ReportLinker has come up with a solution for this problem. The company is still in beta testing mode, but have signed up over 10,000 testers already, and is essentially a new search engine that is focused entirely on market research and is the first professional search engine that permits users to access market reports that are available on the deep web for free. These reports are usually from embassies, ministries and trade unions and can be access for free.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Using light to create a warm welcome

We bought a really nice bedside lamp last week, but unknown to us the package only contained the lamp and not the shade. So, we have to go back to the store to get the same shade that was displayed with it. Hopefully it will still be available, as during sale times, things go out of stock just too easily. We're also looking for some new light fixtures that we can install in our entrance hallway as we don't have any natural light there and need to have a nice light to convey a warm welcome, as well as a practical light source that is easy to turn on even when you're carrying an armful of groceries. Do hope we have better luck this time.

The meaning behind Black Friday

Do you know why Black Friday is named so? It is the day that retailers start to make a profit and go into the "black" that the day. Traditionally, the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday is hitting earlier and earlier each year, with retailers like Gap opening 170 of their stores at midnight and Old Navy opening 90% of their stores at 5am. Most retailers are opening up earlier this year, some only closing for a few hours for he traditional turkey dinner before opening up again to welcome shoppers. It will be interesting to see the sales figures from the day's sales compared to last year's and see how opening the store a few hours earlier has impacted sales figures.

Teenager gift idea

When it comes to thinking of gifts for teenagers, nothing could be trickier right? Well, you might have just found the perfect solution to your problem, with these High School Musical tickets which would make the perfect stocking stuffer gift. Everyone that I have spoken too, simply loves the show and think it would make the perfect gift to any teenager. What do you think? As gifts go, it is a nice gesture and something different as well.

...and the shopping begins..

Well, Black Friday is finally here and it's time to let the shopping begin in earnest. Retailers and consumers alike are an anxious lot this year and it will definitely be very interesting to see the results of shopping sales in a week or so. Most retailers are enticing shoppers with better deals this year, especially in the past week, hoping that consumers will start their spending earlier than usual. There are lots of online deals as well, on Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gifting dilemmas

It seems like the whole world is on the lookout for the perfect gift. So, here's another good idea for a gift. How about these makeup mirrors that would be perfect for a friend, cousin and even your mom. Searching for Christmas gifts is not the easiest thing in the world, but thanks to the internet it has become a lot easier than before. So now, instead of going from store to store, you can sit back at home and go from site to site, until you find just the right gift.

Go to CyberMonday.com for all the best deals on the internet

All shoppers interested in finding the best deals on the internet, check out CyberMonday.com, a site set up by Shop.org, which is part of the National Retail Federation, one of the foremost associations in the retail industry. Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving and is usually one of the busiest days for online shopping. This year, online retailers are offering lots of deals to get customers to spend their money online and all the information that you need about online sales is available at their site.

Decorating with light

We're pretty much settled in our new home, even though we still need lots of little things as yet. One of our top priorities is to get some new lamps to create a nice atmosphere. Interestingly, home lighting is what really sets the tone of a room and home and it is essential you get the right lighting to control the mood and ambiance of the room. Our living room is rather sunny from mid-morning onwards and our bedroom gets the morning light which fades pretty quickly, so we have two totally different moods in the rooms. By using the right lighting, we want to be able to create some warmth in our cool bedroom and cool down some of the warmth in the living room. Its actually quite simple and lots of fun once you really get into it.

Firefox Add-on for Flickr

Did you know that there is an Add-on that you can use with Firefox to access sites such as Flickr in countries where it has been blocked? Here is a link to the Firefox Add-on that you can download and install on your computer. It is free and very simple to install, requiring no registration, or anything at all. I came across it last week just by chance, but it seems to be quite a popular download.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Online searches

The cool thing about the Internet is that I could be sitting in California, but still manage to find the perfect charlotte cosmetic dentist and so on. I use the internet a lot for finding service providers when I moved and it really was a life saver, since it made everything so much easier. Who has time to go through a phone book any more, it makes much more sense to type it in a online search box and come up with much better results.

Blogger adds slide show option

Blogger has added a cool new tool that lets you add a slide show to your sidebar. You can add pictures from Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa etc to the slide show, where the pictures will fade into one another and give you a nice place to display all your creativity. The tool is only available in the updated version of Blogger, and I am yet to update this blog, so until I shift it to the layout format, I will not be able to use the slide show option. Seems like its past time that I updated.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sleep technology

When we moved we had to buy everything from scratch, since we only moved with our suitcases. One of the things that I was quite keen on getting was a memory foam mattress that remembers your body shape and molds itself so that you are comfortable and well supported. I haven't got around to getting one of these, but since I've already got a really nice mattress, I'm planning to get a memory foam pillow instead, which function on the same principle. I find it really interesting to see how technology is being used in so many innovative ways, to increase our comfort and make life easier for us. Wonder what they will come up with next?

The future of online shopping

According to research by Harris Interactive for Microsoft Corp., an estimated 45% of adults in the US shop online and the main reason the bulk of shoppers refrain from shopping online is due to security concerns, with 60% of shoppers who do not spend money online because they do not wanting to share personal information online.

A large number of people who do not shop online, also cited as enjoying the store experience and being able to shop more thoroughly in a brick and mortar store. About 20% of online shoppers have experience online fraud and 14% of consumers surveyed said that they had been tricked into clicking an ad that was a fraud.

Some of the other findings show that of the consumers that shop online, about 3% of them plan to do all their holiday shopping online, while 16% of them plan to do most of the shopping online. Almost three-fourths of the online shoppers said that they would do the same amount of shopping online as they did last year, while 13% said they would shop more and 12% stating they would shop less.

The most attractive thing about shopping online was the freedom to shop at any time they wanted to, with a greater selection of items and saving money as the other main reasons to shop online.

How do you decide on insurance?

There seem to be a lot of people out there getting family insurance these days. I really hadn't heard of it before, but it seems like a good way to get coverage for the entire family, making it both cost effective as well as reliable. I checked with my insurance company and they don't seem to offer this type of insurance, which is rather odd, since it is becoming quite popular. Hmmm, might be time to rethink my plan, I guess.

Being Five hits the spot!

Have you heard about a site called Being Five? It's a really great cartoon site that is created by George Sfranas, with a five year old kid who blogs using voice recognition software as the protagonist. What I love about it is that it gets to the point, is extremely incisive and really very cute. I'm quite addicted to reading the latest strip and would love to see it one day in my newspaper as well. I seem to be searching out a lot of comic strips lately, and have really been amazed at the creativity that one can find on the internet.

Could you manage without a bank account?

I couldn't, but did you ever wonder how people who don't have a checking account conduct business or their personal lives? Apparently, there are millions of people who do not want to have a bank account and rather keep their money in cash. I think that's a rather old-fashioned and certainly a risky move, since there is no way that you can compare keeping money safe at home with keeping it at the bank. Besides, the safety factor, there are lots of other great uses of having a personal account and unless you have an account, you're not going to be able to do a lot of things that are necessary for living a good life.

Expanding wi-fi zones

We have two Internet connections at home are in the process of setting up a wi-fi system, to free ourselves from wires. Take the wi-fi system to a large public development and imagine its scope. Well, its already been done, but I'm still awed by the technology that makes it possible. ArrowSpan is a global provider of Wi-Fi mesh solutions and has brought out a new wi-fi mesh system called the MeshAP 1100 Indoor. The system is perfect for use in large areas such hotels, airports, malls and offices and is completely reliable and secure. It's also a really great way to provide the technology without the major infrastructure requirements and installments, especially to underdeveloped areas. Another great feature of this new system is that its "routers form a self-configuring and self-healing wireless broadband data network" that can expand from hotspots to hot zones.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Does technology simplifly our lives?

The more one uses technology, the more one needs it. There was a time when we didn't need a cell phone at all, but now not only does one need a cell phone all the time but also a Bluetooth headset so that one can be doing other stuff while talking on the phone. The question is that, is it making our lives simpler or more complicated? While for a lot of people it does simplify their lives, it is definitely making them more complex for most of us, who have got used to the concept of having a cell phone handy all the time, but can well do without them if only we were to get more organized and structured in our dealings, whether for work or in our personal lives.

More of Blaugh!

I just posted on my other blog about Blaugh being back in business, so I thought I would share of one of their amazing comics here as well. They have been silent for the past two months and I really missed reading their offbeat and incisive humor. Anyone who blogs will understand what they blog about and it's really fun to see what they come up with next. You can be assured that it will always be wacky and to the point. Here's one of their older ones.

A Deal’s a Deal

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Online casino review site

While I'm not much of a gambler, I do like to pay a bit every once in a while and that usually happens around this time of the year, when everyone is getting into the festive mood. What I find really hard is to find the right site to go to, since there are so many and it has become really confusing to select which site one should go to play at. So, I was quite happy to find a reliable online casino reviews site that offers all the details you want to know about where to go to gamble online, what to play and how much it will cost you.

You can also find out about specials and deals on the site, promotions that other sites are offering and such stuff. While I like to play casually, there are lots of others who take it very seriously and like to know what the max bonus is for a site and what certificates it takes, along with ratings by editors and players. These are a good way to judge a site, especially the player reviews, which is usually the best way to rate a site.

On writing

Well, it's time to get back on track with working regularly once again, to have somewhat of a routine to follow and to make some money again. I've been on breaks so often in the past year, that my income has seriously been affected. On the flip side, I have been able to enjoy traveling and spending time with my family that I would not have been able to if I had a regular 9-5 job.

It's now over 2 years since I have been working on my own, either as a freelancer or on a project basis with my old company, where I do monthly projects for them, but work on my own pace and work from home. It has simply been a wonderful experience and I wish I had started earlier with it, especially the one year that I was relatively free in Bangalore. Oh, well, I really enjoyed my time there, so that had its own charm.

Let it be said, though that freelancing is not as easy as it looks. One has to be persistent and self motivated to be good at it. If you're someone who needs supervision or constant interaction, then its probably not for you. You have to be able to create a system for yourself to work in and to be able to establish a working routine. I got a great start working for a web content development company in Bangalore and that's been a really great start of my writing career.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How about living in New Zealand?

In the past few years, travelers have been decending on New Zealand thanks to a slew of movies that have been filmed there. The entire country is absolutely breathtaking and all avid travelers have New Zealand on their list of must-visit countries. What a lot of travelers are doing is taking extendied holidays or even migrating permanently to New Zealand instead of traveling back and forth on annual holidays.

It's a good idea to plan a vacation to include viewing a property for sale or two, to get an idea of what it is like to live there. Costs of living are relatively low, and the local customs and culture are friendly and inviting. Take a look at this property nelson or this birkenhead property to get an idea of what it is to live in a home in the area. As with other places as well, you really have to spend some time there to figure out what will suit you best.

Visiting home

Long time since I last posted here. Well, the wedding is over and I'm busy catching up with chores and stuff before I head back home. There are always a ton of things that need to be done before I go back and as usual I am swamped with an endless stream of errands. It has been more than two years since I last visited home, so there really was a ton of stuff to catch up on. Do hope my next visit will not be after such a long gap.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Which plasma TV to buy?

We're almost done with all our shopping for the house now. It seems like there is just so much to buy and each time, we think we're done, we find there is something else to be bought. One item on your list that is still pending is a flat screen television for the bedroom. We've been looking around for quite some time now to find the best deal as well as the best brand and we've zeroed in on the Pioneer PDP-6070HD, which is one of the very best plasma televisions there are.

With technology changing so fast these days, it's hard to keep up with which products one should buy or just wait a bit for a new version to come out. The Pioneer Pure Vision plasma televisions are in a class of their own and use the very latest of technology, so that the audio and video quality are better than any other brand or model. I can't wait to get ours and start to enjoy this brilliant piece of technology.

Going on a trip today

All set to go home this evening for a couple of weeks. The past few days have been super hectic, with lots of shopping, organizing, sorting out etc and now I'm done, well at least for a little while I am done. I really am looking forward to the trip, as it's been a really long time since I've gone home. It's just crazy home time flies and a couple of years go by, which is when I last went home to stay for more than a day. The last two times I've been home, I've spent a couple of hours the first time and about 20 hours the next, so they really don't count for much.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sleeping arrangemments

The number of guests, we're going to be getting of which the number of kids that will visit, made us seriously consider getting bunk beds to tackle the sleeping arrangements. There is something so fun about bunk beds, and even though I had them when I was in boarding school, I've still not had my fill of them. We have really high ceilings here anyways and utilizing the vertical space just seems to make sense. Nothing concrete decided as yet, but a good idea for now.

Setting up house

Just a couple of days left, before I go on a trip back home, mostly for a wedding, but also to spend some time with my family. It's been over two years since I last went home and spend more than 24 hours there. Hard to believe just how fast time flies. Things are going to get really hectic once I get back as we're going to start getting a continuous stream of guests for the next 5 months at least. We still have a ton of work to do around the house as yet, things to buy, things to organize and so on. As much shopping as we've done already, it's hard to understand how we need more things, but then we came here just with a couple of suitcases and needed to buying everything from scratch, so the things to add up then.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Outer Banks homes

I've heard some really great stuff about the Outer Banks region of North Carolina and really want to plan a vacation there sometime soon. The houses there are said to be really nice there and the value of property is rising in value quite fast, according to a colleague who recently purchased a property in the area. There is something quite special about having vacation home near the ocean, a place that one can go to as often as one likes without have to make any bookings etc. It's so much more fun that staying at a hotel each time.

Pending work

Still got quite a bit of work pending as yet, before I go on my trip and it's getting to be a bit worrying now. Besides regular work, I also have a ton of chores pending for before I leave. There are things that need to be bought to take home, things that need to be organized for leaving behind and so on. All my trips recently have been sudden ones, where I've barely had enough time to sort out all the stuff I needed to do, before it was time to go. Do hope this is not a pattern that's being established.

Buying on tv

There are lots of great deals available on the Internet, which everyone is already quite familiar with, but how about those great as seen on tv deals, which are pretty great as well. While earlier these deals were only for really offbeat items, now tv deals are some of the coolest items around, stuff that one really needs anyway, making it so much easier to take a decision to buy them. I've bought a couple of things from tv deals and so far have had a good experience of it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Snobby food

Dinner last night was at Macaroni Grill, which was pretty good. I had not eaten there before but had heard good stuff about the food there. While the food was good, there was an air of superficiality about it that I did not like, which is not there at similar restaurants. Even if you were to rate the food alone, I would say that I could find a better place for the same dishes. So, while we enjoyed ourselves and liked the food, we knew there are other places that are better than it out there. And, so we're off to find them....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Being connected wirelessly

I can't believe I never got a wireless router before. It makes everything just so much simpler, as I can now work wherever I want to in my apartment, and am not tied to my desk anymore. I had asked my earlier ISP to install one, but they could never get their paperwork done so I forgot all about it. Well, now I am really enjoying having a wireless router, which both of us can use simultaneously.

Finishing off my work

I've been working hard the past few days to finish all my pending work before I take some time off to go home for a wedding. The trip was planned all of a sudden, so I had already accepted several assignments, so now I have to finish a lot of stuff in the next few days itself. I usually end up taking my work with me, since it is all on the internet, but I'd rather not do that this time, and just concentrate on relaxing and catching up with friends and family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Understanding real estate markets

With the real estate market being as up and down as it has been in the past, it is a time to really spend time researching the markets that you are interested in. There are lots of cities that might currently be facing a downturn but have generally have had very upbeat real estate markets in the past 10-20 years. Take Phoenix for instance, where the real estate market has been rising for several years due to the rise of the city as a commercial center and also due to increasing popularity of its well-known sports facilities. The Phoenix real estate is a good place to understand how the market works and to gauge at what will happen next i the real estate market.

SceneCaster: a great new way to utilize your space


I came across a really cool new site today and it's called SceneCaster. It's all about creating a room and filling it with furniture etc to see how it will look. I think it's a superb idea and I have signed up for it already. I need a bit of time to test it out fully, but I plan to plug in my apartment configurations in and select some furniture that is similar to what I have and then look for all the other pieces that I need to buy as yet. There is also a way to share your rooms or 'scenes' with friends as well as explore other's scenes. Check it out, but make sure you have plenty of time first, cause it is addictive!

Decorating dilemmas

In decorating our new home, we've gone through several different options of arranging our furniture and placement of our dining table. Ideally we would also like to have a breakfast nook off the kitchen, with some bar stools, that can be used for a lot of different uses. I quite like the idea of having a separate dining area for casual eating and also a handy extra flat space which is always in high demand. I have some extra space just off the kitchen and am still not sure what to do with it as yet, but hopefully will be able to figure it out soon.

Letting go

So, I will be going on a slight break in a week. This time I do not plan to do any work while I am away, and I certainly do not plan to feel guilty about it. What usually happens is that I go on vacation, but since I cannot cancel assignments, I end up doing them while I am away, making it not much of a vacation nor much of work and pay. So I end up losing both ways. This has got to stop, so this is my first attempt at just letting go.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Installing ecommerce software


As a retail analyst, I spend a lot of my time discussing strategy and goals with retailers, especially small retailers who are yet to find their success. What I have noticed is that for the most part, smaller retailers do not place as much emphasis on retail software as they should. Having a website with an integrated shopping cart is pretty basic for today's standards, but you would be surprised at how many small retailers don't think so. Shopping cart software is easily available and one of the most reputable sources is Ashop Commerce which is the leading provider of hosted ecommerce software in the US. Installing a shopping cart software system and maintaining it is just as simple as checking email now, and Ashop Commerce provides all round support for all its services. For any retailer to become known beyond their local community, it is essential to invest in such a system. Ecommerce is making brick and mortar retailers sit up and take notice, so it really is the right time to invest in such a system.

Balancing work and life

The weekend went by rather quickly and since I had a ton of work to complete, I didn't get much relaxation either. And so goes the story of my life. I really need to be able to say no to work sometimes, and just put things off for a while. I end up overdoing it and then feel really exhausted and miserable from it. I do hope I will be able to get the balance right soon. This really is the hardest part of working at home, since one tends to go a bit overboard.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Window perfect!

Over the years, as we have moved to several cities and lived in an assortment of apartments, I have been able to make a list of sorts of the things I absolutely must have when we build our own home. One of the most important things we want in our home is natural light, no matter how hot or how cold it is outside. I want to be able to have light streaming in, with maybe a window bench to sit and read and even take naps on. This will only be possible if we have windows like the way Anglian does them, which is the only way to do them actually.

Having been doing home improvements business for over 36 years, Anglian certainly know their business and are complete especially when it comes to doing the windows in your home. Whether it is setting up a conservatory or doing window replacements, Anglian is simply the best there is. I certainly want to have products in my home that I do not have to worry about for a long time to come, and the only way to do it is to invest in the best. There really is nothing like sitting back and relaxing with the knowledge that you home is constructed in the very best way possible.

Dinner at Chop Chop

We had a wonderful dinner at Chop Chop last night, which was a nice combination of Chinese and Thai food. The ambiance of the restaurant was really great as well, with its wonderful orangy-yellow lanterns modern furnishings. Overall, this kind of decor is quite unusual for a restaurant at a mall, which are usually just bare bones basic and to the point. The place was absolutely packed and as soon as one table emptied, it was taken immediately. All in all a good meal and an enjoyable evening.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Plan your holiday shopping

Even though it's only mid September as yet, consumers are already planning their holiday shopping, since it's a good time to start looking around for great deals, such as these Chrysler 300 accessories which a lot of people would really love to have. It seems that the holiday season starts off a bit earlier every year. It's hard to even think of snow and Christmas when its still 75 degrees outside, right? But if you want the good deals, then its the only way to go. So, be smart and keep your eyes open for all the specials.

Movie time

Nothing quite like settling in to watch a movie at the end of a long tiring day, right? How about the same comfort and styling as one gets at the premium theaters? It sounds like a really great idea to me to invest in some discount home theater seating for movies at home. It's the best way to watch movies and one should get to do it in comfort and style as well. I love watching movies, but hate dealing with the crowds at the movie theaters on the weekends, so this is a great alternative for us.

Taking care of your car

Cars have become so efficient these days that one even forgets to check the basics like one used to earlier. In the winter, one had to make sure the battery was in good condition and would be able to take the freezing cold temperatures, but with advances in technology, one barely even remembers that these things need to be checked. I've usually had pretty good luck with my vehicles so far and hope to continue doing so in the future as well.

A bit low lately

Been a bit unwell, so not been posting too regularly here. The pace of the past few months just caught up with me and got me down all of a sudden. I felt absolutely miserable and didn't know what it was that was bothering me, but now some tests have been done and it was an infection and other than that all is ok. So, that is quite a relief for me. So, getting back to normal now, trying to keep up with work etc etc.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The power of good lighting

Setting up a new home is never an easy talk. Especially if you've not done it before. While we've moved several times, we usually move into homes that have all the fixtures already in place. In this apartment, we had to work at getting some of the lighting fixtures in place ourselves. I find that to have the right kind of home lighting, it is essential to select the right kinds of lights. So if you're going to be reading in one area of the room, it must have the appropriate lighting. Mood lighting is also very important since it sets the tone and creates a wonderful atmosphere.

Weekend diatribe

Why is it that the weekend takes so long in coming and goes by so fast? It seems that one waits and waits for the weekend to come, and they it whizzes by all too fast. As much as I love Sundays, I have the feeling that they are the end of the weekend. While I'm at it, I might as well say that I hate Mondays as well, and can't wait for them to get over as soon as possible. OK, that's my little diatribe and now its over!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is your home insured?

While the anticipation of the weekend is great, there is still a lot of work to be done and one of them is to do some research on insurance companies, since we're planning to get some insurance for our home. It's been rather confusing, since this is the first time we're going in for an insurance other than the regular automotive, dental and health which one usually has. I've been spending quite a bit of time on the Internet reading on how to select the right company and tips on what items and options to look out for.

One of the sites I visited was called 2insure4less.com and seems like it is one of the more popular sites when it comes to insurance related queries. Besides offering cheap home insurance, they also have a wide variety of other insurance options which can be combined or taken individually as per your requirements. The company specializes in providing online insurance quotes for home insurance, but has experience in other areas as well. To find out what your insurance premium would be is as easy as filling in the basic form on the site and getting 5 quotes. Take a look and see if it is something that would work for you.

weekend planning

Getting closer to the weekend!! Isn't it really a great feeling, this anticipation of the weekend, especially when it's getting nearer. I simply love it and am really looking forward to this weekend, since it's going to be the first weekend since I've gotten back to work, which always makes them even more worthwhile. So, it's time to start planning what to do for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A good time to head to Florida

Summer is the busiest time of the year in Florida, especially in the Orlando area where all the theme parks are clustered. If you like the crowds then its a good time to go then, but I prefer to visit when the rush is slightly less so you don't have to fight the crowds everywhere you go. I'd much rather take a Florida rental vacation at a time when I could have some rest and relaxation along with the hustle and bustle of the city. Most people actually prefer the rush times though, which I find rather odd, but that's the way it is.

Missing blaugh.com

I wonder what's happened to Blaugh.com? There have been no new cartoons there for the longest time and I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms now. I loved checking their site out for new stuff every couple of days, and while they usually are quite erratic with their updates, this has been the longest period of silence, I think. I do hope they will be back to releasing more cartoons soon!

Time to start the holiday shopping

It's getting time to start thinking about presents now. Contrary to what a lot of people think, September and October are great months for stocking up on Thanksgiving and Christmas presents. It's also a good time to start searching online for ideas for each person on your list, so you can come up with something creative for everyone. I'm always on the lookout for Banana Republic deals and found a good coupon for shopping there. Getting coupons to help you get special deals and discounts is one of the best ways to maximize your spending. Besides buying things, it is also possible to get budget coupons for car rentals as well. So, if you're planning to go on a weekend trip in the next couple of months, that'll really come in handy. While I haven't got my list finalized, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of things I want to by for my family.

The importance of subject lines in emails

According to e-mail service company SubscriberMail CEO Jordan Ayan, most retailers never bother checking email subject lines to test if the words or phrases are being filtered by a spam filter or if they are being deleted without being read by the recipient. It was found that close to 40% of the attendees at a direct marketing trade association event never tested subject lines. Most consumers never bother opening a mail from someone they don't know and if you add words like 'free' or write all in caps then you are only ensuring your email goes straight to the trash can.
SubscriberMail recently listed problematic words and phrases in a white paper entitled “The Seven Dirty Words you can’t say in subject lines; plus 100 others.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's all about the strap!

I've always been a big fan of watches. Ever since I could tell time, I wanted my own watch and have been collecting watches since then. I have been partial to leather watch straps until the past few years, since I always felt they were more my style than a flashy metal watch strap. Thankfully, the kinds of metal watch straps one gets now are amazing and have been added to my collection of watches. One of the most famous names in watch straps is Hirsch, which has made a name for itself for providing some of the most beautiful, yes you can call a watch strap beautiful, watch straps ever possible.

I actually had no idea that Watch Bands could even be so expensive, but with the kind of quality that Hirch stocks, it easy to see why they cost as much as they do. Take a look around the site and you'll see exactly what I mean. With some of the world's most famous celebrities as their clients, Watchband.biz is the only source you ever need for a watch band of any kind, and stocks over 8,000 watch bands and watch straps, so you are sure to have plenty of choice as well.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What season are you?

I did a fun test on Blogthings.com and I am supposedly winter, which I find really odd, since I don't deal too well with the cold although I love to feel all cozy and warm with a cup of hot chocolate when it snows outside! Anyhow, it's all for fun!!

You Are Winter!

Intelligent
Serious
Cozy
Calm
Shy

Making choices

Being a kid is really tough these days, where everything around you is tempting you and pulling you in a thousand different directions and pulling you towards all the wrong choices. It's no wonder that so many young people are getting involved in drugs and need to go in for drug rehab which is now becoming something of the norm and quite accepted by society. This last part is definitely a good outcome, since it is a problem that we have to deal with as a society and making it acceptable has definitely made it easier.

Enjoying a new car

As I was writing the last couple of posts, I remembered my college friend Sarah who had been given a car as a graduation present from her parents. She selected a Ford Mustang convertible and from then on, her entire life seemed to revolve only around her new car, goodies such as car and truck accessories, add-ons to make her car look even better than it already looked and lots of music accessories so that she could create an impact where ever she went. We took several road trips in this car and it definitely has a fun time.

on driving

I've been missing out on driving lately, well for quite some time now, since we've had a driver for the past couple of years and I don't really get a chance since everything we need is either a few minutes walk or comes with free delivery. I did get to do some fun driving in the hills in my dad's SUV, which is a really fun vehicle to drive, and I was completely relaxed driving it, even though it was the first time that I driving it. Here's to more driving in the coming months!

Fitting out cars

Although I love cars and driving, I'm not too much into all the technicalities behind them, such as when it comes to a transfer tank or other stuff stuff. My friend Ken in college was a complete car buff and would try to teach me as much as he could about cars, engines, fixing them up, jazzing them up and so on. I managed to grasp all the basics of car maintainance, which I must say came to my rescue several times, the fine details escaped me.

Handling peer pressure

I've been reading quite a bit, while I've been away from work and I've been quite saddened by the number of young people that are getting involved in drugs due to peer pressure and don't know how to handle their lives. The drug rehabilitation center of Cliffside Malibu is known to be one of the best and focuses on fixing exactly this sort of problems. For some reason the concept of being bad is glorified to such a level by the media and entertainment industry, that the younger generation has a hard time staying away, which is the saddest part of it all.

Getting back to work

It's been the beginning of a good weekend and I'm ready to get back to work in full speed now. I've got a ton of work that clients have suddenly decided to send me, which is a great thing for a freelancer to know that you're in demand, but it also means that I've got to get serious again about work and get back to my old working routine. Here's hoping that it will happen and quickly too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

and back to normal now...

As much as I was looking forward to starting working again, when it has finally happened, it feels too sudden somehow. I think I had got used to doing other stuff, buying things for the house, organizing it, relaxing a bit etc and getting back to my old routine of working seems a bit harsh all of a sudden. Well, in a good way though, since I am so thankful to be connected again and to be able to keep in touch with everyone. It's a bit of a conundrum, where you want something so much that when you get it, it feels a bit odd. Hmmm, maybe that it...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

changes..

Looks like there have been lots of changes while I've been away for just over a month. Blogger has added a button to add video's to blogs, which is a really great addition and a much simpler way to add video. Not that I'm likely to be adding them to my posts anytime soon though, but it is a nice addition nonetheless. Here's to newer and better things in blogging and on Blogger!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Surfacing again

Well, we're on our way to being settled and hopefully will be able to back to a working routine soon. It's been a up and down ride, with endless amounts of work needing to be done and lots of procedures but once you're in the groove, it's all quite straightforward. Let's hope the process continues on in this vein and we can get back on track on the basics of working again.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shopping for electronics

Setting up a home from scratch has given me plenty of opportunity to get an entirely new set of everything, from electronics to furniture and vehicles. I've been using the internet a lot to find out the best places to buy my appliances and one of the sites I searched for products was ShopWiki which is a great source of informationon user generated content, that is feedback from actual users and not just company generated marketing material. So whether you are looking for information on TVs or on personal audio and video players, ShopWiki is the place to head to.

ShopWiki's search engine encompasses over 180,000 stores and more than 220 million products and offers detailed information on home theater systems, personal electronics and much more. I also found some great information on the cameras and photography page since I'm looking for some photo editing software for my digital camera. All in all it's a good place to find information on all electronic products.

Back again

This has probably been the longest break from blogging, but there was just no way that I could have kept up with everything that was happening around me and still find time to blog. As usual, I've been keeping a mental log of all the things that I want to blog about, but there are just so many things to write that it will take some time to catch up with everything that has been happening. It's definitely been a fun ride, but am now looking forward to things settling down a bit.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Great fixtures

Yes, I know I'm meant to be on a slight pause from blogging, but I came across this great site that has Delta faucets which is what I will be getting put in my new home and I was so happy about it that I had to write about it immediately. Even though we might have a small home, the one thing I want is a great bath and kitchen. There can be no compromises there at all. So all my search focus in on finding apartments that have great fixtures in these rooms.

Slight pause

There will be a slight pause in the blog as I get my internet disconnected today. I will be trying to post from a wi-fi zone if possible, or will catch up with this blog once I am set up in my new home or from my cousin's place at least. Feels wierd to be signing off like this, but will have lots to blog about once I'm back.

Do you still write letters the old fashioned way?

Every time I see a nice mailbox, I wonder how many personal letters a person really gets. The mail seems to be only for coupons, bills and direct mailers and it seems such a shame for them to be put in such great Mailboxes. The kind of mailboxes that are available now are so great that it seems like a total waste for them to be only filled with junk mail. I am still in the habit of writing some letters and cards to specific people, and hope to continue doing so.

Traveling heavy

We'll be traveling with four large pieces of luggage and two small ones, in addition to one laptop. It's going to be hard to coordinate everything, and we need to get a larger cab as well to get to the airport. Luckily, we're traveling in the afternoon, so it should not be too much of a problem. While most of our luggage is really great, since we travel quite often, a couple of bags have been pulled out from storage and were last used several years ago and now need to be replaced. The way that airport baggage handlers handle luggage now, ensures that even the best of bags doesn't last more than a couple of years.

Microsoft buys AdECN

Microsoft has bought AdECN Inc, an online ad exchange company in an effort to compete more effectively with Google and Yahoo in online advertising. AdECN was formed in 2003 and is a place for ad networks to auction online ad inventory. Other major players Google and Yahoo are also following similar paths, with Google in the process of acquiring DoubleClick and Yahoo having bought out Right Media just a few months back. According to Microsoft, “AdECN market advertising networks trade on behalf of their advertisers and publishers. This means that AdECN supports, rather than competes with, the various players in the online advertising industry.”

The trick to finding apartments

Finding an apartment is much more work than it seems, and even though it is a fun job, it does require a lot of attention to detail and concentration. I like to work with a couple of real estate agents so I get a wider perspective of the different neighborhoods, since most deal only in specific areas. I also try to maintain detailed notes on each apartment and give it a listing, and even a floor plan, so one can distinguish it from the others later on.

The power of a plant

Since I seem to be only blogging about what's been going on in our lives, about finding apartments, packing stuff etc, I should add that I've also been searching for things to buy for our new home. I found these interesting looking silk trees that look like they will be nice to have. I have to leave all my plants here and that is something I want to replace as soon as we set up home. Going in for one of these will be a quicker way to make our house feel like a home.

Pending work

It's been a hectic few days and I haven't had time to sit down at all. We shipped our stuff yesterday and so now finally I have a bit of time before we leave to get the pending stuff done. What remains is some follow ups on the utility bills, checking some of the meters, returning my router on this internet connection and paying our cell phone bills, which we will do last of all, since they only take 2 hours to process disconnection and one can find out the outstanding bill amount just by sending a text message. Wish all my other utility vendors were this modern in their applications.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Finding a good apartment

Finding a place to live is not always an easy task. We're in the process of moving to a new city as well as a new country and have to still find an apartment, which is no small task to do. In any large city, just to find an apartment that one likes and one that fits in one's budget can be herculean. New York apartments are probably one of the hardest to find, since the competition for good apartments is so tough. When we lived in Providence, RI, it took us a good week to find a nice place on the Eastside, close to Brown University, but still secluded and quiet.

Avalon Communities offers lots of housing options in cities across the US, and is a great place to start a search for apartments. I find that when one lives in an apartment community that is present in several cities, it makes it so much easier when one has to move, since they provide the perfect place to find a new place to stay. The company has built its reputation as only offering the best of quality and construction standards and were even awarded a Builder of the Year award along with several other awards for their buildings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get to know your city again with eventful


Have you used Eventful yet? The site is one of the leading websites that lists events in the community and is a great way to really get to know what's happening in your neighborhood or in a city across the world. The company was founded in 2004 and now lists close to 4 million events. The variety of events listed in the site range from political, to sports or concerts; pretty much all kinds of social and community gatherings.

Eventful can also be integrated with other software such as iTunes and last.fm, which tracks all your favorite bands who are heading to town. It is also simple to export events using feeds or calendar widgets etc. You can sign up with a weekly email to get the latest information on local events or stuff you have selected on your watch list. And, of course, the system is completely free.

On decorating our new home

In the midst of all our packing and moving, I've been sneaking a bit of time out for checking out the kind of furniture and furnishings I want to set up in our new home. One of the things that I already decided is to get a set of faux wood blinds for the study, which is sure to give a really nice look. I am going in for a completely contemporary look and wood blinds will go with the look as well, adding a bit of warmth to the overall spare feel.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Handling utility vendors

The last few days have been super hectic as now we're dealing with all our utility vendors as well as sorting, packing etc. I'm quite fed up with all of this already and can't wait to just move and set up our new home. We've got less than a week left now, and with a weekend in between, we don't have much time to take care of everything. I aiming to finish all my outside the home work by tomorrow and then finish up my packing, before the professional packers and movers arrive on 27th morning.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Installing a shopping cart software

Adding an ecommerce software to a site is one of the best ways to expand one's business. As online shopping is growing, it is important to offer online shopping facilities to internet visitors, so that they can make purchases online. Ashop Commerce is the leading provider of shopping cart software which is the essence of any online store. Their award winning system is easy to install and is one of the most affordable options available. With a full team of technical and customer service people to back you, it is a reliable way to introduce shopping options to a site. Its secure system is a great way to open up your market to visitors from across the world, which is the essence of eCommerce. Having a shopping cart on a site, makes it easy for search engines to find your site and its design is such that it can be completely customized to fit the style and look of your site.

Liz Clairborne's expansion plans

Liz Clairborne brands Juicy Couture and Kate Spade will are being targeted to be its main drivers of growth over the next three years. The company plans to invest around $400 million to open more stores, around 300 more stores in the next three years, in both the international and domestic arena. Japan and China are the hot markets that the company is keen on expanding to internationally. "It's about building powerful brands," said Chief Executive Bill McComb, who joined Liz eight months ago, in an interview at the company's analyst meeting in New York. "Power brands command high multiples and high multiple EPS growth."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Creating blogger buzz

There's a new service that connects bloggers and advertisers and its called Smorty, which is the latest entrant to the world of blog advertising, which is a system of consumer generated advertising, one that involves bloggers to review products and services from their personal perspective. The concept is great for those who are good at writing and have a clear style of evaluating a product or service, but if you're not dedicated to doing a good job, it's a short term job as you're not going to get any advertisers asking for you.

On the whole, I definitely think that to be able to advertise on blogs opens up an entirely new market and set of consumers for a marketer. Bloggers working together can create a buzz about a product, service or event in a manner than can rival even the best of marketing firms and this is where the power of involving the average reader and writes comes in.

Abercrombie sends its overstock to Israel

Abercrombie & Fitch announced that its overstock will be sold in Israel by One World Designers, who is an importer of surplus fashion labels. The store that sells Abercrombie overstock will be located at the Outlet Mall in Ramat Hasharon. Several people and companies have tried to bring Abercrombie to Israel, but have not succeeded, so this new venture is a highly awaited deal.

The focus on education

Online education is becoming more mainstream these days and one of the leading elearning institutes, Capella University has announced that it has introduced a new degree program along with eight new graduate and undergraduate specializations in the fields of psychology, education, business, information technology and public safety. Being an accredited university, Capella has always maintained the highest standards of quality and excellence. It's new degree program is a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety. The School of Education has also launched a Special Education Leadership specialization which is to be part of its PhD in Education. The need for training people in the field of education is acute and with this new program, Capella hopes ot encourage more students to join the field.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pharmacies woo women shoppers

CVS Pharmacy is targeting women shoppers with its new look stores that are brighter and less cluttered. Shelves will also be lowered to make it easier for women to access products, and departments will be color coded to make it easier to shop. Besides cosmetic changes to the stores, the pharmacy is also creating ways to reduce errors in getting prescription medicines. The $250 billion pharmacy industry is on the upswing with the number of baby boomers increasing in age. The pharmacy sector is actually growing at a faster pace then the retail sector in general, at 8% compared to the retail sector's 5% per year growth. Other pharmacy chains such as Walgreen's and Rite Aid Corp are also wooing women customers, who make up 80% of total customers at their stores. Prescriptions and other medicines make up the huge chunk of sales, but cosmetics also add to the profits at these stores.

The world of high end watch bands


The fashion accessory industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the fashion industry and the watch segment is leading the way. Watches, especially high end watches are one of the first major purchases many people make and the watch band industry is also growing thanks to this surge in popularity in high end watches. Watchband.biz, is one of the largest watch band replacement companies for luxury watches and has brands such as HIRSCH, StrapCulture, Bionic and Argent available.

With more than 5,000 high end watch bands in stock, Watchband.biz is based in Germany and the place where you can get the most variety for replacement Watch Bands. The company has made a mark for itself by offering only the highest quality watch bands and from the look of the testimonial page, places a lot of importance on customer service as well. The company really is a perfect example of how a retailer should focus only on what it excels in and perfect it's offering so that customers never even think of going anywhere else. As a retail analyst, I have been quite impressed at their single minded dedication to their craft as well as taking care of their customers.

Compare and shop

Comparison shopping sites are one of the most popular types of sites along with social networking sites. With the variety of sources to buy an item increasing to such an extent, that most consumers spend time online getting feedback from other users and checking prices to find where the best deal is available. Compare4.us is one such site that has prices for a huge variety of items, from computers, to clothes and garden accessories. There are also listing for special deals, discounts and coupons that are available from leading retailers. It's a great source of information of where to buy a product.

JuggleMyStuff: a new site to plan and manage projects


One of the most important things one can do is to organize our lives, both professional and personal, so that we are able to maximise and optimize our time. Calender management and organizational tools are all the rage these days and JuggleMyStuff is one of the latest entrants to the arena. The company is currently in beta and from what I have seen so far, promises to be one of the most user friendly and effective systems.

Using their system, users will be able to access their projects from anywhere with an internet connection, and does not require any downloads or updates. Whether it's a huge professional deal you hare handling or simple to-do lists, JuggleMyStuff will be able to make life simpler. The dashboard lists all that you need to know in one spot and so you can save time and effort by hunting for things, and focus on completing the tasks.

eCommerce Solutions from the experts

Most small and medium businesses underestimate the power of the internet and the online world. For a small company to get a boost on sales it is imperative to have an eCommerce system with shopping cart set up, which will open up sales from all across the country and even the world. It's like having stores all across the world, really and the simplest and most effective way to do it is to go with an expert such as Garry Egan who is a reputed Internet Business developer and consultant, with a specialization in Pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization.

As a highly ranked Internet Consultant, Garry Egan is able to offer a complete eCommerce Solution for small businesses starting at $1800, which includes setting up a shopping cart with VISA integration. Just imagine opening up the doors of your store to customers from around the world, who shop while you sleep! It's a great way to improve on sales from a brick and mortar store and you don't even need to spend time and money stocking and displaying these items. If you're going to set up an eCommerce solution for your company then it's best to go with the best and Garry Egan is one of the experts in the field. He is also on the Board of Directors of the 'Internet Business Developers Franchise' and manages around $10,000 worth of Google Adwords and also a Google Certified Adwords professional.

eBay integrates its content with social networking


Online reseller eBay is making plans to create a social networking forum with its eBay To Go service that allows registered users to add eBay.com content in blogs and other social networks online. The company will be testing eBay To Go at ToGo.eBay.com, where you can create a widget in just two minutes and can add it to your blog. eBay will also be making other changes to its site, such as making it easier to shop and add content. Meg Whitman CEO of eBay, stated that “EBay To Go is exactly the kind of product we think demonstrates the innovation we’re putting against our goals of reengaging our users and making the auction experience fun.”

Searching for an apartment

I've been looking at apartments online to speed up the process of finding a place to stay and the first thing I look for is a great bathroom. If a bathroom is nice and has extras such as bathroom vanities etc, then its definitely worth checking out in person as well. I've always been picky about the kind of place I stay in and unless it has a really nice bathroom and kitchen, I'm just not interested at all. If the rest of the house is not that great, it can always be improved upon but these two rooms are the deciding factors for me and must be only the best quality and style.

Are you listed in PeekYou?


Searching for someone? Try out a new site to find people called PeekYou.com which already has over 50 million people and is steadily increasing. Usually the first thing one does at a people search site, is to put one's own name in, and that's just what I did. Unfortunately, it did not find any results. If I key in my name in Google or Yahoo, I generally have accurate results for myself for the first two pages, but nothing came up here. So, is it just a question of going in and entering details about myself or do I need to brand myself more to be found them them?

In essence, PeekYou is a site where people can find you and your websites, social networking pages, pictures or anything related to you in the online world. While other sites like LinkedIn are for business, this site seems to offer a bit of both, although I would not join for business purposes here, rather just for fun and to get some publicity for my sites.

Organize your life


With our busy schedules, it is absolutely essential to have a foolproof system of creating a calender system that synchronizes with your computer or mobile or ease of access and reminders. As a freelance writer, I get assignments from a number of different sources, each with their own due dates and details, and to keep track of all of them without messing up can take up quite a bit of my time. I did some research on the best calender service that I could install that would easily synchronize with my Google Calender and the answer was SyncMyCal, which has lots of really great features and is really simple to set up, as it uses an automatic zero-click synchronization system between calenders.

How it works is that is adds a toolbar to Outlook from where you can easily coordinate between Outlook and Google Calender. Using the GCal Outlook Sync system, you can create events in your Outlook or Google Calenders and synchronize them using SyncMyCal so that you can access it from anywhere. Even better still, it is possible to publish your calender so your friends and family can see specific events or dates. It's a really great way to simplify your life and free up time so that you can spend it enjoying yourself rather than organizing and scheduling events.

Retailing and social networking: a winning combination

Borders found that its book sales for Harry Potter sharply increased when it invited customers to comment about the book in Gather.com, a social networking chat room. Around 1,000 customers visited the site to leave their comments which led to an increase in books sales. According to Michael Tam, Borders CMO, any titles that are discussed at Gather.com have a positive effect on book sales. Borders has been mailing out a "short list" of books, movies and music titles to registered members of its Borders Rewards loyalty program every week, asking questions like "Who is the biggest Harry Potter fan?" to create interest.
“Social networking and e-mail is helping to get people involved with their passions for reading and watching movies,” Tam says. “Our whole mission is to be the headquarters for knowledge, and by getting people engaged in books and movies they come back to Borders to find out more about them.”

An easy way to be healthy

The trend towards being health conscious in growing and a greater number of people are getting involved. Where at one time the trend was mainly followed by a niche segment of consumers, now it has become more mainstream and has attracted even the regular consumers. There's a new way to ensure that you get your daily dose of nutritional supplements and its called Drink My Daily Veggies, and if you're interested in a try, you can get a free sample of this drink mix from www.drinkyourveggies.com for a limited time.

I think it's a great idea and a real requirement based on the way we live our lives, we're rushing and stressed all the time and it's usually our food that suffers most. To get the most of your day, it is essential to eat the right things, but who really has time to cook at ease these days. My Daily Veggies takes care of this problem in one easy effortless solution. Besides using it as an addition to your daily intake, it's also a really great idea to take it along on camping trips and organic food enthusiasts are simply going to love it as well. There is no added salt, sugar or preservatives and the juices are made from whole dried veggies. They come in packets and all you have to do is to add room temperature water and seasonings of your choice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A new way to share music


There's a new way to listen to music now. Simplify Media has created a system so that people can access and listen to their digital music and see their digital photos and videos with friends and family. Using their system, it is possible to connect directly from desktop applications, without the need for uploading or downloading files or software. Simplify Media's first version is free and can be configured to any computer from iTunes. So effectively, you can check out your friend's music when they are online and add to your own music collection. The system is completely safe and only people within your group can access files you are sharing and will not have access to other files. The process is also completely adaptable to PCs and Macs in any music format.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Answers.com plans to buy Dictionary.com

Answers Corp. announced that it was planning to buy Dictionary.com for $100 million, which is owned by the Lexico Publishing Group. Lexico also owns Thesaurus.com and Reference.com and in June its sites got traffic of 11.5 million unique hits in the US according to comScore Media Metrix. Answers.com feels that the purchase is worthwhile as Lexico's sites receive three times more page views than Answers.com, while they earn only one third of what Answers.com earns. According to Steve Steinberg, chief financial officer for answers, "The bottom line is -- with three times the traffic and one-third the monetization rate, together with our monetization expertise -- the upside potential is compelling. We will also offer cross-promotion to other Answers sites. For example, this acquisition will allow us to introduce our WikiAnswers property to Lexico's 11.5 million monthly unique users."

Marketing to niche segments

The market for niche products is really picking up and pretty much anything targeted at kids such as kids curtains or bedding easily becomes a hit if marketed right. Most marketers are experts at marketing products and services to children and the kind of marketing campaigns and advertisements is getting really interesting. I love watching new advertisements that are kids centric as it a a great commentary of sorts of the way kids are today.

Are mobile ads viable?

According to a new study by research company Knowledge Networks/SRI called How People Use Mobile Video 2007, it was found that while mobile users are quite willing to watch ads, most mobile ads have nothing to really say to them. An estimated 80% of consumers who use phones and iPods with video capabilities, said that they are open to watching mobile ads if they are able to access free content. Less than 30% of respondents felt that ads were relevant to them.

According to David Tice, vice president and managing director of Knowledge Networks/SRI, “While mobile can indeed be part of larger campaigns, we need to recognize its differences, as well as the ways that different target groups use the medium.” The thing is that most consumers don't really differentiate between mobile video ads and those on the television and ads seen on personal video products are not more influential on users.

Google launches low cost search tool

Google announced that it will be introducing a low cost search tool for small and medium businesses which will cost only $100 a year. The new service will be called Google Customer Search Business Edition and will allow users to search up to 5,000 webpages; while for access to 50,000 webpages the price will be $500. The service takes just 10 minutes to set up and is easy to follow even for those who are not tech savvy. The company had introduced a customized search service late last year which sent ads along with search results. The new system has the ability to turn off the ads and also has a search box that matches the look of the site for improved results.
“Millions of businesses have a web presence but offer users no ability to search their site,” says Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of the Google Enterprise unit that provides the site search services. “As Google continues to make search technology more accessible to businesses of all sizes—first with our appliances and now with hosted search services—we are reducing the hurdles of cost, complexity and time so that small businesses can help customers find what they need every step of the way.”

Losing sight of the focus

It has been a up and down couple of days regarding posting here and even when I do get to post here, I just realized that I haven't been posting much at all on the main focus of this blog, which is technology and communication. So now I need to work extra hard at bringing the focus back to what it should have been. As much as I love to blog and update my blogs regularly, it is a lot of work and what usually happens is that I end up focusing on one blog and the other one gets slightly neglected. Well, hope not to let that happen here and will try to maintain the blog focus.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Get your own news

There's lots of interesting ways to get news and information these days and this is one of the more interesting ones. Thoof is a way of personalizing the kind of news, sites, videos and photographs that you are interested in, information that is automatically sent to your home page for you to read. All items can easily be improved upon and edited by readers. The system behind Thoof is a sophisticated algorithm that anticipates a readers interests and offers information that suits their tastes. Readers will get stories and video clips that they are interested in on their personalized page and read the ones they like.

Thoof will keep track of the kind of stories you are reading and send you similar information in the future. It's a great way to get the kind of news that you want, without having to search for it through hundreds of pages or subscribe to feeds or newsletters that are not really catered to your tastes but have a little of everything in them. Thoof's personalized news seems to be the perfect balance of user generated content sites and news sites, where there is lots of information on offer, but not any information that is specifically catered to your interests.

Internet woes

I was not able to post yesterday and the day before thanks to my ISP, which created total confusion themselves and could not figure out how to solve it. The place where I drop off my bills each month for my ISP, ICICI ATM drop box has suddenly decided to withdraw its facilities and has not informed any customers, so everyone who paid there, has lost their cheques. After talking to several people, I finally found this out and thankfully I was talking to a person who was proactive and said he would immediately connect my internet and send someone to pick up my cheque. Wish there were more people like him in the company.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Generating specific lists

How does one go about creating a reliable list of clients and potential clients? Direct Marketing is the way to go about it and now is the best time to start working on it. The entire approach to direct marketing has changed in the past few years and it has become a central part of every company's marketing initiatives. One of the most popular ways to start off on direct marketing is using Martin Worldwide's ResponseCom system which combines data from several databases using demographic and psychographic factors and creates an entirely new list that will be suited to your product or service. So, if you are in the travel business and need some Travel leads, ResponseCom will be able to get the list for you. It's really as simple as that, and once you have the specific lists that you need, your business is sure to show positive results.

Catching up finally!

It's been quite a day for blogging, and I've been able to update my blog like this after a long time. It sure does feel good to be able to catch up on blogging, since I've really missed it these past few weeks when I have been busy catching up with work and sorting our house out. All that is still going on, but I have been able to take time out today somehow and do some fun blogging. Here's to continuing the trend!!

Fine tuning product needs

I am constantly fascinated by the kind of technological products that are available in the market. Well, not just by the products but by the amount of specialization that we are going into these days to arrive at extremely specific products such as these EMI Shielding products by New England Die Cutting (NEDC). Earlier it was quite acceptable to produce something that was alright for several purposes, but now each product must have something specific in mind or fix a specific problem.

Bearing costs of education

As important it is to get a college education, the loans pile up rather quickly and with payments on the principle amount starting as soon as you graduate, it can seem like an insurmountable effort to keep up with student loans. A good option then is to go in for a school loan consolidation where you can organize and consolidate all your loans and keep the monthly payments at a manageable level. It's a simple way to reduce your total payments and there isn't even any charge to get started, or any application fee or a credit check. It just makes sense to combine your loans and lock in a fixed and lower interest rate than you were earlier paying.

What happened to the rain?

When will it start raining again? It's as if the monsoon has just dissapeared all of a sudden. The last couple of years we've been here, its been simply wonderful weather all through from mid June to September, but this year besides a couple of days of torrential rain, we seem to be getting rain just on and off and the sun shining brightly in between. It would be wonderful to get some of the misty and rainy days back again like the last few years.

Do I hear a vacation calling me?

Now that we're in the middle of a move, nothing sounds better than taking off for a fun vacation and leaving all our work behind. There's no better fun vacation than being a kid again and going to Disney World and all the other 51 theme parks in the Orlando area. Yes, there really are 52 theme parks in and around Orlando, which makes it a dream destination for theme park lovers. The only drawback usually is the high cost of theme park tickets and that problem has been solved by getting tickets at Orlandofunticktes.com, which has the best rates for Disney Tickets as well as all the other theme parks in the Orlando area.

Love the Ikea style

Been checking out furniture items on Ikea online since we have to equip our new home from scratch and I have been able to find lots of really nice stuff. I've always like Ikea for their clean and simple lines in furniture, a refreshingly contemporary look and lots of utility features like hidden drawers and cupboards which are also a huge plus. I've always been keen on the Scandinavian school of design and always tried to buy things that have a modern yet warm feel to them. Ikea gets its just right for me by design book!

Test everything: a great tool to have at hand

I came across a site a few weeks back that I have been wanting to write about. It's called Test Everything and that's pretty much what it does. The system has been created by Jonas John and is an innovative way to fix problems for your site. You can plug in a url or an IP address and test it out for errors. Using this system you check errors for CSS and HTML, SEO tools, web proxies, networking and social service tools, text and image tools and several other aspects as well. It's a great way to get to know of problems that you might have overlooked and can make a difference in how your site appears and definitely worth trying out. I plugged one of the free blog services I use, thinking that since it is all automated I shouldn't have any errors, but it still found quite a few things that needed to be worked on.

Comparing credit cards

Searching for a good credit card to get? Take a look at CreditCardSearchEngine that compares all the most prominent credit cards so you don't have to search for information individually. Their listing of credit cards includes low interest cards, reward cards and even Credit Cards For Bad Credit. Some of the leading credit card companies have credit card offers here, including J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and major brands such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and the Discover Card. The site is especially useful to compare exact interest rates, annual fees, late payment charges, cash withdrawls and other charges etc.

busy busy busy

Been super busy with work and sorting out stuff at home before our move. I didn't think I would be working at all during this period, but since I keep getting assignments that I can handle by working just 3-4 hours a day, I am taking them on. I have planned to keep my internet connection right till the end as well so I can stay connected with work and family. More on our move later on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ambitions

Some quotes from Quoteland.com on ambition. It's a topic that has been written about umpteen times but still attracts lots of attention and discussion. I especially like the quote by William Faulkner (the third quote) about competing with yourself rather than contemporaries or predecessors. One often forgets this important fact that one just has to try to improve on oneself and forget about all else.

"We are told never to cross a bridge until we come to it, but this world is owned by men who have 'crossed bridges' in their imagination far ahead of the crowd."
-Anon.

"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."
-William Blake

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
-William Faulkner

"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do."
-Henry Ford

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

lack of posts

Lack of posts here due to our hectic schedule of sorting, selling, organizing and tying up details. Hopefully it should be sorted out in the next couple of weeks, but the amount of work there is pending is enormous and I'm not getting any time at all to blog at all. So, it looks like until I get settled, it's all going to be quite chaotic and hectic.

Friday, July 06, 2007

We're moving!

Our lives are revolving only around the logistics of our move to a new city and country later on this month. I have started selling things that we will not be taking and have contacted a packing and moving company to take care of shipping some stuff to our destination as well as to my in-laws for storage. Moving home is a tough enough task, but throw in some international shipping and it makes it quite complex. Since we're not taking a lot of our things, as in most of the furniture, our vehicle etc, we have to sell these things as well.

The most important thing you can do is to select the one of the best moving companies that you can afford. A company like Relocation.com can easily reduce your work as well as your stress levels. On our last move we used our packers and movers for auto transport as well, and they put our car in a container to ship it to us. This time since we're moving overseas, it doesn't make sense to take our car and we're just going to buy a new car once we get there. Now that the process has started, I just want to get everything done as quickly as possible and move to our new home and set it up, so we can get back to our regular lives.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

And so it starts...

So, we finally started the entire process of putting ads in online classifieds to advertise our things. I put the first ad in the morning and by4pm, I had sold my first few items to a lovely young couple who are getting married this Saturday and will be moving into their own home next week. They have been kind enough to let me keep the items for a while longer as I'm still using them. While these were smaller items, I'm hoping some of the larger ones start going as well, so that we can reduce our headache and stress,