The Top 5 Gadgets of 2012

Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets. Believe it or not they make the world go round. Whether we love them, hate them, need them, use them, or just plain want them; gadgets are cool. Yes, if nothing else they’re cool! Life can be tough at times and gadgets are there to make things a little easier (and have fun while doing so). It was a real shame to hear “Q” in the new Bond movie, Skyfall, say that gadgets are a thing of the past, part of an “old” generation and have gone out the window for Double “O” agents. Why do that? We want to see a gun doubling up as a homing beacon, or a trip wire dispenser. The bottom line is we all love gadgets and here are few to look out for this Christmas season.

HOME: – liGo BlueWave

Given the popularity of mobile phones, landlines are slowly becoming a thing of the past. But for those unwilling to carry their “hand extensions” everywhere they go so as to not miss a call, need look no further than the new liGo. Connect liGo to your mobile via Bluetooth technology and simply plug-in your landline. Now you can answer up to 3 different mobiles via your home phone (corded or cordless) and make use of dialling out with those 1000′s of unspent inclusive mobile minutes from anywhere in the home. Impressive, right? Especially useful for those of us whose mobile carrier signal suffers severe paralysis anywhere except for the most cumbersome of places. It’s fully iPhone Voice Dial and Siri compatible as well. What more could you ask for?

HEALTH/FITNESS: – Garmin 910XT

Looking to get fit and stay healthy? This little device may quickly become your best friend. Sporting all the goodness of Garmin that runners have come to love, this GPS watch will do more than just track your run. Non-runners, or those keener on other disciplines have swimming or cycling mode fully supported, along with multi-sport and triathlon mode – you’ll be sure to find fitness indoor or out a pleasure whatever the weather. With ANT+ wireless technology you can connect your foot pod or heart rate monitor (HRM) or both if you fancy and get instant feedback on up to 4 different workout statistics at once and full workout review upon completion at your PC. With accurate GPS tracking you’ll soon be pushing yourself harder, faster, and further than you ever have trying out the Xbox Kinect, and be “cool” while doing so. Although it comes with a steep price tag compared to simpler and cheaper models for fitness newbies unsure of whether fitness is for them, it’s a good a multi-sport fitness aid and one you’ll be sure to hold onto for many a year, the 910XT gives great bang for your buck in the long run.

FUN: Archos Gamepad

This 7-inch 1024×600 resolution device is truly built with gamers in mind. Packing Android 4.1 JellyBean straight out of the box, the Gamepad is a fully functioning tablet with a lot of twist. Under the hood, it boasts an impressive 1.5 GHz dual-core processor with a Rockchip RK3066, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage with Micro SD support for more. The major appeal of the device is the built-in dedicated gaming buttons that most console and handheld gamers are used to with controls, buttons and triggers to keep everyone happy. Due on the market at any day, at a possible price tag of just over £100 this is one to look out for. Okay, it’s no PS Vita, but with an Android platform, HDMI port and all things tablet worthy, it’s not trying to be a one trick pony handheld console. An awesome gamer tablet it surely is.

TV: LG EA93 21:9 monitor

For the serious cinematic experience seekers look no further than the LG EA93 21:9 aspect ratio monitor. Sporting 1080p HD resolution but on a massive 2560 horizontal pixel display making it a visual utopia bettering the 16:9 by a mile and then some. Imagine coupling up 2 of these babies via its Dual-Link connectivity and we are talking one major screen viewing area. There’s the standard HDMI, USB 3.0 ports and others, giving you everything you need from a screen. Bear in mind though, it’s not the same height as an IMAX screen, but nothing is, so you’ll still get a little cropping here and there, so be warned. Otherwise, welcome to cinema at home.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Sony NEX-6

Although a love for film and all the darkroom developing fluid goodness that comes with it still has a place in many a heart, there’s nothing like having a good quality digital camera to hand when you want a good photography experience without lugging around your DSLR, and no, an iPhone simply won’t do. As a step between the NEX-5N and NEX-7 the NEX-6 is perfect for those wanting beautiful 16 megapixel photos in a small package. The APS-C sized sensor produces wondrous low light pictures, preferable over the NEX-7′s 24MP offerings, and you can pixel peep til your heart’s content on the flip out screen. Using the same amazing OLED viewfinder found on the NEX-7 and Alpha A99 models, manual focusing is a doddle, whilst if autofocus is your preferred modus operandi then it’s as fast and accurate as you can get in mirror-less technology, even if not quite beating the competition in the higher price bracket. With Wi-fi included in the body, uploading your pics couldn’t be faster or easier, using the PlayMemories app. Using Sony adapters you get compatibility for all your Alpha, Leica and third-party Tamron/Sigma lens offerings, meaning you can use your favourite lenses as usual just on a smaller scale.

So there you have it! A little something for everyone to dip their hands into. One thing’s for sure with these gadgets, you don’t know what you’re missing out on until you’ve tried them so jump on board, the ride is wild!

Five Superior Patio Furniture Types For Summer Living

When you are looking for the perfect patio furniture to enhance the quality and comfort of your outdoor summer living, you need to invest in something that will hold up over time, yet still provide a comfortable lounging experience.

While many think they are getting a good deal with discount chain brands that cost very little, the reality is that these types of furniture simply do not hold up well over time, and can actually cost you more in the long run if you must replace them Every year.

By investing a little more in quality, you will find your budget for furniture stabilizes over a short amount of time.

Here are five of the best options for your money:

Iron Furniture: With a history that dates back as far as the second millennium BC, iron has been serving mannered for thousands of years. It is a terrific substance for meeting your patio furniture needs as it produces a strong product that will stand up over time and support the wear-and-tear that furniture naturally experiences through use and the elements.

Teak Furniture: Wrought deep from the heart of the monsoon forests, teak is a thick wood that builds in both durability and comfort when used for furniture designs. And as furniture, it is a great choice if you are looking for something that will resist the weather, as teak patio furniture choices are sanded and polished to perfection.

Rattan Furniture: A wood family that includes over 600 species of palms, rattan is a natural at making your furniture strong and comfortable at the same time. It is a substance easily shaped and adjusted for a variety of looks and designs while still maintaining the properties that make for one of the most relaxing pieces of patio furniture on the market.

Wicker Furniture: There is a reason wicker patio furniture is one of the most popular styles for your outdoors living needs. It has an antique look that adds style, grace, and elegance to any backyard or covered patio environment. There is just something about the look of a wicker weave that encourages admiration for its careful craftsmanship. Sometimes that is why furniture enthusiasts continue to make it one of the most popular.

Plastic Furniture: What plastic patio furniture lacks in choice and durability, it makes up for in comfort and maintenance. With plastic patio furniture, you do not have to constantly take action to improve or maintain the quality of the selection. It is lightweight, easy-to-move, and in its own way just as relaxing as its more expensive counterparts. It is perfect if you frequently host outdoor activities, or if you just want something at a lower cost.

Crack a cold one open and meet the family on the patio. It is time for summer, which means it is time to relax. With patio furniture that suits your tastes and your budget, you will be able to kick back and enjoy these days for all they are worth with your friends and family. And that, you can not put a price tag on!

Internet Promotion – Advantages and Disadvantages

The emergence of globalise trade, increase in foreign investment and cross-border transactions have put many small businesses under pressure to find innovative ways to continue to market their products and services. This is especially difficult given that they often operate on tight marketing budgets.

In the quest for cheap marketing alternatives, these small businesses continue to use conventional marketing tools such as newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertisements, unaware of the advantages that Internet Promotion offers. All too often, these entrepreneurs focus on the disadvantages of Internet Promotion and fail to adequately take advantage of the opportunities that it presents. Moreover, their preoccupation with conventional marketing strategies is driven by a misconception that these are cheaper than Internet Promotion.

To most small business entrepreneurs, marketing or promoting their products or services via the Internet can be a daunting task. However, with adequate information small businesses can benefit significantly from Internet Promotion while minimising the disadvantages that it presents. In fact, it may prove to be the marketing strategy that generates the highest return on investment.

The Advantages

Cost Effective and Enduring Marketing Strategies

The Internet has become the information superhighway for the buying public. Most persons prefer the hassle free transactions that Internet shopping can offer. As a result, the Internet has become the most powerful selling tool. Internet Promotion offers cost effective ways for small businesses to enhance their product or service distribution networks. For example, the use of portals can help create new marketing channels and logistics, or provide better or faster product access for customers.

In comparison to other forms of marketing, Internet Promotion presents the advantage of reduced budget and storage costs, when compared with printing brochures, producing television or radio advertisements or managing a call centre. It presents a fast and cost effective option for penetrating new markets.

Market Penetration

With millions of person using the Internet to search for products and services, small businesses can penetrate other markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

Websites act as virtual storefronts, allowing businesses to stay open 24/7. Internet Promotion gives a business greater visibility, thereby creating more opportunities for increasing its customers at relatively low cost. Never before has it been easier for an upstart business to be able to reach out to literally millions of potential customers and to position themselves for success, without the need for costly infrastructure and overwhelming marketing costs. Thanks to the Internet, new businesses can become popular almost overnight.

Low Cost, Instant Communication

Email makes business communications instant, whether the customer or business affiliate is across the street or across the globe. It makes it easier for customers to maintain contact and readily facilitates repeat purchasing. An effective online strategy can therefore turn a small web business into a virtual cost saver and income-generating machine. The net result is that the small business can gain significant competitive advantage in a given market.

Many online businesses have therefore resorted to the use of ezines, blogs, pop-up ads and other online marketing tools to let customers know about new products or services as well as provide information relevant to their respective industry. The benefits of this strategy are two fold. Marketers can effectively heighten brand awareness for relatively new products on the market whilst strengthening customer relationships, with shorter time frames.

Content is Timeless

Internet Promotion also provides the advantage of being enduring. Whereas participation at a trade fair or conference loses sales impact, once it is over, and an advertisement in a newspaper or business magazine may quickly lose its sales generating value within a day or two or as soon as the next issue is released; Internet Promotion is often timeless. Apart from the dates and sometimes prices, much of your website content remains valid years after.

Real Time Statistics For Measuring Success of Promotion Campaign

One of the most significant advantages of Internet Promotion is that its success is measurable. Marketers can use tools that provide real time statistics, on unique visitors, repeat visitors, click through rates (CTR) on advertisements, thereby allowing them to evaluate the effectiveness of a promotion campaign. This enables marketers to determine what works for their particular market and to make timely changes in their marketing strategies.

Time Saving

Another important advantage of Internet Promotion is that it saves time since it generally does away with counselling on product uses and benefits, service information and sales administration. Visitors can access “frequently asked questions” to help themselves, and can buy online, without the involvement of staff. This saves time and money. So, whether 10 or 10,000 visitors visit the site, the increased cost is marginal whilst the savings can be immense.

But like any business approach, Internet Promotion is not without its risks and weaknesses.

Disadvantages

Difficulty in Attracting Customers

Small business may not have the resources to pay for paid directory inclusion, pay per click inclusions and often have to rely solely on search engine optimisation or word of mouth to drive traffic to their sites. With millions of businesses selling the same product and services, competing with more established businesses can be frustrating and costly venture for small business.

On the other hand, larger companies can offer promotions, pay for directory inclusions, implement pay per click campaigns as well as employ the “who is who” in internet marketing to develop campaigns that generate traffic and leads.

Difficulty in Evaluating Legitimacy of Transaction

Another notable disadvantage of doing promoting businesses online is that it may be difficult for the businesspersons and consumers to thoroughly evaluate the legitimacy of a transaction. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to thieves using stolen credit cards and stolen information to do online transaction.

With Internet credit card and identity fraud on the rise, small businesses are forced to finance costly security measures to reduce their vulnerability to fraudulent transactions.

Salespersons and Customers are Isolated

Another disadvantage of promotion via the Internet is that the customers and businesspersons are isolated. There is little personal contact between customer and salesperson prior to and after the sales is closed. Thus, the prospect for repeat sales may thus be diminished. Entrepreneurs are therefore compelled to adopt marketing strategies to drive online users back to their site.

From all indications, it appears that the advantages of Internet promotion, far exceed the disadvantages. With adequate knowledge, entrepreneur can benefit significantly from Internet promotion, especially small business owners.

More and more, the growth and outreach of the Internet’s, its ease and accessibility for customers is becoming inevitable. Small business would therefore be well advised to start their web advertising function in order to improve their competitiveness online.

How to Avoid a Credit Card Charge-Off

The simplest way to avoid a credit card charge-off is to learn and understand the credit card system. Here are some tips:

Sending Credit Card Payments Through The Mail:

Some credit card companies actually require you to use their own pre-printed envelopes, but even if they do not, it is a good idea to do so in the interest of more efficient processing of your payment. Make sure you have included the billing coupon and have written clearly the amount that you are paying. Include your check, also written legibly, and remember to write your account number on the check.
When Ronald Reagan was running for President, he was asked what he was going to do to make the post office more efficient, to which he responded that he would start mailing workers workers their paychecks. Allow ample time when you send your check to the credit card company.

Change Your Credit Card Due Date Something That Is Convenient For You:

Many people find that the greatest number of their bills, such as their mortgage or car payment, are due at the first of the month. If these places a burden on your ability to pay your credit card bill that may also be due at the first of the month, a simple way to avoid this problem is to just ask your card issuer to change the due date for your monthly payment. There is no harm in the asking, and many card issuers offer this ability to change the due date of your bill as an option. One important thing to remember, though, is that it may take a couple of billing cycles before this date change is fully implemented. It is important to make sure that your bill is paid promptly when due until your change of due date becomes effective. Otherwise, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a late fee.

About Late Fees:

In the classic television detective series Columbo, which starred Peter Falk, Lieutenant Columbo always appeared to be distracted and disorganized, but in reality he was extremely focused and observant. One common scene that brought delight to fans of the show was when Columbo left a room in which he had been speaking to the murderer. He kept turning around and starting question after question with, "Oh, just one more thing …" Then he trapped the criminal. Well, the credit card companies are not Lieutenant Columbo and we consumers are certainly not murderers, but when it comes to trapping us in the fine print of their credit card agreements, it always looks like there is "just one more thing."

Make Your Credit Card Payment On or Before The Due Date:

Your monthly payment is due on whatever date of the month it says on your credit card bill. If your payment is late, the fine print of your card agreement provides for the right of the credit card company to assess a late fee, which can be as much as $ 35 for each late payment. In the past, some credit card companiesave their customers five or even ten days of grace after the due date before assessing a penalty, but that is not the situation any longer. So you send your payment with sufficient time to arrive at the card company on your bill's due date.

But, just one more thing: Some credit card companies deem your payment late if it is processed later than 1:00 pm on the day of your due date. Some of these companies do not receive and process mail until after 1:00 pm; Therefore, the real date by which your monthly payment must be received is a day earlier than the date indicated on your contract. So you need to make sure your payment gets there three days ahead of the due date. Another Note: If the envelope contains a staple, a paper clip, or a note from you, the fine print of the contract specifics that there may be a delay of up to five days in posting your payment. This may cause a late payment to be assessed on a payment that arrived at the card company prior to the due date of the bill. I'll bet Lieutenant Columbo read the fine print before sending in his payment.

Make Your Credit Card Payments On-Line:

The most efficient way to make credit card payments is to make the payment on-line if the company offers that service. You can specify the amount you want to pay, which account you want it deducted out of, and specify the date you want the payment made. By paying your cards this way, you can set the payment to be made exactly on the due date so the credit card company is not getting your money any earlier than the due date and you have the peace of mind knowing you will never be late On your payment. Just be sure to set this up at least 3 days before the payment is due, otherwise there might not be enough time to process the payment in time.

Avoid Credit Card Interest Rate Hikes:

Another problem with late payments is that they can also trigger penal interest rates as high as 29%; So, for example, instead of the 10% interest rate your card may carry, your rate will now be jacked up to 29% effective immediately. In fact, even if you are timely in your payment, credit card companies generally reserve the right to raise your rate to a penalty rate if you are late with any other payment to any of your creditors, whatsoever they may be. Just read the fine print.

Can not Make Your Credit Card Payment?

If you're struggling with making your monthly payments, before you're ever late on a payment, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY! Most companies will come up with a reduced payment plan if you're experiencing a hardship. You'll want to do this as soon as you determine that you can not make your payment, before the due date. You'll want to negotiate a payment that you can afford with your credit, then send that payment in on or before the due date so it does not affect your credit.

You'll want to be sure to get this agreement in writing and be sure to negotiate that this reduced payment WILL NOT be reported as a late payment on your credit report. Sometimes creditors will agree to a reduced payment, but they'll go ahead and report it as being 30 days late because it's less than what was contractually agreed to. If you get a letter from the credit card company agreeing to the reduced payment, along with a statement from the company that they will not report you as being late to the credit bureaus, you'll have the proof you need to send into the credit Bureaus if they do not hold up to their end of the bargain. This happens more often than not, so make sure you protect yourself.

"Settling" Your Credit Card Balance For Less Than The Full Amount:

"Settling" a credit card account basically means that you're paying less that the full balance. This technique is usually used if the account has already been charged off and can only be done if you have the money to pay them in full. If you're going to try this, you'll want to try to negotiate a "Pay for Deletion", which basically means that whatever amount the two of you agree to settle the account for; The credit card company is also agreeing to remove the account from your credit report. By doing this, the charge-off and late payments will no longer negatively affect your credit score.