Routine Order

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Cheap Date Ideas For the Weekend

April 27th, 2007 · 1 Comment

One of the privileges of blogging anonymously, like I do, is that you can blog about cheap date just before you head out on one over the weekend ;)

So yeah, Cupid has been kind and I have the opportunity to take a lady out this Saturday. So what does a geek do when he’s short of ideas? Search online, of course!

First off, there’s a list of ideas for fun dates here – including going to an arcade, bowling, a casino (now that is something I wouldn’t have thought of myself), museums, the zoo, and playing frisbee. But not all of these are cheap, except maybe the last one.

So here’s a free ideas for dates in general that I find, hmm, interesting:

  1. Go to a mall or a good place for people watching and sit and enjoy a coffee/beer
  2. Build and/or fly a kite
  3. Find a coffee shop with a poetry reading/open-mic free live music and get a coffee or a beer (yes, I love coffee)
  4. Rent/Borrow a video at home and watch it with chips n salsa
  5. Go window shopping under the pretense of looking for some hard-to-find brand of jeans/shoes – now though no girl will likely turn this down, shopping of any kind exhausts me
  6. A hike/bike ride through a scenic trail close to you – there’s only the cost of getting there and back

Ok, that’s it – I am out of ideas now, so God help me! I probably will end up trying #3, #6 or #5 in that order. There’s a blog for the compulsive date-goers the same place I found the list of fun date ideas, but their isn’t too much advice by way of cheap dates available online. Boy, writing a blog regularly, only about dating, must need some resolve and patience!

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Renting Office Space

April 27th, 2007 · No Comments

My friend’s home business is growing faster than anticipated, and he is looking for office space. He had some specific questions like whether he should get an executive suite, or just a room at a flat rate in some mall/business complex. As always, I was clueless, but my boss wasn’t. Here’s a list of the recommendations he made, for future reference, just in case I decide to wing it on my own, some day…

  1. Get an executive suite if you want a reception service, meeting/conference rooms, a package handling service etc.
  2. Ask for the price with the modifications you need – or you might just get a base rate and hidden costs.
  3. check on the quality, and lead-time for the services (add-ons as in #1 above), maybe with existing tenants.
  4. Ask if there are any “per-use” fees or additional monthly charges.
  5. Check for ease of access outside normal office hours.
  6. Check for provisions in case of emergencies – fire, natural disasters etc – Insurance provided free of cost is a plus.
  7. How easy will it be to upgrade to more space/resources while keeping the same address?

A cheap hack, to save money, would be to instead sub-lease space from an attorney or other individual – they usually have additional space. By the way, this office-connections.com is a great url for a company that could find and provide office space – right now it seems to be some firm that provides virtual offices. Let’s see how long it takes before that domain name gets bought by someone who provides such services. I wish I was free from temporary financial pressures – there are so many cool businesses that are begging to be implemented.

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Targeted Traffic on Sale?

April 27th, 2007 · No Comments

You can buy targeted traffic, and I am not talking about google’s product here. Quality Traffic Supply promises to deliver targeted traffic to a website that is contextually driven. I wonder how their business model works – seeing as how google pretty much dominates the show with regard to contextual advertising. The benefit, as far as I can see, is that Quality Traffic Supply drives traffic from contextually related sites in “over 250 categories”. So unlike google’s product which mostly directs visitors your way based on the search terms, this service is search term independent in that the traffic will come from like-minded sites.

I was just casually looking into ways of getting more traffic to this blog – I have been blogging for about 6 months now, and the number of visitors I get is growing slowly. Writing here would be a lot more fun with more readers and comments. However, I can’t spend hundreds on adsense/adwords, and I would like to get visitors who are interested in arcane technology, popular science — the kind of stuff I write here. That’s what led me to the targeted traffic firms other than google. But the question now is, how do I define myself as a target? I don’t really sell anything, or write about one specific field. Oh well, perhaps I should just stop checking my stats every day, stop navel-gazing and write whatever I like, regardless of whether there is an audience. The idea of spending money to get visitors might be overkill for me at this point.

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iPhone Accessories Speculation

April 27th, 2007 · 2 Comments

iphone

Apple’s iPhone is not out the door, and iPhone accessory speculation is already rife. The article mentions that all iPod accessories will be compatible with the iPhone – and speculates that iPhone screen protectors and cases will be hot items. I am just amazed at the amount of buzz the iPhone has generated, and talking about accessories months before the main product is launched is just the height of pre-release buzz.

What we do know about the iPhone from wikipedia is that it might be released in June 2007. I really don’t find the iPhone so droolworthy, as far as features and utilities are concerned I would be much happier with the Nokia N95 as I mentioned previously on this blog.

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Nokia N95 Smartphone

April 26th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Forget the iPhone, I am drooling over this baby – the Nokia N95 smartphone. :)

The N95 has a 5 MegaPixel camera (oh, and by the way did you know that Nokia, not Canon, or Kodak, is the largest producer of digital cameras in the world?!!) which pretty much means I won’t need a seperate camera phone. It’s got wi-fi, bluetooth, and has a cool slider design – I much prefer sliders over flipphones and candybar phones. What has me really excited about the phone is that it is a Symbian smartphone as well. The only downside I can think of is that it does not support 3G. 3G be damned, I say – this cool phone will allow me to browse the web, check email, take pics, and, oh, it will let me make calls.

The Nokia N95 is already available in the UK with orange, and even T-mobile. So how long do I have to wait before it is launched in the US? I am out of contract now, and would gladly switch carriers (or stay with T-mobile) to get my hands on this one – I bet it will stay good enough for another 2 years.

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My First Yoga Mat

April 26th, 2007 · 2 Comments

So I bought a couple of yoga mats today. I bought the one shown in the picture here, as well as a thinner travel mat. I figured, if I am going to do my yoga right, I might as well get the mats. Also, I have noticed that when I spend even a little money on accessories for an activity, I tend to be more interested in doing the activity.

But this only works for the first week or so. After that, I generally tend to continue doing the thing because it becomes a habit-sort of. I hope yoga can fix my sinus issue, and the darned upper shoulder pain. The only issue I have with yoga is that it is so darn slow – it does require a lot of concentration. I used to wonder why people say it improves your mental faculties, but now I can see how this could happen. I hope I keep up with what I started. The simple yoga steps I know now should keep me going for a month at the very least – I hope that by the end of that time, my legs will get used to sitting in the new, kind of awkward position!

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Vacation points and stuff…

April 25th, 2007 · No Comments

Okay, this is the last post for today – looks like I am overdosing on blogging to make up for the lost week. I’ll try and keep this one short, too. So, like you know, Egypt is beckoning me and I am thinking do points garnered at places like leisuretime promotions count anywhere you want them to? The idea is simple, you buy a membership where you get points and then you get preferential treatment when you try to buy tickets, or book accomodation etc.

Now the question is, are you restricted to only, say RCI resorts, or can you travel/do whatever you want? Also, how is the cost of membership offset? I mean, this has to be profitable for both the company providing the membership and for us, the travellers, so who foots the bill? I suppose the destination – the resorts promoted by the club, like leisuretime would be paying them money to promote their facilities, which leads me to think that maybe you can only enjoy the benefits of the points within a network or maybe multiple networks. But I may be wrong. I have asked a question at the site using the Contact form. Lets see what gives. If any of you phantom readers have an idea, or have been a member of such points clubs your opinion will be most welcome :) Come on guys, write me some comments, let’s make this a two-way conversation :)

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Bachelors in Gaming (sort of) at Collins College

April 25th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Collins College offers a Bachelors in Video Game Design. They give some sample courses in the program including Internet Programming for Games, Creative Game Design & Storytelling and – hold on – Creative Level Design! I take it that stands for designing the levels you pass through in a game. So what’s there to learn about levels for a whole semester – I wonder?

The college itself is pretty small – its a school of 2,000 students located in Tempe, Arizona, with an additional campus in northwest Phoenix. As for accredition, I see they are accredited by the “Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)”. Like what I said about physical trainers with certifications before, it is easy to make mistakes with or without certifications and things. I would have loved to see sample student outcomes for the game design bachelors program. There are some game design and development links at this gaming directory. How does one get to be a game programmer anyway? Sounds like a really cool job.

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Narconon Drug Rehabilitation

April 25th, 2007 · No Comments

There is this michigan drug rehabilitation center called Narconon stone hawk – don’t even ask me how I ended up on that website – I blame it on Britney Spears and the general trend to resort to drug rehab as a pseudo-publicity stunt. So, then I started reading about how in the hell these centers keep the addicts from the drugs for so long – I thought it must be like a jail. Not quite so, it turns out.

Okay, but we digress – the Narconon drug rehab program uses no drugs or medication to resolve the issues that are caused by drug abuse and alcoholism. How the heck can they cure people without drugs? I mean, on some intuitive level it makes sense that you don’t use drugs to cure problems caused by drugs, but I just wondered how that could be possible, given even smokers use nicotine patches to drop the habit. Turns out that the method they use, which is the “narconon” in the title of this post, is inspired by L. Ron Hubbard – the sci-fi guy! All I am saying to spike your interest is that the treatment involves saunas. Of all the drug rehab programs I have heard or read about, this one is definitely the most interesting.

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Finding a Personal Trainer

April 25th, 2007 · 2 Comments

I did a lot of searching on the subject of whether or not to get a personal trainer, and what to do find the right one. I have a lot of things buzzing in my mind, and before I forget, I thought I’d summarize what I learnt for future reference, if nothing else.

So here’s a few tips to choose the right personal trainer, AND to smooth things out as you work with your trainer.

  1. There are a whole bunch of certifications for trainers – don’t go by the certifications alone – talk to your trainer and judge him/her by how they can convey themselves, and the plan they present you. NASM and ACE certifications seem to be the more credible ones, just in case.
  2. Always question your trainer’s decisions on exercises to do – you don’t have to be confrontational, but learn the benefits that are expected, so you can measure progress
  3. Most personal trainers offer a free, or half-price session, so ask for one.
  4. Find out how much the trainer knows about nutrition – ask him/her directly and judge them based on their response – of course – you should go home and look up their suggestions to see if they work – there is no alternative to doing your research
  5. Ask the trainers if he/she can provide information about drugs and supplements – this is an easy way to avoid steroid junkies – you know you don’t want to abuse medicines for sure.
  6. Be wary of contracts you sign at the gym – some rip-offs ask to charge you credit card, and have you sign a paper that has no dollar amount on it – later they tack on charges to the card – your signature was basically to ensure that the charges will be processed. This is anecdotal, but watch out in any case.
  7. Make sure the trainer has liability insurance – again – ask him/her!
  8. There is a reason why I have so many “ask him/her” – the most frequent recommendation seems to be to pick a trainer who can answer all your questions comfortably, and explain things logically – without that you won’t trust your trainer, or benefit a lot, really

Of the pages I found, this one about finding a personal trainer from WebMD is worth a visit later. This self-help site has a lot of useful articles too, including tips for choosing equipment, physicians etc. Metafilter has some useful info too, if you search for the right terms.

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