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Mortgage Calculators Deserve Their Own Site

September 11th, 2007 · No Comments

Here’s a site promising to deliver Mortgage Rate Calculators. It looks like it is a pretty new site, and very much in the works, but the idea is neat – have a set of calculators for things like mortgage rates, amortization payments and the kind. For those not in the know, amortization is the concept that lends to the fact that more of the initial money payments you make towards your mortgage counts towards the interest on the loan. This means that you’re not so much paying off the loan, as paying off the compounded interest. The amortization schedule defines the proportion between the amounts paid towards interest and the principal loan amount respectively.

After the recent sub-prime mortgage debacle, if one thing is clear, it is that gullible investors make for good prey for the sharks on wall street, and the river runs much deeper than one would have thought. Knowing your calculation and the terms involved in mortgages could just save you from ruin and bankruptcy. I hope MortgageCalculators.org keeps growing and provides what the website’s name promises. It will be really successful, of that I am sure.

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The Jewelry Art of David Yurman

September 11th, 2007 · No Comments

I have seen bracelets, rings and chains that consist of inter-woven silver and gold. I thought it was interwoven platinum and gold, but I was probably wrong. Here’s a sample:

David Yurman Jewelry
That’s a fine piece of Jewelry from David Yurman. There are entire blogs dedicated to David Yurman Jewelry!

The company was established in 1979 and the reason why you see it around a lot is because they use top models, like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Amber Valletta to advertise their products. In the US, you find David Yurman Jewelry at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and at David Yurman Flagship stores. The jewelry is very highly priced – even over-priced. I guess they have to make the customer pay for their high profile product placement and advertising. However, you can find deals online. You can even find David Yurman inspired jewelry and David Yurman replica bracelets for example. Ebay has a “fine” selection of Yurman pieces too. But you better know how to spot a genuine item. You could always play it safe and pick up a replica for $69.00 instead of the original for $6900. Beauty is surface deep, now, isn’t it? I couldn’t say the same for quality, I suppose!

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Compare UK Credit Card Rates

September 10th, 2007 · No Comments

There’s no comparison of the rates for gas cards in the UK, but otherwise, UK Financial Options is an excellent resource to compare credit card rates. Surely, they must have Gas cards in the UK. Or are they “petrol” cards? I could find neither at UK Financial options, but I did find a good table comparing credit cards. The credit card comparison page lists the top 5 cards for the various categories, such as the best cards for balance transfer, the best cards for those with bad credit, etc.

The site also has a list of pages, each dealing with a particular kind of credit card. Here’s the page comparing the football credit cards, for example. Football as in the game played almost entirely using one’s feet, as opposed to the game where the foot-long ball is thrown around.

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My Wedding Will Have a Magician

September 10th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Note to self for the future: Hire a wedding magician to add magic (quite literally) to the wedding. I am really impressed by this magician’s website. Too bad he’s based in the UK, though. The website looks spiffy, smart, and well designed. He’s been getting some rave reviews from his clients too. How can you not like a magician who blogs. Here’s a review from Rob’s blog:

“We are the small house-party that Rob refers to in his blog of September 9th, and I’d like to add that for the group who attended the house party we are still getting comments as to how brilliant you were on the night. The card tricks were baffling and the “mind-reading” trick with the dice was absolutely brill, along with all the other tricks you did whilst moving around the groups. The evening went even better than I thought, and perhaps close-up magic to a small group will catch on in this part of the world because 45 people went home very happy with a great memory of a cracking evening. Thanks again Rob for making the party go so well”. Pope family – Coventry

For perspective, here’s the post from September 9th where Rob talks about the house-party.

Rob, the only thing your blog could really use is smarter permalinks with text, instead of the “?p=XX” kind of links :)

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Now’s the time for Christmas Shopping

September 10th, 2007 · No Comments

I know, Christmas still seems far away, and that is precisely the reason why you should start shopping now. Starting now will give you the time to hunt for the best deals, and wait for the right price – before the whole world crowds the mall. The most difficult part of Christmas shopping is, of course, deciding what to buy. If you’re short in this department, check out these Christmas gift ideas. The true measure of a list of ideas is ideas for Christmas gifts for boyfriends and males. It is easy enough to pick gifts for girls, but girls must find it difficult to pick gifts for boys. The gifts I get from women are usually “nice” but I’d love something more practical. The more impractical a gift is, the more women seem to appreciate it :) But I guess it is just different for us.

Shopping for Christmas gifts in September reminds me of the December Effect in stock markets. Thing is, a few people caught on that buying shares in Decembers and selling them in January or February can be profitable since stock prices go up a little at the beginning of a new year. So not long after, some started buying stocks in November, since they expected the December Effect buying to increase prices. That then meant that some started buying stocks in October, and so on, till the December Effect all but vanished! But even if everyone starts thinking like me, there will still be the advantage that I have more time to decide what to buy and to wait for the right prices.

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Strivectin SD Anti Aging Cream: So is it for real?

September 10th, 2007 · No Comments

Strivectin is best described by the creators themselves as an anti aging cream that happened quite by accident. To me, that sounds weird. There are a bunch of discount strivectin websites doing the rounds too. Technically, Strivectin uses a compound called Palmitoyl Oligopeptide to do the heavy lifting. Klein-Becker is the company that produced and introduced it in the market. Their website says:

After reviewing and verifying the clinical data, an incredible 93% of subjects saw a signifigant, visible reduction in the appearance of stretch marks. The unequivocal, verified results speak for themselves. But there’s more. Clinical observations further document the ability of StriVectin-SD’s independent isolates to dramatically improve the appearance of:
* Indented surfaces
* Smooth surfaces
* Skin firmness
* Irregularities in skin discoloration


Depending on who you ask, the accident is explained as a variation of the following theme. Klein-Becker introduced the product to reduce stretch marks of the kind observed after pregnancy. A few tubes of cream with “topical cream” written on it were passed out to employees, who then tried it on their faces thinking it might be good. Some of them said it made them look 10 years younger, and so the company decided to market it as a age-defying cream that reduces wrinkles. Klein-Becker maintains on their website that clinical trials substantiate their claim, and so maybe it is true. If you search the web, you’ll see a bunch of Strivectin SD reviews, too, all of them presenting the same details. So who’s to be trusted. For what matter, even lotions like Olay’s Regenerist stake their anti-aging claims based on compounds like Palmitoyl Oligopeptide. Here’s what WebMD has to say about these creams:

“I think you’ll get some activity with the creams, but not anywhere near what happens during wound healing,” says Jamal, an assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City.

Strivectin SD should be available at your local pharmacy. But the intelligent thing to do is to buy Strivectin SD online, since it a lot cheaper. Hell, you can even find it on ebay, as the page I linked to here shows. The claim in that Strivectin is better than Botox since it is a surface treatment (as opposed to a Botox injection) – however, the important question is, isn’t it strange that few, in not no one, knows much about the chemicals that go into popular products, by companies such as Olay, no less? If I were the kind that would like to defy my age, I’d much rather prefer a cream. Since Klein-Becker says it takes as few as 28 days for effects to appear, maybe you could try it out on a non-conspicuous part of your body for as long to find if it works before applying it to your face.

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Cool Finance Tips Website and Blog

September 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Here’s a great website for financial information: Bankaholic. The site has a section devoted to the best credit card offers. In addition to a very good coverage of the best credit card deals, it also offers tips on how to use the cards, and how to improve your score. There’s an example of how the author started with a $500 limit AmEx student card. After a few years, the credit limit is now $30 K!

There is also a separate section that provides the best rates for money market accounts. This is similar to the credit card offers section and has the low-down on money market accounts, which I briefly mentioned here previously. The list of money market accounts and the rates makes it easy to compare the deals and the deals are also star-rated. Money market accounts can be tricky, since unlike CDs the deposits are not FDIC insured. However, due to the higher returns and the increased liquidity, they are quite popular among investors. They are just like a savings account in that you can withdraw the money at any time. However, it bears repeating that unlike savings accounts, these are not FDIC insured – meaning, if the bank goes belly-up, your money does too. Then again, what are the chances of that happening, really? When you are at Bankaholic, do check out the finance section for good budgeting tips. I am pretty much sporadic when it comes to writing at this blog, but the bankaholic site seems to be more regularly, and more frequently updated.

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Digital Signage Coolness

September 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Ever wondered how, or who makes the digital signs that seem to be everywhere these days?
Digital Signage
Image from user wfryer (Wesley Fryer) on flickr

Digital signage is popular for a reason – they are highly effective in getting across to the casual consumer. That’s why you see them everywhere from the checkout counters at grocery stores to subway trains. Helius is an example of a company that offers digital signage, among other things. I think that in a few years from now, all the billboards will become digital signage of one kind or the other. They are more intrusive in a way – it is hard to ignore a moving image, or a sign that keeps changing. Some of these by the highway might even be dangerous, depending on what is shown on them, but I, for one, welcome our digital overlords. They beat looking at the covers of the B magazines at the checkout counter.

The technology behind all this is incredibly well-done. Helius’ IP video solutions are pretty neat, for example. The following figure taken from their site shows how video content from multiple sources can be transmitted via multiple channels to many things, including digital signs. If you are in marketing, then this pretty accurately describes the immediate future. Or is it the present?

Ip Video Schematic

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Win Search Engine Optimization Made Easy

September 9th, 2007 · No Comments

SEO Optimization is making a copy of the book SEO Made Easy (where, of course, SEO stands for search engine optimization) available as a prize to the win SEO Made Easy eBook contest. Writing about it makes me an entrant to the competition :)

I am just learning the ropes with respect to how to optimize this blog for search engines. This is not trivial, since more than 50% of my new readers arrive via some search result. I’ve been reading up about the keywords, meta tags and SEO tips for wordpress and the lot. The SEO tutorials category at SEO Optimization has more good stuff. Check it out. I hope I win this contest, an eBook should be much easier to read than a bunch of webpages all over the place. I’ve heard good things about Cutline, the theme I use on this blog – it seems to be optimized a lot better than other themes, but I guess one could always try and improve :)

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Certificate of Deposit (CD) Rates

September 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Certificates of Deposit are a fixed-term investment option offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. So basically, in a CD, you put in some money, and after a fixed period you get your money back with interest. You can’t take out the money you put in until it matures. The lack of liquidity is offset by the fact that the deposit is insured and the returns are guaranteed, unlike, saying, money market accounts or stock market shares. Curiously enough, these days, you don’t really get a paper “certificate” for your deposit :)

The general rules for CD interest rates are that the higher the amount, or the longer the period of time, the higher the interest rate. Also, generally, smaller institutions, like your local credit unions, often offer higher CD rates. In shopping for the top CD rates available, I did a google search for top CD rates. Among the results was a site promising the highest CD rates. This was the 8th search result, and the URL was http://www.topcdrates.org. Clicking on the link took me to the site, in a weird way. Strange, try it out, and that site does have some interesting information about CDs, among other things.

If you are investing in CDs, remember that it is not enough to find the biggest, or best bank. Since CDs are insured anyways, you might do better by seeking out smaller banks. Also, if you can beat the machine by finding a good rate for a shorter period of time, then that’s all the better.

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