Monday, 30 January 2012

Unlimited broadband at zero cost

You might not believe this that I just have signed up to an unlimited broadband for almost zero cost, or shall I say really zero cost, or they've given it for free and added some take aways as well. No catch, no frills! It's one of the many packages and perks as an O2 mobile customer.

I've been a loyal O2 customer for more than 8 years, pay monthly and pay as you go tariff. And this time, I have decided to switch my broadband with them. The deal is an all rounder package, which gives me an unlimited usage and up to 20MBPS speed. The only downside is my existing phone line that can only take up to a little excess of 3MBPS  maximum when we checked. And depending on the proximity of the exchange, about 1.3 miles away, I might be getting 3MBPS minimum or less. That's all right with the deal that I have. You can check your distance from the nearest exchange and the estimated maximum download speed by typing your post code at





The deal

The All Rounder

The original price of this package for non O2 customers is £12.50, because I am an o2 customer, they will only charge me for £6.25 a month for 12 months. The whole contract will cost at least £75 in a year. That's 50 % off already. In addition to that, they will also give £30  bonus cash back, that means the contract is just at least £45. And if I will deduct £25 for the free set up fee, that goes down to £20. The saving does not stop there though, they will also give a free wireless router with the service. My estimated price of a new wireless router will cost at least £40. And I am sure they will also put some line filters with the router which costs at least is at least £8 a piece. So lets do the maths, 20 - (40+8) = -28. This is really a good deal I can not afford to miss.

Tempted?

If you are an O2 customer, you can have what I've gotl until the second of February only. The deal in featured in this blog will be off beyond that time.  Upcoming deal will be a £25 voucher which will end 31st of March. All you have to do is to call them at

0800 380 0402 or 0800 954 1367

 you need to be ready with your existing O2 number, direct debit bank account number, your MAC code or key, and email. You will then be asked to set up your account and be sure to keep your order number reference for future communication or in case you need to get back with them regarding your order. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Broadband Switching

We've been using AOL for the last 8 years, providing us at least 2MBPS broadband download connection. Sometimes we get 3MBPS. This is quite slow in comparison with other providers. On tough times like this, we need a provider with the best service according to our tight budget. Or something that could give us extra. 


Acquire the MAC code

We called AOL and asked for our MAC code. The lady at the end of the line told us that they can send us a new router for free and a discount of the monthly bill for 3 months provided that we'll sign up for another 18 months. And they also would provide us up to 10MBPS service. Because we're determined to try other services we turned the lady down.

Common questions in switching broadband

There are several issues in mind why we haven't change our broadband, which in fact we should have done earlier. These are the most common perceptions when changing providers.

1. Interruption of service.

This is not really the case when you switch providers. Unless you stop them from providing your internet connection. What really happens is, the company you are in will provide you the service until your next provider switch you on to their service. Your final bill from your previous supplier will be dispatched in the post so you will know the date and the exact amount of the termination of their services.

2. Cancellation of service

You do not really need to cancel the service straight away. And there is not a need to cancel, as your new provider will take over your account from your previous company. They do the paper works and you'll just have to sit back and wait for their confirmation that the switch is done and they are supplying your internet already.

3. Charge for the switch

As long as you have completed your minimum contract, which is usually 12 to 18 months, there should be no fee to be charged. If you have not completed your minimum contract, they will charge you for the rest of the moths before your contract expires. There is no charge for the MAC code as well.

4. How long will it takes for the issuance of MAC?

It takes about 3 days or earlier. Our MAC code was emailed 2 days after request and we've got a copy as well in the mail box.

5. Expiration of MAC codes

The MAC code or key lasts for a month from the time of issue. So if you still have 5 months to wait until you'll finish your contract, there is no need to get your MAC yet, as you will need to call them back again to get an updated code.

Broadband providers and contact numbers

Here's the list of costumer services from different companies to call when you need to get your MAC code.



AOL
0800 049 4404
BT Yahoo (Residential)
0800 085 2819
BT Yahoo (Business)
0845 600 7020
BT Broadband
0800 328 6738
Demon
0845 272 2333
Freedom2Surf
0871 230 9312
Madasafish
0844 395 0830
Nildram
0871 230 9300
Orange
0800 316 3483
O2
0800 198 1351
Pipex
0871 663 3300
Plusnet
0808 189 1376
Sky
08442 410 582
TalkTalk
0800 049 7843
Tiscali
0845 077 4488
Virgin
0845 454 1111
Zen
0845 058 9009
Top broadband offers

AT the time of writing this post, unlimited broadband with speed up to 30MBPS is priced at £5 per month, provided that you take line rental with them, or TV package, and other services. Here are some of the top 4's from different comparison sites.

From Broadband Choices


From Broadband Genie



From Compare the Market


From Uswitch 

How websites and blogs make money 1

Everybody is familiar with websites. We use them for emailing, social networking, paying bills, shopping, studying, as references and for other million things. Did it cross to your mind how these sites make money? Of course there are sites that are set up specifically to make money. But how about those sites that do not sell anything. Or on an ordinary blog like this? Did you think the webmasters or bloggers just set publish things up, write what's on their mind like we usually do in social networks without other motivations? 

There must be other motivations, besides from passion of writing and giving information, and of these is to make money. Websites and blogs can really make money in many ways. This post, however, will concentrate on one of the ways, and that's affiliate marketing.

What's affiliate marketing?

This is a practice  in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's own  efforts. Most merchants pay the affiliate when the affiliate's site makes a sale of the company's product or service, or when a affiliate's site drives new customer to fill in his details (lead). Another way to generate and get paid by lead is when a surfer uses a special search engine, usually product comparison search engines.

How can I become an affiliate marketer?

Obviously, computer with internet connection is the first requirement. Second would be a website or a blog which could either be free or paid. And a little bit of HTML know how. Basic online tutorials can be found on many sites, just google it. Next is to join an affiliate network. 

If you already own a website or a blog, you can start straight away. A good starting point when choosing which company to apply to as an affiliate from an affiliate network is the content of your site. If your site is about traveling or your travels then apply your site to merchants that cater vacation, flights, breaks, or even airline companies. You can also add vehicle hires and airport parking companies.

Which affiliate network to join?

An affiliate network is a company that merchants hire to find affiliates for their products and one of the well known and has good reputation is Affiliate Window . I always recommend this network because of the many lists of merchants that are on board. From groceries to electrical products, flights, insurance, you name it and I am sure you can find merchants which products are relevant to your website. Well known merchants from this networks include Asda, Boots, Carphonewarehouse, Dialaphone, Macwarehouse, PCworld to name a few.

How  websites actually make money on links?

After you're website is approved by a merchant, you will be given codes with your unique tracking code, so that when a visitor clicks on your link, and buys something from the merchant who gave you the link, the site owner gets commission. Commissions can from 1% to 30% depending on the product and the contract a merchant and the affiliate agreed upon.

Below is a screenshot of some of prakticality's 56 affiliate merchants


Let's take a look at the conditions of being a Carphone Warehouse affiliate.


As you can see, they give different commissions on different products, some flat rate cash and some by percentages, from the same merchant.


Now let's see the links and banners with the unique affiliate tracking code which you can embed into your site. The screen shot below




The complete code with the tracking affiliate number 76874(affiliate ID) and the resulting banner below it.


<!--START MERCHANT:merchant name Carphone Warehouse from affiliatewindow.com.-->
                                         
                                        <script language="JavaScript" src="http://www.awin1.com/cawshow.php?v=2264&s=173944&r=76874"></script>
                                                <noscript><iframe src="http://www.awin1.com/cshow.php?v=2264&s=173944&r=76874&iframe=1" width=468 height=60 frameborder=0 border=0 scrolling=no marginheight=0 marginwidth=0></iframe></noscript>
                                                                                    <!--END MERCHANT:merchant name Carphone Warehouse from affiliatewindow.com-->
                                                                         
                             








Embedding the links

The blogger can embed the link anywhere he chooses. I recommend to write some interesting points about a product and redirect readers through a text link or a banner link like the one above. And when a visitor clicks the link, the tracking number which is the affiliates ID will be remembered into the affiliate network's server. When the visitor purchase anything from the merchant's site, the server remember's this as well. In fact, the computer that the visitor used will also retain the affiliate ID's and can store them within 30 days, as long as the cache of the visitor's computer is configured to hold cookies for 30 days. This means the next time the visitor goes and buys anything directly from the merchant's, the affiliate still earns a commission. That's why cookies are so useful for us bloggers and webmasters!

If you have a blog and want to try out how to being an affiliate, and not sure where to start, please feel free to 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Work Email Tip

My wife and I worked part time since our youngest was born 8 years ago. This big decision made sure that there is an adult in the house 24 hours a day. We can not afford a child minder and we thought that the idea of working full time then chop the budget to a child minder at the end is not really practical. She works 12 hours a shift,  3 days a week . 

Recently, she qualified for a course within the trust and her problem is, all communications made with the course is done through email. And the email used is her work email. This arrangement made some of her replies late, as she can only read the content of the communication when she is at work. She told me about 'Te Lorna, her co worker, that she can receive her work email in her web based email. Then I thought it must be in tweaking the setting. And here's what I've done!

How to re route your work email to your home web based email

1. Open your work email and click OPTIONS



2. CREATE INBOX RULE



3. Under ORGANIZE EMAIL, and INBOX RULES, click the NEW drop down menu



4. Then click, CREATE NEW RULE FOR INCOMING MESSAGES.



5. And choose to make a rule to ALL of your incoming emails.



6. Choose to REDIRECT MESSAGE



7. You can then choose an email from your contacts or manually type in at the bottom window. This time, I've chosen my work email and yahoo email for all my messages to be redirected into.



8. Then click SAVE to confirm.


9. You then need to reconfirm


10. Reconfirmation of the new rule



11. Work email in my Yahoo account.



What's to watch out for


I just realised how easy it is, when you log in to your work account, to read someone else email by redirecting it to any email of your choice. Learning point for this is, DO NOT forget to log out after you finish what you're doing. It has been a custom for us to log in to our work account, which is directly interconnected to our work email, and leave it open for others to use Pi, ICHIS and other applications within our TRUST.

I also realised that it is not wise to use work email as ways of communicating outside the work place. Why? Messages can easily be read by administrators, I am not saying that all administrators are peeping toms, but they can if they will.

And lastly do not use your work email for banking, ebaying, amazoning, or anything that involves money!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Safari

I'm sure iPhone and other Apple products users know Safari. The built in browser of Apple devices. Honestly, I do not use it often, even in Mac, I use firefox, and in windows I use Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox. It is just recently when Firefox stopped working, so with Internet Explorer and Chrome seems like forever loading. Maybe I have a lot of things opened in my window that my vista laptop's processing power and ram gave up. You might have remembered the bad reputation of vista operating system as bloated or taking more resources than producing an outcome.

My Safari Experience

Then I remembered I still have three browsers within, AOL, Opera, and Safari. Randomly, I've chosen to click Safari and the home page started to show quickly. It is also responded quite quickly with other clicks with in the websites. With the other browsers, the same sites would pause or stop and the worst would post a warning "not responding", but Safari is different. It seems like it's unstoppable and would continue even with many multiple tabs opened. 

Playing streaming media is not a problem as well. Not like Chrome that needs tweaking and enabling something   "under the hood",  Safari will ask if you want to open or save it as a file download. I have not found a way to automatically play the content yet, but I am sure there is an option on it.




Why Safari Is Lightning Fast?

Introduced by Apple engineers, WebKit simplifies web development and accelerates innovation. Webkit is the technology powering Safari, it displays, graphics, renders fonts in a blazing speed. Because webkit is an open source engine, WebKit is free for anyone to use. In fact, an entire community of engineers is refining and streamlining the code to be faster and more reliable.

It is used in more than 100 desktop and mobile products, well known browser and super fast browser like Google Chrome (no wonder), and AOL Desktop for Mac. And it’s become the new standard for mobile browsers. WebKit powers browsers for Google Android, Nokia Series 60, Blackberry 6 OS, and Palm webOS.

It is at the moment my browser of choice, try and download it at


Apple Computing Products

Saturday, 21 January 2012

How to Easily Bluetooth Enable Your Car

Bluetooth has been around since 1994, originally introduced by Sony Ericson to the mobile consumers to unite fixed and portable devices to share and exchange data and functionality. In fact this unification function of bluetooth has something to do why it is called Bluetooth.


Short History

According to WIKIPEDIA, the word "Bluetooth" is an anglicised version of the Scandinavian Blåtand/Blåtann, the epithet of the tenth-century king Harald I of Denmark and parts of Norway who united dissonant Danish tribes into a single kingdom. The implication is that Bluetooth does the same with communications protocols, uniting them into one universal standard.

The Bluetooth logo is a bind rune merging the Younger Futhark runes Runic letter ior.svg (Hagall) (ᚼ) and Runic letter berkanan.svg (Bjarkan) (ᛒ), Harald's initials.


Car Application


UK Driving Laws on Handheld Devices

One of the many functions which is very useful in a car is the way it can handle mobile calls. This is a truly handsfree operation that can free the driver from talking into a mobile phone while in a car and also free from liability when get caught holding a handheld device while driving. Here in the UK, it's a 3 point penalty ( 6 points will get you back to a learner status).

http://www.motorlawyers.co.uk/offences/mobile_phone.htm


Newer model of cars now includes bluetooth enabled services as a standard. For the older models, having it fitted with a well known company costs hundreds, even upgrading the radio with built in bluetooth can be expensive, and would not be a good option if you have already a good sound system installed.  Example below:

http://finsburycaraudio-px.rtrk.co.uk/index.php/catalog/product/view/id/516/s/sony-mex-bt2800-car-stereo-cd-mp3-bluetooth-player-front-aux-in-tuner/

 Using a standalone bluetooth receiver can be a good option but  in the long run, it is not a good investment especially when it's battery will no longer charge, as the price of a new rechargeable battery is not far from the unit itself.


Practical Option

The most practical option is to buy a bridge between the handheld device and the car stereo system. Most of these devices do not need batteries as they use the car's 12volts cigarette port.

Bluetooth Receiver With FM Transmitter 

 
I have been using this bluetooth receiver device(similar pic above) since I have started my oncall rota about 6 years if I am not mistaken. This is made in China and I can tell that this is the most useful and sturdiest device I have bought yet from there. It is still functioning and meets well my expectations.The device also has a remote control which I do not really need.

The bluetooth device is so easy to connect and use. Once it is plugged in into the cigarette port of your  car, it is already ready to be paired without touching any button. Get to the bluetooth function of your phone and click to search for new device. The default pairing code for most China made devices is 0000.

The way it function is, when connected to a bluetooth mobile device, the call function of the connected device is transferred to the bluetooth receiver, the bluetooth receiver  then broadcasts the voice data it receives into the car stereo by sending it into the same FM frequency as it is being transmitted. I usually set my bluetooth device to broadcast at 88.1FM and I have saved station 88.1FM in one of the stereo's preset buttons. You can choose any stations you like as long as there is nothing broadcasting to those frequencies.

Another wow factor for this device is it can play WMA and MP3 music. It has a slot for USB and SD Card for this purpose. It has also a built in mic you can use when making a call. If the unit detects a USB device, it plays the detected compatible files continuously, with the remote control, you can play randomly and can select equalizer presets. The music stops playing when you receive a call, just press the phone call icon to answer the call. The music then will automatically resumes when the call is ended! The same when making a call, dial from your mobile, the music stops when your call is being connected and the music resumes after ending the conversation.


Tips  On Using Bluetooth Receiver and FM Transmitter with MP3 Function

The device I own plays music from the root directory only and I do not know if newer models can play music within folders. So I would suggest to place all your music at the root directory level. 

I would also suggest to use  smaller capacity of USB Stick or SD card. 1GB would do. For the reason that, it is easier to navigate the music with fewer files especially when they are all in the root directory. If  your device can read within folders then bigger capacity is a better option.

Enable "authorise this device" or "remember this device" function, if your mobile phone has this option when connecting into the Bluetooth receiver. This is to automatically connect your mobile into the bluetooth device when you start your car.

Bluetooth Receiver and FM Transmitter
The price starts from £12, delivered to your door. This is from ebay. Similar price is also available from amazon, but at the time of this posts, here are the deals below. Check out the sites

From Amazon



From Ebay




Video


Sunday, 15 January 2012

How to Secure Online Passwords Against Hackers

Hackers are everywhere but almost impossible to pinpoint their exact whereabouts. They are so discreet that users are unaware they are prying on what we do online. Your usernames and passwords can not elude the malicious codes they let loose, with the purpose of using your online account, from email, social networks, network online stores, and online banks. They create an expensive problem within the internet community, specially at online banking and internet shopping. 


Key Logging

One of the methods that hackers use to see what you are doing online, read your emails, steal passwords, steal bank details, or simply hack your account. is keylogging. The principle of this is to record every keystrokes you make and transmit this to the hacker.

Hackers  can install a keylogging hardware with keylogging software on it  in the form of a USB stick, mouse or keyboard jack, or anything that looks harmless. And once installed, the software within can record every keystrokes you make then these recordings will be transferred to the hackers either by retrieving the device or automatic forwarding the information into their email or server.




They can also remotely install the keylogging software by tricking you into clicking on a link that has the keylogging program attached, and do the same result.


Countermeasures



Banking software knows about this activity that they urge users to install a security software from their own banks. Some banks use password random input as an added protection. It asks you for a specific character on your password or user log in. Others have online virtual keyboard added into their sites. Rather than typing into the physical keyboard, they can just click on the screen to type in. Other banks  uses software security like rapport as an added security measure for their banking clients. The software can watch out for attempted screen capture while doing online banking. You can download Rapport free at:





Ordinary users like us can make use of the virtual keyboard supplied with Windows. To activate the program, go to START, CONTROL PANEL, EASE OF ACCESS, then click START ON SCREEN KEYBOARD


It will then be ready for use. It is more secure for typing on passwords. 


We also need to update antivirus, anti malware programs and anti spywares. They provide another layer of protection against keyloggers. There are free programs out there that can perform well like paid anti viruses. My favourites can be downloaded below.




Super Antispyware at http://www.superantispyware.com/

As there is no single protection from hackers, several measures are needed to counteract them. But sometimes it is simple to avoid this kind of attack by just being sensible on what to CLICK online!




Keylogging Devices

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Missing Script

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Technology's purpose is to help people do things easier. It is present in every field in fact in everything around us, we see technology delivering it's purpose. If it doesn't, or if man decides the technique with the technology can no longer cope up with man's busier activity, man look for another technique, but the underlying principle is still there. Man just innovates.

The same in the field of medicine, which is rapidly changing, as most of the diseases that are discovered of their cure are already present long time ago. it is just the way that they are seen and understood that differs with different techniques. Technology finds a way to develop and improve the effectivity  of the cure, and also technology evolved in a way that these cures reach the consumers.

Now comes online prescription and dispensing. Instead of running up the high streets for medicines and other health needs, we can do it with a mouse and a click, saving us time and effort we can use in other activities. With our busy lifetime, this is a life saver.

But what if we can no longer use or order our medicine from our online pharmacy? What if we can no longer visit the usual provider of our medicines? Others might say, it is simple, switch providers! But it is not as simple as it seems.

The Missing Script


That's what's happening at the moment between Express Scripts and Walgreens, when Express Scripts terminated the services of Walgreens from supplying their clients with medicines. This means the current Walgreens ordinary users doesn't have a choice but to transfer their prescriptions to a different pharmacy. As Walgreens offers the most number of generic products and have more 24-hour pharmacies opened than other companies, the potential savings from Walgreens users are wasted by traveling farther and having no choice but to buy branded meds when generic brands are not available.

Not just the ordinary users are affected with the change. Even the military service men and women under Tricare is caught up in the middle. As Tricare has been using Express Scripts to supply their needs. Walgreens even offered to match or even lower the prescriptions provided by any pharmacy but the offer, which is unprecedented, is turned down! This means the potential savings for that proposal for these service men and women is tossed at the bin. Which in fact a shame, because everybody needs savings from any source under this global financial crisis.


Bring Back the Missing Script

Can the users bring back Walgreens into Express Scripts? With corporate disputes like this, user's who are affected can voice out their grievances with their local media with the hope that these issues of change, annoyance, inconvenience and missed savings can be addressed. Like them on their facebook and tweeter page to show your support.


Help From Walgreens

At the moment, Walgreens wants to help users and new users to maximize their savings by making an offer on special discount or annual membership for it's prescription Savings Club until January 31st 2012. See the link  below


With the dumping of Walgreens by Express Scripts, no other is at the disadvantage than the users. Bring Walgreens back to the Scripts! 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Why Can't My MP3 Enabled DVD Home Theatre Detect My USB Stick?

I was in my friends house the other day and helped in transferring her iTunes music into her USB stick, this time not Buble's, but classical music from modern conductors. Obviously, she had read the last post on converting her music and wanted to play it on a bigger system comfortably and easily. 

We could have set up music streaming but her Home Theatre System(HTS) is not wifi enabled, and do not have bluetooth receiver as well. The hassle of connecting her iPad or iPhone into the HTS is a bit of a work, because of the location which is not really accessible, and besides, she needed a 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm jack to connect the iPad or the iPhone into the HTS which at that time is not available. The most sensible and practical option is to get a spare USB stick or SD card (the SD card can be inserted into a card reader and then put it in the USB slot, that's practicality)! Putting the music files into a CD is also a good option, but if I have to choose, I will do it with the USB.

Anyway, the HTS can read MP3's whether written in a CD or as a file in a USB stick. It can even read music files in a directory or inside a folder. This HTS is more capable than my wife's  iPhone radio dock that can only read music files on the root directory (not inside any folder). These are the facts according to the HTS operation manual.

USB Not Detected

The music files were converted into MP3's and transferred into the USB successfully. Then the moment of truth, we've inserted it into the HTS and went into MP3 menu. The annoyance started when the device can not detect the USB stick. Possible problem is the USB port of the HTS is dirty. Got a piece of cloth and wiped it inside the port. The USB stick is reinserted but still it can not  be detected.

DVD and USB Shared the Same Port

Then I came across in the manual that it can also play MP4 videos from a USB device. A thought came into my mind that perhaps, the DVD drive and USB stick share the same resources and the DVD drive is configured to be as the HTS' default operation device. I pressed eject, and a DVD disc came out, then at the screen window showed USB inserted! Then Mozart's music played!





Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Why Can't I Play My Music From iTunes With Other MP3 Devices?

I use my old phone to play MP3's inside the car, and usually stream this to my car's stereo system using bluetooth FM transmitter. No problem playing back the tracks which I have downloaded from the internet using an MP3 downloader from an android device. I am not really a fan of iTunes when it comes to music, and I usually play MP3's with Windows Media Player in a computer.

My wife is a fan of Michael Bubble and asked me to transfer her favourite music in her iPhone. Of course I used iTunes to rip and transfer, which was succesful and quite quick. I tried the music from the Mac and liked it. From then I used to like the Bubble music and copied the files into a memory stick which then I could  playback at the car's stereo using  the bluetooth FM transmitter with USB and memory card slot. The FM transmitter is about 4 years old and I know it can take WMV and MP3 music formats. For some reasons, the transfered music files from the USB stick do not play at all, it can not even detect any file!  I tried to insert it into the " i Want It " iPhone dock that has an MP3 USB function, but just the same, the files were not detected and do not play at all.



The Suspects

My usual suspect when this happens is, corrupt data. The most sensible thing to do with this problem is to erase the data and start to copy the files again from the computer. Making sure they are all copied, I tried to open and play the files using the computer's iTunes and Windows Media Player programs, and they are playing very well from the copied files on the USB !  But to my dismay, the files on the USB stick were not detected and still do not play with the car's MP3 FM transmitter and the the same with the  iPhone dock!

Next suspect is the file format. I took a closer look at iTunes (  I clicked  iTunes, Preferences, Import Settings) and it says that it encodes AAC as a default when ripping CD's.


File format incompatibility is further confirmed when I have investigated one of the files.  The file format of the ripped CD is on MP4 or M4a.



The Solution

Gone back to the iTunes preferences, I've chosen MP3 as the default encoder for CD ripping or importing setting.


The I went back to the iTunes music files, right clicked (for MAC users point to the file then press ctrl + click the mouse) and highlighted the tracks I wanted and clicked Create MP3 Version. 


Conversion in progress...



The second file of the same number and file name is the created MP3 versions. To copy those into the USB stick is to open then into a new window and show them in the finder in Mac  or open them in windows explorer in Windows.



The MP3 files shown in finder are now ready and can be transfered to the USB stick or any MP3 player. The files now play perfectly  in the car and the iPhone dock using the USB stick!



Not all MP3 players are compatible with M4a music formats, the resulting file when AAC is used as a default converter or encoder for ripping CD's. AAC is the default encoder for iTunes and I recommend changing it into MP3 encoder as all of the portable music devices, apple products included, are MP3 file compatible!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

ING's Savings Calculator


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ING Direct for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Study, get a job, work, then get the money. Most of the journeys in our life is booked on making money, and I would like to think that we live to make money. It's true at some point as money can be translated, exchanged into anything and can be the ultimate source of power in a man or in an entire country. Indeed, it is one of the most significant and important inventions of man.

Monetary crisis hits every corner of the world, and the rich people and superpower nations not spared. Countries resorted to austerity measures, cutting spendings, shutting up jobs, and lowering the bank's interest rates. And individuals too, needs to tighten up their belts and share the burden of the crisis, to get through.

As the Bank of England's base rate is pegged at 0.5 percent, the interest rate in savings is at it's lowest as well. As banks become competitive with each other on times like this, it is a good practice to look at the interest rates and compare them as necessary as it varies from different banks. It is not enough, however, for savers to just look for higher interest figures but also to read the smaller prints where the bigger surprises are written, like money tied up for long years without being able to withdraw, high minimum maintaining balance, and not easy to access accounts. Thanks to the advances in technology and the internet, we can compare the market without the bank's representative who can give us a biased analysis. With a few click of the mouse, we can decide where to put our money safely and more productively, that is tailored to our needs and circumstances.

Checking, for example http://www.moneysupermarket.com/savings/, Would put the top banks that offer the top interest rates. But beware and and be sure to  understand the smaller prints, written with the conditions. See screen shot below 



If I were going to choose, I would choose the later, it has a lesser interest rate but more flexible in terms of the amount of deposit and withdrawal terms as well.

 Interestingly, there's a widget at it's site that can help you determine the amount of savings you can set aside comfortably  in a year in a given area and locality. This can help savers which kind of savings and investment is the right one. This will eliminate over investment or under investment to maximize the interest rate tied to a certain product.   which                              

Basing for example the screenshot below, I know that I can take any of the savings offers above, the only sensible thing to do is to choose which one is fit to my circumstances.



You can try the widget which I have embedded below, if your finances qualifies you to a savings investment or other investments that can give you higher yields.

Savings Accounts
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Pain With Toolbars

The idea of a toolbar is to help us browse webpages faster. Instead of typing the website names, we just click it from the toolbar, as long as the link we want to go is included. It acts as a shortcut to sites we usually visit. It serves like a  "list" of  our favourites or bookmarks, or can perform basic computer functionality like calculator and searches. It can also tell where we should be buying to save a little. A toolbar can any of this or all of this, depending on the toolbar you have downloaded. If it offers all of these functionalities or even just some of these, then the toolbar is worth keeping. If it doesn't, then there's no need for it and there's nothing wrong in deleting or disabling it from your browser. Especially when these toolbars are occupying most of the visible space of your browser window like the one below.


Where did they came from?

By downloading and installing different applications or programs, I've got herds of toolbars myself, three of which I made myself for the social groups I am in, and the rest from the apps that came with apps like google, avast, yahoo, etc etc. Even the top and well known companies come with toolbars. This is not only to help web surfers like us to make our lives easier, but also, they are a form of advertising and revenue making for these companies. Their toolbars display their affiliate companies, new products, and things they want us to see. I can say that it is easier to manage toolbars than websites. And these companies can follow you anywhere when their toolbar is already installed in your browser.

What's the effect of many enabled toolbars installed

Toolbars can be installed and start working straight away. Or they can be installed but can be disabled for a while. When they are enabled, because they are also applications, they can share with your computing's power, and have a bite of the bandwidth you are receiving. This translates to slowed computer response or slower browser response. So you need to decide which toolbar to keep and disable the rest. You can also uninstall it. And do not worry, the application that comes with it will not be uninstalled as well, it will stay installed until the time you take it off from your system.

How to find the toolbars installed?

In your browser(shown here is internet explorer), right click anywhere beyond the tabs(green squared) and a pop up box appears. You can see the enabled toolbars which are checked(yellow boxed).


How to disable the toolbars?

Make a selection of what do you want to see alongside your browser and just uncheck the others. The toolbar will reconfirm whether you want to disable it or not. Internet explorer can also give a calculation on how many seconds will it respond faster compared with the add-on being active.


 Another way of disabling it is to click the X before the toolbar(boxed in yellow).


 After tidying up, here's the result!


Remember that you just did disabled the toolbars, you have the option to uninstall it at control panel's  programs and features. But not to worry as long as they are disabled, they can not share any computing resources or internet bandwidth in your system. And do not worry about their sizes too, as they are not too huge that can take up a lot of disk space.

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