Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Choosing a TV package

One of the decisions that needs to be made when moving houses is what TV package to choose?

The number of channels on offer is further complicated by their bundling and sometimes the smae channel could be provided by different vendors or suppliers. How to take a decision? Sites like Direct TV help you find an answer to this dilemma easily.

All you need to do is answer a basic questionnaire as to what kind of channels you like to watch and which ones you can't do without. Using the answers to these and the location that you live in, Directv comes up with the best package for you. Services like these could helpsave a lot of money, because you only choose the channels that you will view and ignore the ones that you won't.

It doesn't matter if you are looking for Direct TV in California or Direct TV in New York, the site can help you choose a package, best customised for your viewing pleasure.

In these times of Financial stress

In these times of Financial meltdown and stress, it is so easy to get bad credit.

Even in the best of times, it is is easy to have one payment get lost in a mail box or go missing somewhere which all contribute negatively to your credit rating. The whole situation is such that it leaves you wondering if you could fix credit.

Is it remotely possible?

Fortunately, there are now a number of companies coming up which allow you to correct this and actively help you do a credit repair. Even going so far as to advertise a no-risk refund policy. They help you navigate a complex system that seems to require the combined talents of a lawyer, a tax consultant and a chartered accountant to figure out.

With a no-risk refund policy, it may be worth your while to check it out.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Beating the Online Gambling System

We were looking for the rules for games played in casinos, in preparation for an upcoming trip, when I came across Online Casinos. Call me blind, but with software to block ads from my web pages in place, I seeme to have forgotten the existence of this concept.

Anyway, this site offers Online Casino Reviews and also detailed analysis of all the games including history and strategy. The strategy section is especially useful for new players like us, who have yet to get a hang of the rules, but I'm sure it could be equally useful to those who have been playing for awhile.

It also lists the Best Online Casinos based on customer feedback , speed of payout and a couple of other factors. Its a site worth checking out if you are looking to understand the games played in casinos or seeking to hone your strategy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

IContact - for your email marketing needs

iContact is the best option out there for anyone who wants to send out email newsletters. They have great inbox deliverability, an extremely easy to use interface, great prices that start at $9.95 per month, lots of templates, and also include surveying, autoresponder, and blogging capability from the same application at no additional charge.

iContact starts at $9.95 per month and scales upward based on list size. They also have an Enterprise product for larger organizations that starts at $660/month. A 15 day free trial of iContact for email marketing online is available at

It was created to make Bulk email marketing easy. IContact has over 250 professionally designed templates.

Brought to you by your friends from

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The Stone Mailbox and the Regular Mailbox on on Facebook made me wonder about the designs available for real world mailboxes.

The last 3 years, we have lived in countries that hardly deal in mail, if you want anything to reach, you are better of couriering it. Dubai does have Commercial Mailboxes, so most people just tend to give their office mailbox address to receive their personal mail. This is quite an accepted practice in Dubai.

Even in countries where we have received mail regularly, the building society has had a kind of multi unit Residential Mailboxes System. Here a series of boxes are located on the ground floor, saving the postman the rtrouble of trudging up a couple of floors just to deliver you, your junk mail!

But the designs that truly interest me are Mailboxes like these:

Which have so much of a design element to them and you can use them to express your individuality outside your home.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Japanese Paddy Art

When I first received the mail, I thought it was another hoax doing the rounds, but seems that this is true. Villagers in Inakadate, Japan are creating art in their paddy fields. Hence this is art that is also edible. Art that disappears when the crop is ready to harvest and art that is renewed with each harvest.

Love the concept. More on Japan Times

Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan . But this is no alien creation – the designs have been cleverly planned and planted.
Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye. Instead, different colours of rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields.

As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.


A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants, the colours created by using different varieties, in Inakadate in Japan

The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori village of Inakadate , 600 miles north of Toyko, where the tradition began in 1993.

The village has now earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry and this year the enormous pictures of Napoleon and a Sengoku-period warrior, both on horseback, are visible in a pair of fields adjacent to the town hall.

More than 150,000 vistors come to Inakadate, where just 8,700 people live, every summer to se the extraordinary images.

Each year hundreds of volunteers and villagers plant four different varieties of rice in late May across huge swathes of paddy fields.


Napoleon on horseback can be seen from the skies, created by precision planting and months of planning among villagers and farmers in Inkadate.


Fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife Osen appear in fields near the town of Yonezawa , Japan .

And in recent years, othe villages have joined in with the plant designs.

Another famous rice paddy art venue is near the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture.

This year's design shows the fictional 16th-century samurai warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose lives feature in the television series Tenchijin.

Various artworks have popped up in other rice-farming areas of Japan this year, including designs of deer dancers.


Smaller works of crop art can be seen in other rice-farming areas of Japan , such as this image of Doraemon and deer dancers.

The farmers create the murals by planting little purple and yellow-leafe kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed tsugaru roman variety, to create the coloured patterns between planting and harvesting in September.

The murals in Inakadate cover 15,000 square metres of paddy fields. From ground level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get a glimpse of the work.

Rice-paddy art began there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew out of meetings held by the village committee.


Closer to the image, the careful placing of thousands of rice plants can be seen in the paddy fields.

The different varieties of rice plants grow alongside one another to create the masterpieces.

In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.

But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted greater attention. In 2005 agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous works of rice paddy art.

A year later, organisers used computers to plot the precise planting of the four differently coloured rice varieties that bring the images to life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting a laptop/computer to work

Its very irritating to be working on your laptop/computer and you try to install something or download a file and a message pops up "Missing XYZ driver, please install and try again"

Times like these, I could almost through the latop out the window in frustration. Where on Earth am I supposed to go searching for a driver? The hardware company whose brand laptop you use, then the software guys websites or googling it normally is the route to go.

Then today, I discovered Driver Access which claims to have over a million drivers in their database. While this is not a claim that is easily verifiable, they do seem to have a rather large collection.

Whether you are looking for Computer Drivers, Webcam Drivers, Motherboard Drivers or USB Drivers, Driver Access has a solution.

They even offer a free driver scan for your machine, so you can check which drivers need updating and premptively get the newer versions, before you have to confront that error message again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Math and Tutoring

As a Math Major in College, I am sometimes asked to provide Math Help to my friends children. If the kids are younger, then its a pretty easy proposition, but if they are in the senior grades, then I seem to have forgotten some of my old mathematical concepts in the race with Management Concepts.

Hence I am then forced to relearn and re read mathematical concepts that I don't use on a daily basis in my current job, to teach someone else's kid. How poetic is that!

Fortunately with the advent of Online Math Tutoring, my time is now not being encroached upon. Sites have become more sophisticated and offer 24*7 Online Math Help.

So, advise to parents trying to get their kids to understand math, is to spare yourself, your friends and your kids the torture of trying to tutor them and rely on help from Online math tutors, who are more current in their knowledge and hence better able to help your child.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Telling Time

Recent movies, like Land of The Lost have refreshed public interest in the concept of time travel. I for one, would be happy if people I make appointments with, here in Egypt would at least be on time for meetings in this dimension and space.

Many years ago, when I worked in the manufacturing sector, we often gifted watches and alarm clocks to factory workers. While workers appreciated the gift, it also implied that they now had no reason to turn up late. (Given that the most common reason for arriving late was that they had overslept as they did not know what the time was)

I was gifted my first watch, by my parent when I was 8 years old. I used that same watch until I graduated high school. At this time an aunt gifted me another one. Yes, there was a generation, not so long ago, where watches were used for 10-20 years and more.

Now, there are kids watches like these: which are available so cheap, that I know many kids aged 6 and below who already have a collection of watches in various stages of disrepair.

There was a time when watches were like Jewellery. Carefully considered before buying, a long term investment and carefuly cared for.Sometimes watches had to be taken to jewellers for repair or for a battery to be replaced. So precious and delicate were its internal mechanisms. The trend still continues with diamond studded watches introduced by premium designers. Most big fashion labels, even lend their names to a watch line or two.

The watch is no longer a mechanism just to tell time. It has become an important fashion accessory.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Indian Fascination for fans

As an Indian who grew up in a simple Middle Class family, Air Conditioning was a luxury that no one that I knew could afford. Even if someone had an AC installed, they would barely run it once a year because of the high electricity costs associated with it.

We all survived with Ceiling Fans to keep us cool. Some lucky classmates had Tablefans on their study tables to keep them cool during the sweltering heat. This too was a luxury in the hot and humid South.

In the dry heat of the North of India, an Air Cooler was de rigueur. Unless movable, it would be installed in the central hall, so everyone could sleep in the same room and save on electricity bills (completely different concept from saving electricity) It operated on the concept of a huge fan blowing fine mists of water over the humans crowding around it. Sometimes the wtaer added to the cooler, was given a touch of fragrance like Khus or Rose with a little essence added to the water. But this was an indulgence reserved for occasions when there were "guests" visiting and the like.

Having grown up with these fans, they have become a necessity in our lives. I have friends who have moved to the US (pioneer in central heating/cooling systems) at least a decade ago and they have bought mini portable fans to lull themselves to sleep. It is something to do with the motion of the breeze or the hum of the fan, that helps us sleep more peacefully. Familiar sounds and sensations from childhood perhaps.

Personally, while we were in Egypt, we used a tall floor fan in front of the Air conditioning during summer, to disperse the cool air further and during winter to disperse the hot air around the room and provide some air circulation in an otherwise still room.

In Dubai, even with the central airconditioning, fans were among the first of our electronic purchases and I use them more regularly and constantly, than the airconditioners even in the peak of Summer right now.

A common complaint about fans is that they do not fit or match or belnd into the decor. But with the modern ranges and designs available, this is no longer a valid complaint.

Consider, craftmade ceiling fans like or

You can even go Futuristic with brands like Fanimation, which produce such gems as: , and .

If you are looking for exclusivity, then brands like Hunter Fans produce Limited editions like the 1886 Series Limited Edition Model 18865 Ceiling Fan

Fans are a sensible choice. They can be decorative and add so much more character to your room, than just a drab white airconditioning unit or concealed central airconditioning. Its low electricity usage is good for both your wallet and the environment. So do give the fan a chance.

Buying tickets online

A lot of us have been using online sites to buy airline tickets. I remember reading recently that more than 40% of airline tickets in India are now being bought online avoiding the need for a travel agent.

While airline ticketing has taken off in a big way and railway ticketing to some extent, what about other kinds of tickets?

Tickets for shows like say for example: David Copperfield Tickets for a Magic/Illusionist show.

Music Shows like a Beyonce show or A Steady Rain Tickets

Or even something offbeat like Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets

Tickets for Cricket matches being sold online. Wouldn't it completely beat having to stand in line, braving inclement weather and worse, wasting hours of precious time that could be better utilised elsewhere?

The internet can make life a lot easier and help save a valuable resource of time. This is why sites that offer services like online ticket booking will always be a great alternative.
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