Saturday, November 29, 2008

Canoeing Down The Zambezi River

I found this video found on YouTube this morning which brings back many fond memories of our honeymoon, where we went on the exact same trip, canoeing from Chirundu down to Nyamepi Camp in Mana Pools. It was excellent and a trip that I would really like to do again one day.

Like everyone, I just hope Zimbabwe can return to normal one day...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lost Astronaut Tool Bag Spotted With Telescope Orbiting the Earth

The toolbag lost by astronaut Heidi Stefanyshyn-Piper last week is quickly becoming the most famous piece of $100,000 junk floating around in space. In fact, countless nerds have pointed their telescopes into the night sky attempting to catch a glimpse of the backpack-sized bag orbiting the Earth.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Fancy Dress Search Terms

I do SEO work for Jokers Masquerade, the UK's largest on-line retailer of fancy dress and Halloween costumes and often use sources like Hitwise, the web's leading competitive intelligence service and Google Trends to check what are the most popular keywords people are using on the major search engines like Google and Yahoo at any given time. Hitwise has the advantage of allowing you to break this down into different or even customisable industries.

We use this data to to make sure that there is enough stock available for the most popular types of costumes that people are looking for as well as optimising the website so as to make sure that the website ranks well in the natural listings on the search engines for the most commonly searched for terms.

In late September and October there is a large increase in searches of Halloween and fancy dress related keywords like zombie, witches and ghost costumes. I have now just finished researching the fastest rising keywords within the fancy dress industry over November so far. The list of keywords below is not the most searched for terms, but rather the keywords that are have the biggest increase in how often they are being used. Many of the Christmas related search terms are pretty predictable, but there are also a few surprises:

1. santa costume
2. pirates costumes
3. showgirl fancy dress
4. santa suits
5. indian costume
6. egyptian costumes
7. christmas fancy dress outfits
8. cinderella costume
9. cow costume
10. mermaid fancy dress
11. wild west fancy dres
12. bugsy malone costumes
13. convict costume
14. santa hats

I best make sure our purchasing department have enough cow costumes in stock this year!

Monty Python Takes on YouTube

Monty Python and the Holy Grail has to be one of my all time favourite films and obviously I am not the only one. If you search on YouTube for "Monty Python" there are literally thousands of Monty clips with everything from their films to The Flying Circus and home made re-enactments. I guess with all this, Monty Python figured that there was to be some money to be made by all this some how, so what the have done is started an official Monty Python Channel on YouTube. Their spin on it is that they are taking on YouTube, but I guess it is the old adage of "if you can't beat them, you may as well join them"

The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paul Lekakis Boom Boom Anniversary Video

Serious 80's cheese...that is soo bad I think I may pretend that I left earth and joined the rebel alliance during the 80's

If only SEO was this simple: Google Custom search

Google have just announced their new SearchWiki where you can customise your search results by moving your favorite or useful websites to the top of the search results. You can even delete your least useful websites from the search results altogether.

I spend most of my working day trying to get the website that I am working on to rank as high as possible for a particular search phrase. To do this there are a gazillon things that need to be done and it takes plenty of time and effort as well as a little luck to get to the top for competitive search terms. Sigh if only it was this easy to get to the top, I could spend the rest of the day at the beach!

Obviously it is not going to be this easy because to move your search results up and down the list you need to be logged into your Google account and only you will see your personalized results.

I do think though that sometime in the future, Google will look at phrases that have been customised by large amounts of people and tweak their results to match what most people think are good websites for that term.

For more info and a short video on how to use it, check out the Official Google Blog: SearchWiki: make search your own

Thursday, November 20, 2008

LIFE Photo Archive Online

Some of the worlds most incredible photos, many of which have never previously been published are now available on line thanks to Google image search and Life magazine.

At the moment there are said to be only about 20% of the estimated 10 million photos online, but it is their aim to have them all up on the web for all to see.

So far one of my favourites is this fantastic photo of a lion sleeping on the rocks, you can find it as well as all the other photographs on the life photo archive. To find this lion image search for "lion sleeping."

More on this story from Google can be found on the official Google Blog

Friday, November 14, 2008

Aerial View of Our House

Map image

Nice aerial shot of where we live, funny thing is, I think that that van parked next to our neighbours is the Mr Whippy Ice Cream van that annoys the hell out of me with it's annoying "Ice Cream Man Music"

Flickr Tags:

Crazy Emergency Tent Teardrop Thing...

When you’re stuck out in the elements or simply get separated from a group, staying in place and waiting for help may be the best idea. The Cocoon Emergency Shelter from designer John Moriarty is intended to keep you warm and safe until help arrives. You simply hang it from a tree or any other off-the-ground location, then climb inside and let the insulated materials keep you warm.

...Not sure how i'd like to spend a week in Camping in Kenya in it though!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

13 November 1983 - Asteroids

asteroids game
This story takes me back Eskimos, put put and Daily Thompsons Decathlon:

Way back in 1983 a Fifteen-year-old named Scott Safran from New Jersey in the US, sets the world record score in Asteroids which is still the longest lasting video game high score in history.

Scott, who had been practising non-stop at the game for the previous two years and agreed to play a marathon session of Atari's popular outer-space shooting game as part of a charity event in Pennsylvania. His mother drove him to the event and lent him a quarter, which he dropped into the machine Nov. 13.

Some three days later, having taken only brief bathroom and food breaks, Safran finished his game with 41,336,440 points, nudging out the previous world record held by famous old-school gamer and actor Leo Daniels.

What makes Safran's score amazing is that it has gone 25 years without being broken, giving it the longevity record for a video game high score, according to the authoritative game-record keepers at Twin Galaxies.

Asteroids is a very difficult game. Players have to contend not only with the eponymous giant rocks that veer at their spaceships and with enemy laser fire, but also with the touchy control scheme. You have to rotate your ship and fire a single thruster to move anywhere, and momentum can carry you right into disaster if you don't have nimble fingers.

Setting a high score on any video game requires exceptional skill, as illustrated in the recent documentary The King of Kong. But setting an Asteroids record also requires superhuman endurance, because it literally takes days to do.

Unlike Donkey Kong, which has seen serious challengers step up one after another, only one person has made a serious attempt at the Asteroids record in recent years. An Oregon man named Bill Carlton settled in for a marathon session in 2004, which ended in failure when his machine broke down after 27 hours of play. He had scored more than 15 million points, placing him 15th in the record books.

In 1998, as Atari was planning to release a new edition of Asteroids, Twin Galaxies' head referee Walter Day attempted to locate Scott Safran, with whom he had fallen out of touch. It took Day four years to discover that Safran had died in 1989, at the age of 21, due to injuries sustained when he fell from the roof of his Los Angeles apartment.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Memories of a Safari Guide at Welgevonden Game Reserve

This is a video I put together some time ago containing some of my photographs, as well as those of a few of my guests during the time that we worked at Shidzidzi and Nungubane lodges on the Welgevonden game reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus)

African Jacana (Actophilornis africana)

I took this photo on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe in June 2008 of the African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus) as it waded at the waters edge as it searched for food which consisted of mostly insects, but will also eat fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals like frogs.

I thought I would write a post about it not because this photo is anything special, but for me the African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus) is a pretty interesting bird:

It is only the male who incubates and raises the chicks, the female has nothing to do with it after mating, infact she polyandrous and can mate with up to four males in a season!

The job to build the nest is also left to the male, which he makes from leaves and other plant material and uses floating vegetation as the foundations! (The success rate of raising a chick to adulthood is pretty low!) The female will then lay about four speckled glossy brown eggs.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Birdwatching Binoculars

For the past month or so I have been working on a new website, with the snappy name of Best Binoculars and Binocular Reviews - ok so that is a bit of a mouthful but it is so that it can hopefully rank well on search engines for those keywords.

The idea of the site it to honestly review binoculars for specific needs and provide links to where you can buy them, so that it makes it easy for price comparison. Ok so yes I do receive a commission for any purchase made, but will only recommend binoculars that feel make the grade.

Why Binoculars, well I noticed that there are plenty of sites that review things like mobile phones and digital cameras, but it is pretty difficult to find decent ones for binoculars and believe it or not there are plenty of people looking for binoculars for all sorts of uses: birdwatching, safaris, sports etc

Anyway I have just finished a pretty long article on a Guide to Buying Bird Watching Binoculars which I hope will be a winner.