Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Web Hosting

If I have an idea for a site, it is great to be able to test the concept without having to spend too much cash. I have used a number of Free Web Hosts, many are terrible, but there are a few good ones out there as well.

Good ones to look out for offer more than just hosting, with extras like Php functionality as well as at least one MySql database, per account.

My favourites are:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

GUK Publishing

It has been a while since my last post, mainly because I have been really busy and as such, plenty has happened.

The biggest news is the start of GUK Publishing, a company that I, along with two other guys have started.

It is still very much in it's infancy, so much so that the name is not 100% fixed yet and we don't yet have a website, but the whole project is very exciting. As the name suggests we will be publishing useful content on the web and we have already stared on a few projects:

Both websites focus on local business and aim to provide useful information to the people of Newbury or those visiting Newbury (in the case of the hotels site)

Guest Posts
All our projects will also allow guest posting, guest articles should be relevant and useful. The advantage for us is good quality unique content from a different perspective and the advantage for you is a link back to your site on the "about the author" section. So if you would like to write an article for either, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Spotify on iPhone and Android

I am a big fan of Spotify, the device that streams music to your PC so quickly that there is almost always no delay to when you can start listening. Well now they are going to produce an iPhone app as well as one for Android phones.

Just like the PC version, Spotify Mobile will let you listen to music from Spotify’s roster of artists and albums, just like you can on PC or Mac.You will need a 3G or wifi connection to stream, but because they know you might want to listen in places where a signal is weak or impossible – such as on a plane or the tube – Spotify Mobile can ‘cache’ the music from your playlists onto your phone for offline playback.

Again just like the PC version, the app is a free download, but unlike the PC version, you will need to have a premium Spotify account.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Force India without Fisi

Giancarlo Fisichella has recently announced that he will join Ferrari until the end of the season, which is great news for him and for Formula 1, but I wonder who will now drive for Force India.

Even though Force India have put a brave face on it (see the official statement below) I bet they must be gutted to let him go, especially as they and Fisi had such a strong showing (2nd) and their first points in the Belgian GP in Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.

Official Statement from Force India

Following extensive discussions over the past 24 hours, the Force India Formula One Team has agreed to release Giancarlo Fisichella from his contract to join the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team for the remainder of the 2009 season, starting with immediate effect.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal, commented, ‘Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari. For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No one should stand in the way of this. Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo’s long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India.

‘We would like to stress that we have not agreed any financial settlement with Ferrari. This agreement has been made in good faith and for the good of Giancarlo and the sport in general. A competitive Italian driver in a Ferrari for Monza is a positive story for Formula One, which can only help raise the sport’s profile in these difficult times.

‘We would like to thank Giancarlo for all his help over the past one and a half seasons and for delivering us our first World Championship points last weekend. He has been an integral part of the team and we owe him a great deal for his input behind the scenes and performance out on track. We wish him all the best for the future.

‘For Force India, this sport is a team effort and removing one part, even a major one, will not significantly affect our performance. The competitiveness of the team seen in Belgium was a result of hard work in the factory and wind tunnel and we have further developments coming for the final races, so we are confident this momentum can be sustained. We are now looking forward to a strong finish to the season.’

Giancarlo commented, ‘I am very grateful to Vijay Mallya for allowing me this opportunity to drive for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team. It is true that it has always been an ambition to do this, and for Vijay to have allowed it to become a reality is very generous. I hope in my turn I have helped Force India grow up and be on the right path to achieve their own ambitions. They are now a very competitive team and I wish them all the very best.’

A decision regarding the driver of car number 21 will be made in the coming days and no further comment will be made on this front.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

bolognese sauceNothing too special about a good bolognese sauce (except the taste that is), but what felt good is that I have just finished making one where I used home-grown tomatoes, garlic, carrots and onions, which makes it taste all the better. With a new addition of a greenhouse to my garde, next year I hope to also have the peppers added to the list.

If you are interested here is my easy peasy Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Recipe:


1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced or grated
225g/8oz minced beef
2 tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
4 ripe tomatoes
Few Dashes of Worcester sauce
Tomato Paste
Tomato Sauce
salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until it starts to soften.
  2. Add the mice and cook it until it is just coloured
  3. Add the Worcester sauce, Tomato Paste, Tomato Sauce, carrot, garlic, pepper and tomatoes and a small amount of water if necessary and cook for a few minutes
  4. Add a glass of water and simmer gently for 40-50 minutes until thick. Use to make lasagne or serve with Spaghetti pasta.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The View from my Office

UK Birds: Great Tit

When I first came to the UK and used to work in London, I had an in-house joke with some friends where we would email each other photos of the 'views from our office', just to prove how dull our jobs were!

Now, I am lucky enough to be able to work from home and whilst it does have many benefits, there are also many distractions, especially if you are like me and enjoy wildlife photography.

On a few of the sunny days this spring and summer, I have often taken my laptop along with my camera, to do a little work outside.

I have seen plenty of birds, including the usual common UK birds and have also managed to spot two of the three woodpeckers that you get in the UK, the Green woodpecker and the lesser spotted woodpecker.

As well as the birds, I have seen plenty of butterflies, a Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) who lives in my compost heap, the occasional sighting of a pair of Monkjack Deer and a young fox who has taken to stealing my shoes and planting them in my vegetable garden!

Whilst I still miss all the wildlife from back home, I am really enjoying the wonderful nature that has taken to visiting my urban garden here in the UK this summer.

Monday, August 03, 2009

My Love Hate Relationship wih Google

Recently Google decided that it no longer liked my Best Binoculars & Binocular Reviews website and keywords that I was previously ranking in the first 5 places for, were now down to the tenth page or worse.

I was totally gutted, because I have been doing a lot of work on this website for many months now and it was slowly starting to pay off with the traffic to it, steadily increasing and as such so has to has my income

So what I had done to incur the wrath of Google?

In my opinion nothing, because I am looking at this site as a long term project I am purposely keeping away from any shady ways to improve my search engine rankings and producing quality unique contenet that I feel is genuinely useful should you be looking for advice on binoculars.

I did wonder if I may have too many internal links on the homepage, Google's own Webmaster Guidelines recommend that you keep it to less than a hundred and mine is pretty close to that, but surely this is not the worst crime in SEO?

After racking my brains and not coming up with anything and as a last resort, I submitted a Reconsideration Request from my Google Webmaster Tools account. This was done in frustration more than anything else as I have written to 'Big Brother' in the past and never received a reply and so was not expecting much.

Five days later
Yeagh \o/ - all my rankings have now returned and I even have a very generic reply from Google that says:


We've processed your reconsideration request for July 30, 2009

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site:

We've now reviewed your site. When we review a site, we check to see if it's in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. If we don't find any problems, we'll reconsider our indexing of your site. If your site still doesn't appear in our search results, check our Help Center for steps you can take.

I still do not know what (if anything) I did was wrong, but at least now I now once again have people visiting my website although I have a horrible feeling it may happen again.

So if someone in the reads this from the Google Search team reads this, thanks guys, but to improve it, why not tell us why it happened, this would help people who are genuinely not trying to trick you to to produce better websites for your search engine and for the billions of people who use it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Discount Binoculars

Discount Leica Binoculars
I have been working hard on my Binoculars website lately and it seems to be paying off with the amount of visitors up buy just over 87% for the month of June as compared to May and this in turn is converting into an equal increase in sales.

One of the most recent features that I have added is a page where you can quickly compare discounted binoculars, these are real discounts on binoculars found on either Amazon,, Eagle Optics, Optics Planet or Jessops here in the UK.

I think that it helps users of my site quickly check to see what is available at a discounted price and so far according to my analytics, it is being used a lot which is great.

Leica Binoculars
Also new to the site is a page on Leica Binoculars - not cheap, but definitely some of the best quality binoculars out there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Skinny Blonde Looses Bikini

... thought that title may get your attention!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fledgling Blue Tit

Just saved this little guy from the jaws of my nasty cat! It had obviously just fledged and so was an easy target. I got it back onto a tree near the nest and it's parents are now feeding it again so all is good.

The species is a blue tit and I took the photo with my Panasonic FZ18, the older version of the Panasonic DMC-FZ28 with a 1x7 Tele Converter attached.

Bark at the Moon - Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt

I just love the way unplanned marketing works sometimes, sales of this Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt went up by 2,300% after a spate of ironic reviews went viral. The t-shirt is listed on, where the general public can write reviews on any product being sold.

The first review gave the shirt five stars, saying it "Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women" but "cannot see wolves with arms crossed".

This then prompted hundreds of others to write ironic reviews and as of today there are now 449 customer reviews of this T-shirt.

One of the most popular review which 5720 have found helpful was written by B. Govern "Bee-Dot-Govern" of New Jersey:

"This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.

I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt.

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark."

Other classics include:

"Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather. "


"Look, you can find a bunch of different wolf T-shirts on the market, but this is THE one to get. You get three wolves plus one moon. More realistic than the three moons plus one wolf model. Just thinking about this T-shirt and its wolves-howling-at-the-moon motif makes me want to ... well ... go outside and holler at the moon! It's THAT good."

Check out the Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Live Giro d'Italia

I have just found this excellent website, Universal Sport that will be streaming every stage of this years Giro d'Italia live on the web and is open to view from anywhere in the world. The commentary is in english.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Exploring the South of France

Mont Ventoux Summit

For the summer holidays, a group of us are planning on exploring some of the South of France by car his year.

There are a few things on the must-do list and these include timing it so we catch a mountain stage of this years Tour de France, do a little canoeing in the Ardeche, some camping in a wilderness area (national park) and check out at least one great French beach, possibly along the French Riviera somewhere.

The plans are very much in their infancy, but there will be six of us travelling (3 couples) and so what we thought we might do is hire a people carrier type car here in the UK and then catch the ferry crossing to France, drive down to the south and take it from there.

Another option is to catch a ferry to Spain, this leaves from Portsmouth and arrives in Bilbao in Northern Spain and whilst it takes 2 nights to get there and costs more, you do cut out about a 1000 kilometres of driving.

We had wanted to go towards the end of July, but because the Tour de France is starting in Monaco and travelling around France in an anti-clockwise direction this year, they will be in the Pyrenees mountains pretty early on in the race (the 5th, 6th and 7th I think) meaning that if we want to see it, we will have to travel a little earlier than planned, or wait until right t the end of the Tour when on the penultimate day it will be climbing the massive Mont Ventoux in the Provence region of Southern France and nicknamed the "Giant of Provence", or "The Bald Mountain". see main image.

.... decisions, decisions.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What do you have a fear of?

fear of cats

In a new book entitled "Click", the author Bill Tancer explores how analysing what people search for can give us a better understanding of what people really think about a particular topic. Using Hitwise, the author took a look at what people have a fear of, by exploring searched for keywords that contained the words "Fear of" in them.

Search results form all the major UK search engines were used over a period of 12 weeks ending on the 14th of February 2009. Some of the finding were quite surprising:

  • During this period, there were over 8,500 distinct terms containing the phrase ‘fear of’.
  • The most searched for fear was ‘fear of flying’
  • Fear of Cats? The most feared animal it seems is cats at number 2 on the list. As there are no films, bands or books that I can find that have this title, it does seem that lots of people really do seem to have an irrational fear of cats!

Top 10 Fear of Searches:

1. fear of flying (2.27% of all ‘fear of’ searches)
2. fear of cats (1.72%)
3. irrational fear of cats (1.34%)
4. fear of clowns (1.10%)
5. fear of long words (1.01%)
6. fear of heights (0.86%)
7. fear of the dark (0.62%)
8. fear of death (0.61%)
9. fear of spiders (0.43%)
10. fear of crime (0.36%)

You can buy a copy of Bill Tancer’s excellent book Click: What We Do Online and Why it Matters on

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One reason Why Firefox is better than IE

firefox logo

Gspace Firefox Add-On

Here is just one of the many good reasons to use Firefox rather than Internet Explorer:

Gapace is Firefox extension allows you to use your Gmail Space (4.1 GB and growing) for file storage. It acts as an online drive, so you can upload files from your hard drive and access them from every Internet capable system. The interface will make your Gmail account look like a FTP host.
After the installation, you'll get an option called "Gspace" in your "Tools" menu, which opens the GSpace window.

It's great for storing/sharing files with your friends. Also very good to backup photos and music files (as you can view/listen to them from Gspace).

For more information go to G.Space and to install the plugin: Gspace Add-on

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Battle of the Films

Pink Panther vs. Street Fighter vs. Wolverine vs. Star Trek

In the next few months there are a few new films due to be released:

  • The Pink Panther 2 (Feb 13th)
  • Friday the 13th (Feb 13th)
  • Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (Feb 27th)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1st)
  • Star Trek (May 8th)

So before their release, do you think it is possible to tell which film will be the most popular?

Most Popular Film Search on Google
According to Google Insights for Search, over the past 30 days, slightly more people are searching for Street Fighter than Star Trek. If you combine the searches for Wolverine and X-men, it shows that this film is pretty popular in as far as web searches, with the Pink Panther lagging a little behind.

I am not sure if the amount of people searching for the films on the web will have any bearing on the box office, I guess only time will tell, but it is pretty interesting all the same...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Darren Rowse Video Interview

A little nerdy, but interesting interview with Darren Rowse, owner of ProBlogger and Digital-Photography-School blogs, which I have actually guest posted on before.

He has taught me loads, not only about blogging, but SEO and marketing in general and it is always good to listen to what he has to say. In this video he mostly talks about what it takes to make a successful blog. Most of it is obvious, things like always producing quality, worthwile content, but there are other gems in there aswell.

Darren according to Wikipedia:
In November 2002, while working as a part-time minister, for an on-line department store, and as a casual labourer, Rowse started, a blog about living in Australia, religion (mainly the emerging church movement), politics and other topics that he found interesting.

Rowse contributes to around 20 different blogs, although he is only actively blogging on two, - including topic specific blogs such as the Athens Olympics and the Michael Jackson court case - he runs with other bloggers.

His two personal blogs are Digital Photography Blog with reviews on digital cameras due to lack of views of his own photography, and ProBlogger which features tips on blogging. These two blogs get around 15,000-20,000 page views a day and over $20,000 in total ad revenue a month. Rowse attempts to contribute around 25 blog posts a month.

As of 30 January 2007, ProBlogger was listed as number seven on Technorati's most favorited blogs list and number 48 on the most linked to blog.

In 2006, Rowse was awarded the Best Web Development Weblog blog award in 2006 for ProBlogger.

Rowse is currently the vice president of training and development for b5media, the blog network he founded in September 2005 with fellow bloggers Jeremy Wright, Shai Coggins and Duncan Riley. The blog network claims to have over 200 blogs, and one of the largest new media networks in the world with one million page views a day in 2006

Monday, February 09, 2009

Velentines Ideas: Sexy Costume?

sexy valentines costumeOk, here's a good idea for valentines day, why not surprise the man of your life in a sexy costume... well, you didn't think I was going to suggest that I should dress up in a sexy fireman costume or something did you?

If you do plan on dressing up for valentines day, I would go for a Leg Avenue costume, definitely the sexiest and best quality costumes out there.

Loving Lovely Charts

lovely charts

Here is a fun simple way to impress your boss, with Lovely Charts, you can very quickly create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps and wireframes. I know the diagram above means nothing but I created it and exported it as an image in only a few minutes

Other similar online programs include Gliffy, and Draw that enable you to create diagrams and more in your
browser with drag-and-drop functionality. The main differentiator
between LovelyCharts and other online services is that it actually
makes your complex processes look incredibly good. Better yet, it’s
completely free and since last week, out of beta.

In terms of features, LovelyCharts has pretty much all the basics
covered, but you really need to try it out to get a feel of how rich
the web-based app really is even with its relatively simple feature
set. You can draw, align, insert symbols and icons, snap, zoom, import
& export, and so on - for a good overview, check the tour and the video demo.

I think one improvement that could be made would be alow you to upload a custom symbol, but other than that I think it really works well.

LovelyCharts was developed by RIA developer and user architect Jérôme Cordiez.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How to increase your carbon footprint

Pizza Pro

Introducing the Pizza Pro Circular Saw pizza cutter that could not only pointlessly increase your carbon footprint, but also the art of carving up a pie for eight infinitely more enjoyable.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Translate Your Blog into 34 Languages

world flags

I stumbled upon the Global Translator yesterday - A plugin for WordPress blogs that will translate your blog posts into 34 languages with the added bonus of being completely free!

I know that it is not going to help this blog, but I think it could really help my travel orientated blogs like on The Safari Holiday Guide and Beach Holiday Guide where through analytics I have noticed not only many readers coming from non European countries, but also that they then view my pages through the Google Translator.

For more information and to download the Global Translator follow the link below:
Global Translator

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What not to Wear on Safari

Just a quick post to mention a page that I put together recently, firstly on my safari holiday guide website: Safari Clothing Advice and then this Squidoo lens on What Safari clothing and Equipment to take on your holiday.

I guess I put these pages together after remembering an amusing couple that I collected from the gates of the private game reserve I worked on in South Africa. He was originally from South Africa, but now worked in Russia, in the casino business. She was Russian and worked in the casino...... I think as a dancer.

What was amusing is just what she wore, it was as if she was going out on the town, high heels, lipstick and not much else left to the imagination. I won't deny that she was hot... it was just a wee bit out of place!

Anyway apart from that they were a really friendly bunch and we had an excellent time, I just thought that she could have done with a little advice on what to bring to the bush on safari.