Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steps To Optimize Your Site

Every other person that I've recently met has got a blog of some sort, but far too many of them seem to skip a very important part in the process. Understand here that it's highly important to take relevant steps in-order for you to optimize your site for your readers as well as search engines, without alienating either one. While some blogger's try very hard in focusing on how to monetize their site, there are still those that use these platforms to simply relay their personal feelings where they discuss daily issues, such as : what they had for breakfast today, or how they experienced some bad service at a fancy restaurant the night before, and so forth.

So it doesn't really matter what your ultimate goal is for your blog, the important keyword you have to remember here is - Optimizing! For some, the ideology of blogging is that it's a 'walk-in-the-park', you basically need to write a couple of lines, paste a great photo alongside it, post it up and you're done! In reality, I know you could simply carry on doing it in this manner, but sadly it's not gonna go very far if you want it to withstand the test-of-time.

But what I'm discussing here today is not your usual Search Engine Optimization (in short - SEO), because the majority of blogger's out there run off standard blog platforms or even run as a hosted blog with someone else's domain name, which makes optimizing for a blog a bit different, not to mention design issues which are unique to blogs that may have an impact in your rankings.

Step 1
Let us evaluate the many times we have changed our templates? I know a friend who has changed their template three times in the last six months. All because he didn't get the right background color! Yes, I reiterate that design is important and it counts, BUT, unfortunately not many of those so-called 'blog designers' that offer free templates, are also SEO's by trade. So, without you knowing, these designs could actually be effecting your rankings in a way. My best bet - get a designer to help you on this, or at the very least, try to customize your default template by changing the colors or even adding a uniquely brand new header.

Step 2
In order for you to optimize your blog for user experience, always make sure that their visits are hassle free - easy to access, interactive and most importantly - make them return. Blogs need repeat visitors, that's for sure. There are few methods in achieving this, take for example the commonly orange colored RSS button, every blog needs this, as it would allow yours readers to subscribe to your blog. Automatically many hosted blogging solutions do not have this feature, so it's highly recommended that you add one. FeedBurner is one good source for this feature. Another option you could offer would be to allow your readers to get your posts via email - FeedBlitz does this automatically for me. Finally, make certain that these buttons are well visible, rather than tucked far away at the bottom of the page or placed at another page all together.

Step 3
I remember reading a blog which did not even have a single paragraph break in any of its posts and boy were the posts lengthy. I was automatically off their site in just seconds. What does this tell you, it's always safer to break your posts into parts if you're planning to write a lengthy story, because how you write would eventually keep your readers coming back for more. And always remember to do a spell check prior to posting the article up at your page, this can help you save a lot of embarrassment and ultimately need not affect your image as an author.

Step 4
For some strange reason, I'm not sure why, but I've seen certain sites that display four to five different colored text in a single post or even better still, numerous different sized fonts placed all over. Yes, they may call it a unique talent or an artistic gift that they have, but ironically it simply doesn't work in the real world. Blogs such as these will eventually give their readers a painful experience, forcing them to leave, never to return. So, try not to kill the look of your blog by doing this. Choose a font that best suits your site and add color, only to certain crucial text.

Step 5
We tend to add anything and everything onto our blogs these days, one very common item has to be what we call - widgets. Every time you join something online there's always a possibility of them requiring you to place their widget at your blog. And no doubt there also some widgets that are so useful that you can't do without. But then again its always a wise choice to never overload your site with too many widgets as well. Adding a large number of javascript into your site will surely slow it down. Ya, I know some widgets have nice colors and all, but why sacrifice timely loading up time for something not all that necessary.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Google AdSense New Payment Method For All Malaysians

Looks like its a month filled with good news for all Malaysian bloggers in particular, and this time it is Google AdSense coming to our rescue. Apparently, yesterday Google AdSense had announced a great new payment method for all Malaysian (Individual Payee Names only) publishers, as well as several other countries. The new payment method we're all excited about is called Western Union Quick Cash, a much quicker and easier way to receive payment from Google AdSense.

Previously, Malaysian Google AdSense publishers were only given two options in receiving their payments, namely the Standard Delivery Checks method or the Secured Express Delivery Check method.

Standard Delivery Check Method
  • Receive checks within 2 - 3 weeks from their mailing date.
  • Incur much higher bank fees.
  • Long clearing time for foreign country checks
Secured Express Delivery Check Method
  • Receive checks within 5 - 10 working days after they've been sent.
  • Incur a USD24.00 processing fee.
  • Incur high bank fees.
  • Long clearing time for foreign country checks.
Western Union Quick Cash Method
  • Receive cash payments via worldwide Western Union money transfer service.
  • Payments are ready for withdrawal at our local Western Union Agents (any CIMB branch) office the very next day after Google AdSense payment schedule.
  • Cut down bank fees.
  • Payments can be withdrawn in local currency over the counter.
  • Have your conversion rates calculated based on the rate used by the Western Union Agent on the day you collect the payment at the counter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mom Song

This is one great video! Incidentally it's called "the mom song", and it's perfectly sung by this comedian to the background of William Tell's masterpiece - Overture. I know it's not my regular kind of post but I simply had to share this with everyone as I found it so hilarious, entertaining and yet, so true to life.

Personally, it somehow reminded me of some of the things my mom would definitely say. Trust me on this one, there's surely something here that would remind you of your mom as well. Get ready to laugh and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Things You Should Know About Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss programs have become so popular today, that there is a huge increase on those wanting to undergo weight loss surgery, simply to look good. Have you really considered to analyze the facts behind the medical term called, weight loss surgery? I have, after living with my father-in-law who went through a weight loss surgery himself quite recently.

Many may see it as the easiest solution for all their appearance issues, while there are those who still find it a difficult and tough decision to make on whether the weight loss surgery is actually necessary after all.

Deciding on a weight loss surgery is definitely like everyone says, a life changing one, and at the same time it requires the patient to have a strong commitment towards the whole program by following a strict diet and exercise plan. Get the right facts on the pros and cons of such a surgery procedure, because eventually the facts will surface and this would in-turn be a highly essential tool in helping one decide.

I believe that one has to always consider what their expectations are going to be from the said weight loss surgery, and whether the relevant results of that actual surgical procedure will be justifiable in their opinion.

If you ask me, patients should definitely not take this as their ultimate answer to all their problems when there are other options still available out there, take for instance, adhering to healthy eating habits, followed-through with a couple of good exercise plans helps one maintain their health and figure well into the future. Being the sceptical person I am, the sound of a fast weight loss program, always tends to worry me.

Nevertheless with the current technologies available throughout the world it is without a doubt that having a weight loss surgery done these days, is rapidly gaining more acceptance by making them more safer and more efficient in its process.

The most popular questions in the minds of all patients considering weight loss surgery would be questions similar to these :

How much can I lose from doing this surgery? Well, the amount of weight you tend to lose would fall into several factors, but basically its got to do with the type of weight loss surgery in itself, it definitely determines the overall outcome. If you were to analyze the Lap-Band procedure noted to be the safest amongst many, sadly this particular surgery type has a reputation in showing signs of an overall slower weight loss.

We all agree that a regular exercise routine and the food we consume on a daily basis plays an important part in our weight loss program. If followed strictly, then there is a 36% potential of losing ones excess body weight within that very same year.

Is there any qualifications in doing a weight loss surgery? Well even this can depend on several factors, namely your current body weight. An ideal candidate for a type of surgery like this would surely weight 100 pounds over and above their ideal body weight, in order for them to qualify. Your body mass index is yet another factor they would need to analyze.

Usually those who have a BMI in the ranges of 35 - 40 and suffer from obesity connected problems like diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity related heart disease, have found to be regular candidates for weight loss surgeries.

I want to know how safe is weight loss surgery? Thankfully, it's usually a relatively safe procedure to go through. But just like any other surgical procedure, certain risks should be carefully considered prior to the procedure. After researching further I've come to understand that surgeries done in a laparoscopical manner are much safer to do and patients find it much easier to recover when compared to other methods such as open surgeries.

Can I get involved in activities after a surgery? Of course yes, but naturally after allowing a time frame of four to six weeks, the body should be completely healed by then. And at this juncture I am pretty sure that your doctor would be encouraging you to continue with the exercise regime as it always helps the body achieve rapid weight loss.

What should I eat after a weight loss surgery? A liquid diet is definitely in store for you for the first couple of weeks after the surgery, and this should gradually change around the sixth week, when you begin to add in other food stuff such as fresh fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and lean meats into your menu.

Normally you wont have much of an appetite in the beginning, so eat several small portions at a time throughout the day. Another thing to also remember would be to avoid food that are fibrous, sweet foods, greasy, doughy or sticky, which if continued to consume, may lead to obstacle the stomach and intestines, and then you might end up needing a totally brand new surgery just to correct that.

In most cases, weight loss surgery can be a life saving procedure for many people, while for others it's just another cosmetic procedure they carry out in order to look good. But, overall it has its many other advantages, where primarily patients being very pleased with the amount of weight they managed to lose.

Having said all that, I still feel that it is highly significant that anyone seriously considering a weight loss surgery to discuss this fully with their doctors first, and get the best medical advice to date. This will eventually eradicate any misconceptions that you may have relating to weight loss surgery.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Malaysians Can Now Withdraw Money From PayPal

This news can to me in an e-mail and I couldn't believe my eyes. I just had to immediately share it with all my Malaysian readers as well. That's right, Malaysians can now withdraw money from their PayPal accounts into our local Credit Card or Debit Card. This is indeed great news as we were previously unable to enjoy this very important feature. For many years now Malaysians were only allowed to sign up for an account and do the normal transactions like sending money and making online purchases, using their PayPal accounts but unfortunately the funds accumulated there were not allowed to be withdrawn for local usage.

The usual means of actually getting to enjoy the money from our PayPal accounts in the past was to purchase products online or in some fortunate cases (people who had relatives or close friends living abroad) to transfer the said funds to another persons PayPal account who resides in a foreign country and they then transfer it back to us through cheques, telegraphic transfer, money order and so forth. And there were those who also began to use E-Trade accounts as well to access these funds which they had in their accounts.

But all these were considered to be time consuming and not to mention risky at the same time due to the fact that they could get their PayPal accounts possibly frozen in the process if they were not careful. Now all this is in the past as PayPal has graciously lifted the ban and opened their doors to all Malaysians to have direct access to their funds. So, as long as you have a Credit Card, Debit Card (in some cases they're called Check Cards, ATM Cards, or Banking Cards) that shows a Visa logo, you'll be verified and only then be granted to have this access.

As with all foreign currency transfers, there are certain charges incurred for all this. PayPal is currently imposing a USD5 fee on each of those transactions and expect 5 - 7 days for them to process your withdrawals.

I am sure that PayPal's lifting of the ban on Malaysians will spur us all to do well as we are now in the same leagues with other top influential countries. My only hope is that this feature will be a long standing one and hopefully no Malaysian out there should jeopardize the facility provided by PayPal. So what are you guy's waiting for, sign up for a PayPal Business or Premier account and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Updates (October 1st, 2007) :

Apparently it seems that Malaysia was not the only country allowed to withdraw money through local bank cards, but this same access has been granted to an additional 26 other countries as well. Countries such as Philippines, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and so many more have also been given the big go ahead. To get a full picture on this, I highly recommend you make a trip over to the official PayPal site to see if your country is also listed into this same list.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How To Buy A Digital Camera ?

Buying a digital camera can be a real hard thing to do these days ... why is that so, you ask? Well for starters, there's just too many choices out there and deciding on a particular model can turn out to be a challenging task in itself. I really don't know about you guy's, but seriously, I've asked myself this question on a number of occasions, "How to buy a digital camera?" Learning the key elements to consider when buying that perfect digital camera can be tons of help.

Once you've decided that having a digital camera is the way to go, then you're on your way to the next phase ... choosing one! This is the part where you get all confused and for most parts of the time, you end up buying something simply because it suited your budget very nicely or either, got something just because you saw it in a TV ad. In my case, it was kind of both, "A match made in Heaven" so to speak, but after owning it for over a year, I soon begun to realize that its not really what I wanted actually.

Since there is an endless selection these days, make sure the final decision rests purely on your needs rather than buying on an impulse. List out the features you're looking for in a digital camera, and work along those lines. Because, if you look at it practically, there's no real need for you to spend thousands of dollars if you're just out there taking some simple 4X6 prints, or buying that branded one just so that you're "in", features proclaiming to have capabilities to print great looking large 8X10 prints but sadly find out later, that even your usual smaller prints turn out horrible, quality wise.

My best take on this, would be to buy at least a 3.0 megapixel digital camera (these are quite common in many of today's inexpensive camera's) if you're going to just use them for some regular shots or just to upload a couple of pictures to your blog. And for those who would want something more advanced and something more professional, you have start looking into camera's that have at least 4 - 10 megapixel capabilities. Now, this is where you get to enjoy photo-lab quality, large quality prints and great looking pictures all year round.

But with all that said, having a camera just based on its number of megapixel solely, can sometimes have a downside to it as well, due to its larger image size, a need to have a more expensive memory card, and as the image size are larger it's bound to take up more space in your computer's hard-drive, not to mention their sky high prices as well.

So here's a perfect video that I found that shares some pointers on "How to buy a Digital Camera" and hopefully after you have watched it, many of your questions can be answered and eventually help you decide better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How To Make Your Own Home Cleaning Solution ?

Have you ever wondered what are the inexpensive ways to get things cleaned around your home? Well look no further, as I have just short listed a number of items that can be transformed into your best helping hand, which ultimately doesn't end up burning a big hole in your wallet. This post will in a way, show you how to make your own home cleaning solution. Many of us might overlook these easy-to-use natural alternatives which are commonly available in many of our homes today.

These non-toxic home cleaning solutions are effective and inexpensive to incorporate into your home maintenance regime. Besides that, it's an avenue for us to cut down on chemical-based products which can have high long term health concerns for any family, and possibly even environmental pollution caused by their manufacture, usage and in some cases, indiscriminate disposal of these harmful substances.

Baking Soda
This is basically sodium bicarbonate. It has a number of useful properties. It can neutralize acid, scrub shiny materials without scratching, deodorize, and extinguish grease fires. It can be used as a deodorizer in the refrigerator, on smelly carpets, on upholstery and on vinyl too. It can help deodorize drains as well. It can clean and polish aluminium, chrome, jewellery, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, and tin. It also tends to soften fabrics and removes certain stains. Baking soda can be used as an underarm deodorant and as a toothpaste too. Now, that one, I'm sure you didn't know??

This is something that can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs, and starch clothes.

Lemon Juice
Can be used to clean glass and remove stains from aluminium, clothes, and porcelain. It is a mild lightener or bleach if used with sunlight.

Mineral Oils
It is derived from seeds which is an ingredient in several furniture polish and floor wax recipes.

An all-purpose liquid soap can be made by simply dissolving the old ends of bar soap (or grated slivers of bar soap) in warm water.

It can dissolve mineral deposits, grease, remove traces of soap, remove mildew or wax build-up, polish some metals, and deodorize. Vinegar can clean brick or stone, and is an ingredient in some natural carpet cleaning recipes. Alternatively, you can also use vinegar to clean out the metallic taste in coffeepots and to shine windows without streaking. Vinegar is normally used in a solution with water, but it can be used straight too in certain situations.

Take note that in some cases the results may vary, given the type of products that you might be using or it's concentration levels and so forth. So, always try to test them first in a small hidden area and see if it works.

And if you ever decide to do this at home, when you're due for your next weekly/monthly clean-up session, always remember to "clean from the top down". Which means, save the carpets and the floors to be tackled last, as this will allow time for the dust to settle down before you begin your vacuuming regime.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What Is An Award ?

Have you ever asked yourself this question before, "What is an Award?" and "What does it mean to you?".

To be frank, blogging has taught me the value of friendship. Life has never been so fulfilling as now. Ever since the day I started my journey with Nihal's Anything n Everything, I have met so many beautiful people that come from all parts of the world. Though we come from different social backgrounds/religion, or our ideas or views may differ slightly in certain aspects, but non of this really matters much, as we're constantly united in friendship and that's the best part about blogging!! We tend to share so many good things together. Who said that blogging was all about money and nothing else???

One such wonderful thing is in the sharing and awarding of wonderful awards that goes around the blogging community. Each individual award having it's own unique characteristic and value. And as we know, there are thousands of bloggers out there who have so much of talent and with awards created by bloggers themselves, it's always wonderful to see them supporting another site with such recognition. To me it's more of a way of saying : "Hey, thanks for being my friend, I really value your friendship and I hope we will remain friends forever." Anyway, that's my personal opinion on an award and what it means to me ... I value friendship and that's me!

But for the last two months things have not been so systematic for my blog and a lot of stuff were not posted as scheduled. Friends awarded me stuff and I didn't post them up, and there are friends who even tagged me to do stuff and I'm still due on them and so forth. I feel really bad about this everyday, as I feel I've let all my friends down. So today, I decided to list down a couple of things that had passed by, as I have not mentioned about it earlier on at my blog. To my dear friends, I am forever grateful for all the support and encouragement all of you have shown.

July 12, 2007

My dear friend Eve, over at My Life is Murphy's Law awarded me with this wonderful award which was created by Christy from WritersReview. No doubt we live world's apart but that doesn't stop us from being best friends. I will never forget her support and encouragement from day one. Thank you once again Eve, and Christy for creating such a cool award for the bloggers. Christy has created numerous awards that recognizes each individual blogger for who they are and that's truly fantastic!

August 3rd, 2007

Jean Chia of A Great Pleasure is another great friend whom I got to know from Marzie. She is such a lovely girl for she really went out of her way to create this unique and very creative badge for all her close friends. I am really honored to have received this from you Jean, thank you so very much.

Then there are these three other beautiful lady friends of mine that awarded me with this great badge for my site : Marzie (September 2nd, 2007), Jesse (September 12th, 2007) and Erina Hart (September 13th, 2007) . I am deeply grateful to all three of them as they have been such great friends to me.

Marzie has always been there for me, and she never fails to add me into her list of activities. I sometimes wonder how lucky I am to have found such a wonderful person as her.

Jesse on the other hand, is a gem of a person. She is constantly progressing in her blogging career and I must say, this is one blogger that we can learn from.

Erina is such a Darling. She has become my most recent friend and I am so lucky to know her. She has recently changed her layout at her site and moved to a new domain which looks pretty cool. If you're looking for good read, this is the blog you should visit.

And Marzie, added yet another "nice one" (August 20th, 2007). How will I every repay her generosity and continuous support? Anyone who has a suggestion, feel free to let me know what I could do in return, to all this lovely people, I call friends. And as the creators of this beautiful badge suggests, the Award represents people who fall into this category - "All those who are nice people, good blog friends, and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others, that are there to lend support, or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!"

And, to all of my friends who have taken the time to put me into their lists, there are no words that could express the gratitude I have for you and I must also say sorry if I have left anyone out in this list, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of these were done some time back, therefore I would have missed one or two of you. Please let me know if I accidentally missed out anyone.

So to end this, I say, Awards to me, is in it's own way, "an expression of our friendship and the understanding we have for each other" and trust me, I will never forget any of you :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

How Do I Earn Money From AuctionAds/ShoppingAds ?

Everyone knows that online auctions are kind of a hot trend these days. It's really an opportunity for everyone to earn a reasonable income. Think of it as an avenue where you get to grasp that extra couple of bucks in a week that would come in handy, maybe to pay for your babysitter perhaps or even to have a nice dinner out with the family, once in a while. So, how do I earn money from AuctionAds? Simply by leveraging on their very lucrative eBay affiliate system added with bits and pieces on keyword targeting!

As I emphasized in an earlier article of mine related to money making opportunities, Google AdSense is still my top earner, but then again, there are other affiliate programs which I'm involved in, that throws in that extra cash when you least expect, AuctionAds is one such program. AuctionAds is definitely not a contextual ad product, so running it alongside Google AdSense is perfectly alright.

But then again, not everyone would agree totally on this, as each individual blog out there behaves differently, there might be a program that works very well at one site, but doesn't do quite well at another. I on the other hand evaluate things differently, basically I don't give up so easily and my plan is to constantly evaluate the traffic that comes to my site and analyze the keywords that drives them here through the search engines. These information is then transferred onto my articles and thus allowing this site to have an average 80% of it's traffic generated through search engine queries alone.

Eventually this is the same thing you would need to do in order for you to sell a product at your site whether it's Google AdSense, AuctionAds/ShoppingAds, Photographs, Hyperlinks or even Meta tags (you're still considered selling it) where we use "keyword targeting" - How many times have you seen an ad that doesn't coincide with your article? Many a times I guess. This is because not many of us tend to address the importance of keywords. We normally copy and paste, and that's it, job done! Adding target keywords ultimately will give you the right ads that you want your readers to see complimented with it's location at your site, and perhaps when they see this they'll eventually end up making a purchase.

What is AuctionAds and how will it benefit me?

AuctionAds is basically an avenue where you get to open up an account as a Publisher which allows you to paste their ad code into your blog or blogs (with no limit to the number of ads placed on a single page or even at your multiple other sites). Relevant eBay products will then appear for auction at those given sites. Prices can be so low at times, it makes chances that much easier, to get a click through. Not only that, you get paid 1st of every month through PayPal, once you've reached their minimum $50 mark. On August 27 this year, they optimized their ad images so that it no longer looks stretched or even distorted. And then, on September 4th, 2007 they announced an increase in their affiliate payouts, from 2% initially to 5% on all revenue produced by publishers you refer, for the first 6 months of the new publisher's earning's. This is what we call smart leveraging!

Another good part about AuctionAds is that every time someone clicks the link from your site, AuctionAds will then place a 30-day cookie on those users and if they end up winning the bid (there are times, even if they don't win the bid, you still get paid) or converts into a signup (referral program) within that 30 day period, you will get paid! Just so that you know, they eventually will pay you a minimum 100% of the eBay commission revenue.

And I wanted to save the best information for last, effective September 5, 2007 all new publishers who signs up with AuctionAds, you will instantly receive $25.00 cash balance into your account! That's it, just sign up and receive $25.00... Wow, this is great news, and this is why I'm strongly encouraging my readers to see the bigger picture by being part of the AuctionAds affiliate program, which can eventually be a nice additional income stream for you.

Besides it's international targeting and large inventory of eBay products it is without a doubt yet safe to say, AuctionAds is one flexible advertising program!

AuctionAds : Join Now!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pavarotti Has Passed Away

Today marks a day filled with sorrow, as the greatest celebrated opera singer to have lived - Luciano Pavarotti, has passed away in his home at 5am, local Italian time. This is indeed a huge loss for the music world.

Pavarotti was born in the outskirts of Modena, Italy on October 12th, 1935, and had captivated the opera world till his dying age of 71. Mention Pavarotti, and I imagine, charcoal black beard and seeing him in his famous tuxedo suit. To me, I shall remember him as a entertainer for his charismatic performances and ebullient showmanship.

The great Italian tenor, Pavarotti was indeed a talented singer renown for his vocal capabilities and humanitarian efforts along the way, when he received a medal (UN High Commission for Refugees) relating to works surrounding issues related to refugees. It is said that Pavarotti began showing his singing capabilities at a tender age of nine, when he used to sing alongside his father in their small local church choir. Pavarotti made his initial opera debut back in 1961 in his home front and it was not until February 1965, that he made his presence felt in the American shores through the Greater Miami Opera. Throughout his career, Luciano Pavarotti has released numerous musical DVD's that were outsold in weeks of their availability.

It was not till late last year when the Maestro was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - said to be one of the most dangerous forms of the disease, which he fought all along. Pavarotti had supposedly undergone further treatments to suppress the effects of the cancer, but to no avail and finally succumbing to his illness early this morning.

The thought of losing someone special is hard to comprehend, and I am thankful to God, as HE has allowed my parents to share their love with me thus far, for I can't imagine the day, when I will face this same situation as Pavarotti's children; Lorenza, Giuliana, Cristina (from his first wife) and Alice (from his second wife), who would be feeling so much sorrow moaning the loss of their beloved father.

For the millions of his fans, the natural beauty and the vibrantly high C's of Pavarotti's voice will be greatly missed, for I have never seen another opera singer who reached out to 1.5 billion people.

May his soul rest in peace and may the heavens enjoy the beauty of his great voice.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Uploading And Removing Borders From Picture

It is quite common that we usually upload an image or a diagram or even an illustration of some sort into our post. I usually try to add a picture or two into my post just to add some color into it but there are times when these pictures have some rather weird looking borders surrounding them. In this post I will share with you the simple steps in uploading as well as removing borders from picture, in which you intend to embed onto your Blogger post page. For this example we will use the image uploading tool found in Blogger.

Firstly, once you have logged into your Blogger account, click on this icon and it will generally bring you into your Blogger's post editor page. Once here, you would want to begin the process of uploading a selected image from your PC or even from a particular web page - this is something you should try not to do (taking pictures from other web pages) besides the worry of copyright laws and the simple reasoning that if you post a picture which is taken off from another web page, what's going to happen is that every time you load your blog, that particular picture is going to be loaded by their server, so if their server is down or slow for any given reason, this will ultimately effect your blog as well, besides the owner of that site likely incuring an expense at the same time, thanks to you.

Anyway, assuming you have now decided to upload a particular picture, look for this icon and click on it.

This would immediately open up a new window to help you make the necessary selection of image or images.

Next you would want to decide on the placement of the picture, whether it should go on the left, right or even at the center of your post. Customizing the appearance is also another way of showing your creativity in your post. It will also help you wrap your text around these pictures. Another benefit is that you're able to choose the right size deemed fit for that post. Do this by checking on the relevant "Choose a Layout" box and then finally, click "Upload Image" followed by "Done".

Once you have succesfully uploaded the image, click on the Edit Html tab, to make the necessary modifications to remove the said borders from appearing in your post page.

Normally when you upload a image in Blogger it is displayed as a hyperlink. If you would like to disable the hyperlink, remove the section marked in red.

This is an example markup of the inserted image, appearing on your post editor page.

<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5105259291560015234" border="0" /></a>

Note the closing </a> tag at the end of the example, remember to remove this.

Now, if you want to maintain the hyperlink and prefer not to have the borders surrounding the image, edit the img (tag) style attribute by inserting : border-style : none;

<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""><img style="border-style: none; margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5105259291560015234" border="0" /></a>

This would ultimately remove the border surrounding your image as well as remove the hyperlink pointer that would normally appear if you align the cursor on top of the picture.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Trip To Melaka

The second term school holidays had just come by here in Malaysia, and just as in other parts of the world, parents are somewhat busier than usual during these period, given the fact that the kids are anxiously awaiting to be taken on a great holiday... out of town, of course.

So, deciding on a particular destination was next on the list, where should we go? And all of a sudden there comes along my brother, who mentions that they have planned such a trip to Melaka and offers us to join-in. Now, this was great, as it's been a while since my family has gone on a holiday.

My kids (and my wife too ...) were overwhelmed with the idea, as I have in a way been neglecting the aspect of a holiday for the last two and half years, since the birth of our daughter, Ayesha, who was born with something called Charge Associated Syndrome. This situation had caused most of our plans to come to a halt and since then life has been a uphill struggle all the way.

So, anyway we decided to join my brother and headed to Melaka around 10.30am last Tuesday and reached Ayer Keroh's R&R by 12.00pm to have a quick bite at KFC. The thing I was amazed with, was that it takes me the same time to get to work, and that's in our city itself!

This is a picture of my two boys, Akmal Ashwin (R) and Afiq Eshan (L).

Reaching Melaka town was just another fifteen minutes away and we headed straight to the hotel which was directly behind the famous shopping landmark of Melaka, Mahkota Parade.

Reservations were made at the Mahkota Hotel for our stay. We really enjoyed the stay here as the apartments were given full hotel facilities, like 24hour room service etc.

After a good rest, the two families were ready to venture out for some good food. I suggested to have a go at some great sea food (ikan bakar, for us local's) and after much confusion into the directions on getting there, we finally arrived at Medan Ikan Bakar Pernu/Umbai, which is on the way to Muar, Johor.

We had loads of great sea food; crabs, fish, squid, mussels and prawns. The best part is that it's relatively cheaper compared to the prices at restaurants in the capital city, KL. You get to choose if you want the fish to be grilled, fried, steamed or any other way you like (telling you about it is in itself making me hungry all over again...)

The next day was dedicated to the kids where they spent almost half the day in the pool, swimming. After all, the holiday was for them! Looking at the picture, you'll notice that they're tired but they're not giving up, yet.

Overall, the trip to Melaka was indeed a great escapade for both , the kids and the parents. We will miss Melaka for now..... but there's definitely a next time!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How To Deal With Fears In Children

Having three little kids can sometimes be a lifelong lesson for parents like me. Dealing with their everyday fears is a great task in itself. And as we go along our daily lives, dealing with their inner fears is a task we must carry out with great care and understanding. We agree that feelings of being fearful are part and parcel of our children's growing pains, especially during their early years. As we watch them grow, they become more aware of things around them. Each new learning experience, coupled with rapid development both physically and mentally - it is not uncommon to witness children developing fears as part of their adjustment mechanism. The good news here is that most children get over their fears as they get older.

It is sometimes us, the adults, who over-comfort or exaggerate their concern when children express their fear's. Instead of helping the poor little child, adults are now accomplices in generating such fears. This situation worsens somewhat to the dismay of adults! Therefore, it is important that adults learn to recognize certain types of fears in children that could simply be a passing phase. However, if the child's fears are caused by an external factor such as abuse or neglect, then the adults must act swiftly to remove the child from such a situation.

Fear Of Strangers
Babies often experience anxiety towards strangers as soon as they are aware of their surroundings. Some babies as young as one month-old often cry when strangers approach them, or when they are handed to another person other than their own familiar adults. Older babies around six to eight months can get very upset when handled by strangers. Their anxiety usually improves around ten to twelve months when they tend to move about. However, this positive behaviour soon gives way if children are overwhelmed by their new skills and abrupt changes in surroundings.

Fear Of Sleeping Alone
Toddlers of ages two to three may experience fears of sleeping alone or visiting the doctors office. At this age of emerging independence, toddlers have difficulty separating themselves from their parents, especially when they get tired and sleepy. They may appear to want to be by themselves during the day, but really, they are pretty vulnerable and appreciate cuddles at nights. The fear of sleeping alone may not be due to 'monsters or ghosts' as some parents may think. As such, getting toddlers to sleep alone may require a step-by-step process for parents to help ease their anxiety.

Fear Of Seeing The Doctor
Children are afraid of seeing doctors mostly because they do not like being poked or jabbed at. The strange and unfamiliar environment that is associated with pain and suffering can lead to a fear of visiting the doctors office. To help ease children's fear, parents must acknowledge that these fears are real to the children themselves. Adults should not tease them or overdo their comforting. Lastly, children should never be rushed to overcome their fears.

So what do you do when your child is experiencing fear? Here are three examples I've tried along the way :

Give TLC
When children are fearful, parents should remain calm to comfort them. Do not over-react. Soothe your child by softly humming his favourite song or find ways to help him to relax. Children need to learn positive ways to cope with their fears. Parents can show them by facing their own challenges without losing control or getting upset.

Prepare your toddler or preschool child before leaving home. If the need arises, parents can role-play what will happen at the doctor's office or at the party that they will be attending. Role-play offers much consolation and assurance.

Pat and Praise
As a child gets older, it is helpful to tell him about his success in conquering his fears. Say things like - "Look, you used to be afraid of the dark, now that you are older, you are not afraid anymore!" Be sure to praise them when they visit the doctor's office without much fuss, or stay in a party for more than twenty minutes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kuala Lumpur - The Dazzling Capital City

This is the city I call my home, Kuala Lumpur or KL in short. It's definitely the most vibrant cities one would find in Asia. Once here, one would experience modern sophistication added with nostalgic old-world charm all wrapped nicely into their single destination. It's not surprising if you find yourself immersed in its abundance of attractions - fascinating places of interest, a variety of sensational shopping opportunities and exciting theme parks. KL boasts a comprehensive transportation network that makes any sightseeing experience pleasant and hassle free for all who comes here.

Offering a wide range of accommodation choices to suit any preference and budget, one would find with ease international-standard hotels and resorts equipped with MICE facilities, as well as budget accommodation. For those who plan to stay for longer periods in Kuala Lumpur you could try our youth hostels and if you want to be pampered but don't want to bear those hefty hotel bills try the wide choice of Serviced apartments available. The majority of hotels are situated close to shopping malls and convention centres which makes everything available at a stones-throw-away. If enjoying food is another part of your itinerary, worry no more as you'll be able to enjoy a profusion of mouth-watering delicacies, beginning from our local fare right to those international cuisine.

Places of Interest in Kuala Lumpur are :

KL Tower - Best to visit at night, when one will have an unforgettable time at the world's fourth tallest tower. Dine in style as there is a revolving restaurant at the top and cultural performances on certain days or just enjoy forest walks in its surrounding compounds. For the adventurous traveller, get an adrenalin rush, try the reverse bungy jump.

Petronas Twin Tower - This gleaming structure of steel and glass is the tallest twin buildings in the world and it stands majestically at a height of 451.9m. Once here, take time to visit the famous sky bridge which is located on the 41st floor and view the city from a dizzying height.

Themed Attractions - KL would indeed be a delightful family outing as there are many themed attractions surrounding this dazzling capital city. One could start with the Aquaria KLCC, the largest aquarium in the world or make a trip to Petrosains for an exciting insight into the petroleum industry if you're into technology. Enjoy thrilling rides at the Cosmo's World Theme Park, touted to be the regions biggest indoor theme park. This is situated in Berjaya Times Square, also another spectacular shopping mall.

Entertainment - What can I say, KL is surely loaded with a wide variety of exciting nightspots, including karaoke lounges, clubs with live bands and discotheques. Just mention Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, JalanAmpang and Jalan P. Ramlee and you'll be entertained. These are the top and favourite places to unwind.

KL Lake Gardens - Many come here simply to enjoy verdant greenery in its refreshing enclave. Within these environs are also the Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens, KL Butterfly Park, Deer Park and the KL Bird Park.

National Museum - Located here is also Malaysia's premier museum which is the repository for our nations rich history and heritage. This museum was built back in 1963, its facade features a Minangkabau-styled roof and two impressive front murals making it last the times. Highlights inside include the collection of keris or Malay dagger and ceramics from the ancient Ming Dynasty.

Merdeka Square - Coming here at night is great as the whole street is lit-up signifying that the city never sleeps. For the locals this is an important heritage site in the city, where the Union Jack was lowered here on 31 August 1957, marking Malaysia's independence from colonial rule. Nearby is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which is another heritage site for our country.

Masjid Jamek - This is KL's oldest surviving mosque which is said to be built in 1909, this mosque occupies a historic location at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur. Just a minute away is Masjid India, built in a southern Indian style, one of the many favourite places to enjoy great Indian food and clothing.

Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex - The architecture on this complex resembles a Malay village, this complex is an artists' colony, housing handicraft shops, an art workshop, craft museum and also incorporates a food court. Shop for the very best in Malay ethnic crafts, or try your hand at batik-painting. To view a fine traditional Malay house, one could also visit The Heritage Centre which is located nearby.

Shopping - Definitely a shopping paradise if you ask me. Having a wide range of shopping establishments which can cater to every taste and budget. There are numerous upscale malls throughout this great city. Bargain hunters should not miss out in visiting our famous China Town or locally known as Petaling Street. And if novelty items is what you're set in getting, try visiting Pasar Seni or the other name for it, Central Market, a bazaar styled arts and craft centre where one finds great souvenirs such as batik, woodcarvings and pewter-ware.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Grazing - The New Trend

Homeowners are becoming more house-proud these days, such that they are now increasingly lashing out on well-designed residences. It's no wonder then that entertaining at home @ Grazing, is becoming quite the new trend.

With elegant living rooms opening up to airy patio's, wide garden decks or pools, gone are the days of sit-down dinners confined to the dining room. A varied grazing (informal. to eat small portions of food, as appetizers or the like, in place of a full-sized meal or to snack during the course of the day in place of regular meals) menu - comprising a selection of light foods or tapas - is the stylish way to entertain in lovely spaces in and around your home.

Entertaining with a grazing menu is not similar to throwing a cocktail party. It follows the tenets of good health, which stipulate that enough light bites will make a filling meal. It is not contained to pre-dinner hours either. It can start in the early evening, in the most of casual of ways, and extend until late.

There are no rules to structuring such a menu. You may still be putting the finishing touches on your first plates of tapas when guests start arriving. Serve them a margarita over the kitchen island, move on to nibbles in the patio, and end the night with coffee and dessert on the garden deck.

The great thing about grazing menus is you don't have to slave over the stove too much. Prepare the tapas in advance, or cook them when you need to refill the plates. It helps to choose dishes that are quick and easy to prepare, which doesn't have to mean plain food. A deft hand and a good choice of ingredients can take simple to spectacular.

Try your own recipes, which should be simple, yet big on flavour and loaded with creativity. Now, that's what I call Eating-Out in style!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Removing No-Follow In Blogger

Through this post I'm hoping that you will discover the importance of having a two-way communication between you and your readers through comments.

Comments for a Blog is a very important tool but sadly in the Blogger template the tag is set to "No-Follow" by default. What that means is that every comment you leave at that site (which has "No-Follow") will not entitle you to get a link back to your site. So, if you do not alter this soon, there might come a day when no one would bother leaving you a comment at your site.

How would you feel if there was a day where there were no comments on your posts? This is something all bloggers would dread to face. I personally, try to always leave a 'relevant' comment at the sites that I visit. Actually, to be honest, this is also another way to introduce your site to others, but, we totally don't agree to those spam ones though!

Some may ask, what is the definition or how does one categorize a comment as spam? Comments that have no significance to the topic whatsoever and leaving a text URL in your comment asking people to visit your site are the favourites to be considered as spam comments. So, remember folks, always leave good constructive comments and we will reciprocate.

Comments, to me, means that I'm able to get feedback from my readers, without it I would have to rely on just reading e-mails, now that would take the fun out of blogging, wouldn't it? I remember someone saying to me that, a Blog without comments isn't a Blog at all ... I totally agree with this statement. To me, comments can be considered as contents, the more the better. At the end of the day, this would eventually generate you more traffic and less work for you, because the contents are generated by the readers (like in forums).

The secret here is to get your readers to come to your site regularly and read your posts and finally leaving you a relevant comment. This will help you figure out if you're doing things right or maybe there are things that needs fixing. How will you learn all this without comments?

Then there are those who would say that comments are not important as their readers have subscribed to their RSS feed in large numbers. I would think that is also good, but not so good if you're trying to monetize your site, why? Because, if the majority of your readers tend to read your posts through your RSS feed, then only a handful would visit your site and remember, your Ads are at your Blog, not at the RSS feed, right? So, in plain English : You will have a great number of people reading your posts through the RSS feed, but very few coming to your site thus reducing your page views, hence lower Ad income!

So to avoid all these possibilities, do this, remove the "No-Follow" tag from your Blogger template and your readers will love you for that, and very soon a whole load of comments would start to come in.

To be on the safe side, back-up your template first.

Once you're in your account, click on your Dashboard followed by clicking on your Layout link. Once you've done that, click on the Template tab. Now, just below this is "Edit HTML", click that.

This would bring you to a page filled with a lot of words and letters that may look ancient to you. Don't worry, look for a checkbox situated on the top right side which is labeled as Expand Widget Templates, click this box.

Search for the words rel=nofollow (on your keyboard press CTRL and the F key, this would give you a small screen at bottom of your PC, It's like a mini search box. Type rel=nofollow and press enter in that mini search box) The word rel=nofollow will now appear in a highlighted green colour in your screen.

This is for removing the "no-follow" tag for your comments.

Now delete the word, rel=nofollow and Save Your Template!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Affiliate Programs

There are many ways that one makes money from simply blogging. We agree that Google AdSense is the number one choice when it comes to monetizing your site, but, as more and more bloggers are enrolling their sites into this type of contextual advertising program, it's quite common we find that their earnings are somewhat low at times. So, many bloggers nowadays look for alternatives to add on-top of their usual AdSense ads. This is totally a different story if you're John Chow or Darren Rowse as their traffic goes into the thousands.

So, what is the alternative here? Joining the right Affiliate program, is the other option. But, unlike AdSense ads which works on CPC (cost-per-click) and CPM (cost per thousand impressions) these Affiliate programs require your readers to click on the links and requires them to purchase a product, thus concluding a sale. So, for the majority of blogs that get low amounts of traffic, the idea of making more than $3.00 in a day can even sometimes be hard to achieve. But this all changes if you're a publisher in a certain Affiliate program.

By joining an Affiliate program, advertising a product at your site becomes so much easier as merchant ads and product links are easily assessable to your readers. You can also attach them into your e-mail campaigns thus giving you an additional edge in converting a sale. Another good thing about them is that they're free to join.

Commissions from such programs can vary depending on the Merchant's pay-out based on a percentage that they would preset. This can range from somewhere between 4% - 10% commission when a sale or other qualifying actions are completed. This is called CPA, or performance-based marketing. Definitely getting a 4% commission on selling a product worth $10-$15 is not going to be much for you, but, imagine this, what if someone buys a $6,000 product? And the best part out of this is that, the more you sell, the higher percentage of commission you will receive. That would give you an income that would probably take a couple of months to earn out of those AdSense ads alone. Trust me, there are a lot of people out there who are making a reasonable amount of money solely through these sort of Affiliate programs.

As there are many Affiliate Marketing companies out there for you to choose from, It's not going to be too difficult to find one that suits your site. For me personally, companies like : LinkShare and Amazon, works well. As both are trusted brands, I find them to be highly effective on my site. Chances are, once your readers are referred to these Affiliate sites they might end up buying more than one product, now how does that sound for passive income?

So what are you waiting for, if you're not already a LinkShare publisher, sign up for it using the following button.

LinkShare  Referral  Prg

Sunday, July 15, 2007

LA Galaxy's Biggest Star

Ladies and Gentleman, we present to you LA Galaxy's newest and biggest star, David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE, but to the rest of the world he is simply known as the famous, David Beckham! Born on the 2nd of May 1975, David Beckham is without a doubt, one of the worlds biggest marketable sports figure. Becks begins his American soccer career by arriving at Los Angeles where he will play for the LA Galaxy team.

Attended by well-over 2,500 fans of LA Galaxy, the stadium reception was somewhat a spectacle to behold, amid confetti cannons exploding and music blaring at the same time, crowds singing out loud his name at the theme song from the cartoon "The Flintstones".

Presented with his lucky No.23 jersey, Beckham will have an uphill task here as the LA Galaxy team has only won 3 of their first 12 Major League Soccer games this season to stand 2nd bottom on the table.

Made his name at Manchester United, before moving onto Real Madrid to be a Galactico and finally arriving here in America on Thursday (July 13, 2007) . The 32 year old David Beckham will make a whopping 250 million dollars over the next 5 years whilst with the LA Galaxy team. With his arrival, the Americans are hoping that this will definitely be a major boost for soccer in their country.

UK's hottest couple; Victoria and David Beckham, will be moving into their new 22 million dollar Beverly Hills mansion, before he begins his official training with the team somewhere next week. And, come July 21, the Americans will officially get to see Becks in action in his first game when the LA Galaxy's take on his former rivals, Chelsea FC.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Schmooze Award

Another day full of surprises, that's how it is for me today. Placed as a Hot Member at MyBlogLog and now this, Wow, I have to thank my lucky stars! I'm still overwhelmed by the recent Award that I received a couple of days back from The Blog Fairy, and to add to my excitement, here comes along another one! It seems that I have the Power of Schmooze and they've decided to share this with me.

Blogging has been a tremendous learning cycle for me. Never did I imagine that it would bring me such joy. Awards, were definitely not on my list of wants, when I began this journey. To me, friends whom I have made through this experience can never be lost. The reason I say this is because of their genuine support, guidance and encouragement that is never ending. I am therefore greatfull to one such individual, Mariuca @ Marzie! She has been my constant motivator, always sharing, always been there.

Thanks to her, I'm receiving this Award today and I must say, I'm extremely excited and happy given the fact of my current ups and downs in the home front. But, believe me when I say this, It's things like this that makes life that much interesting in the Blogging world. Thank you, Marzie!

And I would like to share this Award with five recipients, whom I truly believe deserves them. To these friends of mine, I say Congratulations :

Ev Nucci - My love for Blogging comes from this great lady, thanks for everything.
Darlene - I would call her the BBQ King, a true girlfriend.
Teri - A woman who truly appreciates life.
Aayush - My buddy who tells it all from his heart.
Ishtar - Lives half her life abroad from home and comes out with the greatest of stories.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Unseen Forces

We should not presume that what we cannot see does not exist. It is usually the deeds of our conscious minds that make fools of us all, in failing to realize that some happenings in the physical world can be related to the unforeseen forces which surround us.

Before China opened its doors to the rest of the world, it was seen as a land of myth and mystery. "Secrets" like kung fu, the balancing of yin and yang in maintaining health and the science of acupuncture drew large crowds of westerners to China to seek knowledge of these mysteries.

Of the many who came, one particular group of professionals comprising doctors, dietitians, biologists, chemists and geologists bundled themselves into jeeps and embarked on a low-profile expedition. Their journey took them into uncharted territory, over unfamiliar mountains and across inhospitable desserts, before they finally came to a village where an unusually high number of twins had been born.

After a day of much-needed rest, the team set about its business. The doctors lined up the village to examine them; the chemists tested the wells and river water; the geologists examined the mineral contents of the soil; and the dietitians just queried the villagers on their eating habits.

After two weeks, the team members met to discuss what they had discovered. Each member came forth to disclose his findings, and the group realized there was nothing special about the water, soil, diet or even the people.

The leader, Kent Mcdonald, told the rest of them to pack up for the return trip. While everyone went about the business of pulling stakes, Mcdonald stood atop a high vantage point outside the village contemplating the forces of nature that had given this place its particular distinction.

Eventually, he decided to join his colleagues but as he walked towards them, he heard a shrill voice from behind him. Turning, he saw an old woman gesturing wildly towards him and trying to reach him.

He decided to find out what she wanted and was joined by his interpreter. The interpreter spoke to the old woman at length, then turned to Mcdonald and told him the villagers frequently bore twins because of the two identical mountains that stood tall and proud in front of the village. Whether or not Mcdonald believed this, he at least had an unusual tale to relate to his family and colleagues when he got home.

When the ancient Greeks were at the peak of their civilization they too had their own beliefs which closely matched those of the Chinese, especially when it comes to child-bearing.

Bedrooms and other main rooms in a house often had paintings and busts of handsome Greek Gods and beautiful Goddesses at strategic points. By decorating their homes in this way, the Greeks believed that during a woman's pregnancy, the expectant mother would somehow subconsciously "programme" the looks of the Gods and Goddesses into her unborn offspring.

When the baby was born, it would have the profile of a handsome Greek God or, if a girl, the beauty of a Goddesses. How much truth there is in these ancient ways, we certainly do not know.

Among the Chinese, there are also many beliefs surrounding pregnancy. One of them calls for a "ban" on any renovation work in a house where a pregnant woman lives.It is held that the noise and dust will cause the expectant mother much discomfort and consequently, her irritation will have a negative effect on the baby's appearance. Mirrors and glasses are also treated carefully so that they do not shatter and cause scarring of any sort on the child's face.

Whether or not these things are to be believed is not the point; to most Chinese, they would just assume not to take the risk that it might be true after all. Similarly, we should not scoff at things that are said of unseen forces and elements simply because we cannot detect them with our own limited senses.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Awesome Award

Well to be frank, I'm lost for words on this. I've been down lately, and have not been focusing too well on my blog. Three days ago as I was over at MyBlogLog I received a nice little surprise from The Blog Fairy. I was immediately awakened from my slump state to find out that it was an Award! Never in my wildest dream, have I ever imagined for one moment that any Award in particular would be bestowed on me. I'm still actually in a daze and am wondering how I was chosen for this Awesome Blogger Award.

Apparently the ladies have been enjoying these sort of Awards for quite a while now, such as : Rockin Girl Blogger and Blue Ribbon Blogger. So, I think they decided that it was high time that the guy's have a share in this. I'm actually honored that I get to share this Award with few great minds, my true friends : Marzie @ Mariuca (the best female blogger, she gets to enjoy the Blue Ribbon Award) Zubli (the great visionary) and Bobby @ Revellian (a maestro to the blogging world)

And to The Blog Fairy, I must say, THANK YOU with all my heart! You have indeed made me realize that, sometimes good things do take place even on your darkest day's.

Monday, July 2, 2007

BMW 3 Series Convertible - 2007

How I would like to have this Convertible parked in my garage! It's a car which evolved from a project carried out by a couple of very enthusiastic engineers who initially asked themselves the question on what the modern reiteration of a twenty year icon should be like. BMW claims that their new 2007, 3 Series Convertible to be in a league of it's own; while the ultimate driving machine is the Coupe, the Convertible seems to have a mirror image for an open driving experience and unique lifestyle motoring.

The special thing to note about the vehicle itself is because it's the first to feature a retractable hardtop. Also for the very first time, the 3 Series Convertible will feature a newly developed 6 and also 4-cylinder engine with direct gasoline injection technology. Their featured top model is the 335i Convertible, loaded with a straight-6 twin turbo (306bhp power) unit. BMW will also be featuring a 330d version, which is infact a 3.0L in line-6 turbo diesel. This will be their fourth variant in it's new 3 Series range, right after the Sedan, Touring and also their Coupe.

Their Coupe/Cabriolet (or in short, CC) roof has such an excellent concept in design. It somehow gives the car a unique dual character, with the least minimum effort placed. The car has a hardtop that fits all intents and purposes, and with a touch of a button the elements are opened, and all is bared to see. No wonder it makes owning an open-top car so much fun. It has also triggered a much wider market for car makers as they have added this variants to their line-up.

Some would say that it's not right for a CC variant to automatically join any family of cars out there, but there have been hold-outs, ever so notably with the likes of BMW. And they have also just jumped on that same bandwagon, with the release of their latest 3 Series Convertible.

Porsche alongside with BMW, have always held their policy of not compromising the dynamics and balance of their convertibles or their roadsters for that matter, which is why these cars only come added with soft and simple lightweight roofs (there's also detachable hardtops available from them, but that would be another story all-together). And finally, they have come to a conclusion that they able to present a better version, which is light, dynamic enough to handle the weight issue. They are also certain that the 3 Coupe, that this BMW 3 Series Convertible is based on, is definitely on the right platform for them to make the paradigm shift.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Renovation Tips

It may be high-time that your home needs a revamp. But before you give the go-ahead signal to your interior designer for an opulent classical theme or sign up for a big renovation loan, think strategically. Here are some renovation tips I would like to share with you.

Ask yourselves these: Do you intend to stay in this place through your twilight years? Or, do you intend to upgrade to a larger space quite soon? Plan your renovation based on your family's projected needs rather than any fanciful decor ideas or current wants.

Homes that are well renovated and maintained fetch higher prices in the resale market compared to un-renovated ones. This real estate maxim holds true whether you live in a flat or a semi-detached house. However, you may not get back what you spent on the renovation if you had splurged on pricey marble fittings or unusual extras like a sunken conversation pit.

While it may not be possible to determine exactly how much a good renovation will increase the value of your property, there are some general guidelines property pros swear by, one of the which is that a well-executed, thoughtful renovation can entice prospective buyers to pay more than they would otherwise have if they had seen your home in its original dingy state.

So even if you intend to sell on in a year or two, it can pay to do a renovation now. Besides, if it is a major renovation like adding a new bathroom, your family can enjoy it until your move.

  • Plan Your Budget
How much you should budget on your renovation really depends on the condition of the property. "In general, a renovation should cost between 10 to 15 percent of the property price. However, if your property is really old or in a bad condition, it might be necessary to spend more."

Think carefully before you sink serious money into fancy hi-fi equipment or designer kitchen cabinets.

  • The Right Reno's
Dark and cramped spaces obviously do not go down well with prospective home buyers. Instead, creating an illusion of spaciousness and abundant natural light is a good way to enhance the value of your property.

Bring more light into your home, especially if your floor area is small. Try to remove some non-structural walls and partitions and replace them with glass panels instead. Also, don't forget the importance of proportion. "Furnishings and fittings should be designed in proportion to the size of the home. For example, an extremely large sofa in a tiny living room would make the place appear smaller."

  • Save On These
As a general rule, avoid renovations that only appeal to those with niche tastes. No point of having designer bathroom fittings that may only appeal to buyers with exclusive tastes, but its significance may be lost on other potential buyers.

Using bathroom fittings of a moderate quality will do. Certain fittings like chandeliers, expensive marble flooring's or fancy curtains may also not make much of a difference to the value of your home.

With all these, remember, Renovate Smart!

Tips & Tricks for Making Your Home Beautiful from

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Return of Bruce Lee

If you haven't noticed my introduction already, then you would have missed out on me telling the world that one of my passions besides writing at this blog, would be watching movies. Some say that listening to music, reading a book and watching movies, can in fact be a form of therapy. Seriously I don't know if this has any truth, but boy do I get a thrill when there's a great movie at the Cinema. Ya, action movies are also in my line-up of favourite movies as well, besides the love for comedy. One of my favourite all time action heroes is non other than Li Yuen Kam ...... (who is that???) Well, to save you the agony, it's none other than the worlds greatest martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee. And this article is all about his return!

That's right, born in San Francisco, California, USA, on the 27th of November, 1940 Bruce Lee was named Li Yuen Kam by his mom, as his dad was away on an Opera tour. But, upon his return, the name Li Yuen Kam was changed to Jun Fan. I know most of us right up to now, would have thought that Bruce Lee was born in China but how wrong were we, as all that time he was holding an American citizenship.

Bruce had actually started his acting career in America in the 1960's and did this right up till 1970, where in all that time he was moved around many different sets of roles. Unhappy with not getting the right sort of script, Lee moved to Hong Kong in 1971 and got his first lead role in the box office movie "The Big Boss" and from then onwards, the world recognized this great man we call, Bruce Lee!

Why I'm telling you all this is because I'm so happy that finally after all this time, China's national broadcaster, is currently on location and have begun shooting a 50-part TV series "The Legend of Bruce Lee" based on the life of the martial art icon. And the producers are hoping to air this in April next year, in their run-up of hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This is something I'm definitely anticipating to watch!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Find The Right Spot

They call it Chinese earth magic, where finding the right spot or placement of objects enhances the energy flow for the environment. Adding to my list of feng shui articles I thought that this would also be of interest to you. The study of feng shui alone does not confine itself only to certain shapes, terrain, homes or even large buildings for that matter. The intricate art of feng shui goes beyond these and can even some cases touch on islands and whole countries for instance.

This art on such a large scale is not often heard of because many of the geomancers out there are either not knowledgeable enough or they find the task just too big for them. So, they often leave it to someone else or until they feel they have reached a higher level of knowledge or have gained enough experience to handle such areas.

It would only take the very best and elite feng shui master with many years of toil and experience in-hand to deal with this sort of subject due to its delicate nature of job - finding the right spot on the land where the power of yang or life chi lies. Once the geomancer has done this by identifying these sites where the good chi lies, his work becomes very much easier. He is then immediately able to scale down his projections before going into the finer details of things.

You should compare this sort of work with the hi-tech super spy satellites which are in orbit. They are suspended in the dark, with silent void of space, they would serve as an invisible eye for the wealthy nations that are able to afford them. When these satellites are in the right position, over the country or site to be observed, its mechanical eye will take into consideration all the details of what is happening at that spot. If a smaller or a more tighter focus is required, computers can do the job to enhance the satellite's findings.

In this same manner, Feng shui is similar in the sense that it is able to focus on a specific area before the intricate job of analysing is performed by the geomancer.

Let's take an example of when a geomancer makes a general comment saying that a particular shopping complex has good feng shui without elaborating further, you will find many people out there scrambling to own a lot. And when a particular lot becomes vacant, the stakes to secure that place becomes increasingly higher in price value.

It is therefore not unusual, however, to find that 30 to 35 per cent of the businesses operating in a place with good feng shui may actually be on the edge of financial difficulties, despite the crowds that flock to the complex and had been mentioned to be 'highly recommended'. The reason for this is that when a geomancer normally says a place has good feng shui, he is only passing a general comment on the entire building itself. But when shop-lots face 'down' escalators or are located near toilets or facing the long passageways (like the notorious T-junction), things tend to be different.

In general, all buildings said to have good feng shui would also have certain areas that have weak spots in them that should be avoided. If someone came up to you saying that a building has 100 per cent good feng shui, he's the best joker in town!