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Friday, March 3, 2017

Lian & Méz watches - wearable sustainability

Lian & Méz logo
Image provided and used with permission.

The watchmaker’s art is alive and well in the age of the smartphone.

That’s a bold statement to start with, but what Lian & Méz are doing with their crowdfunded sustainable watch is even more unusual. They are mixing finest German precision watchmaking with Swiss-made traditional movement and a sustainable and eco-friendly vibe. Designed to appeal to those who like to make a statement with classic jewellery while still remaining ethically sound, the Lian & Méz range has straps handmade from Piñatex pineapple leaf fibers. These fibers are a natural byproduct of pineapple farming, which gives growers another source of income alongside their fruit harvest.

The watches are a real talking point, not only because they look good, but because of their ethical strength. What’s more, they are fully customizable, with cases, dials, indices and straps available in a variety of colors. The cases are available in 36mm (ladies) or 40mm (gents) diameter with the straps sized accordingly, and the straps themselves are interchangeable. The company hopes to receive enough pledges to enter full production soon but in the meantime, if their target is met, those ordering watches by pledging money will be contacted at the end of the fundraising process to finalize their order. All watches bought through the crowdfunding campaign will come with a two year warranty.


The Kickstarter page is very detailed, with information on the history of the company and the founders’ hopes for the future. It has taken them two years to reach this stage, concentrating on the sustainability and quality aspects of their product. They are hoping for €25,000 on an all or nothing basis by the end of March 2017, and if that goal is achieved they hope to start full production of their Fifth Season range shortly afterwards, with delivery to backers over the summer. Using the hashtag #wearsustainable, founders Julian and Feramez are stressing their respect and responsibility to the natural world as well as tapping into the current interest in low-impact living.

The duo hope that their Kickstarter campaign funds will allow them to place their first large order, produce tooling, work on new designs, shake up the watch industry and support the pineapple-growing countries where they will source their Piñatex pineapple leaf fibers.

Levels of backing can start from as little as €1, but to get their hands on a watch, backers will have to choose at least the Super Early Bird offer of one watch for €139. This offers a saving of almost 50% on the projected retail price of €269. There is an option with an extra strap for €185 and an offer for couples of two watches plus extra straps for €359.

Lian & Méz has been featured in many of the leading German and English business magazines for their mix of fashionable design and ethical sourcing. In addition, Piñatex has been approved as a vegan product by PETA.

One of Lian & Méz’s watches would make a memorable gift for someone on a special birthday, or allow couples to commemorate a significant date in their lives. Interested would-be backers have until the early hours of Monday 27 March to place their pledge.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MacBack - Sell or buy used iPhones in the USA


MacBack US logo
Image provided and used with permission.

Back in September I wrote about MacBack and Tech.trade sites. MacBack offers users the chance to sell old Apple tech for refurbishment and Tech.trade allows buyers to purchase refurbished Macbooks, iPads and iMacs. My previous Windows laptop, which was on its last legs then, has now officially expired and so I’m definitely in the market for a new machine. Most of my friends use Macs as they’re gamers and coders, so they suggested that I look at a refurbished Macbook. While I was researching my options, I discovered that MacBack have a US division as well as the UK arm I wrote about. The US division of MacBack handle both the buying and selling of refurbished iDevices, including iPhones, iMacs, Macbooks and iPads. The company is currently offering up to $380 for a second hand-as-new iPhone in top condition.

Once a seller has decided that their iPhone is no longer fit for purpose, selling it is easy. Firstly, they request a quote. For residents of Reno or California, collection is free; for other states, UPS will handle the mailing either via collection or drop off service. A quick assessment and payment via bank transfer or PayPal is made in 48 hours no matter where in the US the seller is located. Current top-dollar models are the iPhone 5S, 6S and 6S+. Phones sent without a power supply will have deductions made from the quote price.

iPhone 5S sellers can expect to earn over $100 for a well cared for model. The flagship model in 2013, the iPhone 5S was the first Apple phone available in gray, gold and silver and was phenomenally successful, selling three times as many units as its nearest Apple rival, the 5C.

Unlocked versions of the iPhone 5S 32GB can earn around $100 for the best condition, while locked versions could command up to $75. Other prices will vary on the state of the phone upon receipt by MacBack, and sellers are advised to read the grading page to find out where their phone is likely to fall on the scale. In practice, most used phones are likely to be a Grade C device, with mild wear and tear, no screen marks, no dents, still with original packaging and power supply.

Each page gives detailed instructions on the best way to delete data from the phone while still retaining it safely in the iCloud for future use. As with all second hand sales, sellers are advised to back everything up and sign out of all associated programs and devices before attempting data deletion. There are specialists around who can help with this process if necessary - this may be important as data cannot be restored once wiped. Working entirely in the cloud can be a pain at times, but sometimes it’s a better option as it makes upgrading to a new device and disposing of the old one really simple. Plus, items saved in the cloud are not hogging space on the phone itself, leading to less wear and tear on the battery and a phone which runs smoothly.

During standard business hours MacBack staff are available to help with queries via phone, email, Facebook, and Twitter, while for new owners, the Tutorials section gives extended help on iPhone 5/5S and 6/6S features and functions. Learning about a new device, or even safely preparing one for sale, can be daunting, but with MacBack’s simple tutorials, everyone can become an expert at operating their iPhone. 

For those in the US looking for a place to sell an old iPhone, buy a reconditioned model or even find out how to operate their newly purchased gadget, MacBack has all the answers.

MacBack.
Image provided and used with permission.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Article directory Internet Articles Dot Net

A typical screenshot from Internet Articles Dot Net
Image provided and used with permission

Everyone has favorite subjects for which they have a weakness. Apart from writing about anything that takes my fancy, I like reading and watching documentaries about Classical Greek monumental architecture, polar bears and the history of electronic music. My husband is a geek, well versed in retro computing, films and travel. My parents love France and French influences; my father is a fluent Francophone and my mother a committed Francophile. Dad also runs a jazz appreciation group, while mum specializes in simple, healthy recipes and exercises for older people.

For some, their specialist subject leads to a lifetime’s work, maybe in academia, medicine or research. For others, a website is the way to go. A year ago, in January 2016, Timothy Davis decided that the topics he was interested in warranted a website of their own. And so, the article directory InternetArticles.net (or Internet Articles Dot Net, as it is styled) was born.

Since then, his website has had over 101,100 visitors at time of writing - it goes up relentlessly - and published around an article a day, on average. Topics include exercise for back pain, model rocketry, food and food cravings, relationships and CAD drawing. Timothy describes it as a home for any family-friendly subject and currently has a number of writers providing content on their specialist areas. You can see why this goldmine of information appeals to me, can’t you?

There are nineteen regular authors, four admins and four editors. Timothy welcomes applications from new authors, and asks that any authors who are interested in having work published should contact him. There is a page devoted to Terms of Service, stating limits on the numbers of links in an article, and the length of time an author may take to revise a draft. Internet Articles Dot Net is always on the lookout for ‘quality, free and unique content’ so writers who consider their work fulfills those criteria might wish to approach Timothy for more information.

As previously mentioned, the topic range is wide and varied. Looks like just about everyone in my family would be happy, as alongside architecture and animals, there are pages devoted to computers, food, health, music, technology and travel.

For the complete anorak, the Uncategorized listing includes pieces on the History of the Diesel Locomotive Engine, Legitimate Work at Home Jobs, Basic Italian, hydroculture, dog ownership, freeware, owning a greenhouse and Christian living.

Each article has related links within the text as references and further linked articles at the end. This encourages further reading around the site. At school we had a game called ‘thessie bashing’, where our teacher would give us a word to start with and we had to look it up in the thesaurus, find the first word in the synonyms which took our fancy and look that up, then rinse and repeat. At the end of a specified time, we would have to justify our decisions. I think Timothy’s site is an internet version of ‘thessie bashing’. I started reading the article ‘A Dad Full of Careers’. From there, I moved on to ‘Living in a Barn’,which was linked at the end, then ‘Finding a Suitable Barn to Convert into a Home’ from the link at the bottom of that piece.

If you’re stuck for inspiration but simply feel the need to read, there is a list of Featured Articles accessible from the Pages link on the right hand side of the screen. The current favorite is Vintage House Plans Download. Popular Articles, in the right hand column, is also a good place to find recommended reading.

Judging by the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to Internet Articles Dot Net, I am not the only one who finds the site interesting, informative and varied. It certainly makes a change from reading the news these days, and the subject matter is more cheerful too. I can imagine in insomniac nights to come, dialing up the site as a modern alternative to counting sheep. It’s an easy way to gain new knowledge and let your mind drift away from whatever is keeping it awake, at least.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Express yourself with Demeter Mojis

Artwork from Demeter Mojis adds class to any room.
Image provided and used with permission.


Demeter Mojis is an online art prints and merchandise shop for the discerning. Those whose taste runs to simple line drawings, almost caricature-ish in nature, may well appreciate Demeter Mojis’ work. Monochrome (black on white or reverse) line drawn faces have been printed onto just about every item of clothing and interior decoration possible. The range of branded goods runs from t-shirts and totes to mugs, cushions, throws, towels, canvas prints and more.

Those familiar with the clean lines and simple style in the work of ‘Miffy’ artist Dick Bruna may will relate to these pieces. Demeter’s influences include Picasso, Pollock and de Kooning and the style is quite unique, minimal and modern. In just a few strokes, a face appears, often quizzical, sometimes happy sometimes sad, always expressive.


A typical example of Demeter's work.
Image supplied and used with permission.

There is an enormous selection of framed and unframed art prints and a smaller range of other customised items. Some of the more popular designs are available across the whole range of Demeter Mojis’ stock, however, so it would be possible to match items in a room using a single design, or mix the selection with a choice of designs.

Demeter’s emoticon drawings can express feelings without words, and a piece of this artwork would make a memorable gift for someone, or act as a focal point in a home or workplace. Anywhere decorated in the minimalist style would benefit from a print, or maybe a cushion or two on a plain sofa.

As you might expect from an artist, Demeter Mojis is on Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Demeter states, quite rightly, that emojis are becoming an increasingly common way for millennials to communicate, citing Pepsi’s PepsiMoji campaign of 2016 (Pepsi Preps Global Emoji Can and Bottle Campaign) and Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a feeling’ campaign as recent examples of the trend. Even taking that into account, these artworks are timelessly eye-catching and unusual, fitting well with the minimalist lifestyle adopted by many through need or a conscious rejection of collecting stuff for stuff’s sake.

For a gift with a difference, Demeter Mojis’ distinctive range of prints and soft furnishings is worth a look. Today’s connected world has one great advantage - many more people can view and buy the work of individual artists, just as they can stream music by local bands as easily as well known ones. Sometimes, supporting the lesser known designers or groups can be more satisfying than buying the same print as everyone else from a chain store or paying top dollar for tickets to a popular concert. When it comes to creativity, individual tastes certainly rule. And less can definitely be more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SlimRoast Coffee, new to the UK, familiar to the US

SlimRoast Coffee slogan.
Image provided and used with permission.




Regular readers of this blog will be aware of two things. One, that I like to review the very latest weight loss products. Two, that I am a teapot on legs.

 

Having reviewed several slimming tea products before, I was conscious of the fact that my coffeehead friends were being left out of the loop. I have heard enough from them about the irresistibly sweet and tasty coffees they can buy from every coffee shop in town, while when I go there with them, I’m restricted to green tea, weak milky black tea or hot chocolate, mostly.


Now, my coffee-drinking readers have no excuse to duck their New Year’s resolution to cut down on the sweet treats and lose weight. Because I’ve been told about this new product called SlimRoast. Yes, it’s a coffee. Yes, it will help coffee lovers lose weight. My contact Mark tells me that he has lost 3 stone in the last year without having to give up his coffee habit. Like many weight loss products, it works by suppressing the appetite and restricting the amount of fat and sugar absorbed by the body.

 

Now, I’m hardly the ideal person to test coffee, because I don’t drink it, but I know that my coffee-drinking friends say the whole thing of it is that the caffeinated version gives a buzz. I’m guessing this SlimRoast dark roast Brazilian coffee does too, but it has also been formulated to help drinkers lose weight as an extra bonus.

 

The mix suppresses the appetite gently, so it curbs the urge for mid-morning snacks. It’s the natural ingredients that help, and everything which goes into the product is approved by the FDA, EU and UK regulatory bodies. It is made with Arabica coffee beans, which have half the caffeine content of supermarket blends and a handful of calories.

 

Typical sachet of SlimRoast with mug.
Image provided and used with permission.
The ideal way to consume these beverages is in moderation. One cup (or maybe two cups maximum) a day, for six days a week, then a rest day. The sachets are based on a 68kg adult so those who are lighter or heavier may need to adjust their intake accordingly.

 

Active ingredients include:
  • Garcinia cambogia, touted as a fat burner (I have also seen this in tea and tea-based health and weight loss programs);
  • organic raw cacao;
  • L-Theanine (the same amino acid found in green tea);
  • Phaseolamin, which is supposed to block starch-digesting carbs;
  • Phenylethylamine HCL, or PEA, used to stimulate the release of dopamine;
  • concentrated green tea extract;
  • Chromium Polynicotinate, a mineral which helps control blood sugar, curb carb cravings and fight body fat;
  • Chlorogenic acid, a thermogenic fat burner - it works with your body to burn more fat;
  • Premium dark Brazilian Arabica coffee; the important bit

The SlimRoast range comes in four different types: Regular, fruit flavoured Trim, Immune Boost with antioxidants and fruit extracts and Energy to increase focus and performance. The Immune Boost mix contains aloe vera, widely known as an antioxidant, while Energy contains guarana, ginseng and green tea extract for endurance.

 

As with all health and wellness products, there is a range of opinion online about whether SlimRoast works or not. As everyone’s metabolism, weight, body shape and lifestyle is different, some people may achieve better or worse results than others. Some reviews state that around 90% of people will achieve some weight loss, especially if they drink a cup first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

 

As always with these products, there is the opportunity to sell the range on to others as an independent distributor. Apparently this is not a standard MLM or network marketing scheme though I have seen some reviews referring to it as that. In the UK at the moment, it appears to be a newcomer to the market and finding its feet.

 

The main thing I have found with all these products is that they work well if you adopt and maintain a relatively active lifestyle as well as using them. This helps the ingredients work to their best capabilities. As ever, the old adage ‘moderation in everything’ seems to be the best advice, with a decent amount of exercise, sensible dietary choices and products like SlimRoast coffee or its fruity equivalents as part of a normal daily fluid intake.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Brett Maternowski, realtor, Tampa area, FL, USA

Image used with permission.
Taken from website brettsellsproperty.com

Florida is the most popular state to be a realtor; there are over 20,000 people employed in the sector according to the May 2015 stats on BLS.gov. This is perhaps not surprising given the demographic of FL residents - snowbirds, tourists looking for lettings, seasonal workers, people who come on the promise of a job, find one and never leave.


One of those realtors in the Tampa, Florida area is Brett Maternowski, operator of the wonderfully-named website brettsellsproperty.com. Descriptive website names work so well as they instantly offer an idea of the purpose of the site. Yessir, Brett sells property. He works with buyers and sellers to smooth the often confusing and frequently irritating process of disposing of or acquiring a house.


No matter how many times an individual, couple or family goes through the process of buying and selling real estate, it never gets any easier. Sure, property veterans will know the answers to many of the tricky questions often posed by title or repair negotiations, but a realtor with experience will still be an essential part of the process.


Brett works with sellers to help sell their house fast, and with buyers to match them to the best houses for sale. Each sale starts with a free home evaluation, and a knock-your-socks-off fully SEO-optimized online real estate listing syndicated to as many other real estate websites as possible. With the power of big hitters like Yahoo, Trulia and Zillow behind his listings, Brett gives a boost to any houses for sale. Then from contract to closing, he will help sellers with any queries and issues which arise. A real estate deal is much more than simply putting together the listing. Duties of a realtor include accompanying the inspector and appraiser, accepting delivery of their reports, negotiating on any corrective action required and co-ordinating the lender documents. At least they do when Brett Maternowski is your realtor.


For buyers, Brett offers an enhanced listings search option where a simple query form will offer further information on listings of interest. He will also set up a custom search which alerts buyers to houses for sale matching their criteria.


Once the search is on, the next thing to do is to sort out finance. Brett is on hand to help buyers with this area too, as he can advise on the best mortgage to look for and which lenders to visit. Some areas of Brett’s real estate business apply equally to buyers and sellers. The final bit of the maze concerns the negotiations from contract to closing, a delicate balancing act between buyer and seller to ensure that both parties get what they expect out of the deal. The only way to ensure this part runs smoothly is to have all the necessary paperwork to hand at the right time, and Brett will help even the most inexperienced buyer to navigate the legalities around title insurance, inspections and repairs. It is at this stage that many buyers suddenly find out about covenants and restrictions that no one mentioned before, but which could be a deal breaker. With more than 50 tasks to undertake between contract and closing alone, this is usually the realtor’s busiest time, especially when selling houses fast is a unique selling point.


For a personal real estate service in the Hernando, Land O Lakes, Lutz, Tampa, and Wesley Chapel areas, sounds like Brett Maternowski might well be your man.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Linkbutton, a new take on social media

The Linkbutton logo, image provided and used with permission

Linkbutton.com sounds like the next big thing for apps, websites and social combined. It’s not quite here yet, but coming soon for those social hounds who just have to be in on the next big thing. And this sounds like quite a thing.


Social media has become an integral part of marketing and online interaction in the last few years and there are sites for sharing just about anything these days, in any format. Like and share buttons appear on almost every post, while some employers will check a candidate's social presence as part of the hiring process.


Linkbutton.com is launching soon to join the party. Linkbutton.com is going to be a free site for users to link to their content, offering a choice of over 100 actions or call buttons (including BUY, CALL, SHARE, DONATE, DOWNLOAD or VOLUNTEER) from a personal or business account. The default action will be ACCESS, which will simply let readers read the posted content.


As with many other social media sites, the clue is in ‘social’. Having followers and being followed is the goal, according to the founders, although businesses will have profile categories to help drive followers to the right content. In true social media style, the site will also access links shared by other users. Those users could be businesses, individuals, brands or blog sites, who knows? In the modern always-on world, everyone and everything is a brand. Linkbutton.com is aiming to be a one-stop shop for all kinds of social media interaction. Users will be engaging with others in many ways; from simply liking a post about a business’ new range to ordering a meal, supporting a crowdfunding page, sharing their CV or resume with a company they’d like to work for, or booking tickets for a gig. For a more personal experience, linkbutton.com may be a lower key alternative for sharing photos and posts with people who are not on bigger social media sites.



Copyright: Getty Images
(Diversity People Connection Digital Devices Browsing Concept)
Credit: Rawpixel, Stock #: 521545050

The site has iOS and Android apps planned, although these are not active yet, so those users who habitually post on the move will be able to update quickly and easily. The one-stop-shop scenario may appeal to netizens who prefer their interactions all in one place, while the wide variety of media permitted will allow any active blogger, v-logger or business to share new content easily. (It is advisable to read the Upload Policy on the website before starting off though.)


As perhaps expected, Linkbutton Inc is already active on social media itself, as linkbuttonmedia on twitter and Facebook. This is a vital tool to build awareness ahead of the official launch. A search for the name brings up twitter users who have shared the company’s introductory video, showing a typical search engine query for sites where potential customers can see interesting content. Their website is simple and uncluttered, with a choice of personal or business accounts and examples of how both work. Action keywords are the way to share the posts, whether those posts are messages, photos, videos or links, so users can share a new blog post with the keyword ‘comment’, or a crowdfunding campaign by instructing ‘donate’. Businesses can post instructions including Menu > Order and Product > Buy among others. Maybe a transport company could offer links to their latest timetables or real time map, or a recruiter could designate individual ‘apply’ action buttons uniquely linked to each of their vacancies. The possibilities are endless.


The site sounds simple to use and benefit from, and is likely to appeal to an individual or company currently posting across several social media platforms but wanting to expand their reach. Linkbutton.com will allow those known for their blog posts to share videos, and those known for panoramic video shoots to showcase breathtaking still photographs all in the same timeline. Seemingly, linkbutton.com could well appeal to those who find larger social media sites to be too cluttered, overly complicated and intrusive, because as it is currently small, there will not be the wide attention given to bigger platforms.


No matter what topic users are promoting, they will be able to share the links via linkbutton.com, subject to the usual caveats about content copyright and decency, of course. The site aims to combine the best of all the big social sites and then some, as there is nowhere else offering quite the breadth and variety of options. Sure, there are plenty sites for link sharing, article promotion and video posting, but fewer where a link in a post leads directly to a takeaway restaurant’s menu and orders page or where a jobseeker can share their resume without having to go through a full application process.


Linkbutton. Buttons that link people to others via actions. Coming soon.