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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vietnam Bamboo Travel: Indochinese organized tour specialists

Vietnam Bamboo Travel logo.
Image provided and used with permission.

Mention Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to the average person and they are likely to think of places seen in films and documentaries, twentieth century wars, ancient temples and communist rule. They may remember something of the refugees known as the Vietnamese boat people who fled after the Vietnam War and sought sanctuary in other Indochinese countries, or perhaps have heard of the Angkor temple complex, the Cu Chi Tunnels or the Khmer Rouge.

Vietnam Bamboo Travel is a specialist tour operator based in Vietnam. The company provides a range of tours and travel packages in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos which allow tourists to gain a flavor of the culture, history and geography of these countries. The most popular tours last between 14 and 21 days and can include crossing into both Cambodia and Laos from Vietnam.

Many of the tours involve river cruises along the Mekong, or cruises on a junk in Halong Bay. Local English-speaking guides are on hand to share their knowledge; an escorted tour is an ideal way for first-time visitors to gain an overview of the region. Returning visitors or those who may have more specific requirements can design their own itinerary from any of the hundreds of tours on offer. Everything from single day packages up to three week organised tours can be booked with Vietnam Bamboo Travel, which will bring to life names such as Hanoi, Saigon, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Bangkok in Thailand.

There are almost 200 tours to choose from starting from or based in Vietnam, eight which include sites in Cambodia and a further eight traveling to sites in Laos. Vietnam offers a wealth of choice for tourists, including national parks, kayaking, river cruises, centuries of history, beaches...and golf. There are opportunities for homestaying overnight stops as well as day trips from hotels. At Vietnam Bamboo Travel, the customer calls the tune, and can plan a bespoke trip of a lifetime to take in all the very best Indochinese sights. Weddings and honeymoons are also catered for, with the palm fringed beaches of Mui Ne providing an ideal location for newly married couples to relax after their big day.

Tourists who have heard family, friends or neighbors mention places such as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap or the temples at Angkor will have the chance to see these places for themselves. Vietnam Bamboo Travel offers all these options and more, in any length or combination. For those who cannot decide, there is also a choice of 75 multi-centre tours offering the best of Indochina in one handy package.

Each tour page has

  • an overview
  • day-by-day detailed itinerary
  • a list of included and excluded costs
  • a note of similar tours

Visas will be required for all trips, but Vietnam Bamboo Travel can provide assistance with obtaining these if needed, as well as with airport transfers and car rental. The international clientele have left some complimentary reviews and testimonials which show the customer service levels that future tourists can expect from the company.

Indochina is becoming more accessible to tourists from all over the world. Those who have considered visiting this location should perhaps do so sooner rather than later in order to experience the region before it becomes the latest tourist hot spot. Vietnam Bamboo Travel can help their clients to enjoy a truly unique holiday with a tailor made trip to suit.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games on Android
Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games.
Image provided and used with permission.

Run, jump and slide your way to ninja glory with Dragon Ninja Rush from Funtag Games.

You are the Ninja Boy, tasked with collecting coins while avoiding the endless boobytraps and enemies in your way. This game is very reminiscent of early classics like Super Mario and Manic Miner, as it is a simple side scrolling level up challenge.

Ninja Boy operates at the run; he can also slide under low hanging blocks, or jump over barriers to progress. There are plenty coins and gems just waiting for him to pick up, but the more he grabs, the better the score. The further he runs, the higher the score too. As with many free games, extra bonuses can be purchased, and extra distance obtained by watching a video in between levels. This option is not compulsory, and can be rejected with a simple tap. Likewise, the adverts after every level are easily swiped away so as not to get in the way of full enjoyment of the game.

The idea of Dragon Ninja Rush is quite simple, just like those retro games it evokes. Ninja Boy runs from left to right on the screen. The left hand button makes him slide under obstacles, the right hand button allows him to jump over them. His path is not smooth, so use of both is required from the start. If he can dodge the shurikens and the pits, bounce across the gaps and catch some coins along the way, he will progress through the levels. Dragon Ninja Rush tests a player’s reflexes and coordination in a fun and almost addictive way. As well as coins there are all kinds of other power ups and items for Ninja Boy to grab on his way, including rockets, wands and stars. In later levels Ninja Boy progresses to riding an animal (mammoth, bear, tiger or dragon) and travelling with a pet (dog, dragon, hamster or cat). He also has the chance to metamorphose into different characters (Ninja Girl, Ninja Supreme or Ninja Cyborg) after set amounts of coins are earned. Levels randomly change from day to night mode on each new attempt, while the layout of the levels changes randomly too, just to keep things interesting. Each level has an evocative name and jaunty soundtrack; players can easily see how far they have progressed in each level from the bar at the bottom of the screen.

Ninja Boy from Dragon Ninja Rush.
Image provided and used with permission.
Dragon Ninja Rush is available free on Android from the Google Play store and so far has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0, with between 100 and 500 people having downloaded it. My phone is not the newest, but it runs smoothly and without glitches so on a newer model or a tablet it would be a positive pleasure to play. The tablet gamers would probably find it easier to play than the mobile players, due to the difference in screen size, in fact the game is optimized for tablets. Even given that I’m playing on a phone, I have taken to this one quite quickly. I’m often not much use at these games, but this one has me hooked. Just need to watch out for the spiky bamboo and the pits.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is a Lifestyle Job and How to Find One

Almost everyone must have dreamed at one time or another of finding that elusive job that chimes with their existing lifestyle. The one which doesn’t feel like a job; where it’s almost an embarrassment to look at the monthly paycheck because it’s so much fun just going to work every day. The one which pays well enough that daily living is comfortable and unexpected bills are not a mad scramble for the last available penny.

A Lifestyle Job for the Salary
The official definition of a lifestyle job is a job which allows the holder to live a defined level of lifestyle to which they have aspired.

Often, a lifestyle job such as this starts out as a part time franchise, independent distributorship or similar operation, run alongside a dayjob to make some extra money. It takes up a few hours a week and brings in perhaps a couple of hundred pounds a month. Many people start off looking for extra income to pay for a holiday, their children’s schooling or a credit card bill. Once they have built up a customer base of their own, the option is there for franchise holders to take their involvement further. Using the tools and marketing provided by the company, they can opt to grow the business, recruiting new members to 'the team' or 'the downline' and benefiting from a cut of the value of any sales made by these new recruits. In an ideal model, this eventually provides enough income for the founder (and their immediate family) to live at a level typically higher than they would have managed without the entrepreneurial streak. It is often not sustainable beyond a single generation, but provides inspiration for younger family members and customers to try their hand at something similar. Even for part timers, a lifestyle job offering good chances of repeat business (health, nutrition and dietary products, homewares or cosmetics, typically) can provide a worthwhile strand of additional income.

Businesses which offer the option of residual earnings like this are often online operations using advertising or websites to sell products or concepts. They are popular lifestyle businesses as they are easily scalable and yet can still be run by one or two people. Such a network or multi-level marketing model may not appeal to everyone, but that is not to say that they are bad – many people have had great success from selling health and wealth-centric products and advice.

Business opportunities are often promoted by word of mouth advertising, linked in short social media posts, offered via advertisements or found through an online search for phrases such as ‘work from home jobs’ or ‘earn extra income’. Not everyone will make a success of every opportunity, and it is advisable to research thoroughly before committing to any franchise. Some people may even try several different companies before settling with one that best suits their way of working.

A Lifestyle Job for the Love
The other definition of a lifestyle job is something which chimes with the holder’s ethics, morals or existing interests. So an animal lover could end up working for a rescue charity, or someone interested in fashion could land a position as a buyer for a High Street store, for instance. These positions are often a great way to achieve high levels of job satisfaction, since the employee perceives that they are being paid for doing something they would be doing anyway. The pay may not be great but the feeling of being able to make a difference often outweighs the salary question.

These positions are typically found in many organisations. Large companies such as hospitals, academic institutions and councils have a wide range of roles to attract many different people, whether their skills lie in the vocational, practical or back room spheres. IT specialists, auditors, maintenance staff, retail workers, pastoral carers, rehabilitation workers, fundraisers and many more experts can be found working alongside the medical, nursing and clinical staff in large teaching hospitals, while universities and colleges also have the feel of being small towns in their own right at times, with professional help of all kinds available on campus.

Of course, for some people, it is possible to hold both varieties of lifestyle job. Their dayjob could well be in one of those specialist fields where they are using their existing qualifications and skills, while their sideline could be providing a little extra cash by running an independent business using the power of online marketing.

Just because it is sometimes possible to have your cake and eat it too.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

MacBack site buys used Apple devices for resale

MacBack logo. Image proivided and used with permission.

Having written about looking into buying a second hand MacBook yesterday, I have now found that the company behind also has a sister company and site where users can sell their old Apple devices for cash.

MacBack (cool name, huh?) specialises in the purchase of used MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs but will also take a look at any recent Apple device with the exception of iPods. The site is ISO registered for peace of mind and has a quick and simple quote request system. The quote is offered within 48 hours and once it has been accepted by the seller, payment is made to PayPal or bank account immediately.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. A Mac user can trade in their preloved, used but still usable, equipment and within a couple of days can have a downpayment towards the cost of the newest, shiniest, most up-to-date model. Current owners should follow the basic security procedures advised in the Apple support pages, and take a backup of all data on the machine before sending it off for sale. The MacBack team will securely wipe all data on any machine received in accordance with Data Protection Act and Government rules. This includes iTunes, iCloud and iMessage content, so users should ensure that they are logged out of all programs before parting with their device. There are no fees for the data wiping or courier pick up and the price sellers receive is likely to be more in line with market value than many resellers.

MacBack’s couriers will be despatched to the seller’s house to pick up the parcel. They will announce their imminent arrival by text. If, on receipt of the item, the team have any queries or issues, the seller will be contacted to discuss, and if necessary, a revised quote will be offered.

The MacBack site has a special contact area for those sellers with multiple items to trade in, as they work with educational and industry buyers to ensure that all items are sold on to the most appropriate places.

MacBack reminds me of the kind of trade in site operating for used mobile phones, but on a bigger scale. There is a huge market for secondhand tech, and I owned no less than four used desktops or laptops before finally deciding to make the break and buy a new device. Apple devices in particular have a good resale value, as new models are released regularly while the older models are still relatively up to date and function well even if they are several years old. My classic iPod is still working just as well as the day I was given it almost a decade ago, while the iPod Touch I use to play iOS games on is a bit dated in terms of the operating system but it can still handle many popular games. I have no reason to doubt that the same is true of MacBooks, iMacs and iPads once they have been carefully reconditioned and tested.

Users looking to sell their used Apple devices for a decent sum could do well to check out the price offered by MacBack before parting with their item to any reseller, as they may be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, September 24, 2016 offer competitively priced refurbished Apple products logo. Image provided and used with permission.

After yet another problem with my Windows laptop I’ve found myself considering the option of buying a reconditioned Macbook or Macbook Pro. I’m no fan of Apple devices, and quite cheerfully admit that the cult of Jobs passed me by completely. My husband, on the other hand, is a Mac fanboi, and has several bits of Apple kit, both retro and modern. He swears that the reliability of iObjects is far superior to others, and believes that a Macbook would even be me-proof, which is a decent recommendation given that I have something of a reputation for destroying tech accidentally. Seeing as my current Windows machine has drilled through a hard drive failure and two rebuilds in under three years, I’m open to suggestions at this time. I use my laptop for at least four hours every weekday and closer to 18 hours a day at the weekends, so it needs to be robust. Luckily most of my work is saved or backed up in the cloud, so when the updates prove too much, I don’t lose too many files any more.

When I was told about, a site specialising in refurbished Apple devices, I decided to take a look. There are other manufacturers available, but the refurbished Macbooks presently available at time of writing run from £150 to £700, depending on the grade of refurbishment. The three grades are Bronze, Silver and Gold, reflecting the quality of the machine at the time of refurbishment and the likely lifespan of the machine afterwards. also have other machinery for sale, including televisions and smartphones, but the primary focus of the site is on Apple products. The prices are generally cheaper than eBay, which I found to be eyewateringly expensive for a decent spec product. There are several iMac desktops
available, a selection of iPads and iPhones and the MacBooks that originally caught my eye.

Personally, as a newcomer to Apple tech, and with limited finances available to spend, is a real find. The price of a refurbished MacBook is around the same cost as a new laptop from another manufacturer, and at least half the price of a new model. All refurbished models have 90 day warranty but then again, Apple offer a comprehensive repair programme through their stores too. Ten-day shipping is free for goods over £100. For those customers who must have their item immediately, if the item is ordered before 2pm, an extra £10 secures next day delivery.

With prices this good, anyone who has wanted to try an Apple product but doesn’t have the funds for a new one could be well advised to take a look at I’m certainly going to keep an eye on the site in future to try and spot that elusive must-have MacBook at an affordable price.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Want to earn more and work less?

Living the Dream. With this opportunity you could too.
Image provided and used with permission.

I’m sure you’ve all seen these network marketing or MLM schemes where you can sell items and make some money but it’s signing up new recruits that makes the big bucks for you.

This one works in a similar way but seems a little different. If you watch the 17 minute promotional video I’ve just linked to, you’ll hear about a training program that will show you how and where to place advertisements to attract leads. Those leads are then converted into customers by the company’s dedicated sales team, and you will earn commission on any sales they make. To date, the company has paid over $67 million in commission.

The company does not class itself as an MLM or cash-gifting firm, but more as an online education source, where the firm’s partners learn how to use advertising to their benefit. In common with many online work-from-home programs, it accepts applicants from all backgrounds, but not everyone is deemed suitable. Around a quarter of all applicants are either screened out at the time of application or choose not to continue after the first 7 days’ free training.

The company claims to have paid out commission to over 3,500 people so far so some of them must be doing something right. The highest earners have already made over a million dollars, and a handful have been paid over $100,000 to date. Several hundred have earned over $10,000 in commission. The dedicated sales team who process the leads generated by the adverts are trained to sell high-value items, which I suspect may be the advertisements that the partners are earning commission from placing. Therefore, if this opportunity works the way it appears to, it would be a possible revenue stream for someone who travels widely or has other reasons for needing to earn money from working online. Placing the advertisements requires no technical knowledge whatsoever; there is no website to run and no follow ups to perform on the leads generated, as this is all handled by the sales team. Placing the adverts generally takes around 30 minutes. The company is active in over 40 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The founder of the company made his first million dollars by the age of 25, and the training new partners will receive is directly from coaches he has picked. Of course, the testimonials at the end of the video are from the highest earning partners, they always are. I’m guessing that for many people, the commission will be lower, and the big figures will take some time to build up. As a veteran of several MLM and independent franchise opportunities, you get out what you put in with these programs. Generally, you can earn enough to cover your costs plus a little extra to make life more comfortable.

The main glitch I see with this approach is if the advertisements are detected and blocked by ad-blocking software which many people use these days. However, if the advertisement can be placed via a paid campaign on social media, or simply a post (like this) with a link in it, then the potential for revenue is much higher. For those with some spare time and a good internet connection, an opportunity like this could be worth investigating.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cool Tumblers - you design it, they'll print it

Dish Washer Tested
A typical ecxample of Cool Tumblers' work.
Image available on the website

Tumblers are incredibly useful items. Not only can they save your best shirt from coffee stains, they can also express your personality. From a company’s point of view, they are easy to customize and long lasting, making them a good corporate gift to regular customers, an ideal goody bag addition and a brilliant publicity tool.

Running around the average corporate campus to meetings, staff can easily ensure they stay hydrated with their own personalized tumbler from Cool Tumblers. Safer than mugs, more environmentally sound than single use plastic disposable cups, each tumbler can be printed with a custom design to the buyer’s specification. Prices are as low as $40 per unit, and potential customers can contact the company to discuss their order before buying. The Cool Tumblers site is configured to show prices in USD by default, but the top menu offers the option to display costs in many different popular currencies. So UK customers can expect to pay between £56 and £75 per unit and Euro customers between €66 and €89 per unit. The price decreases the more units are ordered.

The powder coating on the tumblers improves grip and the choice of stock or custom designs increases the appeal of these durable items. For school sports teams, frequent travelers, commuters and staff attending meetings away from their desks, a tumbler from Custom Tumblers is a useful accessory. The company also suggests that they are good for fundraisers, which makes sense if the ticket cost covers the cost of a free tumbler too.

Designs cover monograms, corporate logos, tattoo style designs, school and team crests and the customer’s own preference. It might even be possible to order a batch for a team with different designs on each tumbler according to the team members’ individual choices. Customers can always contact Custom Tumblers to discuss any questions.

Cool Tumblers’ tagline is We Like To Print, which may well be obvious from their website, given the amount of information they offer about their tumblers, the production and printing process. The firm specializes in custom drinkware from RTIC, YETI and other brands, and has a comprehensive means of contact, showing that customer satisfaction is top of the agenda. Custom Tumblers’ Facebook page is always an option for potential customers to use as a contact point, although the Contact Us page on the website is prominently flagged on more or less every page. The Feedback page is also available for anyone to fill in, while the terms and conditions and user agreement are posted for customers to scroll through before they place an order.

The Print on Demand nature of the Cool Tumblers’ business lends itself particularly well to digital printing, which is fully adaptable to today’s modern printing requirements. The latest printing technology offers pin-sharp reproduction, efficient production methods and the lowest cost possible. For those customers ordering inventory, this approach allows a much leaner approach to stock holding, which in itself cuts costs as the buyer is not having to store as much stock.

Sounds like Cool Tumblers have it covered when it comes to custom drinkware. Why not check out their website for further information.