Thursday, December 20, 2007
For example its hard now to go on the web and not use a Google product. Their latest version of the very convenient toolbar offers a great new feature for dopey web designers like me. If a user cannot access a page on your website, the causes of which can vary widely, the toolbar throws up a helpful menu page giving you options rather than the usual 404 error page. Clever. Helpful.
Just another example of Google's engineers producing something that is so convenient it will start to become another everyday part of the web. The road to world domination is not evil genius, but ingenious design.
Google explain it in full on their blog.
Nostalgia time! Remember the frustration this thing used to cause?
I think I eventually smashed mine open to see what the "magic" was all about.
Anyway for those of you who want to relive that annoying 2D world: http://www.etchy.org/
Or if you want to see a pro at work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYM__s3R5q0
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Perhaps Viva in some sleeker, lightweight new clothes, will make a re-appearance in the near future? Dynamic management and a cracking website count in their favour if nothing else.
Also rumoured to have closed large offices are Andalucian Dream Homes and high-end Marbella agent Kristina Szeckley.
Efficient rationalisation or death rattle?
Either way a large number of sales staff are now knocking on the doors of Wemploy and co. Not the best start to the festive season.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
My favourite quote?
"If William Shakespeare used PowerPoint, he could have saved a lotta time."
Friday, October 26, 2007
More cat tat:
Friday, October 19, 2007
- Spotify - by far the best thing I have discovered in ages. I say discovered, but actually a friend told me about it (hat tip to John Broad). What is it then? Ermm, like Itunes, but free. Its a vast repository of online music you can listen to free, on demand, anytime. The interface is stylish and intuitive (very apple). The only drawbacks? Well you cannot download the tune for consumption elsewhere MP3/CD etc, and the system is in BETA and is only accepting a limited number of users at the moment. But sign up (or badger someone for an invite) and buy some good speakers for your PC.
- Strange American lady says whatever you want her to. Am I wrong to find this slightly arousing?
- The most addictive game. Ever. I mean ever. Beat my highscore of 31.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I am changing my work situation shortly (going solo), and am hoping to devote a little more time to this site as well as a few others, inbetween becoming a full time sex tourist. I'm also hoping to rant about the Spanish property market, put up some more tat I find on the net and generally vent my spleen.
Bear with me (plus I've got some great photos)...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Whilst some agents are going under or finding new jobs, some are "re-structuring". Large developers are reporting fairly whopping losses too.
However you dress it up the market has undergone a distinct slowdown and most agents are downsizing or cost-cutting in one way or another.
Some would argue that there are fewer buyers than previous years. What there definitely is, everyone will agree, is a surplus of (often overpriced) product. And a surplus of agents trying to sell it. With fewer transactions there will inevitably be fewer agents in the near future.
So where's the good news?
Well if you're a buyer, then brilliant. You can expect agents to be tripping over themselves to welcome you into their shops. Hungry agents will nearly always cut their commissions with a bit of gentle nudging. Plus a good proportion of vendors will be desperate to sell, and will often accept significant drops in price.
No neither could I. Whilst I suppose it sort of makes sense, its sort of a cheat, isn't it? Also as the geek in this video points out the smaller batteries retail for way more than the cost of the larger containing battery.
12 Volt Battery Hack! You'll Be Surprised... - video powered by Metacafe
Ahh, I can still remember licking the top of a 9V battery (having been dared to do so) and shrieking in surprise.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I have had my head in my PC for a while which made me realise that I haven't done much geeky posting recently. Well let's remedy that.
I long since realised that the dedicated geek can hunt down pretty much a free everything. Here are 3 top picks that have come to my attention recently:
- Spiceworks is something I could have used in my last job. Its a 100% free (so we already like it) application aimed at network administrators. But basically anyone who has to look after more than a handful of computers in their working day will like this. Helpdesk, inventory, troubleshooting and reporting - it promises the lot. I'm quite impressed.
- Telerik Rad Editor - now I have fallen in love with this these last few days. Its a bit specialist, in that its for programmers using Microsoft's .net platform. But my gum its clever. It is essentially a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editor that programmers can implement. That means once your geeks have set it up, your employees can write (and publish) articles and other content for your website with no more technical skill than is required to use Microsoft Word. Brilliant, even uploading pictures and files is simple. This is the sort of thing every business owner should get their in house geeks to put in place (and put the likes of me out of work in the long term).
- Ubuntu - don't pay for Windows XP or Vista. Get Ubuntu. Its a free operating system that has recently become more mainstream (Dell are now shipping laptops with this preinstalled). I must confess this is a pet project of mine as I am halfway through setting myself up an Ubuntu machine - but it has fans like Matt Cutts amongst others. So geeks with (plenty of) spare time, impress your boss by slashing his software costs!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
"Come to Glasgow and we'll set about you"
Basically he kicked the guy in the nuts. Well and truly. Since then, and deservedly so, John has become something of a hero. Al-Quaeda foolishly assumed that the Scots would be a soft target. Clearly Osama has never spent a Saturday night on the piss in Glasgow.
Read more here and here about this latterday Braveheart.
The Spanish property market’s obituary may have been written prematurely, but
much of the news coming from the market is far from reassuring.
Certainly agents on the Costa del Sol have had busier times. For the best part of 10 years prices rose, buyers came and houses sold. Whilst the predicted crash has failed to materialise, times are certainly leaner, with some agents either closing their doors, focusing on rentals, or looking to overseas markets.
Darwin. Natural Selection. Survival of the fittest. The market will find some kind of balance and every other shopfront will not be an estate agents. For a more educated stab at the future of the Spanish market, listen to these three knowledgable gas bags. (Its a Podcast, buy some speakers you pikey).
Monday, July 02, 2007
Wii Arcade - tons of addictive and rather cool-looking games here. Not from the Nintendo people, but all good fun. My fave? Bunker. You just kill everything.
Bloxorz - enjoyable, good looking puzzle game.
Crossword with a difference, no clues!
DrawPlay - help your little man get to the flag, by drawing his path with your mouse. It's better than it sounds, honest. And there's a funky soundtrack.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Went to the wedding of a very old chum last weekend and had a great old time. Managed to lose the nice silk tie I bought at Malaga Airport, and instead found myself rushing round the local TK Max for any old nylon nasty.
Also, I still don't own a digital camera, so all the pics I took were on my mobile phone. "Mills, you pikey, buy a proper camera" etc...
Also I think I was one of the few single people there, as the smug marrieds kept pointing me towards anything with a few teeth and a pulse.
Anyhoo, my insecurities and general social faux pas aside, it was a fantastic couple of days. I received a rather nice set of stirling silver collar stiffeners (yes, really!) for being an usher.
Now, I have a phone full of pictures, whats the best way to share them? And flickr sprang to mind. Its great.
Nice suit chunks, so whats flickr then?
Its a photo sharing website, first and foremost. But its also one of those modern web 2.0 type sites where you comment, create groups and the whole social web thingy. But basically the 2 best things I have found is that:
- You can download a widget to your pc which allows you to upload one or more pics at the click of your mouse.
- You have a permanent online repository of all your pics. You can link to them from your blog and/or send the url to anyone you want to share the pics with.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The fastest web browser on any platform, Safari loads pages up to 2 times faster
than Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.
So, you're saying I can download my naughty websites even faster?
Hmmm, they say that, but I am yet to be convinced. Whilst I like how it makes web pages look, I am not sure that it renders them any faster. Anyway, have a go yourself - it looks quite funky (like most Apple stuff).
Monday, June 04, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It doesn't matter what temperature the room is -- it's always room temperature.
I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
And my favourite:
Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?
Read his musings over at http://twitter.com/stevenwright
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Apologies, dear reader for my absence of late, but I have been on a mind bending, liver busting fortnight's holiday.
It all began with 2 good friends who came to visit and ended with a 4 day, 16 man stag-athon featuring a particularly unconvincing Batgirl. In rural Spain. The locals were suitably unimpressed.
The real joy was discovering Valencia on the second night (no comedy drag superheroes in tow this night). In between ordering 16 Jack Daniels & cokes, I realised what a cool city this is. Fantastic architecture melding with trendy cafe life, plus some superb places to eat (as well as drink). There was a thumping concert on in the bullring when we arrived, and the following day we shook off our hangovers to go and watch the World Touring Car Championships at the motor racing circuit.
Great Stuff. Anyway Millsbomb is slowly getting back to normal, so expect the usual tat shortly.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
I was reminded of that these past few weeks when our server was struck by the digital equivalent of herpes. Try as I might I could not get rid of the virus, nasties kept re-appearing much to my displeasure.
This clearly put me a particularly pleasant mood all week from which my co-workers benefitted:
"Google It", "Fix your own f***ing printer", "Read what it says on the screen, you muppet" etc...
Well now you find me in lighter mood, skipping on my way to work and stopping to smell the flowers. The reason for my cheerier disposition? I managed to cure the bug on the server.
I would like you to think that I am a capabable, multi skilled IT kinda guy and that I did this on my own with just my vast intellect and good looks as my tools. But the truth is there are fantastically knowledgeable people out there in internetland who are beyond generous with their time and supremely patient with webmonkeys like me.
One such place (where I found myself begging for help) is the forum over at CastleCops.com. There I received direct help and instruction from several security experts as well as the odd experienced user. In particular I would like to say a big thank you to Negster who gave me some top advice and showed me some great new geeky tools to use, such as SecCheck.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Basically the media are in a frenzy over the fact that a Spanish construction company's share price has dropped by 5%. The Telegraph is predicting a collapse, then an implosion:
Read the article
Britons thinking about buying property abroad were told yesterday that the
predicted collapse of the Spanish housing market would create a golden opportunity to pick up a bargain.
But there was little comfort for the many who have already bought homes in Spain. More than 250,000 properties along the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca are British owned.
"The housing market in Spain is about to implode," economists at Lombard Street Research warned yesterday
Loving this language. Are we all going to be squashed?
For buyers like myself these scare stories are great. Vendors reduce prices, many buyers are frightened away from the market. Supply - Demand. Bargain. In theory anyway.
Whilst there is an oversupply of housing product in Southern Spain, and much of it is overpriced, the demand is still present and constant for good value, good quality housing. Yes, buyers are more picky, they have more choice! But there are still plenty of them flowing over from the UK looking for a holiday home or a place to live.
No one has bought for a quick investment return in Spain for years, the market has matured beyond that point now. Go see Morocco, Turkey or Brazil for those "buy to flip" returns. Spain is a place to buy if your investment strategy is all about enjoying long summers, cold beers and not caring much about share prices.
The Daily Mirror tracked them down operating under a new offshore setup called the International Timeshare Resale Association.
So we phoned the Association with some simple questions. Simple Question
One: Is ETOO a member of the Association?
The strangely suspicious spokesman
was more interested in finding out who was calling.
Timeshare scams are so 80's aren't they?
Read the full article here.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Millsbomb would like to say a big thank you to Mark and Sorrell Lewis who invited me to their house last Saturday for one of the best evenings I have had since moving to the Costa del Sol.
The evening was a charity casino night in aid of Motor Neurone Disease, and was a great success. Not only did a large number of us get riotously drunk, playing roulette, blackjack and poker but Mark, Sorrell and their friends managed to raise knocking on a thousand Euros for the MND Association. Brilliant.
I particularly enjoyed getting fleeced whilst learning the rules to Texas Hold 'Em, then discovering I had won some riding lessons on a Shetland pony in the charity raffle. Now, thats a night out.
Jason is the man behind Infocasa - far and away the most popular and accomplished of the various real estate applications in use here in southern Spain.
Millsbomb would like to wish him well and hope that we catch up for a pint during one of his next monthly commutes.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Again, apologies for my lack of bloggery, but frankly I was becoming a confirmed luddite by the end of yesterday, and decided our new IT strategy was going to involve slate and chalk: the new paperless office.
On the plus side it has reminded me how little attention all of us give to security on our PCs until something nasty happens. So here are my common sense steps to reducing your chance of something nasty crawling up your cable.
- Keep your operating system up to date. For most of us this means Windows (2000, XP, or Vista). Make sure you download all the critical security updates, or even better set your updates to automatically download. This is where I fell down - I had not installed the latest service pack for our server. So bitchslap the web monkey.
- Get some antivirus software. Mcafee, Symantec, Trend Micro all provide great solutions for a very low cost. If you don't want to shell out at all there are some very good free AV programs Make sure your AV software has some sort of real time protection as well as running a full scan every week or so.
- Make sure you have a firewall. A firewall is a piece of software that only allows traffic to and from your PC that you have authorised. Windows has a good built in firewall -use it. There are also good (and free) firewall solutions available such as Zone Alarm.
- Periodically check for spyware. Spyware is the stuff that creates unwanted pop ups, changes your homepage and all other manner of annoying stuff. It is important to check from time to time and remove any from your PC. Try Spybot S&D, Adaware.
At the time of writing our server is still infected, and I am still pulling my hair out - so take a tip from me - prevention is better than cure.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Grovelling apology out of the way, I just had to show you this, which was dug up by Paul over in the Pebbles forums. These lot make Jade Goodie look cultured...
Friday, March 30, 2007
- Play the most addictive game yet
- Make huuuuge posters from any image: The Rasterbator (nice name!)
- Have a look at some cool/odd pics
- And this one
- Another new tv channel website, looks quite cool: http://channelsurfr.com/
- See what critics wrote about your favourite film: rottentomatoes.com
- Calling all lonely geeks: the new Grand Theft Auto 4 trailer is out for the PS3. I have never felt sexually excited about a game before, mind you its been a while. Wow. Just need to find 600 Euors and then wait till October...
Thats all for now, I'm visiting a friend in Calahonda who has just purchased 2 barrels of beer for his outdoor bar... the fool...
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Gary has researched all the airlines, their destinations, the cheapest car hire and transfers at pretty much every airport in Spain. He currently runs a message board where he answers any questions and posts travel tips like how to save money on flights, for example.
In fact his message board has become so popular, he is looking at turning it into a forum, so he can answer more of your questions. Isn't he good?
Friday, March 23, 2007
Is it just me or this turning into some video blog/You-tube lovefest?
What happened to the funny/interesting links and the Spanish Property info? Well here's some dopey links to waste half an hour and frankly I know f**k all about Spanish property anyway.
- See how hard your mouse works
- Wanna see what Homer and Mo really look like?
- Weird addictive game based on some particle maths or summat
- Has your favourite TV series become a has-been? Find out at jumptheshark.com (named after the Happy Days episode when Fonzie "jumped the shark", not a sexual euphemism just a shit plotline)
- Worst album covers ever (think I mentioned these in an old Hiperprop newsletter, but hey)
- Buy some FartyPants for guilt free office guffs
- Finally play this game I managed 7 balls...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Comparing stats and garnering opinions he points to a buyers market where vendors need to adjust their price expectations and where a clear oversupply of product will further the current price stagnation.
No huge crash though:
Based on the Spanish government’s figures, it looks like the Spanish
property market is on course for a soft landing, in which property prices will
rise in line with general inflation.
Rather than me misquote him, read the full report here. It is well worth it.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
So I am a crap present buyer, but fear not I think I have found the original gift idea:
Anyway it will be an interesting party.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
Ever gone to bed with a beauty queen and woken up with a ten pinter? It might not only be the alcohol thats to blame: Marvel at The Power of Make Up
Monday, February 26, 2007
Many thanks to Mark Lewis for the invite to his company's swanky new office opening in Puerto Banus. A good time was had by all, and I even got a bag of freebies!
Plus the girl from Absolute Magazine appears to have photoshopped out my beer belly, bless her: http://www.absolutemagazine.com/faces.php?faces=party&pos=0&p=13moneycorp_pil4239.jpg
Just so you all know, I will attend the opening of a paper bag, as long as there's free booze/gifts etc...
Friday, February 23, 2007
- The Oops! List - planes, trains and automobiles in various states
- How to do that David Blaine levitation trick
- File Swap - upload a file and receive a random one in return!
- The new 24/Lost: Fantastic new series on Sky telly called Heroes, read about it here, I watched the first 2 episodes and am now hooked
- Some of the best pics from Google Earth
- Fine Purveyors of Friday tat: MentalFloss.com
- Create a poster from any image on your PC
- Build your own city
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Well have a look at his results, with around 700 respondants, it should make for interesting reading.
If you're a misunderstood/maligned agent have a rant over on his forum: http://www.eyeonspain.com/forums/threads.aspx?&dev=FB42
But I wouldn't expect too much in the way of sympathy...
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Apparently the disgraced former mayor of Marbella, Marisol Yague, had breast and bum cosmetic surgery which...
wait for it...
was paid for by dirty money from controversial developer Aifos.
A free nip and tuck for the winner, a free Aifos brochure for the loser.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
But this is worth a read: its a thread from a UK investment discussion site entitled Spanish Property Lessons. It is a funny read. The guy offers his advice (gained through experience) on buying in Spain.
It includes little gems like this:
When an agent in Spain mentions the phrase “off-plan” to you, look over your shoulder and spit.
Fairly polemic in tone, he has an equally low opinion of real estate agents, lawyers and the off plan property industry in general.
If you thought that the agents in the UK are un-trustworthy, then just
checkout the ones operating in CDS. There, you will find the biggest
collection of wide-boys, barrow-boys and thugs outside of Romford.
Whilst many will agree with his comments - particularly those affected by the innumerable property scandals across the Costas - it is important to remember that the vast majority of foreign buyers in Spain have a positive experience.
I, for example, don't find myself counting the silverware when my estate agent friends have been round to dinner, since, most of them are decent blokes who want to do a good job: i.e find a client the right house at the right price.
Also, I am writing this post from my lumpy settee in an off plan purchase my parents made about 4 years ago. Which (along with everyone else in the urbanisation) has made them a very nice profit, thank you very much.
I even know a decent lawyer!
So beware of those who vent their spleens, the negative emphasis serves more to alleviate their own frustration, I suspect, rather than offer the benefit of experience to others.
No, Spain is not utopia: shysters and scrotes feed on the unprepared and the ill-advised here just like anywhere else.
But at least there's 300 days' sunshine a year.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Its Friday, and I'm back from a brief trip to the UK to watch a rather disappointing England lose to Spain at Old Trafford. So to cheer us up, here's some Friday tat:
- Best ever wedding dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPmYbP0F4Zw
- U2 released 2 videos for their last single Window in the Skies, have a look at them both here. One is a clever CGI U2 nostalgia trip, not bad, but the other one is a very clever piece of editing. Indeed.
- Why not to answer the phone whilst ironing
- Play the Cube Game
- Play the Squares Game
Friday, February 02, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
It detailed some of the all too familiar horror stories that many expats seem to experience after following their dream of moving to Spain.
Illegally built homes, for example: residents on a development built near the popular town of Albox, are pulling their hair out, since - surprise, surprise - the project never had permission from the town hall. Therefore they enjoy no street lighting, no roads, no mains water and the ever present threat of demolition. Not exactly a stress free retirement.
The majority of the residents are UK expats and most used the lawyer that the developer Procoal recommended. So no conflict of interest there then.
The Beeb hack dutifully tracked down the Procoal MD at his offices for a showdown. They couldn't have been in and out faster if the office had a revolving door. A piss poor impression of Roger Cooke and an Adios later they were back on the street.
By the way Procoal are still advertising, so you have been warned!
Healthcare was also on the agenda: retired couples found that they were not entitled to coverage under the Spanish state health service until the age of 65. The rub is, that the UK will not afford them healthcare after 2 years of residency abroad. So that leaves a lot of retirees, stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to cough up for private healthcare. Ouch!
Complaints were also aired about the lack of out-patient and social care. Whilst commonplace services in the UK, Spain sees these more as responsibilities of the family. "But my sons live in Australia" complained one old guy.
Whilst I wouldn't wish the above problems on my worst enemy (OK, maybe my worst enemy) - I am constantly astounded by the incredible lack of judgement people show when making some of the most profound, expensive and life changing decisions.
Where is the healthy dose of skepticism Brits usually reserve for any slick suited salesman?
Where is the fastidious research that normally precedes a weekend in Filey, let alone a lifetime in a foreign clime?
Good sense appears to be wined, dined then royally shafted by an unoriginal mix of naivety and seductive marketing.
I hope this programme (along with the endless similar press stories) shakes those contemplating a move abroad out of their reverie, and forces them to really do their homework.
But then what do I know? I landed here with about 25 quid and wide eyed optimism. So shut up Millsbomb.
Read more here. And if you missed it, keep an eye out on BBC News 24 for a repeat.
Prompted me to get right on and..
oh wait, erm..
found this really good game...
Speed Card Game
Can you see the trouble with me? As my ex-girlfriend pointed out - no committment. Or did she say staying power? Ah well.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
You put in a bunch of figures and it tells you how many weeks of the year you need to rent your place to cover the mortgage and other costs.
Kudos to the guy who thought this up.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Sshhh, don't tell Jack but I found this chestnut of dubious legality: tv-links.co.uk
It links to loads of my fave telly programs, whole series in fact, which you can watch via streaming video. Free of charge.
Missed an episode of 24? Or my favourite CSI Las Vegas?
Watch them all here, there's chuffing loads.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
The idea, presumably, is to poll results and get a top 10 (or even better a worst 10!), to help inform new buyers about the outsanding moral fibre - or otherwise - of their prospective agent or developer.
Any bets on where Aifos will be in this poll?
Monday, January 15, 2007
The company had recently been seeking investment, following a fairly shaky period which has seen them adopt then abandon a 2/3% commission rate, switch staff from commission to salary and toy with the idea of selling products in emerging markets.
The big question is, can McCarthy turn round the ailing company? Answers on a postcard to Marcus Tandy.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Maybe its the unseasonal sunshine that is affecting my outlook but I'm sure there's a slightly more positive vibe going on.
Is the January sunshine dispelling the doom and gloom of 2006? Or am I still drunk from New Year? My air of optimism stems from a quick glance about at the web:
1) Justin from eyeonspain.com reckons 2007 will be a great year for buyers
2)These Valencia agents appear to be seeing significant growth in their area
3)Then there's this:
Holiday Home Buyers Return To Spain
Capital growth in Spain has fallen from 12% earlier in the year to 10.8% currently and is likely to continue slowing into 2007, after which it will probably stabilise. British holiday home buyers will continue to support the market, which is also underpinned by strong demand from Spanish locals for their own holiday homes, as well high levels of tourism.
4) And read this. Investment experts Assetz and Sunday Times journalist Mark Stucklin both seem to be in agreement that we can expect a price check, but that the overall outlook is stable and positive.
Reasons to be cheerful then? Well, on the whole yes. There may be some vendors who are in for a rude awakening when it comes round to valuation time, but Spain still retains its charm for the British buyers it would seem.
And besides, I'm househunting this year and I'm definitely not after a unique fixer upper in Romania. Viva España.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Whats that then? For those of you with a gmail account it allows you to select files from your PC and upload them for safe keeping to your gmail account. As well as being secure storage, this has the added advantage of making the files available to you from any machine with an internet connection.
It is an add-on for Firefox (a much better browser than IE!). For those who haven't tried this browser yet, give it a go. Its got tabbed browsing and millions of useful add ons like this one.
So there you go.