May 20, 2017

The VOID Ghostbusters: Dimension - A Review

She ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

About a year ago, Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired, said the most profound Virtual Reality he’s ever experienced was a private prototype at the headquarters of The VOID in Lindon, Utah (just 20 miles from our house). Through the next week, they’ve opened their Ghostbusters: Dimension experience to the public. Slimer and Stay Puft make an appearance, and the sensory experience is absolutely wild. From the pulsing and mist of ghosts flying through you, to balancing on a shaky rig outside a skyscraper. I’ve never experienced anything like that, except maybe real life. I’ve drunk the Ecto Cool-Aid. VR, I’m in.

May 17, 2017

No. There Is No Way YOU Should Write A Book.

This post has been contributed.

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Everyone has a book in them. That’s how the infamous phrase reads. Unfortunately, most people stop reading there and fail to read the second half that sentence; everyone has a book in them, but that’s where it should stay. We know, we know, we’re supposed to encourage people to write books, to tell their story and add to the culture of this world. But the truth is, most people who want to write a book should not.

It’s not so much that the idea of the book is bad. It may well be genius, the next 1984 or Casino Royale or, maybe even, The Great Gatsby. Even so, the reason why most people shouldn’t write a book is the motivation behind wanting to because most people want to write for extremely bad reasons.

So, if you are thinking about putting your fingertips to keyboard, please pause for a moment to consider whether you are writing for a bad reason before doing so. This is for your benefit because writing for bad reasons tends to lead to bad writing, and bad writing leads to bad books.

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You Want To Be A Famous Author
We have all wanted to be Charles Bukowski or Hunter S Thompson or Virginia Woolf, but this isn’t the right mentality to have when writing a book. These people are icons because of who they are and they time in which they wrote what they wrote. They were in a sentence far more than you can ever know. They changed social thinking with each and every sentence they threw themselves into. This isn’t the whole reason, though. Yeah, sure, there are famous authors, like those we mentioned, but the majority of famous authors are dead and the majority of living authors are unknown. The bottom line is this, writing doesn’t make you famous, even a best-seller doesn’t make you famous. So it is time to rethink your goal.

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You Want To Live The Life Of A Writer
What does that even mean? Most writers we know, the ones that have been doing it steadily for years and years, haven’t been on holiday since they picked up a pen and still rely on the bank of mum and dad. They are in their late 40s and early 50s. Writing because you have seen someone put #writerslife on Instagram while at the beach, or because you want to wear a tweed jacket and get drunk on whisky and ice is a foolish reason to start writing. You will only suffer a miserable existence if this is your goal, and you will deserve that suffering. To live the writer’s life of success and freedom requires serious hard work and dedication, and it relies on you writing something of value, that others will find interesting. A life is what you make it, and that starts with you. So figure out who you are first.

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You Are Writing For You And You Alone
Don’t get us wrong, when you write a book you need to write the book you want to read. It is simple as that. If you don’t love what you have written then you can’t expect anyone else to love it. However, if you are simply writing for you, then you are confusing a book with a diary. There is nothing wrong with this. Writing for you is a wonderful way to expand as a person and to meditate and heal, but that’s all it should be. Don’t release your words. If you are just writing for you, then leave it at that. Write, put it in a drawer, and keep it for you. Or you can write a book that is actually a book that people will want to read, which is different to a diary. Trust us on that.

The Hobbies That Could Make You Money

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Everyone should have a hobby. When we’re kids, hobbies come naturally. We collect football cards and Barbie dolls, draw pictures and play games all night long. Unfortunately, when we reach adulthood and the world of work beckons, many of us put our pastimes away and do little more than cook dinner and slump in front of the TV when we get home at night. This is such as shame because not only are hobbies, relaxing and great at keeping the brain healthy, but they can also be quite lucrative too.

Here are some of the hobbies that could make you money:

Blogging
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Setting up and writing a blog is a lot easier than the average person thinks. You can be up and running in under an hour, and writing a 500-word post need not take you longer than 20 minutes once you get into the swing of things. If you ad sponsorship deals, Google ads and affiliate links to your blog, you could bring in anything from a couple of pounds to several thousand each month.

Entering Competitions

Spending a few hours a week seeking out and entering all of the many thousands of competitions that are available on and offline, you could win cash and prizes worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Some of the most serious competitive competition hobbyists have even been able to give up their own jobs and make a full time living selling their prizes. Obviously, most people won’t be so lucky, but you could see a regular stream of packages turn up on your doorstep if you pursue the hobby seriously.

Photography
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Not only is photography a great way to unleash your creativity on the world, but it can be a good way to boost your income too. If you’re able to take really good pictures, you can sell them to newspapers and stock photo sites and make a decent amount of money over the course of a year.

Online Gambling

Obviously, online gambling can be a good way of losing money, but not if you’re smart about it and take advantage of the many sign up bonuses and free games that are available. Looking at Foxy Reviews, it is evident that playing online games like bingo is a lot of fun, and there are many great bonuses to be had. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

Graphic Design
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Learning how to use creative software like Photoshop can be a very engaging hobby, especially when you start to get the hang of it and you’re able to create great works of digital art. If you get really good at it, you could even offer your services as a freelance graphic designer creating logos, infographics, and artworks for all kinds of companies.

Woodwork

There are few things more satisfying than taking a lump of wood and turning it into something beautiful with your own two hands. If you learn the skill of carpentry, you can sell sculptures, restore furniture and do odd jobs to make a bit of extra cash. It could even lead to a whole new career for you.

Do you make money with your hobby? Tell us all about it.

May 16, 2017

Got Something to Say? Then Say it Loud!

This post has been contributed.

The world isn’t always in its best shape, and you might say we’re in one of those periods now. The problem is, just a few people make the decisions who take us down a dark path; the many tend just to sigh and talk about it over a coffee or a beer. But in a democracy, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be an active part of the decision-making, and how you do that is by speaking up and getting your opinions out into the world. Here are five ways to get your message across.

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Source: Pexels.com

Starting a Blog


You might think that every man and his dog have a blog, and that’s true to a degree: there are many blogs out there. However, most are just a blog in name only, they’re not updated and lack the cohesiveness that makes the most popular blogs online so well received. If you’re got a knack for writing, can figure out SEO and think you’ve got something to say that’ll improve the world, then set up a blog and get publishing. If what you’re saying is worth a grain of salt, it’ll find an audience.

Active Social Media Accounts


Just like blogs, there are a lot of social media accounts there, and very often they’re opinionated. But most people used Twitter to share their opinions about everything; you’ll be using it to express your opinions around one specific theme or idea. In time, you’ll have built up a following as you’re seen as a leader in that line of thinking. Just make sure you’re sticking to the topic and not tweeting about anything and everything!

In Book Form


The self-published book revolution is most definitely here. Could you put your opinions to paper and get it out there in book form? If your thoughts are developed enough to merit long form,  then learn more about digital book printing and begin the journey of being a self-published author. Writing a book has many more advantages than just Tweeting or writing a blog; it shows a real commitment to your thoughts, and having them put down in a real book will automatically give them more respect.

Smartphone Generation


Everyone’s walking around with a smartphone in their pocket, just waiting to for their next slice of entertainment. If you’re tech savvy, then consider starting a podcast. After a brief blip, podcasts are back and bigger than ever. You’ll be able to record them at your own leisure, really flesh out your thoughts, and even be able to put across some of your personality too. They’re also a little bit informal than other mediums and can take you off in directions you never thought possible.

Video, Video, Video


At some point in the next couple of years, videos will account for something absurd like 75% of mobile internet traffic. That’s a lot of videos that are being watched! If you think you can put together a good video, that might be the best way to get your opinion out to a large audience.

April 29, 2017

Best Films of 2016

Ready to call my Best Films of 2016 in what was, for me, a pretty "meh" year. Top 6 are definitely worth watching. DNF = did not finish.

TOP 6
Captain Fantastic
OJ: Made in America
Joshy
Sully
The Lobster
Finding Dory

NEXT 15
Magnificent Seven
Moana
David Brent: Life on the Road
Hell or High Water
Green Room
The Nice Guys
Trolls
Moonlight
Pervert Park
Life, Animated
10 Cloverfield Lane
Sing Street
Cafe Society
Everybody Wants Some!
Weiner

DO NOT RECOMMEND
Passengers
The Founder
Arrival
13th
La La Land
The Edge of Seventeen
Hacksaw Ridge
The Birth of a Nation
Manchester By the Sea
Don’t Think Twice
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Sausage Party
The BFG
Lights Out
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise
Knight of Cups
The Witch
Zootopia
Popstar
The Invitation
Hail, Caesar! (DNF)
Silence (DNF)
Fences (DNF)
Keanu (DNF)
Loving (DNF)
Mascots (DNF)
Zoolander 2 (DNF)
13 Hours (DNF)
Other People (DNF)
Last Days in the Desert (DNF)
Tickled (DNF)

April 23, 2017

How Smart Offices Can Save Businesses A Lot Of Money

This post has been contributed.

Between smart apps, smartphones and smart data, it seems impossible to imagine a business environment without the extra smart touch. However, most business owners tend to waste too much time and money on the wrong type of smart tools and items.The latest IT gear is nice, but it doesn’t bring much if your business costs are still handicapped by outdated structures and mindsets. As a result, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to smart cost-saving ideas, to make the most of modern technology within the business world. From outsourcing to using renewable energy, there are a lot of smart cost-saving strategies to keep your budget out of the red – and your accountant happy. The latest move in terms of smart strategies is entirely focused on smart offices: How to make offices work better for the team, and for the budget too. This is exactly what we are going to discuss here.

Cost-Efficient Buildings

The addition of solar panels for renewable energy is a nice move. However, if you are looking at energy-efficient buildings, steel buildings such as Armstrong Steel buildings BBB endorsed, are not only easy to set up – you can build your next office yourself – but they are also extremely energy-efficient. Steel buildings are renowned for keeping the heat inside in winter, and the cool in summer, which makes them an ideal partner to save on your heating and cooling costs. If you are looking at ways to generate low energy bills, combining green renewables and metal buildings seems like a match made in heaven.

Going Paperless

One of the highest office costs relates to printing. Whether it is emails, presentations, contracts or interesting articles, each office has to face a lot of printing every day. Unfortunately, going paperless is more than deciding not to click on the print button. It is a complete change of mentality. A paperless office starts with training your staff and your suppliers to your new processes. From your employees’ perspective, this means that you not only should track the number of pages printed per person, but you should also facilitate digital processes so that nobody needs to print anymore. A simple gesture, such as giving everyone in your team a second monitor can only reduce the temptation to print. Using collaborative online tools, such as Google Drive, can also help to keep everyone updated in the digital world.

The Office That Makes Companies More Intelligent


Finally, what is a smart office for if it doesn’t make your employees’ life easier? Redesigning the work space to match your employees’ needs can improve productivity and lower costs. For example, one of the biggest problems in productivity is the need to organize meetings. If a meeting room is not suitable for its purpose, for example, if your meeting room accommodates 20 people but is generally booked only for small parties of 2 to 5 persons, then there’s a problem of inefficiently matching the space to the needs of your staff. Understanding how employees use the office is key to provide the right technology and the appropriate room, without creating any waste.

April 20, 2017

High Risk Investments: Are They Worth It?

This post has been contributed.

Ask any successful investor, and they will all tell you the same thing: reduce your investment risk as much as possible if you want to have a healthy financial future. But if you ask the same people if they have ever taken a significant risk before, you can bet your bottom dollar that all will have taken a punt on a high potential yield that was incredibly risky.

So the big question for investors in the early stages of their investment lives is, are these high-risk strategies worth it in the long term? And, if so, when is the right time to take the plunge? We’re going to take a look at a few different strategies of note and explain when - if at all - you should turn to the higher risk markets.


Initial public offerings

Initial public offerings are known as IPOs and offer a lot of potentials - but a lot of risks. The big reason for that risk is that IPOs tend to garner a lot of attention, and, of course, all that attention tends to create wild valuations that aren’t necessarily good for investors. That said, by avoiding the high-profile IPOs, you can often find the reverse - great little companies with a lot on offer which have been severely undervalued.

Venture capital/angel investment

No business is guaranteed any kind of success, of course, But for those venture capitalists and angel investors that spot a very good idea, the returns can be exhilarating. While it is unlikely you will uncover the next Facebook, plenty of angels and VCs make a lot of good money with good, well-run companies and a sensible exit strategy. One thing to bear in mind is that you should learn to walk away when the time is right or it could be a big mistake.

Penny stocks

Penny stocks are renowned as one of the riskiest strategies in investing terms. And there is a lot of different info on penny stocks online, so make sure you are checking in with a reliable source, as a lot of the advice you read will be of variable quality. That said if you limit your risk by only investing in what you can afford, with a little research and a bit of luck, winning big on penny stocks could be as good for your finances as winning the Lotto.

Foreign emerging markets

The world is a vast place, full of constant change., And when the economy of a particular country starts to grow, it can be an exciting time to look into the emerging marketplace. It’s where big money can be made, dreams are created, and spurts of economic growth create many millionaires on a weekly basis. But it’s also incredibly risky. Extreme growth tends to be something of a bubble that could burst at any moment, and if you do plan on investing in emerging markets, you need to be ready to walk away at a moment’s notice.

There are plenty of risky strategies for investing your money, and the ones mentioned here are just a few of them. But wherever you find risk, you can also find great reward - just be sure never to invest more than you can afford to lose.