Watch Collecting, My Latest Obsession

Posted by: Mark on May 3, 2015

I have always loved watches, like most men watches are the only jewellery that I wear. I don’t really wear a watch to tell the time, I have a mobile which is probably much more accurate than most of the watches that I own, fiddling to get it out of my pocket is a bit of a pain though especially in the winter. I like the feeling of having a watch on my wrist. Watches have a jewellery/fashion aspect. I love the way a nice watch looks, I don’t feel fully dressed if I am not wearing a watch.

Until recently I just had two quartz Tissot’s, a PR100 titanium and a chronograph. About two years ago I bought my first automatic watch, a Roamer Rotodate like the one pictured below.

roamer

The roamer isn’t a particularly expensive watch but I like the way it looks, it has a good quality Swiss ETA automatic movement, Sapphire crystal front and back, it is very solidly built. The Roamer really got me interested in Swiss mechanical watches and I haven’t been able to stop buying them since.

What do I look for when buying a watch?

I have spent a lot of time looking at watches over the past few years, when I find one I like I check the forums, search for reviews and info about the brand, etc. The first thing I look for is a mechanical movement, if you are going to spend a lot of money on a watch you really need a mechanical movement. The two types of mechanical movement are the old fashioned hand winding type and an automatic movement, automatic watches have a rotor that rotates and winds itself as you move your wrist.

Battery powered and kinetic watches use a quartz crystal oscillator and are very accurate but they have a limited life span and when they break they are usually not worth repairing, if repairable at all. If I am going to spend more than a couple of hundred £ on a watch I would definitely look for a mechanical one, mechanical watches never need batteries and can be repaired but they do need to be serviced regularly.

In House or ETA Movement

As I said above my Roamer has an ETA movement, ETA is a movement maker based in Switzerland, part of the Swatch Group. ETA supply movements to many watch manufacturers even IWC, Panerai and Breitling use modified ETA movements. Tag Heuer where using ETA movements until recently but I believe this has changed now. The benefit of an ETA movement is that it can be serviced and repaired by any competent watch maker.

True watch snobs look for in house movements like those found in Rolex watches, the problem with an in house movement is that it can be much more costly to service and repair. Watches with an in house movement are usually a lot more collectible, they hold their value much better, certain models even rise in value and can be a good investment. A Rolex is probably the easiest watch to sell, if I ever owned one I would be confident that where ever I was in the world someone would buy my Rolex.

I currently have my heart set on a GMT and plan to make a Tag Heuer Twin Time like the one below my next watch, the Twin Time uses an in house calibre 7 movement. 

twintime

I may give one of my watches away in a competition one day, subscribe to the mailing list if you don’t want to miss it.

 

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Making a Chair

Posted by: Mark on February 24, 2015

If not done correctly Chair Joinery can become a headache, having the final project completed only to come crashing down when someone sits. In order to successfully make a chair by joinery, the woodworker needs to understand the process and techniques required.

When making a chair, it is important to comprehend that all chair joinery should have the reinforcement. This means that corner blocks need to be screwed in place. If screws are not desirable in your project, then you could use glue too. However, in order to use glue and gain strength, sophisticated techniques will need to be used. Gluing end-grain together will not give the strength needed to support the chair and is why corner blocks are put in place. The corner blocks give extra strength the keep the chair together if the main joinery loosens. Corner blocks should always be used and they allow for a convenient location to attach the seat.

Industry standard is to use the double dowel joint, but the mortise and tenon should be the joint of choice. Dowel joints have problems in loosening up and do not have good long-grain to long-grain glue surface, meaning that inevitably these dowel joints will loosen. When joining your chair, you need as much long-grain to long-grain surface as possible. The mortise and tenon will provide this and is why it is the joint of choice.

In order for the mortise and tenon to work well the inner walls of the mortise and the sides of the tenon must be smooth, flat, and in complete contact with each other. The joint should also be snug and not too tight so that you cannot push together by hand. The joint should also not be too loose in which it will fall apart if you pick one of the joints up. Dowel joints do give strengths like the mortise and tenon, but the quality is just not there. For dowel joints to be strong there needs to be lots of dowels spread out over a vast area. Biscuit joints can also be a possibility, but the shape of the biscuit can cause its problems in the joining process. The problem seen in biscuit joints is that it has a tiny contact out on its ends, and this is where the maximum force is placed in a chair joint with typical use.

It is evident with loose joints what problems will arise in a chair, but it is a common myth thinking that adding glue to the gaps will give real strength to the joint. The best method is to patch the chairs loose joints with veneer or something thicker and re-fit the loose joint. A joint that is too tight is also a problem. It is not the tightness that is a problem. The problem lies with the glue being wiped from the joints surfaces when the joint is fit together.

Whichever you choose, mortise and tenon or dowels make sure the techniques used put the joints together securely, adding strength to the chair. How embarrassing would it be for your good looking chair to fall apart right when someone sits down? Learn the techniques that will instill quality into your work.

This post was supplied by Lyndon who writes for Patchett Joinery, manufacturers and suppliers of wooden sash windows.

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How Do Planes Take Flight?

Posted by: Mark on

There are four forces that are needed on a plane to enable flight. Let’s break down these four forces for a better understanding:

Weight – Pulls the plane down with gravity
Lift – Brings the plane up by using the downward momentum and meeting the resistance of air
Thrust – Pulls the plane forward [Engines]
Drag – Creates air resistance pulling the plane back

To understand the basic physics of flight, think of air as a fluid like water. If you move your hand, palm flat, through a tub of water or hold your hand outside of a moving vehicle, you will experience a force of resistance. The resistance you feel is the motion of the fluid or air resisting the object or your hand. In order for a plane to take flight there has to be a careful relationship of the four opposing forces of weight, lift, thrust, and drag. You might think engines are all that is needed to make a plane fly but the four forces are needed and have to work together allowing planes to fly through the air.

A plane’s engines are designed to move the plane forward at high speeds that make air flow rapidly over the wings. The air flow is thrown down toward the ground, generating an upward force called lift. This lift overcomes the planes weight and holds it in the sky. A simpler explanation would be that an engine move the aircraft forward, and the wings move it upward. Wings make the lift and are the key to making planes fly.

Wings of a plane have a curved upper surface with a flat bottom surface, creating a cross-sectional shape called an airfoil. When air moves over the curved upper wing surface, it has to travel further and go faster than the air that passes underneath. Basic theory of physics states that fast-moving air is at a lower pressure than slower moving air. This means that the pressure above the wing is lower than the pressure below, creating the lift that holds the plane up. This is an excellent explanation of how wings work, but it is not the only factor involved in making the plane fly.

Creating the lift has many factors to consider, wings are not completely flat. They are tilted slightly back so that they hit the air at an angle. The angle directs the airflow downward, pushing the wings upward to produce the lift. Have you ever wondered what the flaps are on the wings of a plane? Flaps are there to increase lift during take-off as well as create drag when landing. During take-off, the plane is moving at a slower speed, so the flaps will extend to push more air down to produce the lift the plane needs to take off of the ground.

There are still many more other factors that allow a plane to fly, but hopefully you get the basics and understand that the wings are the key but not only element needed to fly a plane. Remember the four forces as these are the basics of plane flight.

Thanks to Lyndon for this post, Lyndon writes for Custom Fittings. Custom Fittings supply Stainless Steel Hydraulic Fittings and Aerospace testing adaptors.

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Freezing Energy Prices Will It Work?

Posted by: Mark on

Utility providers answer to their shareholders and it is their interests they have at heart. It is important at year end to post a healthy profit if you want to see your share prices increase. The government should have the people, their voters’ interests at the heart of their decision making but this only seems to become an issue during election campaigning. It seems the consumer has not received a fair deal from either the Utility Provider or the Government when it comes to Utility costs which in this time of austerity is hard as the utility cost is the highest cost in the monthly budget.

The government, or more to the point, the labour opposition have suggested they would freeze energy prices. Is this the answer when many providers enable their clients to freeze energy by fixing their tariffs against any future increases? This tariff is higher than the current tariff to hedge against any future increases that may occur and is where the consumer meets the provider half way. If the tariff doesn’t already reflect current International gas cuts then this may not be the route the consumer will want to follow. So the government’s idea to cap the tariff rate may not benefit the consumer and certainly seems to have worried the suppliers who believe they could be trapped into an unprofitable tariff that would be inflexible.

Consumer lobbyists are researching why suppliers have been so slow in reacting to Gas cost cuts and why the cuts are not reflective of the International decrease they feel the 3.1%-5% is too small. There is also the question of when the price of gas increases, the suppliers are quick to increase prices as reflected in the increase in late 2013 of 5.1% it seems the excuse of forward buying delays only applies to price decreases. Perhaps, instead of fixing prices, the government needs to cap the maximum price to a percentage above the base International gas price that suppliers are allowed to charge. The results of these enquiries are being passed on to the Competition and Market Authority and the HM Treasury who are both conducting investigations into the energy market. This places a question mark over whether households are getting the fairest deal from the supplier of their energy – the top of every householder’s outgoings.

The Government as well as suppliers need to be more proactive. After pressure from the government EON quickly lowered their rates in January of this year but the other major suppliers have been slow to follow and seem to be waiting for the winter to draw to a close before applying any cuts or perhaps they are waiting for the election results before committing. These costs should be independent of politics whoever is in power should have the people at their heart not the shareholders. Perhaps it is time the consumer took some control by ruthlessly swapping suppliers and informing lobbyists of any concerns they may have. If we don’t say something we will be at the mercy of the suppliers.

First Utility is the UK’s largest independent energy supplier, the company offer cheap gas and electricity tariffs. Here is the First utility customer services number.

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Off-Site SEO and Link Building Ideas

Posted by: Mark on January 7, 2015

Links are still one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO and improving your websites organic ranking. This post will discuss 8 ways to build quality links to your website.

1). Sharing and collecting content

One way is using the “link love” tactic. This is done by taking the best articles that you have read during the week and sharing them in a blog post. Sharing content will, get you noticed by other bloggers, develop devoted fans and this should get you links from them sharing your posts with others.

2). Getting links through businesses

This is time consuming, but you get great results. In order to get businesses or local sites to send you traffic, join the Better Business Bureau. They will link you up as soon as you join. You can get linked when you join your local Chamber of Commerce. Offering your business to appropriate government sites will get you links. Have your local library link you. Get non-competing businesses and your business partners to link you. Launching an affiliate program will get you traffic generating links, but they probably won’t directly give you any link juice or boost your rankings.

Links from local sites that are related to your business will give you excellent results within local search. They will tell search engines that you are trusted within your local area.

3). Gathering opinions or testimonials for articles

Call for testimonials, opinions and stories by writing an article on your site, bloggers will read your article and possibly link back to you.

4). Interview huge bloggers

Asking for interviews from huge bloggers will help build links to your site. Since influential bloggers are very busy, make sure that you present an interesting interview. Obtaining an interview with a huge blogger will give you links to your site when he or she shares it with his or her audience.

5). Create a good looking site

You can present your site in a gallery if you have a nice design, being accepted in a gallery can give you links back to your site.

6). Have contests

Having contests will generate more traffic and links to your site. Make sure the contest is vote based. Contestants will blog about and share their entries socially asking their followers to vote for them. The idea of contests and contest promotion has been discussed before here.

7). Comparing competitors link data

Scoping out your competitors can help you discover missed opportunities and gaps in your link building plans at the same time as helping you rank for the same keywords. Use a tool like opensiteexpolorer to compare your competitors link profile to your own.

8). Write a social bookmark worthy post

If the post becomes a trending topic, expect high quality links and lots of traffic to your site. Make sure your content is original and about a trending idea, then submit it to sites like reddit, digg and Stumbleupon. Don’t just share your own content with social networks, though, if you just share content for your own site, you may be considered a spammer and put people off of you following you or sharing any of your posts.

Thanks to Cody Bollerman for this post, Cody is a San Diego based SEO Consultant.

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A Review of the Battles in Wind of Luck – a Multiplayer Game

Posted by: Mark on October 16, 2014

In Wind of Luck, you place yourself in battles to defeat the enemies and claim treasure, ports, and bases. The game features several different battle modes and maps. With the combination of these and the ships, players have a whole world at the palm of their hands. They are able to create strategies that will likely lead them to victory and defeat the other team. The battles are very interactive allowing lots of free space and freedom in general for players.

Wind of Luck features six different and very unique maps. Each map has something different and something more challenging that players will come face-to-face with. Among the maps is Aztec Gold. This map has several small islands that your ships can use to their advantage. Either to hide behind or blend in with. The islands are beautiful. They have beautiful mountains surrounded by palm trees. The other maps that players have are Skeleton Island, Lost Expedition, Archipelago, Straits of Makassar, and a map called Imperial Pearls. Each map is different. The one thing they really have in common in the beautiful scenery. The water and sky are so beautifully textured.

There are five different battle types in Wind of Luck. Each battle type presents players different challenges and obstacles that they will face in trying to claim themselves as victor. The first type of battle is Lost Treasure. This battle involves two teams of ship captains trying to claim a treasure sunken at the bottom the sea in a lost ship. The teams are meant to fight to finally get the treasure out from underwater. First to claim the treasure is the winner. The second battle is the Royal Caravan. This battle is personally one of my favourites. This battle mode features only one team. Players are required to work together to protect the passing caravan from pirates trying to steal the treasure. After a certain time, if the team still stands they will complete the challenge. A third battle mode is Port Siege. This battle mode is also very fun. It features two teams trying to claim the other team’s port. By defeating the enemy team and claiming their port, you win.

After each battle players are rewarded with Fame, Expertise, and Piastres. Fame is what players use to unlock new ships in the shop. Expertise is what players use to unlock new features from the Tier Tree. Piastres is what players will use to repair their ship and replenish ammunition and crew members.

The entire game revolves around battling and coming out as victor. Each battle mode presents challenges that player will need to work together to solve. The battles are very interactive. The game was designed to allow freedom to the players and let them make decisions on how they will become victor. The possibilities of the results of each battle remain the hands of the players. Will stealth be your winning strategy, or will it be tanking?

You can download WindofLuck here.

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How to promote your competitions and contests

Posted by: Mark on January 26, 2014

Holding a competition is a really good and extremely cost effective way to get some exposure for your website, product or brand. If you can get your competition or contest to go viral it could be an excellent way to get traffic but if you don’t bother or don’t know how to promote it the contest is probably not going to do much for you.

Free ways to promote your competition or contest

One great way to promote your competition is to get it listed on a dedicated site like my one, you can let me know about it via the contact page but to be honest I am very busy and don’t check the email of this site very often so it will probably never get listed unless you visit the Fiverr link and pay $5. For just $5 it will get emailed out to my 3,000 subscribers, posted to Facebook (you can instantly post it on my Facebook page yourself for free) and Twitter too.

Other competitions sites that post competitions for free are:

www.ukcompetitions.com
www.loquax.co.uk
www.theprizefinder.com

When asking a site to list your competition make sure that you provide them with all the information on it, at the very least they will want to know what the prize is, how people enter, the closing date and if there are any special terms. You can find a free to use terms and conditions generator here.

A site which is dedicated to the promotion of competitions will have a mailing list and search traffic. Posting your competition on a competition site will most definetly get you traffic and entrants but they are probably just looking for free stuff, most of them are unlikely to convert into real buyers.

Savvy entrants will probably realise that by sharing your competition with they’re friends they reduce their own chances of actually winning anything, by holding a competition that people can enter by just joining your mailing list you’re missing about on a big advantage that competitions can offer. If you hold them properly competitions can be a great way to generate viral traffic.

How to make a competition generate viral traffic

To make your competitions and contests viral you need to incentivize your users to share them, you can incentivize them by offering additional entries, etc. if they tweet or like and share your competition with their friends. People usually associate with people that have similar interests to them so this kind of social traffic usually creates mailing lists that are much more responsive and interested in your products. People that are interested in what you sell and not just looking for free stuff are going to make better competition entrants, aren’t they?

There are a few apps that enable you to create viral competitions and incentivize entrants, one such app that most marketers have probably heard of is Wildfire, Wildfire offers a lot of features but is a bit pricey for most budgets.

Whilst searching for the terms and conditions generator I found Comprized. Comprized is a new site that seems to offer similar features to the Wildfire app it is still in beta mode, to use it you need to request access. I haven’t tried it but if you want to you can visit comprized.com.

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I’m a Celebrity……………..Get me out of here!!! 2013

Posted by: Mark on January 25, 2014

I’m a celebrity………….get me out of here first aired on UK TV screens in 2002, the show was aired on ITV and hosted by comedy duo Ant and Dec. The concept show is to place 12 celebrities into the middle of the Australian Jungle and leave them to fend for themselves with very basic rations. The camp set up is extremely basic, far from the lavish settings that the celebs are used to, beds would consist of hammocks or sleeping beds, due to the location – the beds have to be checked regularly for snakes, spiders and any other type of insect that is found in a jungle enviroment.

Entrance into the jungle has always been a challenge in itself, previous years have seen contestants skydiving into the jungle and then to navigate themselves to the camp. Entrance to the camp last year was slightly different. The starting line up of contestants was 6; the contestants were then split into 2 groups of 3. The groups then had to skydive onto a beach, once they had landed – they had to work together answering clues which would lead them to a new celebrity to join their group, once the 3 new celebrities have joined the group – the team have to race to the finish line, where a boat took the winning group to the camp, the losing team had to then navigate themselves to the camp.

Last year’s celebrities included Westlife band member Kian Egan, Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter, Reality Star Joey Essex, Eastenders Actress Laila Morse, Snooker player Steve Davies, Fashion Designer David Emmanuel, Talkshow host Matthew Wright, Olympic Swimming Rebecca Adlington, Miss Universe contestant Amy Willerton, Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro, the contestants were joined a few days later by Annabel Giles and Vincent Simone.

The public would choose a member of the camp to undertake the daily task, the tasks vary every day. The daily tasks have included being placed into a dark tunnel, with no light available – in which the contestant has to search for stars, but the twist is – they aren’t alone in the tunnel, they are joined by rats, cockroaches and any other type of insect imaginable.

One very scary task last year involved Kian, Alfonso and the Plank of Peril. The Plank of Peril task involved two planks of wood hanging side by side, high up in the sky. The task required a huge amount of trust and teamwork, the celebrity that took on the role of obtaining the stars hanging overhead had to walk the plank blindfolded whilst being direction by their fellow team-mate, whilst the task was in progress – the production team set of distracting bangs – to which Alfonso ignored perfectly. Alfonso successfully retrieved all the stars, but just as they started to relax – the plank went from underneath Alfonso and he fell towards the ground, only saved by his bungee cord.

Controversy has plagued the camp this year regarding contraband – to the extent that Amy was warned by the producers that if she did not give up all her contraband – the entire camp would not get their meals, treatment of fellow camp members, some camp members not being eligible in taking on a particular task and whether there was some sort of communication from inside the camp to family and friends back in the UK.

Early from the start Joey Essex was favourite to be crowned King of the Jungle, he was chosen for a majority of the tasks and attacked these tasks full on – without complaint; he has been recorded as the most successful camp mate to collect the most amount of stars during his tasks. Joey was eventually voted off the show – much to everyone’s shock.
The final of I’m a Celebrity 2013 was between Kian and David, both of which became firm favourites with the public, their last task seen them eat a variety in order for them to receive a 3 course meal afterwards, the items they had to eat included fish eyeballs, live cockroaches and a pigs penis to name but a few, they were rewarded with smoked salmon, pizza, steak and a cheeseburger.

Kian was voted as the King of the Jungle in 2013. After being crowned as the new King, he spent the evening with his loved ones and enjoyed the luxury that he is used too.
So, why do people continue watching I’m a Celeb? The comedy factor of watching a celebrity they don’t like suffer is one of the main reasons. Whatever the reason, I’m a celeb is here to stay and will be back in 11 months.

For the latest on ITV shows like I’m a celebrity visit itvcompetitions.com.

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Funnies

Posted by: Mark on June 3, 2013

A couple of funny pics to brighten your Monday.

cat

money

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Online competitions infographic

Posted by: Mark on February 20, 2013

competitions

Would you like to use this info graphic on your site? Just use the embed code below

<a href=”http://blog.onlinecompetitions.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/onlinecompetitions.jpg”><img alt=”competitions” src=”http://blog.onlinecompetitions.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/onlinecompetitions-300×208.jpg” width=”300″ height=”208″ /></a>

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