Archive for the 'Cool Websites and Blogs' Category

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Aussie Rules to Car Hire

Car Rental, Rental Car, Car Leasing

Hiring A Car In Australia Via Expedia

Hiring a car can be a pretty daunting prospect and it’s no wonder why; All of the small print and multiple insurance options, what have I signed up for? Was breakdown cover included? What happens if I have an accident? All this isn’t helped by those horror stories of unscrupulous companies piling on extra charges that you need a degree in advanced algebra to understand.

However, using online companies means that you can compare car hire prices from different rental companies from the comfort of your laptop rather than ringing around or walking into the nearest rental company at the airport. And, in order to wade through the minefield of terms and conditions, we have created an Aussie rules guide to car hire, which will help to translate any of the lingo you may come across, into something resembling understandable.

Check The Fuel Policy

Different companies have their own policy when it comes to fuel. A common one is that you pick up the car with a full tank and return it as empty as you can. This is good if you are not feeling confident enough to use a petrol station abroad but, if you don’t travel enough to empty the tank, it means you are paying for fuel you don’t use. So decide what’s best for your circumstances and be aware of this policy when shopping around.

Common Extra Charges

Companies that do require the hire car to be returned with a full tank will charge you much more than the same amount at a gas station, so make the effort to find a gas station near to where the car is to be returned and do it yourself for less. Insurance excess, this is the same as your own car insurance excess if the vehicle is damaged on return.  It’s so, so important to check the vehicle thoroughly for any existing damage before you drive it off the lot so you are not held liable for it. Some companies offer an extra insurance to even cover the excess, so regardless of damage, you won’t be liable for any charge.  In Australia this is commonly termed a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). A similar policy is the Excess Reduction Fee (ERF) which, as it sounds, just brings down the price of the excess. Make sure you take an accident report telephone number from the rental company at the time of booking.

Road Rules

These vary slightly from state to state, so if you’re travelling through more than one state, do your research on the driving laws in each one.

Are You Old Enough?

In Australia, most car rentals will require the driver to be 25 years of age and hold a full driving licence, which you will need to produce before you will be allowed to take the vehicle. Younger drivers may still be able to hire, but will have many additional charges, much higher insurance fees and only be permitted to hire a vehicle from a limited group.  Your driving licence should be in English with your photo ID and signature.

Facility Charge

This is the charge you will pay for being picked up from the airport or hiring your vehicle at the airport. Airports charge the rental companies this fee, which they pass on to the customer. If you wanted to save some money, find a car hire company near the airport, but not in it.

And remember, read over the agreement before you sign it and ASK if there is any part you don’t understand. You won’t be the first.

Experienced freelance writer, Lara Anderson, wrote this article. Lara specializes in providing travel advice for all destinations around Australia.

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Australian Astronomers Recognised Globally

The material for this post was provided by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours who is an amateur astronomer and member of IceInSpace, the Australian Amateur Astronomy community. Australian astronomers are a surprisingly active group with some recent recognition on the world stage.

First there was Australian Astrographer, Colin Legg, who won the first prize in the David Malin Awards animation category to be covered in a future blog post.

And now Martin Pugh has been recognised in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition held by the Royal Observatory for his picture of the Whirlpool Galaxy.

IceInSpace run a monthly newsletter and have an extremely active forum allowing interaction between members on a wide range of topics. Typically a forum is more interaction than a blog and is a better format for a widely varying multi-way dialogue like this. You can check out the IceInSpace forums at http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/index.php.

A good example of the sort of news you get from them is the upcoming Solar Eclipse on 13th November which is visible in Australia just after dawn. If you are in Western Australia the sun will rise eclipsed!

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5 Cool Australian Property Blogs

Before you buy or sell or invest in properties in Australia, it’s a good idea to look at the many blogs and sites that discuss the overall market, as well as specific tips and  issues you should be aware of. This is equally important if you are considering a domestic purchase (within Australia) or if you’re based overseas.

Local laws and by-laws, loan offers, tax rates, environmental factors, and neighbourhood cultures are but a few of the issues which could be of interest to you as a property owner or investor. Below we list 5 blogs to get you started. If you come across other worthy sites, please let us know!

HomeSales.com.au

The HomeSales blog is part of a larger group in Australia, launched in 2009 for information on and sales of residential properties. Hundreds of thousands of properties are searchable on the site, and the blog includes a wide range of topics such as: “Interest Rate News – September 2012″, “Unions take on property developer Grocon”, “The Suburb of the Month”, etc. You can get great houses to look at from real estate in Melbourne to Sydney so check out the fab site and blog and see what’s around.

blog.commbank.com.au

James White is Senior Analyst in Investment Markets Research at the Commonwealth Bank Group in Australia. He argues here that while property prices in Australia are currently high, that good deals can still be had. City living, in particular, comes with a premium price tag, but still leaves room for both sides of buying and selling properties. He believes that prices will remain high, and perhaps climb even higher.

House Search Australia blog

This blog discusses issues primarily for those wishing to purchase residential properties in the Sydney area. Since they represent only buyers, the advice here is single purpose. Recent topics include: “What Do Buyers Really Want?”,  “Land Tax and Investment Properties”, and “Selecting the best Property Managers”.

21 Century Property Direct

This blog by Konrad Bobilak is updated often, and covers topics such as “Australians Love to Renovate”, “Australian Housing at Most Affordable Level”, “Census Data is Gold for Investors”, and “10 Ways To Invest Like The Rich”. Mr Bobilak has wide experience in property investing, risk insurance, commercial loans, and is a financier and advisor to major banks. His blog relates his experience and advice for the Australian market today.

IPG Investment Property Group

This blog includes monthly articles on property and investment. One recent title for the Queensland area is: “Population Growth Drives Housing Demand”. In this blog post, the growth of Queensland and lack of housing should create a property boom here. A 13% increase in immigration from 2010 is driving this demand, and they believe this is a long term trend.

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$500 Groupon Credit To Be Won

Recently, during their big office move, Groupon staff cleaned out their cabinets and found this ancient looking voucher valued at $500 in Groupon credit!

Naturally their first thought was to give it away. But they want their  Groupies to do a couple of things to truly test their Groupon love and dedication!

Consider it an online ‘Creative Treasure Hunt’ of sorts… All that is required for entry is to write a blog post about what you would use the voucher for if you were to win.

The top 5 will then be voted off on the blog. Click on the Groupon logo below to enter!

Groupon, Groupon Credit, $500 Groupon

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO WIN $500 IN GROUPON CREDIT

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Computer Recycling

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of anything to do with recycling. Today’s post is a site that recycles computers. I haven’t used them (yet), but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go and let me know how it worked out.

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Recycle Electronics, Recycle Computer

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The Breathing Earth Website

Today’s blog post is from Bree Robbins, owner of Queensland’s #1 Doggy Day Care, Paddington Pups. It’s a website that shows the impact we’re having on the earth. Click on the link to be amazed and humbled at the same time.

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Wags Day Out

I recently came across a cute blog post published by Paddington Pups about Wags Day Out

It’s a great way to tell a story of what is special about your Dog Day Care in Southwest Brisbane.

Because the fact that Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer visited recently only goes so far…

Cesar Millan, Wags Day Out, Dog Day Care Southwest Brisbane

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Australia keeps up with accelerating technology

Australian Synchrotron, Research, AstrophysicsThe pace of technology is certainly daunting. Which always raises the issue of how to keep up with it especially when you only want information about specific aspects and niche subjects.

This is one area where blogs can really excel. Picking the right blog to subscribe to can provide you with a stream of useful and targeted information that you can’t get from just searching the web each day.

A great example of this can be found at the Successful Endeavours’ blog where author Ray Keefe recently brought our attention to the Australian Synchrotron, a remarkable piece of high tech equipment that can be used by Australian businesses to create breakthrough technology.

The incredible thing is that the $300 Million Synchrotron is available for a mere $400/hour!

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The Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Best Blogs, Top Blogs, Top Blog Posts Of The Year, Top 10 ListThere are a lot of blogs out there that publish so much bland content that it’s refreshing to come across a collection of blogs that are interesting and intriguing.

Today’s post is a list of the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011 published by The Exponential Growth Strategist, Dr Marc Dussault.

Listed in no particular order since each one has its own merit based on who you are and what your area of improvement (focus) is, this short list of the best blog posts of the year will inspire you to get started on your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 right away!

Don’t forget 2012 is a leap year, that means you have an extra 24 hours to realise your dream(s)!

How To Find Hidden Assets In Your Business

Belief Builders and Credibility Creators

Can one idea be worth $50,000?

Why spruikers will never go away

Mentor or Motivator?

Facebook Wall Of Shame Infographic

The more you do, the more you can get done

From ‘Just A Job’ To Finding Your Calling

Cinemagraphs: “Stills” that move

2011 Australian Masters Games Gold Medallist

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Everydaysale: Your Voucher Codes Expert!

We’ve all heard of the Groupon ‘deal of the day’ phenomenon. Here in Australia we have Scoopon, Streets and handful of others.

Every Day Sale, EveryDaySale, EveryDaySale.Co.UkThere’s a new twist in the UK… everydaysale.co.uk is one of the UK’s leading independent discount voucher code websites with a unique ratings system and a large, ever-growing consumer audience. They offer amazing free discounts codes across dozens of categories, including computers, electronics, fashion, home and garden and health products.

Whatever you are shopping for, you can check out the hot deals at http://www.everydaysale.co.uk/.

To use a voucher code or promotional code, simply go direct to the stores website, once you are finished shopping and at the check out point, enter the voucher code into the “voucher or promotional code” box and you could save up to 50% on your bill.

They give you a complete online shopping directory based on our unique online retailer rating system. They will also recommend to you the best online retailer in each category in terms of site usability, customer service, delivery options, as well as price.

By visiting everydaysale.co.uk before you shop, you can ensure you will find the most reliable shops and the best discount offers.

Pretty cool stuff don’t ya think?

Every Day Sale, EveryDaySale, EveryDaySale.Co.Uk

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Opera House Cake

As Australians we are proud of our landmarks – especially the Sydney Opera House.

Here is a time lapse to give an insight into the incredible week-long construction of the Opera House cake. Watch as the monolithic, chocolate-brown structure transforms into the alabaster iconic Opera House. Like little worker bees inside a hive, this glimpse inside the Planet Cake kitchen shows how hard Paris and the volunteers worked, every step of the way. I

t is incredible to see a weeks worth of work in a short snapshot like this. It is a privilege to get a behind the scenes look inside Australia’s Number One cake kitchen, Planet Cake.

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Fluoride: Good Or Bad? You Decide

We’re not taking sides, but this is an interesting debate . As a blogger, you want to pick sides (or not) when there is heated debate. That means there’s interest and traffic – INTERESTED people. In this instance, we’re staying out of it, We decided to post it because it’s obviously an issue of interest to many!

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Clean Up Day Australia Is March 6, 2011

We all need to do our share of keeping this beautiful country clean. Clean Up Australia Day is a great initiative that you should seriously consider participating in.

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How To Get More People To Read Your Blog

I’ve blogged about this before. The only way you can get more people to read your blog is to keep giving them value. Today’s post was sent to me by Doggy Day Care Owner, Bree Robbins of Paddington Pups. You judge for yourself how totally cool this is…
Continue reading ‘How To Get More People To Read Your Blog’

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Wordle Analysis – Add It To YOUR Blog!

If you’ve never seen this before, boy are you lucky you’ve subscribed to this blog! Wordle is one of the coolest things on the Internet – it’s self explanatory so I’ll just show you want the Wordle of this blog looks like..

Australian Blogs Wordle

Australian Blogs Wordle

And then this WORDLE – which compares

President Obama’s Inauguration Speech to Bush’s

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Blog Branding

If you’re blogging as part of a corporate strategy, you need to make sure you are consistent with your branding, otherwise you will lose credibility, preeminence and yes sales. As an Exponential Growth Strategist, I help people get extra-ordinary results by doing out-of-the-ordinary things leveraging exponential marketing strategies on the Internet as well as in business.

Blog Branding: How Important is it?

That depends. It depends on why you are blogging in the first place. If it’s just a fun thing you’re doing, then it doesn’t much matter, but if it’s to make money or reinforce a service or product you’re selling then it is VERY IMPORTANT.

Without spending heaps, you can get really cool stuff done by professional web designers like KillerCovers.com.

I guess the only point I want to make today is that if you want to be taken seriously, you just have to LOOK the part.

The reason I say this is because without proper branding, you’re going to lose people ONCE they get to your blog – within seconds, people get a feel for it and either stay or click away.

You only have seconds to make that FIRST impression.

Make sure it’s a good one!

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Having Difficulty Writing All Those Blog Posts?

Today’s post is for you if you’ve ever had writer’s block. You know that awful feeling when you KNOW you need to write something, but nothing’s coming… Guess what? The ‘Internet’ has come to your rescue AGAIN! Someone’s figured out how to MOTIVATE you to write those blog posts…

It’s called Write Or Die and if you don’t reach your target, all your text is DELETED!

How’s that for an INCENTIVE?!?! Click on the hyperlink or here >> to get rid of your writer’s block! <<

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Cool Websites: TimeTicker.com and TimeZoneConverter.com

I remember when I first moved to Australia and needed to call back ‘home’ how tedious it was to figure out timezones… Now the situation is reversed, Sydney is home with friends and clients all over the world, but the time zone challenge remains – Here is a GREAT website that INSTANTLY solves the challenge!

TimeTicker.com

Need to know INSTANTLY the time somewhere else in the world? Well, just go to www.timeticker.com, click on any area of the world voila! you get the local time right now

It’s also handy for figuring out that pesky “Greenwich Mean Time” you keep seeing on Bloomberg, BBC and CNN  but have no clue how it relates to your particular time zone.

TimeZoneConverter.com

www.TimeZoneConverter.com is ideal when you need to know the time it’s going to be IN THE FUTURE for your colleagues and friends overseas. It helps make sure that your conference calls and webinars can be attended by people at ‘reasonable times.

If you have other helpful and cool sites like these – please share them with me and I’ll make sure you get FULL CREDIT!

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