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Foreign Perspectives


Foreign Perspectives
Travel, expat life, foreign politics mixed with a dab of futurism. As featured on TV and seen on Reuters.
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Articles

To strike or not to strike for public service pensions
2012-05-10 00:54:00
Pension payments for all but the lowest paid in the public sector are going up (mostly doubling) and they’re going to have to work longer before they are entitled to the maximum pension. Surely it must only be right that the well paid public servants in secure jobs pay more for their gold plated pensions? ... Related posts: Are MPs on a different planet with these expense claims? Prosperity for all from the UK budget? The hot potatoe that’s care for the elderly Too much spin for the multi-ethnic vote by Gordon Brown already? Just how bad could a real recession actually get?
More About: Politics , Economy , Public Service , Public , Service
The ups and downs of offering free holiday accommodation listings
2012-04-12 10:36:00
We’ve been offering free listings for holiday accommodation for over seven years now with quite a few changes to what we offered over that time. Initially, we did the site by hand, taking in emails with the text and a photo then adding the property to what was then a simple list. That worked just ... Related posts: An improvement on the free B&B/holiday rental listings sites: now one pays you! Marketing your B&B via a free listing that will pay you Free B&B listing strikes a chord Notably absent this year: marketing e-mails for B&Bs and self-catering Renewal of development on the listings sites
More About: Holiday , Listings , Accommodation
Quite a full Easter
2012-04-11 12:56:00
With starting the new job the week before Easter , this is my first week of work holidays in over eight years! As we normally do, it was off to Portrush on Easter Monday. Usually, there’s a mass of traffic along the way, a traffic jam a mile or two long going into the town, pretty ... Related posts: Adjusting to a new subject Getting started on SK185 The booking season’s starting early this year Sort-of settled on the big courses, but what about the little ones? Traffic on the first weekend of August
More About: Economy , Education , Travel , Biology
A busy run-up to Easter
2012-04-07 21:35:00
The last couple of months have proved to be a very hectic time indeed. The web design course finished at the end of February and turned out to be far more helpful than I could have imagined. What it let me do was to implement a massive upgrade to the inns sites and alongside that ... Related posts: Asking for the moon in employment terms A seriously busy start to the year Do labels really change how you see your status? A quiet summer for the blog = a busy real-life Getting going on the final run of TT280
More About: Education , Easter , Psychology , Chemistry
A seriously busy start to the year
2012-02-28 23:35:00
I’ve managed to pile in a massive amount of stuff into the first couple of months of the year, hence lack of updates on the blog. To begin with, the Chemistry course assignments have proved to be both more time consuming and less rewarding than expected. That’s had be starting to rethink the possibility of ... Related posts: A quiet summer for the blog = a busy real-life How many levels should you get through per year in Kumon? Posts becoming popular a year later The last few days of ED209 Finally making a serious start on TMA6 for ED209
More About: Education , Biology , Start , Psychology
Doing chemistry (S205) in the computer age
2012-01-08 14:56:00
After getting over the mountain that was the S204 exam, I feel that I’ve been really getting into the chemistry course over the past month or so. I’ve the third assignment away this morning and it’s the first one that I feel reasonably confident about (though ’til the results come back it could easily be ... Related posts: The first autism (SK124) iCMA Getting started on SK185 Adjusting to a new subject Daddy’s doing his chemistry… On to chemistry (S205)
More About: Education , Computer , Psychology , Chemistry
A sensible pass for S204 (biology)
2011-12-07 12:19:00
As usual, the Open University results were in earlier than planned so yesterday I found out that I’d passed S204 and was well clear of 40% too. Just as well really as there’s no way that I’d have been able to fit in even more revision for the resit in April. From the 297 students around ... Related posts:Finally winding down from the SK277 biology exam Analysing the ED209 course results Getting going on the biology (S204) revision The astronomy (S282) exam Exams are funny old things, aren’t they?
More About: Education , Biology , Pass
Adjusting to a new subject
2011-12-01 10:58:00
I’ve been plugging away with biology for a couple of years now. Starting from scratch, biology was seriously difficult at the start but a couple of years down the line I’m thinking like a biologist. Thus, despite having done quite a lot of chemistry a long time ago, it was a bit of a jolt ... Related posts:Getting started on SK185 Using short courses to get up to speed with the long ones Molecules, medicines and drugs: a chemical story (SK185) is here! The first autism (SK124) iCMA Picking up sketching
More About: Education , Chemistry
Tidying up the finances when someone goes into a nursing home
2011-11-30 10:09:00
Mum’s journey into a nursing home was largely unplanned for and constantly suffering from delays on the part of social services but she’s been there for several months now. That’s created a much greater involvement with social services and social security than we’ve had up to now and it’s something of a nightmare on the ... Related posts:Finding a nursing home The hot potatoe that’s care for the elderly Are there any sensible lessons being learned following the Baby P fiasco? The knee-jerk reaction following the Baby P fiasco has already started Are the Social Services people a good thing or not?
More About: Society , Politics , Family , Finances , Home
Recession or depression?
2011-11-28 19:08:00
Nobody is openly calling it a depression but then it’s a difficult call to say whether you’re in a depression or not when you’re actually in the midst of one. Aside from the obvious financial difficulties that a growing list of countries are finding themselves in, signs this time around are seemingly all around on ... Related posts:So much for the economy picking up Customer service jobs in the hard times Can prices really continue to fall for much longer? Finding a nursing home Tidying up the financial landscape
More About: Politics , Economy , Depression
Picking up sketching
2011-11-24 16:21:00
Whilst playing around with book borrowing on the Android, I came across a brilliant little book on sketching: You can draw in 30 days. I’ve always meant to learn how to draw properly and this book is just the ticket for that. Each lesson takes around 20 minutes or so to do though there are ... Related posts:Driving Lessons in Gateshead Finally the world archaeology (A251) website is live Spreading out the psychology books The final week of the astronomy (S282) revision The World Archaeology (A251) research assignment
More About: Education
The first autism (SK124) iCMA
2011-11-13 11:24:00
This is the first course where I’ve had an iCMA to do. In principle they’re the same as CMAs but, if the first one is anything to go by, they’re much shorter (only four questions), you have to do them whilst you’re online and you can’t print them out to mull over. Shorter is certainly ... Related posts:Starting off on the autism (SK124) course Oh dear – another slip-up with the Open University TT281 course CMA Adjusting to a new subject Open University open days Are online tutorials worth bothering with?
More About: Education , Autism , Psychology
Starting off on the autism (SK124) course
2011-10-26 18:50:00
I’m doing this one basically to ease myself back into the psychology and a brief leaf through the DVD last week showed up a whole bunch of relatively familiar terminology. This is one of the new-style online tutoring courses which in principle should be excellent but, so far, they don’t seem to have hit on ... Related posts:Getting going on the final run of TT280 Starting to relax again with the courses The web applications (TT280) ECA Pretty much back on schedule Racing ahead, keeping ahead or just sticking to the Open University course schedule
More About: Education , Autism , Psychology
So what will happen with Greece in the end?
2011-10-20 10:47:00
The basic problem that Greece seems to have is that it has never really properly adjusted from the days when it could devalue the Dracma every couple of years. In such an environment, you don’t really need to worry too much about creating a real economy as you can always pull in more tourists by ... Related posts:Consolidating your business debts Getting a new credit card during the credit crunch Will the euro survive the recession? Some good signs on the financial front Is working from home really viable these days?
More About: Economy , Finance
On to chemistry (S205)
2011-10-18 11:47:00
Despite downing tools with everything except preparation for the biology exam for the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to remain broadly on schedule with the chemistry reading so far. Unfortunately, there’s quite a lot of stuff to be done on the DVD as well and some of that is required for the first assignment ... Related posts:The chemistry (S205) course opens up Finally winding down from the SK277 biology exam Coming up to exam time The human biology course vs the cardiovascular diseases one SK277 exam revision strategy
More About: Education , Chemistry
The 2011 biology (S204) exam
2011-10-13 19:55:00
This morning saw the final S204 exam as it’s being replaced by S294 from next year plus another course a year or two later. As usual the two short answer questions were all over the place requiring quite a comprehensive knowledge of the course contents to be able to fully answer 12 from the 18 ... Related posts:Finally winding down from the SK277 biology exam The final SK277 (human biology) tutorial SK277 exam strategy On to chemistry (S205) SK277: the 2010 exam
More About: Education , Biology , Exam
A slightly more tricky second CMA for the web applications course (TT280)
2010-10-27 10:40:00
The first CMA of the course hardly required any thought at all but this one makes up for it. Not in a big way mind you as I’ve around 1/3rd of the questions completed at the first run through. The remainder will require a bit more thinking about although there’s scope for a fair amount ... Related posts:The web applications (TT280) ECA Moving on through Molecules, Medicines and Drugs (SK185) Towards the end of the Molecules, Medicines and Drugs (SK185) ECA Good progress on the SXR270 ECA The astronomy (S282) exam
More About: Education , Applications , Computing , Tricky
Want to know how the universe works?
2010-10-27 10:25:00
S197 is one of those Open University courses that people are rather put off by as it’s acquired a reputation of being one of the most difficult of the science short courses. There’s reason behind that view too. It seems to have a fair amount of both mathematics and weird terminology if the extract from ... Related posts:Shifting sands with the Open University courses More difficult than expected course decisions Even more course options Doing courses in a peculiar order Mulling over several competing options for 2010 courses
More About: Education , Universe , Physics , Works
Tidying up the unfinished car administration from years back
2010-10-26 21:32:00
When we moved to France we drove our car there with the intention of officially importing it at some stage. However, we were rather busy in the first few months in France setting things up, then spent the rest of that first year trying to catch up on various bits of administration that we’d put ... Related posts:Buying a house in France: Part 22: French administration Where is “home” when you’ve moved to live in France? Crazy car insurance companies in France Extricating oneself from the French administration Buying a house in France: part 23: French documentation: ID card, Livre de Famille and proof of address
More About: Back , Administration , Years , Unfinished
Into week 3 of World Archaeology (A251)
2010-10-26 10:16:00
Since I finished reading the week 2 material so early in the week, I’m making a small start on week 3. This moves on from consideration of the invention of agriculture in south west Asia to look at how it developed in south-east Asia. For the first time this highlights some differences in how things ... Related posts:SK277 exam revision strategy The web applications (TT280) ECA A bit of handholding at the start with World Archaeology (A251) Time to make a start on World Archaeology (A251) The final week of the astronomy (S282) revision
More About: Education , History , Week
The web applications (TT280) ECA
2010-10-25 10:03:00
I left this course to the one side for a couple of weeks whilst revising for the astronomy exam so it was Saturday before I found that I’d my expected two weeks worth of work to be done (which took a couple of hours) and that the ECA had arrived the day before. In terms ... Related posts:Towards the end of the Molecules, Medicines and Drugs (SK185) ECA Into week 3 of World Archaeology (A251) TT280 Web Applications : Design, Development and Management A slightly more tricky second CMA for the web applications course (TT280) ED209 revision notes: messing up the Open University
More About: Education , Computing
Missing the Kumon, adjusting to Kip McGrath
2010-10-23 10:44:00
Probably the biggest plus point of the Kumon is that you need to sit down five nights a week with the kids to get the homework done. It was, of course, the biggest minus point too as it’s a 365 day a year deal which meant that, in practice, one or other of the little ... Related posts:Exit Kumon and enter Kip McGrath Off to Kip McGrath Kumon or Kip McGrath? Getting carried away with Kumon Is Kumon getting too popular?
More About: Education , School , Missing
Commission in the not so good times
2010-10-22 10:14:00
The biggest problem with commission payments is that they’re dependent on transactions taking place. That’s fine during good economic times. Nobody minds too much paying the estate agent a few thousand to sell their house when house prices are rising and houses are selling in a reasonable time. Moreover, when the estate agent values (ie ... Related posts:Just how bad could a real recession actually get? So how bad might the economy be…? Will the housing market ever get out of this nightmare market? May you live in interesting times Can prices really continue to fall for much longer?
More About: Economy , Finance , Commission , Times , Good
Towards the end of the Molecules, Medicines and Drugs (SK185) ECA
2010-10-21 18:47:00
Although we’re constantly reminded that the Open University has all kinds of checks in place to detect plagiarism, there’s a constant stream of hits on this site around TMA/ECA submission time looking for “SK185 answers”, “molecules medicines and drugs answers” and all kinds of variations on those. Since SK185 is a short course there’s getting ... Related posts:Moving on through Molecules, Medicines and Drugs (SK185) Molecules, medicines and drugs: a chemical story (SK185) is here! The web applications (TT280) ECA Getting started on SK185 Good progress on the SXR270 ECA
More About: Education , Chemistry
Which travel money card is the best?
2010-10-21 10:55:00
Prepaid cards seem to be breeding like rabbits around the world and every single one is different from the others in terms of charges, features and general usability. Rather than trawl through all the cards that would pay me to recommend them to you as the majority of card comparison sites do, I’m just going ... Related posts:Taking your holiday money to America A drift from Visa to Mastercard: holiday implications How should you take your holiday money? Cash? Travel lers Cheques? Credit Card s? Debit Cards? Where can you find the cheapest travel money card? Picking the best credit card
More About: Money , Banking
A bit of handholding at the start with World Archaeology (A251)
2010-10-20 13:30:00
I’m nearly through the first week of the course now which hasn’t taken quite so long as the 16 hours it suggests. It looks like about two to three hours will be enough to complete although the course hasn’t really quite started in the first unit of the course so that could change. The first ... Related posts:Time to make a start on World Archaeology (A251) Into week 3 of World Archaeology (A251) The web applications (TT280) ECA Roaring ahead with TT280 Shorter Open University courses
More About: Education , History , Start
Is the Euro just too strong for the good of the European economy?
2008-06-08 19:13:00
The actions that the American, British and Euro pean central banks have taken have all affected their respective exchange rates of course. We’ve seen the pound move from a typical $1.50 to more like $2 these days and that’s obviously had quite a considerable effect on international trade between the two countries which has always been substantial. ...
More About: Business , Economy , Finance , European
Facing foreclosure and want some help?
2008-06-08 19:04:00
With the credit crisis in full swing there are a lot of people out there in need of some foreclosure help. Fortunately, that crisis has spawned a whole industry aimed at helping those in financial difficulties. Help and advice abound if only you know where to look for it. Time might well look pretty bleak but ...
More About: America , Finance , Foreclosure , Facing
Want to speed up your computer?
2008-06-08 18:58:00
If you just want a bit more oomph out of your computer then the best approach is to look at the amount of swap space that’s being used. Eh? Don’t worry about the terminology, it’s just a number! Just right click on an empty bit of the task bar at the bottome of the screen and ...
More About: Technology , Computer , Computing , Speed , Speed up
Almost into the summer toy buying time
2008-06-08 18:50:00
As the summer holidays approach, so too does the time when you’ll be looking for stuff to fill up the hours that the school used to wear out the little guys. These days the assumption that everything is electronic is deeply ingrained, but it doesn’t need to be that way. For instance, our little guys were ...
More About: Shopping , Buying , Summer , Time
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