Ticket Scalpers Beware: Australia To Indroduce Tough Laws

We’ve all seen them.  Tickets to “sold out” shows and events popping up online at inflated prices, sometimes two, three or four times their original value. 

Ticket Scalpers have been onto a good thing the world over. There are those who will buy up tickets early specifically to “re-sell” them later on for a profit.  In Australia, the NSW government is putting their foot down, and is close to introducing aggressive new laws to limit scalpers and attempt to put a stop to this unfair and unethical practice.  The change comes at a good time, right as Swiss-based ticket re-seller, viagogo is getting ready to sell scalpers tickets downunder.

The proposed laws will allegedly allow sports organisations and promotors to set their own conditions on ticket sales.  In recent days the NRL cancelled up to 100 grand final tickets that appeared on the Internet Auction giant, eBay.  In that case the buyer was looking to make a quick $9500 profit from selling tickets for $260 each (regular price: $165).  And that’s just one example.  Tickets to Pinks Australian tour were selling for almost double their retail price and if you wanted to see Barclays Premier League champions, Manchester United play the A-League All-Stars would would have had to pay more than FOUR times the regular price at a whopping $420 per ticket!

 ticket-scalpersImage: news.com.au

“We want to give fans a fair go at buying tickets, while also protecting fans from rip-offs and fraud”, said Fair Trading Minister, Anthony Roberts.   Those fraudsters were bluntly described by Sports Minister, Graham Annesley as “unscrupulous profiteers motivated only by greed”.

The NSW probably wont be ablw to stop viagogo, who have already proven to be elusive in other parts of the world.  But a law change that limits scalpers from over-inflating tickets can only be a good thing for Australian events.

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Windows 8.1 Arriving To PC Makers In August

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 has been one of the most talked about Windows OS, and it’s getting its first update as soon as August.  Microsoft announced Monday that they will send the final version of Windows 8.1 to PC manufacturers later this year.

Windows 8.1 is the first major update to the Windows 8 Operating System and according to earlier reports, it will available as a free download to current Windows 8 customers.

With the update comes a host of new or improved features.  Click here to see what’s coming.

Windows 8.1 Screenshot:

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Windows 8 continues to be a popular with upgrades from earlier versions of Windows said to be at a good pace.

Are you a Windows 8 user?  Are you thinking about upgrading?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Google Search? Not As Much As You Would Think

On my daily travels through Mashable this evening I came across this rather fascinating story about how Google is killing organic search; and how only roughly 13% of the results page is actually dedicated to giving you the results you need.

The story references a study done by Aaron Harris (twitter: @harris), the founder of Tutorspree, who broke down the Google organic results page(s) and found that far less “real estate” is used to provide you with search results than you would think, or expect.

Google has been the “king” of Internet Search for quite some time, so much so that we no longer say we’ll “search” for something, we often just say “Google-it”.  However the days of copious lists of results seem to have been replaced gradually by revenue raising Google advertising, and with the localised search data we now have other Google products such as Maps also taking up seemingly valuable website space.

Harris used “Auto Mechanic” as an example, while logged into Google on a machine in the TriBeCa area.

13percentgoogle

Says Harris, “I’m using a Macbook Air 13inch. My browser size is set to “Actual Size.” The rest of the page is taken up by Google products. Adwords take up 29% of the page. Google’s map, plotted with it’s own local results takes up 7% of the page. Google’s navigation bar, complete with notifications for my Google+ account, takes up 14% of the page.”

The results themselves?  Harris continues, saying, “The top organic result? Wikipedia. The next two? Yelp, a competitor against which Google is clearly moving.(2)”

If you think 13% is bad, it gets worse – far worse.  “Italian food” provided just 7% real estate dedicated to the organic search results, and if you used your mobile phone, the answer was as low as 0%.  That’s right, NOTHING.

I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to read the study by Aaron Harris on Tutorspree.  You’ll be truly amazed at how little Google is actually providing us by way of Organic Search data.

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Basic Bream Rig For Land / Pier fishing

Growing up as a child, the waterways of New Zealand played an integral role in my upbringing.  Be it on the lakes with the family on our boat, or at the beach dropping a line in to catch yellowtail off the Whangamata Jetty, there’s always been a special place in my heart for a good few hours fishing. 

breamRecently i’ve gotten back into it (after years of absense).  Where we live we have an incredibly active coastal system that has a lot of species of fish that can be caught.  Off the rocks here we can pick up Snapper, Flathead, Squid, and one of my current favorites, Bream.

Bream are a great fish to catch.  They’re natural fighters and even an undersized Bream will give you a thrill as you reel it in.  I’ve only just started to learn all about the intracasies of setting up a rig specifically designed to attract and catch these feisty and incredibly smart fish.

Like many amateurs i fell into the old trap of thinking all i’d need would be a rod with sinker and hook (s) and some bait and i’d be getting bites left, right and center.  How wrong I was.  Sure, a basic line might catch some fish, but not your regular Bream.

These are truly fun fish to go after.  They are naturally timid, and rather than take the bait in one hit, they’re likely to go after small bits.  The problem is, if they feel tension on the line they’re likely to drop the food and disappear.  For this reason, it’s important to keep your rig light and set up in a way that allows for the most natural movement of the bait.  You want the Bream to realise there is a sinker and rod attached to its supper after your hook as connected!

This is a similar setup to what i’m currently using:

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Essentially, what you’ve got is the sinker (i use a very light / small ball sinker) set about 50cm – 100cm above the hook on a running line.  I often give the sinker about 20cm of running movement by putting swivels approx. 20 – 30cm apart on the line and have the ball sinker slide freely between them.  Then, on the leader line i’ve been using almost a meter (100cm) with 2 hooks on it, one at the very end (as above) and one set approx. half way up the leader.

For hooks i’ve been using Bait Holders, as i use prawns as my prefered bait and they do a good job keeping the bait on the line.

The only other thing that you really want to use when going after Bream is a light and flexible rod, so that you can get quick recognition that the fish has hit the line.

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Ticket To Ride Finally Goes Android

tickettorideIt’s been a long time coming, but Days Of Wonder have finally released the award winning game “Ticket To Ride” for Android enabled devices!

Fans of the board game (and iOS games) have been asking DOW to release an Android version of the game for a long time, so this latest release is a major win for all gamers out there who use Android Tablets and devices.

The Android game contains the classic USA version of the game, and includes:

  • SOLO and online game play.
  • Ability to purchase additional maps in-game (Asia, Europe, etc)
  • Play against 4 AI personalities
  • Challenge Rail Barons playing on other platforms, incl. Steam, Mac, iPad and the DOW Online system.
  • In-game conductor to help you become a rail baron and master the game

If you’ve ever played the game you’ll understand just how addictive and compelling “Ticket To Ride” can be.  Get on board and pick up the game from Google Play today!

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Modern Take Maori Pork & Puha Boilup

Pork and Puha.  It’s about as Kiwi as Split Enz, the Haka & Billy T. James.  Often known simply as “Boilup”, this NZ dish is a concoction of pork bones, Puha (watercress), vegetables and a delicious broth, often served with doughboys / dumplings.

Sadly, outside of New Zealand, Pork and Puha is pretty much unheard of. Afterall, it’s not exactly the kind of dish you serve up at a restaurant.

I wanted to make cooking it for dinner, though, being the creative person I am, decided to put a modern take on it.  Where the classic recipe uses Pork Tenderloin and Pork Bones, I opted to go with Lamb, which would give a more hearty flavour. 

What you need:

  1. 0.5 / 1kg Lamb Bones (or Pork Bones)
  2. Bunch of fresh Puha (watercress)
  3. 6 small tomatoes (i used cherry tomatos)
  4. 1 small Kumara (sweet potato)
  5. 3 spring onions
  6. 1 small onion
  7. 2 – 4 cups chicken stock (or stock cubes / water)

How you do it:

  1. Place the stock in a saucepan and add lamb / pork bones.  Bring this to the boil and simmer for at least 1 hour, so the meat cooks and almost falls off the bone.

    MaoriBoilup01

  2. Prepare all the vegetables except the watercress.  I chopped the sweet potato into small 2cm cubes so they cook quickly.  I recommend keeping the onions in chunky pieces so you get large flavoursome chunks when eating it.  You can add extra vegetables if you wish.

    MaoriBoilup02

  3. After the bones have been stewing for an hour, add the prepared vegetables and cook for a further 15 minutes.

    MaoriBoilup03

  4. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the watercress by soaking it in cold water for 10 minutes.  This helps wash away some of the bitterness that watercress can have.  If you like the strong flavour, feel free to simply rince the watercress and set aside instead.

    MaoriBoilup04

  5. After the 15 minutes are done, add the watercress to the pot and stir in. 

    MaoriBoilup05

  6. Serve immediately by spooning into bowls and garnished with spring onions (optional).

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It’s a messy dish to eat that may involve picking the delicious meat off the bones with your fingers, but it tastes oh so good!

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