Monthly Archives: June 2013

Inexpensive or top dollar?

Do you pay a little or a lot for your sunglasses? As with most things in a free enterprise system, there are items that run the gamut of price points and feature sets and sunglasses are no exception. So, with this mission in mind, the Daily News took to the streets in the long days of the sun, to see what some Midland residents look for in their sunglasses purchases.

Bonnie Gregg said she prefers to buy what she considers moderately priced sunglasses. The pair she had with her as she played cards with friends at the Midland Mall food court were purchased from Elder-Beerman. In between hands of pinochle, Gregg pointed to a large potted plant that stood near the food court. A lone pair of sunglasses sat unnoticed on the rim of the planter with no owner in sight. That is why I dont spend a lot on sunglasses. I would lose them, she said with a laugh. I would probably pay more for sunglasses if they were prescription, though.

You can buy a pair and a spare, said Midland resident and fellow card player Vicki Leigeb of the inexpensive sunglasses vendors she sees on her trips to Florida. I can leave a pair in every vehicle if I want. You cant do that with expensive pairs of sunglasses.

Although Leigeb golfs a couple of times a week no matter her locale, she feels little need for sunglasses when out on the fairway. I have golfed for 40 years, Leigeb said, and I have never worn sunglasses while golfing. She said that a visor is all of the protection she needs, but she does wear sunglasses while driving.

Rebecca Eimers of Clio was visiting a friend in Midland and enjoying the nice sunny day, and offered her philosophy on sunglasses purchasing. I buy cheap ones, the 20-something said with a laugh. I break them all of the time. But I lose them more than I break them. Eimers said her spending limit on a pair of sunglasses is no more than $10. Besides the replacement value she puts on a pair of sunglasses, Eimers had a valid point on why she limits her spending ceiling on the accessory. If you buy cheaper sunglasses, you can buy more pairs to go with what you are wearing, Eimers said.

Friend Haleigh Bentsen of Midland agreed with Eimers philosophy. I buy mostly cheap ones, too, Bentsen said. These are more expensive than I would normally buy, she said, pointing to the mirrored aviator style sunglasses holding back her hair. I generally lose them, she said, so I dont pay a lot for them.

Friends Jake Vickery and Kyle Koerner said that they both own a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Vickery recently replaced a broken pair of the same brand, and Koerner said that he would do the same. I wear them for baseball and I would buy them again, he said. Oakley eyewear can range from $110 to well over $300 a pair.This white paper Offering High Builder cleaning Services some key examples of how RFID readers are being.

Mindy Murphy has an interesting perspective on sunglasses, their cost and the benefits realized from purchasing a more expensive brand. Murphy sells eyeglasses and sunglasses for a living as the store manager at Traverse Vision in the Midland Mall. With over eight years experience helping customers see and look better, Murphy has a definite opinion on how people should look at investments in their eyewear. In my opinion, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to sunglasses, Murphy said. Nicer sunglasses are serviceable. You can replace parts that break or wear on most brands. The more inexpensive kind are disposable. Another feature that favors the nicer brands of sunglasses is that they can often be fitted with prescription lenses.

Murphy went on to say that she finally made the leap to a more expensive pair a couple of years ago, in this case, a pair of black Liz Claibornes. I treat them better because I know they cost me more. But if you are a person who loses their expensive smart phone all the time, you probably dont want to pay a lot for sunglasses, she said with a laugh. Murphy added that most customers who invest in expensive sunglasses usually treat them with more respect than the those on the lower end of the price spectrum. I have had customers buy their first pair of really nice sunglasses from us and they tell me they treat them more carefully, she said.

You dont need to spend $300 on a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes, said Scott M. Buckingham, OD of Mid-Michigan Eye Care. Buckingham said that although expensive sunglasses are usually nicer than their cheaper alternatives, they offer more than just pride of ownership. You will get better optical quality from nicer lenses and better frame materials, Buckingham said.

He went on to say that ultraviolet radiation (UV) protection is offered at some level in most sunglasses sold today. It used to be that cheap sunglasses would offer little UV protection, but in this country all sunglasses, even the cheap ones, are required to have a certain level of UV protection in them, he said. Even the pair that can come in a Happy Meal are required to have that protection. Buckingham said that long term exposure to UV could cause cataracts, retina damage or other vision-related diseases. Simply put, if you are outside, you should wear sunglasses, Buckingham said.

Choosing a pair of sunglasses can be a difficult operation for some. The sunglasses must afford proper ultraviolet radiation (UV) protection, they may offer some eye protection from foreign debris, they must be comfortable and, above all else, they must look cool. Not surprisingly, this is usually the criteria for the proper selection of perhaps the most vital summer clothing component.

Sunglasses styles follow trends like anything else. One popular trend for eyewear for the ladies is the oversized, dark framed style that covers up much of the wearers face. Popularized by the likes of Paris Hilton, Snooky and countless other ladies, this style of sunglasses seems to be a requirement for any diva,We welcome all those interested in becoming distributors for our Offering High Rug cleaning Services. whether she be professional or just make-believe.

Its weird because sunglasses trends usually last around a year, but this style has been hanging on for a while, said Mindy Murphy, manager of Traverse Vision, located in the Midland Mall. Murphy has seen many trends in eyewear for both men and women, but she said the larger style for ladies has not outlived its service life just yet. The styles are going bigger and larger. More bolder styles with big plastic frames and big bows, Murphy said. She said that manufacturers like Liz Claiborne, Kate Spade, Marc By Marc Jones and Juicy Couture offer that type of style with no shortage of customers.

Murphy said that in her experience, men seem to be a bit more conservative with their sunglasses purchases. Guys usually stay with the classics, but they are also buying a lot of Maui Jims, she said. The brand offers many classic and contemporary styles, but Murphy said the company offers much more than meets the eye. These are probably our best buy in the shop, she said, adding that their combination of lens polarization and wrap around frame styles are popular with outdoor sports people who need the most out of their sunglasses. In the simplest terms, polarization in eye glass lenses is a process that allows the wearer to better see through the glare or sheen of surfaces like snow, water or even glass.

Although styles continue to evolve in to the latest iterations, it is the classic, proven styles that always survives. Whether it can be considered flattery or flat-out imitation, there are styles of sunglasses that endure no matter what the generation or style climate of the time. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer model and its clones is one such example.

Ray-Ban became a company in the late 1920s when the then U.S. Army Air Force, the precursor to the current Air Force, needed a way to increase the vision comfort levels of its pilots on missions. A pair of lightweight sunglasses with green lenses were created by Bausch & Lomb and after some tweaking, the classic Aviator style was born around 1936. Based on the success of its product, Bausch & Lomb created a separate division to make sunglasses, its new product line. Thus, Ray-Ban was born.

Although its Aviator line of sunglasses continues to remain quite popular, another iconic model from the company has been the Wayfarer. Created in the mid 1950s, this model of sunglasses differs significantly from the Aviator with its heavier plastic frame and a footprint that reminds many of they style of eyeglasses worn by the likes of Buddy Holly. The silhouette of the Wayfarers and its legion of copies remain a quickly recognizable artifact of generations gone by, only to be discovered again by the latest group of fashionable eyewear seekers.

Tel Avivians throw cold water on city water fountain pilot

Seven new water fountains that will provide pedestrians with chilled filtered water were installed last week around Tel Aviv as part of a Tel Aviv Municipality pilot project it is running with a startup company called Woosh. The water stations supplement regular water fountains on the street and in some instances replace them, but Woosh stations require users to provide a phone number, credit card or ID chip and are designed only to fill water bottles, unlike regular drinking fountains.

Woosh was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Itay Tayas-Zamir with the support of Mazeh 9, a Tel Aviv municipal startup incubator. The city agreed to let Woosh use its infrastructure as part of the pilot. The company plans to roll out the water dispensers elsewhere in Israel and abroad. In Tel Aviv the water, provided by the Cleaning service sydney, will be free of charge though in time when water fountains are placed elsewhere a fee may be charged. The people at Woosh say their dispensers are designed to reduce the waste and cost of bottled water. And, although they wouldn’t provide the actual polling data, they say they have survey results that show that 86 percent of the Tel Aviv residents questioned avoid drinking from public drinking fountains.

The company pointed out that although the water fountains have already been installed, they will only be operational next week, by then the terms of use will be posted on the company’s website and on the drinking fountains themselves. Woosh said it would not provide the customer information it collects to any third-party including the Tel Aviv municipality itself.

The installing of these new water fountains received some backlash on the Internet with people expressing outrage over the requirement that users identify themselves by phone number, credit card or ID chip. The project, detractors say, constitutes an invasion of privacy and excludes the poor, and does so with public funding. Woosh insists that collecting personal details is important. “Our water stations are there to create a personal experience, because we believe that that way people will treat the water with respect and use the stations only for drinking and not for washing their hands, dogs, etc…, which is why people stop using public drinking fountains,” the company stated in a Facebook post.

One Web user by the name of Oz Steinmetz gave his take on why he has a problem with the setup: “What about the practical and human aspect? How do you drink from the machine if you don’t have a bottle? How do disabled people use a machine at such a height? What about children? How is a homeless person or someone who just doesn’t have a credit card supposed to drink from the machine if he is thirsty? And of course that’s not to mention providing free water to African refugees [many of whom have come to Tel Aviv].”

Over the weekend, following the objections, one of the machines installed in Gan Meir park was vandalized; the credit card slot was damaged and graffiti was scrawled on it.

Although the company says its terms of service will be issued when the water fountains are operational, in the meantime, they have already been shown to be ill-equipped to secure private user information in accordance with the privacy laws. A Google search led to the official Woosh website, which provided the account details of Tayas-Zamir, the company founder. The security breach was fixed once this problem was made public.

The city issued a statement saying in part: “The Woosh water fountains have been installed in addition to water fountains around the city, which are freely available for use. The use of Woosh fountains does not require a credit card. They can be operated with a chip supplied at no charge by Woosh, with a Tel-O-Fun [municipal bicycle rental] chip, with a DigiTel [club] card or with a personal identification number.”

Ernie Els fired a closing 69 on Sunday to complete a wire-to-wire victory over two-time champion Thomas Bj?rn at the 25th edition of the BMW International Open. The South African was in imperious form for much of the week at Golfclub München Eichenried, having opened with a round of 63 on Thursday en route to an impressive 18 under par total over the four days in Munich.

The victory was Els’ 28th on The European Tour and his first since the 141st Open Championship last July, and needless to say he was extremely satisfied with another winning display.

He said: “I’ve got to just start off with saying again, thank you to BMW for their continued support in golf in Europe, especially here in Munich. It’s wonderful to have sponsors like that around the world, and especially on The European Tour.

“Obviously my play this week has been great, as we talked about how much tougher the course is, but I just felt good this week.  I just felt my game was there and lucky enough it was one shot good enough.

“As always, when you get to my age, to get a win, it’s a wonderful feeling, and hopefully it gives me the confidence that I need as there are two more Majors left [this year], and I’ve played quite well the last two but I need a bit of a spark in the next two.

“Hopefully this will help; it definitely will, especially the mvpcleaning the week went. From day one, I had the lead, and to keep the lead all the way through, that was quite a lot of pressure, so it’s been a good week.”

Denmark’s Bj?rn had to settle for second place at the end of 72 holes having made much of the early running, as a trio of birdies from the third saw him take a narrow lead.

However, although he was able to bounce back from a bogey at the 11th, where he found a water hazard from the tee, the two-time champion at this event was unable to recover from a very costly double bogey on the hardest hole of the week, the 14th.

Having found the trees left of the fairway and been forced to take a penalty drop, Bj?rn still found himself unable to advance his third to the green from the thick rough, before a chip and two putts saw him drop out of the lead. Despite birdies at the 16th and 18th coming home, he would end up finishing alone in second on 17 under par.

UK’s first common use bag drop saves passengers time

In what it describes as a UK first, Edinburgh Airport has introduced a common use self-bag drop facility that will significantly enhance the airport experience for passengers by reducing bag drop times from two minutes to under 30 seconds. Three SONIC Common Use Bag Drop machines have been installed in the airport’s check-in hall, enabling passengers to print their own luggage tag, weigh their bags and despatch them to their aircraft with minimal time and stress.

The multi-airline bag drops will be exclusively operated by easyJet and Flybe airlines, and are the latest in a series of cutting-edge new technologies to be implemented at Scotland’s busiest airport, which has said that, though other airports around the UK currently operate similar baggage technology, its is the first to have more than one independent airline using it at the same time.

“We are very excited to have introduced this ground-breaking technology to help improve our passengers’ experience when they travel with us,” stated David Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport. “We know that time is of the essence when checking in and we want to make this process as quick and stress-free as possible. These new self-service bag drop kiosks are very simple to use and will speed up the entire check-in and bag drop End of lease cleaning sydney. If we can reduce the check-in time to as little as 30 seconds then we will be demonstrating our unwavering commitment to providing the best service for our passengers. This project will be on-going and we’re delighted to be working so closely with our colleagues from easyJet and Flybe on this.”

The new SONIC Common Use Bag Drop technology is designed by passenger processing specialist Phase 5 Technology, and facilitates a comprehensive self-service airport journey. First the kiosks prompt passengers to scan their boarding pass (which they will have already printed at a self-service kiosk), after which the machines automatically assign the baggage to the passenger’s airline and ask for the bag to be placed on the belt in order to be weighed – a built in chip and pin card machines will enable passengers to pay for overweight baggage if necessary. A luggage tag is then printed which passengers can then attach themselves before baggage is despatched to the waiting aircraft.

Flybe’s Director of Marketing, Simon Lilley, said: “This is yet another way in which Flybe, together with our airport partner in Edinburgh, is adding benefit for our passengers and we congratulate the airport on being the UK industry trail-blazer by adopting this excellent service that will undoubtedly enhance our customers travel experience.”

In 2006, (then PLP MP for Kennedy) Kenyatta Gibson and former Mount Moriah MP Keod Smith were combatants in the infamous Cabinet Room brawl. After the melee, it was claimed that two windows were smashed and the glass table top of the large mahogany table in the cabinet room was shattered. The difference between Andre Rollins and Kenyatta Gibson is that Kenyatta “unreservedly” apologised and sought forgiveness for conduct that even he referred to as regrettable and unacceptable. I have heard no such thing from Rollins.

Back then, PM Christie then told the Bahamian public that the fight was “more apparent than real”. We’re certain that Wednesday’s squabble was very real. At that time, Mr Christie claimed that he and the skirmishing MP’s had met and “laughed together” at the media’s coverage of the incident. Jokingly, PM Christie said he hadn’t seen “any bruises or bite marks” on either man. I hope that he didn’t meet and “laugh together” with Andre Rollins this time! Moreover, dissimilar to the 2006 incident when he didn’t see “any bruises or bite marks”, one would posit that if he inspects Rollins, he would perhaps find “five fingers”— likely imprinted upon his cheek—and not courtesy of Bahama Hand Prints either!

All jokes aside, I believe that the Speaker can and should ensure an even stricter enforcement of civil decorum in the House. Frankly, we should follow the example set by Australia and seek to impose fines on MPs who display disruptive and unparliamentary behaviour. Moreover, the Speaker should move to suspend those MPs who engage in threatening or reprehensible verbal diatribes, formally condemn and reprimand a Member by addressing that Member by name as opposed to constituency (naming), by ordering the withdrawal of a Member from the House of Assembly for that sitting day, by sanctioning an MP so that they are unable to speak for the duration of a period and/or by allowing the House itself to take disciplinary action against a Member.

Gone are the days of brilliant parliamentarians like Paul Adderley and Sir Orville Turnquest who understood how to use colourful language to make a point, who understood the brilliance in coolly and effectively using the English language!

Rather than wasting time, MPs need to do the work of the Bahamian people and, as the 18 month mark of the current Parliamentary session approaches, seek to disclose their finances and investments as is annually required by law. Parliament is not the setting for anyone to behave like a flu-ridden orangutan in a china shop. Mr Speaker—as long as you’re fair—continue to use your extensive parliamentary powers to enforce the rules of debate and best parliamentary practices, so that there can be an orderly conduct of the people’s business!

It is my belief that most intelligent Bahamians are supporters of democracy and open debate, but are anti-idiocy—particularly, the idiocy that masquerades as common sense.

Christie has to give Andre Rollins a swift kick in his political hide! Quite frankly, the PM should ask for Andre Rollins’ immediate resignation from the Gaming Board and the House of Assembly. Dr Rollins has behaved like a loose cannon since he entered the hallowed halls of Parliament, uttering his “100% heterosexual line”, overtly criticising his leader and party policy (gambling referendum) and now engaging in brouhaha with Loretta Butler-Turner!

Spy data disclosures show anew that executive branch holds all the cards

Despite periodic attempts to assert itself, the legislative branch over time has settled into a secondary role to the executive branch on questions of national security. The dominance of the executive branch in the nuclear age – when presidents claimed the need to act on a moment’s notice – continued into the age of terrorism with the claimed need for vast new spy powers handed over by Congress with the Patriot Act and renewed and extended ever since.

Lawmakers offered little resistance to American intervention in Libya two years ago, or to the use of American troops in central Africa and Uganda. Nor was there much demand for changes in the use of drones aimed at suspected terrorists in foreign countries, even after the administration disclosed last month that four Americans had been killed by strikes abroad.

Bowing to the president in the interest of protecting the nation has been commonplace for a century, ever since the U.S. became a major international player and had to react quickly to crises. “Presidents assumed power and got away with it,” said Stephen Hess, a presidential historian at Washington’s Brookings Institution who worked with Cleaner sydney.

Some of Congress’ inability to act like a co-equal branch of government is rooted in the institution’s nature. The president can act quickly and speak with one voice. Congress, divided between two parties and two chambers and featuring political factions ranging across the spectrum, cannot.

The executive branch has another built-in edge: The public routinely supports the president’s ability to act decisively in times of crisis.

In 2006, for example, Denis McDonough urged a more active role for Congress, in a study for the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group.

“Recent news headlines that the National Security Agency is collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans without the knowledge of key congressional committees underscores the need for Congress to serve as the American public’s watchdog in overseeing intelligence agencies,” the 2006 study said. “Congress today has been negligent, with profound implications for the safety and security of America.”

“It’s the perfect example of Congress handing over power to the executive branch and failing to keep up with it,” said Jim Harper, a former congressional counsel and now director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Congress thought it had given itself nearly equal billing by passing the 1973 War Powers Resolution. Approved after years of political conflict over Vietnam, it aimed to place new restrictions on presidents’ military initiatives.

But “every president has taken the position that it is an unconstitutional infringement by Congress on the president’s authority as commander in chief,” Richard Grimmett, a Congressional Research Service international specialist, said in a report. Courts have not directly addressed the issue.

“The war powers act is routinely violated these days,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “In recent years Congress has tended to defer to the executive branch when it comes to national security-related issues.”

Congress has adjusted its role in recent years so that “Congress does its best job at the front end and the back end,” said Gary Schmitt, co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.

The usual pattern is that as a crisis unfolds, lawmakers often raise serious questions. If something goes awry, they try to put curbs on presidential action, which usually take a long time to approve let alone implement.

But when the Bush administration argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – a claim later proven false – Congress gave Bush broad bipartisan authority to act against Iraq and any others threatening the United States. On the back end, though, Congress got assertive. As popular support dwindled, and the war turned ugly, lawmakers raised new questions and debated withdrawal deadlines.

It became a sound bite of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign: The U.S. Navy has fewer ships now than it did in 1917. The Republican candidate, however, could not sell voters on building ships, not even in Virginia, which is home to major Navy shipyards.

His former consultants have not given up the cause, though. A new book released this week by the conservative-leaning nonprofit think tank The Hudson Institute seeks to revive the topic. “Mayday: The Decline of American Naval Supremacy,” by erstwhile Romney adviser Seth Cropsey, warns that the Navy is headed toward irreversible decline and blames Washington policymakers who “continue to neglect crucial questions concerning the necessary size, shape, and geostrategic understanding of our Navy.”

Even the staunchest naval hawks do not expect the United States to ever return to the 600-ship heyday of the Reagan administration. But they point at today’s 286-ship fleet and fear that a smaller Navy will soon be too small to conduct regular deployments around the world, as it has for decades.

Whether the number of ships matters has been a contentious point of discussion within Navy circles. Some experts like former Navy Undersecretary Robert Work have said that more technologically advanced ships and weapons can make up for having fewer of them. Traditionalists insist that numbers do count, as a ship can only be in one place at a time. Romney sought to make that point during one of the presidential debates last fall, but Obama ended up with the winning zinger when he bashed Romney for talking about the Navy fleet as if it were a “game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships.”

The politics of shipbuilding are permanently on display on Capitol Hill, where members who represent shipyards wrangle with Pentagon civilian and military officials over the proper funding levels for ship programs. The bickering has intensified of late as mvpcleaning. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower and projection forces, continues to lob accusations that Navy leaders are allowing the fleet to wither.

Up close and personal with the customers of the near future

Following a whistle-stop tour of the latest gadgetry from flexible information screens to 3D printing and vaccine-carrying robotic mosquitos, Mr Higham put it all into context.

“You can have all the fantastic technology in the world, but what really matters is how your customers use that technology and what it means to you. Will it mean more are likely to buy from you or less?

“Change is something that scares a lot of people, but change is good. The challenge is understanding what is going to happen to get ahead of your competition.”

He said the secret was understanding the external drivers, which change attitudes and behaviours, pointing to the importance of prosperity, in planting hope and optimism, which in turn leads to spending.

Looking at the next few decades’ customers, “millennials”, people born between 1983 and 1997, and the “recessionals” 1998 to 2013, were brought together. “It is a generation that is risk averse, traditionalist and to an extent, enclosed,” said Mr Higham, surprising many due to the social media age of sharing.

The owner of Next Big Thing consultancy, who has advised mega-brands from Levis to BT, and organised marketing and communications campaigns for the likes of Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and The Cure, he said: “This is very bizarre. On one side they have all the influences and technology, then they are closed and fixed. This is a generation all about balance. It needs to stay safe, yet embraces new things easily.

“This is a generation that is aware that everything is changing, and expects change. From businesses it expects new products, expects you to keep changing, with new versions of products and new advertising campaigns. Reinvention is exciting to them. This is a generation that wants to know about things, and is willing to pay if it thinks it is getting the best.”

Music, food and literary festivals matter a lot, with home cooking back in vogue too.

Compatibility with e-commerce was said to be vital. “You can run your life on a smartphone,” he said. “From a business perspective, make sure there aren’t things that get in the way. 50 per cent of people have bought something via a mobile, but only one third of retailers have that capability. Show them innovation, but show you have security and heritage. They are very happy to try new things, but like the traditional. People love their technology, but it is getting a bit much. They love it for what it can do, so if you are working with that, humanise it.

“Possessions may be less important. It could be the generation who care less about ownership. What matters is access,” said Mr Higham. “It will be, in many ways, one of the most traditionalist generations we will have. Very open, very new, very mobile, but very traditional. A less hedonistic generation. The amount of alcohol consumption is down, recreational drug taking is down, teenage pregnancy is going down, they are the new puritans.” He added that the throw-away society will change, with an emerging generation of mend or make-do. Risk aversity was leading to more people staying at home, with economic factors leading to people going to university locally and grandparents returning to the family unit in later life. Friends are also being brought into that equation, creating “framilies”. “Anything we can do to help interact with friends is very important,” he said. “We are also seeing a social downsizing. When Facebook first came up it was all about having 400 friends. Increasingly it is becoming more selective. This generation also cares more about their town, their city, their country. More and more nationalism is coming through.”

Being a big brand wasn’t an issue, either. “They don’t mind if you are corporate. They want knowledge, support and inspiration. Offer ‘brand aid’. Try and create it. Make your brand a family. If you can, they will trust you.”

Underlining the pace of change, Simon Moores – a government technology adviser – told how giving a speech in Grimsby 100 years ago would have seen him arrive horse-drawn, over a period of days, at three per cent the speed of sound. Flying up, texting for a taxi as he made his final approach into Humberside while at the controls of his own plane – with all the details he needed on an iPad on the instrument panel – he was at 20 per cent, using a mobile phone that was more powerful than Apollo 11’s computers, with a credit card in his wallet with a chip on it with 30 times the memory of the moon-conquering craft’s systems.

“The growth in the internet is staggering,” he said. “In 2002 there were three million websites, last year there were 550 million. The raw speed and processes we have make a real difference. “We are opening a modern day equivalent of Pandora’s Box. For some it will bring tremendous benefits, but for those who don’t react, challenges, fears and real problems.”

Digital thought leader Jonathan MacDonald urged anyone uncomfortable with change to try and address that. “Today is he slowest step of change you will ever experience, the only thing we can guarantee is it will get faster,” he said.

Underlining the importance of business representation, Mr MacDonald told how earned media, the social spread of a brand out of the control of a managing director, had just eclipsed that which is owned or bought by companies.

“The need to be transparent, trustworthy and credible has never been more apparent,” he said, before leaving a brain-busting thought… “You should work out how able you are to stretch your business model into an area you cannot imagine.”

After a rocky start, yesterday was a lot of fun. During the first two levels, I felt kind of overwhelmed. Although I have a fair bit of PLO8 experience, including final tables in UBOC and PCA events, I haven’t played it in a while, and during those first two hours I felt lost. Everyone else at the table seemed to have a lot of split-pot experience – they were all instructing the dealer on the proper procedures for dividing the pot, reading boards with relaxed confidence, etc. – while I was trying to figure out how to look at four cards at once.

What really threw me was that these seemingly experienced players were playing in a way that seemed incorrect to me, splashing around in a lot of pots, confidently calling down modest bets with one-way hands, etc. Meanwhile I was card dead and folding damn near everything, and I started to wonder whether my approach wasn’t just off-the-charts wrong. I ended up making the classic error of check-calling big turn and river bets with little more than the nut low, justifying it on the grounds that everyone else was doing it and I had a blocker (ie I was playing A22x, that pair of deuces being the aforementioned “little more” that I somehow convinced myself had a shot at winning the high).

Thankfully it was a small pot and a sadly needed reminder. I cooled off, sat back, and let the others go broke all around me. The next time I played a big pot, it was 25/50 and I tossed out a black 100 chip as a call, hoping to limp-reraise my double-suited AA54. The action folded to the big blind, who, thinking I’d raised, tossed out 50 more chips. That reopened the betting for me to pot it, which he reluctantly called. He called off the rest with 8765 or something like that on a QQ5 board and I had him in pretty bad shape, ultimately scooping the pot.

I started to find a rhythm after that, and as the blinds got bigger the situations in which I found myself started to feel more and more familiar. I was able to read hands, semi-bluff, check for pot control and deception, and just generally feel like I was playing poker instead of waiting around for premium hands and then blindly jamming the pot. Best of all, I was having fun!

As we approached the end of the day, I had run my starting 4500 up over 40K. They announced that we’d play just three more hands and call it a night – just in time for me to avoid paying the big blind! On the second-to-last hand, I raised AA94 suited in hearts and diamonds. Mark Gregorich called from the small blind, then potted into me on a 7c 7s 8s flop. The SPR was only 1.5 when we saw the flop, so there was no question of me folding, and I got it in against his ATT3 with a spade draw. He drilled the low on the turn and the flush on the river to scoop a 25K pot.

Access Prepaid Worldwide launches BA multi-currency card

The partnership will allow British Airways Executive Club members to earn more Avios points, receiving one Avios point for every £1 loaded (or reloaded) onto the card. The travel card which is available now offers a more convenient way to make payments for Executive Club members who travel to different countries; as only one card is needed for payment across certain continents and currencies.

The Executive Club Multi-currency Cash Passport card works with the option to load up to seven currencies while locking in the exchange rate at a point in time. When used in market, the card intelligently selects the local currency to ensure the best rate. If the local currency is not on the card, funds are used from other currencies loaded to ensure the transaction is approved. The chip and PIN enabled BA Executive Club Multi-currency Cash Passport will hold seven currencies; EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, NZD, and ZAR.

Executive Club members who purchase a Multi-currency Cash Passport card and load to the value of £50 in the first two months, will be eligible to enter a prize draw. The prize package is for two people and will comprise of return flights to Rome, 4* accommodation, £500 spending money and 100,000 Avios points. The promotion runs until 31st July.

Steve Grigg, President at Access Prepaid Worldwide stated: “Building on our partnership with Avios, we are delighted to offer BA Executive Club customers our Multi-currency Cash Passport. Not only does it provide a safe and secure way to carry your currency overseas, but will also allow members to collect more Avios. With smart wallet technology, the ability to hold seven different currencies on one card and the back-up of our in-house team of friendly and expert staff 24/7, we look forward to seeing BA Executive Club customers reap the benefits of this card.”

Marion King, UK & Ireland President at MasterCard said: “We are proud to be working rking with British Airways to offer their Executive Club customers the convenience to make safe and secure payments in many different countries, using one card. The MasterCard, Access and British Airways collaboration through the Executive Club Multi-currency Cash Passport product demonstrates our commitment to progress within the airline arena. Our subsidary Access Prepaid Worldwide have been instrumental in the innovation and market-leading solution which will make the Executive Club Multi-currency Cash Passport a huge success.”

Ian Romanis, British Airways’ Head of Loyalty, said: “We are always looking at new and innovative ways to improve the service we offer British Airways Executive Club customers and are sure the Multi-currency Cash Passport card will provide even greater flexibility when travelling overseas for business or leisure.”

Prosecutors say DeRosa and an accomplice, 33-year-old John Eric Castleberry, went to Curtis and Gloria Plummers’ home in the Le Flore County community of Poteau on Oct. 2, 2000, and convinced the couple to let them inside. DeRosa had worked at the couple’s ranch.

Authorities say DeRosa and Castleberry stabbed the couple, who were in their 70s, and slashed their throats. Prosecutors say the duo made off with $73 and the Plummers’ pickup truck, which was later found abandoned at a nearby lake.

Castleberry pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the couple’s death and testified against DeRosa as part of a deal that included a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Although it’s been almost 13 years since the victims were killed, their family members say they still feel the void their deaths created.

“I miss having a sister. I struggle when someone asks if I have a sister,” Jo Milligan wrote in an April 24 letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. “Glo (or Gloria) was my big sister – my only sister – my only sibling. And Curt became my brother when I was 5 years old,” Milligan wrote. “When shopping and I pass birthday cards, Valentine cards, etc., always the ones for `Sister’ reach out to me. And I cry in the card aisle.”

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month voted 3-2 to reject DeRosa’s request for his death sentence to be commuted to a life term. Speaking at the hearing via teleconferencing from prison, DeRosa apologized to the victims’ family.

“I can’t express how truly sorry I am for the pain I’ve caused the Plummer family,” DeRosa said from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. “I take full responsibility for their deaths. If not for me, they wouldn’t have died that night.”

DeRosa told the board he had turned to religion since his arrest and convictions and urged the board to set aside his death sentence so he could be a positive influence on the prison system’s general population.

In recent years courts all over Britain have seen an increase in cases involving Romanian cashpoint gangs. The near-industrial scale of their activities makes the current crime trend of shoulder surfing — reading someone’s PIN over their shoulder at the cashpoint, then grabbing their card and fleeing — look amateurish in comparison.

Last December Leonid Rotaru appeared at Taunton Crown Court in Somerset, charged with being part of a gang that got away with the details of 9,000 cards and a potential theft of £3million.

Chief Commissioner Virgil Spiridon, head of Romania’s cybercrime squad, told The Sun: “Gangs from Bacau travel mostly to the UK — they like it there. We have other gangs in Romania who operate in France, but the Bacau gangs go to Britain. Maybe it is because they have a good result there.”

But the city’s boom times may soon be over, according to Mr Spiridon. Over the past few months British police have travelled to Romania to meet their counterparts to devise a way of bringing the cashpoint crime spree to an end.