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Festival Of The Photograph

The secret to finding high quality educational iOS apps

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If you’re looking to spread your digital wings a bit, you probably want to find some of the highest quality educational iOS apps available. You probably head over to the official Apple App Store on your chosen iDevice and check out the ‘featured’ area and perhaps the ‘Top Sellers’ list. That’s great and a solid way to see what is being used on devices around the world. 

For the most part, though, all those top apps are either just big names or have had some recent promotion. As someone who once made an iPad app, I know what it’s like to try and get your app onto one of those promoted areas in the App Store. You would do just about anything because, as I found out, your sales and download numbers skyrocket as soon as you crack the top 100 apps in your category.

So how should you avoid the crazy featured and top sellers lists? By becoming familiar with the category filters, of course! It’ll look something like this on your computer:

See that small little link that says ‘Education Collections’ on the right below ‘iPhone Education’? That’s where you want to focus. It’s out of the way and most people don’t use it.

That’s the secret.

You want to use that link to filter down your app choices into what you actually want. That’s how you find the highest quality educational iOS apps that you wouldn’t normally see surfaced on the main App Store. For example, it’s a great way to find apps for elementary school students who need some STEM activities. Or perhaps it’s a great way to find an app for students in need of special education. Maybe just a handy to-do list for teachers gearing up for the new school year? It’s simple to find all this stuff and you don’t even need to search!

Will Steam Powered Automobiles Make A Comeback?

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The man has used steam as a source of energy for numerous years now. It was used to fuel locomotives and ships across the world for decades. The next obvious step would be to attempt and develop a steam-powered automobile that could be utilized on an everyday basis.

A car that is fuelled and powered by a steam engine is not out of the question as some prototypes have already been produced. Steam-powered agricultural and haulage vehicles are in use now but are really heavy in weight. Steam vehicles were in fact developed and produced at a steady rate in the early 1900s as steam was the major source of energy for trains at the time and the information to run an engine was already in place.

That information truly gave the steam auto a benefit more than a conventional gas auto and in 1900 steam cars were deemed to be superior and held numerous speed records on land for automobiles. However, by the time 1920 rolled about, the gas-powered auto had taken more than in good quality and popularity.

1 of the significant troubles with steam vehicles is its boiler. The boiler makes up most of the full mass of the drive train of the car, and this adds significantly to the overall weight of the vehicle. Yet another boiler-related issue is the fact that the driver would somehow have to make confident it has a continuous supply of water to replenish the boiler. This indicates the water has to be carried or the auto would have to have a condenser built into it. But this would just add much more weight as properly as an inconvenience.

At the time, a steam automobile did have some advantages to it. The engine itself, without the boiler, was lighter and smaller than a gas engine. It was also much more suited to the torque and speed characteristics of the axle. This meant it did not demand a complex and heavy transmission program like the gas auto. Steam cars also ran quieter than gas models, even without having some form of muffler system.

The significant distinction between the two varieties of vehicles is that a steam engine utilizes an external combustion engine, exactly where fuel is combusted outwards from the motor. The gas vehicle uses the internal combustion engine, which means the fuel is truly combusted inside the engine. One of the advantages of an external engine is that it produces lower emissions of carbon monoxide, oxides, nitrogen, as well as unburned carbon. This makes it a lot better for the environment when it comes to less pollution.

However, steam vehicles had been harder to start and took a whilst to warm up. When the electric starter was introduced it essentially meant the end for external combustion engines when it came to vehicles. But the internal combustion engine was not truly superior when it came to fuel economy, range, and performance.

Steam vehicles have not completely fallen by the wayside and some projects have been worked on because of the 1970s. They are still made and driven, though primarily by hobbyists and steam car enthusiasts. In August of 1999, a steam automobile was able to reach an average speed of 148.308 mph. Whilst steam cars are still a possibility for future use, the feeling of most researchers is that the time of the vehicles has come and gone.

Against “Gunman”

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Gary Marbut is the sanest, safest, most extreme gun advocate you’d ever want to meet, and I wanted to meet him. He lives in a geodesic dome he built himself on family land outside Missoula, MT, where he sells shooting range targets he makes himself and keeps a vast collection of guns that shoot ammo he loads himself. Gary is a gun nut, but he’s also a gun safety nut, responsible use of firearms nut, and not coincidentally, an excellent instructor in the safe use of firearms. He guided me from utter ignorance to shooting my way through a tactical course in a matter of hours. Despite the fact that he is always armed — always — I would say you’re safer running into Gary Marbut on a dark street corner than you would be in a minivan with a teenage driver.

My day with Gary was filmed for the documentary I’ve been making for PBS on the US Constitution, and when it’s broadcast in May you’ll be able to see Gary (and me) in action on the gun range, and hear his arguments for why the US Government shouldn’t be able to regulate the manufacture and sale of weapons within a state. But during our day together, and after, I engaged Gary in a conversation on gun control. Gary, unsurprisingly, is not in favor of legal restrictions on gun ownership. He believes, profoundly, that an armed society is a safer society, and in an email to me, talked about how important it is for all the “good guys” to have guns, and know h0w to use them properly and safely, in order to defend themselves and others from the “bad guys.”

That division, between the good and the bad among us, is what underlies most of our talk, and a lot of our legislation, about guns. We can’t pass restrictions on gun ownership, we are told, because “law-abiding gun owners” would suffer, while “criminals” would, of course, ignore the laws against gun ownership in the same way they ignore the laws against robbery, rape, and murder. I live in Chicago, where we have no shortage of “bad guys” with guns, and yes, it’s hard to imagine they’d be stopped by laws banning their ownership of guns. They haven’t been so far.

But I thought about this reading the New York Times‘ coverage of the shootings in Newtown. Time and again, they referred to the actions of the “gunman.” This is understandable. He is a man with a gun. And it would be horrifying if they were gone by standard New York Times style, and refer to a “Mr. Lanza” repeatedly as he murdered 20 children and six teachers.

But that term, “gunman,” is the first, mild term on a spectrum of alienation that leads down to “monster,” “coward,” “face of evil,” any and all of which might make us feel better as we loathe and scorn Adam Lanza, and reject him from human society, but it’s also is a way of reinforcing that “good guy/bad guy” dichotomy. You hear it now, from Rep. Louis Gohmert this morning on Fox News, and you will hear it more in coming days: we will have no choice but to arm the good guys because there’s no other way of stopping the bad guys.

As far as I know — and you should take everything in this post to be “as far as I know” — Adam Lanza had no criminal record, no record of hospitalization for mental illness, nothing that would have prevented him from legally owning all the weapons he used Friday. And since he didn’t actually own them — his mother did — let’s use other examples. Until the moment he grabbed his gun and killed his girlfriend, Jovan Belcher was a law abiding gun owner. Until the moment he shot Trayvon Martin, so was George Zimmerman. So was James Holmes until he opened fire at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. So was Jeffery Giuliano, the Connecticut retired cop who shot and killed his own son, thinking him to be an armed intruder. Actually, Mr. Giulano still is a law-abiding gun owner — no charges were filed.

I have no wisdom, and no prescription, and no advice as to what we as a country — who have decided, collectively, through our laws and our elected representatives to make access to guns ever and ever easier — can or should do now. I just make jokes on the radio about less important things. But I feel it’s important to remember: the villains, the bad guys, the ones we have to be afraid of an arm against, are, to a greater extent than we like to admit, ourselves.

What Happened to Your €œWord€ Being Worth Something?

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I have been shopping through online classifieds looking for a generator to use with my camp trailer. Not an essential item, but something I want and I am willing to shop around for. I want to find a decent deal before making a purchase, but I have a specific model in mind I would like. This model is quiet, puts on the watts and amps I need and is unfortunately fairly expensive. Yesterday I found one available in the price range I was willing to spend recently posted on KSL Classifieds, one of the main sites I have been watching.

Typically good deals on these particular classifieds are sold fast. By fast I mean if you don’t jump on the chance you might as well not make the call. I jumped on this one and was happy to find the generator I wanted was in good shape, was hardly used, and most of all were available! I jumped. I committed to the purchase, said I would pay the full asking price and would make arrangements to pick it up that night. A deal was struck, at least in my mind.

The difficulty here is that the seller was located a solid hour and a half from where I live, so I needed to make the trek to pick it up. With a family, it is not always possible to jump in the car and leave. My wife was out and I was “parenting” (not called babysitting in our home), so I had to wait until my wife was back to see when it would work for me to take the 3 hours to pick it up.

My wife came home and we discussed going that evening to pick it up, only perhaps 4 hours later, but as quick as I could arrange it. I gave the seller a call back only to be told, “Sorry, I already sold it to someone else. I am meeting him right now.”

I was floored. Yes, he had already sold it, TO ME! Even more frustrating, he felt no responsibility to me whatsoever.

I suspect he was offered more money by the later buyer, but that is beside the point. We had an agreement to which he should have felt obligated. I gave my commitment to pay his price, and he agreed to sell it to me. We agreed that I would pick it up later that day. His word was obviously only as good as the next highest bidder.

It was just a stupid generator, and another deal will eventually come along. I am sure many of your reading is thinking “Get over it” but it was something that stuck with me because I let my ill feelings for this guy to fester. After a few opportunities to complain to some friends about it, though, I started to think about the meaning I could pull out of this event.

So how good is our word these days? Are we always on the lookout to slight out fellow man so that we can come ahead? When you make a commitment, do you follow through? I would never try to portray that I am perfect in any regard, but at least I feel an obligation to follow through when I make a commitment.

In the business world, especially an entrepreneurial one, your reputation is your biggest asset. Word of mouth advertising is based entirely on having earned the trust of an individual to the point that they will refer you to another business or individual. Much of my business experience has been based on this level of trust and method of marketing.

There is a place for legal documents, binding agreements, etc. There is also a place where written agreements should be unnecessary. In a simple person-to-person situation, you should be able to have a verbal agreement and have confidence that both sides will keep their site of the commitment.

Perhaps I am just old school, or better put naïve. I believe people when they tell me something, particularly commitments. This does make me the easy butt of jokes that rely on gullibility, but I’m ok with that. Days like yesterday make me question whether my rose colored glasses are getting more tarnished and if the cynic in me is going to become the dominant personality. I do have a strong cynical side, but I try hard to keep it in check.

But, today is a new day, and I woke up telling myself to the events of yesterday behind me and keep my trust in others. If there is anything good I can take from this is to remember to be good to my word. I know what it is like to be slighted, and the feeling is not a good one. Hopefully, this little life lesson can be one that pricks your consciousness as well, and you too can commit to your commitments. Little things like this can make the world a better place.

Wanted: Translator Who Speaks Fluent Teenager

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Okay, …it has happened…I turned into my mother.

But worst than that somehow during my sleep I was picked up by an alien space ship and dropped on some unknown planet where the residents look like my teenage daughter. This creature has her face, voice and blond hair but the similarities stop there. I was sitting at my kitchen table (or at least the hologram image of my table) innocently sipping my Mocha- Java International Coffee and looked up to see this creature in my daughter’s skin oddly staring back at me. This is where I made my first mistake…I smiled back. Now not realizing I was no longer ON EARTH I wasn’t aware that a smile is the expression of pure hostility on this new planet. The “my daughter look-a-like” glared back at me and yelled, “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???”

Next mistake…I spoke back. Not knowing the sound of my voice would send this creature into a horrible frenzy of confusion and contempt. In 15 seconds I learned I had caused her break-out on her forehead, her hair is frizzy, her alarm clock waking her up late, someone breaking in overnight and stealing ALL her wearable clothes …leaving her NOTHING to wear and I think the Fall of Rome. The third mistake…trying to “reason” with the said creature in pink lip gloss. This is where the confusion of the languages came in. I being the kind of mom that offers advice came up with what I thought was a solution to the problems keeping this creature from functioning. I suggested applying some pimple cream to the third eye appearing on her forehead…this I found her ears to hear…WEAR A LARGE SIGN SAYING I AM A PIMPLE COVERED GEEK!

Moving onto the frizzy hair I suggested she use some of the smoothing gel I had searched 15 stores to find…but again her ears heard…WEAR A BAG OVER YOUR HEAD SO NO ONE WILL SEE YOU!

I thought I would be safe discussing the alarm clock…I mentioned how maybe she had hit the snooze button…but in the alien planet air that was heard as…SEE I KEEP TELLING ALL MY FRIENDS HOW LAZY YOU ARE!

Now I must admit by this point my sugar-free, fat-free Mocha-Java coffee was cold, I was worn out and this may not have been the time to try and “teach” the creature anything…so when I suggested her “nothing to wear” dilemma was maybe caused by her never getting her clothes into the hamper to be washed…I should have known this was declaring war in alien speak. As they say, …if looks could kill…well, let’s just say I’d be typing this from a cloud. The creature squealed a horrible high pitch wail…flipped it’s hair and stormed out of the room…I was certain to gather reinforcements from its fellow creatures and come back to eat me alive. So I decided to re-heat my coffee in the microwave as I would need all the strength I could muster. Now here is the part that just made my day…behind me the creature had been greeted by her father…my husband…and this is the exchange I overheard… “Good Morning sweetie.” “Hi, Daddy…I love you, have a good day.” “Love you too.”

And I realized at that moment that the 17 hours of labor pains I had were just hitting their peak now…15 years later.

Trying Way Too Hard to be in Style

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So what is it about people that are so overly concerned with being a part of the latest style trends that they will wear things that look oh so ridiculous on them? Though you expect this to some degree with teenagers and college types, when you get a little “older” you just need to be a little more comfortable in having your own style.

This topic has come to mind for two reasons. First, we just had a guy visit our office wearing what I consider to be the most effeminate getup for a straight guy I have seen in recent memory. Second, I have a real beef with people who do not dress to their body type.

Trying Way Too Hard to be in Style

I have to be a little careful I guess because some of the people that read this blog will know who I am talking about. Oh well, throw a little caution to the wind, right? So on to my rant.

This guy that just came in the office, to remain unnamed, was wearing khaki caprices, a white t-shirt with a pink sweater vest and some weird small billed (almost beanie) kind of hat on backward. I am a pretty tolerant guy when it comes to fashion sense because I am no stylistic expert myself, but this getup frankly had the entire office snickering until he left; then it was a full on laugh fest once the door shut on his way out.

It was obvious he thought he was pretty hip with what he was wearing and had put a lot of thought into the ensemble. Perhaps he should think a little less and simplify his approach to his daily wear. I might have thought I was way off base with my thinking had I not see and heard the resounding affirmative chuckles. It wasn’t even the color that bothered me that much, it was the entire presentation that threw it over the top.

The style is subjective, I realize this, though within current styles there is a wide range of options that work for better for different people. Any normal person can look in the mirror and have a general sense if something works or not, at least one would think.

This takes me to my next part of the beef, dressing for your body type. For this one, my rant points squarely to teenage girls for the most part. I see this with some others of other ages and gender, but by far the majority of my observations have been with those angst-ridden young ladies. So many just can’t seem to realize that not all of the latest trends work for their body type.

Trying Way Too Hard to be in Style

First of all, this is not a personal shot at people that are overweight, particularly tall or short, etc. The simple reality is that we all are different and very few of us fit the advertised norm that so many styles are based on. So all PC out of the way, some of us are fatter than others and most of us poke out in places that the models don’t. Deal with it.

The other day I was out at lunch with co-workers and the girl in front of us was rather round, which for the last time I will express the necessary PC in saying weight is not the point here, so move on from any thoughts to rebut my callousness. What bothered me was the fact that she was trying to pull off the ultra-short jacket look over a longer undershirt. Rather than give structure to accentuate the fact that her top half was narrower than her bottom half, it looked like she had squeezed into her daughter’s jacket or caught in a sudden rainstorm that caused ultra-shrinkage of the fabric. She looked like she was about to bust a seam. The undershirt was then extra long and stretched to capacity over her more than ample backside. Short version, it highlighted all the wrong features in a big way.

I see kind of thing oh so often with those teenage girls, especially with the whole midriff bearing styles. Girls, if you have a pooch, or perhaps better-termed gut, don’t wear the hip hugger jeans with short shirts. A belly is only attractive to be seen sticking out, frankly if it doesn’t stick out. I don’t need the extra attention to your fat roll.

I won’t spend extra time trying to balance this article with examples for skinny people, tall people, etc. You get the point. Dress for your body type. This is not to say that all people with a few or more than a few extra pounds need to wear baggy clothes either. Wear what looks good on you and makes you look good. Simple concept. Pick a swimsuit that works. Tuck or don’t tuck shirts appropriately. Do or don’t wear those tighter clothes depending on what works. If you need help, take a friend when buying your clothes and give them carte blanch to tell you exactly what looks good and what doesn’t. It may hurt a little at the time, but you will be thankful later on.

Oh, and if you were wondering, I know what “structure” in clothing is because I’ve caught an episode or two of What Not To Wear on TLC with my wife. Perhaps a few episodes of this show should be standard viewing to kids to give them some basics.

Making sense of Chinese gold demand

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There is no doubt at all that Chinese demand for physical gold is having, and will continue to have, a huge impact on global gold flows and on the supply/demand balance, but making sense of the various figures quoted by the media is difficult and often counter-intuitive.

For the serious follower of gold, perhaps there are two statistical analysts whose handles on Chinese data should be an absolute must to follow as they look far deeper into the statistics that are available to view – the Hong Kong net gold import figures into mainland China and the withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) – the true indicator of Chinese physical gold demand. SGE figures are published weekly in Chinese so tend to be ignored by most of the global media while Hong Kong gold import/export figures are released monthly (in English) and are seized upon, misleadingly of late, by the press as a proxy for what is actually going on in terms of total Chinese gold demand.

 Two of the best statistical analysts for understanding what is really going on in Chinese gold demand are Netherlands-based Koos Jansen, who has his own website ingoldwetrust.ch, but nowadays writes mostly for Singapore gold dealer bullionstar.com, and Australia’s chart king, Nick Laird, who again publishes his data on his own site sharelynx.com, and many significant gold-related ones on goldbroker.com. Do take a look at these sites for an understanding of what is actually happening now in terms of Chinese gold demand, as ever since the second quarter of the current year Hong Kong import/export statistics have become further removed from being a true indicator of Chinese demand and imports. This is because the Middle Kingdom has hugely eased the path for gold to be imported into China through other ports of entry which are now handling the major part of the country’s gold coming in from abroad.

This becomes hugely apparent if one views Nick Laird’s latest chart showing Hong Kong net gold exports to China, SGE withdrawals and the ratio between the two. As can be seen from the chart (shown below) from the period between mid 2011 up to April of the current year there was a strong correlation between the two main sets of statistics, but for the past four months the two sets of figures have drifted hugely apart as the new gold import routes have opened up. As the chart showing the correlation between the two shows, Hong Kong net gold export figures into the Chinese mainland are currently running at only around 15% of SGE withdrawals and falling – yet still some of the mainstream media has taken these falling Hong Kong figures as a direct indicator (and a very misleading one at that) of an enormous drop in Chinese gold demand.

If one looks at SGE withdrawals on a month by month basis, it is also true that these do show a mid-year decline in Chinese demand – but not by nearly as much as a reliance on the Hong Kong figures would suggest – with a climb back to around 2013 demand levels in August, and from data picked up by Koos Jansen (and no doubt by Nick Laird too) this demand has been accelerating. For example the latest available weekly withdrawal figure from the SGE was a very large 44 tonnes, following on from an even larger 50 tonnes the previous week. These figures were immediately ahead of China’s Golden Week holiday so will probably have been distorted higher but taken with the prior weekly figures the indication is that total Chinese SGE withdrawals during September will have been around 190 tonnes plus. This, of course, equates to an annual rate of over 2 200 tonnes. This annual level will not be achieved in 2014 due to the weaker mid-year demand, but is an indicator that full year Chinese demand remains at a very high level indeed and the gloomy mainstream media talk of a 40%-50% downturn this year should be taken as absolute rubbish. At current demand levels – and the final quarter of the year tends to be strong in China – we are looking at perhaps as little as a 10%-15% decline from the huge 2013 record.

But how much should be read into these figures in terms of likely gold prices ahead? In 2013, for example, the gold price fell back sharply despite the huge demand from the East and Middle East. This was primarily because of the very large outflows from the gold ETFs which primarily took place in the main gold price-setting markets of the West. This year Eastern demand may have fallen back a little, but has picked up strongly in the past few weeks, and although we have seen some gold liquidations out of the major ETFs in the West this has been nowhere near on the scale we saw a year ago – indeed in some months the ETFs have actually seen small inflows.

With the latest Reuters reports of rising gold purchasing in China and India again – the two biggest global markets for gold – and increasing gold premiums in both countries over and above the London price – we could well be poised for a significant turning point in the gold price based on fundamentals at least. By all accounts gold mine production is peaking while demand still continues to rise and gold supply, which is calculated by precious metals analysts Metals Focus as having been in deficit last year, could be heading that way again this year too.

There is considerable geopolitical turmoil in the world which has to boost safe haven demand, at least in some areas and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the global economy is not recovering as fast as many had hoped. The US Fed is getting nervous about the idea of allowing interest rates to rise, while the Eurozone is looking at more Quantitative Easing.

All these factors might be seen as positive for gold, and all things being equal would probably lead to a sharp rise in the gold price in the months ahead. But then all things are not equal. The western commodity markets are hugely distorted by the big money playing the futures market with amounts of paper gold enormously in excess of physical gold availability perhaps by as much as a factor of 100 or more. Should market participants start demanding settlement in physical gold there would be a massive increase in gold price and undoubtedly some of the big short position holders would be bankrupted. But, unfortunately for the pro-gold sector, this seems very unlikely to happen.

However there has also been a move in the East to set up new international commodity exchanges which will deal only in physical metal – notably in Shanghai with the international arm of the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGEI) located in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, and in Singapore with the Singapore Precious Metals Exchange (SGPMX). There are also reports that CME Group will launch a physically deliverable contract in Hong Kong later this year and in the Middle East, Dubai is said to be preparing to launch a physical contract too. The effect of these new trading options will be limited initially, but as they gain traction and physical gold continues to move from West to East, which shows no signs of coming to an end, then there could be some dramatic gold price moves ahead in the medium to long term.

Multi-mine future takes shapes for GoGold

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If GoGold (TSX:GGD) keeps to its aggressive – and so far pretty accurate – mine-building plans in Mexico by the end of next year there will be a new gold-silver junior producing, on an annualized basis, nearly 2-million ounces silver-equivalent from one mining project and 56,000 ounces gold from another.

GoGold has recently said that it is on track for full production later this year at its Parral silver-gold tailings project – where it is reprocessing tailings that hold some 35 million ounces silver equivalent in resources – and that numerous aspects of the project from recovery, cyanide consumption to grade reconciliation were turning out, at least so far, better than expected. Here, at full production, GoGold expects to produce 1.2 million ounces silver and 11,000 ounces gold a year, on average, over a 12-year minelife at, net of gold, $6.48/oz Ag in cash costs. By the looks of things so far, it may beat that score.

Multi-mine future takes shapes for GoGold

To this looming production, GoGold has outlined the potential of the Santa Gertrudis project. Recall that GoGold picked this up earlier this year after a takeover of Animas Resources. At Santa Gertrudis – a past producer that failed amidst low gold prices in the early 2000s (i.e. ~$300/oz Au) – GoGold expects yearly production of 56,000 ounces gold over a 12 year minelife. This, like Parral, will be a heap leach operation, but involve actual mining rather than re-mining, with total costs projected @ $622/oz gold. The operation, as set out in GoGold’s preliminary economic assessment, an outline of which the junior released today, is built around multiple open pits that hold about 22 million tonnes in indicated resources @ 1.06 g/t Au in oxides. Assuming $1,200/oz gold GoGold estimated a 53.5% internal rate of return (IRR), after tax, though it headlined 57.8% IRR at $1,250/oz gold, which not so long ago might have been deemed conservative. Not today with gold dipping under that count.

At any rate, the economics as set out are not pie-in-the-sky. The project appears to hold up at much lower gold prices as well, with IRR dipping to a still strong 34 percent at $1,000/oz gold. All this asssumes a strip ratio of about 6:1 and a capital cost of $32 million.

Multi-mine future takes shapes for GoGold

GoGold has set mid-2015 for production at Santa Gertrudis. Couglan told Mineweb he expects permitting on the brownfield’s project to take three months when it starts. If it holds close to that forecast then next year there will be a serious silver-gold junior/intermediate to contend with among gold-silver producers with important Mexican operations, joining the ranks of Argonaut Gold, AuRico, Fortuna Silver, Endeavour Silver and Gold Resource and others. If the plans hold true for GoGold, or at least near to, I would expect GoGold garners quite a bit more attention from the market. GoGold is not exactly flying below the radar – it’s marketcap is over $200 million which for a pre-commercial/ramping up gold producer can’t be sniffed at this days – but then again it will certainly gain greater scrutiny – and possibly respect – with two modest-sized silver and gold mines in production with very decent mine life (for a junior) and low costs on the horizon assuming a plus-$1,000/oz gold world.

Parral’s timeline, for the record, has come close to company projections. Back in mid 2013 GoGold co-founder and President and CEO Terence Coughlan told Mineweb to expect initial production in early 2014 after it received financing from Red Kite and CAT to build the mine. It would, in fact, come a bit later – June – so not quite early 2014 but very close nonetheless. It’s impossible to say if the same fairly accurate scheduling will hold true at Santa Gertrudis, but it can be said Coughlan and GoGold’s other co-founder, Brad Langille, are pretty steady hands at Mexico mining. They have been key backers of several other mining endeavours in Mexico that have sold for substantial sums over the years, including Gammon Gold, Nayarit Gold and Mexgold.

Cloud vs. On-Premise: Which Is Right for Me?

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Cloud vs. On-Premise“Should I move my business to the cloud?” is a question many business owners, executives and staff are asking themselves in today’s age. The truth is there are many advantages to doing so, but it may not be the right choice for every business. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, but I am here to provide you information needed to make an informed decision.

First, let’s talk about the benefits of moving your business to the cloud. With cloud services, you will have lower capital expenses than you would if you were investing in new on-premise infrastructure. You are not purchasing hardware, which often times can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars up-front. Typically, cloud services operate on a “pay-per-use” model, and are very scalable up or down, which is great for companies with fast growth, or even companies that decide to reduce their footprint. Your potential for downtime with cloud services is significantly reduced because equipment is typically hosted in a telco-grade co-location or data center with significant power backup and redundant network connections. With cloud services, you also have the benefit of your provider doing data backups for you.

In addition, businesses (especially SMBs), may also want to invest in cloud services if they have the lack of technical resources on-site to build or maintain the technical infrastructure. Moving businesses to the cloud puts the responsibility on the service provider to make sure systems are updated with proper security patches and software updates, allowing your internal staff to focus on one thing: your core business.

Cloud vs. On-Premise

Moving your business to the cloud may seem very attractive, but the decision should go far beyond costs. If you are an organization that has strict compliance regulations, keep in mind that third-parties will now be in control of your confidential data. If you are an organization that handles credit card information, it is important to ensure that the cloud provider is compliant with all PCI standards. If you have complex systems, like a home-grown billing system for example, integration with a cloud based provider could prove to be costly and time consuming. If you are a business that relies on a 99.99% uptime, it’s important to calculate your downtime cost per hour when evaluating your decision.

Moving your business to the cloud may not be the right decision for your business, and an on-premise infrastructure may be more beneficial. For example, if you have large capacity file shares, or operations that use significant Cloud vs. On-Premisebandwidth, on-premise infrastructure may be a better solution. Businesses that do not have sufficient bandwidth to the Internet to support cloud services will either need to upgrade bandwidth or keep services on-site.

Finally, when considering moving your business to the cloud or keeping it on-premise, keep in mind the “5 year rule”. Organizations are typically replacing on-premise equipment every 5 years. This is a hidden cost that is not often considered in these decisions because it is not an immediate concern. Looking at Total Cost of Ownership is a better way to evaluate this decision, as it will include upgrade costs, recurring monthly costs, CAPEX costs, and puts it all into perspective.

To wrap it up, there isn’t a right or wrong decision. Whatever you decide, it’s most important to make an informed decision on what is right for you business today and moving forward into the future.

Things to Do in South Padre Island

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South Padre Island and spring breakers are inextricably linked. However, the Texas hot spot has plenty of must-see attractions that lure travelers year-round to its picture-perfect beaches, ecological sites and water-centric establishments.

Hit the Beach

Beaches in South Padre Island are among the best in the United States. Stretching 34 miles, they’re rimmed by the Gulf of Mexico on the east and Laguna Madre Bay on the west. Amidst the sand, sun-seekers work on tans as well as check out waterfront restaurants and shops. On the north end, the beachfront remains largely undeveloped, making it a great locale for anyone looking to escape the mayhem. Wherever you settle in, expect to be tempted by activities such as surfing, dolphin watching, scuba diving and windsurfing.

Things to Do in South Padre Island

Gladys Porter Zoo

This area zoo is a relaxing oasis set amidst 26 tropical plant-laden acres where 225 species of flora flourish. Showcasing more than 1,600 animals (and 377 species), the zoo has seen success breeding endangered wildlife. Among the most popular attractions is its Tropical America exhibition where Galapagos tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, spider monkeys and Cuban crocodiles elicit amazement from visitors. The Africa exhibit, which is loaded with zebras, lions, chimps and white rhinos, is a crowd-pleaser as well.

Gladys Porter Zoo
500 Ringgold St.
Brownsville, TX
(956) 546-7187

Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark

Although it’s unlikely you’ll get sick of the sand, this action-packed water park makes a good case for a detour. Interconnected waterways, rides and slides—not to mention a 5-story “sandcastle,” uphill water coaster and surf waves—give families loads to do. The park also has direct beach access to the Gulf of Mexico. Upping the ante further, there’s a swim-up bar, hot tub and wading pool. On-site dining means you can make a day of it.

33261 State Park Road 100
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 772-7873

Things to Do in South Padre Island

Tip Some Back

It’s practically a crime to come to South Padre Island without sipping a cocktail or two or three. Coconuts Bar & Grill is the quintessential place to hit the sauce, just be prepared for a raucous scene. Belly up and dive into fried grouper, jerk chicken and peel and eat shrimp. Wave runner and parasailing rentals are offered on-site.

2301 Laguna Dr.
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 761-4218

Learn About Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Rescue is an enjoyable (and educational) destination where visitors can learn about marine conservation, sea turtle rehabilitation and marine turtle life worldwide. A range of species is on display, from flatback to Pacific black and loggerhead species. Experts give talks and guests can view feedings. Those who get attached to the creatures can consider adopting a resident sea turtle.

6617 South Padre Island Blvd.
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 761-4511

Things to Do in South Padre Island

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