Coolest bookmark ever inspired by Final Fantasy

first_imgLooking for the ideal stocking stuffer for the RPG gamer in you life? Look no further, than this Final Fantasy-inspired bookmark.The bookmark, which was designed by Olly Moss for Urban Outfitters, ask a simple question: Would you like to save your progress? It’s a question you’ve probably answered hundreds of times, almost always with that same blue gradient, but probably never when reading. It’s a perfect fit for a bookmark too–not too wordy, right the point, and sufficiently witty to keep around.AdChoices广告You can read an interview with the designer here. Apparently his favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and he doesn’t even use bookmarks–he just remembers the page number.Wallpaper sized graphics of the bookmark are available on this page.via 4crlast_img read more

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Google reveals full Nexus S spec and features

first_imgThe Nexus S smartphone is coming, but until now we’ve only heard hints of what the full phone specification is. Then we get a review and a spec listing on the same day.Google has started listing the Nexus S in its phone gallery along with a long list of features and specifications. It’s also made live a website dedicated to the phone.Here’s the important bits of the spec:Android 2.3Super AMOLED 4″ WVGA display (800 x 480)1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird)1500mAH Lithium Ion battery (6 hours talk, 428 hours standby)512MB RAM16GB internal memory5 megapixel cameramicroUSB 2.0 connectionDimensions: 63 x 123.9 x 10.88 mmWeight: 129 gramsAnd here’s the full list of features from Google’s Nexus S website (click to see full size):One surprising thing to note is the phone does not have an expansion card slot. So you are limited to the 16GB internal memory for your storage needs.TechCrunch has had time with the phone and put out a review earlier today. The result is pretty positive with the conclusion being:The bottom line is this. If you are an iPhone user this isn’t going to make you switch. If you’re an Android user you will want this phone more than any other. If you’re currently neither, we recommend that you go with the Nexus S. It is better than the iPhone in most ways. What you lose with the slightly less impressive screen and iOS’s slightly slicker user experience you will more than make up for with the Nexus S’s ability to actually make phone calls that don’t drop and Google’s exceptional Navigation and voice input applications. The fact that the phone is unlocked and can be used abroad with other carriers is also a very big plus. There’s a sign-up page on the Nexus S site so you can be informed when it’s available in your area. Unfortunately there’s no pricing announced yet. The phone gallery page states T-Mobile will be handling contracts in the U.S.Read more at Google phone gallery and TechCrunchlast_img read more

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Neanderthals Are Their Veggies Study

first_imgThe world was a prehistoric salad bar for our pals, the Neanderthals. New evidence contradicts previous speculation that our ancestors subsisted entirely on a diet of meat. Researchers have discovered evidence of plant material on the early humans’ teeth.“We have found pollen grains in Neanderthal sites before but you never know whether they were eating the plant or sleeping on them or what,” scientist Alison Brooks told the press. “But here we have a case where a little bit of the plant is in the mouth so we know that the Neanderthals were consuming the food.”The discovery calls into question the extinction of mammoths at the ice age as the primary cause of the Neanderthal die out.last_img read more

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How the Lord of the Rings Trilogy would go if Gimli was

first_imgWe all know the Dark Lord Sauron was all powerful and in the Lord of the Rings trilogy it was his master ring that was at the center of the Middle Earth struggle in all three books. And if you read the novels, or witnessed the Peter Jackson movie adaptation, you certainly remember the one ring created by Sauron could only be destroyed in the fires of the pit of Mount Doom.Now imagine an alternate storyline in that Sauron wasn’t as great of a ring-smith as he was an evil overlord. Could it have been possible that a different vertically challenged hero could have risen up to save all of Middle Earth? It certainly would have negated the need for fellowship as well as the need for two additional books.AdChoices广告Read more at YouTube, via GeekOSystem.last_img read more

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FactoryBuilt Nuclear Power Coming To A Lab Near You

first_imgPrefab nuclear power plants might sound straight out of a 1950’s vision for the nuclear age, but the technology may be on its way to laboratories across the country. The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration’s budget, which will be officially proposed tomorrow, includes funding for research into low-cost, modular nuclear plants that can be quickly assembled and shipped without the overhead of traditional designs. Designed to be deployed at first in large-scale national laboratories, like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the plants cost up to $2 billion, a small fraction of the $10 billion price of a typical nuclear reactor, but offer about 1/20th of the output. The use of these reactors is expected to help the Energy Department lower its carbon footprint by 28 percent before 2020.In the long-term, this research is expected to yield the ability to mass-produce these power plants, assembly-line style, allowing them to replace existing coal plants already on the grid. According to the Times, this type of modular reactor saves utilities from the large start-up costs associated with building a traditional reactor, allowing for more options when it comes time to replace older, less environmentally-friendly plants. They also produce roughly the same amount of power as older coal plants from the middle of the century that are now nearing retirement.The administration will likely be asking for $500 million over five years, which will pay for half of the design costs for two reactors.[via New York Times, image via Flickr: Bagalute, CC-BY]last_img read more

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Motorola Xoom to Cost 800

first_imgYou know all of those rumors and leaked documents that set Motorola’s upcoming Xoom tablet at a lofty $799? Turns out they were true. The company confirmed the pricing this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. That’s the price with a Verizon 3G modem. The Wi-Fi-only version will cost you a good deal less at “around” $600, according to the company’s CEO, Sanjay Jha. Motorola apparently priced the tablet the way it did to keep it competitive with the iPad. Keep in mind, after all, that a 64GB iPad 3G will run you $829 (the Wi-Fi only version is $729). The 32GB Wi-Fi version of the popular tablet is currently priced at $599.Still no word on a sale date for Motorola’s Honeycomb tablet.last_img read more

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JetMan diverts media soars over Grand Canyon

first_imgLast week we regaled you with the story of JetMan, the 52-year-old are adventurer who flies miles above the ground using his custom-built six-foot-wide jetpack. Yves Rossy was set to fly above the Grand Canyon Friday, May 6, in which would have been the dare devil’s first U.S. flight. Rossy postponed his flight saying he needed more time to train. The media was all a little confused as to why the flight was suddenly canceled, but it all makes sense now.Rossy told SwissInfo.ch that the thought of having hundreds of people watching him perform such a stunt without any practice had put his body in knots and caused him to lose sleep. This is most likely the reason the flight was postponed. Rossy was able to detract attention from all the media coverage that was surrounding him, making it possible to perform the stunt with only a few people watching. He also told the Swiss news site that the location is very challenging because of “big air currents, (and) steep walls.” We’re not sure if postponing the flight was some sort of publicity stunt to gain more media attention, or if it actually was a way to get the media’s attention off of him, but Rossy embarked on his Grand Canyon flight the very next day, without the media’s knowledge.On Saturday, Rossy flew 200 feet above the canyon’s rim after being launched from a helicopter 2,440 meters above the Grand Canyon. Although Rossy has built many versions of his jet pack, he still hasn’t found a way to take off from the ground. Rossy was able to fly horizontally for eight minutes, while reaching speeds of up to 190 mph. This is not the longest flight for Rossy; his flight over the English Channel was 13 minutes long. The video below shows JetMan flying high over the beautiful oranges, browns, and reds that make up the Grand Canyon.According to SwissInfo.ch, Rossy said his first flight in the U.S. would be memorable not only because he’d be flying over the Grand Canyon, but also because flying over that part of land, which is actually part of the Hualapai Native American Tribe’s sacred land, is an honor to fly in.Rossy said he hadn’t had time to practice because the Federal Aviation Administration had only approved his flight the day of the scheduled flight. Apparently Rossy and his team didn’t know they had to get permission from the FAA because Rossy is a certified pilot and his team focused on getting permission from the Hualapai instead.However, the FAA contacted Rossy on April 28 saying it had heard of his plans through the media and that his jet pack had to be evaluated, since the FAA had never seen this type of aircraft before, and it doesn’t exactly fit into any of the FAA’s aircraft categories. Because much of the Grand Canyon is a national park, federal laws prohibit any sort of aircraft below the canyon’s rim, hence why Rossy flew above the rim and didn’t sore throughout the canyon.Rossy’s wing is made of carbon fibre and uses four jet engines. He maneuvers the wings with the weight of his body, and only that. The only thing the JetMan carries with him during flight is an altimeter and a small throttle control that he holds in his hand. Rossy landed safely via parachute. We’re looking forward to seeing more of these fascinating and daring stunts from JetMan in the future.Read more at SwissInfo.ch, photos via Breitlinglast_img read more

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This Portal phone is not a lie

first_imgvia Reddit Portal fans should scroll down the page and see the interface your Android phone could be sporting if you don’t mind rooting your device.The screenshot was uploaded by Reddit user itsnickk who said he did it “For science.” In fact, it didn’t take that much effort to achieve. After rooting his Droid smartphone he downloaded the LockBot Free app which allows for the customization of the Android screen either with your own design or with one of a growing number of themes.With the layout customized, he then used Photoshop to create the Aperture Laboratories background, which he has also been kind enough to make available if someone else wants to apply it to their phone’s background.AdChoices广告There’s a question mark hanging over whether you do actually need to root your Android device to do this. Itsnickk later realized LockBot Free works regardless, but there’s mixed reviews on the app’s page about how well it does actually work.If you want a Portal-ized phone interface, though, it’s well worth the effort to see if this works. There’s some suggestions in the Reddit comments thread on alternatives apps that may be able to achieve the same thing too. They include Minimalistic Text and WidgetLocker Lockscreen. If you find one works better than the others be sure to let us know about it.last_img read more

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VLC Media Player for Android is almost a reality

first_imgAndroid as a platform has always fallen a little short when it comes to media playback. The native apps that come with every Android device don’t make it easy to watch movies. The only native app that allows you to navigate movies is the Gallery app, which is great for photos, but bad for movies.There are a handful of third-party apps in the Android Market that try to act as a suitable replacement, but most of them only have a few file types they will support. Converting your entire video library to support your phone seems pretty silly to me. On my computer it’s easy, it doesn’t matter what the file type is as long as I’ve got the VLC Media Player installed. The greatest atribute VLC has is the truly massive library of video and audio codecs enabling it to play nearly any video or audio file. Fortunately for the rest of us, one clever developer found the tools needed to start bringing VLC to Android.Among the many contributions to the Android ecosystem made by Austen Dicken are his developments in support of the Motorola Droid line of phones for Cyanogenmod, Embedded Gentoo for Android, and as a fun side project he’s playing with VLC for Android.Austen describes his work on VLC for Android to be pre-alpha at this point in time, but he is still able to show some impressive results regarding basic functionality. In its current form, VLC for Android is actually two separate programs, one for the two different processor types currently supported by Android. The processor types are flagged NEON and NONEON. You will need to know which your phone is in order to use the app.Currently, the app supports playback, and little else. There’s some file management so the app can just pull from a single folder on your SD card instead of searching the entire card, but no more of the features you would expect to see in a desktop version of VLC. For a pre-alpha, the app has been faster and more stable than any other video player I have used on Android. On top of this, it’s free and has played every file I have thrown at it so far.Please be aware that this app is pre-alpha. It’s not available in the Android market, and Austen has already stated in his blog that there is no support for this app. Download and install it at your own risk, but be prepared to enjoy a great video playback experience.last_img read more

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Get the Start Menu back in Windows 8 with a free app

first_imgOne change in Windows 8 that has geeky types upset is the removal of the Start Orb and Start Menu. Tap the Windows key in Windows 8 and the Metro Start Screen leaps to the foreground. If that’s something you hate, you’ll be glad to know the folks at Stardock have come up with a solution: Start8.Start8 does exactly what you think it would do. First, it modifies the taskbar, re-inserting the familiar Windows 7 Orb in the far-left corner. Next, it adds in an updated version of the Start Menu. It looks a bit like the Metro Search screens on Windows 8 and offers Windows 7 and Vista-style find-as-you-type. Two handy additional options will be added to the Windows 8 context menu that appears when you right-click the bottom left corner: run and shut down.Stardock, of course, is one of the most recognizable names in Windows shell modifications. Few interface apps are more well-known that WindowBlinds, and titles like ObjectDock, BootSkin, and Fences offer users an almost infinite number of ways to personalize their Windows desktop experience. With so much debate going on about the removal of the Start Orb and Start Menu in Windows 8, it’s not a surprise to see that they’ve jumped in so early to give users yet another customization option.It’s just too bad this is even necessary. In the Windows 8 developer preview, all that was required to bring back the Start Menu was a simple registry hack. Trying that on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was my first order of business, and I was disheartened to learn that Microsoft appears to have plugged that hole.For now, it looks like you’ll need an app like Start8 if you want an old-fashioned Start Menu in Windows 8. But hey, at least Stardock is offering it for free.More at Stardocklast_img read more

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Liquid cooling lets the Alienware M18x run at 44GHz

first_imgChoosing to use a laptop over a desktop machine usually means making a performance compromise. You can’t get as much performance out of a laptop compared to a PC, and when you do increase performance battery life suffers. Another major issue is one of heat. In such an small area are packed many hot running components such as the CPU, GPU, and RAM. Keeping them all cool is difficult, and the noise from fans also has to be managed so as not to be too distracting.Overclocking a laptop is possible, but comes with risks. Typically the cooling included in a laptop is adequate, meaning at stock speeds the machine will get warm, but won’t overheat. As soon as you start overclocking the cooling can quickly fail leaving you with an unstable machine.Asetek believes it has a solution to this problem: liquid cooling for laptops. It’s not a new method of cooling by any means, but it does offer a major advantage over heatsink and fan cooling due to the fact multiple components can be cooled through a single system.The company has developed a new slim form factor liquid cooling system for use in both performance laptops and all-in-one PCs. To demonstrate what their system is capable of, Asetek installed the liquid cooling unit in an Alienware M18x laptop and started overclocking.The end result was an increase in the Core i7 CPU speed to 4.4GHz, up from 3.5GHz (Turbo Clock Speed). The GPU speed was increased from 600MHz to 800MHz. In real terms that saw benchmarks results increase 18% in 3D Mark 11, 16% in PCMark Vantage, and 23% in 3D Mark Vantage. At the same time the laptop is producing less noise due to a lack of fans, and less heat due to better thermal management from the liquid cooling. Asetek also claim the standard cooling included with the laptop could not cope with the CPU and GPU running at these speeds.One area not touched on is power requirements. Is this liquid cooling system going to draw more power than the equivalent heatsink/fan solution? If not, then it does look like a better solution for performance laptops. It also makes it possible to use faster stock chips rather than overclocking because more heat can be dealt with.Whether any manufacturers decide to use Asetek’s solution depends on the power use mentioned above and how much the system costs.Read more at Aseteklast_img read more

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Why do McDonalds burgers look different in ads

first_imgYou’re ravenously hungry and in need of a fast food fix, so you take a trip to your local McDonald’s to fill your stomach. You peruse the menu, examining the burgers that look thick, juciy, and full of tasty ingredients, you place your order at the counter, and moments later you’re greeted by a poor excuse for a burger.You gobble the burger down anyway because it still tastes damn good. It’s unlikely you complain, but my bet is that everyone has thought “why the hell don’t they look like they do in the ads?” Well, in a strange show of openness, the director of marketing for McDonald’s Canada, Hope Bagozzi, has produced this video to explain exactly why this is the case.Whereas the food you order in store is with you in a matter of minutes, the preparation and shooting of the burgers for the ads takes several hours. A food stylist (hands up if you never knew that job title existed until now) is used to prep the burger, the patty is lightly cooked on the outside so as not to shrink it down and, as required by law, all the same ingredients are used as you find in the burgers you get over the counter.The burger is then prepped so as to show all the ingredients contained within and to make it look aesthetically pleasing. Once the shot has been taken it is passed on to be retouched, removing any blemishes from the bun and such.Overall it’s nice to see some honesty and openness from a mega corporation such as McDonald’s, but I fail to see what they gain from it (except maybe all the free publicity from blogs covering the video).via AdAgelast_img read more

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Raspberry Pi Model A makes first appearance on camera

first_imgIt’s easy to forget that the Raspberry Pi currently shipping is the more expensive model of the board. It is actually called the Model B as it sports more features than the $25 Model A.The main differences include a lack of an Ethernet port and the associated networking chip, as well as there only being one USB port instead of two. There was originally going to be less memory on the Model A (128MB instead of 256MB), but the Raspberry Pi Foundation managed to make enough cost savings during a redesign to increase the amount to 256MB on the cheaper version.With all the focus being on the Model B, we haven’t actually seen the (near) final Model A board yet. But that changes today as Eben Upton has just given a video interview with technology website V3 and had a Model A to show off.The board looks very similar to the Model B, but is obviously missing a few components. The good news is the board looks to have the same layout otherwise, so the same cases should work. They will just have a few unfilled holes in them.Here’s the Model B for comparison with the Model A images above:The Model A may change again as the one Eben has is a Foundation testing board (the USB definitely isn’t final on that board), but it makes sense to stick with the same layout from a manufacturing point of view. I’m also wondering if there will come a point in the near future where the price difference between adding the Ethernet and second USB is so negligible there isn’t a need for a Model A anymore.There are around 200,000 Model Bs now out on the market and demand remains very high. It’s unclear when the Model A will appear, but the Model B is definitely the better choice in my opinion due to the extra connectivity on offer for not much more money.More at V3last_img read more

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Gabe Newell talks Steam Box biometrics and Windows 8 at CES

first_imgValve’s presence at CES this year isn’t to show off some new games, it’s all about meeting with hardware manufacturers behind closed doors to talk about Steam Box. What that also means is Gabe Newell is in attendance, and The Verge was lucky enough to get a very revealing interview with him. Here’s a summary of what he had to say.Good, Better, or Best hardwareUntil now, the general description of a Steam Box has been a cheap mini PC that sits under your living room TV and is driven with a controller. But according to Gabe it’s much more than that. In fact, he says there’s three levels of Steam Box: “Good, Better, or Best.” The Good level is basically a media streaming device, Better is a decent CPU/GPU combo for games playing, and Best is a high-end small form factor PC that includes everything you’d expect from a performance machine.Valve has already confirmed it is going to offer its own version of the Steam Box, and Gabe says it will be at the “Better” level. That means a box with a CPU/GPU combination capable of running all games, combined with Steam for Linux. Windows won’t be offered, but there will be nothing to stop you installing Microsoft’s OS on Valve’s Steam Box.High precision controller and no motion inputAs for the controller, Valve wants something that’s more high precision than anything else out there at the moment. Experiments are also underway to include some forms of biometrics, with particular emphasis on those you as a gamer probably won’t even notice are being monitored and used. A key example of that is gaze tracking.Motion control on the other hand, seems unlikely to make an appearance. That simply comes down to the fact Valve hasn’t been able to find a good use for it, and they still class Wii Sports as the pinnacle of motion control gaming. It simply doesn’t work as well as a controller for games, and I’m sure many would agree with that statement, myself included.Steam Box is actually two projectsWhat you may be surprised to hear is that Steam Box is actually two projects at Valve. The first is codenamed Bigfoot and focuses on the hardware for use in the home with a TV. But there’s a second project codenamed Littlefoot that’s investigating mobile gaming. For the moment, Littlefoot seems to be more experimentation than real product, with Valve looking into better input on tablets and phones and how to extend Steam to mobile platforms.Bigfoot is also an evolving platform, and one that Gabe says will take full advantage of more powerful hardware that will appear in the coming years. For example, Valve intends to make Steam Box a server, which can serve games on multiple TVs around the home simultaneously. So you could purchase a single Steam Box and use it with multiple controllers for playing games on the different TVs around your home.Windows 8 is a “giant sadness”Moving on to software, Gabe talks about Windows 8 being a “giant sadness” for him that hurts everyone. He also says the impact of Windows 8 has been a 20 percent decline in PC sales rather than the 40 percent uptake it should have brought. That, for him, shows that Microsoft’s latest OS is flawed and “unusable.”Steam set to become multiple storesSteam as we know it may also experience some major changes in the near future. We’ve already seen Big Picture Mode introduced and Steam Greenlight go live, but Valve has plans to open the service up for individuals. The idea being, you can create your very own custom Steam store.Valve wants to offer anyone the opportunity to build their own store with the content they want. That could be a “worst games of Steam” store, a store dedicated to multiplayer games, or one setup for a team of gamers who focus on a small set of games they enjoy playing together.But Valve also has content creators in mind and wants to better support their creations and hopefully expand that service to games from all publishers. In doing so, Steam will become a platform not only for the games, but all the additional content created around a title–be that from the developer or individuals.Read more at The Vergelast_img read more

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TMobile aims to redefine its broken stupid industry with Uncarrier 20

first_img“We are going to redefine a stupid, broken, arrogant industry.”Apparently the big waves that T-Mobile made earlier this year with their contract-free plans weren’t quite UnCarrier enough, so CEO John Legere took to the stage today to announce some new changes to their plans. According to Legere, their whole philosophy right now is to just do what the customers want, and making changes based on user feedback. According to Legere, the initial changes have seen great results from the no contract plans and the bring your own device plans. Their next wave of changes are here, branded as UnCarrier 2.0.The big news for smartphones is JUMP, a lease-like service that allows users to pay a monthly fee to trade up to a new phone twice every 12 months after they have been in the program for 6 months. You pay $10 per month on top of the price for the phone as though you were paying for it through the Equipment Installment Program (EIP). This means you pay the $100 up front for the iPhone 5, for example, and the EIP monthly rate until you trade up for a new phone. If you decide to upgrade then you trade in your old phone when you get the new one, but as long as you are a T-Mobile customer you’ll have access to this service.T-Mobile is also launching a new family plans with no credit checks. Users can now get four Simple Choice Plan lines with unlimited talk, text and 500MB of data for $100 per month. This is a huge deal for users that are routinely slammed with multiple $200 deposits on family plans, and will be available starting July 14.CTO Neville Ray took to the stage as well to announce LTE for 157 million people in 116 metropolitan areas, blowing past their initial goal of reaching 100 million people by the middle of this year. These networks include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, and Miami to name a few, and are available starting today. The stopped to make sure that everyone knew that the company has blown past Sprint for total LTE in the US, and that they have accomplished this in a few short months.last_img read more

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The 5 at 5 Wednesday

first_img Share Tweet Email EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you the five stories you need to know as you head home for the day.1. #JOB LOSSES: Bus Éireann’s CEO warned an Oireachtas committee that the entire company will be insolvent by the end of the year if drastic action is not taken.2. #APPEAL: Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information on the death of Garda Adrian Donohoe on the 4-year anniversary of his death.3. #BUILD THAT WALL: Donald Trump will take a first step toward enacting his pledge to “build a wall” on the Mexican border by issuing an executive decree today.4. #ADULT CHAT: Minister Michael Ring will not be meeting with models from Babestation TV when they come to Co Mayo this Thursday.5. #RADIO STAR: Comedian Al Porter is Today FM’s new lunchtime presenter. Jan 25th 2017, 4:51 PM http://jrnl.ie/3204835 Image: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon Image: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon 3 Comments The 5 at 5: Wednesday Five minutes, five stories, five o’clock… 7,091 Views Wednesday 25 Jan 2017, 4:51 PM Short URL By Gráinne Ní Aodha Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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These are all the Irish cities that are hiking business rates this

first_img Image: Sasko Lazarov Take me to Fora Get the top business news from Fora delivered to your inbox: Short URL These are all the Irish cities that are hiking business rates this year Many councils have opted to increase commercial levies to shore up their budgets. 15,704 Views http://jrnl.ie/3202116 18 Comments Sunday 29 Jan 2017, 8:15 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Share Tweet Email1 Jan 29th 2017, 8:15 AM By Fora Staff Image: Sasko Lazarov BUSINESSES IN URBAN hubs across Ireland face commercial rates hikes of up to 5% this year as many councils try to shore up their balance sheets with the extra revenue.However a Fora analysis of the main metropolitan areas shows a wide range of approaches as the economy recovers, with several local authorities opting to keep rates on hold for traders.Commercial rates are a property tax on business premises, and they account for a large chunk of Irish city and county councils’ annual incomes. These rates are paid by the business that either owns or leases a commercial building.They are calculated using a multiplier – set by the council – to a value for the property determined by the Commissioner of Valuation.Businesses can appeal the valuation to an independent tribunal, which they can also appeal to the high court, however this process doesn’t affect the council’s multiplier – which is set as part of the authority’s voted budget.Going upDublin City CouncilAs part of its approved budget for 2017, elected members of Dublin City Council (DCC) voted to increase commercial rates by 0.78% in a move to help address the council’s budget shortfall.Last year, TheJournal.ie reported that DCC was facing a €15 million budget deficit and an increase in commercial rates was mooted to help balance the books.The budget noted:“All sources of funding are important, however, commercial rates are especially important. Dublin City Council services support commercial activity and so it is appropriate that commercial entities makes a contribution for their trading environment. This contribution must be appropriate and not at a level which dampens trade and removes potential for growth.”This is the first rate increase to commercial property rates by DCC councillors since 2009 and changes are effective of the January 2017. Source: Dublin City CouncilDún Laoghaire-Rathdown County CouncilIn its annual budget for 2017, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council also opted to increase commercial rates this year.The council said it needed to fund additional services and counteract extra costs in 2017, which led to a 1.5% increase in commercial rates.It said “all available options were examined” when trying to meet the need for a bigger budget.The council also noted that commercial rates had previously gone down by 8.5% since 2010. This reduction in rates has resulted in a €5 million decrease in its revenue from commercial rates.However, in a bid to offset the burden of the increase on small businesses, an SME Support Grant has also been created.Under the scheme, businesses with rates bills below €10,000 per year will be able to shave 4% off the amount due. This group represents 72% of all businesses in the council area. DLR County Council income Source: DLR County CouncilCork City Council The council has increased its commercial rates by 1.25% for 2017.The rate hike is the first increase in eight years and is lower than the 2.9% increase originally put forward by council staff.The hike was approved by the city council to help offset its funding shortfall for the new year.According to a spokeswoman for Cork City Council, the increase in commercial rates would address half the authority’s €1.6 million funding deficit. Cork City Council income Source: Cork City CouncilThe rest of the shortfall will be made up in higher car parking fees and reduced spending on tourism promotion and housing.A rates incentive scheme to address commercial rates arrears has also been introduced by the council. Ratepayers that have an annual rate liability below €4,000 and pay on time are entitled to a 3% reduction on their 2018 fee.Limerick City and County CouncilFor 2017, the Limerick council has approved a 5% hike in commercial rates for businesses in both the city and county.The increase was brought about after a big drop in commercial rates income over the past few years. This year, the council is expecting just over €51.6 million from rates – €7.65 million less than it was taking in during 2011.Excluding Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), roughly one-third of all income for the local authority comes from commercial rates. Limerick City and County Council income Source: Limerick City and County CouncilThe council has also in place a SME rebate scheme to help smaller businesses to pay the rate.Under the plan, businesses paying €20,000 or less in rates would be entitled to rebates of up to 9%. This accounted for around 90% of the rated properties in the council area, it claimed.The council employs a separate scheme for tourism businesses that provides a 4% rebate for the firms whose rate charges are higher than the SME-related cap.No increasesHowever not all councils covering metropolitan areas plan to hike their commercial rates this year, with both Fingal and south Dublin councils deciding against increases.Fingal County Council has the lowest rate factor of all four Dublin local authorities, while it also has the highest compliance rate in the country for commercial rates at over 96% in 2015.Waterford and Cork County councils are also not increasing commercial rates for 2017.Up and downDue to a lack of parity between the rates for Galway City and County Council and Ballinasloe Town Council, rates cannot be increased in the county until Ballinsloe’s rate has been brought in line. This year, both councils have committed to bridge the gap by 50%.Similarly, Louth County Council is currently amending its commercial fees system to move towards a common rate for the region.Rates for businesses in both Dundalk and Drogheda have been reduced for 2017, while commercial levies are rising for those firms based outside the two hubs.Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ielast_img read more

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I remember a Paddys Day visit by Haughey when four Irish were

first_img‘I remember a Paddy’s Day visit by Haughey when four Irish were put on a London-bound flight in handcuffs’ It took Trump’s sledgehammer assault on travel and the right of refugees to seek shelter for us to take notice, writes Ray O’Hanlon. Friday 3 Feb 2017, 6:30 AM Ray O’Hanlon Feb 3rd 2017, 6:30 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article http://jrnl.ie/3217155 Share109 Tweet Email center_img 19 Comments By Ray O’Hanlon Short URL I WAS IN Manhattan on 9/11. Ever since that day I have not envied any American president. The burdens of the office would keep anyone awake 24/7.Barack Obama would stay up late reading. Donald Trump stays up late tweeting. They are very different men. But not entirely so. The idea of Obama being some kind of goody two shoes Walter, and Trump being Dennis the Menace, will only take you so far.Obama was no shrinking violet when it came to wielding power. But he would do so quietly. Sometimes very few noticed. Like those who never heard or saw the drone overhead in the desert night sky.Extra scrutiny applied by ObamaIt took Trump’s sledgehammer assault on travel and the right of refugees to seek shelter in the land of the free, to make Americans see that the seven Muslim majority countries on Trump’s banned list were actually borrowed from his predecessor.Obama and his team had singled them out for special attention, extra scrutiny, “extreme vetting” to borrow a two word term from the new President, who likes to keep his terms short.There was no outright Obama travel ban, no de facto wall built in the face of the frightened and desperate, seeking to escape Syria or Iraq. Obama, in this context, was Trump lite. He only applied the brakes on admitting people from the seven countries. Trump switched off the engine. For the time being at least.It is the case that none of the 9/11 hijackers came from any of the seven nations on the Trump/Obama list. And yes, no Muslim majority country where the Trump organisation does business has been singled out for the President’s very busy fountain pen. But, hey.Trump sells newspapersIt is probably better for bodily and mental health not to get too worked up over all this. At one level, as a journalist, I see Donald Trump as the mouth that keeps on giving. The man has done more for the “failing” New York Times than all the brightest minds in that paper have been able to do this past decade or more.On another level, as an American citizen (the naturalised version) I have to accept the fact that Donald Trump is my President. As a naturalised citizen – and unlike the natural-born variety – I had to pledge to bear arms to defend the United States. I would have been happy enough with one on 9/11. But the pen sufficed.But I don’t have to defend the policies of any president. And I don’t feel inclined to defend much of what Donald Trump has done thus far.It’s a dangerous time for the undocumentedAs a citizen, of course, I am relatively secure in any critical position. One can only imagine how the undocumented or illegal are feeling less than two weeks into what could well be the longest four years of their edgy lives.During his campaign, Trump pledged to unleash the federal authorities on the eleven million who live in the shadows. And his eye was cast well beyond “criminal aliens”. This is a perilous hour for the undocumented, the Irish undocumented included.If Trump is to make a serious move in the direction of mass deportations, it will likely begin sooner rather than later. Trump is not a man who does later.Haughey presented the shamrock despite deportationsI remember a St Patrick’s Day visit to the US, many years ago, by then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey. By coincidence, or maybe not, the then Immigration and Naturalisation Service decided to mount a series of raids in Boston and New Hampshire.Agents led six young Irish women out of a Boston bar in handcuffs. Four Irishmen were picked up on a construction site in New Hampshire and put on a London-bound flight in prison garb and cuffs. The shamrock presented by Haughey to President George HW Bush looked a little limp that year.For Enda Kenny’s sake, hopefully President Trump will declare St Patrick’s Day 2017 a holiday free from all harm, a green-tinged Saturnalia. Don’t bet on it.Ray O’Hanlon is Editor of the New York-published Irish Echo. A native of Dublin, O’Hanlon has reported from three continents in a newspaper career spanning 38 years. His book, The New Irish Americans (Roberts Rinehart, 1998), was the recipient of a Washington Irving Book Award. ‘A country that invaded and destroyed my dad’s home is now telling people like him they are not welcome’>‘Trump is a bully. And we have to stand up to bullies’ – Mary Robinson> 74 Views last_img read more

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Kellyanne Conway facing probe after promoting Ivanka Trumps fashion line on live

first_imgBut to Washington traditionalists, Conway’s direct pitch from the White House for a product line sold by the president’s child seemed a jaw-dropping – and possibly illegal – misuse of presidential prestige.Democrat Elijah Cummings and Republican Jason Chaffetz – both lawmakers on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which Chaffetz chairs – led calls for Conway to face rebuke.“Conway’s statements clearly violate the ethical principles for federal employees and are unacceptable,” the congressmen said in a letter to the federal ethics chief, Walter Shaub, requesting that he recommend “appropriate disciplinary action” against her.“What she did was wrong, wrong, wrong,” said Chaffetz on Twitter. Friday 10 Feb 2017, 9:57 AM http://jrnl.ie/3232494 My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017 32,171 Views By AFP Senior Trump aide, Kellyanne Conway. What she did was wrong, wrong, wrong. Here is our bi-partisan letter to the White House and OGE. #Donteverdothis https://t.co/zqeYhcttMB— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) February 9, 2017 Kellyanne Conway facing probe after promoting Ivanka Trump’s fashion line on live TV “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online,” Conway said. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article A KEY AIDE to Donald Trump was facing possible investigation yesterday after pitching the clothing line of the president’s daughter Ivanka on television.Top lawmakers from both camps denounced it as a major ethics breach and urged “disciplinary action.”Speaking with the White House seal clearly visible over her shoulder, Kellyanne Conway gave Ivanka Trump’s clothing a rave review during a Fox interview early yesterday, urging shoppers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”“This is just a wonderful line,” she said. “I own some of it. I fully – I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”Conway was clearly channeling the anger expressed a day earlier by the president himself, when he tweeted that Ivanka had been “treated so unfairly” by Nordstrom, an upscale department store chain that dropped her fashion brand.center_img Source: Jason Chaffetz/Twitter Image: Carolyn Kaster AP/Press Association Images The Office of Government Ethics, which Shaub heads, separately said it had been “receiving an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events.”Without mentioning Conway by name, it said it was reaching out to the appropriate government agencies who would decide whether to pursue the matter – the established protocol when the OGE learns of “possible ethics violations.”‘The law is clear’Conway said the Trump team was “aware” of the lawmakers’ letter and was “reviewing that internally.”She also told Fox News she had spoken with the president about the incident and that he “supports me 100 percent.”“All I can say, at some point in your life, you ought to have a boss who treated me the way that the president is treating me today.”White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump’s aide had been “counseled” over the issue, without providing more detail.“Kellyanne Conway’s White House Infomercial,” as it was dubbed in a scathing New York Times editorial, again fanned debate over the unprecedented level to which the new president – despite his protestations to the contrary – has mixed politics, business and family, raising questions about conflicts of interest.For Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group which filed a separate complaint, “the law is clear” on such matters.“This is just another example of what looks like a disturbing pattern of this administration acting to benefit the businesses of the president’s family and supporters.”Boycott callsSince his election in November, Trump has targeted a series of American multinationals by name (General Motors, Ford, Boeing, Lockheed and others) for moving production overseas or for allegedly overcharging the government.But his tweet targeting Nordstrom marked the first time he had complained directly about the business interests of one of his adult children. The tweet appeared both on Trump’s personal account and on that of the presidency, @POTUS. Conway with Trump on inauguration day. Source: Evan Vucci AP/Press Association ImagesThe Nordstrom group, with 350 stores in the United States and Canada, has repeatedly denied any political motive to its dropping of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, saying it was motivated purely by “performance” considerations. Sales had fallen, particularly in last year’s second half.But products carrying a Trump brand, including Ivanka’s, have been boycotted by critics of the new president, leading to his complaint of a political motivation behind Nordstrom’s move.TJX Companies, which operates the clothing store chains TJ Maxx and Marshalls, told AFP it had instructed store employees no longer to display Ivanka Trump products separately.“The communication we sent to TJ Maxx and Marshalls in the US instructed stores to mix this line of merchandise into our racks, not to remove it from the sales floor,” a spokesperson told AFP.© – AFP, 2017Read: Trump attacks ‘terrible’ Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka’s clothing lineRead: City mayor confirms there was no massacre at Bowling Green Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter Senior Trump aide, Kellyanne Conway. Image: Carolyn Kaster AP/Press Association Images Short URL 76 Comments Share305 Tweet Email Feb 10th 2017, 9:57 AM last_img read more

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First Dates Irelands Alice on dating I get a little tired of

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Tuesday 14 Feb 2017, 8:30 PM http://jrnl.ie/3239274 By Alice Marr Share161 Tweet Email 28 Comments First Dates is easily the most human dating show we’ve ever seen, although admittedly most of us watch its fly-on-the-wall intimacy through our fingers. First Dates Ireland waitress Alice Marr writes us a guest column about love, romance, first dates and Valentine’s Day.I’M NOT A dating expert. But from the eclectic assortment of dates I have been on, and all of the moments in the First Dates restaurant, I like to think I have picked up a few ideas about the dating world.When it comes to how to behave with your date, as much as it sounds cliché, I really put an emphasis on being yourself. Do you ever notice that you find yourself attracted to people who are really at ease and comfortable in their skin, no matter what they might look like? Confidence and self-assurance is sexy.So instead of putting all this energy into being who you think your date might want you to be, find ways to express the best parts of you. I would never complain or moan much on a date as who really wants to hear that. I tend to focus on the positive and on the real.But don’t delve too deeply into the personal. There will be plenty of time for that if the relationship grows.Embrace it, but be chillFrom working on First Dates, I’ve learned that everyone gets nervous. No matter who you are, in that moment when you are waiting to meet your possible match, you’re bound to be nervous.I would recommend getting something you know you will take your time drinking, so that you don’t accidentally drink a lot before getting to the main course. It’s lovely to have a drink or two as you ease into the date, but I would cap it there. We all know how we can get after having that one drink too many.Low expectations Source: Shutterstock/Kaspars GrinvaldsThere are many people we may initially find attractive. But with time how many end up being compatible with us? When heading out for a date I would keep expectations to a minimum.Yes, sometimes you can hope it will all go fantastically and you will never look at anyone else again, but sometimes being realistic is a necessity.Try to enjoy yourself, have a laugh and see where it may or may not go. Sometimes it is just really fun to date and keep it relaxed without being enveloped in expectations.Decoding body languageYou can read a lot about a person by their physicality, the distance they create between themselves and you, as they connect with you and focus on you. Watch out too if every exterior stimuli is distracting them.Everyone is different so obviously this is not a blanket statement. But if they are interested you can tell by how they are interacting with you verbally and physically.While I am on a date there are certain indications that lead me to believe that the date isn’t working. If the other person seems to be paying me very little attention and not connecting with me, I think it either means that they are just not that interested or that maybe they are a little too interested in themselves. Both of those are warning signs for me not to pursue this any further.I want to meet someone who is intrigued by meThis may seem harsh but sometimes in dating you have to be cut throat, so that you can foresee the car crashes before they happen.When you know you don’t want to see the other person again, in my experience the best way to deal with it is clarity. Say directly that you don’t want to pursue it anymore. This way there are no mixed signals and other than mild rejection, any major hurt is avoided.Mind gamesIn those exciting times when the date goes well (yay) I would try to gauge the possibility of us meeting again before we part. In the past I have allowed time pass and waited to see if they are interested enough to want to meet again. But at this stage I get a little tired of the games that we play when we are interested in someone.Of course, you don’t want to come on too strong. It’s best to keep some of your cards close to your chest. But when you are both hitting it off, there is no reason to be afraid of saying that you’d like to see each other again.So there you go, a little insight into Alice’s world of dating. This is what works for me, but as we know, every date is unique and comes with a different set of rules.Alice Marr is a waitress on First Dates Ireland. She is currently in her final year studying Drama and Theatre in Trinity College Dublin and plans to continue acting after graduation. First Dates Ireland airs Thursdays at 9:30pm on RTÉ2.Column: ‘My mum was dying. Her heart was failing. She was bedridden until she got a new heart’>The Burning Question*: Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?>center_img First Dates Ireland’s Alice on dating: ‘I get a little tired of the games that we play’ If you’re in a relationship Valentine’s Day can be really fun and smug. But if you’re not, here is Alice from First Dates on how to find your boo. Alice Marr 3,607 Views Short URL Feb 14th 2017, 8:30 PM last_img read more

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