Monday, December 11, 2017

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Taking a Field Trip


When we were children, few words were more exciting to hear than the phrase “field trip.” Field trips were a break from schoolwork and an opportunity to go on an adventure with friends. Now that we are grown ups, taking a field trip can be just as fun and memorable – if only we were willing to sign our own permission slips so we could go on one.

Allowing yourself to get stuck in your routine can make life seem boring. Adding a touch of variety to your life in the form of a field trip can break up the monotony of your days and lead you to adventure. Unlike the jaunts that were regulated by teachers or monitored by parents, taking a field trip as an adult can lead you anywhere you want. You can go on a daylong retreat or spend just a few hours at your destination.  A field trip can be an opportunity to explore a new landscape or discover something about yourself. Taking a day trip to another town or visiting an unfamiliar spot in your neighborhood can be educational and fun. There is also much to be said for finding a beautiful spot under a tree where you can read a book. You can even go to one of your favorite spots and allow yourself to experience it as if you were visiting there for the first time. Going on a field trip is as much a state of mind as it is a change in the scenery.

During a “grown up” field trip, schedules, clocks, and duties are put aside so you can focus wholeheartedly on mindfully enjoying yourself.  Planning a field trip can be almost as fun as going on one. A field trip is an excursion to look forward to and an experience to be savored after the fact.  Wherever you decide to go and whatever you decide to do, going on a field trip can add much pleasure and excitement to your life.

travelfactory CPA

Thursday, January 1, 2015




Ian B  - Life is An Adventure.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Home Security For The Holidays

The last thing anyone needs to spoil their perfect holiday is to come home to find their possessions damaged or stolen.  

The following simple tips may be all that makes the difference between a great holiday and a not so great one and are an inexpensive way to give you the peace of mind for your holidays.

  • Make sure all windows and doors are locked in your home/garage/shed.
  •  Have your mail collected by a friend or neighbor, or have it held or redirected by the post office.
  •  Don’t leave a message on your answering machine, or a note on the door that tells callers you are away.
  •  Turn down your the volume on your phone so it can’t be heard ringing unanswered.
  •  Ask a neighbour/friend to put your rubbish bins out as usual.
  •  Consider using automatic timers to turn on a light, television or radio at different times.
  •  Leave a key with a trusted neighbor or friend and ask them to rearrange blinds, switch lights on and off at different times, etc. to make your house look “lived in”.
  •  Lock away tools, ladders and anything that could be used to get into your house, garage or shed.
  •  Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway occasionally to give the impression that someone is coming and going.
  •  Make sure all your valuables are stored securely.
  •  Have your lawn mowed while you are away. 
These tips may seem simple and common sense, but can make all the difference

If you are traveling for the holidays (or for any reason :-) I recommend checking out the new guide written by Henry Rustkirk, ex Airline reservation agent, entitled "Insider Secrets To Cheap Flights".

Henry has thrown in four bonus guides that come with Insider Secrets To Cheap Flights

Insider Secrets To Cheap Car Rentals
Insider Secrets To Cheap Hotel Reservations
Insider Secrets To Cheap Flights: Guide To Airport Security, and
Lifetime Updates To Insider Secrets To Cheap Flights and All Bonus Guides

All the information contained here will more than cover the cheap price, and make your holidays so much more enjoyable and cost effective. 

Have a safe and happy holiday experience :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This year’s top “12 Scams of the Holidays”

McAfee has identified this year’s top “12 Scams of the Holidays” - I thought it worthy of reproducing here as a reminder to stay safe :-)

1.You’ve Got Mail!
— As holiday sales continue to migrate online, the risk for shipping notification and phishing scams are increasing. Though malware is a year-round risk, since many people do their holiday shopping online, consumers are more apt to click on a shipping notification or phishing e-mail because they think it is legit.

2.Deceptive Advertising
— Everyone is searching for steals and deals during the holidays. Keep your eyes peeled (and your wallet in check) when online shopping for this season’s most coveted products. Dangerous links, phony contests on social media, and bogus gift cards are just some of the ways scammers try to steal your personal information and ruin your holiday cheer.

3.Chilling Charities — ‘Tis the season for giving. During the holidays, many consumers give back by donating to their favorite charity. Sadly, no good deed goes unpunished. Be wary of fake charities that could reach you via email, or are shared virally through social media.

4.Buyer Beware
— There are just some scams that you can’t help but fall victim to, unfortunately. Point of sale malware that leads to exposing credit card information falls into this category. Make sure you check your credit card statements vigilantly and stay on top of breaking news to be aware and prepared.

— New mobile apps for Android and iOS devices are added every day. Thanks to the ongoing advancement of technology, your mobile device can control the temperature in your house, keep you connected to social media and add cool filters to your holiday photos. Even the most official-looking or festive apps could be malicious and access your personal information.

6.Getting Carded
— Digital e-cards to spread the holiday cheer are fun, easy and most importantly, thoughtful. While you may want a loved one to send you “Season’s Greetings,” hackers are looking to wish you a “Merry Malware!” Well-known e-card sites are safe, but be wary of potential scams that cause you to download malware onto your device.

7.Holiday Travel Scams
— With travel on the rise during peak holiday times, online scammers are ready to take advantage of the fact that consumers often become less vigilant about their safety. Fake online travel deal links are bountiful, but there are also risks that exist once you arrive at your destination including spyware that can access your information through logging onto infected PCs onsite.

8.Bank Robocall Scam
— When holiday spending increases and consumers are aware of the abuse to their bank accounts and credit cards, hackers use this as an opportunity. In most cases, consumers receive a fake phone call from one of these institutions from an automated (or not) “security agent” stating that the user’s account has been compromised and requesting personal information including the account password, to make changes.

9.ATM Skimming
— During the holiday season, you need cash and are usually in a rush to get it. Criminals can access your information at ATMs by installing skimming devices to steal the data off your card’s magnetic strip and either using a video camera or keypad overlay to capture your PIN. A simple solution:  look carefully at your ATM for anything suspicious and cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

10.Year in Review Traps — Many news services capitalize on the holidays by developing “Year in Review” articles. Companies should warn their employees about the risks of clicking on these types of links from their work emails. Links from phony sources could infect and compromise the security of company devices.

— With an increase in travel, activity (and bubbly!) over the busy holiday season, people are more likely to forget their smart phones in public places. While inconvenient for them, it is also way for hackers to access sensitive personal information and business data if the appropriate security measures are not in place.

12.Bad USB Blues — During the holiday season, you may see an increase in gift baskets from vendors who want to continue doing business with your company in the upcoming year. One of the most popular items in these baskets includes branded USBs. Beware of allowing your employees to use these, as undetectable malware is sometimes pre-installed on them.

To stay protected and ensure a happy and safe holiday season, follow these safety tips:

Do Your Research

Whether online shopping, donating to charities, or tracking your gifts, do your research to make sure the company you are working with is legitimate.

•Do an online search of the company you’re buying items from to see if there’s any news about recent risks
•Go to the company’s homepage to make sure it is a genuine business
•Instead of clicking on a link in an email for a shopping deal, visit the site directly

Analyze Apps

Before downloading a new app, review it to make sure you know exactly what you’re putting on your smartphone.

•Only download apps from an official app store and not a third party
•If the app requests too many permissions, do not download it. It may be requesting access to information on your phone that you would prefer to keep private, and certainly more information than it needs

Bank Carefully

People are spending more money during the holidays than they do all year. Cyber criminals may try and use this fact to more easily scam consumers.

•If your bank calls requesting information, hang up and call them back through the official main phone number. It’s important to talk to your banker through the official number so you know it is legitimate
•When withdrawing money, be aware of your surroundings. Check to make sure that you are in a safe place to enter your information. If anything looks amiss, leave
•Inspect the ATM for loose wires or machine parts that may have been tampered with. This could indicate hackers trying to fix the machine for their benefit

Stay Informed

Holiday season or not, cyber scams and identity theft happen very frequently throughout the year. Now that shopping season has begun and the danger is heightened, it is important to constantly be aware of new cyber-attacks or threats in the marketplace.

•Follow breaking news stories for new security breaches to stay alert and be on top of your game
•Only shop for holiday gifts at retailers you know have not been compromised
•Check your credit card statements often to make sure that you were not affected.

Have a great holiday season...   


Friday, August 1, 2014

England Vacation Guide

With the XX Commonwealth Games being hosted in Glasgow , I thought some info on England might be fuel for thought....


Arrival and Departure

When arriving or departing to and from England, you will probably land at the Heathrow Airport, the largest airport and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is located 15 miles (24km) west of central London; or at London Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the England, which is 28 miles (45km) south of central London. (No departure tax.)

Both airports are connected to London by an underground railway network. The city can also be reached by taxi that is available outside each airport's terminal.

Flight to England

It takes more than 8 hours if you are traveling from the US.

Quickest at present from Australia, is 1 stop at either, Bahrain, Singapore, or Hong Kong ,depending on airline. Expect 22 hours minimum, if the winds are favorable, up to 26 hours if the wind is against you. 

Time to visit

The best time to visit England is during the months of July to September, when the weather is at its best and daylight hours are the longest. However, this is also the time when tourists visit England so the rates are higher, the streets are more crowded and the queues are longer. Low season is from November to March. If you do not mind the chilling cold of England winter and would like to take advantage of the cheaper rates, then take your pick from these months. Shoulder season is from April to June and the month of October.

Where to go

England may be a small country but it offers a lot of attractions, museums and world renowned sights that you should not miss visiting. Visit some of the following sites: the Buckingham Palace, the Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the National Gallery, Shakespeare's Globe Theater, St. Paul's Cathedral, Sir John Soane's Museum, the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Notting Hill, the Trafalgar Square and the Admiralty Arch, among others.

Where to stay

Hotels are abundantly available especially in major cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool. However, hotels in these cities are very expensive especially during the high season. Premium price is paid for rooms with bathrooms.

For a budget traveler, Bed and Breakfasts are the preferred choice. They are cheap, clean, convenient, comfortable and hospitable. Bathrooms are often shared with other guests but the rooms are generally comfortable.

Getting around

• Renting a car – If you are traveling as a group and planning to explore the country side, then renting a car is a good choice. But pass on car rental option if you will spend most of your time in the city.

Note: The driver seat is at the right hand side of the vehicle like here in Australia.

• Bus, taxi and the Tube –Buses, taxis and trains are the most popular means to get around the city. London is popular for its double-Decker buses. All cities and towns have bus services as well. All cities have taxi services. Taking the underground railways system in London (or what is commonly referred to as the Tube) is a good experience. Suburban rail services are available in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and the cities in Newcastle and South Yorkshire. Tram routes are available in south London.

• Boats – Commuter and leisure boat services are available on the River Thames. 

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