Friday, 10 December 2010

What are boutique hotels?

Tourism is an always growing business, and as such, hotels are common all over the world. The vast majority of tourists automatically decide to reside in hotels due to the absolute popularity of these without bothering to look at up on the other types of lodging that are generally offered at cheaper rates. One of these kinds of accommodation types is the boutique hotel, which is usually altogether ignored by tourists and which is a features of many Seychelles hotels, but has very often gotten acclaim for its distinctive features.

A boutique hotel is an individual hotel that does not form part of the regular large chain hotel group. Although a boutique hotel does not form part of such groups, this really does not mean that it will probably be of lesser quality. As a matter of fact, boutique hotels are actually recognized for providing great amenities and for commonly possessing a classy and even stylish appearance. These boutique hotels are in addition known for being more intimate, as easily demonstrated by the ones existing in famous honeymoon spots such as the Seychelles and Mauritius. A very good example of such a Mauritius hotel is the Paradise Cove Hotel & Spa.

A number of the amenities offered by boutique hotel rooms include air conditioning (obviously a must depending on the destination), fast Internet connection, and television. Other boutique hotels on the other hand choose to focus on delivering a much more intimate experience and focus on providing comfy rooms at the expense of the facilities they will deliver. These can generally be noticed in more exotic places even though there are a few cases of such boutique hotels in main cities.

A lot of boutique hotels are furthermore rather small and will not include more than a hundred bedrooms in the majority of cases, but some boutique hotels from main towns might have a much larger number of rooms. Additionally, numerous boutique hotels are themed and will choose a certain theme to connect with their brand name. These themes typically range from oriental styles to more modern ones. This usually works wonders in acquiring loyal clients and is also fantastic at acquiring new visitors that appreciate the excitement of discovering a new theme.

Boutique hotels typically provide services on a 24-hour basis given that many customers will have diverse check in and checkout times. They also provide their own dining places, which offer a broad range of meals and food selections, as well as pubs that are typically open to the general public. While these boutique hotels are not as popular as regular hotels, they do have their own market share and casual tourists are progressively becoming aware of their existence.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How to stay within your travel budget

People who have gone abroad at least once for their holidays will remember how difficult it is not to overspend. There are indeed many things that will all too easily cause you to spend more than you originally planned, and staying within your holiday budget is possibly the toughest part about planning a holiday abroad. However, it is now even more essential to know how to stay within your travel budget now because of the economic conditions.

The first step required to stay within your budget is to ensure that you get the best deal for your vacation. Too many people are ready to sign up for packages without bothering to read the fine print and thus end up paying for things they do not actually require. Of course it is true that these bundled solutions can be very handy depending on the kind of holiday you are looking for, but it is always important to read all the details and make sure that you really only pay for what you need.

It is also important to know what type of accommodation you really need and not automatically go for luxury 5-star hotels are always expensive which are obviously more expensive. Hotels can take much of your budget and this is easily explained by the fact that some rooms are extremely expensive depending on the amenities and items they include. However, in most cases, people do not even use these amenities after booking their room, which basically means that they spent a lot on their room for nothing.

One last thing you should not forget is to try and estimate how much you will be spending on the different activities you intend to enjoy once you reach your destination. This will go a long way in helping you not exceed your travel budget since you will at least keep some awareness of how much you can actually afford.

This article is posted on behalf of Allo-Booking. Allo-Booking is a Praslin hotel booking service with special offers and discounts. For more information about its Praslin hotel deals, visit its website at

Monday, 6 December 2010

The advantages of holiday car hire

Holiday car rentals are now extremely common, and this has led to an increase in the number of car rental companies in tourist hotspots. Even the smaller exotic destinations have seen such an increase. This is easily be explained by the fact that a holiday car hire is extremely advantageous, regardless of the location.

The main benefit of holiday car rentals is the fact that it gives you more freedom. Normally, you would need to book a cab to be able to go around the country. To be able to visit most of the island or country and see most landmarks, you would thus have to spend a lot of money on taxis. Moreover, finding such transportation on a daily basis can be unnecessarily tedious. Renting a car will solve all these problems since once you have rented a car, you are free to visit the place however you want.

This brings us to the advantages which concerns the savings a holiday car rental allows you to make. Many people are actually under the impression that renting a car during the holidays is quite expensive, but this is not necessarily true. In any case, it is important to note that renting a car is not as expensive as you may have been led to believe. Moreover, in cases where you will be traveling around a lot, car rentals are assuredly cheaper in the long term.

Another advantage of holiday car rentals is that you can carry as much luggage as you want. You also do not have to visit the country in a tour, which is often too quick and never allows you to make the most of your holiday. However, if you've hired a car, you can pretty much go anywhere and plan your schedule to suit your tastes.

This article is posted on behalf of MyCar, an affordable car rental Seychelles company. For more information about Seychelles car rent, visit

Friday, 3 December 2010

The top 3 reasons to visit the Seychelles

It is safe to say that the Seychelles islands have quickly become leading tourist destination. Even the current economic conditions have done very little dampen the mood of tourists who will often cite the Seychelles as around of the most exotic destinations in the whole world. In case you are still wondering why the Seychelles have become so popular so quickly, here are three simple reasons that explain why people lose these Indian Ocean islands so much.

1) The beaches
Put simply, the Seychelles beaches rank among the finest in the world. Put longer, the Seychelles beaches are extremely beautiful and are moreover made even more popular by the fact that they are relatively untouched by man. Additionally, there are tons of beaches in the Seychelles which is in fact comprised of as many as 110 islands. Obviously, the more popular ones are always going to be packed with tourists, but given the wide choice it's extremely easy to avoid these crowds.

2) The inland discoveries
Assuming you do get tired of the beaches (which is as unlikely as it comes), there are quite literally tons of things to discover throughout the Seychelles. The islands have numerous jungles that beg to be explored, and hikers have a great choice between the forests and the trails that are scattered throughout the Seychelles. Regardless of where you are staying in the Seychelles, which could range from a La Digue hotel to a 5-star Praslin hotel, it is easy to schedule a proper trip to explore the islands.

3) The relaxing atmosphere
Another pretty much unique thing in the Seychelles is its relaxing atmosphere. The islands’ great weather and their suitability as a tourist destination, combined with their popularity with honeymooners and families alike, mean that the most famous Indian Ocean islands are easily one of the most popular destination in the world. A lot of people go there just for relaxing and indeed do not bother about all the activities actually available there which include snorkeling and hiking.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

How to lower your honeymoon budget

Honeymoons can be quite expensive and couples are always on the look-out for ways to spend less on their honeymoon while making the most of their short holidays. Now that honeymoon budgets are getting smaller and smaller, being able to find cheaper honeymoons is even more important. The simple yet effective tips listed in this article will enable you to find great budget deals while still allowing you to enjoy a dream honeymoon.

Show that you are newlywed
Amazingly enough, just letting it known that you are on your honeymoon is more than enough to get a handful of deals and perks. These perks can range from a better travel deal to discounts, or even free food in your hotel. You must have seen it in movies before, and real life is no different. You can even get better seats in your plane if you let the stewardess know that you are flying to the Bahamas or the Seychelles for your honeymoon. Some places will often have special honeymoon deals but even if they do not, they will be happy to throw in some discounts and free offers.

Book at the right time
Before running off to your honeymoon, it is always useful to first do some research about the location you're choosing. Moreover, one important thing to keep in mind is that it is much cheaper to travel off-season. As a matter of fact, the time at which you have your honeymoon can be a big factor in how much you spend, regardless of your destination. Obviously, if you are traveling at the busiest periods, even your flight ticket will be noticeably more expensive.

Honeymoon registry
A honeymoon registry is a website where you can register for your honeymoon. Once you've signed up, your family and friends can then purchase gift certificates. If you have selected a hotel that is covered by the registry, you can then tell your relatives and friends that you would prefer these gift certificates instead of more traditional wedding gifts. This will allow you to have a great honeymoon while needing to spend even less.

Frequent flyer miles
One easy way to lower your travel budget is to use frequent flyer miles to go to your exotic destination. Flyer miles are easy to rack up if you need to travel on a somewhat regular basis. However, even if you do not have any flyer miles, you can make it known before your wedding that you welcome flyer mile gifts. Most airlines indeed allow you to transfer your transfer miles to another person.

This article is published on behalf of Allo-Booking, a cheap hotel seychelles booking service which offers discounts on a wide range of accommodation in the Seychelles.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The most important considerations to improve your Bing website ranking

Although Google easily retains the largest market share of the search engines, Bing has emerged and, while not as popular as Google, still has its users and fans. One thing many people do not fail to notice is that Google and Bing offer radically different results for the same keywords. As such, many webmasters are trying to understand how to obtain a high rank in Bing for their specific keywords.

1) Content
The infamous and dreaded "Content is king" motto has never been more true than with Bing. Microsoft's search engine places a whole lot of emphasis on your website content, which has been proven again and again by numerous webmaster tests (since one will not suffice). Having tons of quality content is thus the first step towards obtaining a good ranking in Bing. It is also important to regularly add new content to your website so that the Bing crawler will visit it more often and index a maximum number of pages.

2) On-site optimization
On-site optimization is also extremely important in Bing, even more so than with Google. As such, it is necessary to ensure that your website is fully optimized according to search engine recommendations. This includes using a proper site architecture and the use of keywords in title and header tags, among others. It is also recommended to include your keywords in your domain name and URLs since these are the first things Bing will look at when it comes to your website optimization.

3) Links
Just as with Google, the best way to improve your website ranking in Bing is by getting quality links to your website. It should however be noted that, while links are important in both Google and Bing, they do not treat these exactly the same. While Google places a strong emphasis on anchor text, Bing thus instead looks at other factors such as the content of the linking page. The implementation of NoFollow in the two search engines also differs, as Bing seems to actually give them some consideration.

As seen above, obtaining a good ranking in Bing is not that difficult. The most challenging part is to obtain good rankings in both Google and Bing without incurring penalties. By taking the points above into consideration, you will be able to steadily improve your ranking without getting penalized.

This post is part of the promotion of MyCar, which offers car rental deals Seychelles.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to improve your website ranking on Bing

Although most people still primarily use Google and the latter has the biggest search engine market share, Bing has emerged as a good competitor for everybody's favorite (or not, depending on whether or not you are a webmaster) search engine. However, one thing many people have not failed to notice is that Google and Bing offer drastically different results for the same keywords. As such, many webmasters are trying to figure out how to rank well in Bing for their targeted keywords. This article outlines how to achieve a good ranking in Bing for your website.

1) Content
The "Content is king" motto has never been so true with Bing. Microsoft's new search engine actually places more emphasis on content than Google, and numerous tests by webmasters have proved this. Having a lot of content is the first step to ranking well on Bing. It is also important to regularly add new content to your website as this will indicate to Bing that the website is being often updated and thus causes Bing to crawl your search engine more often, thereby effectively leading to better ranks.

2) On-site optimization
Bing also places more emphasis on on-site optimization. As such, you need to ensure that your website is fully optimized. This includes having a proper website architecture, using keyword-rich menus and links, having appropriate title and header tags. A keyword-rich domain name, along with the targeted keywords in URLs and file names, are also given good weight by Bing and will contribute to your website achieving higher ranks.

3) Links
Like Google, one of the best ways to improve your rank Bing is to get links to your website. However, it should be noted that Google's and Bing's handling of incoming links differ. While Google places a lot of emphasis on the anchor text, Bing does not give this as much weight but instead focuses on the linking page's content such as its title and header tags. Both Google and Bing do values quality links though. Bing is also more lenient than Google and treats the NoFollow attribute differently from Google. While NoFollow links will not pass as much rank juice as a DoFollow link even in Bing, it nevertheless contributes towards a website's ranking.

As seen above, optimizing your website for Bing is not that different. Obviously, getting a website to rank high in both Google and Bing is quite challenging since their algorithms are different, but by applying these steps in mind, it is possible to bump your website to the first three results in both search engines without having to resort to black hat techniques.

This post is brought to you by MyCar, the best car rental deals Seychelles.

Monday, 8 November 2010

How to find cheap accommodation for your Seychelles holiday

Seychelles is a group of islands located in the Indian Ocean. While Seychelles actually comprises of more than 100 islands, a lot of these are extremely small. As such, Seychelles is mainly known for its main islands such as Mahe and Praslin. These islands are also the ones that are visited by tourists as they are extremely popular for their beautiful beaches. Since Seychelles is a tourist destination, there are numerous hotels are over it, and people have a wide choice when they wish to visit the Seychelles. However, most people will want to find cheap accommodation as several of these hotels and resorts can be quite expensive.

The best way to find cheap accommodation in Seychelles is to do your research online. There exists numerous Seychelles hotel booking websites that will list all the best offers available at any time of the year. These websites will sort the Seychelles hotels according to your requirements and allow you to book them without even having to visit that particular hotel's website. A great thing about these Seychelles booking websites is that they almost always provide their own promotions, which is their way to trying to attract most visitors.

However, in some instances, you can try different techniques to find even cheaper accommodation for your holiday in Seychelles. Indeed, the price set on such websites can often be negotiated. Since Seychelles relies heavily on its tourism industry, they are often eager to provide you with new deals to convince you to visit the islands. As such, one good way of striking up excellent deals is by directly contacting a resort and trying to establish a good deal with them. Depending on the number of guests this would provide them and how long you plan to stay, along with other factors such as whether you will be hiring a car with the hotel itself, they will be quite happy to customize a package for your deal.

Moreover, couples goings to the Seychelles on honeymoon will find it even easier to find cheap accommodation since they can get a lot of freebies from the hotels. Another important thing to note is that Seychelles accommodation does not limit itself to hotels and resorts. There are indeed numerous self catering villas and guesthouses that are even cheaper and yet provide great lodging for your Seychelles holidays.

For a cheap Seychelles apartment, visit La Villa.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Quick tips on choosing a holiday villa

While hotels and resorts used to be the preferred form of accommodation for tourists, a lot of people are now opting to stay in villas or guesthouses when visiting other countries. This explains the increase of the number of villas across all tourist destinations. Since these villas have already established themselves as a quite popular accommodation type especially in small destinations such as the Seychelles or Malta, it is no surprise that tourists are always looking for more information on such villas. The following is the list of tips that must be taken into consideration when choosing a villa.

1) Price
Obviously, the price of the villa should be one of your first considerations. The villa you choose should be cheaper than a hotel as it will not have all the amenities and facilities proposed by a hotel or resort. Moreover, it should be noted that while both hotels and villas can be graded in stars, a 5-star villa will not actually equal a 5-star luxury hotel.

2) Room types
Villas typically provide two categories of room types. The first type is the family room which usually caters for a family of two parents and two children. The second type is usually for honeymooners where a room has been designed and decorated for a couple. Depending on what kind of holiday you want, you thus need to know what kind of rooms your villa will provide.

3) Location
The location of the villa is extremely important. Most villas are located within walking distance of the beach and some will even be right next to the beach and provide spectacular sea views (although these rooms are always booked and one can consider oneself lucky to book such a room). However, there are certain exceptions where a villa may be quite far from the beach. This is especially the case for newer villas in popular tourist destinations.

4) Terms and conditions
When you choose a villa, you must be careful of the terms and conditions of your booking, which are usually included in the fine print of the agreement. It is also important to note that there are different classifications for villas. As an example, a villa can be completely self catering while another guesthouse's tariffs may include breakfast and lunch. Not paying enough attention to these details can cause you to far exceed your travel budget, and it is thus important to know what kind of villa you are choosing.

La Villa Seychelles is an affordable bed and breakfast Seychelles accommodation.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Staying in a Seychelles villa can be as fun as booking a hotel

Most tourists going to the Seychelles for holidays will no doubt use one of the numerous online booking services to stay at a five-star Seychelles hotel or resort. However, this trend has been slowly but rather obviously changing during the recent years. Indeed, more people have starting booking sea view villas for various reasons. These villas offer several advantages when compared to the hotels and resorts, regardless of their rating, and are thus getting more numerous in the hotels.

The first advantage of staying in a villa or a Seychelles guesthouse is obviously the price. Compared to even a three-star hotel, a villa is relatively cheaper. Some people are going to argue that a villa however does not boast all the amenities compared to a popular hotel. While this is true, it is important to keep in mind that in many cases, those expensive amenities actually go unused. A hotel fee will include many things such as a private bar or the internet, which most tourists end up completely overlooking anyway. In a villa, the prices are cheaper since these amenities are not included.

The second advantage of choosing a Seychelles is the atmosphere. The Seychelles villas are known to have a more family-oriented atmosphere as opposed to hotels which, for all intent and purposes, care mainly about the business. So, if you just love family places where you can chat with a lot of other tourists, villas do have that benefit. In addition, a lot of villas are now self catering, which means you can pretty much eat any kind of food instead of always depending on a hotel menu.

Another huge benefit of using villas is that they tend to be quieter. This makes a huge difference for someone who wishes to have a thoroughly relaxing time in Seychelles. Hotels tend to be busy, and this bustling is known to be an annoyance to many tourists who feel they are still in the hometown. However, villas are cleaners and quieter since they have less people. These people have often chosen a villa because they like the quiet themselves, so you will not find them shouting at each other and suddenly playing the latest hip hop hit at four in the morning.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The top 5 cars of Hollywood movies

Cars are an essential part of movies in Hollywood, and it is not surprising to see car-related movies coming out quite often. While the plots and action scenes have changed due to the technological advances both in cars and the movie industry, there is no denying that a car movie will be a big hit if done right. History has proven this with several blockbusters such as The Duel, Spielberg's first hit, American Graffiti, Bullitt, or even Death Race. There are also other movies that successfully ride over the success of car movies, but without actually becoming classics. This article takes a closer look at the top 5 cars found in movies.

5) The Ford Mustang GT 390 in Bullitt
Bullitt's Ford Mustang GT 390 may need a strong shout to be considered. It is true that it is completely lacking as far as gadgets go and cannot boast impressive abilities such as the Batmobile's auto-destruction feature or even James Bond's invisible car, but this GT 390 was among the best of its kind. That. And the seven-minute or so chase scene involving this Mustang and the Dodge Charger is still one of the most impressive car scenes ever filmed.

4) The Pontiac Trans Am in Smokey and the Bandit
While there is no denying that the car makes the man, there arise some cases where the man makes the car. In this case, the man and his mustache make the car. Indeed, Burt Reynold's Pontiac Trans Am in Smokey and the Bandit is one of the most memorable cars in Hollywood history. Just like the GT 390 in Bullit, this Pontiac is as regular as it gets, but was involved in one of the most insane missions seen in a movie. And it did have a very unique feature: a runaway bride through half the movie.

3) The De Lorean from the Back to the Future trilogy
The De Lorean is every little boy's dream come true and not simply for its time-travelling abilities. This extremely stylish car boasts an amazingly slick outline, complete with a flux capacitor and a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor (since plutonium is a readily available item at the closest Walmart), and will travel at dizzying speeds that very likely send the driver into the future. Of course, with a title as mysterious as Back to the Future, it is not surprising that the car's been designed to be as mysterious and interesting as possible.

2) The Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinder
Bulletproof glass? Check. People are just going to be shooting at James Bond anyway. Machine guns? Check. Whoever fires at James Bond will get fired at. Radar? Check. Satellite navigations are too common for James Bond. The Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinder pretty much redefined the Bond car. It's gorgeous and boasted the most impressive list of Bond gadgets at that time. And it's being driven by Sean Connery, so it deserves the nod over competitors.

1) The Batmobile from The Dark Knight
It may look ugly at first, but the design of The Dark Knight's Batmobile is one that grows onto viewers the more it is seen on-screen. Not only that, but this car just oozes style. Its plethora of incredible gadgets, which includes the whole car being even grenade-proof, is nothing less than one would expect from Batman. Did I also mention that the car can transform into a motorbike if it's too damaged?

Author Credit
MyCar is an affordable car hire Seychelles company. For the best car rental deals Seychelles, visit the MyCar website.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The top 5 things to do in Seychelles

Seychelles is an extremely popular destination, and tourists from all over the world go there every year for a thoroughly relaxing time on the beaches during their vacation. However, although Seychelles is infamous for its beaches, it should be said that there are many other satisfying things one can do while staying in the Seychelles. Here are the top 5 things, excluding the beaches, one can do when visiting the Seychelles:

1) Taste the unique Seychelles recipes
Anybody who has been to the Seychelles once will tell you this: the native recipes are among the best in the world. Their fresh ingredients and unique flavor make Seychelles cuisine very delicious and their dish arrangement is quite mouth-watering. The main recipes in Seychelles are obviously based on fish, but there's something for everyone's taste. There are literally dozens of restaurants in Seychelles which have better food than the hotels. It is thus a good idea to dine out on a few occasions so you don't miss on the food.

2) Go clubbing
Although not on par with European or even Asian clubs in size and atmosphere, the Seychelles clubs have a distinctive atmosphere that is very popular with tourists. There are not that many clubs in the Seychelles, but they are definitely worth visiting regardless of your age and music preferences. The clubs are also always a great place to get to know the locals better.

3) Nature rides
Seychelles is an island, and, like most islands, there are wide spaces that are perfect for riding and hiking. There are places where you can rent a bike scattered all over the Seychelles, and it's always fun to hire a few bikes and go riding on the lush plains presents in the Seychelles.

4) Snorkeling
In addition to its infamous beaches, Seychelles is also well known for its snorkeling sites, which is not surprising when one considers that it is located in arguably the best region in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles marine fauna and flora are almost unmatched in the world, making it the perfect destination for snorkeling fans. However, due to the quite expensive rental prices of snorkeling gear, it is recommended you bring your own if possible.

5) Shopping
You will not find the latest technology gadgets in the Seychelles, but you will easily find a lot of beautiful local hand-made products such as jewelries, paintings, and sculptures that make great souvenirs. Prices are also quite low, and shopping around for the most unique souvenir is always extremely fun.

Just going around in the Seychelles is also great fun. However, if you signed up on a package deal, this is often difficult as you are expect to stick to the hotel's schedule. It is thus recommended to contact a Seychelles car hire company so you can visit the island at your own leisure.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

PS3 TI-84 Jailbreak

This is a quick guide to hacking the PlayStation 3 with the TI-84. Most of the guides I've read spend way too much time talking about irrelevant stuff and going into long-winded technical explanations that you probably don't want to bother about. I have yet to see a guide that simply gives step-by-step instructions on how to hack the PS3, which is why I'm creating this.

Note: I am only posting this on an educational basis. If you mess up and it breaks your PS3, tough luck. I cannot be held responsible for anything that happens to your PS3.

PS3 hacking will only work if you have firmware 3.41 or below. Anything higher, and you won't be able to hack your PS3. You also cannot downgrade from firmware 3.42 to 3.41. This is because the firmware is flashed onto the PS3 itself and not the harddrive (this also explains why the PS3 firmware stays the same when you replace the harddrive). Whatever you may have read on another blog of forum, let me reiterate that you cannot downgrade from firmware 3.42 on the PS3.

My PS3 is currently on firmware 3.41, and the method I'm outlining worked without any issues. This PS3 jailbreak should also work with firmware 3.40, but I'm not sure about the rest. I do not personally know much about the differences in firmware in respect to the jailbreak, but I guess you will find all the information you need if you search around a bit on Google and on any PS3 forum (which won't take long because that's all they're talking about these days).

If you have anything lower, I advise you download the 3.41 firmware (you know the drill) and install it on your PS3.

Once you've downloaded the firmware, place it in X:\PS3\UPDATE on a USB drive to update your PS3 (do a manual backup first). If you usually update your firmware via USB, you're probably used to this. If you usually update directly on your PS3, you're doing it wrong. It is better and safer to update your PS3 via USB. Not that this matters now because you obviously won't be able to update your PS3 again once it's jailbroken.

You can use various devices to hack your PS3. This device compability list at PSFreedom is the best such list. Do not trust anything else. If it's not there, it cannot be done. Obviously, if you do not have any of those devices, you won't be able to hack your PS3. These instructions work with the TI-84 only.

To jailbreak your PS3, download the app from PS3JB and follow the instructions. PS3JB has the best instruction for hacking the PS3 with a TI-84 and has all the screenshots you need.

Once you've hacked your PS3, you will also need to download the PS3-Hacks Backup Manager. Place the Backup Manager on a USB drive, insert it in the PS3. From here, choose Install Package Files, and install the Backup Manager. You're done!

Here's a video of someone using this method to successfully hack a PS3. It's a fairly quick process, and you'll be able to back up your games on your PS3 once you're done. However, remember that you will not be able to use PSN or update your firmware once your PS3 is hacked.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The most beautiful beaches in Seychelles

Seychelles has become a very popular destination with tourists thanks to its beautiful beaches, its great weather, and its affordability compared to other destinations. The important thing for someone who wishes to visit Seychelles is to keep in mind that Seychelles is actually composed of several small islands and is not in fact a single island. The main islands are Praslin and Mahé, which are both favorites among tourists, but the other islands are similarly beautiful and well worth visiting.

The main attraction in Seychelles is of course its exquisite beaches which rank among the best in the world. However, due to an amazingly large number of beaches in Seychelles which may confuse visitors not used to such a selection, it becomes a chore to decide which beach to visit first. As such, people going to the Seychelles for their holidays or honeymoon may wish to read about the Seychelles beaches before their plane lands.

This will ensure that they do not waste time deciding which beach to visit once they get there. It is also recommended that they use a car hire Seychelles company to rent a car instead of using a guide. This will allow them to visit the different beaches at their own pace as a guide may want to stick to his own programme.

The best beach to visit in Seychelles is Anse Lazio, which is at the North end of Praslin. Anse Lazio remains a unique site with large boulders on each end of the beach and the whitest sand one can find in the world. This Seychelles beach is generally regarded as one of the finest beaches in the world and is thus always packed with tourists but is a must-see for anyone visiting the Seychelles.

Another incredibly beautiful bleach is Beau Vallon, which is an extremely popular hangout for tourists and comes with a complete set of activities such as parasailing and snorkeling. While Praslin's Anse Lazio is the place to go for a quiet day on the beach to sunbathe, Beau Vallon is the place to go if you like participating in activities. Fishing and diving are two other activities readily available, and there's something for everybody’s tastes.

Finally, another beach that must absolutely be visited in Seychelles is the one in Port Victoria. While the water is not as beautiful as Anse Lazio and is in fact known for being quite salty, the beach in Port Victoria has perhaps the best scenery in all of Seychelles. It's a great place if you are only interested in relaxing yourself on the beach, but is devoid of other activities. However, the scenery alone makes the Port Victoria beach rank among the best in the Seychelles.

Friday, 1 October 2010

IMDB rolled its new layout, and it's not even working in Firefox

GameFAQs did it, Facebook did it, Twitter's currently doing it, and IMDB just joined the wagon...It got a new layout. I'm not against layout changes personally. If implemented right, they can be a good thing. Change can be a great thing, and it's even more important on a fast changing environment such as the Internet.

IMDB thus launched its new layout. It's horrible. They took a great, easy-to-understand layout and turned it into garbage. It's cluttered and extremely difficult to scan or just look up quickly information. That's a pretty big mistake because a lot of people visit IMDB to quickly check up on some details in the main details section or the trivia section. There's usually a choice between IMDB and Wikipedia but the latter does have the problem of putting spoilers right in your face. As such, it's usually better to stick to IMDB unless you don't mind having your movies spoiled.

Normally, even if a website's design got worse, I would not mind for long as there's always the probability that one's going to get used to it, mainly due to a lack of options. However, IMDB tooks things futher.

IMDB does not work. A lot of features do not work in Firefox. You cannot rate movies in Firefox. Ironically, the feedback form they explicitly created to obtain comments on the new layout will not even submit. So, if you are using Firefox to visit IMDB and just want to point out that you can no longer rate movies, tough luck. You will have to switch to Internet Explorer (assuming that everything on IMDB is fine in at least in Internet Explorer) to report all these glaring problems. I am guessing IMDB does not bother testing its new layouts before it rolls them out.

Thankfully, there is the option to revert to the old IMDB layout, but there is no guarantee that this option will always be available, or if it's just a temporary feature until people stop complaining about features not working and how cluttered the new IMDB looks like. I certainly hope this option is available as long as the main IMDB features (such as, you know, voting on movies) are not working on Firefox.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Seychelles car rent - choosing the right company

If you are visiting the Seychelles, it is nowadays a better idea to rent a car instead of hiring a guide. This works out cheaper than hiring a taxi from location to location, and also allows you to enjoy your holidays without having to put up with a guide's planned tour of the Seychelles islands. There are several (another way of saying tons) car rental companies in the Seychelles, and most of them are located in Mahé. However, you still need to be careful when choosing a car hire company in the Seychelles because some of them can be fairly expensive and others rent cars that are in dubious condition.

MyCar is a car rental company in Seychelles that is fairly new. As such, it offers better prices than its competitors and its cars are moreover in superb condition with a fine choice of cars that even includes a Kia Picanto. A great thing about them is that you can make your booking through their Seychelles car hire website, and they will even deliver the car at the airport or your hotel free of charge.

I recommend anybody who's visiting the Seychelles to try a Seychelles car rent company. You will save money by hiring a car if you intend to move around a lot (which you basically should).

Monday, 27 September 2010

Need to rent a car in Seychelles?

If you are visiting the Seychelles, it is nowadays a better idea to rent a car instead of hiring a guide. This works out cheaper than hiring a taxi from location to location, and also allows you to enjoy your holidays without having to put up with a guide's planned tour of the Seychelles islands. There are several (another way of saying tons) car rental companies in the Seychelles, and most of them are located in Mahé. However, you still need to be careful when choosing a car hire company in the Seychelles because some of them can be fairly expensive and others rent cars that are in dubious condition.

MyCar is a car rental company in Seychelles that is fairly new. As such, it offers better prices than its competitors and its cars are moreover in superb condition with a fine choice of cars that even includes a Kia Picanto. A great thing about them is that you can make your booking through their Seychelles car hire website, and they will even deliver the car at the airport or your hotel free of charge.

I recommend anybody who's visiting the Seychelles to give their website a look. You'll save money by hiring a car if you intend to move around a lot (which you basically should).

Friday, 24 September 2010

DoFollow Blog - I have joined the backlinks "revolution"

I have set all comments on my blog to DoFollow. Or rather, since "DoFollow" is not really a term (whatever others might say), I have removed the nofollow attribute from comments on this blog. Some may wonder what is this DoFollow and nofollow ( capital letters in this one) business. Basically, most (by which I mean 99.99999%) blogs and social networks use a nofollow attribute in their comments to counter the intrusive spam that has become the signature of the Internet.

Nofollow means that links will not be crawled by Google and other engines as it essentially tells them to discard this link and that the blog owner is not endorsing it (get it; no follow....don't follow). Several years back, this was not a necessity as the need for search engine optimization and linkbuilding had not yet exploded. People were not crawling the web looking for blogs to spam on and links that were included in comments actually counted as a backlink.

However, once it became essential for websites to have backlinks to rank in the first page of search engine results page, these same blogs were suddenly the target of spammers who would simply post tons of links to their websites on all the blogs they could find. This usually amounted to using their keywords as their name along with the link to their website, but others would go a step further by just listing several links, especially porn and gambling sites, in a comment. Eventually, with tons of people posting so many comments on a single blog for that precious backlink, it became difficult for webmasters to moderate these comments.

Thus, when the nofollow rule was implemented, webmasters were glad because this meant they would not have to wade through 50 "free viagra" comments per day and just one comment pertinent to that post.

Except that's not what really happened. Spammers are still crawling the net, looking for blogs to abuse, even when these are nofollow. They probably did not notice that they were wasting everybody's time. They were wasting their own time because they would not actually be getting a backlink and most people were going to ignore their irritating "SEO Experts Free Advice" link anyway. They were also wasting the blogger's time, who still had to go through a lengthy moderation routine on a regular basis. And those comments that the blogger may have decided to let through were wasting the time of those readers who actually cared about the content.

Based on this, I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter whether a blog is set to nofollow or not. For one thing, I do not believe that a single nofollow link is going to make such a big difference in your ranking. My blog currently has a PageRank of 2 (not that PageRank matters, but some people still seem to think it's the only thing that matters), but even if a blog with a PageRank of 6 set its comments to DoFollow, the effect of posting your link as a comment would be quite minimal. And I'm not going over the fact that the post itself would most probably be completely unrelated to the backlink (as in a "Casino, win big money" link on a post detailing why Wayne Rooney is going to have a forgettable season in the Premier League this year).

This is why I have just edited my blog's source code to remove the nofollow attribute from comments. It will be interesting to see how many spam posts I get as a result, but I'm willing to take the risk.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Google PageRank is the most annoying SEO myth ever!

All SEO professionals have been there at one point: the dreaded Google PageRank. It's simple: clients love the Google PageRank. It is the holy grail on which the Internet is founded, and it exists just to annoy the hell out of any SEO professional who would just like to not hear about PageRank again and just focus on what actually matters. However, clients will stick to PageRank because they do not know better.

And who can blame them? It is not their job to go and research about PageRank (although they could try and listen to the SEO professionals who just spent one hour stressing why PageRank is irrelevant). The only ones to blame here are Google (*gasp*). When PageRank did matter (back when people still believed the lie that Google was not evil), it was obviously an important metric and one that showed SEO professionals if their online marketing strategies were working. Fast forward a few years, and Google decide that PageRank is not a good indicator of a website's position in search engine rankings, which, to be honest, is an excellent idea.

Yet Google still goes ahead and displays PageRank, and the myth is perpetrated by a bunch of so-called SEO professionals who have not gone past 2004. They must be oblivious to the fact that websites with lower PageRank (as in a PageRank that is at most 3) are getting ranked better than websites with a PageRank of 6 for several keywords. Or they must also have missed the memo and countless blog posts and forum comments discussing how PageRank is not a metric you should rely upon to gauge the impact of your SEO strategies. Yes, it is not the clients' job to go and search about the evolution of Google PageRank, but I daresay that these SEO professionals should have stumbled across these at one point.

Of course, some PageRank afficionados will mention that, while Google's ground-breaking metric may no longer be an important part of the ranking algorithm, it can nevertheless be used to check whether a website has been properly crawled by the big daddy of search engines. This would be a great debate if it were not the fact that I have seen websites with no PR get ranked better than their competitors. I can also always use the site ( operator to check how many pages are present in the Google index.

I dream of a time when Google will just stop using PageRank altogether and that the only thing that will matter (to SEO professionals and client alike) will be their website's rankings for the targeted keywords.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Football Manager 2010: Barnet season 2009/2010 review

This is the third part of a series of posts dedicated to my game as Barnet in Football Manager 2010.

The previous part is Football Manager 2010: The Barnet overload.

I have finally completed the first season, and managed to be runner-up in the league just behind Rothertham. Considering I only expected to qualify for the play-offs in this Football Manager 2010 save, this is well beyond my personal objectives and much better than my in-game objective of consolidating the club. There is no need to say that both the Barnet board and my fans are extremely pleased at gaining promotion to the Coca-Cola League 2, which seemed an impossible dream at the start of the game.

Football Manager 2010 Lower League Management
As you can see in the final league table, my strikeforce was without doubt my main asset with Willy Topp, a free signing, being the league highest goalscorer with an amazing 40 goals and David Ball, whom I loaned from Manchester City, scored 32 goals in the league. Will Topp turned out to be my best signing and has generally been setting the league on fire scoring hat tricks for fun although he did go through some phases where he would play like crap and look complacent throughout the matches (generally dealt with by first telling him that I was disappointed by his performance and then telling him that I had faith in his ability).

FM2010 Willy Topp Barnet

Callum Harrison was also an excellent loanee, and started most of my matches as my defensive midfielder. By the end of the season, I was using him in rotation with Ibrahim Sissoko who also turned out to be a great signing and extremely popular with the fans due to his hard working game. The good thing about Sissoko is that he doesn't just run around like a headless chicken like some players but also contributes to the game by scoring goals (usually 25 yard strikes) and netting assists.

Although my team performed extremely well generally in the league, I did have a hard run of games by the end of the season, which is basically FM2010's way of trying to screw me over for having good tactics. I lost 5 consecutive matches and also had my biggest loss of the season; a 4-1 defeat against Bradford away. Thankfully, I did manage to win my last match against Rochdale to secure my second place in the league.

FM2010 Coca-Cola League 2 first season
I will blog about my first matches in the Coca-Cola League 1 once I've played several matches. Obviously, my first priority when the new season starts will be to strengthen my squad since I don't think my current Barnet players have what it takes to consolidate the club's position in the league. My priority will be to loan some players from the Premier League, especially a striker, a left winger, and an advanced playmaker.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

How To Do should take its own counsel

I was editing my profile on How To Do and was amazed to see that they were sorting their Month drop-down alphabetically.

How To Do
I'm not sure why they thought this would be a good idea as it's extremely counter-intuitive and just annoying.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Football Manager 2010: The Barnet overload

This is the second part of a series of posts outlining my experience of lower league management in Football Manager 2010 as Barnet FC.

The first part is Football Manager 2010: Building the Barnet squad.

I am nearing the end of the first season and am currently second in the Coca-Cola League 2. This season has been easier than expected thanks to my loan signings and my players have adapted well to my tactics. Unfortunately, I lost a couple of my best players in January, but loaned a couple more to replace these. I also performed quite poorly in cup competitions mainly because I wanted to concentrate on consolidating my league position and would not field my first team players to avoid injuries and to give them a rest. Moreover, my loanees could not play in these cup fixtures, so I ended up fielding quite weak squads.

My best players have been Albert Adomah, Will Topp, and David Ball. Ashley Kington, whom I loaned from Bristol City on transfer deadline day because I did not have any proper advanced playmaker, turned out to be a marvellous decision as he often dictated the play and would create chances out of nothing. Unfortunately, I was not able to loan him for the entire season and had to play without a proper playmaker from that point.

FM2010 Barnet Ashley Kington
FM2010 Barnet Albert Adomah
I got a couple of players in during the January transfer window after Kingston, Bolasie, and Tom Kilbey (who didn't get much playtime because of injuries, but nevertheless performed well) returned to their respective clubs. Ibrahim Sissoko, a free transfer, particularly impressed, as he scored 2 goals after coming on as a second-half substitute on his third match while still lacking in match fitness. I was forced to bring him in as both Hyde and Hughes got injured in that match. In retrospect, buying him was an inspired decision as both Hyde and Hughes were injured for some time and I would have been lacking in the midfield department.

FM2010 Barnet lower league transfers
I have about 8 matches left to play until the end of the season and will be able to post my final stats soon. Will Topp is still my highest goalscorer but hasn't scored in the last 5 matches. This may be because I asked him to drop deeper and it may have adversely affected his game. I was hoping he would be able to be the Coca-Cola League 2 top scorer, but this looks quitely unlikely now unless he starts scoring braces and hat tricks in these last fixtures.

Go Barnet! To find out more, read my season 2009/2010 Barnet review.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Football Manager 2010: Building the Barnet squad

The Barnet board has given me a £20,000 transfer budget, which kind of makes it hard to attract the good players and I'm quite close to my weekly wage budget too. Thankfully, lower league management in Football Manager 2010 does allow me to loan players from higher divisions while spending absolutely nothing on their wages. Sure, some clubs like Aston Villa or Cardiff will want a 50% wage contribution for certain players, but that's only if absolutely no other players want to join the Bees. Thankfully, I am not in that case and have been able to get some players on loan. My ojectives for the 2009/2010 season are consolidation. In Barnet's case, the difference in the transfer budget for each objective is sort of negligible, and I don't intend to buy a lot of players anyway.

Football Manager 2010 Barnet
As seen above, I have been able to lure David Ball from Manchester City who will be one of my main strikers and Arsenal's Thomas Cruise as I am really short on left full-backs. Sheffield's Wednesday Callum Harrison should allow me to rotate my defensive midfielders, and given the lad can also play in central midfield, my Barnet squad should be able to afford a couple of injuries, which in typical FM2010 fashion, will no doubt plague my team.

Concerning tactics, I am playing a 4-1-3-2, or a 4-1-1-2-1 if Tom Kilbee, from Portsmouth, is playing, as I usually deploy him as an advanced playmaker. My tactics focus on a quick tempo with rapid counters and an overall attacking mentality as I am of the "score one more than your opponent" belief. My players seem to enjoy my training schedules, especially Paul Furlong, who's being employed as a target man and who hasn't been half-bad so far as a backup (mainly if Ball and Topps get injured or are too tired).

Paul Furlong Barnet FM10
I also tried to get another parent club, but the board wouldn't let me. I'm not sure if it's actually possible for a single club to have two parent clubs though. Barnet's current parent club is Arsenal and that's excellent, considering the talent that goes through the Arsenal under-18 squad and their reserves. I cheekily tried to loan Wilshere and Ramsey, but that did not work out so well!

My friendlies were quite good, but since they're friendlies, I'm not paying too much attention to the final score. In this case, I didn't bother arranging my own friendlies as I usually do in the top divisions, but instead played the ones selected by my assistant manager.

Barnet 0 Barnet Reserves 2 (Friendly)
Amazingly enough, I could not even beat my reserve squad.

Barnet 2 GH Academy 1 (Friendly)
Goalscorers: Ryan O'Neill, Clovis Kamdjo
A good performance, but that one goal conceded in the dying minutes of the game probably means my defence is always going to leak goals.

Barnet 3 Luton 1 (Friendly)
Goalscorers: Jake Hyde, Albert Adoma, Mark Hughes

Hinckley 1 Barnet 4 (Friendly)
Goalscorers: Danny Taylor (own goal), Albert Jarrett, Elliott Charles, Ahmed Deen

Barnet 1 Stockport 3 (Friendly)
Goalscorer: Jake Hyde
Another loss, but a great goal for Jake Hyde, which will do wonders for the lad's morale.

Gloucester 1 Barnet 6 (Friendly)
Goalscorers: Mark Hughes, Ismael Yakubu, Ahmed Deen, Albert Adomah, Jake Hyde, Elliott Charles

Barnet 0 Arsenal 2 (Friendly)
My fans were pleased that I conceded only two against Arsenal during pre-season. That alone indicates how much my Barnet squad is rated.

Barnet 0 Brentford 1 (Friendly)
Yet another defeat, but I let my backup players have a run in this match since the first-teamers were fit.

Alhtough my last two friendlies ended in defeat, most of my players now have at least a "Good" morale, which is probably going to make a difference in the first season fixtures. They also seem to have adjusted well to my tactics so far.

Find out how my Barnet team performed in the second part: Football Manager 2010: The Barnet overload.

Football Manager 2010: The Barnet revolution

Having grown tired of managing at the top levels in Football Manager 2010, I have decided to try my luck at Lower League Management (LLM). Since I have lived in Barnet for the three years I was in London, there was no real surprise when I found myself choosing Barnet from the Coca-Cola League 2.

I will be blogging about my attempt to take Barnet to the heights of European football or my complete failure to restore glory to the Bees, not that they actually had any. Considering that I have never once played with a team not in the top division before, I can totally see this working out!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Redirect non-www requests to www with .htaccess

This tutorial explains how to use the .htaccess file to redirect all non-www requests to the www version of your domain. Visitors who thus type will automatically get redirected to

The .htaccess file

You only need a regular text editor to create the .htaccess file, and, if you are using Windows, I recommend using Notepad as it is fast and if you want to edit your .htaccess file later, you can just drag your file onto Notepad to open it. Creating the .htaccess file is easy as it's merely a matter of typing in yor commands but people usually have problems saving the file with the correct name as Windows automatically adds the .txt extension at the end of the file whereas .htaccess's extension is technically htaccess itself with no file name.

To save your .htaccess file correctly, you thus need to save it by entering ".htaccess" in double quotes as shown below. By doing this, you are forcing Windows to use htaccess as the extension and the .htaccess file will be correctly saved.

Naming your .htaccess file in Notepad

Redirect non-www domains to www domains

Allowing your visitors to access both non-www and www versions of your website will lead search engines into believing that you have a lot of duplicate content, so it makes sense to redirect all non-www requests to your www domain.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain\.com
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

These two lines will thus redirect all requests to, so that your web pages always available from only one URL.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you need to escape all periods in the RewriteCond line with a period. For example, in a domain, your non-www redirection would look like the following:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain\.co\.uk
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

Obviously, it is also possible to redirect all www requests to the non-www version of the domain, as demonstrated below:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.yourdomain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$1 [R=301,L]

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Optimizing your images for your website

Images are going to be an inevitable part of your website, and it is important that you optimize them properly, just as you would do with your web pages. By properly optimizing your images, you ensure that your website is optimized for search engines and also increase the chances that your images will show up in search image results.

There are several things to take into consideration when optimizng your images:

Image name
Naming your image image1.jpg or 1343232.png is not going to be very helpful and is a sign of a poorly optimized (or not at all!) website. Image names are extremely important in search engine optimization, and it is essential that you give your image a relevant name that uses your keywords while describing the picture. For example, you could name your image puma-kids-sports-shoes.jpg for an image of some Puma shoes and if you're trying to target the terms "kids sports shoes" as part of your search engine optimization strategy.

It is important that you do not exaggerate when naming your images as search engines may flag your website if you go over the top and start naming your images "puma-nike-kid-sports-shoes-mens-sneakers-shoes.jpg". As such, I recommend sticking to four words in your image names when optimizing your website. Moreover, using a hyphen to separate your words enables search engine to interpret them as a single term, so using "search-engine-optimisation-images.jpg" is always better than just "seoimagenames.jpg" or "online_marketing_images_tutorials.jpg".

Image ALT attribute
The image ALT provides an alternative text for your image and is important both in search engine optimization and in accessibility considerations. Originally, the ALT attribute was simply used to provide a short description for an image in the event that an image would not load and to assist people unable to view the image, such as blind people or those with poor eyesight. However, with the emergence of everbody's favorite and most hated search engine Google, the image ALT attribute has grown to play an important role in search engine optimisation, and, along with image names, is one of the most important steps of optimizing your images for your website.

As with your images names, your image ALT should both include your keywords and describe the image, as shown below:

< src="optimizing-website-images.png" alt="Optimizing your website images">

It is equally important to keep your images ALTs concise and to refrain from using 12-word image ALTs when optimizing your website as search engines can determine if you are trying to over-optimize website and will penalize you if you start including irrelevant ALTs in your images.

Image Title attribute
There has been some debate as to whether the Image Title attribute plays a part in search engine optimization. It does play a part, but primarily for images that are used as links. You may omit them for normal images, but they are necessary for any image that is being used to link to another page, such as a banner. Your image titles will also show up as a tooltip when you hover your mouse over the corresponding images, so they will be easily visible to your visitors.

As shown below, your title attribute should be concise and should always include your keywords:

< src="online-marketing-tips.png" alt="Image Optimization example" title="Optimizing your website images">

Refrain from having similar image ALT and image Title attributes as you would just be inviting search engines to raise a flag wherever your website is concerned. While the image Title attribute has less impact on search engine rankings, it is nevertheless an integral part of search engine optimization.

Image Longdesc attribute
I am only including this because I have seen people ask about the image longdesc attribute on many search engine optimization forums. However, the longdesc attribute plays absolutely no role in search engine optimization and should not form part of your SEO strategy. You're better not using it and instead investing that time on another part of your website.

Image size
With Google now including page load time in its algorithm, your image size will have a direct impact on how long it takes for your web page to load. Consequently, you must ensure that your images have a reasonable size. The PNG and JPEG formats are heavily favoured on the web for still images, and many websites nowadays favour the PNG format, as it offers smaller file sizes. The GIF format can be used for animated images.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

First impressions - Final Fantasy XIII

That's Final Fantasy XIII (therefore referred to as FFXIII) for the PlayStation 3 since the X-box 360 is a big pile of shit and I sure as hell am not rich enough to throw money on a console that will break after 2 hours of game play.

As a big Final Fantasy fan, it was inevitable that I would pick up FFXIII and, truth be told, I was quite impatient to obtain a copy of Square's latest installment. Although reviews were less generous than with previous installments claiming that it did not feel that much Final Fantasy-like and Square had pissed all over its flagship franchise by implementing tons of changes nobody requested, my fanboyish curiosity took over and I bought the game as early as possible. How's that for a long sentence by the way?

I have only played up to chapter 11 so far, thus this review is based on what happens up to this point. Besides, the only reason I stopped playing the game is because I stumbled against a boss who's being a real pain in the ass and my four attempts to defeat him have so far been in vain.

I won't go over how this game is graphically "superior" or the fact that it has excellent music, as this is quite typical of Final Fantasy titles and anything less would be seen as an outrage and a crime of epic proportions. I will instead randomly point out things that impress me as well as vent my anger on those points that annoy the crap out of me every time I play the game.

Let me add to what you must have already heard from at least one thousand sources: Final Fantasy XIII (to hell with the FFXIII) has perhaps the best battle system found in any role-playing game, even surpassing Final Fantasy X's. FFXIII indeed uses a new system that works wonders in making every single battle monumentous (I made myself a word!). Characters are now effective in a single role (as opposed to FFVII where everybody would turn into gods) and care must be taken when optimizing the abilities as the game is extremely restrictive in the upgrades it offers you.

Square has made the game actually challenging, and this is the first Final Fantasy where you'll pay attention to how you are upgrading a certain character's weapons and how you're allocating his abilities. Summons, Final Fantasy's trademark, also return and are this time referred to as Eidolons. Each character is assigned only one Eidolon, which also has the ability to transform into a vehicle, a testimonial to the fact that someone at Square must be a very big Transformers fan. Either that, or the guy who thought turning Odin into a horse was smoking a big dose oof crack at the time.

Another big change is that FFXIII is as linear as it gets. Yes, previous Final Fantasy titles were also linear and merely fooled gamers into believing they were not by using an "open closed world" (go figure), but FFXIII gets rid of all the drama and presents you with point A and point B, an actual thoroughly linear path. Funnily enough, they also use a map in the game when it's downright impossible to get lost since there's always only one direction to take unless you're a bloody idiot and keep going forth and back for 2 miles wondering when you get to the next save point.

To further reinforce the fact that "Hey, I'm a badass linear game", Final Fantasy XIII completely got rid of towns, which is a real shame. Still, you get used to it after some time although the towns used to be a good break from the action. Besides, you don't actually get to meet a lot of people in the game, and you'll be too busy going from point A to point B to bother noticing after the first 2 hours. Additionally, the first 4 or so hours* of the game are frightfully easy and act more as a tutorial. You can play through it by just pressing forward + X all the time. However, once you've suffered through this 4-hour tutorial (seriously, fuck you Square for treating all your gamers like retards) and the story picks up, the game gets really engrossing.

I'm actually inclined to be amazed by how quickly the game goes from borefest to "Oh shit, I'm gonna die!!". Moreover, the story is extremely confusing at the beginning when events are shoved up your throat like ecstasy and you have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on with tons and tons of new hard-to-pronounce terms like l'Cie and fal'Cie. Sure, the game procures you with a log where you can read about locations, people, events, and the chapters themselves (yeah, totally!) as you progress, but it's still tedious at first. However, when the game starts relying on flashbacks to develop the story, you get sucked in.

Part 2 will be up once I pick up the game again, provided I do manage to beat the boss that's almost making me considering sell the game on eBay (yes, I am that kind of gamer).

*may be an exaggeration

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

htaccess tutorial - removing index.html for multiple domains

To prevent duplicate issues arising from and leading to the same page, it is customary to use htaccess to redirect the index.html page to just

Usually, this can be done by the very simple code:

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^.*/index.html
RewriteRule ^(.*)index.php$$1 [R=301,L]

However, this cannot be used in situations where you have multiple domains on the same server space. If you were to use the code above, all the sub-domain index pages would redirect to only one domain. Obviously, this would just annoy visitors and eventually drive them away.

In cases where you have multiple domains on the same server and can thus use only one htaccess file for all your redirections, use the following code:

RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ / [R=301,L]

This will ensure that your htaccess will redirect visitors to that respective domain's index.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

PlayStation 3 hacked?

geohot has hacked the Sony PlayStation 3 (read his entry). While hacking is about pushing the hardware to its limit and does not necessarily involve pirating games, this is very good news for all PlayStation 3 owners.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

24 Season 8

Having just watched the first 4 episodes of 24 season 8, I have a message for the producers. Fans care only about Jack Bauer doing what he does best: being Jack Bauer.

As such, please stop with the stupid sub-plots (example, Dana and her ex) that only take us away from the mighty Jack. 24 should just focus on Jack torturing and killing everybody with Chloe providing him support....and Renee just being Renee.

Hastings is also such a horrible character I am entertaining high hopes that this is merely a ploy to get Karen Hayes back in the show to replace him. If not, I will be very disappointed.

Let us remember why we watch 24: It solves problems by killing off characters, so hopefully all these shitty new characters die soon. After all, you already killed so many great characters (Buchanan et al).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Resident Evil 5 (PS3)

Having recently (as in 4 months ago) acquired a Sony PlayStation 3, one of the games I looked forward to was Resident Evil 5. I've been a huge Resident Evil fan since its conception, with the classic Resident Evil 2 being one of my favorite games, and have so far managed to play all the PlayStation Resident Evil title...numerous times (something I very rarely do).

Since the game is fairly old now and "hey, it's Resident Evil", I am merely going to list the good things and bad things about Capcom's latest Resident Evil title.

The Good:

  • Chris Redfield returns. Sure, he looks like 5 times bigger than before and now possesses super strength, but Chris Redfield is by definition the Resident Evil hero.
  • Co-op system, where you are assigned a partner, Sheva, is well thought-out (though not without bugs) and, more importantly, enables 2 human players to play on the same system. Brilliant!
  • Lots of fast-paced action with some familiar enemies returning. Resident Evil 5 is action-packed from beginning to start, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • Great weapons for both protagonists (obviously, you can control Sheva in single player after beating the game once), and weapon upgrades are great. The Rocket Launcher still kicks some major zombie ass.
  • Numerous extras gives the game excellent replay value. These extra includes a revamped mercenaries mode (unfortunately not on par with Resident Evil 2's spectacular Mercenaries mode) and the ability to unlock infinite ammunition for your weapons.
  • The game looks gorgeous (typical of Resident Evil titles.) and the music is particularly fitting to the game (again, typical!).
The Bad:
  • AI Sheva will occasionally act extremely retarded and just stand there, waiting to be blasted apart, and can be extremely infuriating. In a game as punishing as Resident Evil, this is something Capcom should have done their best to avoid.
  • The game does not involve enough puzzles, which is unfortunate, as the perfect balance of action and puzzles is what made the first Resident Evil games so fantastic. I am aware that Capcom wants to make the Resident Evil titles strictly action games, but I still believe that this is a mistake as they are merely sacrificing the games' most unique features.
  • Some of the trophies are downright retarded. Seriously, treasure hunt? In a Resident Evil game? Which takes place in an obviously desolate part of Africa? No.
  • The game is easier than past titles.
Overall, Resident Evil 5 is a great game, and PlayStation 3 owners should definitely try it out. Capcom are working on another version (milking the cow, as always), Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, which will contain some extras (also available via DLC for those who already possess the game). You might as well wait for this version.

I hope Capcom realizes that they should go back to the series' roots with Resident Evil 6, and start focusing more on the horror part and the puzzles. Resident Evil 2, which had both of these (along with a terrific atmosphere!), still stands out as the best in the series, and unless Capcom churns out a title that draws on the same ideas, I fail to see another Resident Evil title being as good as RE2.

To convince them that I am right and they are wrong, here's a picture of Winnie the Pooh being an asshole:

Winnie the Pooh