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Taking a week off in… Crimea, Ukraine

mountain-221x170I am taking time off my daily routine and the place is nothing else but my home country, Ukraine. We left on July 7 and after arriving in Kharkiv spent there one week at my in-laws home. The city hasn’t changed much since my last trip 3 years ago so I will skip that part of our trip. I am in Alupka, Crimea right now. The city is located on the south end of the peninsula and is surrounded by mountains on one side and the Black Sea on the other.

The climate is sub-tropical. During the 6 days we have stayed so far we had sunny weather with around 30’C temperature and just an occasional short rain in the morning or afternoon. The sea warms up to 26’C during the day. The heavenly climate and gorgeous landscape has been the reason why Crimea attracts crowds of tourists from Russian and Ukraine and was the place for summer homes of some high ranking Soviet officials before the regime collapsed.
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15 Free Android Apps I Can’t Live Without

Ever since I got my G1 Android phone, it has been a love and hate relationship. I still hate the fact that the phone is lacking the standard audio jack but A2PD support pretty much replaces it since I can use a blutooth headset instead. The battery life is as bad as it was, but a couple of spares help me get through the day.

One thing that is gradually getting better over time is Android Marketplace. It’s been constantly adding apps and over the past year I have installed quite a few of them, all free so far. The introduction of GPS Navigate functionality to Google Maps has been the killer event (and was highly publicized). Below is the list of 15 lesser known apps that I love and use daily.

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APR on my credit card is now 2,599% (Mint says)

Just received this email from Mint, the online tool I use to track my expenses. This is clearly a glitch on their part but I really find it funny in the light of all the talks about banks jacking up fees anticipating the new credit card regulations.

mint-fail

Friday roundup: news that caught my eye

There was a lot of small news this week that didn’t warrant an entire blog post but I still wanted to mention them here since not all of you are following me on Twitter or in the Buxr discussion board. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Walmart is staging a new price war, this time in video games. Last Wednesday GameStop’s stock tumbled 8.26% on the news and caused a discussion on the topic ‘can Walmart cause deflation’ on NPR Morning Marketplace on Thursday.
  2. Do you have a Google Gmail account? You can send a free post card to your friend with this free Google sponsored service. There are several designs available but all have a Google logo hidden in them.
  3. Lenovo is running a 40-day holiday giveaway. I usually don’t take part in these (just as I never play lottery) but there is something about this particular one that attracted my attention. Maybe the fact that it takes very little time to try? :-)
  4. Disney Rewards is giving away 5 points daily in December. You need to login daily and enter the unique code they feature on this page. What a brilliant idea to bring people to the website! You can redeem the reward points towards movie DVD’s, soundtracks CD’s or theater tickets.
  5. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Amazon beats Walmart and Target in a usability test conducted by uTest among the three retailers. Target came in last in every tested category. 600 testers from more than 20 countries took part in the test, over the half of the bugs found were at Target.
  6. New York Times rounds up several smart phone apps for reading e-Books. I use Aldiko on my G1 and it is great!

Can PMS make women shop more?

If you are a guy like myself there is a chance you have not heard of PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. However unless you are a bachelor living under a rock, I bet you have felt it on yourself many times. When that time comes, some women turn to chocolate or macaroni and cheese, others are acting cranky at their husband/boyfriend. Here is how MedecineNet defines PMS:

A combination of physical and mood disturbances that occur in the last half of a woman’s menstrual cycle after ovulation and normally end with the onset of the menstrual flow. Physical features of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include breast tenderness and bloating. Psychological changes include anger and depression.

Those psychological changes as it seems can lead to interesting side effects. A new study finds that some women tend to resort to retail therapy as a way of dealing with the PMS related stress.

… in the ten days before their periods begin - known as the luteal phase - women are much less in control of their spending habits. Psychologists at Hertfordshire University concluded that a shopping spree could be a way of dealing with the intense emotions of pre-menstrual syndrome…

443 women ages 18 to 50 were examined. Of the 153 women who were in the luteal phase, two thirds admitted to making an impulse buy and 57% said they overspent by more than $35. So ladies, now if you have a shopping splurge, you have a perfect excuse, and to better time things, here is a handy website and a Facebook App to help you out! ;-)

Seriously though it feels more like a conspiracy involving National Retail Federation than a scientific finding. Granted, women are under stress and some are seeking relief in a shopping spree however I feel if you generally tend to indulge yourself with a shopping frenzy then PMS is as good of an excuse as anything else.

What is your take on it? Does this “science” have legs or is it full of BS? Share your opinion in the comments!




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