A luxurious life with a $82.000.000 Mega Millions jackpot

Days have passed by, since one lucky lottery partisan took his, or her, chance on the $82.000.000 Mega Millions windfall and surprisingly had beaten the unlikely odds to be awarded with this dumbfounding jackpot. Why the fresh Megamillionaire, who bought the ticket at South Cobb Parkway in Marietta, at the White Water Chevron, hasn’t shown a sign of life yet, probably has two reasons: either he or she didn’t check the lotto results yet, or there is this massive plan in the making on how this money will be spent. If the winner follows the trend of the majority of the people who hit the jackpot, it’s likely that it will be spent on a dream car, a huge villa and a vacation at an exotic destination. Well, why not realizing the things you’ve always dreamt about? This could be you after the next Powerball draw – take a chance in the eurojackpot to become $359.000.000 richer. 

Now, if you will have this little bit of luck on your side next time, think about what you could do with all this money:

1. The luxurious vacation – Nandana Villa

Spend some days on Grand Bahama Island, where you’ll be treated with all the luxury you can ever imagine. There are spa and masseuse services available and for fans of water sports, there is a long list special features, like paddle boards, water-skis, kayaks, two ATVs and two jet-skis. Nandana is a perfect mix of the Caribbean islands home and an Asian beach house, with amenities and services of a five-star hotel.

2. Dream villa – Mediterranean style mansion

Atlanta is a home to many luxurious properties, so you’ll definitely will find your dream villa in this area. Live your new lifestyle in one of the 15.000-square- foot Mediterranean style villas, designed for “eventful entertaining” and “gracious family events”. The villa, designed by Jeffrey Smith, has two floors with three bedrooms, all breathing elegance thanks to the designer, 3 acres of land and is surrounded by a beautiful landscaped garden area.

3. Power on wheels – Fenyr SuperSport

With a production of 25 units per year, you’ll be sure that you won’t see many other car lovers driving in this beauty. This model is W Motors’s second, after Lykan HyperSport, featuring even more styling and a more powerful engine that its predecessor. Thanks to their great performance and radical and unique design they can compete with other supercars, with its exclusiveness as a big advantage.

Lottoland - A Different Way To Play The Lottery

We all like the convenience of being able to play the lottery, and even better if you have an increased chance of winning. And that's what I like about Lottoland.

There's a bit of a difference with Lottoland though... Firstly it is 'matched betting' which is a technique used to profit from incentives offered by the provider. It is generally risk free as it is based on the outcome of a specific result rather than chance.  Secondly, your betting is conducted through Lottoland and any winnings are paid to you by the same company - not the lottery you are betting on.

It’s up to you which combo of lottery tickets you buy. You might try the Irish lotto one week and Euromillions the next, or how about adding a Powerball into the mix on the following week? Once you've selected your games then you'll be taken through the steps for entry, i.e. buying tickets, picking numbers, playing for x amount of weeks.

Take a look around the website for new player offers and weekly specials.  You can keep track of all your games via your account or you could download the Lottoland app and play on the move - whenever you're feeling lucky just purchase a ticket with a couple of taps.

Oh, and don't forget... if you win, you read about it here first!

The Technology Behind Online Slots

The Technology Behind Online SlotsThe technology behind slots has drastically changed since the invention of the very first slot machine over a century ago. Mechanized slot machines have relied heavily on physical gears, levers, discs, kicker, stoppers and a handle. Recently, just over the last couple of decades, these have been replaced by modern, computerized machines that rely on step motors, digital pulses and RNGs (Random Number Generators). Now, even computerized machines have become outmoded. The need for physical casinos has essentially been left behind with the advent of automated, online casino gaming software compatible with desktops and mobile devices. This most recent technology has allowed players to access virtual casinos from the comfort of home or anywhere with Internet access.

Random Number Generators (RNGs) & Online Video Slots

While the technology behind slots has changed dramatically, there are a few essential things integral to the concept of basic slot design that haven’t altered all that much such as the inclusion of rows, reels, paylines, spins, wagers and jackpot(s). Apart from differing themes, online video slots can also vary in bonuses and variance (low, medium or high) all of which is controlled by RNG or Random Number Generators.

RNG technology essentially determines the frequency and size of wins over a period of time by using a programmed algorithm. Each time the ‘spin’ button is pressed on an online video slot, a number is assigned that translates into a specific symbol organization on the reels. This is completely random which, incidentally, contributes to ensuring its ‘fairness.’

Online Video Slot Variance

The Technology Behind Online Slots
Online slots can be programmed to produce Hit Rates that reflect wins of certain proportions and frequencies relative to low, medium or high variance. Online video slots with a high variance, such as Playtech’s Top Gun, produce wins less frequently. However, those high variance wins are often more profitable than slots that are set at a lower variance. Microgaming’s Hell Boy utilizes a medium variance algorithm producing more frequent wins that are a mix of profitable and non-profitable pays. Low variance slots, such as NetEnt’s Holmes and the Stolen Stones (Progressive Jackpot slot), produce frequent wins. However, those low variance wins are often less profitable when compared to medium or high variance wins.

RTP (Return to Player)

RTP is programmed into online video slots via RNG. The Return to Player is an average figure based off of millions of test spins. It can tell players what to expect when playing a video slot over an extended period of time. For example, a slot with an RTP of 96% assures players that for every £100 spent, £96 will hypothetically be returned. Of course, players must also take into account other variables such as Progressive Jackpots (which inflate RTP), variance and time spent playing when considering how a slot’s RTP will translate to practical application. Manufacturers often design slots with multiple RTP options that online casinos can choose from. Most of the time, that RTP will be listed somewhere on the slot itself.

5 Ways To Advertise Your Business

5 Ways To Advertise Your BusinessPromoting a business is an important consideration and can often feel like an ongoing challenge. Whether you are a new or small start-up or have been in business for years, there are many ways in which you an advertise your business without spending a fortune. 


Make Sure Your Website Is Easy To Navigate

Your website should be goal-focused and clearly explain what you do and what services or products you provide with ease of use for the target audience. It should also be fully branded in line with the company identity and be search engine optimised. 

Get Your Social Media Campaign Just Right

This Guardian article showcases five of the best social media campaigns of 2015 and they include the ever-anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert (sidenote: check out the Twitter account of @johnlewis who seems to spend 90% of his social media time directing people to the official John Lewis Retail account). Creative agencies such as RPM can help with this type of activity.

Offer Freebies

As a keen reader, I often browse the free bins on Amazon for downloads for my Kindle. These offers give me the chance to discover new authors which very probably leads to the purchase of their other titles. This is confirmed in a blog post by Bubblecow and one which I expand on in my own blog post "How To Generate Sales By Offering Freebies".

Create A YouTube Channel

YouTube is the world's second largest search engine so it makes sense to create 'how to' style video content and film responses to customer queries.  These videos can then be embedded into blog posts on your website or shared across social media to enhance your message.

Guest Posting On Blogs

I often have guest posters on my blogs and it's a great way to hit a new audience. I've had author friends conduct a "book tour" (a series of guest posts on blogs that have readers that are part of their target audience) and, as you can see above, I have friends guest post to share forms of marketing that have worked for them.  Here's another Geekalicious post (funnily enough, a guest post) that explains the benefits of guest posting in full.

So these are just five of my ideas. Can you add any more of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments.


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Five activities that are now no longer thought of as ‘geeky’

Back in the 80s and 90s, being a geek or a nerd, was not something aspirational. For some reason, there geeks were relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy within schools. However, in the past two decades it has somehow been more acceptable to do and like geeky things. These activities and hobbies are now not only thought of as exclusively ‘geeky’ as they have become increasingly main-stream. Not sure what I am talking about? Have a look at the list below; these are five activities that used to be considered totally geeky, but that self-proclaimed geeks and non-geeks alike now both enjoy.

Online gaming

Online gaming used to have such a bad reputation when it first hit the scene. There was this misconception that it was an asocial activity for people with no friends. This myth has finally lost some hold, and it is now gaming is widely considered a cool activity in which to engage. Popular forms of online gaming include web-games, RPGs and FPS games. Many games also include chat features to make them more interactive between players. Royal Vegas casino is a good example of a popular online gaming site that attracts people from all walks of life. They offer such a huge variety of games. For instance, their themed slots attract people with lots of different interests; everything from sports to movies.

Fantasy novels

Gone are the days when reading was considered an exclusively geeky activity. Fantasy novels used to be thought of as the geekiest genre of books, but J.K Rowling took care of that! The immense popularity of the Harry Potter book series got both children and adults reading again with a fierce passion. And the release of The Lord of the Rings movies inspired everyone to pick up the books on which they were based.

Comic books

Linked to the previous point, comic books were also thought of as super geeky reading material. But in a similar fashion to The Lord of the Rings movies inspiring people to pick up the original books, so did the stream of Marvel and D.C comics inspired movies that had popular celebrities portraying the superheroes. With enormous appreciation for these movies, people began picking up the comic books too.

Documentaries

Documentaries used to be thought of as a snore-fest that only geeks enjoyed. But there has been a shift recently. We are not sure if the standard of documentary making has improved or if it is just a generational quirk, but millennials seem to love their documentaries! In a world where it is now important to be socially aware, documentaries are fast becoming a favourite means of educating yourself further on contemporary and topical issues.

Zombie walks

Anything to do with science-fiction or Zombies had previously been thought of as patently uncool. But once again, popular culture and television series have had a huge impact on this changing. The Walking Dead became an overnight hit and the world fell in love with Zombies. This made Zombie walks, where you dress up as the undead and partake in a group walk, incredibly popular too.

Home Security

I used to work for an insurance brokers and managed to get a fabulous staff discount on my home insurance. Now I have to shop around for insurance – sometimes visiting a broker similar to the one I use to work for but usually I turn to the online comparison websites which have became a great way to check one company against another. 

Now, when our insurance is due for renewal we first try recommendations from family and friends then check the comparison websites. Our final step is to ring a few companies direct and try to bring the price down a little further.  It always helps that we have modern doors and new double glazing so our security is tip top - something that's been helped by using online key cutting services such as Fast Keys to make sure that we have spare keys available in any emergency.  We have spare keys at my daughter's house and my brother-in-law's house but luckily, we've never had to use them yet.

Another thing that's brought our home insurance down in price is having a lockable safe in the house. We keep all our personal items in here such as passports, our insurance documents, birth certificates, car documents and - surprisingly - another set of spare keys.  Just in case!!

All our personal possessions are kept inside these four brick walls - it makes sense to want to keep them safe, doesn't it?


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How casinos changed the world: fun facts

How casinos changed the world: fun facts
Casinos and gambling have played a very real part in a number of important historical events, and have also been central to many superstitions – from the construction of the Great Wall of China to the development of the humble sandwich. This article will detail some of these unlikely ways in which casinos influenced the wider world.


The devil’s in the detail

One of the more unusual superstitions that has arisen as a result of casino gambling is that of roulette being known as the chosen game of the Devil. Surprisingly this did not arise from the fact that it is pretty hard to win money by playing roulette, compared with other casino games – although that might have played a part in the superstition continuing to flourish in the years since it started – it is because adding up the numbers found on the roulette wheel, going from 1 up to 36, you end up with the number 666.

A fine Finnish

We all know that slot machines, both the online and the land-based versions of these games, offer some of the best opportunities to win money through casino gaming – but the largest sum ever won through playing an online slot is still a bit of an eye- opener. A Finnish man enjoyed the remarkable good fortune of claiming £17,861,813 through a progressive jackpot in 2013, and was probably glad he was playing online as he would have needed large pockets to get all that home in change!

Sandwiches for lunch?

Ever wondered where the classic sandwich comes from? Well now thanks to Ladbrokes casino fact guide we do! The earl of sandwich was an avid gambler and card game player. So much so that when stuck in a game he would have his staff bring him beef slices between two slices of bread therefore creating the one of the most famous snacks of all time, the sandwich


Virgin on the crazy

Many casino games have unusual origins, but few can match that of baccarat. This is believed to have come from an Etruscan religious ceremony called worship of the nine gods. This involved rolling dice to decide what would happen to virgins – with 9 or 8 scores seeing them become priestesses, 7 or 6 seeing them banned from religious rites and anything below 6 seeing them dumped in the sea to drown. Thankfully the penalties for low scores are now a little less severe.


Great Wall of Keno

As mentioned in the introduction, casino gambling played a major role in the construction of the Great Wall of China. In fact it was the profits generated through people playing – and losing – at the game of Keno that helped with the financing of this project. For some of those players, it might have been better if the wall had been built around the casino.

Casinos have had a big part to play in history throughout the world, and have seen some spectacular winners and losers.


For more information about articles like this please see my disclosure policy

Summer Camp at Tech Camp

Building robots and rockets, learning coding skills, designing computer games, getting stuck in to 3D design, electronics and model-making are just some of the activities like-minded students enjoy at a Tech Camp course. All projects involve innovative take-home projects, so the learning and fun can continue at home.

Photo credit : TechCamp
Established in 2008, Tech Camp is the UK's original and longest-running provider of such camps, which students can attend in either Winchester (residential) or London (non-residential). Students from across the UK – and from further afield - attend the camps and learn from tutors with bright, young minds and a passion for the techie world.

Tech Camp was founded by Tom Ward, an Electrical Engineer who previously worked as Head of Science at Elstree School, Berkshire. Tom is a self-confessed ‘techno-nerd’ and proudly admits he was a bit of a boff from school days. He was a national winner of both the "Beyond 2000" science competition and the DDIAE computing competition whilst at school in Australia. More recently, he has been a winner of the“Circuit Cellar” Electronic Design Competition in the US, has written articles for trade journals and is the technical publisher O'Reilly ("Best of Instructables"). He was short-listed for a ‘best e-learning Initiative’ award by the Times Educational Supplement for a science learning game he developed. Tom often presents workshops for The Science Museum, Maker Faire events in the US, and at the Cheltenham and Abu Dhabi Science Festivals.

Tom Ward, founder of Tech Camp, comments:
“At Tech Camp we remain among the best in our field – we’ve been investing in the inventors of tomorrow since 2008 and are committed to helping train young people to help ensure the gaps are filled with our own home-grown digital specialists.

“By attending our camps, young people get to learn fascinating and very practical coding skills which will help them stay ahead of the pack, and with so many incredible opportunities opening up in the world of digital, what we’re doing is not rocket science. Ok,some of it is but that’s beside the point.

“A taste of some of this Summer’s itinerary at Tech Camp London includes exploring robotics and laser tag electronics – guaranteed to enlighten and enthral in equal measure. Coding, building robots, designing computer games, 3D design and model making are just some of the areas our students will sample and hopefully excel in – and the education will continue with our innovative take-home projects.”

Tutors are carefully selected based on their specific technology-related skills, their love of the tech-industry and their genuine ability to inspire tomorrow’s inventors. In fact, some of the tutors are ex-Tech Camp students themselves, who are now studying tech and engineering at the likes of Cambridge and Imperial. Small tutor groups are maintained –with a maximum of 1:8 staff to student ratio - to provide the best possible experience.

Tech Camp’s innovative course material has been developed over seven years and is continually refreshed to appeal to both beginners and serious ‘Tech-Heads’.

About TechCamp:

There are two venues for this Summer’s events For details on this years camps (including prices, dates, etc), please visit www.techcamp.org.uk.

Tech Camp promotes diversity at its camps – and is keen to inspire all students with a love of techie things. On a broader level, it supports and encourages students to study the broader STEM skills, because of the importance these will have in future careers and for the UK economy as a whole.

How safe are online lenders from fraud?

Recent cases of data breaches, the most high-profile of which were arguably Talk Talk and Ashley Madison, have demonstrated the growing threat of hackers and cyber-attacks, and have understandably made us all the more precious about who we share our details with.

And for online financial services platforms, the problem of easy access to details translates into a significant threat of fraud. After all, with databases available to anyone for very small sums of money, identity theft is a considerable issue – and not only for the lender itself. Indeed, the consumer whose identity is stolen faces a tremendous amount of anxiety in that it can do serious harm to their credit rating.

Technology may be improving in the fight against fraud, but such technological advancements also improve the tools at the disposal of fraudsters – making it difficult to ascertain who has the upper hand. And online lenders in particular are exposed more than others. So, can we trust them?

‘Smishing’ and the case of Santander


Of course, damage to credit rating isn’t the only problem potentially facing victims of identity theft. Sheffield’s Edward Smith recently lost his life savings as a result of a SMS phishing (or ‘smishing’) scam by fraudsters with his bank, Santander. Essentially they managed to hijack a legitimate text message thread between Smith and Santander, where they messaged him – ostensibly from the bank - to say that there had been some suspicious activity with his current account, and that he should call a number in order to provide a one-time password.

Now, armed with his bank details, the fraudster syphoned all £22,700 of his savings, and, somewhat controversially, Santander are refusing to reimburse him on account of the fact that the bank’s system itself wasn’t hijacked. It’s a technicality at best, and such a cop-out hardly fills customers with confidence.

How safe is peer-to-peer lending?


The case of Smith above is still the exception rather than the norm in terms of customer liability for savers being victims of fraud. More often than not the bank will reimburse, and swiftly too. But what about those lending their savings through fast-growing peer-to-peer lending platforms, whereby funds are matched directly with fellow consumers seeking a loan?

There is no cover from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for consumer lenders, and they are thus directly exposed if their loans are inadvertently allocated to fraudsters. However, the UK’s platforms are becoming increasingly regulated, and some are really taking the lead in terms of fraud prevention and lender protection.

Aside from having stringent algorithms in place and stress-tested systems, platforms are obliged to adhere to very meticulous credit models and standards of underwriting. In addition, it is also mandatory for them to demonstrate transparency by publishing their loan books, and other selected statistics.

As such, it can be quickly gleaned that industry default rates for peer-to-peer loans are typically lower than 2%, and fraud rates are just a fraction of this figure.

An ongoing battle


It’s good to see financial service providers held to high standards of account, and hopefully it will place further pressure on banks to take the fight against online fraud up a notch. Either way, restoring public confidence in fraud prevention will be a difficult road ahead, as I am sure Mr Smith would testify to.

As consumers, all we can do is be vigilant, and keep our personal details as close to our chest as possible. You don’t want to become entirely paralysed by paranoia, but the online age that we live in is riddled with some very shrewd fraudsters. Be sure to tread carefully in the challenging cyber-world of consumer finance.

This is a featured post. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Wired

The other day I was sat looking at all the wires dotted around my home office that keep me switched on and clued up. Alongside my love of “analogue stationery” there is a multitude of electronic or battery-powered gadgets that seem to be always needed, even though they weren't part of our every day lives a few years back. It's definitely a sign of the times that almost everything I use needs plugging in and most of it needs charging up (me too on the odd occasion). I regularly drain my laptop battery when working in my office because I forget to take the power lead upstairs. I then have to sit at the uncomfortable end of the settee because the wire doesn't stretch any further. Yes, I do realise that buying a second power lead would solve all these problem but I never do things the easy way.

Generally I am quite attached to my mobile phone. It is my alarm clock, my calender alert (yes, as well as my Filofax), it is my substitute watch, a notepad, a camera, a quick link to my email, it houses games for moments of boredom, provides me with newsflashes, it is an mp3 player, a radio, a vital source of information, a sat nav and a Kindle. Occasionally, just occasionally, I send and receive texts and sometimes use it for phone calls. The battery life is none too clever so I am always hooking it up to my portable power bank so that I'm never without!

For all my love of technology I do wonder if I'm a bit too "wired"? I would love to ditch the mobile phone and laptop for a week or so - in fact, when we go on holiday I really do disconnect myself for a full two weeks (OK, I logged on four times using the hotel WiFi but I was taking a break from the sun...). I read about eight books, countless magazines and wrote lists of ideas. It was really good to step back from it all but the temptation is a bit too strong at home.  I love my twitter-and-television time too much! 

What about you? Are you plugged in or switched off at home?




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How mobile gaming became mainstream

Despite the current range of next-gen consoles offering an incredible amount of graphical and open-world innovation, it’s mobile gaming that has really captivated the public’s attention.From simple puzzle games, to online casinos and creative strategy games, 2015 was the year that mobile gaming became big news, and here’s how.

Early mobile gaming developments may have lacked graphical depth, but the concept of  keeping the gameplay simple is something that has endured to the present day. Basic games  such as Minesweeper and Snake still manage to provide moments of nostalgia for even the  most ardent gamer, but as mobile technology has advanced, so have the gaming developers’  efforts to provide the most advanced mobile game yet.

As a result, traditional games such as poker and roulette have been given an incredible 21st  century makeover thanks to Coral’s site that features the widest range of classic live casino  table games online, and the site also features a tempting welcome bonus to back it up with a  little financial assistance, as well as some startling real-life gaming opportunities.

The way that the online casino has managed to provide a much more human aspect to the mobile gaming experience can also be seen in the likes of the acclaimed Her Story game.

This features emotional video footage of a crime report that the viewer must piece together to  work out the true series of events regarding a missing person.

However, much as an online casino would expect players to make deposits to keep playing,  such gaming formats have entered the mobile gaming arena with the rise of in-app  purchases. Even Kanye West’s somewhat hypocritical rant about in-app purchases illustrates  the fact that many gamers have been unexpectedly caught out by games that require the  user to pay more money in order to proceed further with the game.

But such in-app purchases are now an essential part the mobile gaming environment. Many  big mobile games such as The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land are able to achieve a much  greater market penetration by allowing the initial release to be available for free, but once the  player has started to play, the in-app purchases are slowly introduced.

Such a strategy is increasingly becoming the norm through streaming services such as Apple  Music and Netflix who frequently offer a free trial period before introducing a fee.  And as such, it looks like mobile games that range from online casinos to enigmatic puzzle  sagas will continue to find evermore ingenious methods for maintaining their incredible success.

Beware: Online Scams

[collaborative post]

Earlier today I stumbled across probably the best TED Talk of the year so far because we are only in January, obviously. Comedian James Veitch tells us all about the fun he is having replying to spam emails that he receives (TL;DR he does it to waste the time of the spammers so they aren't targeting innocent individuals but he's having a huge amount of fun doing it). 

The problem is though that there are innocent people out there having their personal information used and abused so Data Label pulled together this infographic which highlights the different types of scams that you may encounter online. 

Please pass it on to anyone you might think would benefit from the information and let me know if you have been a victim of an online scam yourself or if you have any useful hints and tips. 


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