Jul201629

The Holiday Taxis team love Scandinavian cinema! Watching foreign films offers an interesting and easily accessible insight into the culture of the country. The Finnish people are a nation of storytellers and their films tend to be artistic and deeply moving with intricately woven plotlines and rich characters. If you are new to the world of Finnish cinema and want to expand your horizons, here are some fantastic Finnish films to feast on.

The Unknown Soldier
This is one of the most celebrated Finnish films and was made in 1955. The Unknown Soldier was taken from a popular novel and by Vaino Linna and follows the exploits of inexperienced soldiers in World War II as they are pushed to the front line and have to attack the troops of the Soviet Union with little training to draw from.

Inspector Palmu’s Error
Step aside Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot because it is time to meet Inspector Palmu. This Finnish detective is called in to handle a delicate murder mystery when renowned tycoon is found dead in his bathtub and poses one of the most challenging mysteries in the crime genre; the legendary locked room mystery. 

Frozen Land
This film, which was released in 2005, focuses on the chain reaction that can be caused in society by one unpleasant event. When a school teacher loses his job, he punishes his son, who then uses counterfeit money to purchase a CD player. Before long events start to spiral out of control until it seems as though everyone who comes into contact with the father and son have their lives changed for the worse. 

Mother of Mine
Like many Finnish films, the subject of Mother of Mine is World War II and it focuses on the eviction of Finnish children from their homes to be sent to live with strangers throughout the duration of the war. One of the things that makes this film so touching and realistic is that the writer has clearly drawn from personal experience and the film is given a further personal touch by focusing on the trauma experienced by the nine year old boy Eero.

The Match Factory Girl
Another major theme in Finnish films is the separation of the different classes and the difficulty in breaking through class boundaries. Due to her demanding and low paid job in the local match factory, Iris is forced to live with her parents and has no real social life to speak of. Her lifelong struggle ad limitations are brought into focus when Iris becomes pregnant by a man who misuses her and she decides to take revenge on the man and the society that forces her to life in squalor with no clear way to improve herself or create a better life for her soon to be born child. 

Here, Beneath the North Star
In this 1968 film viewers are treated to a glimpse of the lives of people living in a small Finnish village before and during the Finnish civil war that took place back in 1918. 

 

What I Love About Taking A Limousine in Toronto
Jul201628

For someone that travels so much, I find it really important to try and take the stress out of what could be a totally stressful lifestyle. Can you imagine travelling all the time and just spending half the time getting to and from the airport. I really don’t enjoy this, but I have found that taking a limousine is the ultimate solution for me and I always take a private limousine in Toronto. Here are some reasons I keep coming back

Convenient

The best thing is that the second I step off the plane I simply look for my name and find my driver, and I must say it is absolutely perfect. From that point on I no longer need to carry all of my heavy bags as the driver always helps me.

Knowledgeable and professional drivers

The job of a driver is to know things about the city he or she is in and also to be a professional. This means not only great customer service, but a huge knowledge of a city like Toronto. This is perfect for those looking for that invaluable tip that you absolutely cannot find anywhere else.

Time saving

For me as a traveler, saving time is worth so much. When you spend 4 days in Toronto, you really don’t want to be spending half the time on public transport just to get to and from the airport. These few days are precious and

You can relax

I also like that you can relax in the limousine and prepare yourself for your next step. Often when you go somewhere you tend to relax in the hotel for a little while when you get there, but with a limousine you can simply relax, drop off your things at the hotel and then get going. This is another great way that a limousine can save you a lot of time.

Reliability

I think one of the main things is that limousines are very dependable and they stake their reputation on their quality of service. Their business is dependant solely on this and if they cannot deliver reliability and good service, they will not survive. I like the fact that when I need to get to the airport early they arrive 15 minutes before I have requested them and do things like give me a courtesy call to let me know that they are there. This is great and totally stress free.

Keeping Your Information Secure on the Go
Jul201612

Keeping your data secure while you are at home is hard enough. But when traveling, especially out of the country, it is even harder. But it is worth the extra effort because your data is worth so much to you and potentially to someone else.

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VPN

virtual private network (VPN) is a third party server that is put between yourself and your target destination. There are several advantages that a VPN presents, but as with many security features, more secure can mean less convenient. When you connect with a website, you usually connect from your computer to their servers and get your content. But depending on where you are, how you are connecting to the internet and where you are trying to go this may or may not be secure.

When using a VPN you connect to the VPN before your destination and the VPN can provide different services. One of which is an encrypted signal that better protects your data in transit. While the encryption is a big plus, especially when traveling outside of your comfort zone, it can be slightly slower than a direct connection because of the increased steps. VPNs are available for both computer and mobile devices like the Galaxy Note5. One thing to remember about VPN services is that paying for one will generally get you better results since they can have more servers and support available.

Locks

An easy way to keep your data more secure is by limiting the physical access to your phone. One of the best ways is to know that your phone is within your control at all times. But unless you can guarantee this, there is still the possibility that someone could pick pocket you or you just forget it in a cab.

The most secure passwords for a phone tend to be long and random because they are harder for someone or a computer to guess. But this isn’t always a practical solution because you might forget a complicated password. However, avoiding easily gathered information like birthdays or other publicly available information will keep it more secure. A four digit PIN has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being guessed randomly and a six digit one has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance. These are short enough that they can be easily remembered even if they are random, and they give a good level of security for not a lot of effort.

Secure Wi-Fi

All the security in the world won’t help much if your connection to the internet is not secure. It is better to assume that a Wi-Fi signal is not encrypted unless it asks you for a WPA/WPA2 certification. It is also best to make sure the address you are visiting starts with “https” as opposed to “http.” The “s” stands for secure and lets you know that the traffic is being encrypted before it is sent to the server. It is also important to log out of services when you are done using them so there isn’t any way for someone else to come along and pick up where you left off.

Be careful and limit your access to sites that have sensitive information like banking or other financial services while on public or free Wi-Fi. Using https as well as a VPN can help you be as secure as possible.

 

5 Ways Technology Has Changed Travel
Jul201601

 

Technology is general is just changing so much and so quickly and this has extended to the ways that we now travel. Travel is now something that requires very little interaction and we are able to do a lot without actually talking to real people, which is a stark contrast to the now obsolete ways of doing things from the past. I decided to make this blog post to talk about how technology has changed the way that we all travel.

Discounts

When we think about discounts in the past, usually these were deals organised with a real person, but this is truly something of the past. Now when we see a flight we can use things like coupon codes to provide discounts and there are even sites like My Voucher Codes, which are dedicated to all kinds of discounts.

Booking

Can you remember a time when you had to physically go to a travel agent or book a flight over the phone? This is something that has been changed forever due to the internet and booking comparison sites have become a major deal when it comes to finding flights and accommodation.  

Flights

Flights have changed forever and a lot of the time you don’t even need to physically check in. You can usually do this online and a day in advance, so there really is no rushing to get to the airport to wait in line to check in. There are also simplified bag drops that require very little interaction with people. Airports have adapted to this and many you can simply scan your digital boarding pass and head straight through security. This has made flying that much easier, with much less delays.  

Getting lost

It really is a different landscape when it comes to finding your way around different places. With smartphones equipped with GPS technology, it is very easy to navigate cities and countries that we have never been to before. There really is no excuse for getting lost now and this is in stark comparison to the typical image of a tourist walking around trying to navigate with a paper map.

Other transport

We already touched on booking sites and how they have affected travel. Another aspect of this is local transport, like trains, trams and buses. There are now websites and smartphone applications that allow you to precisely plan your journey by taking and combining different modes of transport to get you where you want to go. This has greatly helped tourists to get around faster and more efficient, allowing them to maximise the potential of their holidays.

Productivity Tools to Automate 3 Vital Business Functions
Jun201629

The internet is a battleground; a great war of aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses trying to make their mark. But only the very brave survive. Because statistics prove that 90% of small businesses fail.

And one of the greatest reasons for failure is a lack of business skills, and under this umbrella falls efficiency. Research by Huffington Post reports that the small businesses who succeed are scaling their efforts by automating tasks. In fact, it is expected that small businesses who incorporate marketing automation for instance, will grow substantially in the immediate future.

If you want to win the war and dominate your competitors online, you need to pay attention to these three business functions and the productivity tools that can be used for better efficiency and management in time-heavy processes like marketing, billing and measuring:

#1: Marketing

Marketing is the foundation of your business. You can offer the best product or service, but if no one knows about it, your business will fail. And if you don’t keep selling whatever you’re selling, you will close your doors.

To anchor and stabilize your business for growth, your marketing efforts need to connect you with the resources, businesses and people you are trying to reach.

It is communication which is vital to building trust and business relationships, and for that end you can use an online meeting software like ClickMeeting.

Not only can you use this productivity tool to save travel time and the costs of hosting offline meetings and conferences, but you can also use it for staff training and to provide value to your target audience in the form of presentations and webinars.

marketing

ClickMeeting provides software that boasts these top features:

  • File and screen sharing
  • Whiteboard presentations
  • Video recording and viewing
  • Web based and Android app
  • Integrations with Google Apps and Twitter

#2: Billing

If you’re a service based business or bill according to time, you’re going to want to find out more about WorkflowMax which automates workflow and job management.

On their website, they boldly state that, “A recent survey showed that on average, we save each of our customers 628 hours of time and $22,000 every year”. 628 hours of time per year, per customer? Think what you could do with that time…

WorkflowMax handles everything from A – Z with regards to pre-sales and billing. As such, this productivity tool is most often used in creative, marketing, architecture, business, engineering, consulting, IT, building, and construction industries.

workflowmax

Some of WorkflowMax’es primary features are:

  • Quoting templates
  • Generating quotes
  • Timesheets and job management
  • Project management and collaboration
  • Job costing
  • CRM
  • Tracking leads, proposals and sales

#3: Measuring

51% of small business marketers say that measuring is exceptionally important to better understand customer journeys. And marketing, especially online, is all about the customer journey. But it is all too easy to become frustrated with the copious amounts of data you must sift through, all the places you must visit, and the countless switching of sites. Just as important as expansion itself, monitoring and measuring your progression as well as information collection, is often the most daunting and time wasting saga for the entrepreneur and small business owner. But it’s one business function that has to be done if you want to understand what’s working, and what’s not. With the business dashboard Cyfe, you can save time and effort. And your nerves. The Cyfe app is used to analyze and track data from other online applications and software.

dashboard

Image Credit: TechnologyAdvice

It goes without saying that it gives you a view of Google Analytics and your social media accounts, but with this productivity tool, everything is in one place, even Gmail, Google calendar and PayPal.

Nuff said. But there is more…it’s top features also allow the following:

  • Competitor research
  • Dashboard sharing so clients can also have a view
  • Can be viewed in TV mode for teams
  • View data for any date range

Conclusion

There you have it. Three exceptional online productivity tools that can be used to significantly reduce your time in three of the most time consuming business areas:

  1. Marketing
  2. Billing
  3. Measuring

Tasks in these business functions may not be your core business, but they are key to the sustainability and growth of your company.

 

Designing a Mobile Travel App – What Do You Need to Get Started?
Jun201621

Mobile devices have taken over the world and shaped it in interesting ways. Regardless of use or location – from flip phones with internet access in sub-Saharan Africa to tablets with large screens for streaming movies – these devices have changed the nature of communications and information. With the dawn of more affordable, versatile mobile phones and devices there has been an explosion in the world of mobile apps, which provide access to entertainment, information, shopping and a variety of other needs and desires.

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Royalty free photo

Many travelers use apps when on vacation or when planning a trip. If you’re looking to build an app that is designed with travelers in mind, then here is what you’ll need to get started.

Mobile App Development Software

The first and perhaps biggest challenge in building a mobile app is finding a platform through which it can be built. Many people rely on developers to do the hard work for them, but this can be costly. If you have the experience and know-how to build your own apps from scratch, then you’ll want to look at solutions like Xamarin Development Software or AppMachine. Professional development software makes it possible for brands and individuals to construct apps that are cross-platform compatible (works on both Android and iOS devices) that provide plenty of visual stimulation, complex databases and interactive features.

A Problem and a Solution

Many of the most successful apps in existence became so popular for one common reason: the developers identified a problem that needed to be solved, and the app helped solve it. Ideally, your mobile travel app will look at addressing at least one of the common problems travelers face, and will provide a way to solve it. Whether you decide to look at the hassle of booking flights, accommodations and other amenities, or you opt to solve challenges in finding the best spots for entertainment, be sure to keep your focus relatively narrow and address a problem nobody else has so far.

Test Groups

As you begin to build a mobile app bit-by-bit, you’ll want to be able to test its features, compatibility, functionality and other aspects. Many developers create several beta versions of their apps in order to learn from users and figure out what works best. Once you’ve created a working version of your app, you’ll want to have several people get together and use your app. This will allow you to obtain important feedback on what can be improved or added. Likewise, furious brainstorming sessions that you’ll undoubtedly have in order to decide which features and functions to include can be improved by focus groups with consumers. You’ll be able to save some time during development by finding out what people expect out of your app.

In order to create a successful mobile app, you’ll want three basic things: a group of people to help you with beta-testing and brainstorming, an outlined problem that can be solved, and quality mobile development software. With these elements in place, the rest is relatively easy to accomplish!

5 Reasons To Go On A Sports Tour
Jun201617

 

Going on a sports tour can be a truly enriching experience. Cricket tours and other sports can be a great opportunity to discover another country and build some lifelong memories. Here are some great reasons to get out on a sports tour.

They save time

Coordinating a lot of activities can be quite stress and very difficult for somebody that may not have the experience, let alone in a foreign country or place! When you go on a tour everything is organised for you, this includes things like meals, accommodation, transport and even games. Going on a tour ensures that you have a professionally run experience that will allow you to forget everything and simply enjoy the sport and foreign place.

They are cheaper

Sports tours are of course cheaper, when you have an experienced organisation you are also gaining access to much better pricing. These experts are dealing with accommodation providers, airlines, restaurants and many more people on a daily basis and can give you the best price. It would be much more expensive to book everything yourself.

You can stay together

One of the biggest advantages of a sport tour is that it is possible for you and your friends to stay together. Imagine booking plane tickets and then realising that only 8 people can go on a flight rather than 15. This makes it very hard to coordinate everything and will mean that you may need to book everything twice.

Better tickets

We talked about how connected sports tour providers are, they can also give you access to the best seats at sporting events. More often than not you and your friends will have your own designated seating area, so it is also possible to be all together and experience perhaps some of the best moments of your life together.

Experience your favourite sport in another country

Probably the best part of a sports tour is discovering sport in another country and the subtle differences compared to your own country. It is without any question that sport unites us all in one of the rawest and best ways possible, especially with mateship, sportsmanship and competition. In fact you may even learn something new from being on a sports tour!

Things To Do In Cornwall
Jun201613

 

Cornwall is without a doubt one of the best holiday destinations in all of the UK, it doesn’t matter if you are in one of the many holiday cottages in Polzeath or in a tent, there is just so much to do and see. This guide will talk a little bit more about just a few of the great things that are possible in Cornwall.

Tintagel Castle

What is better than the remains of a medieval castle? The answer is nothing and Tintagel Castle to not disappoint. This medieval fortification on Tintagel Island is a well known tourist attraction and has been attracting visitors since the middle of the 19th century. The castle was built by Richard the Earl of Cornwall during the 13th century, and offers stunning views from the high cliffs. The castle is also believed by many people to be connected to the Arthurian legends (King Arthur) and is said to even be the castle of the king. Nothing is for certain, except for the stunning views and amazing architecture.

The Eden Project

This is a very interesting part of Cornwall that makes it truly unique and a site like this probably doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world on the same scale. The Eden Project are two huge domes that house thousands and thousands of plant species. Each dome has its own theme and there is even a botanical garden that surrounds the domes. In this garden you can find plants native to Cornwall and Britain. This unusual, but exciting site has become a major tourist attraction, as well a world class education and conservation project.

Food and Drink

Cornwall although perhaps not as well known as it should be, is certainly well known for the delicious ales and pasties, that have become world famous. The Cornish cuisine is one of the highest regarded of all regional cuisines in Britain and there really is no secret why. The nature and fresh regional produce are used to create the best beers, pies and other fish dishes.

The Lizard

The Lizard is home to the most southerly point in Britain and is a small peninsula in Southern Cornwall. The peninsula has a very high reputation for the number of rare plants that are not found in other locations and is widely considered by many to be one of the most scenic and special places in all of the United Kingdom. The geology is also a huge drawcard for the area.

Jun201613

If there’s one area of entertainment that’s shown itself to be relentlessly inventive, it’s the world of gaming. In just a couple of decades we’ve seen gaming go from the chunky two-dimensional platforming exploits of Mario, to some amazing virtual reality innovations and simulations of real-life experiences from sports games to live casino environments.

2016 looks to be the year that virtual reality gaming truly goes mainstream. So far we’ve already seen the likes of Oculus Rift go from being a hobbyist’s plaything to becoming a truly revolutionary piece of virtual reality gaming kit. Joining the brand in their innovative exploits are the likes of HTC’s Vive headset and Sony’s hugely-anticipated PlayStation VR device.

 

Although the PlayStation VR won’t be available until October 2016, it’s looking like it may usher in the first true wave of consumer-friendly virtual reality hardware, and there have already been some interesting VR gaming titles that promise to expand our humble perception of what a game really is.

 

 

Even away from the virtual reality gaming environment there have been other brands who have helped us all enjoy a more immersive gaming experience. For example, Coral’s live casino games feature a real-life dealer guiding the gameplay in real-time, and although many gamers may not know the difference between live casino and regular online casino games, it’s clear that this exciting new format has broadened the way that people can now play games of roulette, blackjack and poker.

 

Much of the new immersive gaming experience has been facilitated by some impressive pieces of technology that have certainly come a long way since the original primitive vibration-based Dualshock controllers for the PlayStation 2.

 

 

As many more people are switching to mobile devices for their gaming entertainment, it’s been interesting to see how smartphone technology is trying to adapt to gamers’ increasingly raised expectations. Already this month we’ve seen Lenovo trying to revive their fortunes through a mobile device that features the Google Tango augmented reality software.

 

But as ever, it’s going to be the fine balance between convenience and gaming complexity that will determine how 21st century gaming will go. Although companies like Virtuix Omni have certainly raised the bar on immersive VR entertainment with their virtual reality treadmills, until such brands are able to deliver a game as simple yet challenging as a humble casino game, they could be facing a difficult task in achieving true mainstream appeal.

 

Planning The Perfect Machu Picchu Trip
Jun201602

 

When looking for some quality South America Travel time, Machu Picchu cannot be matched in terms of its pure beauty and status as a wonder of the world. This guide will hopefully help you to find out a bit more about how to approach your next trip to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail and how to get the most out of it.

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How to travel

There are a number of Machu Picchu Tour options to choose from, but it is also possible to do it alone. I would personally recommend a tour because it is much cheaper and the stresses of organising everything are taken away and you can focus more on making the trek to Machu Picchu (it will take some fitness and determination to conquer the Inca trail). It is possible to hire porters to help lighten the load on your trip, it is advisable to pay porters a fair wage and really engage with them and this will only add to the experience.

img-machu-picchu-construction-01


When

The period between July and August is certainly the busiest and this is naturally the peak tourist season and it is much drier during this season. At most times of the year you will experience some form of mist or rain in the Andes, particularly due to the high altitude. Between November and April is the rainy season and actually going during November and April can be perfect, especially if you want to avoid the peak tourist season and the rain.

How far

The Inca trail is relatively short at just over 40km long, but don’t let this fool you. The high altitude and up and down landscape can really take its toll. It is important to do some training before you go and make sure that you have an adequate level of fitness. You should give yourself a final test of fitness before you go, perhaps in the form of a long and hilly walk in your local area.

When you get there

Probably the best tip when you are there is to get on the trail early, most tour groups will be arriving after 11am and therefore it is best if you can get out before them. The morning light will also be ideal for taking photographs, so keep that in mind when deciding when to embark on your walk.   

What to see

Naturally the trail offers some extremely beautiful sights of the surrounding highlands. When you reach the 500 year old citadel it will certainly be a sight that you cannot believe and it will be truly breathtaking, for the view and also the altitude which is over 2400 metres above sea level.. Some of the highlights of the mountain are the Inti Watana, the Room of the Three Windows and the Temple of the Sun. Once you get there it should naturally be simple just to walk and explore everything that you desire.

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