Saturday, December 25, 2004

American Express – A Unique Type Of Credit Card

American Express, or AMEX, is one of the most recognizable names in the financial world. What many customers who have MasterCard or Visa credit cards in their wallet are interested in, is what is the difference between these two companies and American Express. Well the difference is quite simple.

MasterCard and Visa are both simply payment methods. They allow locations to accept payment using their system. They do not however, issue any credit cards of their own. For this they rely on their partnerships with thousands of banks worldwide who will issue credit cards, provide the credit necessary, and charge clients interest and give them rewards. None of your credit card bill goes to Visa or MasterCard. It all goes to the bank that provided the card. This bank also sets your interest rate, gives you rewards, offers you zero per cent balance transfers, the works.

Visa and MasterCard make their money by charging the retailer a fee for using their payment system, and also sometimes by charging your bank for issuing the card. None of this effects you directly however.

American Express is a very different arrangement. Not only do they have their own payment system, but they also issue their cards directly to customers. So they are running the whole show. If a card says American Express on it, you know instantly who issued it, what payments system it utilizes and everything else about the card.

While Visa and MasterCard are probably far more prevalent payment methods worldwide, American Express is rapidly expanding its network. Both Visa and MasterCard are accepted at over twenty million locations worldwide and these are spread around over one hundred and fifty countries. This makes them truly global payment methods. American Express still lacks this degree of saturation. There are places in the world where Visa and MasterCard are accepted widely but American Express is more difficult to use.

However, American Express has its own advantages, particularly for customers in Europe and North America. In these countries the card is accepted widely. The company also offers very attractive credit cards. They have good rates, good reward schemes and good customer service. If you want a card guaranteed to give you a high standard of service, and that still carries a little bit of extra exclusivity now that Visa and MasterCard are so prevalent, then American Express, or AMEX, is a good safe choice.

Joe Kenny writes for the Card Guide, a Uk based credit cards site, visit today for a balance transfer credit cards and start clearing credit card debt today.

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Friday, December 10, 2004

This Blog is suspended

I am sorry to say this, but it is the unfortunate truth. When I started in September I grossly underestimated the time I would need to put into actually writing the blog, especially searching for news worth reporting. But as my national exams draw nearer, my time decreases. Which means that as of now this blog is officially suspended.

However it will be relaunched in a new avatar on April Fool's Day 2005. Remember to come back then. Thank you to all my readers who have been coming back so regularly and sorry for being so dissappointing. Please do come back.

Good bye and Thank You All.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Blogosphere Journeys: Part Three

At last we come to the final part of the Blogosphere Journeys. I know it's been a terribly short one, but I do hope that you enjoyed it. Here are the last three blogs, the first three that I actually liked.

First of is Panthere's Panthere Noir. This is mostly a tech news blog, somewhat similar to my own. But it apparently has a very wide following. The last time I checked, this blog had referred 213 people to the Spread Firefox site and ranked 78th on their list of top referrers. This is another very good blog, by any standard. I guess the design could be somewhat better, but that's forgivable.

Next is Ookami Snow's blog titled I Don't Like The Word BLOG. Hmmm... I wonder why. Anyway, I owe this blog a debt of gratitude for introducing me to my great blogging tool, w.bloggar. This blog is a textbook example of a personal blog. It makes a good read, if you're inclined to such things.

Finally is One Million Footnotes. There's only one word which adequately describes this one: different. It's a good project and can be quite entertaining. It also figures on Blogger's own list of noteworthy blogs. But I do wonder they call it 1 million footnotes, as of now, they have less than 300.

And there you go folks, the Blogosphere Journeys have come to an end, for now at least. I'm sorry to say that I won't be doing much exploring at least for the next few months due to my exams. After that, maybe we'll go for another walk together in the Blogosphere. Till then, feel free to do some exploring and feel free to tell me about interesting blogs.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Blogosphere Journeys: Part Two

Hello and welcome to the second leg of my journeys. Once again here are two more blogs. These are blogs that I found on my wanderings on the net and that I decided to bookmark.

The first blog on today's list is Eric "Cracell" Cranston's blog, called "The Knight in Rusting Armor". This is mostly a personal blog, but it is pretty interesting. However posting is very erratic. Cracell, by the way, is the moderator over at the Gmail Forums, which is a pretty good place to go is you have a Gmail account.

Then comes RSC. The naming confuses me, but otherwise, it is in my opinion, a very good blog. It seems to be a more for the intelligent types, than it is for the average browser, but it is appealing none the less. For the most part it's a news blog, but a pretty interesting one at that. The layout is fantastic. If you want to learn how to make an attractive blog, check this one out. Just for the record, this belongs to someone over at the Gmail forums, but I just can't remember who.

That's it for this part. The next part will probably be the last. I'll be covering the three blogs that I first came to like. So hold on until then.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Some more news

Before I continue with part two of The Blogosphere Journeys, there's some important news. Firefox 10 is due for release on November 9. So mark your calendar for November 9 people and please make sure that you at least try to download it. (Due to the number of people trying to get it at the same you may not be able to actually get it, but do try)

The second bit of news is that Spread Firefox has launched it's fourth Firefox campaign. If you've been wanting to pay, but weren't exactly sure how or what your money was going to do, this is your chance. They want people to contribute towards a full page ad in the New York Times. Your name gets featured in the ad if you do. Over 5,000 people have pledged their support, so what are you waiting for? I would have paid, if I had my own income.

Those of you who wanted a small handy tool to get rid of Windows Messenger in Windows XP, check out his review. I'm downloading as I type.

Finally my site-meter just hit 75 and the report says that I got 29 hits this week alone. Considering that I visited only about 3 or 4 times, that means about 25 new visitors this week. Those of you who are regular readers, and have recommended this blog, thanks a lot. Once more feel free to leave comments as to who are, if you want.

The Blogosphere Journeys will resume shortly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Blogosphere Journeys: Part One

This is the first of a number of posts that will be devoted to "reviewing" a few blogs that I have found and that I like. This first part will be featuring three blogs. The special thing about them is that they are all new blogs. Before I start let me say that two of these blogs were actually inspired by my blog. They make me fell that this blog is actually worth the effort (besides personal satisfaction, of course).

First off, Tolkien Fandom. This was the first blog that I inspired. It was started by a friend of mine a few weeks back. Unfortunately it only has one post on it in all this while. So I think that it's already died a premature death.

Then is Kaushik "Kazarelth" Narasimhan's blog, titled Fealdamar. This is the second blog that I inspired, and it makes me proud. He's posting at a rather amazing speed and his range is quite varied too. It includes tech, news, fantasy and even some mystic stuff. A nice mix for a blog, especially if you have a wide range of interests. Give him a hit, it's worth it. The layout and links are pretty good as well.

Finally is Ramesh Balabhadruni's blog. This is also a tech -related personal blog, A bit like mine. There's only one post so far, but I think that it has potential.

That's it for the first part of The Blogosphere Journeys. Stay tuned for the next part, where I cover other blogs that I've discovered. I'll be waiting a while before I put these blogs up on my blog link panel, just to make sure that they don't go bust.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I've been playing around

I've finally got some time to play around with the Internet and the blog. First off, the Internet. I've found this great Zip program called ALZip 5.5 thanks once again to Techtree. Normally I found Windows XP's default zipping tool good enough for the little use that I put it to. But it can get really irritating at times, since it apparently lacks the functionality to extract just one or two files. You have to extract the whole file whether you like it or not and it simply can't remember extract paths. And somehow, I never really liked WinZip much. But ALZip makes all those problems go away. It supports 35 formats, including of course TAR, RAR, TGZ, and ZIP. It allows to create executable files without any extra cost and the best thing is, it's absolutely free. Long live free software!

Now for the site, I've managed to finally add the link panel to some blogs that I like. I'll be updating it and I'll start to post reviews about the blogs from tomorrow. I'm also trying to make a favicon, it I can figure out how. If anyone knows, please tell me. Will be back with more stuff tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Interesting things

Quite a few interesting things have been happening lately. Firstly Google Desktop Search beta has been launched. Here's a ZDNet review. It seems pretty interesting, especially if you happen to have a lot of stuff on your hard-disk. It's quite widespread, functionality-wise. But ir could do with support for more non=Micrsoft products. Especially Mozilla Firefox. But it's a start and hopefully, it'll keep growing as days go by. Google's already made quite a good impression with Gmail.

Here's something a little alarming. Mobiles really are bad for you if you overdo it. Oh, well, we're all dying young anyway. Stay tuned for more news and a blog template update tomorrow. Till, then, Sionara.

My first case of blogger's block

Well, it happened something like this. Yesterday and the day before I sat down at my computer to write up a blog entry, and lo and behold, I simply couldn't write. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn't figure out what to put up. The cause of this was most probably that I hadn't founf anything interesting to talk about. Those of you who have your won blogs and websites must know hoe irritating it is to not be able to write something no matter how hard you try.

Since my attempts at writing something interesting have boiled down to nothing, I decided to make a post about how frustrating it is put up a post. If any of you have similar experiences, do tell me. I might put one or two up here. Here's a short of list of things that I'll be putting up in the days to come:
1. Some more news-related posts.
2. A link panel to some interesting blogs.
3. A post or two about the blogs themselves.

So folks, keep watching this blog for upcoming changes. As always, feel free to leave suggestions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Superman no more

Yes that's right. The 1980's Superman, Christopher Reeves died of heart failure at the age of 52. I wouldn't be too interested except for the fact that he was one of the biggest supporters of stem-cell research and I think that stem cell research is a good thing too. But hopefully in a few months one of stem cell research's bigest supporters will hopefully be lost, or more correctly will have lost. I am talking of course of George W. Bush Jr. and the November elections.

On the more down to earth side, I'll be uploading a list of my favourite blogs to the right hand panel in a few days. Maybe I'll put in another link or two as well. Spread Firefox has embarked on it's third publicity campaign. Head over and take a look if you like. But since it'll take more resources and time than I have, I'll have to stay out entirely. Unfortunately, I haven't been too active in the last two campaigns, so my profile is pretty low. Oh well, I hope that someone's at least intersted in my Blogger profile!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Yes, I'm alive

Yes folks, I am alive and so is this blog. First my apologies for being off for so long. But my modem wasn't working right and so I had to wait to get it fixed. But it is fixed and so I'm back and I'll try to stick to my original intentions of posting as regularly as possible.

Now some news. First some more Microsoft news. They have apparently pushed back their release of MSN messenger 7.0 to fix a security issue. At least Microsoft is finally beginning to make efforts to fix something instead of sending a buggy product out into the market.

Something more interesting is this. So desktops are getting smaller, much smaller. Maybe we'll actually have full-fledged wearable computers by the time I'm thirty.

I'll be back again soon. If you have something interesting, please contact me by leaving a comment. Suggestions for links/articles etc. are always welcome.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

My friend got a supercomputer

Actually, no. But compared to my dinosaur, it is a supercomputer. Here are the specs:
    • 3 Ghz AMD Athlon 64 FX
    • Asus motherboard
    • 2 GB RAM
    • GeForce FX 5700 128MB (which he's going to upgrade to a 6800 Ultra in a few months)
    • Windows XP Professional 64-bit
    • 15" LCD Monitor
It was his birthday today and he called me and another friend over. I got my first peep at Doom 3 on his new computer. Even with all that Windows still flashed a "low memory" warning after we quit Doom 3. And Unreal Tournament 2004 looked absolutely stunning, with all the graphics set to high. I envy people with such great computers.

Time for some more tech news. Here's an article about a new data storage technology that stores a terabyte of data on a disk the size of a CD. This brings some pretty interesting conclusions. CDs lasted from approximately 1995-2003/04. DVD's have started taking over from 2003 and already the Blu-Ray format is about to make its debut. Considering that at the earliest this new disk will be available in 2010, that means that the time a particular format stays in vogue, is gradually decreasing. Should we start saying good bye to our hard disks? Hmmm...

And to top it all off, Spread Firefox has started its second publicity campaign after reaching 2 million downloads in 10 days. This time around they want 10,000 users to sign up at the Spread Firefox site. You get yourselves a Drupal ID, a simple free blog and a few other goodies that come with being part of an online community. To sign up just go This campaign is going a bit slow, so please direct everyone you know to this entry (or the site itself), and help spread the fire.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Microsoft does it again

I found this little piece of news. Basically it says that Microsoft is going to start charging for its service which allows its MSN and Hotmail users to download their e-mails off the servers to Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook. And there we have it folks, one more example of Microsoft joining the dark side. They say that their doing it to stop spammers. But we all know that its just another scheme to make some more money at the expense of the free Net. Though the charge isn't too much and only about 5% to 10% of MSN and Hotmail users actually use the service, it is none the less, just a bit annoying.

So folks if you're still on a Hotmail or MSN e-mail, I do suggest you get off it. I suggest that you try Yahoo! or even better, Gmail, if you can get someone to give you an invite. And while you're at it you might want to try out the Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail program. Believe me, it rocks. And with a few third party programs like gPopper or YahooPOPs you can use or Gmail or Yahoo accounts just like a standard POP account. Good luck, and see you later.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Busy holding Orion's Arm

I've been pretty busy for the last few days writing up some articles for this Wordbuilding project that I'm a part of called Orion's Arm. It's hard sci-fi so I suggest you only go there if you're the geeky type. If you happen to go there and do like it, please leave a comment.

I was looking around my history and I found the blog that led me to discover w.bloggar, my blogging tool. Here's the link. Unfortunately, he doesn't have trackback so I can't trackback to him. Anyway, I'll leave him a comment. By the way, I'm using Haloscan trackback, for those of you who are interested. Use the link on the Links panel. Also the first button links you to the site for the Mozilla Firefox browser, for those of you who are still stuck on IE.

Nothing else interesting to talk about today. I'll keep you posted on how my articles at Orion's Arm go, and maybe I'll put up some links.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Me, Myself and Mine

Well, enough of my blog. Now a little bit of me. My profle on the right says all that I have to say about myself. I've had my computer for about 3 years now. It's an old Pentium 3 550Mhz with just 128 MB of RAM. I've got an Epson Printer and a Sony CD-RW drive.

My software isn't much to brag about, but I like it. Windows XP SP1, with Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird as my browser and e-mail app respectively. But I'm hoping to get Red Hat Linux soon. By the way, I was among the first 200,000 to get the Firefox 1.0 PR version. This amazing little piece of software has racked up 2 million downloads in ten days. Microsoft, watch out. I've just dound this great blogging tool called w.bloggar which lets me write my blogs offline and then post without ever coming to the site. Besides this blog, I also write a personal diary with Diary Defender, which is undoubtedly the best diary software I've come across.

That pretty much does it for today. As you can see, I'm quite a techno-geek, so be prepared for some techno-stuff in the days to come.