The low dollar – and Trump – are adding to the Canada

first_img Wednesday, June 7, 2017 The low dollar – and Trump – are adding to the Canada 150 momentum Travelweek Group Posted by Sharecenter_img Tags: Canada, Trend Watch << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — So many millions of marketing dollars are poured into attracting international travellers to Canada, it’s easy to forget that 80% of travel in Canada is by Canadians.And while most Canadians rely on their travel agent for trip bookings outside the country, rather than within Canada, many Canadians are looking to book special trips in Canada this year to celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary and are on the lookout for unique vacation ideas that require an agent’s expertise.At yesterday’s Best Western Leisure Travel Summit, industry representatives weighed in on how the busy summer travel season is shaping up for both inbound and domestic travel in this landmark year. So much is riding on the Canada 150 celebrations. Can they live up to the hype?Dorothy Dowling, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, says that while Best Western has seen 2.4% in this market, most inbound tour operators and wholesalers she’s spoken to are reporting record years so far, “with very high double-digit growth for inbound travel”.Last year was very close to a record year for Canadian tourism, with some 20 million visitors.Credit: Liz Szynkowski.“Canada is topping a lot of must-visit lists. There’s a lot of buzz. We haven’t hit high season yet but we’re expecting it to be a really good year,” said Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).Is it the Trump effect? In addition to all the excitement about Canada’s 150th anniversary, are international travellers deciding it’s time for a little Canada rather than risk what they might see as a less-than-warm welcome in the U.S.?More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsDowling says it’s mostly a cost – and currency – issue. “It has a lot to do with the currency valuation and the strength of the U.S. dollar. So many international travellers book their travel to Canada as a package and the conversion factor is extraordinarily noticeable this year. There are a lot of conversations about politics but it really comes down to cost and money.” Compared to the U.S. these days, Canada is a bargain.However Susie Grynol, President of the Hotel Association of Canada, said HAC’s annual Travel Intentions Survey showed that 35% of Canadian travellers who switched their travel plans from the U.S. to Canada attributed that decision as a direct result of President Trump’s election and his government’s policies.Well over half (58%) of Canadian travellers say they’re planning to take 2 – 4 trips this year, a 7% increase, added Grynol.While Canadian hotels are reaping the benefits from this year’s travel boom – properties in Alberta and Newfoundland are charting growth for the first time in three years – sharing economy disruptors like Airbnb continue to be a thorn in the side of the hotel industry.“People renting out their basement and making some money, that’s a great thing. But we’re also seeing the emergence of commercial players, who buy entire buildings and rent out the units on Airbnb. When you’re dealing with that size and scale, you’re running a hotel, aren’t you? But it’s an illegal hotel.”More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerHAC and other hotel associations have long argued that Airbnb and other sharing economy rental companies need to be subject to the same taxes and standards as traditional hotels. “We just want a level playing field … [and then] we’re happy to compete.”Also at the event, Laurel Greatrix, Director, Communications at TripAdvisor, said that while searches for Canada are up this year on, long-time favourite sun and fun destinations are also strong, from Cuba and the D.R. to Las Vegas. Also popping up are ‘new’ destinations like Colombia, and more niche (relatively speaking) spots like South Africa. Both offer good value for money right now, says Greatrix. Travel this summer “is all about making the Canadian dollar work hard for you and finding value.”Also trending: learning holidays. “About 15% of Millennials have taken a learning holiday and I think we’ll see more of those experiential trips,” said Greatrix. “It can be anything from surf holidays in Bali to sushi making classes in Tokyo.”There are now 500 million reviews on Reviews on everything from travel to consumer goods have changed the way people shop, she noted. “Travel reviews offer transparency. And travel reviews mean travellers can spend smartly.” TripAdvisor users post nearly 300 reviews per minute, she said. Some 390 million people come to TripAdvisor to check out reviews.last_img read more

Register now for Cruise360 to get early bird pricing

first_img Share Tags: CLIA, Cruise360 Register now for Cruise360 to get early bird pricing WASHINGTON, D.C. – Registration is now open for CLIA’s annual Cruise360 conference, set to take place in Fort Lauderdale from April 1-8, 2019 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.Considered the largest conference of the cruise industry, Cruise360, which next year celebrates its 15th anniversary, will once again offer professional development, multiple networking events, ship inspections and an overview of cruise and travel trends.“Next year marks 15 years of Cruise360 and it promises to be our most impressive event to date,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “We look forward to working with our partners in Fort Lauderdale to continue the success and excitement Cruise360 brings to the city and the cruise industry each year. Travel professionals can expect a week packed with the professional development, ship inspections, general sessions and networking that have made Cruise360 the must-attend industry event for the past 15 years.”Early bird pricing is available until June 29, 2018 and is open to CLIA Members for US$199 and non-members for #369. The rate for Members rises to $249 starting June 30, 2018.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesTo register go to Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group Thursday, June 7, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Meet VISIT FLORIDAs dedicated Canadian sales team

first_img Travelweek Group Share TORONTO — In addition to our new learning program, VISIT FLORIDA now has a dedicated team located in Toronto to assist you. We are available to schedule any in-house office trainings, webinars, or to discuss any opportunities you have for VISIT FLORIDA. We look forward to working with you and your team to promote the many beautiful destinations of Florida and everything the Sunshine State has to offer.VISIT FLORIDA Canada TeamCynthia FarrillAccount Director- Pulse Travel Marketing Ltd.cynthiaf@pulsecommunications.ca1.844.249.7040 Ext. # 235Annika KlintDirector- Pulse Travel Marketing Ltd.annika@pulsecommunications.caSana KellerPR Director- Pulse Travel Marketing Tags: VISIT FLORIDA Posted bycenter_img Meet VISIT FLORIDA’s dedicated Canadian sales team Thursday, November 15, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Central American exports increased 22 percent in 2011

first_imgCentral American exports totaled $52 billion in 2011, an increase of 22.3 percent from the previous year, the Secretariat of Central American Economic Integration reported Tuesday.The report states that Panama’s exports grew nearly 33 percent in 2011, while Costa Rica had the least growth at less than 10 percent. Nicaragua reported an increase of 30 percent, while Honduras and Guatemala had similar increases, with 26 percent and 27 percent, respectively. El Salvador registered an increase of 18 percent.Figures were compiled from the central banks of each nation.Goods that demonstrated the most export growth included coffee (up by 14 percent), integrated circuits (6 percent) and bananas (6 percent). Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

7 US court districts bring indictments against Mexican drug lord El Chapo

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Seven federal districts in the United States have brought indictments against Mexican cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, setting off a competition to be the first to prosecute the man U.S. officials had described as “Public Enemy No. 1” before his arrest this past weekend.The number of cases against Guzmán, head of the powerful and violent Sinaloa drug cartel, show the breadth of his multibillion-dollar empire. He has been indicted in San Diego, the Southern and Eastern districts of New York, Chicago, Texas, Florida and New Hampshire.But Justice Department officials said it is an open question whether Guzmán, who was the world’s most-wanted drug lord, will ever be prosecuted in a U.S. courtroom.“There’s an old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law,” said Stephen Vladeck, a professor of law at American University in Washington and an expert in extradition law. “But in this case, it’s actually closer to 10-tenths, because if they want to go first, they can. If Mexico wants to prosecute El Chapo under their own laws, it’s their right to do so. And all the U.S. can do at that point is take a number.”The Mexican government formally charged Guzmán with cocaine trafficking and organized crime, officials in the Mexican Attorney General’s office said Monday. The crime boss is facing at least eight apprehension orders dating back to his escape from prison in 2001.A judge assigned to the case has until 3 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether to initiate a trial or release him, the prosecutor’s office said. Guzman has been assigned an attorney, Óscar Quirarte, who has not yet spoken about the case.Guzmán “was the number one target we were going for in the world,” said a senior Drug Enforcement Administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open case. “No one was as sophisticated. No one was moving the volume of narcotics he was moving, not just in the United States but worldwide.”Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, which took office more than 15 months ago, has extradited fewer people to the United States than the previous Mexican government.In the last four years of the administration of Felipe Calderón, Peña Nieto’s predecessor, the number of extraditions to the United States topped 100 per year twice, reaching a high of 115 in 2012. That number fell to 54 last year, the first full year of the current government.“The fundamental reason for extradition is to have firsthand information,” Jesús Murillo Karam, Mexico’s attorney general, said in an interview this month. Karam said that under Peña Nieto, intelligence-sharing with the United States is more reliable, so “that requires fewer extraditions.”Mexican authorities say they cooperate closely with U.S. law enforcement officials and are willing to send criminals back to the United States. But they increasingly want people who commit crimes in Mexico to serve their time in Mexican prison before being sent to the United States. That way, Mexican authorities have full access to the intelligence generated from suspects and can show that the country’s judicial system can reliably hold top criminals.Guzmán, who is being held at a maximum-security prison called El Altiplano in Almoloya de Juárez, once before slipped from the hands of Mexican law enforcement. He was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and sent to Mexico’s high-security Puente Grande prison. But he escaped in 2001, on the eve of his extradition to the United States, allegedly spirited out in a laundry cart.Obama administration officials said there are likely to be lengthy negotiations to decide which country tries Guzmán first.“The decision whether to pursue extradition will be the subject of further discussion between the United States and Mexico,” said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr.One of the last major cartel bosses to be extradited to the United States was Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who ran the Gulf cartel and was sent to the States in 2007. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a term that some Mexican officials thought was too short. U.S. officials were upset when another drug boss, Rafael Caro Quintero, convicted of the murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, was freed from Mexican prison last year after 28 years behind bars.Cárdenas committed “much more serious crimes than Caro Quintero,” Karam said, but received a shorter sentence in the United States.In 2009, when Guzmán and 35 other cartel members were indicted in Chicago on heroin and cocaine trafficking charges, Patrick Fitzgerald, then the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, called the cases the “most significant drug importation conspiracies ever charged in Chicago.”Three years later, Guzmán and 23 other members of Sinaloa and other cartels were indicted in El Paso.“Murder and kidnapping, money laundering and drug trafficking are the four corners of this organization’s foundation,” U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman said. “For years, their violence, ruthlessness, and complete disregard for human life and the rule of law have greatly impacted the citizens of the Republic of Mexico and the United States.”Five other federal prosecutors have made similar announcements.Julie Tate contributed to this report.© 2014, The Washington Post  Facebook Comments Related posts:The intellectual architect of the US’ modern war on drugs has died After 23 years in prison, top assassin for Pablo Escobar is a ‘reformed’ man ‘El Chapo’ extradition could take a year: prosecutor Univision to air TV series on ‘El Chapo’last_img read more

Climate change could leave sharks unable to hunt

first_imgRelated posts:The Guardian names Costa Rican journalist among ‘young climate campaigners to watch’ ahead of Paris 2015 World failing to meet emissions level required to stave off disastrous global warming, analysts say Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís nominated for ‘Shark Enemy of the Year’ award Dealing with climate change in Costa Rica’s treasured Monteverde cloud forest As more and more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the ocean is acidifying too quickly for sharks to keep up. For at least one species, the cost could be the vital sense of smell. Without its ability to detect the odors of prey, the smooth dogfish could be left high and dry. And chances are that the smooth dogfish isn’t the only marine life that will see this effect.The finding, in a study published last month in the journal Global Change Biology, continues lead author Danielle Dixson‘s work in clownfish. “We found that the acidification of their water disrupted the fish’s ability to perceive different chemical cues — or their sense of smell,” said Dixson, an assistant professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “But we wanted to test other organisms, especially ones that, like sharks, rely so much on their sense of smell. They’re practically swimming noses.”In the experiment, the sharks were exposed to the smell of squid — a dogfish delicacy — in pools with different levels of carbon dioxide, which makes the water more acidic. At today’s levels, the sharks swam to the side of the pool that smelled like prey and attacked the odor-emitting objects as expected. At levels that we’re predicted to reach in 50 years, they swam to the correct side but attacked less aggressively. At carbon dioxide levels that the ocean is expected to reach by 2100, the sharks basically stopped being attracted to the squid odor.In clownfish, this effect was caused by the fish’s natural defense mechanisms. To protect themselves from acidic water, the fish produce more bicarbonate — a base — to buffer it. But this interferes with a receptor that controls many of the sensory systems in vertebrates. Dixson believes that the same mechanism causes the change in sharks.Dixson had hoped that sharks would be more resilient to the change in carbon dioxide levels: After all, they once swam in waters that were much more acidic than today’s oceans. “They’re pretty much living fossils — they haven’t changed much, in an evolutionary sense, for a really long time,” she said. “They were around when ocean acidification levels were quite high, so I sort of thought they might have the ability to cope.”Unfortunately, sharks have had a very long time to adapt to the relatively low carbon dioxide levels of our day. At the rate that our oceans are acidifying, there’s no way they’ll be able to adapt back in the other direction in time. “They’ve seen this level, but it’s never happened this quickly,” Dixson said.It gets worse: The predicted carbon dioxide levels that Dixson and her colleagues used are based on a “business as usual” scenario, in which acidifcation continues at a fairly steady rate. Recent research suggests that we may reach those levels much more quickly, and the situation could be much more dire by 2100.Dixson and her colleagues will continue to examine this effect in dogfish and other sharks, as well as expanding the experiments to observe more marine life.© 2014, The Washington PostRecommended: The plight of the Costa Rican manatee Facebook Commentslast_img read more

West Side Birth Story Isla arrives at CIMA

first_imgRelated posts:Giving birth through Costa Rica’s public health care system Caja to offer emergency care only on Holy Thursday, Friday Welcome, baby ocelot: It’s Mother’s Day at Zoo Ave, too Arts, culture and Mother’s Day: the week ahead in Costa Rica In honor of Mother’s Day and in hopes of providing useful information to moms and families, The Tico Times is proud to share the first-person accounts of two of our writers who recently gave birth in Costa Rica. Here, freelancer Gabriela Díaz Musmanni recounts her experience at the Hospital CIMA in Escazú.I found out that I was pregnant last year while living in the town of Mysore in southern India. Although a dusty pregnancy test with a disturbingly vintage appearance offered a negative result, I felt pregnant, and a second, less disturbing- looking test confirmed it.Every pregnant couple is faced with the decision of where and how to give birth, and my partner and I had to start by choosing a country. We could have stayed in India, where medical care, like mostly everything else, was dirt cheap – we’re talking 3 USD for a visit to the gynecologist. However, the smells, sights and tastes of India, which normally filled me with awe, made me unbearably nauseous while pregnant, and after a first trimester of hurling at the mere mention of curry, I was desperate for some gallo pinto.Like sea turtles that navigate across oceans to lay their eggs in the exact same spot where they were born, and in spite of not having been born in Costa Rica, I knew that I wanted to give birth surrounded by familiar faces, in my mother tongue and in the country that I called home. My partner Marco fully supported my decision, and four countries later, we arrived in San José ready to nest and design our birth plan.Having heard wonders about the benefits of birthing tubs, we decided to explore this option. We found out that babies born in birthing tubs are apparently soothed by the warm water as they enter the world, which also relaxes the mother’s muscles and eases the pain of contractions. In Costa Rica, water births can happen at home, under the guidance of midwives and doulas, at birthing centers, or at CIMA Hospital in Escazú or Clínica Católica in San José. Dr. Adam Paer is famous for directing water births in Costa Rica, and after meeting this jolly, laid-back gynecologist at his office at Mediplaza in Escazú, we were game.We decided to go for CIMA because it was close to home and my medical insurance covered 80% of the costs, which for Costa Rica, and particularly when compared to India, are certainly not cheap.Right from the start, Dr. Paer was adamant that anything can happen at the moment of birth, so, as in life, it was far better not to stick rigidly to a plan. Water births could turn into C-sections, C-sections into natural births, contractions could disappear with a magical epidural shot.Although his words floated around in my head for the rest of our pregnancy, my partner and I are yogis and we were clear on one thing: we wanted our daughter to be born as naturally as possible. C-sections can be life-saving and are the only way to go in many cases, but we were alarmed to find out that most babies born at private hospitals in Costa Rica are delivered surgically. Why? Were perfectly healthy women being led to believe that this was their only option just to feed a money-making industry? I was ready to fight CIMA physically if it tried to force surgery on us unnecessarily.With the help of a doula named Ansu Coto who teaches a wonderful prenatal course, we crafted an exceedingly naturalistic birth plan that included many details, such as incense and candles, which were completely forgotten once we entered birth mode.At the end of week 41 of our pregnancy, our daughter, Isla, who cooperated by staying in the right position and remaining low-risk, decided it was time to make her entrance into the world. At 2:20 a.m. I realized that I had not been struck by the most excruciatingly painful diarrhea pains of my life, but that I was, in fact, finally having contractions.At around noon that day my family and I made our way to the hospital, and we were greeted by a team of nurses at the maternity ward. My partner gave them our birth plan and we informed them that we were having a water birth with Paer. Through tears of pain I believed I could see “C-section” written all over their faces. They led us to the privacy of our room, where I comfortably howled at my boyfriend every time I was struck by a contraction.  At some point I asked to be drugged because I couldn’t stand the pain. He reminded me that I could do it.Over the next few hours, until our daughter popped out at 5:30 p.m., the CIMA staff morphed from unwanted C-section-inducing enemies to some of the kindest, most helpful hospital staff I have encountered.They respected our natural preferences and seemed genuinely compassionate and caring. I was unable to have a water birth because I was fully dilated before Dr. Paer, who was busy tending to other births, could make it to our room to install the tub, so I just pushed. The nurses patiently told me how to push and as I tried several positions, they cheered us on and held my hand.Dr. Paer helped my boyfriend catch our daughter as soon as her body slid out of mine and after the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, Marco snipped it, just as we had envisioned. He placed Isla on my chest, and I experienced the greatest bliss of my life.Later, a nurse explained how to breastfeed and made sure that I could do it properly. Throughout the night we spent there, nurses on guard kept dropping by to make sure that Isla and I were all right.The next day a nurse explained how to give Isla a sponge bath and clean the piece of umbilical cord that dangled from her belly button. We were treated to a courtesy lunch that included pasta, wine and chocolate ice cream, and after our doctor gave us the go-ahead, we went to pay and go home. Our bill came to around 2,700 USD including doctors’ fees.Giving birth at CIMA exceeded my expectations. Our experience made me comfortable enough that if we choose to make a sibling for Isla, we will most likely attempt it at home.See also: Giving birth through Costa Rica’s public health care system Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Dear Jonathan Harris How The Tico Times shaped my life

first_imgIt’s August 2014: I’m two months out of high school, only 18 years old, with no idea of what I want to study and what I’ll do for the rest of my life. I learn through family members that you are the owner of a Costa Rican newspaper called The Tico Times. I’ve always been interested in journalism, and my aunt has constantly encouraged me to study it, but I’m not quite convinced. I decide to give it a try.I go to The Tico Times’ offices in Barrio Amón to an interview with Editor-in-Chief David Boddiger. To be honest, I’m quite nervous, but I get the feeling this will be an adventure. Mr. Boddiger assigns me to  journalist Fabiola Pomareda as my mentor. I tag along with her to the Supreme Elections Tribunal to cover a march held by transsexuals who were claiming their right to have the name they identify with put on their identification cards. People inside the building were staring at them and their peaceful protest.A few months later, for some strange and exciting reason, my first article is published on the date of my 19th birthday. It’s a double celebration for me that I’ll remember in the coming years.                                                                               ***These memories from three years ago were only the beginning of a journey I began without knowing what I was getting into, something much more bigger than I ever imagined. Jonathan: it all started with your simple gesture of providing me a job and an opportunity that exceeded all my expectations.You gave me a chance when all I had on my CV was high school, when I had no previous knowledge related to journalism. You gave me a job when I knew nothing at all, and trusted in what I was capable of becoming.That trust and belief towards my work transferred unconsciously to my interviews. When someone strongly believes in your work, whether it is the owner of the business or your direct boss, the job is easier to do, and you enjoy all its natural process in an inconceivable way.You also gave me the best boss who anyone can ask for. You gave me the great fortune to work alongside Katherine, who is a master in so many ways. She became a mentor, a teacher, and a friend with whom you’re always in constant learning.That continual education is an important aspect of my journey through The Tico Times. Due to this hunger for learning and curiosity about what others think and why they do the things that makes them feel alive, I made the decision after an year of working with The Tico Times to start studying journalism.You allowed me the opportunity that made me realize I had a hidden passion I did not know about. You made me realize that people always have a story to tell, and that there’s always a reason why they decide to choose a certain path to live their lives according to their principles and values.After these realizations, I understood that my mission in life is to sit down and speak with people of all sorts. To sit down and really listen to what they have to say and contribute to society, no matter what their socioeconomic background, country, family, school, university, company or community. I understood everyone has this unique individual power that contributes to society as a whole.I wouldn’t have understood that if I hadn’t joined The Tico Times family, because in the end, that’s what we are. The Tico Times is not only a newspaper whose journalistic work is incredibly important in our country. It’s also a family, and everyone who was part of it had an essential role.Thank you for making me part of a place in which learning became a habit and listening was the key to empowering others. Thank you for allowing me to have a dream job in which I’ve had the great fortune of speaking with world leaders, community activists, artists, musicians, photographers, actors, designers, educators, psychologists, sociologists, political figures, immigrants, architects, entrepreneurs, children, parents, and so much more.Thank you for allowing me to understand and perceive life in a whole new way.Thank you also for giving me the possibility of building great friendships through a job that became a lifestyle.                                                                              ***I’m now 21 years old, and life has changed quite a lot during these past three years. I’m sitting down to write a remembrance of you, perhaps the most difficult text that I’ll have to pen. Undeniably you’ll be missed here. Just as The Flatliners’ Eulogy song says: “You will always be remembered. You will be celebrated. You will never be forgotten.” Words aren’t enough to express my eternal gratitude. May you rest in peace and your legacy live forever.Death always forces us to reflect upon life, what we love and whom we love. As I recall from one of my favorite interviews from last year: “Death makes you act.” Right now, for me, that act is writing this letter that you’ll never read, which encourages me even more to continue with this journalistic adventure in honor of you. Thank you.Sincerely,Elizabeth Lang Facebook Comments Related posts:At 60, The Tico Times celebrates tradition — and reinvention The Tico Times Circulation Department and a lost newspaper way of life Remembering Jonathan Street harassment critic Gerardo Cruz dieslast_img read more

Oceangazing under the dome

first_imgWould you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to We’d love to see the sights with you. Related posts:Espressivo brings ‘Battlefield’ to National Theater for iconic building’s anniversary All together, boys U.S.-bound – and delighted Whatcha lookin’ at up there? Facebook Commentscenter_img Renowned Costa Rican pianist and composer Manuel Obregón, artist Carlos Hiller, underwater photographer Simón Bolivar, LUZ ART and the Children’s Museum in San José have joined forces to present a musical and visual experience in which underwater images are projected onto a giant dome. The images will take viewers beneath the waves of Isla Murciélago, Isla del Caño, Cabo Blanco, Cahuita and Puerto Vargas.Space is limited to 150 people for each show, which will be offered Oct. 19-21 and 26-29 at 8 pm each evening, in a space known as “El Barco” on the Children’s Museum grounds. Tickets are ¢8.000 (about $14) and are available on the museum webpage or at the Children’s Museum ticket office. More info at the Trance Submarino 360º Facebook page.last_img read more

Writing About Crypto And Blockchain With Author Finn Brunton

first_imgWith Finn Brunton, Author of Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created CryptocurrencyWhat is your background briefly?I have an MA from the European Graduate School, and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen. I’m primarily a historian of technology, and I teach in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?Strangely, yes! I started out working on knots and knotting — a primeval human technology, both for practical purposes and for records, memories, and communication. I’ve been working on technologies as media ever since, from the problem of spam on the internet and the web to theories of rational communication by radio bursts with alien life.What inspired you to write this book?My deeper interest has always been in how we think through things, literally — how we reason through technologies, and understand ourselves, our past and future, in terms of particular technologies and techniques. I’ve long wanted to write about money as a kind of information technology, and I’m fascinated by experimental and utopian subcultures and political projects.Personally I wrote a lot about blockchain, and what it could potentially do, long before I then got asked to advise cryptocurrency / ICO launches – what got you into this space?More than a decade ago I was investigating early micropayments systems, experiments with digital postage, and the work of David Chaum, and was waiting for the next step in that area. I encountered Bitcoin very early on in its existence, heard these echoes of previous projects, and wanted to understand how it came to be.Do you think it is such a powerful idea, if so why?It’s a mix of powerful ideas, many of which have been around for a long time — most importantly irrefutable distributed ledgers, on top of which you can build other things — combined with luck and circumstance: circulating as a project at the nadir of the global financial/credit crisis.We enjoyed your detours into the cypherpunks, the oddballs and everything else, it helped to provide a wider context for looking at cryptocurrencies, was this your intention? Or just because they were an interesting bunch?It was very much my intention to bring them to the centre. A lot of counterintuitive things about cryptocurrencies make more sense when we understand the particular social visions and theories of money shared and argued by the people who built the technologies from the start — from seeking financial alternatives to posthumanity!There seems to be a strong feeling that Satoshi N’ was perhaps 3 or 4 people, what are your thoughts on this?I have my theory, of course — not a widely shared one, I admit! — but I think it was a solo effort.Will the early / genises blocks be cashed in / would that destabilise bitcoin?I doubt that they will be cashed in or enter circulation in any more than small amounts — a big move would require some quick work to avoid major destabilization, just as if, say, Germany or the US decided to liquidate their gold reserves in a hurry.How can people find out more about you & your work?You can find links to all my books and other writing over at else you’d like to add / we should have asked?For readers abroad in California, we will be holding a book launch at the Internet Archive on June 25: You can find the Eventbrite page here. Hope to see you there!If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at or on Twitter: @SimonCockinglast_img read more

Five ways to make your website work for you and your business

first_imgLet’s be honest, how many businesses do you know who are successful and don’t have a website? No business aiming for success would dare to venture out without first securing a website, which has an address easy to remember. We offer you five ways to make your website work for both you and your business.– Cut it backPeople seem to use the expression ‘less is more’ in many aspects of life. In the case of a website, this is certainly true. If people are bombarded with information when they are searching for answers about your business and what it can offer them, they may leave instantly. Websites that are cluttered with far too many words appear unattractive and can be off-putting.– Consider your web host carefullyIf your web host isn’t working for you, are you able to look into a different one? All too many people complain about the dreamhost status stating it is down again, so why not choose an alternative? It’s always worth doing careful research and talking to likeminded business professionals to gather recommendations.– Update it regularlyIf you change aspects of your business, such as your opening hours, your prices, or even your workers, update your website to reflect this. There is nothing more frustrating than searching for the answers to a question and discovering that it hasn’t been updated for three years. Even more annoying when you turn up expecting the business to be open and the opening hours have changed.Writing a blog is another great way of providing your customers with regular updates. Not only that, but you are able to link to previous posts and other business’. Working together with local companies, provided they aren’t rivals, can be incredibly beneficial. Getting them to provide guest blog posts, and you reciprocating, means that you’ll likely get more traffic.– Link to social mediaMost businesses have a sound online presence via social media in addition to their website. Linking social media to the website itself, for example via a feed, is a great idea. As with point 3, it gives almost instant updates as it is much simpler to post announcements there in a rush than it is on your website. Having clickable icons linked to your various social accounts can increase your followers and numbers of likes.–  Clear calls to actionClever use of calls to action on your website are a great addition. Offering the visitors the chance to take part in a ‘free trial’ or subscribe to a free mailing list are great ways of increasing engagement and sparking interest in what you have to offer. Opting to have a banner is a common decision. Do make sure that whatever the call to action is links clearly to your website and the visitor’s desire. For example, if you have a blog post entitled ‘5 ways to get your car ready for the winter’ and the call to action is asking you to consider getting a free sample of anti-freeze screen wash, the two are linked and so it would be a good marketing ploy.last_img read more

What are surprise points

first_imgIf you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at or on Twitter: @SimonCocking With the Surprise application, you’re rewarded with Surprise points while you do your online shopping. But what are these points precisely?Surprise points: tokens of the Surprise consortiumThe Surprise points are in fact a fancy and more mainstream name for the tokens of our consortium. Surprise points are tokens on our network and they are the very first implementation of branded tokens!The Surprise points name is used for the application and in our communication for public and no- coiners. It is basically backed by the Satisfaction Token at 1 to 1 rate. As you may know, the Satisfaction Token is not heavily traded yet and in order to move forward before it is, we’ve decided to offer a fixed SAT/BTC rate within the Surprise application.1 Surprise point = 1 Satisfaction token at the momentAs you may have read on our last token post; our token has been distributed to the investors and there’s a total supply of 42,500,000 tokens. These tokens are the fuel for all the Surprise’s processes, and they are live on the network, transferable, tradable…Nowadays, the value of the Surprise points are pegged on Bitcoin to guarantee the best user experience as our token is not yet listed on exchanges. We’ll update you when this rule;dr The Surprise points are tokens on the blockchain that are used to reward customers. Each Surprise points is unique, it can be distributed by a network of more than 500 brands, exchanged with euros or any other currencies (including cryptocurrencies and branded tokens in the near future!).Crypto can be dangerous but Surprise points are free for users!Our token is freely distributed to customers when they do their online shopping with the Surprise application.We all know that cryptocurrencies can be a dangerous investment but what is dangerous when you didn’t invest anything and have some cryptos on your wallet? You can’t lose anything! It can just be a good surprise!For a novice user, Surprise points doesn’t require any knowledge or practice, it’s just an “item” that is shown in their application. In fact, they don’t even know that their balance is actually in tokens and not in €, $ or £. Their balance are updated seamlessly in their preferred currencies.Even if these Surprise points will have a free-market volatility and our token plummet to 0, a novice user will never lose anything as these points have been “airdropped” to his wallet after one of his purchase, that he would still have realized! It acts as a bonus. Furthermore, with these Surprise points, our “cashback” system become a new kind of loyalty reward:it’s a “tokensback” system.Surprise points are already a surprise in fact, it’s a gift from the Surprise application for buying things online within the consortium. The end users can never be disappointed with this system!What the history tells us?If you’re really that “crypto-addict” you’re trying to make everyone believe, I’m sure you know about these 2 pizzas bought in 2010More information about Irish Tech News and the Business ShowcaseFYI the ROI for you is => We now get over 1.5 million monthly views, and up to 900k monthly unique visitors, from over 160 countries. We have over 860,000 relevant followers on Twitter on our various accounts & were recently described as Ireland’s leading online tech news site and Ireland’s answer to TechCrunch, so we can offer you a good audience!Since introducing desktop notifications a short time ago, which notify readers directly in their browser of new articles being published, over 16000 people have now signed up to receive them ensuring they are instantly kept up to date on all our latest content. Desktop notifications offer a unique method of serving content directly to verified readers and bypass the issue of content getting lost in people’s crowded news feeds.Drop us a line if you want to be featured, guest post, suggest a possible interview, or just let us know what you would like to see more of in our future articles. We’re always open to new and interesting suggestions for informative and different articles. Contact us, by email, twitter or whatever social media works for you.Homelast_img read more