Archive for April, 2012

Personal safety measures while in a hotel

Thursday, April 26, 2012
posted by Laura

While traveling, concerns over the safety of your home are most likely to come to mind. Highly understandable, you could worry about the possibility of a break-in or a fire. These issues can be addressed by having a security system or a fire prevention system installed before you leave on your trip.

However, once on the road, you should shift the focus to your personal security. A lock on the door and a concierge at the front desk will definitely offer you protection, but there also are a few precautions you could take to increase your safety during travels.

For starters, bring only tech items that you are likely to need on your trip. Even if these items are popular, laptops, tablets, cameras and other devices such as smartphones are expensive and lusted-after. Moreover, someone leaving a hotel room with a laptop bag does not spark any suspicions, so take only items that you will use, leaves the ones you will not at home. If you need internet access, but don’t own a smartphone, you can still access your e-mail at the hotel’s business center or at an Internet café nearby.

The same goes for valuables. Items like jewelry or watches are relatively small in size and can be easily stolen. As previously advised, bring along only items that you will need and use and leave the ones you won’t at home.

Pack a doorstop or a “door alarm” with you next time you travel. Most hotel rooms are equipped with secure locks and door chains, but not all of them and this will help place extra security measures. You might also consider placing a chair or another item in front of the door and the window. This way, even if someone tries to break in, you’ll know it and the crook might be scared off by the noise altogether.

Placing the “Please make up room” sign on your door is a way of letting criminals know you are not in, so avoid using it. This sign can be easily turned to the side with the “Do Not Disturb” message, giving crooks all the time they need to work in peace and search the room for valuables. If you would like housekeeping to come to your room, phoning the front desk and asking for it is a much better and safer way to get it.

Before answering the door, make sure you use the peep-hole to see who is knocking. As a rule of thumb, you should not let people in unless you know who they are and also, it is not at all uncommon for criminals to pretend to be room service personnel or staff hotel. If you had not previously asked for something, call down security to check before answering the door.

One more thing you could do to increase personal safety while traveling is scout the hotel’s neighbourhood areas. As many tourists do not know their way around and show this, they become easy targets for criminals. This can all be avoided if you know where you can find nearby shops, services and stores.

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The internet and the movies

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
posted by Laura

One of the largest industries worldwide, the film industry is the main sources of entertainment for people worldwide. According to this, the international box office revenue in 2011 reached $32.6 billion dollars worldwide. Of this, $10.2 billion account for the U.S./Canada box office earnings. With over 40,000 movies screens across the United States, the motion picture and television industry employed in 2009 in America alone, 2.5 million people, supporting over 115,000 businesses. (source)

In 2011 alone, 221.2 million people in America and in Canada went to the movies at least once during that year. Undoubtedly, a great deal of us like the movies and we like to be entertained by watching actors play different characters and their stories, both in  motion picture and in television shows.

For the bigger part of our lives, we had been accustomed to go to the cinema to see a movie. Or anxiously wait for the tape or the DVD to come out to rent it or buy it, if we had missed the silver screen show-times. We’d browse the pages of magazines or TV guides to see what movies would come out next and available times.

Enter: the internet, along with other technological advances and we get to have the whole experience redesigned.

The magazines we used to check for upcoming movies have been replaced mainly by production companies’ websites and by our favorite online movie information resource, the Internet Movie Database – IMDB in short. Whatever curiosity we have a about a film – production costs, trivia or goofs, we can find it all here online. The website offers many great features such as trailers for both older and coming soon movies or available show-times in close locations for films that are currently in theaters.

Besides this, given the rise of laptops and tablets, we can enjoy the movie without being bound to a TV set or a monitor.

While renting and watching at home was comfortable enough for that time, current streaming services improve the experience by eliminating the trip to the rental store. With more people using this, video streaming has become dominant in the past year.

For 2012, the number of movies viewed on the Internet will surpass the one from all other physical formats viewings combined. That’s 3.4 billion online views versus 2.4 billion disk views and 94% of the online video market is represented by online streaming services offering subscriptions.

As shown here, more people prefer to watch their favorite actors on the Internet to buying digital copies and this is confirmed by the number of streaming services subscribers. Netflix currently has over 24 million subscribers, Amazon Prime – 10 and Hulu Plus is growing with more than 1,5 million viewers.

However, there is one major downside to this and that is the increase in piracy.  In 2011, together, three movies – the Handover Par II, Fast Five and Thor were downloaded illegally more than 25 million times. Like the author of this article does, we can’t help but wonder: will the DVD share the same fate as the VHS tapes did?

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