The Perfect World

In a perfect world, I would have written tons of posts between my last post, and this one, but I didn’t. Fuck that, the world is far from perfect, but you have to make it as good as you can, don’t you agree? I think I finally ended on the right track, after looking around to find my way. For one, I am going to the gym so frequently that my body is starting to change, but more about that later. Business wise I seem to have my things going the way they should. I can basically do what I want, and by the first of September one of my dreams will come through, but more about that later as well.

27 inch iMac Core i7
My New Set-up - 27 inch iMac Core i7

First, you should know that I have been using my brand new 27 inch iMac Core i7 for quite some time already, and I love every bit of it. Every time I have to turn on my old PC to transfer some files or so, I experience the difference in first person. Boy o boy, do Windows machines suck! I also installed Parallels to be able to use my former Windows applications, as in the past I have acquired many (useful and, oh well… not so useful) licenses to different kinds of software. This is a superb tool which enables you to run Windows programs in your OSX environment. It also gives me the opportunity to test my sites in Internet Explorer, which most of us Internet entrepreneurs know can cause a lot of problems.

Best of everything is my new Mac’s speed. I can run as many pieces of software simultaneously as I wish. Starting up a new application happens in just a heart beat, and you can even automate all kinds of processes. For instance, I needed to convert tons of GIF files into PNG’s – all I had to do is creating a workflow using Automator, and I was ready within a minute! The more and more I get used to working with OSX, the more efficient I become. It was an incredible investment, money wise, but it’s been all worth it up to now. My new iMac is the perfect computer, no discussion possible!

So, my world has become pretty close to perfect, although it doesn’t look that I am going to make my goal to become a Super Affiliate, which I set 5 months ago. Last week I felt totally different, as I was climbing high up the ladder, without the end in reach, but this week Google deployed Caffeine over all their data centers, and since the world wide release of it, I have dropped about 30% in unique visitors. Imagine this crap happening after hitting one of my most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for ranking with a specific phrase. I’m sure that Stickyeyes will help me to get back on track, but at this moment my investment (which is quite a sum all together) seems to have vanished.

Even if the world would be perfect, it would still suck if your body isn’t in a perfect condition. Perfect makes perfect! Health, physical strength, and fuck it, the shape of my body, have become one of my top priorities. I didn’t give up going to the gym, in fact, I am even going more frequently than when began. I estimate that I am averaging five times per week, including some occasional physio sessions at the gym across the street to work specifically on my back problems. I now have been working out 13 weeks in a row. A little bit of math tells you that I’ve been going to the gym 65 times. I managed to lose 2-3 kg, which might seem too much to you, but take in account the muscleman I’ve become and you can understand I must have lost a tremendous amount of fat, especially around the belly! Honestly, I never imagined myself becoming a gym junkie, but I did and I love it, and now even Lydia, my girlfriend, has become one. While she currently works out three times per week to get her pre-pregnancy shape back, I’ll continue to work on my six pack, and we’ll definitely form the perfect couple this summer! Say bye-bye to David and Victoria, ’cause here come Giorgio and Lydia!

Supplements

BSN NO-XplodeYesterday I have placed an order at Bodybuilding.com for a new shipload of supplements. The $183.52 are well spent on 5 Lbs of Optimum 100% Whey Protein, 2.25 Lbs BSN NO-Xplode creatine, 40 packs Universal Animal Cuts (a fat burner to cheat away the remainders of my love handles), and 200 caps of Multi Pro 32X vitamins to complete. Until now I was using supplements which I got from a local fitness and health store, but IMO these seemed a bit overpriced. I also switched from Kre-Alkalyn to NO-Xplode creatine, as I didn’t really notice an increase in strength while using Kre-Alkalyn.

I will try to post the results of my new supplements, but for those of you who don’t know Jack about it, let me describe them to you first:

  • Whey Protein – Helps the basic building of muscles. I use this 3 times a day – mornings, post workout, and before going to bed. It’s powder to be mixed with (preferably skimmed) milk to be consumed as a shake.
  • Creatine – Helps with increasing of muscle mass and explosive power, hence more reps and weight. Until now I was using Kre-Alkalyn, but am switching to NO-Xplode to see if I will notice any difference. I plan to use this supplement for a period of 12 weeks and will consume it about an hour before working out.
  • Fat Burner – I simply hate cardio, and only do it to warm up my body and loosen up my muscles. After 13 weeks I clearly have lost a lot of fat, but the summer is nearing and yes, I want to show off my six pack! Animal Cuts should help me get quicker results. People on Bodybuilding.com have rated this a 7.8, and from what I’ve heard you really get pomped up from this shit – so we’ll see.
  • Vitamins – Working out or not, no matter what you do, using vitamin supplements will help your body to become more resistant.

Let me tell you one thing: Before I finally decided to start working out, I used to be sick all the time – say one time every two weeks. In the past 13 weeks, I have been sick just once. After the whole family has been sick, I couldn’t avoid it – but I was back on my feet after just one day! See why my world is nearing perfection?

Business News

Okay, so my biggest announcement has yet to come. I already mentioned the gym across the street, right? This place is literary across the street, not even a 10 seconds walk from our front door! I can even see people sweating from my in-house office. Dang, I can even see if the chicks working out are nice looking or butt-ugly!

Anyway, once about every week I have a physio session to work on my back problems, and during one of these sessions I ended up in a conversation with my therapist about the things I’m doing for a living. One thing leads to the other, and before you knew it, a few days I was talking to the landlord about renting an office in the same building. Guess what, I was lucky and one’s becoming available coming September. I can’t be more happier, renting an office space so close to the place I live that I can probably use the same WiFi connection.

The space is about 60 square meters (approximately 200 square feet) and can easily store 2-3 persons. Time for growth baby!

In the mean time I will have to start saving for the interior and supplies, because I really want to make my office the place to be! One of the things on my wish list is a Herman Miller Aeron chair. I want this chair so badly, and had the opportunity to win one in this years’ PAL NCAA Bracket Contest, but unfortunately my bracket didn’t do very well. Next to the Aeron chair, I want a big-ass plasma screen on the wall. Since I primary work by myself, it can get awfully quiet sometimes – so I want to be able to come to work, turn on the TV and have a NBA game playing in the background. Furthermore I NEED to have a Nespresso machine (really can’t live without it at home, so I need another one). Last but not least I will get a pretty dang good security system – probably one connected to some kind of security firm.

What more has been cooking?

In one of my first posts you could read that I promoted in Hattrick. Well, my stay in the 6th division didn’t last for very long, as I ended in the final position and degraded back to the 7th. I am now facing a couple of teams with similar strength, and have to start thinking of renewing some of my players as well, as they are getting a tad bit too old to keep performing well. Nevertheless, I was able to pull a couple of great youth players in a row, which I either sold or added to my selection. I am thinking to replace my trainer, but have to save up some more money to be able to acquire a good one.

World Cup Betting Guide
Logo for Cancelled World Cup Betting Site

Furthermore, I have been wasting a few days in creating a new site, but I already pulled the plug as it was too much of a risk to fail. The site would have been a sports book related portal targeting the 2010 World Cup Football in South Africa. After consulting with an expert in the field of sports betting I finally decided that I’d better concentrate on something different – which you will soon be able to read more about.

It’s a perfect world afterall, but seriously time to stop blogging now and get some sleep, as the sun (<- sons) will rise early tomorrow morning. Speak soon, and don’t forget, if you ever want to chat, either business, about working out or casual, you know where to find me!

I Ordered a New Mac

Even though I have been ranting about Apple products in one of my previous posts, I am still a big fan of their products. I happened to have some bad luck… so what! And now that my four year old PC has started to give up on me lately, I’ve decided that it’s time to replace it with the best possible I can get.

So yesterday morning I left the house. First, I had to run by my dad’s house to take care of his mail, as he’s spending the cold winter times in BsAs Argentina. Once I was done, I drove to MacMe, our local Apple store. Oh boy, I was just as excited like a little boy getting a brand new toy! Since I had to wait another 15 minutes before they opened up, I headed to a coffee shop nearby called Kaldi, for a double shot espresso and some cake (and yes, I’ll work out extra hard to get rid of those dang calories). Nearly half an hour later I finished my coffee, my cake and reading the paper, and walked back to MacMe.

27 inch iMac Core i7
27 inch iMac Core i7

With a budget of €2,000 in mind, it didn’t took me long to decide what to get. I already mentioned it, only the best would qualify, and 10 minutes later I was ready ordering a 27 inch iMac Core i7, which is tested and crowned as the fasted stock Mac model ever. I well exceeded my budget with €400, because I added Apple’s Care Plan for 3 years (no surprises this time), as well as some additional software, but alas…

Unfortunately I have to wait another two to four weeks before my baby arrives, and I can finally say farewell to PC’s for good. My new Mac will surely benefit my efficiency while I’m working.

What’s the iMac Core i7 all about? Good question, I even called MacMe this morning to find out myself, as I had no clue what I bought for my hard earned €2,400 (approx $3,200).  First of, it’s a Quad Core processor featuring a new technology called Turbo Boost. Secondly, the i7 Core features a technology called Hyper Threading. Technically it’s really a complicated thing, butin a few words it comes down to this: it’s lightning fast and can handle tons of apps at the same time!

When it arrives, I will create a dream set-up that includes my iiyama ProLite E2607WS (26 inch screen), the iMac 27 inch, and hopefully soon the Herman Miller Aeron chair which I hope to win in Poker Affiliate Listings’ NCAA Bracket Contest. I know the competition is fierce, but with a little help from Terry I know I have a more than decent shot to win!

The count down has started…

It’s Been a While

… 39 days to be more precisely. Many things have happened in between my last post and this one. Oh first of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Where have I been? Actually nowhere, but I just didn’t feel like blogging. I really don’t feel like it now either, but alas… I owe you one.

So let’s start where we left off, my Apple Sucks post. You won’t believe what happened after I’ve written that post. As you could have read, my girlfriend’s MacBook was having all sorts of problems, so we were planning to drop everything off at MacMe, our local Apple dealer.

In the Dutch language we have a saying that sounds as follows: “Van uitstel komt afstel.” I’m not sure if there’s a comparable saying in the English language, but it translates to something like this: “To delay is to cancel.” Now, this saying relates to us bringing her MacBook, as well as my Time Capsule to the store to have them fixed. We didn’t, and then the following happened.

Something like three weeks ago, Lydia was working on her MacBook at the dining table. I was working upstairs as usual, until she called me to come down immediately because her MacBook made funny noises, and it didn’t want to boot after she restarted OSX. It was definitely a familiar sound. I couldn’t be wrong, it couldn’t be anything else than a failing Hard Drive. Dammit, I hate that sound!

This meant that at this point we didn’t have access to her data any longer, including thousands of family and vacation photos. Even worse, the Time Capsule containing the back-ups also died, remember?

A week earlier, Lydia went to MacMe to see what they could do for us, for our broken Time Capsule, and her broken keyboard. At the moment they were really helpful and offered us to extend the warranty period, so we could get a new Time Capsule. Great!!! This was still possible because our Time Capsule died before it turned 2.

But it got even worse, much worse. As the Hard Drive in Lydia’s MacBook completely died, we brought everything in for reparation. Then the phone rang. Her HD was not accessible anymore, it was deader than dead! The only thing left they could do was ripping the Time Capsule apart, getting the Hard Drive out, placing it into a external storage case, so at least we didn’t lose our data. But, this meant that we would lose the option to extend warranty and get a new Time Capsule.

Mauro and Dante
Mauro and Dante, our boys

It was no matter of discussion. We just wanted our data back, more specifically the pictures of our two beautiful boys; Mauro and Dante. And that’s exactly what they did.

I can’t be more sad about our bad luck, but I have to say that I am really happy about how MacMe helped us out. In the end, they didn’t make us pay for L’s new keyboard, as well as for the research and repair. We only had to pay the hardware, i.e. a new 5Gb Hard Drive and the external storage case. Just €238.95, yet we still have to buy a new Time Capsule.

Now, that’s is superb customer service! Something you won’t frequently see at a regular mega/computer store.

All that’s well, ends well. So, I’m currently planning to buy the 27 inch iMac computer. I just want this sucker to replace my slow as hell PC. These babies don’t only look  good, you can run Windows just as easy on a Mac these days, so who needs a PC. Who was talking about alternatives again?! Apple is awesome! (Until it breaks down.)

What more has been cooking?

I have been playing some online poker (and have been losing some), so I self-excluded myself from playing and save myself some money, but more importantly time and frustration. I still believe I have the required skills to beat the damn game, but I’m just the unluckiest player in the world! (And don’t you dare to call it variance!)

In the affiliate business, PokerStars Partners has been fucking with affiliates. I’d say screw those bastards! I already have put them in final positions and am seriously considering to completely remove them from all my sites. Their numbers are totally ridiculous! Seriously, my advice if you’re considering them: stay away from them and team up with Full Tilt Affiliates for your US traffic.

I didn’t go to the London Affiliate Conference past weekend. Firstly I was planning to go, especially because I’ve never been to London before, but I had no valid reason business wise of being there. Since I’m not a super affiliate yet, I don’t feel like making all kinds of promises to my partners. I rather wait until the moment I can show them some real numbers, and sit and talk then. Stickyeyes is helping me out to make it happen and we’re now seeing some progress.

Last but not least, my dad left for the heat in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was planning to pay him a (surprise) visit, but it’s just too complicated leaving a family back home when mommy has to work. He will surely enjoy his stay in BSAS without me.

Time to call it an end. I’ll try to write my next post sooner.

So long!

Apple Sucks!

Apple SucksHey, that’s a strange title for an avid and long time Apple user! But I’ve completely had it with Apple products. They look great, they’re ease of use… but their life time is simply ridiculously short. Let me briefly describe to you how I came to the conclusion that Apple products suck.

I bought my first Apple product, a 15″ Mac PowerBook G4, a little over four years ago, when Apple was nothing compared to what it has become to date. The large crowd didn’t use these higher priced notebooks yet. I’m still using the same Mac, but had some significant problems with it over time.

The first problem was actually one that Apple handled really well, when they recalled all batteries for replacement due to a safety risk. My second problem however was one of large scale, as my hard drive crashed. I tried several recovery programs, but gave up after trying for a few days. I finally accepted the fact that I lost all my files, including irreplaceable photos and movies, and replaced the hard drive with a new one. Besides the frustration, the repair also turned out to be quite expensive.

Apple Time Capsule
Apple Time Capsule

Because I never wanted to experience such a situation again, I decided to invest some money and bought a 500Gb Apple Time Capsule, which is a storage device that makes backups on the fly combined with a wireless network router. The perfect solution!

In the mean time, we bought more and more Apple products, including an 8Gb iPod touch which we hardly use. My girlfriend, just as brand minded as I am, also bought a her first Apple computer, a 13″ MacBook. We even convinced my dad, who was 75 years old at the time, to buy a MacBook, and so he did. My dad is a renown tango DJ, but that’s a whole different story that I’ll surely cover in one of my future posts.

My girlfriend’s MacBook started to act up really soon after she bought it. First her keyboard failed working properly, but luckily it was replaced by the local Apple dealer for free, as it happened within warranty. When we returned home from our family vacation to Mallorca, she tried turning her MacBook on, but apparently her battery died. The reason they gave us was that “it sometimes happens when batteries are completely discharged”. New batteries cost about 10% of a new MacBook, hence we didn’t buy a new one yet, as buying a new MacBook might be a much better choice.

Not long thereafter, a few keys of her keyboard stopped working. Besides these hardware failures, the plastic of her MacBook began to crumble off. After googling this on the web we found out that it’s a common thing that more MacBook owners are experiencing.

Two weeks ago, something bad happened again. It was a Monday morning, my girlfriend went to work, and I sat down in my in-house office to begin my daily routine, when I noticed that the WiFi network was down, I went downstairs to check on the Time Capsule, and it turned out to be completely dead. Since I had a huge todo-list, I decided to use the wired network instead, and started working.

Up to this morning, I didn’t pay too much attention to it, as the occasion didn’t occur, but somehow this morning I felt like searching for more information about dead Time Capsules. It turned out that tons of other Apple Time Capsule owners ended up with the same problem.  From one to another website, I stumbled upon the Apple Time Capsule Memorial Register.

Dead Time Capsule

The Memorial Register for Time Capsules is a website where owners can register their dead Time Capsule. It turns out that the 1562 registered Time Capsules had an average life span of approximately 18 months. Hmm, I bought mine in April of 2008… and that is really close to average!

After doing some more research, it appears that more Apple products seem to die after approximately 18 months. Weird stuff! The worst part, Apple ignores there is a problem at all, and owners of dead Apple products are left behind neglected.

Until today, despite the problems I’ve encountered, I used to be a big fan of Apple products. For one, I love the iPhone, and there’s really nothing close to an iPod either! But from now on I’ll resist being part of the Apple hype and go with the flow. Many Apple owners I happen to know have one thing in common, they don’t dare to admit that Apple sucks, because to them there are no alternatives.

Anyway, coming Monday I will pay a visit to the local Apple dealer in person and see what they’ve got to say about it. If it can be fixed, I guess I’ll have to convert my Time Capsule it into a really handsome gift-box.

Would I buy another Mac again? Probably so…