The future of apps and how they are changing the world

Significant advancements in technology have revolutionised the way in which the everyday person is able to function on a daily basis, with mobile and tablet handsets becoming the most sought-after gadgets on the market. Their ability to provide a multitude of functions continues to push boundaries to new realms, with leading electronic manufacturers looking for new ways in which to not only improve their models, but also provide users with greater means to enhance their quality of life.

Faster processing speeds and upgraded screen resolutions are just some of the ways that the latest smartphones provide quantity and quality for the worldwide consumer, but the availability of an estimated 1.6 million downloadable apps is where the ability to personalise a device to suit the user’s specific needs and preference comes into effect. Apps are designed to provide a vast number of functions through a single source, but more importantly create the opportunity for users to actively hold a device that caters for their day-to-day schedule. From document writing software and planners, to restaurant reviews and games, mobile phones and tablets practically transform into miniaturised computers that can be utilised anywhere and at any time necessary. The download market, which covers a plethora of genres, is accompanied by the ability to access internet whilst on the go in WiFi connection areas; this only adds to the overwhelming number of capabilities that mobile and tablet users have at their disposal. Accessing Coral’s live casino site and shopping online are to name just two things that are now possible through technology that incorporates all the necessary details, such as graphics and banking options, into a downloadable app or compatible website that works across a number of devices to transform many aspects of how we live our lives.

The sizeable level of technological advancements continue to make the impossible possible, with the ability to control home-installed boilers and lighting systems at the touch of a button through an app controlled by WiFi signals whilst out of the house the latest innovative function available on the market. Modern day technology has the power to transform how people are able to enjoy recreational, personal and occupational activities, with finding similar people in the hope of forming a relationship something that has been made easier thanks to apps. The traditional forms of meeting people, such as in a nightclub or at the workplace, still apply today, but dating apps make it easy to search for compatible men or women at the touch of a screen; Tinder and Match.com are prime examples of apps that allow users to look through hundreds of single people without having to meet them in person first with the hope of finding a soul mate. Face-to-face interaction remains a great way for people to develop a connection, but dating apps are perfect for those who have limited social time or may feel uncomfortable to meet people at first, with profiles providing sufficient detail to gain an insight into each member’s personality to discover if there is a mutual match.

Technology has the power to transform an entire industry, with gambling now more accessible than ever before. This is illustrated through the ‘poker boom’ between 2003 and 2006 in which poker became a global phenomenon thanks to its transition from the casino floor to the internet. Its leap onto mobile and tablet handsets through apps became inevitable as the industry continued to grow, with casino games now available through interactive apps that recreate the feeling of playing in Monaco or Las Vegas. Cutting out the effort of travelling to a land-based casino is just one of the many perks that Coral and many other companies provide with their app, with the ability to sit down and enjoy a few hands of cards or roulette spins during long commutes, breaks at work or whilst having spare time at home allowing those who enjoy gaming to do so at their own leisurely convenience.

Many apps are created to provide entertainment and fun for people to enjoy during their own private time, but there are others that are based upon the premise of providing advice and guiding people who download them. Staying fit and enjoying a healthy diet has become all the rage in recent years, with concerns over rising obesity levels and health threats creating a social wave of those willing to help people who want to make changes in their life. Exercise is part and parcel of any healthy lifestyle, but although gyms and sports centres provide the facilities for people to enjoy a cardiovascular workout and lift weights, there are people who prefer to do so outdoors or in their own home. Strava is a prime example of an app that tracks progress via GPS signals during every walk, jog or cycle ride, with the distance and total of calorie burned calculated accurately to allow people to not only see the benefit of their routine, but also track the progress they make towards their own personal goals. There are also other apps such as Fitocracy which essentially acts as a personal trainer, with hundreds of suggested workout regimes which demonstrate how to carry out each exercise and the benefits that come with it being of great help to those who may need motivation or an element of guidance. Having these apps provides people with all the information they need at the touch of a screen and helps people to enhance their quality of life by enjoying an easy-to-access service that would otherwise require a person to walk into the gym and sign up for an induction or workout plan with a qualified trainer.

California tourism on the rise

Travelers to the Golden State collectively spent more than $122 billion in 2015, proving the travel and tourism industry is continuing to propel California’s economy forward.

An annual economic impact report released by Visit California, a nonprofit statewide organization that promotes California on behalf of the state’s tourism industry, shows that direct visitor spending increased 3.4 percent from 2014, as tourism’s economic engine continues to benefit all Californians by generating more than 1 million jobs and significant tax revenue in all counties across the state.

“The power of tourism to improve quality of life in California is evident from this report,” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. “The ripple effect from a sixth consecutive record year of tourism is driving economic development and community benefits across the state.”

Tourism spending spurred $9.9 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2015, empowering local governments to invest in infrastructure improvements and innovative projects that provide cultural and civic amenities for residents and visitors alike. An analysis of data compiled by Dodge Market Research report found that from 2006 to 2015 new building and renovation projects in California related to tourism reached $20 billion, with an average of $2 billion in infrastructure investments per year. This includes airport modernizations, new dining, entertainment and retail districts and other cultural and civic amenities that benefit visitors and residents alike.

Visit California’s report includes the economic benefits of leading tourism sectors such as hotels, rental cars and retail as well as the statewide and county-by-county benefits. Out of California’s 58 counties, 51 saw an increase in direct travel spending compared to 2014, including:

Fresno: $1.41 billion in traveler spending, up from $1.38 billion (1.8 percent increase)
Los Angeles: $25.88 billion in traveler spending, up from $25.23 billion (2.6 percent increase)
Monterey: $2.71 billion in traveler spending, up from $2.59 billion (4.5 percent increase)
Sacramento: $3.63 billion in traveler spending, up from $3.45 billion (5.3 percent increase)
San Diego: $15.4 billion in traveler spending, up from $14.8 billion (4 percent increase)
San Francisco: $14.29 billion in traveler spending, up from $13.91 billion (2.9 percent increase)
Santa Barbara: $2.06 billion in traveler spending, up from $2.01 billion (2.7 percent increase)
Shasta County: $421.4 million in traveler spending, up from $416 million (1.3 percent increase)

“While California’s natural allure is undeniable, a statewide marketing campaign is necessary to ensure the Golden State remains a top visitor destination globally and that the benefits we have seen over the past several years continue to grow,” Beteta said.

Tourism’s economic benefits are possible because of Visit California’s successful global marketing campaigns that reach target domestic and international visitors.

The release of the new economic impact report is part of Visit California’s celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. Throughout this week, destinations across the state will join communities across the nation to hold events that communicate and celebrate the importance of sustaining the travel industry.

“National Travel and Tourism Week is an important reminder of how travel and tourism touches everyone, and the importance of continuing to highlight our state as a premier travel destination,” Beteta said. “The new report reinforces the importance of reaching potential visitors with an invitation to Dream Big in California.”

This post is sponsored by Visit California, however the opinions are of the author.

The world’s first test facility for thrills and excitement

Back in the 90s, Baz Luhrmann released a track called ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’. The song includes some of the most reasonable, motivating and thought provoking lines ever to be featured in a song. One of which, stuck in my head for years, and still to this day crops up every now and again…

“Do one thing, everyday, that scares you”.

Until now there hasn’t really been a reason for it, and why would you want to scare yourself everyday?

Well it seems that many of us men in the UK between 18 and 35 are actually bored the vast majority of the time. According to premium online casino Maria Casino, almost 50% of men in that age group in the UK are bored, even when they factored in TV, mobile phones and the endless resource of information and entertainment available on the internet.

50 % of men apparently feel bored
50 % of men apparently feel bored

With that information in mind, their mission was to turn boredom, into thrill. The first part of the mission was to actually figure out what boredom is. In order to solve something so complicated, much like everything in life, you must understand it, on some level or other.

A thrill can be placed down to a simple human response to stress, and the best way to experience a short-term thrill is to enter the body into state of fight or flight, which then allows you to adapt and overcome.

The next step for the team at the casino was to find out the most effective way of putting the human body and mind into that particular state, at any given time. So what better way to do it, than create the world’s first test facility for thrills.

Patrick Bateman enjoys some bugs down his top during an experiment
Patrick Bateman enjoys some bugs down his top during an experiment

They placed four test subjects in a very scary looking warehouse, and wired them up to measure their total increase in respiration, blood pressure and heart rate during a variety of extremely stressful experiments.

It was expected that the highest point of stress would be during one of the tests, especially with spiders crawling up their legs and a cannon shooting flour into their faces. This did work, however there was actually something that caused the measured rates to go higher than anything else. You can watch the video below to find out what happened:

If you didn’t watch the video then you won’t have seen that it’s the actual waiting around that raised everything to the highest level. The anticipation of the event became the most intense and thrilling part of the experiments.

So for the 50% of you that’s bored the majority of the time, why not test your nerves and see if you can handle the anticipation and thrill of putting yourself in a high-pressure situation such as a roll of a dice, or a pair of aces in your (digital)hand.

Remember to gamble responsibly, and be aware of what your bank balance will look like if you’re not approaching it correctly. If you need help, advice, or need to look into further detail about spending money in an online casino, you can go to the GambleAware site.

This post is sponsored by Maria Casino, however the opinions are of the author.

Brexit’s potential impact on the music industry

If you’re confused and overwhelmed with all the EU referendum stuff at the moment, you’re not alone. There’s so much information to take in and consider. It could have a huge impact on pretty much everything here in the UK, including the music industry. One company has just revealed research into how Brexit could affect the music industry in the UK, and it’s pretty scary, not just for the artists, but for us too.

If we left the EU, major aspects of the industry will be affected, including working visas, tax paid on records and merchandise, the touring ability of smaller acts, travel costs, and British fans being able to attend concerts in Europe.

Artists travelling to the UK do require a work permit, however UK band’s don’t need a working visa to perform in an EU country. If we left, they would need one, which could potentially place a huge barrier up for many artists during their touring schedule, meaning less gigs and some of your favourite artists not playing the usual venues.

Records and merchandise purchased online could increase in cost, as you currently don’t have to pay VAT or customs duty on imports and exports within the EU. If we left, that’d change. Even digital downloads would require the VAT registration for the artists in every EU country.

Smaller bands will be affected the most as the majority of their money is made during tours, selling merchandise and gaining exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential new fans during European festivals. Promoters from around the world will be less inclined to book acts as there’s additional costs, paperwork and general work involved.

Non-EU artists will have to purchase a Schengen visa that costs between £45-50 depending on the current exchange rate. This may not seem like a massive amount, but if you factor in the driver, tour manager, sound engineer or however many different people involved in the tour, the end result is a massive cost that just wasn’t there prior to Brexit.

For all the fans, it’s sad news as the costs of pretty much everything involved in seeing an artist abroad will increase in so many different ways. Flights for example are currently cheaper and more regular due to our EU-US open skies regulations, as well as free health care access, financial protection, caps on mobile phone charges and compensation for delayed flights that are included within the EU membership.

This is a brief overview of what impact Brexit could have on the music industry, and it doesn’t look like a positive one. Do you think we should leave? And what further knock-on effects do you think this may have on travelling artists and fans? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you’re still getting to grips with the whole thing then check out the BBC’s easy-to-follow breakdown of the referendum here.

The biggest birthday celebration on earth

What if you could celebrate your birthday alongside your best mate or partner in one of the coolest cities in the world. Not only that, but be treated like royalty, flown to another country, party on a boat, given free booze and have a live DJ performance on the top of a tower, just for you. An amazing prospect right? Well that’s exactly what happened when KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Heineken arranged for four lucky people to take part in The Orange Experience 2016.

This isn’t the first time these two companies have joined forces to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a group of lucky people. Last year they gave five people an epic experience after they answered yes to a random question once they had ordered at the bar. Sometimes it’s good to take yourself out of your comfort zone and say yes to things you normally wouldn’t, which in this case, ended very well for them!

The Orange Experience KLM Heineken Sponsored Amsterdam Birthday

This time though, the unassuming adventurers were nominated by a friend or partner to go and celebrate their birthday in Holland for King’s Day, just as long as they shared the same birthday as the Dutch King, which is the 27th of April. These guys had the luck of the draw since the day they were born, literally.

King’s Day is one of Holland’s best kept secrets, and is one of the most amazing national events of the year. It’s the celebration of the King’s birthday and is a huge celebration and display of national pride in the Netherlands. Also known as Oranjegekte or Orange Madness, everyone involved dresses up in orange, and has endless amounts of fun throughout the day and well into the night. Canal boats, streets and pretty much everything in sight is covered in orange – it’s truly an eye-opening spectacle to behold and the perfect event to create the biggest birthday celebration on earth.

The biggest birthday celebration on earth

The winners were handpicked by KLM and Heineken, and then visited in their cities of Beijing, Rio, San Francisco and London much to their surprise with an invitation to celebrate their birthday with VIP access to one of the biggest events in Holland. They were then whisked away to the airport with the announcement of their destination, stopping by just once to pick up a bag!

Arriving in Amsterdam with King’s Day celebrations in full swing, the winners enjoyed a Royal Experience in Soestdijk Palace and traditional Dutch King’s Day games before boarding a boat for a Royal Birthday party.

To finish an amazing experience they were taken to The A’dam tower for an exclusive party with world famous DJ Martin Garrix. Not a bad birthday right? Watch the video below and see all the events unfold as four lucky winners get a birthday experience like no other:

With its combination of world class culture, entertainment and history, Amsterdam is an absolute must for travellers everywhere. And, as KLM and Heineken proved, there’s no better time to visit than King’s Day.

This post is sponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Heineken.

Here Are Some Cats Who Prove Why They Aren’t Considered Man’s Best Friend.

Sorry, checking all the water in this area; there’s an escaped fish. *Insistently* Bow ties are cool! Come on Amy, I’m a normal bloke, tell me what normal blokes do! Did I mention we have comfy chairs? Father Christmas. Santa Claus. Or as I’ve always known him: Jeff. Saving the world with meals on wheels. Annihilate? No. No violence. I won’t stand for it. Not now, not ever, do you understand me?! I’m the Doctor, the Oncoming Storm – and you basically meant beat them in a football match, didn’t you?

Vincent and the Doctor

*Insistently* Bow ties are cool! Come on Amy, I’m a normal bloke, tell me what normal blokes do! You know how I sometimes have really brilliant ideas? You hate me; you want to kill me! Well, go on! Kill me! KILL ME!

  • You’ve swallowed a planet!
  • The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things.…hey.…the good things don’t always soften the bad things; but vice-versa the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
  • The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things.…hey.…the good things don’t always soften the bad things; but vice-versa the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
  • No… It’s a thing; it’s like a plan, but with more greatness.