Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Random Thoughts from My First Game & Watch

What is Game & Watch? It is the predecessor of Game Boy. Some people may play it before; whereas, others may not know what it looks like.

My first Game & Watch
(Image from

It was Parachute, released on the 19th of July, 1981. The player presses left and right buttons to steer the boat so that every parachute can land on it. A life will be lost if one parachute falls into the sea.

The game is simple enough, but it’s still exciting when the falling speed accelerates. It’s easy to game over.

Characteristics of Game & Watch

The handheld electronics game is small and portable. The display, controls and speaker are all in one unit. Each unit has one game installed.

Not much thinking is required as the setting is fixed and actions are standardized. All you need to do is focus on the screen, and be swiftly with your eyes and hands

The enjoyment is personal and subjective. For kids nowadays, maybe they will find Game & Watch too humdrum and not challenging enough. But when it was the first electronics game that we ever had, it stirred up excitement and fun for the old kids in their childhood.

Developments of Game & Watch:

Same as many commodities, Game & Watch underwent a series of development before meeting its oblivion. From 1980 to 1991, Nintendo released a line of handheld electronic games for Game & Watch. The first game is Ball, released on the 28th of April, 1980. Other than the variety of games, Game & Watch has different versions as well:

Silver (1980)
Gold (1981)
Multi Screen (1982–1989)
Tabletop (1983)
Panorama (1983–1984)
New Wide Screen (1982–1991)
Super Color (1984)
Micro vs. System (1984)
Crystal Screen (1986)
Mini Classics (1998)

My Random Thoughts:

1)    Technology advanced in a staggering speed. My first Game & Watch used to entertain both children and adults tremendously, but now it may only work on the youngest children who are beginners of any electronics game. They may find it boring within a short period of time.

2)    Children nowadays have more choices on electronics games, for both hardware and software. Are they happier and more blessed with the more advanced gaming?

3)    In the old days, people might enjoy their Game & Watch frequently, but we did not hear over-addictive cases that caused tragedy. Now, we hear fatal cases in relation to electronics games more often, and could be stunned by the details. So, is technology advancement a friend or a fiend to humans?

4)    When we buy our children a game, maybe we should give them something more than that at the same time, for example, teaching the children to be self-disciplined so that they can apply self-control to avoid over-addiction and negligence of other important matters.

5)    Children nowadays won’t be contented with one game. They keep pressing for more new ones. As it is costly to buy the advanced games, raising a child needs more money than in the past.

Game is made for fun. Play safe and wisely. Let the gaming experience be harmless for all ages, anytime and anywhere.

Author’s notes:

You will learn more about tragedies and happiness that elicited by electronics games by reading the article below. Exercise self-control for yourself and your kids so that games won’t be hazardous to your life and your beloved ones’.

The Three Most Memorable Aspects of Gaming

Playing electronics games is not the only way to attain fun. Try some good hobbies and have a good time with your family.

Ten Hobbies Beneficial to Kids

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Niche Marketing: Enter Market with a Franchise

(Appealing Ceiling)

Under keen market competitions, new entries strive hard to get a market share and stay survived. To secure a business easier, franchise can help you. 
According to Wikipedia,“Franchising, a business method that involves licensing of trademarks and methods of doing business…”This article will show you an appealing example, Charlie Brown Café.

(Peanuts Characters everywhere)

The benefits of entering market with a franchise:

1)    Speedy recognition and sales:

Franchise involves famous brands. Fans become the potential customers immediately. People who are neutral to the brand will also give the new entity a try for the sake of gimmick.

2)    Lower promotion cost:

It costs a lot for an individual entity to promote and be outstanding when there are so many other similar choices in the market. With a franchise, joint promotion is often done, in a large scale, benefiting all corresponding branches. The promotion cost is shared and minimized. Sometimes, the trademark is so remarkable that free promotion can be entitled as travel books, blogs and word-of-mouth spread the merits and drew in customers. 

3)    Successful formula:

The methods of doing the business are standardized. Following the procedures, people can learn to be a successful boss or manager easier with fewer trials and errors. Many things come in handy, for example, the inventory, the style of the shop, the products and so on.

4)    Niche marketing:
When the products and services are similar, the specialty of a trademark offer favorable uniqueness, which can secure the business to the category of niche marketing, adding competitive advantages to strengthen the survival of a business entity. 

5)    Higher price acceptable:

If the trademark is adorable enough, price of the products and services can be set higher without the fear of losing customers. Satisfactory experience will enhance customer loyalty in a larger degree.

(Cakes showing Lucy)

 Click into the link and see the photo of A Lovely Charlie Brown Coffee.

Gimmicks of Charlie Brown Café

1)    With the licensing of the trademarks, you will find Peanuts characters all over, from the interior design, furniture to foods and drinks. Many people will find the layout and products eye-catching, friendly and adorable. Warm feeling could be generated when the customers enjoy reading Peanuts comic scripts and know the characters well. With the expectation of fun, people are likely to give it a try no matter you are a fan or not.

2)    Charlie Brown café is spacious, comfortable and relaxing for people sitting together to eat, drink, chat, read magazines or books and use one’s gadget. It’s a good place for gathering and having fun. Due to the lovely characters, parent will find it more helpful than other similar options such as Starbucks Coffee and Pacific Coffee Company as their children will enjoy the environment far better.

(Friendly and relaxing environment)

Charlie Brown Café can be found in Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asia countries. My photos are showing the Charlie Brown Café in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

(Charlie Brown on the floor)

Author’s note:

Charlie Brown Café is never the only restaurant that applies niche marketing. Let me give you two more outstanding examples. Due to the nature of the gimmicks, the given examples have their own pros and cons.

1st example: Modern Toilet (The chain restaurants adopt bathroom theme.) Welcome to clink into the two articles below for more details. Just a reminder, do this before the meal.

Are You Ready to Lose Your Appetite?
Niche Marketing: Will It be Digging One's Own Grave?

2nd example: Choco Cat Café (The restaurant adopts cat theme. Real cats are used to attract customers.)

Niche Marketing: Rallying Point of Cats

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Date book of Life: Schedules, Expenses and Diary

Do you have the habit of keeping a date book or an organizer? If not, try it. For those who forsook this habit, retry again lest you miss the benefits.

Decide what you want to plan, organize and record:

I kept two date books, as shown by the photo I took, for three functions:

1)    Schedule the tasks in my to-do-list.
2)    Record my expenses.
3)    Keep a diary to record my feelings and emotions.

Once you have made the decision, choose an appropriate date book according to the tips below:

1)    Portable

It should be light to carry and handy to remind you important things at anytime, anywhere.

2)    Weekly based for schedule

It’s better to use a weekly based than a daily-based one because it will provide a bigger picture for your schedule. Jot down the appointments and the things to be done in the coming week. Reschedule the less urgent or important tasks so that you won’t overload yourself in a day and lie idle for another day.

Use one color for the planned tasks, another color for the suddenly-emerged tasks. Put a tick for the finished one; a half tick for the semi-finished one; a cross for tasks you missed. After the week was over, take a look and ponder over how much control you have for your own life.

3)    Different lists for expenses

Usually people are recommended recording all purchases to keep track on where their money gone. This is a must list that should include three columns at least: date of purchase, item and the price. It’s good to work out the sub-total for a day, a week and a month to give yourself a rough idea on the speed and amount of money leaving your wallet. This may help you check overspending in a continual manner.

Suggest you also record the ATM withdrawal and VISA payment in a monthly planner to give yourself more alert on the expenditure speed and amount.

The aforementioned lists are for done records. To budget your money better, compose a shopping list before the purchase. Use the shopping list to double-check whether you really need that item and if possible, mark down the lowest bargain as well. Follow the list strictly and don’t buy things outside it.

4)    Daily based for diary

With many words to say but the space is too small for recording, add a blank sheet if you are using a loose-leaf organizer. You can also stick a separate sheet into the date book. Just don’t miss the recording. It’s a good way to release your emotions. When you look back, you may understand yourself better at a particular moment. It helps self-growth.

Benefits of keeping a date book:

1)    Get yourself committed for more efficiency and better performance.
2)    Get a bigger and better picture on what you will be facing and need to do.
3)    Plan better by rescheduling, adding the profitable ones and deleting the unprofitable ones.
4)    Serve as a reminder that you are committed.
5)    Monitor your progress.
6)    Record the result for investigation to introduce improvement for your future life. Are your plan and schedule always unrealistic and unfeasible? If so, dig into the underlying problem and fix it.
7)    Budget your time and money better.
8)    Minimize stress.

Date book, planner, organizer, aims at helping people to have better control over one’s life. Data shows pattern, and by examining it closely, we may have a better chance to find out which part is not working efficiently and corrective action can be taken to cope with the future.

Author’s note:

Date book is a good tool for planning and organization. But we also need other tips to help us budget our time and money better. Read more, learn more and put helpful tips into practice, our life will be better off.

How to Steal Time? (12 Time Management Tips)

How to Save Money – Ten Saving Tips

Stop Being a Shopaholic

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Movie Postcards

Will you keep collectibles for your favorite movies? If so, you have a lot of choices. My collection focuses on movie postcards. Let me tell you why.

Many movie collectibles are available in the market, such as posters, postcards, trading cards, music CDs, toys, household commodities, school accessories and different promotional items. Animated films and characters got even a wider variety of collectibles. A child's bedroom could be decorated with all Toy Story collectibles from bed sheet to school bag.

Possessing a wide range of collectibles could be fun, but it would be very costly. Waste may incur when one day you find yourself losing interest in a particular movie due to change of taste. Hence, I prefer to be more modest and prudent in my collection, mainly focus on movie postcards due to a couple of benefits.

1)    Easy to attain.
2)    Affordable.
3)    Less inexpensive overall if you can restrict to postcard collection only.
4)    The image kindles good feelings.
5)    Easy to store, display and carry because of its small size and light weight.
6)    Easy cleaning. Apply a poly bag to each postcard to keep it away from dust.
7)    Multiple uses are available as stated in three paragraphs below.

We can use the postcard like a photo and frame it on the wall. Feel free to write your personal notes on the rear side to keep record of your feelings and emotions at a particular moment. It is always amusing to read your own wordings a few years later.

Movie postcards can serve as a big bookmark. You can jot down your heartwarming message and mail the postcard to your beloved. Some people send the postcards back to themselves for the purpose of stamp collection as well.

If one day you have no more interest to a particular movie, you can cash the related postcards for money or trade with someone for other commodities. By the time I die, all postcards can go recycling if nobody wants to keep them.

I took the photo in this article and the corresponding movies are When a Man Loves a Woman, City of Angels, The Professional, Sleepless in Seattle and Titanic.

Do you collect movie postcards? Or focus on some other movie collectibles? Welcome to leave a message sharing the passion of your collection to all of us.

Author’s note:

I love watching movie but I haven’t developed the habit of writing review. I wrote other movie related topics instead.

Five Advantages of Watching Movies in The Cinema

15 Best Movie Songs I Have Ever Heard

Ten Most Handsome Actors in The Movies

Ten Most Beautiful Actresses in The Movies

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Handmade Bead Four-Leaf Clover

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? The plant stands for good luck. It'll be a wonderful gift to your beloved. See what options you can offer.

Four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three-leaved clover. Finding a four-leaf clover is considered a good omen. Do you know the meaning of each leaf?

The four-leaf clover denotes four good qualities.

1st leaf: Hope
2nd leaf: Faith
3rd leaf: Love
4th leaf: Luck

As four-leaf clover is rarely seen and it's impossible for me to send you the real plant, I decided to share with my readers a handmade one by posting its photo. Hope the bead four-leaf clover will bring you good luck.

A bead four-leaf clover will be a heartwarming gift to your beloved. Conveying good wishes, the beaded one lasts longer and can be prepared at a lower cost in terms of time and money. The one shown in the photo is good for home decoration, appropriate for all ages and genders.

For ladies, bead jewelry is also desirable. A smaller and simpler version of four-leaf clover can be made in the form of pendant, ring and earring.

The simplest bead offer can be done easily by outlining the shape of a four-leaf clover and gluing the pattern with green beads to form a unique handmade card.

Whatever bead option you offer, people are always happy to receive a four-leaf clover.

Author's note:

Bead jewelry is easy to make and can serve as a wonderful handmade gift, often well-received due to its uniqueness. If you want to make some for your own use or for others, you can learn more about the benefits of DIY and how to make the basic rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings from the two articles below. 

Eight Reasons to Make Bead Ring and How to DIY

How to DIY Bead Necklaces, Bracelets and Earrings

Monday, January 3, 2011

How to DIY your Own Calendar

Want a personal calendar? You can do it yourself. Read on to learn why and how. The DIY kits are MS Excel, a photo, Ms Paint and a printer (optional).

The benefits of DIY a calendar

1)    Use the image you like

In the demonstration below, I used my photo taken in a department store. Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma are lovely, aren’t they?

You can use your photos, drawings and so on to fill up the image section.

2)    Simple to make

The DIY kits are easy to attain. The steps are simple. It won’t take too much time to establish a template and create the first calendar. The template is reusable and many different versions can be made at a shorter time.

3)    Heart-warming gift

You can offer a unique calendar to precious people according to each one’s taste. This gift is inexpensive but heart-warming. Save in JPEG format and send the tailor-made calendar by email, the receivers will get it quickly.

Simple DIY Steps:

1. Choose a photo.
2. Open MS Excel.
3. Set page layout (vertical).
4. Set margin of the page (Top and bottom: 1 cm each. Left and Right: 1.5 cm each. Page top and page end: 0.5 cm)
5. Set width of each column (2.25, from column A to AE)
6. Add ‘Year 2011 Calendar’ at the top.
7. Start from line 24, column A to G, input the January calendar.
8. Do not input “1, 2, 3, 4…” for this is too time-consuming. Use formula instead. Type ‘=+F26+1’ at G26 for 1, ‘=+G26+1’ at A27 for 2, ‘=+A27+1’ at B27 for 3. After three to four inputs, copy and paste the formula until the 31st.
9. Once January completed, copy and paste the whole month to February.
10. Delete 1, 2, and 3, and see what will happen. Tuesday starts with 1. The rest of the days change automatically.
11. February, 2011 has 28 days only. So, delete 29, 30 and 31.
12. Copy and paste, delete and add to make each month appearing correctly.
13. Mark the public holidays in different colors as you wish. (The demo calendar has Sundays marked in red).
14. Add the photo.
15. Save file. The Excel file is reusable in the future after a few modifications.
16. Before closing the Excel file, highlight the whole calendar (A1 to AE49), copy and paste it to MS Paint.
17. Save the calendar in JPEG format.
18. Preview before printing to see if adjustments are required.

The demo calendar is a yearly one. You can make a monthly calendar if you wish. Personalize the calendar for your own use or give it to your beloved. The DIY is simple and the product can serve as a nice gift. Welcome to give it a try.

Author’s note:

Ms Excel and Ms Paint are the computer software used in this DIY project. There is other powerful software or apps to make your life easier. 

Free software to Bulk Resize Photos

The Power of iPad: Awesome Uses of Apps