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New Car Sales Fall by 73%

Category: Cars Ireland |Date Published: 01/07/2013

New statistics from Motorcheck.ie show that the new car industry has suffered an unprecedented drop in sales of 73% for June 2013 when compared with June 2012.
This devastating result comes right before the introduction of the new 132 number plate bringing the total number of new cars registered for 2013 up to 52,978. That's 20% down on the 2012 total of 66,334 for the same period.
Commenting on the latest statistics Managing Director Shane Teskey said "The introduction of the 132 number plate from July 1st may have put some buyers off registering a car in June. The next week or so will be a very important period for an industry that's already in crisis".
Volkswagen maintain the top spot with 13% of sales, followed closely by Toyota with 11% and Ford at 10%.
The Volkswagen Golf remains Ireland's most popular model this year with 2,673 (5.1% of the total market) units sold. The Nissan Qashqai is in second place with 2,397 (4.5%) units registered whilst the Ford Focus takes third position with 1,938 (3.7%) registrations.
Diesel engines remain popular with 73% of the total.
60% of all new cars registered were in Band A.
Used Imports Grow by 22%
However it isn't all bad news for the exchequer as the number of imported second hand cars has grown by 41% in June and now totals 24,826 - an increase of 22% for the year to date.
The most popular car to be imported second hand is the Ford Focus with 2,039 registrations followed by the Audi A4 (1,461) and the Volkswagen Passat (1,361).

Buying a used car - a beginner's guide

Category: Cars Ireland |Date Published: 06/03/2013

Buying a used car can be intimidating. After a house, it will be the second-most expensive purchase a person will ever make. But if you educate yourself beforehand, ask the right questions and rely on experts when you need them, the process can be much less stressful - and perhaps even enjoyable.

First you have to figure out what you want (and what you can afford). Unlike buying new, the choices of paint, options and upgrades have already been made.
You are going to be buying a car that likely has little or no manufacturer's warranty left, so reliability and condition will be major factors in your decision.

There are many publications and websites that will give you a range of prices for used vehicles, known problems and practically every vehicle has at least one Internet forum devoted to it, with a wealth of information from hundreds of owners.

Many people overlook running costs and those can make a bargain car hopelessly expensive. Call your insurance agent and find out what the car you're thinking of will cost to insure. Have your financing in place before you go shopping and stick to it.
(And make sure the car you have chosen fits your parking space. A surprisingly large number of people have bought the car of their dreams only to find it doesn't fit in their garage or is too large to be parked on a narrow lane.)
You will have to choose whether to buy from a dealer or an individual. A dealer sale often gives you more rights than a private sale, and you may get a limited warranty or a roadside assistance package thrown in – these are things you can bargain for. You may be able to strike a better deal with a private seller, but you have limited redress if the car turns out to be a lemon, and private sellers won't take your trade-in.

Take every car for a test drive and note any unusual noises, vibrations or smells. Don't assume that high-mileage cars are more tired than low-mileage vehicles. A low odometer reading may indicate the car was only ever driven in the city, which is considered severe driving because of the constant stops and starts. Look for patched holes and wear marks that shouldn't be there: holes in the roof that could have held a taxi light, for example.
And ask if the car comes with a complete service history, which indicates it has been properly maintained. Be suspicious if those records are unavailable.

Make the sale conditional on an inspection by a trusted mechanic. If you don't have one, ask cabbies where they take their cars. People who rely on their vehicles to make a living don't take their cars to a shady garage: if you are referred to a shop whose lot is filled with cabs, work trucks and delivery vehicles, congratulations, you have found an honest mechanic.

Have the car undergo a professional checkup and ask the mechanic to note any deficiencies in writing, with an estimate to repair them. If the vehicle needs a little work, you can negotiate down the price. If the mechanic spots large patches of rust on the frame, unreported collision damage or burning fluids, walk away and consider the money you paid for the checkup well-spent. If you live in a jurisdiction that requires an emissions test or a road worthiness certificate, make the sale conditional on it passing.
Buying a used car can be easy if you come prepared, do your homework and be prepared to spend your time looking for the right car rather than the right-now car. If you follow these common-sense rules, a second-hand car can be a first-rate purchase.

This post is provided by FBD Car Insurance Ireland. For further information on the benefits of our policies click here.

Top 5 Tips to Reducing Your Annual Car Insurance

Category: Car Insurance |Date Published: 10/07/2012

Recent figures published by the Central Bank of Ireland show that there were just under than 2 million car insurance policies sold to Irish drivers. Hearteningly, the figures also showed that insurance premium rates for Irish car owners are, on the whole, falling. With lots of companies offering insurance, it always pays to shop around and compare quotes to get the best deal. However, in these current straitened times, shaving a bit extra off the cost is always handy. Here are some tips to get insured for less.

Fit a Security Device
While you will have to pay to fit an alarm or immobilizer to your car, the longer-term benefit will be a reduction in your annual insurance premium. Check with the insurance company if they require security devices to be of a certain standard to qualify. Choosing a car in the first instance that is well equipped with safety features, such as airbags, can also mean a lower price for your insurance. Also, whenever possible, park on a driveway or in a garage rather than on the road, this deters thieves and can also reduce the amount you pay for insurance.

Reduce Mileage
It sounds almost counter-intuitive, avoid driving in order to get cheaper car insurance. However, insurance companies check the mileage on a vehicle when preparing a quote, with ´high-use´ cars attracting a higher premium. So, whenever possible, carpool with friends, family and work colleagues or, if a trip is short and the day is sunny, walk. You could just qualify for a low-mileage discount.

Don´t Claim
Car insurance is there to be claimed whenever something happens to the car, right? In theory, yes. But one of the biggest discounts available to policyholders in that for ´no claims´. If you don´t claim on your policy, insurers typically give reduced rates year-on-year. So, if you can afford to, pay for minor repairs out of your own pocket, in order to pay less on your annual insurance premium.

Chose Higher Excess
The excess, also known as the deductible, is the proportion of any money that needs to be spent following an accident that you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. If you can afford to, opt for a higher excess. This will lower your annual premium. Raising your excess by just 100 Euros can significantly impact the cost of coverage.

Keep your Licence Clean
Insurance companies like drivers who are considered low risk. As such, they check your driving record for penalty points and are likely to charge more to those who haven´t maintained a clean licence. So, not only for the safety of you and other drivers, but also for cheaper car insurance - don´t speed.

About this article: This article has been provided by the Irish based insurance company - GetCover.ie. For more information about their car insurance services click here

Gadget insurance

Category: Gadgets Insurance |Date Published: 21/02/2012

If your bag is pinched and you've got a laptop, smartphone and ereader in it, it could be an expensive and unpleasant experience.
Thankfully, some insurers are offering insurance on accidental damage or theft.
The best we found was from gadgetinsurance.ie, which offers cover for up to five gadgets including mobile phone, laptop, iPad, camera and DS Lite.

Best: Gadgetinsurance.ie €79.00

Avoid: Carphone Warehouse 'Lifeline' €165.00

Saving: €86.00

Contact www.gadgetinsurance.ie

Sedentary vs Healthy LifeStyle

Category: Lifestyle |Date Published: 19/02/2012

sedentary-lifestyle

sedentary lifestyle vs healthy lifestyle


What is the sedentary lifestyle?



Sedentary lifestyle is described as a normal life for many, but the truth is a monotonous life without too many activities. When we say activities, this does not include things you do every day such as, watching TV, sitting in front of a computer, car trips, shopping, bringing the children to school, cleaning the house, etc …

These things are normal and your body is already accustomed to them, thereforeit’seasy to do and does not involve too much effort.

According to a recent study, a sedentary lifestyle is more dangerous than smoking.


What effect does lack of exercise has on health?


One of the major effects that inactivity has on our health is obesity. The body does not burn the calories consumed every day, instead deposit those calories as fat in excess.

Meanwhile, our health is affected by increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer risk, risk of osteoporosis, sleep disorders, headaches, accelerated aging, etc..

But enough with the bad news. It’s time to give you some good news as well.

All the causes listed above can be stopped or slowed down.

How? You may ask.

It is very simple.

Include in your daily lifestyle or at least three times a week an activity that requires a little effort. That does not mean to get up off the couch to change the TV station.

The easiest is walking but not a normal walk, slightly faster than usual, like being in a hurry to get somewhere.

Take the kids (or go out) in the park and spent an hour playing soccer, running.

Join a gym and attend at least 3 times per week, learn to dance, spend the weekend somewhere in the mountains hiking, etc …

Include some exercise in your daily life, and you will see how well you will start to feel.

Exercising improves blood circulation, better heart rate, the risk of getting sick decreases, you’ll see improvement in respiratory flow, you start having more energy every day and you wonder where it comes from, you’ll sleep better therefore the body has more time to recover.


Something else that can be done to improve health is to analyze your diet. Write on a paper what you eat & drink every day and after 3-4 days analyze the result and see if you can change something towards a healthier diet.

To give some examples:

1. Change frying in oil or fat with olive oil or use the oven grill

2. Decrease the amount of products made with flour (white bread, biscuits, cakes, etc..)

3. Use more of the low-fat milk, instead of cream, full fat milk

4. Eat boiled potatoes instead of fries

5. Drink a glass of water when “you” feel hungry – very easy to believe that you’re actually hungry when you’re thirsty.

Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), find out how many calories you should be eating every day, and try and stay in the area.

Do not let yourself fooled by strict diets.

DON’T DIET ( I can’t say this loud enough) because you put your heart and nervous system under a lot of stress.

Making small changes in everyday lifestyle, decrease the chances of getting sick and a healthy mind can be found only in a healthy body!

Why Diets Dont Work

Category: Diet |Date Published: 19/02/2012

Losing weight it’s a very big issue for many and the first thing a person tends to do is to start a very strict diet.

It may seem to work for the first few weeks, but after a while you stop making any progress and shading off a few pounds seems to take forever or it doesn’t happen any-longer.

Even worse, after a while the weight lost comes back with a few pounds extra.


Why diets don’t work?


The reason diets don’t work is because you are making dramatic changes to your lifestyle too fast and deprive yourself of foods you like by substituting them with things that you don’t enjoy as much.


You are also putting your body under a lot of stress and in turns your metabolism slows down, burning a lot less calories each day.

You start losing muscle mass, therefore less calories burned during the day.

You lack of energy and you ‘ll get hunger pangs from the lower calorie intake.

Your body is a very intelligent machine and it will keep making changes to your metabolism to get you through the day, therefore burning less and less calories each day.

To keep losing weight, you have to eat less and less each day but you’ll soon give up and start getting into your old eating habits. When that happens, you gain back the body fat lost plus a bit extra, because your body is trying to increase the reserve for keeping you alive.

A few weeks later you start dieting again and again and again… that it’s what we call YO-YO dieting and believe me when I tell you, it’s very dangerous.The body goes under stress more and more each time you start a diet because it doesn’t like the swings in the body weight. We think each time that this time we won’t gain it back, but the statistics show that most of us will.


OK, got that – so what’s the best way to losing weight?


Best way to achieving your weight loss goal is by analysing your eating habits.

Get a diet correction sheet, create one yourself or register on our website and keep an on-line food diary.

Do this for a few days making sure you write everything you eat & drink for the entire day. That includes the 1 or 2 biscuits you have with your tea, the amount of water you drink, etc…


After a few days, go back to it and see what you can change to improve your eating habits.

One very important thing is having breakfast. If you are in the habit of skipping that every morning, I would recommend as the first change in your life style by start eating something, no matter how small, in the morning.

A banana & an yoghurt should do for now, then in time change it to a more fulfilling breakfast like an omelette (2-3 eggs but use only one yolk [one yellow, 2-3 whites] and add a bit of vegetables to make it tastier).

Look at how often you eat each day and see if you can change anything to make it better. We recommend eating every 3-4 hours, small meals, which includes the three importantparts: carbs, proteins & fats (the good ones).

Get active and start exercising at least 3 times a week for an hour or two… maybe an hour will do for now by joining a gym, bootcamp classes, jogging, walking, etc…

Improving your eating habits and exercising should become part of your lifestyle and before you know it you’ll start seeing results, you’ll get back into shape and maybe start wearing the clothes that are hanging in your wardrobe gathering dust :)

But don’t forget. Make small changes each week as this process takes time and can not be rushed as we target a long term healthy lifestyle.

By getting active and exercising, you’ll slowly build muscle mass, which in turn will kick start your metabolism, being dormit from dieting, you’ll burn more calories each day and tone-up your body by getting into a better shape.

It might look like you are putting on weight at the start, but do not worry as it’s part of the process due to muscle mass being heavier than body fat. Your hydration levels will go up because you’ll be targeting to drink 2-2.5 litres of fluids each day by substituting thefizzy drinks and juices with water (will talk about importance of water ata later stage).


Another step to healthy eating habits is substituting fatty foods with healthier ones e.g. baked potatoes instead of chips, skimmed milk in your coffee instead of cream, etc…

Use olive oil for frying foods, or even better, cook them in the oven, change to whole wheat bread & pasta… you get my drift.


By making this changes, your energy levels will increase, your metabolism will get higher and you’ll build lean muscle while burning fat :)






Even better, you’ll not have shocked your body with a poor & deprived diet, but instead have been feeding it appropriate amounts of better & healthier food while giving it the exercise it needs for health.

Losing Body Fat Simple & Important Steps

Category: Fitness |Date Published: 06/02/2012



There you go. This is our first post on giving you a few insights in losing body fat, getting lean and staying healthy.


To begin with who am I? OK.

My name is Lucian (aka Louie) and I am a LEVEL 4 qualified Personal Trainer living in Dublin, Ireland.


Enough said, so lets jump to the good stuff.

First step in losing weight/body fat is to set-up a goal, a realistic one. That way, you don’t put too much pressure on yourself and you don’t need to make drastic changes.

Depriving yourself of too much too soon, it’s like setting a path to failure. Slowly and surely is the way to go. Weight gain didn’t happen over night, therefore loosing weight is not going to happen in a few days.


Also, body fat can not be targeted… that’s a job for a surgeon.


Secondly, analyse your diet and keep a diary like the one we have on this website. Register with us and keep track of your food/drink intake every day.

Once you log into your account, you can start recording your food & exercise diary where you can see more clearly what, how & why.


You can also enter your measurements, record your weight, calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure whichwill give a close figure of your calories needed to perform the daily activities.


Thirdly, record your daily exercise and activities.

Sometimes, your calories intake is fairly good, but you don’t do enough activities to burn them. Just making small changes could have a great impact on your journey :)


Be positive on achieving your goals. Never say never, because that will upset your mindset and you’ll start wondering off your path.

Don’t say ” I cant do that ” or ” is too hard for me “. You can achieve anything once you have the right attitude.


So let’s break it down a little:


Calories – Figure out how many calories are you having every day… It’s kind of true that less calories intake results in losing weight but there are many factors that needs to be taken in consideration, as your metabolism, your daily calories consumption, where do these calories comes from (food type), etc…

Look at the food you eat and see if you can substitute some of them with a healthier version.

Some examples:



  • Semi-skimmed or skimmed milk instead of full-fat milk

  • Low-fat cheese

  • Low-fat spread instead of butter or margarine

  • Boiled potatoes instead of chips

  • Chicken, fish, lean meat instead of burgers, meat, etc

  • Fruit bars instead of cakes or biscuits

  • Fresh fruit instead of chocolate

  • Olive oil for frying instead of regular oil


These are just a few, but everything out there can be substituted for a healthier version.

Eat regularly and ALWAYS have breakfast – 4-5 times a day, small portions should keep your metabolism high.

Don’t skip a meal and NEVER, EVER DIET.

Drink plenty of water and make a habit of it. Will talk about this later, but don’t go filling up on water in one go… Do it often in small amounts. Too much water in one go will force your body to get rid of it quickly and will also flush many vitamins that are essential.


Exercising – Analyse your daily activities / exercising and see what can you do to convert your body intocalories burning machine.

Create a daily program for yourself and make sure you make changes to it every 5-6 weeks avoiding the plateau. Same goes for your gym program.

Also have alook at the “normal” things in your life and see if you change anything to help you increase the calories burned.



Some examples:



  • Walk to the shop instead of driving

  • Take the stairs instead of taking the elevator

  • Park as far as possible from the main building door instead of right next to it

  • Play some sport with the kids in the garden, park and make a habit of it

  • Go for a jog/walk instead of sitting on the sofa watching the TV

  • Go for a hike or walk on the beach instead of going for dinner to a restaurant – it’s more romantic & entertaining

  • Walk to your friend’s house for a chat instead of ringing them


You can do it and I hope this article will make a bit of sense for some…

If you enjoyed this, don’t be a stranger and leave a comment. :)

Get Comparing Home Insurance in Ireland

Category: Home Insurance |Date Published: 24/01/2012

These days, when we're all in the grip of a recession, we're all trying to find ways to make the household budget stretch that bit further. Even if we've managed to hang on to our jobs, the chances are that many of us haven't had a pay rise for a couple of years and lots of people are starting to feel the pinch. When you're going through your list of outgoings to see what you might be able to cut back, it might be tempting to cut back on your house insurance. But this is really the one thing that you mustn't be without.

Everyone always thinks it'll happen to someone else. That terrible fire in the next village. That spate of burglaries a few streets away. Those terrible winds that took the farmhouse roof off. The snow that's pulling everyone's guttering down. The river that rose and flooded those riverside homes. None of us would wish these things on our worst enemy and we certainly wouldn't wish them on ourselves.

But the harsh truth is that accidents do happen and you need to make sure that you have adequate home insurance cover. And the good news is that you can get cheap house insurance, without having to pay through the nose. If you already have cover, you might want to think about switching. If you go online to find a deal then you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much money you could save with GetCover home insurance.

Shopping around online is quick and easy, by investing a little of your time, you can save a fortune. So don't think for a second about cutting back on your insurance, because it's really the one thing you can't afford to be without. Instead, get yourself online and start searching for home insurance bargains.

And while you're at it, it's a good opportunity to take stock of whether you have enough house insurance. In the unfortunate event of something happening to your home, you want to make sure that you have enough to cover you. Many of us joke that we have nothing worth taking, but it's surprising if you sit down and tot up what it would cost you if you had to replace all your carpets, curtains, bedding, furniture, kitchen appliances, and electronic gadgets.

So get your laptop and a cuppa and spend a few minutes online at www.getcover.ie.

Homeowners should prepare for harsh winter storms

Category: Home Insurance |Date Published: 21/10/2011

The unpredictability of Irish winters canbe very harsh on people´s homes because of storm and frost damage during thecolder months. Although home insurance will protect homeowners against themajority of unforeseen events, it comes with excess payments and does not coveragainst long-term damage that homes might suffer because of inadequatemaintenance. See Nononsense Home Insurance Ireland for more details.

Strong winds and storms can often inflictconsiderable damage to a property, which can remain unnoticed for many months.Therefore, homeowners should check their chimneys, slates and roof tiles tomake sure they are secure, which will also help to prevent damage being causedby leaks. TV aerials and Satellite dishes are also prone to damage, so theseshould be checked too.

Gardens are another place that needsconsideration as poorly maintained trees can fall causing damage to homes,other properties and people. Trees and large shrubs need also to be prunedregularly to remove the risk of dead or damaged branches falling and causinginjury.

It might be worth families and homeownerspreparing an emergency homecare kit in case severe storms do hit the country,not only in the winter months, but also throughout the year. High winds andflooding can lead to loss of power and access to certain areas for some people,so food, drink, a first aid kit, torch, candles, penknife and a list ofemergency telephone numbers should be kept somewhere that can be easily got at.

It is important that household insurance bein place for such events, as this can soften the blow if a property is damageddue to something out of our control.

PS3, Xbox, Nintendo Latest Games For Christmas 2011

Category: Gaming |Date Published: 21/10/2011

Below you will find a list with the latest games releases for Christmas 2011 and we hope these games will keep your kids quiet and busy.

1. Assassins Creed - Revelation


Is an upcoming video game in the Assassin´s Creed franchise to be developed and published by Ubisoft Montreal.

The game is set to be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 15, 2011. For Microsoft Windows, the game is delayed for November 29, 2011.



Assassins Creed - Revelation

2. Gears Of War 3


Gears of War 3, like its predecessors, is a third-person shooter that emphasizes the use of cover and squad tactics in combat situations. The player´s character can carry four weapons: one pistol, one set of grenades, and two other weapons, all which can be swapped with other weapons dropped by fallen foes or at stockpiles throughout the game.


Gears Of War 3

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (abbreviated as Call of Duty: MW3, CoD: MW3 or simply MW3) is an upcoming first-person shooter video game, currently being developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games with Raven Software assisting in development.

It will be the third installment in the Modern Warfare series, a direct sequel to 2009´s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the eighth Call of Duty installment.

It is set to be released on November 8, 2011 on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii, with a separate version for Nintendo DS being developed by n-Space.

In Australia, the Wii version will be released on November 17, 2011.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

4. Bulletstorm


Bulletstorm is a 2011 first-person shooter video game developed by People Can Fly and Epic Games, and is published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.

The game was released on February 22, 2011 in North America and on February 25, 2011 in Europe.

The game is distinguished by its sense of style and crass humor, rewarding players with points for performing increasingly ludicrous kills.

Bulletstorm does not have any competitive multiplayer modes, preferring instead to include cooperative online play as well as score attack modes.


bulletstorm

5. Portal 2


Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle-platform video game developed and published by Valve Corporation.

The sequel to the 2007 video game Portal, it was announced on March 5, 2010, following a week-long alternate reality game based on new patches to the original game.

Though initially slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2010, the game was postponed to the week of April 18, 2011.

The game was released by Valve through Steam for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, while the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and retail Windows/OS X versions of the game are distributed by Electronic Arts. The game´s release on Steam was preceded by a second multi-week alternate reality game, the Potato Sack, involving 13 independently-developed titles which culminated in a distributed computing spoof to release Portal 2 several hours early.


Portal 2

6. Battlefield 3


Battlefield 3 (commonly abbreviated to BF3) is a first-person shooter action video game, being developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and to be published by Electronic Arts.

The game is set to be released on October 25, 2011 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and EA Mobile confirmed a port for the iOS platform.

It will not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista.

It is a direct sequel to 2005´s Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise.

The PC release will be exclusive to EA´s Origin platform.


Battlefield 3

7. Prototype 2


Prototype 2 is an upcoming video game set for release on April 24, 2012 in North America.

It is currently under development by Canadian developer Radical Entertainment and is the sequel to 2009´s Prototype.

Like its original, the game is set to be published by Radical Entertainment´s owner, Activision.

The game is set to feature a new protagonist, Sergeant James Heller as he goes on his quest to destroy the Blacklight Virus once and for all.

The story is also one of revenge, as Heller wants to kill Mercer after his family was killed in the outbreak of the Blacklight Virus.

Set in an open world shown in a third-person view perspective. The game was announced at the 2010 Spike VGA Awards with the tagline "Murder your Maker"


Prototype 2

8. Mortal Kombat 9


Mortal Kombat (also known as Mortal Kombat 9) is a 2D fighting game with 3D graphics (2.5D) and is the ninth installment in the Mortal Kombat series.

Developed by NetherRealm Studios (formerly known as Midway Games) and published exclusively under the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment label.

The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems on April 19, 2011 in North America, and on April 21 in Europe.

Mortal Kombat was officially announced on June 10, 2010 accompanied with a debut trailer showcasing the new presentation and gameplay features, which includes Challenges, and extras such as an on-line mode, four player tag-team play, and downloadable content.

Although the game won several awards at E3 2010, and received positive reviews, it is banned in Australia due to the extreme violence.


Mortal Combat

9. Forza Motorsport 4


Forza Motorsport 4 is a racing video game released by Turn 10 Studios for the Xbox 360.

It is the fourth installment in the Forza Motorsport series, and was released in North America on October 11, 2011 and in Europe on October 14, 2011.

This latest edition is the first in the series to support the Kinect sensor alongside the traditional controller-based gameplay.


Forza Motorsport 4

10. Halo 4


Halo 4 is an upcoming video game and the seventh installment in the Halo franchise.

Halo 4 is intended to be the first of a new trilogy of Halo series games, named the "Reclaimer Trilogy".

Whereas the previous Halo games were developed by Bungie, Halo 4 will be developed by 343 Industries.

The game continues some time after the ending of Halo 3, and marks the return of the Master Chief as the main protagonist.

Cortana will also appear in the game. The game will be released Q4, 2012.


halo 4

11. Space marine


The space marine, an archetype of science fiction, is a soldier that operates in outer space or on alien worlds.

Historical marines fulfill amphibious roles: ship defence, landing parties, and general high-mobility deployments.

By extension, space marines defend spaceships, land on planets and moons, and fulfill rapid deployment throughout space.


Space Marine

12. Dead Island


Dead Island is a first person horror action-adventure video game developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

It is centered on the challenge of survival on a zombie-infested open world island with a major emphasis on melee combat.

It was originally announced at E3 2006, but was pushed back to 2011.

It was released on September 6, 2011 in North America and September 9, 2011 for PAL regions (excluding Germany).


Dead Island

Back to school costs for Irish families

Category: Back To School |Date Published: 18/07/2011

BACK TO SCHOOL COSTS FOR IRISH FAMILIES


Irish families spending on average €400 per child to go back to school


On average school uniforms incl. shoes (€229) and schoolbooks (€182) are the biggest school related expenses for Irish parents


75% of parents are asked to make voluntary contributions of €130 on average


9 out of 10 parents surveyed want to see a switch to laptops and e-books in the classroom to save money 


As parents of school going children brace themselves ahead of the back to school shopping season, the Irish League of Credit Unions has taken a look at just what the costs for both primary and secondary school children are.


In 2011, a typical Irish family will spend approximately €400 on each child when getting them ready to go back to school in September with back-to-school expenditure for a second-level student is almost 50% higher than for a primary-level pupil.


Commenting on the research findings, Kieron Brennan, ILCU CEO said: “The cost of school going children to parents is considerable and can put significant pressure on household budgets and the ability of some families to pay their essential bills. This iReach research shows us that there are significant numbers of parents using their credit cards and using their savings to pay for their child’s back to school needs, with many parents feeling that the back to school allowance is not sufficient to cover costs.


We were surprised at the number of parents that would like to see their children using laptops and or e-books in the classroom and this may be part of a growing trend whereby parents are looking to technology to save on the costs of school books. Claremorris Credit Union recently announced a partnership with St Colman's College in Claremorris to make history by becoming the first school in Ireland to introduce the truly digital classroom following its decision to replace textbooks and school bags with Apple’s iPad tablet device.  In time this is something which could be looked at more closely by the education system and by Government as a possible way to reduce costs in future for families.”


He Continued: Ultimately, we urge parents to shop around for the best value in back to school items like school books and uniforms. We recommend that you check what you have left over from last year and then make a list of everything you need to buy and stick to that list. 8% of those surveyed already speak to their credit union about back to school finance and budget management, so if you want advice on budgeting or some guidance on applying for a loan, visit your local credit union and talk to a member of staff.”


Some of the key highlights of the research, undertaken by iReach Market Research on behalf of the Irish League of Credit Unions are outlined below:


Overall Spend


A typical Irish family spends approximately €400 on each child when getting them ready to go back to school in September. Irish parents are spending approximately (€470) for a second-level student and €320 for a primary level pupil. The overall cost for secondary school is almost 50% higher than for primary school.


Most Expensive School Items


School uniforms and books are perceived as a heavy burden for Irish parents. Parents of a secondary school child pay almost twice as much for schoolbooks (€238) than for a primary school child (€125). Costs of uniforms are perceived to be equally significant by both types of parents. Uniform costs for a secondary school child is on average €281 compared to primary at €177.


Extracurricular expenses can represent a noticeable financial burden for primary and secondary school children - primary school children at €145 secondary school children €152 on average.


9 in 10 (88%) parents express a preference for laptops or e-book readers to become part of the in class educational experience. Laptop use is highly desired by Irish parents in both primary (87%) and secondary (89%) if it negates the cost of school books.


Preferred Method of Back to School Financing


46% of parents use monthly income to source back to school necessities. However, 54% of parents are forced to locate finances for back to school from elsewhere – Credit Cards 16% / Savings 13% / Back to School Allowance 12% / Credit Unions 7% (average)


Parents of secondary level children are more likely to dip into their savings (15%) or use credit cards (20%)


Almost two-thirds of parents (65%) admitted that back-to-school costs will adversely impact their holiday plans and bills management. Eight in ten parents (81%) who are entitled for back-to-school allowance admitted that this is insufficient


School Fees and Voluntary Contributions


76% of parents are requested to make voluntary contributions that amount to €130 on average per child. While primary schools are more likely to request voluntary contributions (83%) than secondary (70%), secondary school parents are obliged to pay higher contributions (€158) than parents of a primary school child (€102).


9% of Irish parents send their child(s) to a fee paying school (5% primary school and 13% secondary school). School fees on average stand at €1,750 for primary school and € 4,750 for secondary school.


Shopping for Better Value


When it comes to cutting back-to-school related costs:


35% of those survey shop online for back to school items. Of this cohort,  (61%) shop online for back-to-school items to save money; 35% felt it was more convenient to shop this way.


Four in ten parents (38%) feel pressured to buy branded school items over generic ones for their children


Dunnes Stores (28%), followed by Marks & Spencer (24%) is most popular for value-for-money school clothing followed by Pennys 19% and Tesco 15%


Back to School Allowance


One fifth of parents of school age children are entitled to the Back to School Allowance. However three quarters (81%) admitted that the allowance they receive is insufficient to cover their children’s back to school needs.


School Support to Parents


Over two thirds of parents (69%) believe that Irish schools do not support parents in keeping costs down for their school going children. These negative attitudes were more pronounced among parents of secondary school children (71%)


Implications of Back to School Costs on Families


Almost two thirds of all parents admitted that back to school expenses will negatively impact family plans and paying bills. 49% of parents may have to modify their family holiday or children’s summer camps this year. Back to School expenses will also have an adverse impact on 7% of domestic bill payments and an additional 7% of parents will be forced to forego / delay a credit card payment to meet all back to school expenses for their children incurring additional interest charges.


ILCU Back to School Research Results 


About the Research


The survey was conducted by Market Research Company iReach during the period 24th march to 1st April using IReach Consumer Decisions Research Panel which delivered 1,000 responses from adults in Ireland aged 18+ to 65+ and is nationally representative by Age, regioan, Gender and Social Class.
This research has a confidence level of 95% and confidence interval of 4%.
 

Dealing with debt - a look at your options

Category: Debts Ireland |Date Published: 17/04/2011

Dealing with debt - a look at your options


Debt is becoming more of a household termnowadays, and if you're dealing with debt you may be wondering what help isavailable to you.


In Ireland, there's a range ofsolutions that could help people dealing with different levels of debt - frommanageable debts to unmanageable debts. Some of them are offered by debtsolutions providers such as DebtAdvisory Centre Ireland.


Pleasebear in mind that the following overviews of Irish debt solutions are notdesigned to (and will not) provide a comprehensive guide to a borrower'soptions. Anyone looking for a way of dealing with their debts should seekprofessional debt advice to find out which approach would be the mostappropriate for their situation, and make sure they understand theconsequences.


Debt consolidation


Debt consolidation involves taking out anew loan and using it to repay several debts in one go - leaving you with justone debt to repay to one lender.


A debt consolidation loan can help to makeyour finances a little easier to manage, and it could also lower your monthlyrepayments (if you arrange to repay your loan over a longer timeframe than youroriginal debts, that is).


Your debt consolidation loan's interestrate may be lower than the ratescharged on your 'previous' debts, which means you could save money - but it'simportant to note that repaying your debt over a longer timeframe could stillcost you more in the long run… because you'd be paying interest for longer.


Debt management


Debt management is an informal agreementbetween you and your unsecured creditors. It can only be suitable for you ifyou are struggling to repay your debts but you could still repay them within a reasonable period of time (albeitunder different terms than those originally agreed).


If you choose to arrange a debt managementplan through a debt management company, they will talk to your creditors onyour behalf, asking them to agree to reduced monthly payments over a longerperiod of time. Your creditors aren't obliged to agree to any changes to theoriginal agreement, but if they do, the payments you make will be based on anamount you can afford after youressential costs have been covered.


Please Note: entering a debt management plan means you're defaulting on your originalagreements - and this can be recorded on your credit file for six years, makingit harder and/or more expensive to obtain credit for this time. Also, if youagree to repay your debts over a longer timeframe, it could lead to you payingmore because of interest.


FSA


An FSA (Formal Scheme of Arrangement) is alegally binding agreement between you and your creditors. On an FSA, you'll berequired to repay as much of your debt as you can afford - the portion youcannot afford can be written off (providing the agreement comes to a successfulconclusion). However, please note that FSAs for individuals are very rare.


At least 60% of your creditors (by numberand by value of debt 'owned') must accept the terms of your FSA for it to goahead. If they don't, the agreement won't be approved and you will have to bedeclared bankrupt.


Bankruptcy


If your debts total more than €1,900, andyou've recently committed an act of bankruptcy (you haven't complied with abankruptcy summons requesting a payment, for example), your creditors might beable to petition for your bankruptcy. If you enter bankruptcy, your propertyand assets may be sold.


Of course, if you can't repay your debts,you can petition for your own bankruptcy... but only if your house and otherassets are worth more than €1,900.


Bankruptcy is usually seen as the 'lastresort' for people struggling with their debts. You could reduce the risk ofyour debts becoming unmanageable by seeking debt advice at an early stage.


Buying a Car in Ireland

Category: Cars Ireland |Date Published: 05/09/2010

Buying a Car in Ireland

Buying a car in Ireland is in many ways similar to any other western country.

New cars must have Vehicle Registration Tax, motor insurance and motor tax before you can drive them away. It is the showroom`s duty to arrange the Registration and tax, while naturally the buyer must sort out the insurance. Ireland`s cars also have a label with information about the engine`s carbon emissions, allowing the buyer to make an environmentally friendly purchase.

When it comes to second-hand vehicles, many customers buy from a brand dealership or a garage. Customers buying for personal use have the same consumer protection under Irish law as when buying new. If you find there`s a fault with the car the seller has the responsibility to get it fixed. Ireland has the National Consumer Agency who monitor consumer rights and a visit to their website might answer any potential buying concerns.
However buying from a private individual, as opposed to a garage, is more inherently risky. The price may be lower but the seller is a private individual and not a business. Therefore he is not subject to the same legalities as a commercial venture. Make sure you are happy with the vehicle before committing. If you are not lucky enough to have car mechanic as a friend, it might be worthwhile calling in the AA or a similar motoring organisation for a vehicle check. In Ireland this can be done easily over the Internet with a quote for the inspection fee.
The situation is also different if buying at an auction. Remember the auction house staff are usually not mechanics. If the buyer discovers any problems after the gavel has banged on the table that will be his problem and not the auctioneer. It seems common sense then that bidders make sure they have perused the terms and conditions and had a good poke under the bonnet. There again take a friendly mechanic or speak with your motoring organisation.

Thankfully we are now living in the information age and web sites like Funky Motors offer free vehicle history reports. Simply key in the registration number into the computerised search engine and the car`s history will be with you in moments. A huge database of cars currently on the market, both from commercial and private sellers, is also online, complete with photographs. There is even a price comparison site to help the buyer calculate a fair price.
In Ireland, once a car has passed its fourth birthday it must have a certificate or roadworthiness every two years. Remember the owner must book the test, so don`t forget!

In conclusion when searching for used cars for sale in Ireland, know your consumer rights, consider expert advice and take advantage of the Internet.

A Guide To Loans

Category: Financial |Date Published: 27/08/2010

A Guide to Loans


Even now the financial markets are feeling the impact of the meltdown events of a few years ago. The easy low cost credit of the 1990`s and 2000`s fuelled unprecedented consumer growth and increases in property prices - until it all started to fall apart in late 2007 due to a fall in US property prices and the complex syndication of mortgage backed loans around the globe.


So what is left of the loans market today bears all the scars of the past few years with lenders being more discerning on who they advance money to and on what terms.


Essentially there are two types of loan - unsecured and secured.


Unsecured loans are where lenders advance money on the promise that the borrower will repay the capital and interest charged over a fixed period of time up to a maximum of 10 years. Most unsecured loans have repayment periods of less than 5 years. If the borrower defaults, the lender can sue the borrower for the balance and may get a bailiff to seize assets up to the value of the balance owed.


Secured loans are where money is advanced against the pledge of some form of additional collateral. This is usually in the form of a mortgage or charge against a house or other property and it means that if the borrower fails to make the payments as contracted the lender may initiate proceedings through the court to seize the property pledged with a view to selling it to pay off the balance owed, plus charges. Most secured loans are mortgage backed to help people buy their homes although can be used to buy cars, boats or other valuable assets. The costs of setting up a secured loan are higher than an unsecured loan since the security has to be assessed for value and the necessary legal charges drawn up and registered. Secured loans tend to be for larger amounts (£ / € 7,500 plus) and repaid over longer periods (minimum 5 years up to 30 years).


Both types of loan can be either fixed rate (where the interest charges are calculated on day one at a known rate and do not change) or a variable rate linked to some base charge rate. Variable rate loans have a fixed regular monthly capital element and the interest charged changes based on the current market base rate of interest plus a fixed know margin.


Acceptance or administration fees have risen and lending margins have widened meaning that it is relatively expensive to borrow than a few years ago. Secured loans should have a lower interest rate charged reflecting the lower risk - although their fees charged will be higher.


As always, finding the right loan means shopping around and comparing terms. The total amount repayable (including charges) should always be compared along with the Annual Percentage Rate charged. Do not just look at the monthly payment - look at the whole loan repayment before deciding. If looking at a new debt consolidation loan then make sure that the new monthly payment is well below the combined individual loans that you are looking to settle.

Back to school for kids

Category: Shopping |Date Published: 14/07/2010

The best advice for this Septembers endless costly school lists is to make sure to shop around.

So many Departments stores have very competitive prices with an offer of 3 for 2 in most big department stores, like Tesco and Dunnes Stores.

Personally I would go for Marks And Spencers.

I always found its better wearing and last most of the year and it’s not much more expensive than other leading department stores.

Also try and avail of school offers they are trying to sell books to bring cheaper prices.

Took a trip to Marks And Spencers today and I could not believe the amount of school offers they have.

3 for 2
And this offer actually includes any school supplies even down to shoes and coats.

They have trousers starting from as little as €4.50 a pair

This ranges up to about €13.00 for girls and €15.00 for boys.

The shirts start at €7.50 for a packet of 3 and up to €14.00.

Amazing offer don't miss out!!

Also don't forget about Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) is to help you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children attending school.

The scheme operates from 1 June to 30 September each year.

The Allowance is provided by the Health Service Executive as part of the Supplementary Welfare Scheme.

Meteor, O2 customers face 80% price hike for prepay service

Category: Mobile Phones |Date Published: 13/07/2010

CUSTOMERS of mobile phone company O2 are facing price hikes of up to 80pc.
Prepaid customers, who pay for their calls and texts by topping up their mobile accounts with credit every month, are set to be hardest hit.
The cost of initiating a call for a prepaid customer is to rise from 5c to 9c, a jump of 80pc, the Irish Independent has learned.
The changes will affect almost 700,000 prepaid customers of the company.
There will be no change in the per minute charge once a call is made.
Price hikes will also be imposed on people with mobile phone contracts, as these customers will have to pay more once they exceed the monthly voice and text allowances that come with their price plans.
More than 400,000 people have contracts with O2.
The rises take effect from Monday week and will mean that someone who exceeds their monthly allowance of free calls will see the price of making a call rise by 35pc, the phone company confirmed yesterday.
A spokeswoman for O2 said a smartphone user who is on the Advance 350 price plan pays €60 a month and gets 350 free call minutes, unlimited internet browsing and 150 free texts.
If they exceed the limits for calls on this plan the cost of making a call will rise from 20c to 27c. The cost of sending a text goes from 10c to 11c for those who exceed their free "bundled" number of texts each month.

Roaming

"The majority of customers on these price plans don't exceed the voice and text allowances that come with the price plans they have chosen," the spokeswoman said. "If customers do find they exceed the bundled minutes and texts with their plan we advise them to choose another plan more tailored to their usage."
She said O2 offers a free "spend alert text service" for all customers, which alerts them when they have reached a particular amount on their bill to help them manage what they spend. The customers sets the point at which they would like to receive an alert.
The price hike comes days after the EU imposed caps on roaming charges that phone companies can impose when people are using their mobiles abroad.
But the company denied yesterday that the increases had anything to do with that cap.
The cost of making a call to the 11811 directory enquiry service is to rise from 99c to €1.17, the Irish Independent has also learned.
The mobile phone operator, which is part of European telecoms giant Telefonica, is also moving to suspend prepaid accounts that have not been used for more than six months.
O2 said it would write to people who have not used the prepaid mobile for more than half a year and if there was no reply it would remove any phone credit two months later.
It is also scrapping a desktop text service where people can download software to their computer and send free texts.
Customers can still avail of free texts via the internet by accessing the O2 website.

- Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Irish Independent

Outrage as bin charges are set to soar by 31pc

Category: Bin Charges |Date Published: 13/07/2010

DUBLINERS are facing more hefty rate rises as bin charges are set to jump by as much as 31pc. South Dublin County Council has mooted introducing an increase in collection rates for black bins from €8 to €10.50 as soon as August.

Local opposition councillors are now planning to mount vehement objections to the proposal.

Fine Gael councillors are preparing to call an emergency meeting with Labour and SF before the County Council meets later this month.

Councillor Derek Keating (FG) said: "This move comes at a time when other businesses are reducing their costs. I know many people who are hard pressed to pay other charges."

Residents in the area have just got used to the new bin collection system, which charges per collection, Cllr Keating said.

"The collection rate is based on the fact that the polluter pays," he added. "Large families will be particularly affected by this change."


Logic

The European Court of Justice recently found against Ireland over the failure of public bodies to charge VAT for their service and pointed out that private companies competing against local authorities by providing bin collections and other services are forced to charge VAT.

Earlier it was revealed that the consultant who devised the State's waste policy warned that bin charges could double if plans by Environment Minister John Gormley go ahead. PJ Rudden of RPS said opposition to the Poolbeg incinerator and a move towards an alternative system based on waste separation 'defies logic'.

Mr Gormley has warned Dublin City Council not to go ahead with the Poolbeg facility and supports higher levies for incineration with a move to Mechanical Biological Treatment instead.

A number of county councils in Ireland are not providing bin collections and have contracted out the work to private operators.

VAT will apply to all other council services, except those which are statutory functions, such as assessing planning applications.

How to Choose a Broadband Provider?

Category: Broadband |Date Published: 27/06/2010

The broadband market is filled with competing providers who are all looking to win over your custom, so there is no reason to part with your cash for the first contender to catch your eye, as you will be faced with a wealth of choice and ideally a good opportunity to save money. For both home and business broadband customers there is a broad range of choice out thereand the benefits of choosing carefully will be reaped over the course of your broadband contract, which could be 18 months long. Given the potential for bargain hunting offered when choosing broadband providers, it is essential to take your time and consider all options. If you are feeling a little laboured by this process, read on for some simple tips that should help clear the way.



The first choice to confront is the type of broadband you want in your home or officeand in most cases this will be limited based on your location. ADSL broadband, which is delivered via copper landline telephone connections, is the most widely availableand as a result it is also the most popular. However, if you live in an area that is serviced by Cable Broadband providers and Mobile Broadband networks, you will have even more choice. At this point it becomes necessary to break down the market further.



Connection speed is important to most customersand this will often be a deciding factor when comparing broadband providers. Most will advertise their services as capable of a theoretical maximum download and upload speed, although the best ones will admit that this ideal connection is rarely attainable in real lifeand should be able to give you an estimate of how quick your connection will be if you sign up with them. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay more for quicker connections, but always make sure that a provider is being honest about its abilitiesand get a second opinion by comparing online and reading customer reviews.



A speedy connection is all well and good, but you will need to be able to take advantage of this speed by having a decent data allowance each month. Some providers will restrict certain deals with a download cap, usually measured in gigabytes (GB), which you will not be allowed to exceed in a given month. Others will give you unlimited access, but still monitor your use and request that you stick to the regulations laid out in something called a Fair Use policy. Broadband deals with data caps will typically be cheaper, but it might limit what you can do with your internet connection, so it is worth working out just how much you will be using your connectionand what you will be using it to perform. For example, a 10GB data cap will let you surf for around 100-300 hours a month, although if you are going to be streaming videos, playing games and downloading large files, this will quickly be used up.



The best way to choose a broadband provider is to use an online price comparison site, which will independently compare the different packages based on the specific features which you are seeking, whether it be connection type, speed, download limit or cost.