Trying out the Gigabytes hungry Armory Bitcoin Wallet-Vault Software in Ubuntu 15.10

There aren’t many blog posts about user experiences regarding Armory so I decided to write about my installation and getting the program started experience. Yes, only that – not even how to use it to receive and send Bitcoins! For this I’ll have enough of links to recommend to you. You’ll discover why below, read on.
Armory - Initializing Bitcoin Engine
Usually there is software out there, where you don’t have to bother much about getting it installed on your computer, this procedure is done within a few clicks and you are set and running. What we call user friendly. As it’s quite simple to do such a task, usually most of the tutorial descriptions will be about how to use the software and not a whole book size long on how to install it or just a long blog post about an …installation! Am sure there are other softwares out there that are not easy to install but for today, it will be about ARMORY.
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Re-engineer your logic to understand the cryptocurrency Bitcoin

Your current logic will collide with the logic and concept of how the cryptocurrency Bitcoin works and in order for you to see the light at the end of the tunnel which hopefully will not be a train! Be prepared to learn from scratch and expect a long adventurous and exciting journey of discovery ahead – even if you are not new to Bitcoin. For me Bitcoin would fit well into the analogy of switching from Windows to Linux and the early days of the Internet relating to its still young beginning in the nineties. Tools that we use on the Internet have ripened and become easier to use as these have matured over these last 20 years, Bitcoin is just starting!Re-engineer your logic to understand the cryptocurrency Bitcoin

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Where does the money go when I buy 1 litre of fuel in Mauritius?

Recently I came across a communique of the State Trading Coporation in L’express the 04.02.2016 which published the break down of what you are paying for when you buy 1 litre of Gasoil and Diesel. Those figures below will only be valid until the Petroleum Pricing Committee (PPC) and the State Trading Coporation agree to new prices (monthly basis according to here: Petroleum Pricing Systems (PPS)). I’m presenting the figures below out of interest to get an idea how the state invests the money collected on fuel.

State Trading Corporation
03.02.2016

Description Mogas (Gasoline) Gas Oil (Diesel)
Reference Price – US$ per metric ton 412.0900  
Reference Price – US$ per barrel   41.7600
CIF – US$ / litre 0.3480 0.3129
Exchange rate – Rs/US$ 36.6500 36.6500
  Rupees per litre
CIF 12.7542 11.4678
Excise Duty 10.8000 3.3000
Maurice Ile Durable levy 0.3000 0.3000
Contribution to Road Development Authority 1.8500 1.7500
Contribution to Rodrigues transportation and storage 0.4100 0.4100
Contribution to Build Mauritius Fund 4.0000 4.0000
Contribution to the construction of storage facilities for petroleum products 0.1000 0.1000
Contribution to subsidy on LPG, Flour and Rice 2.7000 2.7000
STCs operational expenses 0.3500 0.4000
Fund from Price Stabilisation Account -3.1156 -2.2136
TRANSFER PRICE TO OIL COMPANIES 30.1486 22.2142
Oil Companies’ operational expenses and wholesale margin 1.8200 1.6600
VAT (15%) 5.0674 3.8478
WHOLESALE PRICE 37.0360 27.7220
Retail margin (Filling station’s margin) 1.8140 1.7780
RETAIL PRICE (Price at Filling Station) 38.8500 29.5000

Check here for their retail prices which will be more up to date.

According to their website in the section of Procurement / Distribution

An estimated annual requirement of petroleum products for 2012/2013 is as follows:

PRODUCT

QUANTITY (MT)

White Oil
Unleaded Motor Gasoline 95 RON

130,000

Gas Oil 50 PPM S

225,000

Gas Oil 2500 PPM S

130,000

Jet Aviation Fuel

250,000

Fuel Oil
Fuel Oil 180 CST Catalytic-Cracked product

240,000

Fuel 180 CST Straight-Run product

85,000

Fuel Oil 380 CST Straight-Run Product

135,000

A rough estimate… when selling all stock (These figures will definitely not be precise as the prices constantly change!)
So Gasoline would amount to: 130 000 x 1000 = 130 million litres x Rs.38.85 = Rs.5 billion
Diesel: 225 000 + 130 000 = 355 000 x 1000 = 355 million litres x 29.50 = Rs.10 billion

Then you have jet fuel oil and other oils for which I do not know the prices.

You can break down the prices to get an idea how much different segments are getting.

I was wondering if VAT is to be applied separately on the retail margins by the Filling Stations which of course cannot be the case as there is VAT already on it. I came across this interesting ruling on the MRA website:

“VATR 20

Facts
M Ltd is a private company incorporated in Mauritius and engaged in the marketing of petroleum goods (i.e. Mogas, Gas oil, fuel oil, Jet A1 & lubricants)in the country. The company has 13 retail outlets which are basically run on two models:
1. Dealers-operated retail outlets, where land is owned by the dealer.
2. Company owned Company operated (COCO) retail outlets, where a contractor is appointed by the company to manage the station.

In the first model, the retail margins on Mogas and Gas oil are fully enjoyed by the dealers as the land on which retail outlet has been developed is contributed by him. In the second model (COCO), the retail margins on Mogas and Gas oil are shared between M Ltd and the contractor on an agreed formula, in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Points in issue
Whether it can be confirmed that
1. No Vat charge should apply on ‘retail margin sharing’ as the retail margin has already suffered VAT;
2. M Ltd is correct in charging VAT on ‘equipment fee’ and that the depiction thereof on the invoice is correct;
3. Arithmetical calculations of both VAT elements (in specimen invoices) as shown in Annexure E are correct.

Rulings
1. It is confirmed that since the retail margin has already suffered VAT no charge to VAT should apply on the ‘retail margin sharing’ as sharing of retail margin between the lessor and the lessee does not amount to a supply of services.
2. It is confirmed that M Ltd is correct in charging VAT on ‘equipment fee.’ However, the VAT element on the invoice should be shown in such a way that it clearly indicates that it is in respect of both oil and equipment fee.
3. As the VAT is chargeable on the value including the retail margin of liquefied petroleum gas we suggest that the invoice be amended to show : –
The value inclusive of the retail margin but exclusive of VAT ;
The amount of VAT charged and the rate applied.”

Ref: VAT Rulings

Walk & Hiking Spots in Mauritius

Find below my videos of walks and hikes I have done in Mauritius. You are welcome to share other nice tracks you have done in the comments section below.

Mauritius Pont Naturel, South, Cliff, Lava Formation, Big Waves, Sightseeing spots
Beautiful sightseeing spot in the south of Mauritius called Pont Naturel. We walked from La Cambuse till Pont Naturel and back. You get to see nice varied sceneries from a lot of green, sea, some beautiful beaches, then cliffs, sugar cane fields and the lava formation that makes up a natural bridge on which you can also walk across.

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Updating Ubuntu 14.10 to Ubuntu 15.04 to Ubuntu 15.10 including Mate Desktop

恭禧發財 Kung Hei Fat Choi greetings from Mauritius!

We are currently having some very rainy weather and today (08.02.2016) is a public holiday in Mauritius for the Chinese New Year. If you are not familiar with Mauritius, this rainbow nation island has many public holidays for various celebrations of various cultures of this world! You should definitely come for a visit someday, if you need advise, contact me. Therefore for many of us it has been a long week end. I decided to repair a faulty PC and then update Ubuntu on it which hasn’t been done since some years. I usually only update programs and avoid doing big updates, my motto is, if the machine is running stable, am fine with that and if and update goes wrong, in some cases you might need to do a complete new install which can cost you a lot of your time. So keep in mind to do a proper backup before you attempt any Ubuntu version updates.

To do updates in Ubuntu is not like in Microsoft Windows, it doesn’t always run or works out with a few clicks (sometimes neither windows update work out with a few clicks!). And the older your version the less likely you will be able to update with just a few clicks (because of old repository links in your system). Ubuntu is not a system where things just work per click. You must also do some thinking, enquire, research, read blogs and figure out its logic. And in the end, when you managed to make it work, you will be happy and feel a bit smarter 😉
This is definitely not a waste of your time to improve your Ubuntu Linux skills.
Siloi-Updating Ubuntu via Repositories PPA-002
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How to fix your PC when it doesn’t want to boot and goes on and off

Fixing PC on and off issue
I just fixed a PC where I had this issue of; when I switch it on it would sometimes boot and sometimes go on and off till it reached a point where it barely went on. I had several PCs running on the motherboard MSI H61M-P20 for socket LGA 1155 CPUs. I have changed in 2 different PCs this motherboard and upgraded it with an MSI H61M-P31/W8 which is actually not that new any more component configuration wise and difficult to get on the local market. I was happy to get one at the intel agent shop in Grand Baie. Sometimes in small computer shops in villages you can still get older spare parts! Try your luck that way if you need older parts.

I like MSI mainboards when it comes to building Ubuntu Linux office Pcs as I had the least trouble with them except that some of them like the P20 has a short life time, they only last up to 2 years (daily usage implied). The P31 seems or is a bit more robust as I have 3 of them still running and one since 3 years still doing good on i3 cpu with 8GB Ram + graphic card attached to 2 screens. With ASUS unfortunately I have had very bad experiences with Ubuntu but no issues for gaming in Windows.

MSI H61M-P31 W
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How to connect to your D-Link Wireless N 150 Bridge / Access point via browser in Ubuntu when http://dlinkap is inaccessible

D-Link Wireless N 150 Bridge Access Point
I acquired this little device from a friend who thought it might come handy someday if I want to extend my wifi network at home. Since upstairs I started my IUGO project where I propose an apartment & studio for holiday rentals, I also wish my guests to have wifi. So I first did a reset (pressing the button at the back) on the device and tried to access it as admin by pluging an ethernet cable from the device into my PC.

…But even though I typed into my browser http://dlinkap it didn’t want to build a connection to the device.

How to solve this?
You will need to set up manually a connection.
I am a ubuntu linux user. I went into my network settings and created a new connection profile for this device.

Making a manual network connection for D-Link N150 - 01

It is important that you also add the device MAC address.
Making a manual network connection for D-Link N150 - 02

You must also make entries for the IPv4 Settings.
IP = 192.168.0.99
Subnet Mask = 255.255.255.0
Gateway = 192.168.0.50
Making a manual network connection for D-Link N150 - 03

Once done, go to your browser and type in http://192.168.0.50 and you should be able to access your device. By default you just have to type in admin as user and leave password blank to access your device back-end interface. When I left out the MAC address this procedure didn’t work, maybe it will in windows.

Once I set up the device to be a bridge, that is to extend my wifi signal upstairs, I tested it with my laptop and the signal was rather weak. I then decided to use 2 netgear wifi extenders instead which are stronger and more stable. This device is only practical for short distances like from one room to another.

Credits for info’s also go to Travis Illig who has made a post blog regarding this issue. I wished to extend on this subject for ubuntu users regarding that the MAC address has also to be used.

How to heal your back pain and avoid investing in an expensive office chair

Back pain, is affecting more and more people these days. Long ago we use to run, hunt and plant or sit on a throne and die of gluttony and these days we bow in front of the computer while we have to force ourselves to move or even pay to practice sports.

If you are suffering from back pain, please read my story, maybe my life hack might help you reduce your back pain. And if you are just curious, my suggestion might help you avoid getting back pains. I had back pain for over two years and I couldn’t exactly tell what was causing it. I was doing sports regularly, going swimming, doing walks, cycling, basket ball, etc. Yet I had back pain and it didn’t want to go away. So I was starting to accuse my bike, my bed mattress, or my shoes… Since I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, I decided to go to a chiropractor in Grand Baie.

He made me do an x-ray and analysed it and said my back isn’t straight. I then read somewhere that they all tend to say that. Then he said I had some anomalies regarding the bone sizes in my spine, some bones seemed underdeveloped and I needed to strengthen my back with muscles to compensate for the difference. But all these years before I didn’t have back pain!?
He then scheduled with me several meetings where he cracked my bones, and put me in a sort of machine which was supposed to fix the issue. Also applied techniques of coldness. Fast forward into the future, after some months, my issue was still present so I decided to just live with it for a while until someone recommended me another practitioner in Mont Choisy.

I went to see her and she showed me a series of exercises I could do. No cracking and all that sorts. She also recommended swimming on my back. So I started doing all those exercises for several months and swimming on my back a lot. I felt no progression at all. I also followed the advise of raising all my computer screens to a height where I do not have to move my head down or up but watch on it centred.

The Best Chair against Back Pain in Mauritius!

The Best Chair against Back Pain in Mauritius!

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E-Business Manager recruitment pitfalls Hotels in Mauritius should avoid

Recently I came across a job advert that made a short list of requirements and a long list of duties for a person to practice the job of an E Business manager for a renown resort group in Mauritius. It included the terms such as SEO, Social Media, analyse Data, manage booking channels and not least to mention aggregate them with prices… Seriously! SEO?

Looking at the list I had to frown as I was reminded of past experience back in Hamburg when I worked for a media agency that hired me for SEO and later on requested me to also manage their online shop till the point of uploading all their products and writing each products description… I was overloaded to the point that I cracked and had to have a serious discussion with my bosses that I couldn’t continue with such a work load.

Hotels in Mauritius fail to understand that for certain types of jobs, various requirements that you place upon the applicant doesn’t reflect reality or just doesn’t make sense. In theory it does, but in shear reality, a human has limited capacities.
The advert in itself, if all these duties are to be practised in real life time scenarios, is prone to drain the employee if he or she gets employed and is new to this sector without any idea what is waiting ahead to negotiate with you for a better work environment. I would rather say victim to burn out. Both parties will end with deception and bad results. This fact, as hard as it sounds, needs to be raised so that Hotels in Mauritius can review their job positions in this arena. What both of you want to achieve is success for the company and the employee. You do not want to destroy your employee neither your e-marketing strategy. You will also want that person to stay long term once this person is running a successful campaign that leads to an increase in revenue. You need to strive to keep your best assets! Do things right so that you have highly motivated personnel working for you that will bring you long term results.

Let’s talk about SEO for a moment. Especially if you are a HR recruiter for a resort. You need to discern that various duties that are laid out for an E Business Manager often are several jobs of their own and cannot be compressed into just one person. Except if you want that person to oversea various persons practising these duties or collaborate with agencies and has a profound knowledge and understanding of each of these components. Thus more prone to also grasp the limitations of how much one person can handle and better manage a team while acting as a manager and coach.

Photo reference: By Abundioteca (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo reference: By Abundioteca (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Bringing my car to the examination centre in Port-Louis (fitness)

Last week was the sixth time I was at car fitness in Port-Louis and it was chaotic at a time where it usually is more smooth. That is 13:30. The new premises still haven’t opened and I wonder when… There is less parking space, and the number of cars required to go the fitness centre is increasing every year.

Bringing your car to the examination centre in Port-Louis (fitness) for getting it checked is something which will not particularly fall on the things I like doing in my todos list. I am sure no one likes to go there. I believe the reason we all hate going there is the waiting time associated with it and the chaotic ways you have to go through with your car in a mess of other cars until you are through. You have to park your cars two times, and if you hate that, welcome to stress. I find it worse than a traffic jam the moment at the examination centre.
Even a day before going there, it’s like a nightmare! And when you are done with it, belle soulagement!

My article is not necessarily a step by step guide on how to get your car fitness done the most efficient way. I will share with you my story and you are welcome to share yours at the comments section at the end of this article. I will also add some useful links at the bottom.

It does say in the motor examination fees that you can have your vehicle examined at your house! I have never taken notion of this option and I wonder if you have tried it yet!? “Examination of any type of vehicle at owner’s premises
Rs. 600”. When I bring my car it costs Rs.400. I bring along my horse power (document) and my insurance certificate.

The first time I had to go to the car fitness centre, I went very early, around 7am I was there. So I was first in the queue. But guess what, it means you wait really long! Total time it took to be through was 3.5 hours! I think they open at 9am and they close at 15:00.
If you go early you will definitely wait a lot and the queue is huge!

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Mauritians should consume more of Mighty Rice grown and Made in Mauritius

Made in Moris

I have been eating rice since my childhood and Mighty Rice is the best rice I have ever had! It tastes so good and if you check its specifications its one of the healthiest! This product needs our support as local consumers and at least a pack should land into your trolley when you leave the supermarket. Taste it and let me know how you liked it in the comments section below.

Mighty Rice is grown in Mauritius. It is not grown in ponds or shallow lakes of water like how you can see it being done commonly in Madagascar. Its grown from seeds just like normal plants. I will not go too much into details about the specifications of this rice as you can read most of it on the mighty rice website.

The reason why you should be concerned about rice in Mauritius, is because the island imports around 76 000 tonnes per year. Mauritius has made itself dependent on this import. YET if Mauritians were to change their eating habits, they would be able to survive from local produce alone. Mauritius can produce a lot of potatoes variants and you can easily grow some manioc, sweet potatoes and other variants in your own backyard. This is just some “food” for thought. If rice can be grown in Mauritius, it would be great to see that import figure go down a bit. Obviously for having varieties of choice as a consumer the importation is most likely here to stay.

Mighty Rice from Mauritius

Mighty Rice from Mauritius

Having a look at the figures
I buy a packet of mighty rice at Super U and it costs me Rs.80 for 500g.
For a bag of 5Kg Basmati Rice I usually pay around Rs.250. There is a lot of choice and a lot of price variations. Cheaper and more expensive. Over the years I just sticked to one brand.

So if you make the comparison for 500g it will cost me around Rs.25 for an imported rice while a local produce will cost me Rs.80. So it’s Rs.55 more.

Is it worth it to pay more?
I say yes. Quality has its price, and you should care for what you put into your stomach. Don’t treat it like a cemetery.
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Withdrawing money from PayPal to your Visa credit card in Mauritius

Recently PayPal has approved the function of receiving money in Mauritius. To be precise since the 13.04.15 PayPal accounts in Mauritius can now receive payments and withdraw funds. This was previously not available for Mauritius. The only function you could use was to make payments via your credit card through PayPal.

In this article I will share with you the details of my communication with PayPal and a local bank and this will make it clearer how you can withdraw the money that someone sends you on PayPal (for example in using your email address) or what options you can choose and what you require to make it work. I will however not go into details how to request someone to send you money as this is quite straightforward in the user area of PayPal once you are logged in.

I’m especially writing this article because if you have a certain habit of how things work with your bank, credit card and PayPal your logic of seeing the steps might be used to a different thought structure, well am speaking of my case here. I just couldn’t get it or it just seemed vague or unclear what is actually meant by withdrawing your money on Paypal. When you do it, what happens!?

Some of my novice questions were also posted in the Mauritius Facebook Blogger group, and while some of my content will appear to be shear simple logic of how it should work and one might wonder – gee doesn’t Dietmar get it… There is no stupid question 🙂

Here you go:
You need a Visa card. It will currently not work with a Master card. And my local bank said a visa debit card cannot be used. (If a visa debit card did work for you, please share infos in the comments section).

When someone sends you money on PayPal, where does it go to?
Once you received payments, it will be posted to your PayPal balance. You have an option to use your PayPal balance for sending payments online or you can also transfer it to a US Bank account (not a US$ Bank account in Mauritius) or to a Visa card that is eligible for withdrawals.

When I receive money on PayPal, does it go directly on my credit cards account (not current account associated with it)?
When someone would send money to you, money will be available first in your PayPal account and not your Visa card. From there you can have the money withdrawn to the bank you prefer (only a bank account in USA) or the visa card. It comes with additional fees, mentioned below.

You will be able to withdraw funds to the Visa card and retrieve the money through an ATM or to your bank depending on the features provided by your bank.

Can I withdraw directly from PayPal to my local bank account in Mauritius?
No.
You cannot add a Mauritius bank account, since local bank accounts are not applicable in your PayPal account. You can only use a Visa card or a US bank account registered with a US address.

Withdrawing to a US bank account would not incur any withdrawal fees it is only when you use your Visa card that you will be charged for a withdrawal fee thus is determined by the card issuer.

If you withdraw money to your visa card, how much fees will it cost?
When it comes to withdrawal fee process associated to Visa Card is $5.00 USD. This fee is applied for every withdrawal with Visa since PayPal is also using their service or feature in withdrawal to card. (Please note that you will also incur charges when you receive money, I will show you an example at the bottom)

Paypal Fees for Withdrawing money to a visa credit card in Mauritius

Paypal Fees for Withdrawing money to a visa credit card in Mauritius

When I withdraw money from PayPal to my Visa credit card, will the money be directly credited to my current account?
No.
It will be on your visa card account, your credit card is an account of its own as well.

Once I have withdrawn money from Paypal to my Visa credit card, how can I retrieve it and what charges will I incur? Can I also transfer it to my current account? (Feedback from MCB)
All withdrawal from a credit card to another account will be considered as cash withdrawal, this can be done on any ATM or depending on the sum, inside the bank. Then the 2% charge will be applied.

You can pay through merchants (retailers) without any charge, as they will pay for the charge.

If someone sends me $110 how much will I effectively have left less PayPal charges and withdrawal charges?
You need to keep in mind that receiving money on PayPal is not for free. They have their charges. The moment someone sends you money, you pay a charge. Then when you withdraw the money on your visa credit card you have another charge. And of course when you withdraw the money from your credit card at an ATM or transfer it to your bank account, you have again some charges (but not to PayPal).

To begin with, any payment (goods or services) received, there is a receiving fee of 3.40% + $0.30 USD (local) and 3.90% + $0.30 USD (international) regardless of the amount you received.

In your example, if you receive $110.00 USD, a fee of $4.04 USD (local) will be assessed and will be deducted from the amount you received. For international, a fee of $4.59 USD will be assessed.

If in case that your withdrawal did not go through (usually if the card issuer refused the funds), a return fee of $10.00 USD will be assessed.

So in Mauritius it will be:
The moment someone sends you $110
$110 less (3.90% = $4.29 + 0.30 = $4.59) = $105.41

Then when you withdraw to your credit card:
$105.41 less $5 = $100.41 goes to your credit card

And then if you retrieve it at an ATM or transfer it your local bank account
100.41 less (2% = 2.01) = $98.40 is what you will have left of the $110 payment you received initially.

We can sum up that this is the amount you pay in total as charges:
PayPal fees $4.59 + PayPal Withdrawal fee $5 + And if you want to retrieve the money from your credit card at an ATM or local bank account $2.01 = $11.60


Other reading material:
Please also read the forum posts in Clever Dodo: Paypal Mauritius can now receive money 🙂

What has your experience been so far in withdrawing money from Paypal in Mauritius? Can you share with us your experience?

The quest to make a good cup of coffee in Mauritius from local and import beans

Lately I have been trying to make my own good cup of coffee from grinding my own beans and getting the dosages right in using various techniques from the French Press to the Bialetti / Moka Italian coffee maker. I started as a coffee drinker with the soluble brands such as Ricoffy and other Nestlé brands which I still find good and does simplify the procedures if you just want a cup of coffee without all the hassles. If you want it strong you just take a few more spoons.

Finding the right coffee to your liking can be as difficult as figuring out a good wine or any other delicacies. With all my recent coffee experiments I’m yet not really satisfied after several months. In discussion with some other coffee drinkers, many have told me, that they are as well on the constant quest of the best coffee experience! Even after years!

I still do believe Ricoffy is one of the best options even if it is just a soluble chicory. By “just” I do not claim that it’s inferior. I have often come to similar tasting experiences that a cup of ricoffy simply tasted very similar of the coffee I had in the French Press and through the paper filter. That’s where I come to the point where I wonder, why all the effort to get the same taste? Why not switch back to Ricoffy?

I do not own a coffee machine like the Nespresso which probably will take the coffee making to a new experience but I somehow do not fancy buying those capsules. And am not really looking for Espressos.

So far I have only tried 2 local coffee brands from Mauritius. And the roasted beans you use play a major role on the end result as well.

How do you like your coffee in Mauritius?

Which brands do you use and where do you buy them?

How do you make your coffee in order to get the best coffee experience & taste? 

This is the French Press. You can get them at Super U. I have tried to make a good cup of coffee with that in using both the Chamarel and La Fournaise roasted beans. I tried all sorts of dosages and I have not come to a satisfying result. I have given up on the French Press. I now use it to just as a water measuring gauge. Also, you need a coffee grinder than can deliver you a more coarse grind, not fine grind.
Making a good cup of coffee in Mauritius - 01

My coffee making arsenal.
Making a good cup of coffee in Mauritius - 02

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HOW TO USE PODIO and where do I input TASKS?

In Podio you can post and assign tasks to different people from anywhere, within a workspace, or project by simply pressing T.

1. Workspaces are on your left where you can set up departments and project sections
2. Within a workspace you have apps which will show on your right
3. In apps you have projects
4. In projects you can add tasks

When you create a task from anywhere that you are located in PODIO:
1. You can add it to a workspace
2. You can add it to an APP (you will need to know its name though! > at the loupe section you can type it in or see selections that it will suggest)
3. You can add it to a project or entry within an APP (here as well you need to know where you want to place your task)

You can also create labels for sorting purposes.

Else you can also click around, go to workspace > select app > select project and enter task instead of using the T function.

It’s always best to put the tasks to where they are most related to for the sake of remaining well organised.
For example if you want to delegate a task to a colleague for a certain project, find the related workspace > app > project. It also depends how you have structured your workspaces.001-Screenshot-Dashboard-TasksEach workspace also has a Dashboard. You can also have a section there that shows tasks that have been added to the workspace and when you click on the title of that box you can then have an overview of all tasks of this workspace and its apps.

002-Screenshot-Tasks within a workspaceYou also have your own section at the top navi with the tick symbol ✔ called Tasks. In this section you will get all your tasks listed which you can sort with various filters.

003-Screenshot-My Tasks sectionIf you want to know who is working on what in your team, I would add for each workspace in the dashboard section a tasks box so that you can access with one click all tasks that are part of that particular workspace and get an overview who is doing what.

Workspaces > All Tasks > My Tasks

It took me quite a while to grasp this so I’ll mention it again: the tasks shown in each workspace when you click on all tasks will only show for that workspace and not all other workspaces. I would have liked Podio to have a function where you can have a global overview of ALL tasks in ALL workspaces.

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From Do to Podio a bit of Wrike, team acceptance was difficult of Podio tasks and project manager

podiowrike
As you grow from a one person company into a small team of 5 colleagues you will soon notice that it gets challenging to keep track of tasks, projects and who is working on what and how is progress. It took me months of research to find a tool appropriate in handling tasks. The first tool I used was Chandler which wasn’t in development any more and didn’t prove ideal for team work. Then I finally found Do. Do was very easy to grasp. You can make sections and input tasks. Delegate them, leave comments and click on done when you are done. Team acceptance of this tool was all right even though it required an adaptation period of around 2 weeks, moving from Chandler to Do. Of all tools we used so far Do proved to be the best due to its simplicity when it comes to team adoption.

Then Do, a program by salesforce was shut down!
We then found Podio which my colleague who was responsible for improving intern processes of the company adored. He is a number and algorithm person, he fell in love with Podio. So we took Podio!
Podio is free for upto 5 users and gives you access to ALL functions. They do not switch off functions so that you feel forced to pay so that you can work. I like their approach, love their blogs and videos. Seriously, they are doing an awesome job.
You can create your own applications called apps, you can make department sections, for each section you will have its own dashboard which you can adapt in so many ways to suit your needs, a home feed where you can just post like on a social media page and a possibility to chat with colleagues. There is so much you can do with Podio. My colleague that was fascinated by Podio then built various apps and we shifted all our tasks and team into Podio for our Isla-Mauricia agency. At one point we were even trying to have all our bookings processed through Podio. At Isla-Mauricia we handle bookings for holiday rentals in Mauritius.

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Don’t be scared to book villas in Mauritius

Fear might be one of the reasons leading you to not having a fulfilled beach villa holiday in Mauritius. While on one side you might be craving to book a private villa, on the other side the fear factor might push you to book more the conventional holiday packages. If its going to be a Mauritius holiday, then make it Special.

Let me share with you a story how a client that has become over the years a repeater how scared she was before she did indeed book a private villa, due to no more holiday packages left on that day where she wanted to go initially. She made the step to book with us a villa during the December peak season after a Google search, and has no regrets. She has now booked several times villas with my agency Isla-Mauricia, for her and her family it is simply way more easier in a villa than in a resort as they have toddlers.

Dont be scared to book villas in Mauritius

Dont be scared to book villas in Mauritius

A few days ago I visited my German client at a private villa that they booked over the peak season to drop some mangos and have a chat. After a while she mentioned that she is so happy that on the day she was planning her holiday that she couldn’t book what she usually booked and opted for Mauritius and a private villa – a holiday option she didn’t know of and is really more than satisfied to have discovered this holiday option. For her, after touring the world, Mauritius is the best place to be. This is quite a statement!

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Discover stereotyped Mauritius differently

Chances are that you are one of many that believe you need to win the lottery first before you can travel to Mauritius. It’s one of the most common statements I get to hear in Germany. Or the only posters you have seen when walking past by a travel agency that showcased, when it was about Mauritius, only a few luxury hotels giving one the impression that this is the only holiday option you can choose from if you want to travel to the island. Maybe you have been to a travel fair in Berlin and seen a Mauritius stand presenting the island with Sega dancer and its resorts representatives. Is that all Mauritius has to offer you?
linkedin1 - Mauritius aint just beaches

Is Mauritius only sun, beach and resorts?
While the billboards at your metro station will most likely never feature any holiday rentals that Mauritius has to offer, obviously as its to pricey, if ever you get to see a Mauritius ad, it will be most likely the one fitting with the stereotyped image of the island! …Sun, beach, resorts!
Yes, indeed it is true, Mauritius has magnificent beach locations, azure blue lagoons with top notch 5 star luxury hotels which come with very high class services and standards which often surpass many other 5 star resorts around the world.
Your travel agency catalogue will most certainly present you the islands top resorts which come at various prices, packages etc. Maybe a page where your attention will be captivated for a moment to look at these beautiful photos and dream… someday… maybe when I get rich I’ll go to Mauritius… Is Mauritius only for the rich?
linkedin2 - La Cambuse Beach in Mauritius

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Hotels using Social Media in Mauritius

I’ve gotten acquainted with Social Media over these last 6 years while practising online marketing for my holiday rentals agency Isla-Mauricia. I use it on a regular basis to present Mauritius and our offers and I tried a lot of approaches to increase my follower base and engagement with fans. I’ve learned along the way things that work, things that don’t work and developed a passion for this arena. One of my favourite tools remains Google+ and Twitter. Especially on Google+ the hangout sessions with professionals from whom you can learn a lot and directly chat with them is an awesome experience. I do not neglect Facebook which one cannot ignore amongst various other social media platforms which has proven itself for us to be the ideal platform in reaching out to our fans in France which would be practically impossible on Google+. Each social media platform has its specificities and what you can do on Facebook you might not similarly be able to do on Google+ nor have similar results. They all require their time for you to understand how you can use it to present your business and achieve engagement with your followers, gain new followers and new customers! And country wise follower bases also vary, in some countries a large amount of the population will use more Facebook while in others they might be using other platforms. Behold that social media differs from SEO (search engine optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and things like running an adwords campaign on Google. I will not write about SEO, SEM, and Adwords in this article.

Discovering Social Media, spending time on it, has made me realise that it is huge, it is not something where you become an expert overnight, nor one year; even if you are a heavy user. It also depends what are you doing on social media? Being an avid private user doesn’t guarantee you yet to be an excellent advocate for a company in public.
You really need to learn, study from the experts, engage with them to learn how it works. Its a never ending learning process and the moment where you think you know Social Media, you will be surprised that you might just have hit the tip of the Ice Berg!

Social Media Brandsphere by Brian Solis and JESS3

Social Media Brandsphere by Brian Solis and JESS3 | Picture source from Wikimedia & Flickr

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Is a greener Mauritius possible?

I just finished reading the book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman which speaks about global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization which have produced a dangerously unstable planet–one that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” He also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession. The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy. And it could inspire Americans to something they haven’t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are their greatest national resources.

03.Flyer - Be An Energy Champion - Page 1 - Konn Servi lénerzi ou ki pou sorti gagnanThis book is a concern not only for USA but the world and he does also speak about China and ways they are implementing to become more greener. The book has details that go till the year 2008 and I wonder now that we are close to 2015 how things have worsened or improved. For the US I can only recall electric cars made by Tesla. Else I’m not aware of any green revolution taking place? Can you add some infos in comments at the bottom if you know of any great green projects taking place in the USA? Just yesterday I saw someone on Twitter post how happy she was to get a gallon of gas for just $1.99. Now that doesn’t go in line of a green revolution!

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Hotels in Mauritius now compete with Guest houses, Beach Villas and Luxury Apartments

In my previous articles I have addressed the challenges which holiday rental agencies in Mauritius are currently facing and how they can expect a deterioration in their mode of operations if they do not handle quick in reinventing themselves or cut down costs drastically!

I have mentioned previously that for most owners of beach villas and apartments that they should still be doing fine as they can use other methods of doing their own advertising than going through an agency. Even though agencies play an important role, the landlords and clients can eliminate the middleman who is the agent by buying and selling directly, which is now easily possible on the internet.

Hotels in Mauritius competing with Guest Houses

Hotels in Mauritius competing with Guest Houses

When it comes to tourism, my articles usually resolve around the theme of agencies and vacation rentals but do not address much Hotels in Mauritius. Now, the drastic sales measures that hotels in Mauritius have implemented is bringing results and these results might on one side be filling rooms for some, while some other structures are standing empty. This topic has been on my mind for a while but I wasn’t yet aware how serious this impact currently already is and how many part takers of the industry have been influenced to face a change in the scenery of how once tourism was running in the sense of occupancy and profit after turnover.

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