Published March 16th, 2015 by

I’ve always been a keen hiker and outdoors man.  My favorite piece of kit is the Garmin leading-edge Montana which comes in three different flavors; the Montana 600, Montana 650, and Montana 650T.  Garmin of course are World leaders in GPS handhelds which are becoming more main stream as the outdoor activity of Geocaching has become more popular amongst families – and the Montana is up there as one of the best GPS for Geocaching on the market.

The Montana handheld GPS devices are all weather outdoor products and have been designed with the rugged outdoors in mind.  So whether you are cycling, exploring, walking, undertaking water-based adventures, or simply geocaching there will be a Garmin Montana to suit you.  Currently you can get 10% if you use a Garmin coupon code from Coupon Chili.

Garmin Montana

Montana 650T – A Rugged Touch Screen GPS

Our review concentrates on the highest-end Montana model which is the Garmin Montana 650T which is almost military grade in its design and features.  It comes with a large 4 inch touch screen that doesn’t seem to suffer even when under direct sunlight – which has been a criticism of previous Garmin handheld GPS products.

The Montana Has a Long Life Lithium-Ion Battery and Waterproof

Not only will the Montana 650T last all day on its long-life battery, but it is also waterproof meaning even the most adventurous of users should find this handheld GPS perfect.  You could start your day driving using the in-built Garmin automotive GPS maps, take it kayaking, and then do some Geocaching and climbing – this GPS does it all.  You can purchase mounts separately meaning you can transfer it from a car to a bike to a boat with ease.

Garmin Montana 650T Receives GPS Signals Quickly

What really sets the Montana apart from the competition is how fast it will receive satellite signals – so if you’re in a tight spot you can rely on it to rescue you from even the most inaccessible of situations.

Geocaching Features of the Montana 650T

The Garmin Montana includes some Dedicated Geocaching tools which mean you can also share Geocaches wirelessly between devices – and of course it will integrate with Garmin’s recently launchedOpen Caching website.  You will be able to download Geocaches direct off the web and take photos as you walk using the in-built 5 mega-pixel camera.

Includes Points of Interest

If Geocaching isn’t your thing and you are in a strange and unfamiliar place then you can turn to the pre-installed Points of Interest (POI) files which include local pharmacies and golf courses – and additional content such as Garmin map updates can even be purchased separately.

Who Should Buy the Garmin Montana 650T GPS Handheld?

If you are active or even have ambitions to get out and explore the great outdoors then the Montana 650T will appeal to you.  What you need to appreciate though is that you aren’t just getting a handheld outdoor GPS – you are also getting a sat nav GPS to use in your car or truck as it really is a fully functional GPS to suit all scenarios.  The price point, whilst expensive, is fully justified given the huge versatility of this handheld.

Detailed Features and Specification of the Montana 650T

Dimensions

  • 9 inches wide, 5.7 inches high, 1.4 inches deep
  • Screen display 2 inches wide by 3.5 inches high
  • Display resolution 272 x 480 pixels
  • 65k color TFT with dual-orientation touch screen
  • Weights 10.2 ounces
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery includes (or takes 3 x AA batteries)
  • Waterproof handheld GPS
  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver

Maps & Memory

  • Comes with Basemap
  • You can add new maps
  • Built-in memory of 3GB
  • microSD data card slot
  • 4,000 waypoints, favourites, and locations
  • 200 routes
  • Track log of 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks

Technical Features

  • Automatic routing
  • Electronic compass
  • Touchscreen GPS display
  • Barometric altimeter
  • 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and automatic Geo-tagging
  • Paperless Geocaching
  • Can load custom maps
  • Photo navigation to Geo-tagged photos

If you want to purchase and buy the Garmin Montana 650T handheld GPS then the best prices are currently being ranged on the Amazon website.

PS: Like Garmin products? How about you check out this video from them which I previously blogged about.

Published March 16th, 2015 by

It’s been a while since I updated the blog, primarily due to work load.  Whilst I started the blog with the best intentions, sometimes life can get in the way.  I had intended the website to be a portfolio of work where I could show off the latest stuff that I was doing and showcase my skills. The ironic thing is that because I started that last year, I’ve now got so much work in that it’s hard to find the time.

The upshot is, I’ve decided that I will be posting probably less regularly, and will be started up a new company website instead.  I will post up information on that when it’s ready to go!

Published October 10th, 2014 by

bar stools logoIn a slight departure from my usual line of business, this week I won a new client for some back-end PHP development and coding work – but not in the finance sector.  I met Elena Travis from The Funky Chair whilst recently at the Content Marketing Conference.  Elena and I shared a coffee and have a brief chat about what I do and my services that are on offer.  Anyway, to cut the long story short she runs The Funky Chair website which sell bar stools in the UK.

She imports bar stools from around the globe from top designers and then re-sells them into the UK consumer market.  She was telling me about some IT challenges that she has due to the bar stools warehouse not sync’ing up too well with all of the backend systems that she runs her stock control and order entry stuff – which all feeds into the bar stools website.

Bar Stools Stock and Ordering System

Her whole business relies on being able to list stock inventory on The Funky Chair, whilst at the same time matching that up with the products volumes back in the bar stools warehouse.  So as an example, if someone visits The Funky Chair and selects a red leather and steel bar stool and then adds that to the cart, it needs to be certain that a) the product is in stock, and b) when purchased that’s flagged against her internal systems as being ordered.

Currently there are some flaws in the system so I’ve been brought on board to streamline the whole online ordering process, to implement new code so that the ordering and stock control works 100% seamlessly with no glitches.

Obviously I never thought I would be working on a PHP project for a bar stools retailer in the UK so it just goes to show what networking can do for you – in fact since this opportunity has come up I’ve signed up to more small business networking groups on LinkedIn.

Over the coming months I will be adding updates to my blog about how this bar stools project has gone so please keep coming back –and if you have an online programming project that requires a pitch from me then please do get in touch via my work with me page as I would love to hear from new potential customers – no matter where you are in the World!

Published September 23rd, 2014 by

This week I’ve been working with some new clients who work in the accountancy field.  They asked me to help to develop a web interface which connects to their back-end systems.  Essentially it’s designed to let their clients login and submit accounts online, rather than emailing large files, PDFs, and such like.

In terms of what I’ve needed to learn, it’s been a huge learning curve.  I’d not really played around that much with SQL to this level of complexity before.

I can’t tell you who the client is right now, but should be able to add them into my portfolio when November comes once the system has gone live and has been fully tested.

Content Marketing WorldI’ve also been to a few conferences this month, with a highlight being the Content Marketing World Conference 2014 which was held Cleveland. It was another fantastic opportunity hot off the heels of my visit to the SMX Advanced Expo recently to meet like minds and “talk shop”.

I had never really thought much about how this form of networking can help your business grow, but the conferences I have now been to have opened up so many opportunities that I would recommend them to any entrepreneur who wants to get their business running better.

Published July 21st, 2014 by

Since I set up in business there have been a number of different software packages that have proved absolutely invaluable for me in terms of not just productivity but also network and PC security.  One of those products is McAfee’s Security Centre – without this I would probably have had to rip and start my business up again due to a recent cyber-attack and hacking attempt that was made on my PC via a Trojan Horse program.
McAfee Promo Code

Get it With a McAfee Promo Code

Note: If you want to buy this product then you can do so with a 25% discount from the Coupon Chili website – click on this Coupon Chili’s promo code for McAfee page.  You should then be able to get for under one hundred dollars – but Amazon also have some cheap deals.

How it Works

The great thing about McAfee Internet Security is that it works in the background to protect your computer against a huge variety of threats – things like viruses, Trojan horses, hackings, malware, and malicious scripts.  Unfortunately I seem to be a bit slack when it comes to backing up my client files and so having McAfee act as the gatekeeper has saved me on more than one occasions according to the logs that I recently read in the McAfee promo code admin area.

Other software that I have started using recently and recommend, in particular for PC and computer security are Norton AntiVirus which I use in conjunction with McAfee just to be even safer – call it paranoia… could be!

To conclude, if you are running any kind of business from home, or have any sensitive files or files you would hate to lose (think accounts and family photos) stored on your computer – then please please make sure that you have adequate protection against data loss and any hacking.  If I find any more deals like that McAfee promo code then I will share them on here.

Disclaimer: I do not benefit financially from any products or websites that I recommend.

Published July 21st, 2014 by

I live in Kansas, and one of the largest technology companies in the World is based here in a place called Olathe. Whilst I’ve never worked for Garmin (although it would have been nice!) I have always respected them and used their products.  I’ve got a Nuvi PND in the car, I run with a Garmin Forerunner, and have a hand-held GPS device to use on my hiking holidays.  Anyway, I got a marketing email from them a couple of weeks back telling me that they are celebrating their 25th birthday – which seems like a heck of a long time for a tech company.  My friends who work there have nothing but good things to say about the place and they do a lot of charity and community work in the Kansas area.  The video they have released makes it look like a great place to work at… so happy 25th birthday to Garmin!  Here’s the cool video.

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Published July 8th, 2014 by

Off the back of my recent successes with my PHP development portfolio on Elance (see my previous blog post about how I am helping a bridging loans company) I won yet another UK-based client this month – the IT Support London HQ company.  They are a computer and PC support firm based in the capital city of London in England and asked me to quote for a new client booking system that they needed to place online for one of their own projects.

System to Log IT Support Requests & Tickets

The system will allow their clients to log IT support requests into a back-end password protected support website.  It means that their customers can login with their credentials, submit an IT support ticket, and then follow the progress of the job where they can see the assigned IT support technician, any associated notes, scheduling and deadlines.  I am really proud of the piece of work.  Obviously I can’t show you it in the flesh as it’s hidden behind a secure firewall, but I can show you a screenshot or two of how the development work is currently looking.

Work for IT Support London HQ

The IT Support Ticketing System Under Development

The fact that I have been able to pick up new clients like this means that’s it’s a very exciting time for me and I hope that this leads to more work from the IT Support London HQ as they have a large portfolio of clients inside of England that they offer outsourced computer support and remote IT support to.  So far so good, and the feedback I’ve had from their in-house project manager has been excellent so far.

Project Deliverables

I have delivered on the main objectives as follows;

  1. Create a user-friendly IT support ticket system
  2. 100% secure from hackers, SQL injection attempts and other security threats
  3. Let IT Support London HQ staff members upload their own time sheets
  4. Allow customers of IT Support London HQ access remotely
  5. To be quick and fast loading even over slow web connections
  6. To be mobile responsive and accessible via a smart phone or mobile device

The most problematic part of the project to date has been the PHP coding of some aspects concerning the database.  It was all to do with old PHP code from a previous iteration of the application using the MYSQL_ code lines in order to make a connection direct to the database.  You can see how I overcame it below (one of the coders only so apologies for the geekiness!)

PHP Coding Problems

How I Fixed the PHP Database Issues

Generally speaking though, everything has gone really smoothly and I don’t anticipate that that it should take too much longer to complete.  Hopefully I will get another fantastic recommendation to place onto my testimonials page in the near future!

Find Jobs on Elance

I really cannot recommend the Elance website enough.  In the past 2 months I have managed to pick up 2 new clients from this system, firstly it was the Bridging Experts, and now IT Support London HQ.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of many and I have more clients wins to share on my blog in the near future.  It’s exciting times for me and the business is really starting to take off at the moment.

Published July 8th, 2014 by

I love planes, always have, and have actually had a couple of lessons from my uncle over the last 12 months.  A few years back I went to the Kansas City Air Show which unfortunately hasn’t been running for the last couple of years due to a budgeting problem.  It’s a real shame because the 2009 event was awesome.  I was looking up for some footage on YouTube earlier today and found this great video blog montage of great clips from the ’09 show.  You can see it below… if you were there you will probably recall the Apache helicopter that was flown on the day – just amazing.  Anyway, here’s the video.

Published June 30th, 2014 by

Earlier in the month I relayed via my blog how I was going to attend the SMX Advanced Expo in Seattle.  Well, it was actually amazing!  I managed to meet and talk to loads of guys from the industry and picked up lots and hints and tips, but probably more importantly picked up a load of contacts that will hopefully help me to progress my business over the coming year – with the end game being to give up my full-time job and go 100% my own boss.

So in terms of what I learned at the Expo here are just a couple of notes:

  • If you aren’t developing for mobile then you need to start now… see a recent blog post from me where I detailed how I did this for a UK bridging loans company.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – there were some massive names at the Expo and I found that just by going and talking to them I could get some valuable insight into the industry.

I will try and cover off more information once I get a chance to download all my notes into a readable format from my iPad.

Published June 30th, 2014 by

I was recently lucky enough to pick some new PHP development work up from the Elance.com website from a UK-based client who deals in bridging loans.  It’s the first client that I’ve managed to pick up from outside of the United States, and I am hoping that it will be the first of many.  I’ve set up a profile on Elance (as well as Odesk) which targets users who need web development for companies dealing in loans and finance sectors.

Whilst no clients have directly approach me yet, Elance still worked very well for me.  It’s very simple to use, and I picked up the UK bridging loans company through it by doing a search for PHP development needed.  You can see in the screenshot below how Elance works and how you can search and apply for jobs.  It’s very cool.

How I found a bridging loans client in the UK

Searching Elance for PHP Developer Jobs is easy

The Bridging Loan Calculator

They were looking for someone to develop a bridging loan calculator for them.  It basically lets people type in their details, how much that they want to borrow as a bridging loan, and then calculates how much then can borrow gauged against current interest rates which are plugged in at the backend.  You can see an example of how the calculator works on the screenshot below or visit their website directly to see it in action if you want to test it out yourselves.  It’s built entirely with PHP and I had to work with their in-house web designer in order to get it to render and scroll properly using CSS and some responsive type coding so that it also worked on mobile and smartphone screens correctly.

Bridging Loan Calculator on Their Website

The Bridging Loans Application Calculator I Developed With PHP & CSS.

Improved Customer Conversions by 62%

According to statistics from the Bridging Experts company this has already helped them to increase conversion of new customers applying for loans by a massive 62% online so I am really proud of this piece of work.  They gave me a great testimonial that I can use on this website as well as my Elance profile – very happy about that! (See my new testimonials section).

Mobile Load Speeds for Bridging Experts Homepage

In addition to that they also asked me to help with some coding to help improve the mobile experience on the Bridging Experts website.  Essentially looking for ways in which it could load faster and quicker for people looking for bridging loans in the UK whilst on the move.  By tweaking some of the underlying HTML and CSS placements we were able to improve load speeds by 20% and also make the website render correctly on all browsers for Android and iPhone and iPad users.  Again you can see the work for yourself if you visit the bridging loans website.

You can see how it renders on smartphone and mobile on the image below – I created this screenshot using the excellent iPad Peek website – you can enter in a web address and see how your website looks, it’s very cool and is how the majority of the testing for the bridging loan calculator was completed remotely from me in the United States to the team in the United Kingdom.

Bridging Loans Experts on iPad Peek

Testing the Bridging Loan website on an iPad Embulator.

A Fantastic Experience

Overall, working for this bridging loan company in the UK (albeit remotely) has been a great experience and has shown me that perhaps with a little bit more faith in myself and my abilities I could quite happily turn this into a full-time business.  I plan to try to attract some more clients over the coming months using the Elance and Odesk platforms to see if I can pick up anymore work from loans and finance companies using the methods outlined at the top of this blog post.

Want to Employ Me for Your Loans Website?

Meanwhile, if you would like me to write up a proposal for a finance website that you own then please do get in touch with me on the Employ Page.  You can then email me for a quote.  My prices are very competitive (e.g. cheap and low!) and I always do a very good job.