British Beauties … Cars that is

Mini Cooper racing in the wetThis is a guest post by Dilpreet Bhagrath on behalf of Fulton Leasing – a professional car leasing and contract hire company with the best leasing deals on all manufacturers and models, including Audi, BMW and Land Rover leasing.

There are many impressive British cars that do our country proud. Not only do these cars look effortlessly stylish and sleek, but they are also high-performing vehicles guaranteed to put the fun back into driving.

Land Rover is an iconic British brand as it not only represents power and style, but also has a strong presence on and off-road. It is a brand with such a unique build and design, and inevitably turns heads. Land Rover leasing is a popular option as it allows drivers to get behind the wheel of this innovative vehicle, without having to worry about depreciation of its value as you would with buying. Leasers can also work their way through the Land Rover family, as they can change their car every time their contract finishes. Range Rover leasing and Range Rover Sport lease deals are also a hit as these trendy cars exude a strong feeling of luxury.

Another car manufacturer which is engrained in the British automotive industry is the opposite of the large, domineering Land Rover – the humble Mini Cooper. Made by the British Motor Corporation, the Mini is a front-wheel drive with great road handling. Initially, it was put into production due to a fuel shortage which deterred people away from bigger cars. However, its popularity and success has grown immensely since then. The Mini Sports models have also experienced great success in rallying.

When discussing iconic and memorable British cars, there is one car manufacturer which cannot go unmentioned. This car has appeared in one of the most famous action movies in the world. I’m talking about Aston Martin, of course. Aston Martin’s collection of supercars have appeared in mega-hit movie James Bond. It is therefore instantly recognisable and associated with power and luxury. The Aston Martin DB9 is a particularly desirable supercar due to the exceptional adrenaline-satisfying drive it provides. Unfortunately, the hefty price tag which it comes with means the closest many of us will get to this British beauty is in the next James Bond flick.

Although many believe that other countries are further ahead in the automotive industry, it is important not to write-off our country too hastily as we have many British beauties that everyone would love to get their hands on.

What cars do you think do Britain proud? Jaguar? McLaren? The classic Mini? Let us know your favourite in the comments section.

More one-day t-shirts with Qwertee.com

Blimey, was it really March when I wrote about Tee Fury? If you’ve checked out Tee Fury but have been a bit frustrated at buying in dollars and waiting for your new t-shirt to arrive from across the pond, help is at hand. Qwertee is a similar one-day t-shirt site based in the UK/Republic of Ireland… which means you don’t have to try and work out the exchange rate for dollars, and you’ll get your tee more quickly.

If you’ve got this far and you’re still wondering, “what’s a one-day t-shirt”, let me explain. Stick around too, because I’ll be giving you a discount code to use on Qwertee at the end of this post.

One-day t-shirts?

Qwertee is very simple: they sell one t-shirt design, for one day only. Every day at 11pm they put a new tee on sale for twenty four hours, or less if it sells out quickly. After 24 hours the tees are gone, so if you see one you like you need to act fast to get hold of it before it’s too late.

Qwertee works with local and international artists and designers, but rather than deciding what to print themselves it’s the Qwertee community that decides what gets printed. Artists submit designs, community members vote for what they like, and the most popular designs are printed out and put on sale for 24 hours. The artists themselves receive €1 of the £8/€9 t-shirt sale.

The tees are ringspun cotton and hand-printed in the UK and Ireland. They also come in fully degradable bags, so you don’t need to worry that the packaging is going to hang around for centuries in a landfill site. Add in the Qwertee GuaranTee, that says you can return anything you’re not happy with at Qwertee’s cost and receive a refund, and I think this just looks better and better.

Qwertee is only a few weeks old, but there have already been some great designs to rival Tee Fury. If you’re into printed t-shirts, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

And a special offer for Geek-Speak readers

Qwertee have set up a discount for Geek-Speak readers. Simply enter “GeekSpeak” in the discount code field of the checkout and you’ll get £1 or €1 off your order. Can’t say fairer than that, can you? Just move quickly… once those tees are gone, they’re gone.

One-day t-shirt designs at Tee Fury

My friend bought me a t-shirt the other day… a really cool design that was perfect for a geek like me. I had never seen one like it and, it turns out, am unlikely to see another one. Why? Because that particular t-shirt was available for one day only, and never will be again.

If you like your clothing exclusive yet fun then you need to check out Tee Fury. The idea is simple – there’s a new t-shirt design every day, and each design is available for 24 hours. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is a wide range of styles and subjects, which means some days you’ll log on and think, “I don’t like that” but other days you’ll think, “that’s brilliant!”.

The 24 hour sale window is a clever idea – it means there’s always fresh inventory but it also means you have to think fast if you do want a particular design. There’s no denying that there’s an element of getting people to buy on impulse because, if they don’t, they might regret it tomorrow.

It would be easy to be cynical, then, but with a bit of sense you’ll end up getting some great designs pretty cheaply. Just make a deal with yourself that you’ll only buy something if it jumps off the screen at you… and not if you just think it’s pretty cool. The t-shirts themselves feel like they’re of good quality and cost $9, with shipping to the UK also starting at $9. At today’s exchange rate that means you can have a quality tee for around £12.

Rather than keep visiting Tee Fury, I’ve added it to my feed reader and, since there’s something new every day, I’d recommend you do the same. Who knows, maybe you’ll come across that killer design tomorrow!

Thesis: the best WP theme I’ve ever used

First impressions count, and when I visit a site the first thing that hits me is the general design. A site may have the best content there is on the Net, but if it looks like a dog’s dinner I’ll often move on before getting round to reading what it actually says.

If you’re a WordPress user there are loads of places where you can find themes. You can find a theme to fit pretty much and design you want… dark, light, magazine layout, or even themed to look like an iPhone. I’ve been blogging since 2003 and have done the tour of themes more than once but I can honestly say there’s only one I would use now: Thesis from DIY Themes.

What makes Thesis different?

Thesis‘ customisability is its strength. It’s fairly plain out of the box, but Geek-Speak hasn’t been customised too heavily other than adding a logo, advertising banner, and changing the background colour to blue. Adding the logo and ad required a little coding (I got loads of help from the DIYThemes.com community) but changing colours, fonts, adding columns, and constructing custom navigation is all done with the Thesis options pane… no coding required!

If you’re feeling particularly brave you can access several “hooks” that allow you to add custom code to various parts of the page. Basically, Thesis lets you customise your site and accommodates both people who are willing to delve into the techie code and those who just want to select options from a menu.

Is it good for SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is key if you want to gain traffic from the search engines, and Thesis gives you powerful options to help with this: a custom title tag, meta description and tags, and the option to add a noindex instruction to a page if, for some reason, you don’t want that page included in the search engines’ indexes.

OK, how much?

Here’s the point where you have to decide whether you really want to go with Thesis or not. It costs $87 for a personal license and $164 for a developer’s license. The difference is that with the developer’s option you can deploy Thesis to any of your clients’ sites and remove the Thesis credit from your site’s footer, whereas the personal option can only be deployed to one site and keeps the credit in the footer. If you’re looking for a theme for your own blog I’d recommend going for the cheaper personal option, as you can upgrade to the developer one later if you want to.

Thesis is by no means cheap, but I believe you get what you pay for. I genuinely think it’s worth the money and would recommend that you at least consider it as your WordPress theme. The guys at DIY Themes say you’ll never change your theme again… and I believe them.

Visit DIY Themes to check Thesis out and buy if you think it’s right for you.

I am an affiliate for Thesis – if you purchase the theme via any links in this article I will earn a commission on your purchase.

Geek-Speak Recycled: Mactab by Yann Le Coroller

Mactab by Yann le Coroller

Creativity is a gift, and discovering someone with a creative flair is a joy. I guess that’s part of why I like Macs so much; they look so good. Well, Yann le Coroller is a person with a knack for coming up with improvements to make the Mac (among other things) even better.

The pic is of one of his designs called the Mactab, an ultra-portable tablet Mac. The wireless keyboard protects the screen while in transit by clipping on using magnets. The tablet/screen has a stand built-in to allow you to orient it more like a traditional monitor (i.e. upright).

This is an absolutely gorgeous design – I really wish it was actually in production. With the advent of the Macbook Air, super-thin Macs aren’t fantasy any more, and the Modbook already provides for the tablet Mac market, so you never know… perhaps one day.

Check out Yann’s site, and his designs – especially the myBook, a small, semi-ruggedised Macbook that I also wish were actually available.

A very big thanks to Yann, not only for letting me use one of his images here, but for uploading a new version of his renderings for me! This article was originally posted in April 2008.

Create stunning designs with Myoats

Myoats roundel designSometimes the simplest of ideas is the most captivating… and sometimes the simplest of designs is the most memorable. Myoats takes a very simple idea, and turns it into something amazing: draw anything you like within a circle on-screen, and see it duplicated over and over again kaleidoscope-style.

The simplest of drawings can produce amazing results, and if you take a moment to look through the Myoats gallery, you’ll see just how stunning some of the ideas are.

This kind of thing is actually very therapeutic. If you just need to switch off for a few minutes you can doodle away and see what you come up with. Alternatively, you can put as much effort in as you like and come up with a wonderfully complex or artistic design.

One nice touch is that you can download you design as an image to use as a background, as part of another design, or to plonk on your own website.

A very simple idea, very well realised, and great to play with.