Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Age Old Debate: Should You Buy New Or Used?

There is a lot to think about when you are in the process of buying a car. Most motorists find that this process is something which they definitely do not want to rush. However, that doesn’t mean that you want it to take forever either. The problem is, usually when you are buying a car it is because you are in desperate need of one now! That means that you don’t want to spend time worrying about details which don’t matter to you. At the same time, everyone wants to do their best to save as much money as they can. Finding a healthy balance between these two can be difficult - but it is well worth the effort. One of the main things you need to ask yourself is whether to buy new or used. If you can work this out sufficiently, then you have managed to find that elusive balance. With that in mind, let’s take a look through the various pros and cons of each.

New - Pros

Buying a new car is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable way to go about it. There is nothing quite like driving away from a dealer with your New Honda or whatever you have gone for. When you buy new, you have the obvious advantage of having a car which has not been driven at all. This means that it is likely to perform very well. You also probably have a warranty - a great feeling of security which you don’t get used. There is nothing quite like buying new.

New - Cons

But it’s not all a walk in the park. There are some downsides to buying new, too. Depreciation is a real concern for many motorists buying a new car. Depreciation simply means that the car loses value over time. The truth is, your vehicle loses thousand off its value the moment you drive it off the forecourt. There is also the fact that insurance is likely to be just that little bit pricier. And, of course, you have the upfront cost - much larger than when you buy used.

Used - Pros

If you are trying to keep an eye on your financial situation, then there is good news from the used category. If you buy a used car, you are unlikely to spend that much on the upfront costs. What’s more, you will probably find that insurance is considerably cheaper when compared to buying a new car. The process is also often that much faster. The used market is sprawling with just about every model you can name, so you are sure to be spoilt for choice.

Used - Cons

However, buying used does have its drawbacks. First is the fact that a used car is not necessarily going to last you a long time. It is likely that regular visits to the mechanic will be in order. Running costs will probably be much higher, and tax might be an issue on the older cars. With a used car, you also have no way of knowing just what kind of state it is really in. It is a bit of a risk - but it’s up to you whether that risk is worthwhile or not.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Music Apps That Will Blow Your Mind

Back in 1997, Napster launched. Ultimately the pirate music website was taken down. But not before it changed the way that we consume music, forever.

Now the marketplace is flooded with legitimate music apps. These promise users everything from their favourite hits to random, home-made beats. And because there are so many of them, they can be quite tricky to navigate. In this post, we're going to take a look at some of the more interesting music apps out there. You never know, some of them might blow your mind.

Apple Music
You can't have a list of the best music apps without including Apple Music. Apple Music builds on the backbone of popular iTunes platform. But it does more than this. As it is a streaming service, many of its songs are free.

What's more, the app actually learns the type of music that you like, and it can construct playlists based on your preferences.

If you get fed up with all the free stuff - which is unlikely - you can pay a $9.99 a month subscription to get access to all 30 million songs.

Pandora is an app with staying power. This little music app has been around for years and has managed to survive the Apple Music storm. Part of its success is down to the fact that it is always getting better. The app is highly customizable. And it lets you create whole stations dedicated to your favourite artists.

What's more, the previous 40 hour-per-month limit has finally been removed, meaning that Pandora can truly be your go-to app. Learn more about the apps other features and suitability for children here.

For a long time, Rhapsody wasn't the most attractive music app out there. But now, thanks to a facelift, it can finally compete with the best.

But the app is more than just a pretty face. Rhapsody has been going for years, and over time has built up an enormous library of songs. The library of music, combined with the fresh interface, now makes it one of the best music apps out there.

Like Pandora, Rhapsody allows you to create your own radio stations, dedicated to your favourite artists. And like Pandora, it has a premium service that allows you to go ad-free.

Qello Concerts
They say that if you want to truly experience music, you have to go to a live event. Qello Concerts recognises that that isn't always possible, so it tries to do the next best thing: bring the event to you.

Rather than streaming individual songs, Qello Concerts specialises in streaming whole music events. For a small monthly payment, you can transform your smartphone into a full-blown auditorium. You can watch full-length concerts and documentaries on command.

The last music app on our list is iHeartRadio. This nifty little app combines the convenience of a smartphone with the randomness of the radio. It's like a regular radio, but with a twist. You can customise it to deliver tunes, broadcast over the radio, that reflect your listening habits. With this app, there's a song for every occasion.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Cars VS Bikes: The Age Old Debate

The debate over which is better, cars or bikes, has been raging for as long as cars and bikes have been around. But recently, thanks to the internet and blogging, it's gone into high gear. Numerous websites now devote enormous tracts of column space to answering this question. And nobody seems to have a clue which way the pendulum swings.

In this post, we're going to strip away all the nonsense and look at some of the facts on both sides before coming to a balanced conclusion. In the battle of bikes vs cars, who will prevail? Let's take a look at some of the reasons why you might choose a car.

Cars Are All-Weather Vehicles
Bikers often wax lyrical about the joys of riding their motorcycles on the open road. But, of course, that only really applies on a sunny day in California. Most of us aren't fortunate enough to live in such favourable climes. And even in California, it's not perpetual summertime.

When it's raining, it's cold, or it's snowing, riding a motorcycle is not fun. Many motorcyclists report that hail stings, even through leathers. And of course, it's hard to stay warm when temperatures dip below zero.
In a car the hail is kept out, the heating is turned on, and windscreen wipers do a good job of getting rid of the rain. Bicycle helmets don't have windshield wipers so good luck seeing where you're going.

You'll Live Longer Driving A Car
It's no secret that bikes are dangerous. As sites like point out, around 5,000 bikers die each year. And when you consider how few people ride bikes, that's a colossal number indeed.

Most of those accidents aren't the fault of the motorcyclist either. So it's not the case that you can just ride more carefully. The problem is that other motorists just don't see motorcyclists coming. They don't check their mirrors often enough. And they don't have a good perception of the speed of oncoming motorcycles, because of their small size.

Cars come with loads of safety equipment and are rigorously tested. Bikes come with practically none, except a helmet. And even that is rarely sufficient to prevent maiming. The best that you can hope for, regarding safety features on a bike, is anti-lock braking. That's about it.

Cars Can Be An Investment
These days a lot of wealthy people are putting their money into cars. Why? Because certain makes and models of cars tend to hold their value over time. They're a bit like buying vintage wines or famous artwork.

But motorcycles rarely, if ever hold their value over time. Unless you get hold of something like a Brough Superior, you're unlikely ever to see a return on your investment. Vintage bike prices are volatile, and almost always go down.

Cars Are More Convenient Than Bikes

Motorbikes make your life a lot harder. For starters, you have to get all dressed up in full leathers each time you go out. Then, when you arrive at your destination, you have to take them off again. If it's a hot day, you'll stink because you will have been sweating the whole journey.

Then there's the problem that there's not much room to put any of your stuff. If you're going away on a long break, you can forget it. It's almost impossible to cram a week's worth of stuff onto a motorbike. And even doing the shopping is difficult. There isn't the space to do a weekly shop. And so if you insist on using the motorbike, you'll end up going every couple of days.

You'll Get Health Insurance Driving A Car

If there was ever a clear indication that motorcycling is dangerous, it is this. Health insurance companies usually don't cover motorcyclists. And they put motorcycling as an activity in the same bracket as other very dangerous pursuits, like rock climbing and car racing.

This is a big problem. If you do get sick, medical expenses are outrageous, so you need insurance. But if you ride, you're left with a serious dilemma: ride without health insurance or dump the bike and get in the car instead.

But enough of the reasons why cars are better than bikes. Let's turn our attention now to the reasons why bikes are better than cars.

Bikes Take Up Less Space

Your average home in your average suburb has a garage. And in that garage, you can either put one big car or four small bikes. Cars are annoying because they take up so much space. You spend hours driving around crowded city centres in a car, looking for a place to park. And when you finally do, it's still expensive and stressful.

On a bike, you don't face the same problems. Usually, one bike is enough, freeing up space in your garage. Plus it's usually a lot easier to find places to park a motorcycle that it is a car. Most shopping centres have designated areas for motorcycle parking that are rarely, if ever, full.

Bikes Use Less Gas

Gas prices might have come down a little bit in recent years, but it's still expensive. The average family saloon can get around 45 miles per gallon. Not bad, considering how far things have come. But still not great. Motorbikes, on the other hand, especially those with smaller engines, can get more than 100 miles per gallon. That's more than double what you'd get in a car.

Bikes Have Higher Performance In General

Because bikes don't have to lug around so much equipment, they're lighter than cars. And because they're lighter, they have higher performance, generally speaking.

While it's true that not all motorbikes outperform all cars, it is certainly the trend. There are cars with similar performance to top-end motorbikes, but they're usually ten or twenty times the price.

Motorbikes Cost Less Than Cars

On a related point, motorbikes cost less than cars, almost any way you cut it. Each dollar spent on a motorbike will get you far more performance than each dollar spent on a car. Even a top end sports bike will cost you about the same as an entry level car.

Motorcycling Gets You Out In The Fresh Air

While it's true that motorcycling when the weather is bad is no fun, it's worth remembering that the weather isn't always bad. Sometimes it's great. Unless you've got an open top car, it's hard for car drivers to really get out in the fresh air and smell the pine trees. For bikers, it's easy.

Motorcycling Develops Coordination

Most experts agree that our lives are too sedentary. We roll out of bed, get dressed, sit in the car on the way to work, then sit at our desks, before coming home in the evening to slouch in front of the TV. Nowhere in that typical day is there an opportunity to practice balance and coordination. If you drive a car, that is.

But if you ride a motorbike, you'll have ample opportunities to hone your balance and coordination. Bikes require a certain finesse to ride well. You'll have to leave how to use the brake and clutch levers with your hands. And you'll have to time your gear shifts through your feet. Plus, a lot of the time, you'll be riding at low speeds, which tax your balance.

You Can Learn How To Rebuild A Motorbike

Modern cars are very complicated contraptions. Most of the time, when you go to the garage, the mechanic will hook your car up to a computer and the computer will tell the mechanic what's wrong. It's a far cry from the days when you could get underneath your own car and figure out problems for yourself. In fact, cars are now so complicated that they can only really be serviced by professionals, except for perhaps, the most simple things.

Bikes, on the other hand, are different. If you're so inclined, you can actually learn to take apart your bike in your own shed and put it back together. Learning how to service your own bike is rewarding in itself. But it also means that you can save a lot of money in the long term servicing your own bike.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, some of the top reasons for choosing a bike over a car, and vice versa. But who wins: bikes or cars? I think the answer depends on whether you're an optimist or a realist. You'll notice that a lot of the arguments against bikes aren't exactly in favour of cars. Yes, bikes are dangerous and all that; but are cars as exciting?

This is the crux of the issue for the optimist. Cars don't win because cars are better than bikes. They only win because bikes have a load of faults to go along with all their benefits. The optimist says that these faults aren't so bad as to take away from the joy of riding a motorcycle. But the realist says that these faults are bad. In fact, these faults ruin motorbiking as an experience and relegates it below driving a car.