So A Friend Owes You Money, What Do You Do Now?

Growing up, we’ve heard it countless times before to not borrow out money to friends, but anyone who tells you so may have yet tried going on a vacation with 10 people or split a bill six ways.

At some point in life, you or your friend may start owing each other money; in a perfect world, it would be resolved quickly, but this clearly doesn’t always happen. Undercertain circumstances, things may go out of hand, here’s how you should handle it.

Follow up, with good intentions

It may be easy to get fired up on how a bad a friend is when they’ve owed you money for up to months. In most cases, they’ve just forgotten about it and would be even more stressed out to know that you are stressed out too about bringing up to them.

Approach with an open and neutral tone. Utilize e-wallet platforms to send a request and if a few days go by without response, you could approach or contact them by saying “Hey, I’m not sure if you saw my request from Monday for the hotel stay in Penang, but would you mind accepting that?”

Be firm with your requests

If you’ve done so a few times and you get the message that they are clearly avoiding the payment, it would be totally reasonable to ask the following:

“I hate to keep bugging you about this, but I really need to be paid back for the drinks from last month. I’m not sure what’s going on, but can you just  me right now?” (A good option if the conversation is happening in person.)

“Hey, when we talked the other day, you said you’d pay me back on Friday. We’ve been going back and forth about this for weeks now… what’s going on?”

If it doesn’t play put the way you want it to be, it’s justified in continuing to bug them for it because it’s perfectly logical for you to want your money back!

If someone tries to dodge your request with a shameful, “It’s just RM20, chill,” you can say something like, “If it’s just RM20, then why won’t you give it back?” You don’t have to drop the subject to keep the peace (or ever loan them money ever again).

If things do in fact turn sour, learn from the experience

Meaningful friendships in our current society means the occasional pushing of our boundaries and feelings. If friends do in fact react badly or you discover that you’re both on different pages when it comes to dealing with money, that’s valuable information to hold on to. 

You may realize that as much as you want to recognize this friend for the fun and loving personality he or she has, you may never want to go on a vacation or go out for a group meal together with them ever again.

Food Stall With 19 Years of History in Kwai Chai Hong, Chinatown Burned Down

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

A long-time running Chee Cheong Fun stall at the historical Kwai Chai Hong in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown was found to be burned down on Monday.

Shared by a Facebook user, the news was shared to her in a messaging group and city-dwellers and netizens have started coming to the support of the stall owner ever since.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

Upon visiting the stall, the user who shared the news on Facebook immediately asked about the now burned down stall. Disheartened, the uncle answered about how he doesn’t know and maybe he just made too many enemies along the way and years.

The stall was solely run by the uncle for more than 19 years and had previously took a four month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he just recently came back to running the stall. There were also worries among netizens about how the owner will still be worried even if the stall is rebuilt later on.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

The user added on how the uncle was rummaging through the burnt up leftovers of his stall and seemed lost while pondering through the 19 years he has ran the stall.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

Nearby construction workers have since helped to clean out the junk and also offered building materials and also some of the workers to help rebuild the stall.

CCTV footage shows an individual throwing a fire at the stall late in the night and leaving the scene immediately; however, the identity of the perpetrator remains unknown

“This pandemic has already been hard enough on all of us” said one netizen. “Now it’s just salt on the wound for this stall owner”.

“I’ve been here for almost 10 years” said another. “It’s just now because of work that I’ve rarely been there”.

Many students at the nearby Advance Tertiary College (ATC) are frequent go-ers of the stall; the college has since started a donation drive for the stall owner which has summed up to RM5,000 as of Monday morning. 

Donations will be accepted up until the 21st of October and be passed to the uncle on the 23rd of October. 

Apple Introduces the Homepod Mini in The Smart Speaker Race

In its “Hi, Speed” virtual keynote event, Apple’s main attraction of the day was the new line of 5G iPhone 12s, but one thing that stood out was also the reintroduction of its Homepod smart speakers – the Homepod Mini.

For those who are familiar with the market, smart speakers are designed to compliment the futuristic idea of smart home solutions. Similar to a Google home Mini, smart speakers boast amazing sound and brings all smart gadgets in a home as one whole working unit; but how much can a speaker of a mini size really bring?

According to Apple, the Homepod Mini uses a “computational audio” system that is powered by the Apple S5 chip while the full range driver and force-cancelling passive radiators produce “amazing sound”.

Although significantly smaller in size, it has the original Homepod’s acoustic waveguide where is directs the sound flow onward and outward towards the bottom of the speaker giving it a 360-degree sound. When you have two of these, in combines to create a proper stereo setup as well.

Access to the Siri also allows users to do all sorts of smart speaker tricks such as telling the weather, getting personalized updates and playing music based off your preferences. It also differentiates between the different voices in a household to allow personalized content and requests.

As a smart speaker, it controls the gadgets in your home as well; simply tell Siri to “turn off the kitchen lights” or “make the living room colder” and it’’’ turn switch off the lights and simply turn down the air-conditioning levels.

Adding on to the family of products such as the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, Macbooks and may more, transitioning from your device to you r smart speaker is seamless and you can be listening to music on your Airpods now and simply switch to listening on your speaker just like that.

Unfortunately, all that the Homepod Mini has to offer will not be officially coming to Malaysia; although cheaper than the original Homepod at U$99 (RM411), locals would have to stick with other of the Hompod Mini’s competitors such as the Google Home Mini or Nest Mini for less than RM150.

Pizza Chains Made a Comeback During Covid-19

The F&B industry was shaken to its knees when the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc around different sectors in the industry; however, one of the sectors is thriving apart from others in these trying times – Pizza chains.

With majority of consumers being homebound and with social distancing guidelines in place, most business were unprepared for the downfall while brands such as Dominoes were thriving in these unusual conditions.

Among many of the pandemic’s unsung heroes, the one’s making sure that we get our regular dose of pizzas are the pizza delivery guys as the rise in pizza consumption are not due to people flocking to pizza chains everywhere, but rather just calling in their orders and enjoying the pizzas from the comfort of their own home. Deemed the ultimate quarantine food, pizza travels well, can usually feed a whole family and holds up perfectly as leftover for the next day.

Domino’s Pizza profit surged 29 percent in the three months through June as consumers chowed down on pizza while riding out the COVID-19 pandemic from home.

As sales for pizza chains increase, it has also led to higher costs for various other essentials such as cleaning supplies, worker pay and also ingredients. Cheese prices went from an all-time low at one point to an all-time high in the last quarter, this means the increased sales have muted profits.

“The total impact from safety and cleaning equipment, enhanced sick pay and other compensation for our team members and support for our franchisees and our communities was $11 million,” CFO Stuart Levy said during an analyst call discussing results. The company expects those costs to remain for the duration of the pandemic.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza chain earned $118.7 million, or $2.99 a share, as revenue jumped 13 percent year-over-year to $920 million. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting earnings of $2.24 a share on revenue of $911.5 million.

This success is due to the vital moves that Domino have made over the years, which includes more pizza chains than ever, features like “hotspots” in the U.S. which allows people order pizza to the beach and other outdoor locations, and has also tried their hands at self-driving delivery cars.

The shift from in-person order to digital orders led to the rise as well, as executives said about 70% of sales came through the company’s app and website.

Even though there are downs in terms of international sales, one thing they won’t do is to cut pay for employees.

“This is not the time to lower the rate we pay our valuable team members,” CFO Jeff Lawrence said. 

“Look, I’m a finance guy. I think about efficiency. Right now, it’s not about that. It’s about hiring more people, paying them more and giving them jobs. We’ll leave it for another day on getting efficient on the labor rate.”

Short Film by Malaysian Filmmaker Wins Multiple Awards

“The Cloud is Still There”, directed by Micky Lai Loke Yee, has garnered multiple awards and has been chosen for showcase by various film festivals.

Following a young Christian woman’s struggle with clashing religious beliefs, the main character, Xiao Le (played by Tan Cheong Bee) faces a dilemma regarding her family’s Taoist rituals. In a bid to save her grandfather’s soul, she prays by his bedside in secret.

Her mother (played by Tang Ling) catches her doing so and she is devastated. Both quarrel until the grandfather passes away. Xiao Le may have made things worst in her attempt to save her family.

Lai is a Master of Fine Arts graduate from the MetFilm School of London and revelaed to SAYS in an interview that she based “the Cloud is Still There” off of her own experiences.

Lai grew up as a Christian in her Taoist and conservative family.

“I remembered I cried so badly during the script consultation with Tan Seng Kiat (director of Shuttle Life, 2017) right after I came back from the UK, as he was trying to help sharpen my script by questioning and digging for something really deep from my heart, in order to understand the story and those characters better.”

“In a nutshell, I hope that The Cloud Is Still There will resonate with audiences’ memories of dealing with the grief of their dearest, and that they could see the precious gift beyond the grave.”

She also added on how she believes that the eyes are significant aspects when delivering a performance.

“I always believe that eyes are powerful and they don’t know how to lie in film.”

Lai thinks that actress Tan’s eyes are “very powerful in delivering her character’s emotional state.”

Lai thought long and hard hen looking for cast members, especially for the role of the mother and eventually found one of her liking as they were in Lai’s words “so authentic and it exposed the pains that we as the audiences try to hide”.

The 19-minute film has since won awards for Best Performance Award at the 2020 SeaShorts Film Festival and the Best ASEAN Short Film & Best Student Short Film at the Asian Cinematography AWARDS July 2020.

It has also been selected for the 2020 Busan International Film Festival, 2020 Norwich Film Festival and the 14th National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle.

6 Reasons to Start Listening to Podcasts

Radio stations and media outlets are starting to jump on the podcasting bandwagon again as it’s resurfacing as one of the aesthetically pleasing forms of storytelling through what we as beings are succumbed to hearing, the good old medium that is human voice itself.

Used either to inform or entertain, new ideas for podcasts are being recorded every day and stations such BFM has a wide arrange of topics for listeners to choose from.

Apart from that, it’s easy to find as several streaming apps out there have podcasts in its list of contents. Podcasts also offer much more than written media as the voice of the podcasters literally put the words into your mind.

As humans, there’s nothing more sentimental than hearing another human being’s voice. So what other reasons are there to venturing into the world of podcasts?

1) It’s entertainment, free of charge

Podcasts are offered for free. When compared to audiobooks that costs usually about US$15 a piece and last between eight to 20 hours, you don’t have to pay a single cent to listen to podcasts that can be hundreds of hours in total.

2) You can listen to them anywhere

You probably can’t be on Netflix when driving or read a book when you’re cooking; this is where podcast triumphs as you can listen to them anywhere whilst doing almost anything. Whether you’re on the road, at the grocery store or even having dinner, listening to podcasts in those situations is as simple as just putting on your earbuds!

3) It offers another listening option

Ever got tired from listening to the usually cycle of songs that you have in you rmusic library, podcasts gives you a change in taste as it allows a break from music and you can easily switch between both when you feel like it!

4) Conversations > Stories

Unlike audiobooks or news on the radio, podcasts are usually the conversing of two or more individuals. Conversations feel more personal and it triggers thought of people bouncing thoughts off of each other, you can easily lose yourself in a passionate conversation and that leaves you wanting to learn more!

5) They’re perfect for chores

Doing chores around the house usually don’t require a lot of brain power as it’s pretty much a day-to-day routine for most people; podcasts are great with helping to pass the time as you could immerse yourself in light.

6) Endless learning about different subjects and industries

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A great source of entertainment and education, you’d never know if the next podcast you’re listening to is paving the way for your next field of study or career paths. Whether it be the entertainment industry, cars, technology or even an animal, there’s a podcast out there to teach you about that!

The Mysterious Death of Genghis Khan

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There is no precise data on Genghis Khan’s death. The famous 13th-century navigator Marco Polo wrote that Genghis Khan died from a poisoned arrow in the knee. The pope’s envoy to Mongolia, returning to Rome, informed the pontiff that the conqueror had been struck by lightning. The official version of the conquerer’s death is related to his serious illness after he fell from his horse during a hunt. No one knows where the great Genghis Khan was buried.

Marco Polo wrote in his book:

“All the great rulers, descendants of Genghis Khan, are buried on the great Altai mountain, and wherever one of the great leaders of the Tartars died, even if it would take a hundred days to bring to this mountain, to bury him, here they will bring him. A strange thing about this tradition is the fact that the soldiers who brought the bodies of the great innkeepers to the mountains were then killed, being told: “Go and serve our leader!”. The main sources from which we can find out details about Genghis Khan’s life and personality appeared after his death.

The upcoming of a Great Conquerer

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A portrait of Genghis Khan by Arturas Slapsys 2015

The oldest written Mongolian document is the “Sacred Legend,” the writing details the appearance of the great ruler. He was not very tall, had an athletic build and a long beard. All of this and more was described in great detail in the “Sacred Legend”.

He was the son of one of the rulers, but after his father’s death, the family was deprived of all wealth, suffering from poverty. He may have not been top of the class, but he was an excellent organizer, had a strong will, and had enviable self-control, which led him to become known, since his youth, as a talented army commander.

With a very successful military career, his comrades-in-arms esteemed him and valued him for his broad and gentle soul. He never denied the joys of life, but he did not fall into extremes, so he lived to old age, retaining his mental qualities. It is not without saying that, despite all of his good characteristics, he was a ruthless leader. The “Sacred Legend” relates that in 1225, Genghis Khan ordered the conquest of the Zhongxin capital of the Tango state, Xi Xia, and wiped these people off the face of the earth.

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Mongol Archers 13th century

During the hunt not far from this city, he fell off his horse, injuring himself severely. All night, Genghis Khan had a fever. At dawn, a council met where the question was asked: “Should we continue the war with the tangos or not?”. Zuchi, the eldest son of Genghis Khan, in whom the father had lost trust, was absent from the council because the son always avoided obeying his father’s orders. Enraged, Genghis Khan ordered the soldiers to attack and kill Zuchi, but the attack did not follow, because soon after, the news came that Zuchi had died. After that, Genghis Khan lay in bed all winter from 1225–1226.

Many circumstances of Genghis Khan’s death are overlooked, the data is contradictory, various chronicles indicating various reasons for his death — a sudden illness, illness due to unfavorable climate, the consequences of the blow following the fall from the horse.

A plausible Theory about his Death

It can certainly be said that he died in the early autumn (or late summer) of 1227, on the territory of the Tangier state, immediately after the conquest of its capital, Zhongxin (now Yinchuan). According to another legend, at night, Genghis Khan was stabbed with a poisoned arrow by his young wife, whom he was making fun of the same night, for fear of terrible torture for her deed, she threw herself into the river, drowning.

No one knows where the army chief was buried. The enigma of the tomb of the great Genghis Khan stirs the imagination and hopes of treasure hunters, archaeologists, and historians. The place where the fearless Mongol ruler body rests is still sought after today, taking into account all the testimonies, assumptions, legends, even if these are sometimes unbelievable.

According to one version, the great conqueror was buried in a place said to have a personal connection with the leader. One day, the leader was hunting down the Onon River, a six-day walk to Mount Burhan Khaldun. Near the top of the mountains, there was a big lonely tree that seemed out of place. Genghis Khan liked that place very much, feeling an inner joy and a deep peace of mind. That lonely tree growing there probably made him think of death. He said:

“This place is right for my grave. Mark it and remember it.”

One of the scholars specializing in the study of Mongol life denies this hypothesis. He believes that Genghis Khan’s body was not brought to Mongolia, because at that time the Mongols did not yet know the embalming technique. It follows that the tomb of the great conqueror must be sought elsewhere.

Written by Andrei Tapalaga

7 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Small Business During Quarantine

Meeting, Business, Architect, Office, Team, Plan

If you began running your startup pre-pandemic, things might have been looking pretty good for you. However, with the pandemic (and the quarantines that came with it), you most likely felt a wave of panic rush over you.

If you’ve managed to survive thus far, you’re probably well aware that things may never be the same for your business. And you understand the need to think outside the box to strengthen your position in the marketplace and continue your success during these troubling times.

Rest assured there are options to boost your business in any situation. These best practices are more important than ever to poise your business for success and form a loyal customer base in the wake of COVID-19.

1. Get creative with lead generation.

In current times, e-commerce has become the go-to channel for customers. This gives marketers an opportunity to reach a massive customer base through online channels. Brands that don’t get their digital strategies right risk losing out on the lion’s share of customers.

Any smart marketer will tell you it’s not wise to depend on only one source of advertising for lead generation. You may have been able to get away with taking a risk pre-pandemic and may have even been doing very well. But it is certain to be a different story post-pandemic.

For businesses, it’s at least five times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones. The COVID-19 crisis has created a highly competitive marketplace where every brand is vying for customer attention more than ever, and retaining customers is a clear growth strategy brands should adopt. After all, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.

As a business owner, you are probably aware of the necessity of a continuous supply of fresh new leads. Diversifying your marketing to different media outlets is a way to protect yourself as we approach this new normal.

2. Rethink your business infrastructure.

Your business model must be streamlined for smooth operation and customer satisfaction. How is your current business model going to function moving forward?

For example, many businesses were strictly opposed to remote working conditions prior to the outbreak of the virus. As the world went into quarantine, businesses were practically forced to give in and experiment with some sort of remote working environment. This environment is likely to remain as quarantines begin to lift.

Ask yourself what has changed in your business due to the pandemic. More importantly, will these changes need to be permanent?

3. Take time to build an audience.

Plenty of businesses and startups are aware of the need to collect leads and follow up on a regular basis. But this is far from what is meant by “build an audience.”

Building an audience is all about engagement, not just following up to make the sale. This strategy was rising in popularity before COVID-19 and has become downright necessary since.

In times of uncertainty, people are more hesitant to spend their money. Building an audience allows you to engage with prospects in a low-pressure environment. You can take time to increase awareness of particular problems in your niche, get vital feedback from prospective clients in real time, and ultimately position yourself and your business as a leader and trusted source.

4. Become a beacon of joyful distraction.

This goes hand in hand with building an audience and generating leads. The nature of quarantine leads to people searching for new ways to be entertained. You can be that source of entertainment.

Obviously, how this looks for your business will depend on your niche. Just remember, the more familiar you are with your customers’ problems and thought processes, the easier it will be to provide them a joyful distraction while increasing your lead generation.

5. Take advantage of low advertising costs.

In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen price drops on many things. It’s a normal response for goods and services to come down in price when the average consumer is tightening up their budget.

The good news for startups, especially those looking to up their marketing game, is that paid advertising is one of the services that has seen a decrease in price.  

As far as cost goes, right now really is the best time to advertise. However, you can’t just throw money at an advertising campaign and expect it to work. Increased ad spending does not mean increased results. You still need to be smart about your advertising and carefully plan your message-to-market strategy. Smart marketers are adjusting their messages to better suit the market during this time of quarantine. 

6. Reposition your brand.

Branding is a never-ending process for any business. From the moment you open the doors to decades down the road, your every advertisement, customer interaction and visual image will reflect on your brand.

Branding is essentially a form of marketing in which you seek a uniform message to instill in the minds of the public when they think of your business. It’s up to you to portray that message effectively and consistently.

Take this time of reformation to consider your brand. Most likely, you will require some repositioning, but that could be as simple as redesigning your logo or revisiting your PR and publicity efforts. Just keep in mind as you adjust your marketing and prospect engagement strategies that your branding may also change.

As more small businesses adapt to the digital movement to improve their marketing efforts, giving each customer a personalized experience becomes even more critical. The more people relate to and trust your brand’s digital presence, the better the conversion. Smart startup teams have innovated and even benefited from the situation by offering unique digital experiences to potential buyers. 

Embracing the new social media culture and increasing the variety of digital channels for customer support has enabled companies to maintain their relationships with customers and keep them loyal. Although the current economic crisis may improve eventually, you should still be aware of the changes it has sparked in customer psychology, purchasing preferences and general behavior. With digital adoption on the rise, small businesses must harness the potential of digital channels and increase it with the latest customer engagement strategies.

7. Reorganize business capital.

With all these potential changes to consider for your startup during these times, your finances will play a foundational role in implementation. Whether you are looking to raise capital through crowdsourcing (such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe) or seeking more traditional means, such as venture capital or a small business loan, it will require some serious thought.

You need to make responsible financial decisions in any business climate, of course. But during this time of COVID-19, it’s critical to allocate your funding to the proper resources to ensure the longevity of your company.

How to Find Hidden Cameras in Your Airbnb, and Anywhere Else

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By Michael Grothaus

Inrecent months there’s been a number of alarming reports of Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras in their properties but not disclosing them to the guests staying there. Back in January Fast Company reported on a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who discovered two hidden cameras recording him and his family in an Airbnb. And just last month The Atlantic reported on a New Zealand family who was renting an Airbnb in Ireland and found they were being live-streamed from a hidden security camera.

Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents and in response to increasing reports of guests finding hidden cameras in their Airbnb rentals, Airbnb says they are cracking down on hosts who don’t disclose hidden cameras in their property listings.

Yet just because Airbnb has a policy forbidding hosts from hiding cameras in their property without informing their guests, that’s no guarantee all hosts are complying. So if you don’t like the idea that you could possibly be being spied on in the comfort of your Airbnb — or wherever else you’re staying — is there anything you can do besides taking the host at his word that there are no cameras on the property? Thankfully, yes.

Keep an eye out for any odd-looking gadgets

Let’s start with the most basic deterrent: keep your eyes open for any odd-looking gadgets in your Airbnb. Gadgets that look bulky or out of place in their surroundings may contain a hidden camera.

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A camera disguised as a USB plug. Photo: Johannes Ulrich

Admittedly, it’s not the easiest thing to spot a gadget containing a hidden camera that looks out of place, because cameras have become so small, they can be hidden in virtually any device — and ones anyone can buy on Amazon. Here’s just a small sample of the types of devices you can buy on Amazon with cameras hidden in them: alarm clockswall clockssmoke detectorsplantsmirrorslight bulbsspeakers, and even USB wall plugs.

Still, if you see an alarm clock in a bathroom or some other place you wouldn’t expect one to be, that could be a tip-off that something is amiss. Similarly, if you see any devices, such as a USB wall plug pointed directly at a bed or shower, something could be up.

When trying to visually spot gadgets with hidden cameras, keep an eye out for devices that have a clean, unobstructed line of sight.

Use a flashlight to check for camera lenses

Another trick to use to visually spot hidden cameras is the flashlight trick. A hidden camera necessitates that its lens is embedded in a regular object. Usually, that lens is made of glass and the object it’s hidden in is made of plastic or other non-glass materials.

Glass is generally more reflective than other materials, so the lenses of hidden cameras can be rather easy to spot if you shine a light around a room. The small camera lens should be more reflective than the surface of the surrounding object.

So it’s worth giving your Airbnb a once over with your smartphone’s flashlight. Turn out all the lights in the Airbnb and activate your flashlight. Slowly do a few sweeps of every room looking for any small, bright flashes of light relative to the surrounding area. If you spot any coming from an object, examine it more closely. You may have just found a hidden camera.

Use Wi-Fi-sniffing apps to check for smart devices

Unfortunately, the above visual checks of an Airbnb aren’t always enough to spot hidden cameras, even for the keen-eyed person. The good news is there’s an even better way to identify hidden cameras.

Virtually all modern hidden cameras, especially the types like the ones listed above, use wireless technology to connect to the router in the Airbnb so they can stream the footage over the internet where the host can view it remotely. But the very fact that these devices are covertly using a wireless signal to stream footage online makes them vulnerable to detection.

Smartphone users can use apps like Fing (available for both iOS and Android) that can display all the wireless devices connected to a Wi-Fi network. So after arriving at your Airbnb and connecting to the host’s wireless network, whip out Fing and give that network a scan. It’ll show your device and any other connected to that same network.

While Fing and similar apps can’t always identify what types of devices are connected (is it a hidden camera or just a wireless printer?) the app can display the MAC address of the connected device, which can give you a hint as to what the connected device is. Simply enter the MAC address of any identified gadget at MacVendorLookup.com to see who the manufacturer is and white type of device the MAC belongs to.

Use an RF detector

Of course, Fing and apps like it will only reveal connected hidden cameras if they are on the same wireless network as your smartphone. However, if the host has a second private wireless network that you don’t have access too, apps like Fing aren’t going to help you spot hidden cameras.

In that case, your only solution is to use a dedicated piece of hardware known as an RF detector. All wireless devices give off a radio frequency (RF) — it’s what allows Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to exist. An RF detector can hone in on devices emitting these RF signals, showing you where they are located in an Airbnb.

RF detectors are small handheld devices that can also be purchased on Amazon. They’ll usually set you back about $30 to $50 depending on the model you buy. But they’re worth the cash if you’re worried about shady Airbnb hosts watching you traipse around their property half undressed after taking a shower.

Using an RF detector is simple: just sweep it around the room. If it starts beeping repeatedly, it’s found a wireless signal coming from some device. Move the RF detector in the direction that makes the beeps increase until you spot the likely culprit. If the RF detector is going crazy by a potted plant or smoke detector, chances are good there’s a hidden camera inside.

What to do if you find a hidden camera

The first thing you should do if you find an undisclosed hidden camera in your Airbnb is contact both the host and Airbnb directly and report the camera. It’s up to you if you also want to file a police report. Hidden camera laws vary by state and country.

If you can’t immediately get a hold of the host and feel comfortable staying in the Airbnb for the time being, consider unplugging the hidden camera if it has a power cord, which should be enough to stop the camera from working (provided it doesn’t have an internal battery). If you don’t see any kind of plug, you can also simply place an object in front of or over the camera.

Finally, it’s not just cameras you should keep an eye out for. As smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home become ubiquitous, you should keep an eye out for these too. While the host might be including the smart speaker in the rental for non-nefarious purposes, remember that all smart speakers have microphones, so it’s conceivable that someone with enough know-how could use these devices to listen in on your conversations remotely.

As with hidden cameras, if you find a smart speaker and that bugs you, it’s best to unplug it. Just if you do unplug any smart connected devices (speakers, cameras, hidden or otherwise) in the Airbnb, be sure to let the host know so they don’t think you’re the one trying to do something amiss.

IKEA’s Best-Selling Product Is Not a Piece of Furniture

An Ikea Malaysia billboard promoting Swedish meatballs - Inside ...

Dave Chappelle has a moment in his Netflix special, Equanimity, where he gives the punchline to a joke at the very beginning — and still guarantees a laugh when you finally hear the joke.

It got me thinking. Spoilers or not, some stories are so good, even if you know the ending, you’ll still want to hear it.

What if I told you that Ikea’s most successful product is not a piece of furniture? It’s a meatball.

Ikea Releases Famous Meatball Recipe, Here's How To Make Them ...

In late April, deep into the COVID-19 lockdown, IKEA released a set of instructions on their twitter and the internet went crazy.

However, these weren’t normal instructions, they were a recipe for their famous Swedish meatballs, for everyone to cook at home.

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Screenshot of Ikea’s twitter feed, taken by Geraint Clarke

A lot of my friends were cooking them on social media or were overwhelmed at the idea of this secret being exposed.

I started looking into whether this cult hit was as popular as the internet made it feel, and I was shocked at the numbers.


The Unreal Sales Figures

IKEA sells a whopping 150 million meatballs per year, dwarfing the sales of its top furniture product, the “Billy” bookcase.

“Billy,” as it’s come to be known, is claimed to be the most commercially successful piece of modern furniture with more than 110 million Ikea Billy bookcases sold since its inception 40 years ago.

BILLY Bookcase - white - IKEA

However, with over one billion meatballs sold, the meatballs sell at a rate that’s almost 22 times greater than the Billy each year. 150 million units, compared to Billy’s measly 7 million units.

From a business and marketing perspective, this is fascinating. A furniture store’s number one product isn’t furniture at all. You just couldn’t write this s**t.


Why Do They Sell Food in the First Place?

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, held the hypothesis that hungry customers were distracted customers, but if they were sufficiently satiated, they’d be likely to shop for longer — thus buying more.

Initially tested in 1958, when IKEA opened cafes in their stores, this long-held belief is still part of IKEA’s core strategy today.

Gerd Diewald, who runs IKEA’s U.S. food operations says, “When you feed, they stay longer, they can talk about their purchases, and they make a decision without leaving the store.”


Losing Money on Purpose: Strategic Loss

IKEA Malaysia drums up publicity for its foray into the northern ...

IKEA’s policy is to try and be the cheapest meal within a certain radius of the store, even if it means selling at a loss.

In business and marketing terms, this is known as a loss-leader.

This strategy reinforces your cheap prices in customer’s minds and serves as brand awareness for the customers that don’t convert the first time.

If you buy an IKEA meal today for RM20, IKEA makes a loss, but you may also purchase RM1,000 worth of furniture, so this offsets the loss of revenue on the food you ordered.

For those customers that buy the meal but don’t buy anything else, IKEA uses that loss as marketing towards future purchases. Customers will remember having a great deal at IKEA on food and won’t be averse to coming back again when they do need to make a homeware purchase in the future.

Although this tactic works, it doesn’t suit companies with shallow pockets, so be wary about copying it.


Are We Destined for a New Era of “Business Fusion”?

Like the trend of food-fusion, or mixing cuisines from around the world, IKEA’s success may have cemented a new era of “business fusion.”

I preach to my clients all of the time about the importance of branding, consistency, and correct targeting — but IKEA’s sales outside of their wheelhouse might be a lesson to all of us. Even me.

As retail sales slowly move online, brick and mortar businesses will need to adapt, using their expensive retail locations in unique ways, or sharing the real-estate with food and beverage franchises.

Businesses have already combined with complimenting services to maximise revenue. We just don’t notice it that often.

Village Grocer My Town | Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya | SWOT Design Group

We can already see:

  • Homeware stores with restaurants.
  • Book stores with coffee shops attached.
  • Local convenience stores with post-offices.
  • Supermarkets with in-house photo services.

The list goes on.

Each player in the market is working hard to satiate their customer’s needs and keep their undivided attention.

Time is money and if they’re not browsing your store, they’re potentially spending their money in someone else’s.

I’m not saying meatballs will be the secret marketing technique for your business, but it is food for thought (pun intended).


Thanks to Geraint Clarke