Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mollie King opens up about relationship with hot model boyfriend *swoons*

By Eleanor | the bike shed – Tue, Jul 5, 2011 10:57 BST

Could we be any more jealous of Mollie King right now? The Saturdays star is part of a huge girl band, is totally gorgeous AND has a smoking hot boyfriend to boot. Some girls have all the luck! But rather than shrivel up with envy, we can't help but love the fact that, deep down, she's just like us: she's had her heart broken, gets starstruck, and wants her mum's approval.
In an interview in the August issue of Company magazine (on sale 7 July), Mollie reveals that she didn't even know who David Gandy was when she met him. Ha! She says it's just as well, otherwise she would have got "starstruck". Bless. She'd just got out of a two-year relationship which left her "heartbroken" and wanted to be single, but (unsurprisingly) she couldn't say no to a date with David. He got the thumbs up from Mollie's mum and that sealed the deal.
Mollie doesn't go on lavish dates, but rather prefers to do "normal things" like watching movies and going for breakfast. If we had a boyfriend like Gandy, we don't reckon we'd be able to tear our eyes off him long enough to focus on food or films. It sounds like Mollie's got the best of both worlds, as she says: "I get on with David like a best friend, but it helps that I fancy him too!"
Her band mate Frankie Sandford and her boyf Wayne Bridge will no doubt be happy Mollie has found a love to call her own, as she used to be their third wheel. She says when she was single she used to hang out with Frankie after work: "Poor Wayne was like, 'Oh, hi again Mollie!' But I love them together — they're so cute."
Mollie is focused on being part of one of Britain's biggest pop groups for now, but in the future she's eyeing up a place on the 'X Factor' panel. Bring David with you too!

EXCLUSIVE: Google To Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push

Say goodbye to the Picasa and Blogger names: Google intends to retire several non-Google name brands and rename them as Google products, Mashable has learned.
The move is part of a larger effort to unify its brand for the public launch of Google+, the search giant’s social initiative.
Blogger and Picasa aren’t going away, of course — they’re two of Google’s most popular products. Instead, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Google intends to rename Picasa “Google Photos” and Blogger will become “Google Blogs.” Several other Google brands are likely to be affected, though our sources made it clear that YouTube would not be rebranded. The technology giant shut down Google Video, its failed web video service, in May.
The move isn’t without precedent; Google acquired JotSpot in 2006 and rebranded it as Google Sites in 2008. In 2007, Google acquired VOIP platform GrandCentral and relaunched it as Google Voice in 2009.
Picasa and Blogger were also Google acquisitions, although both companies have been part of the Google empire for far longer. Picasa was acquired in 2004 and Blogger (co-founded by Evan Williams of Twitter) was acquired in 2003 and is one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world. Although the rebranding could upset some existing customers, it also gives Google the ability to completely integrate both services into Google+.

Rebranding Coming in Next Six Weeks

The transition from Picasa and Blogger to Google Photos and Google Blogs will occur “in a month to a month and a half,” we’ve been told. The date aligns with the likely public launch of Google+. Mashable has been told to expect the public debut of Google+ on or before July 31. The date is important because it’s the day all private Google Profiles will be deleted.
We believe Google doesn’t want to have private profiles after the public Google+ launch. Instead, the company is likely to encourage users who want more privacy to use Circles to curate their friend groups.
The brand unification effort will be the largest in company history — it’s never renamed a property as large as Blogger. The popular blog creation service has been receiving a lot of extra love recently. In March, Google announced that Blogger would receive a major overhaul. We doubt many people expected that the overhaul would include a rebranding, though.
Google+ makes perfect sense for Blogger and Picasa — they are both social products that improve as more people use them. It’s important to note that Google+ already has a photos feature, a product that we believe utilizes Picasa technology. It’s also important to note that Google+’s photo feature has no Picasa branding of any kind.
Update: Google declined to comment on this story.

On your bike: the world’s best cycling routes

There’s no better way to explore a place than by bike. In honour of our favorite two-wheeled travel companion, here are 10 trips around the world that should be on every cyclist’s wish list.

1. Isle of Wight, England

The Isle of Wight is a cycling paradise that is home to some of the UK’s most varied terrain: lush velvet hills rolling into the sea, narrow lanes through tidy hedgerows, deep and mysterious green gullies, and the island’s most striking feature, the ridge of white chalk cliffs stretching across its breadth. Although cyclists have been enjoying its outdoor pleasures for decades now, it’s only been in recent years that Wight has started to attract young and trendy Londoners looking for a romantic weekend by the sea with a buzz – which gastropubs, slick hotels and a calendar full of festivals now provide.
Wightlink passenger ferries sail from Portsmouth to Ryde pier throughout the day; fares vary for the 18-minute crossing but bikes are free.
Cyclist taking break from cycling through the vineyards of  Beaujolais.

2. West Coast, Tasmania, Australia

By right, Tasmania should be too small to have huge pockets of wilderness, but untouched and untamed lands stretch along its fierce west coast. Cycling land this wild should not come easily and it doesn’t, with the hill climbs queuing one after the other – you will notice them but not as much as the scenery, which takes in Tasmania’s most famous mountain (Cradle Mountain), its cutest coastal town (Strahan), its highest waterfall (Montezuma Falls) and its most beautiful lake (Lake St Clair), all on highways that feel at times like back roads.
Tasmania is covered in detail in an excellent series of four maps produced by the state government’s Information and Land Services Division.
Cycling along a cobblestone road.

3. Luberon and Mont Ventoux, Provence, France

Tackling hilly Luberon with a touring load might seem crazy, but several hundred kilometres of well-signed bike paths render it very enjoyable, as do ancient Roman ruins, medieval chateaux and ambrosial wines. This sun-drenched corner of Provence is a mix of manicured vineyards and ancient villages tumbling haphazardly down rocky slopes. Cool pine forests and blue fields of lavender stretch away on either side of the road. But the real goal here is legendary Mont Ventoux, scene of several Tour de France dramas, dominating the landscape and silently luring cyclist pilgrims to its summit.
Mont Ventoux is usually snow-covered above 1300m from December until May. The summit road is accessible only during the summer months.

4. San Juan Islands, Washington, USA

The ferry conveying you and your trusty steed from Seattle or Anacortes weaves its way calmly, the perfect introduction to the slow, peaceful character of these islands. Awaiting you are forested shorelines, secluded coves, bucolic vistas and quiet roads. The three largest islands, Lopez, Orcas and San Juan, each have their own distinctive charm, with historic sites and art galleries. The terrain is hilly, but each can be cycled in a day, including plenty of time to watch for seals, otters, sea lions and the odd orca, or black-tailed deer and eagles further inland.
Washington State Ferries provides the main transport link between Anacortes and the islands. The Victoria Clipper runs from Seattle to Friday Harbor.
Man cycling in village Chateauneuf du Pape, Vaucluse.

5. County Clare, Ireland

Beginning in fertile lowlands flanking the Shannon estuary, this route rolls past golden-sand beaches to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher facing the Atlantic. Next come the music hotbed towns of Milltown Malbay and Doolin, where you enter a pub only if you’re in for the long haul – leaving before the last song is sung seems a monstrous breach of etiquette. From here progress to the relentlessly grey, yet captivating, limestone expanse of the Burren, reminiscent of a lunar landscape. Then take a sojourn into Yeats’ country before sauntering back in a loop through County Clare’s gentle patchwork countryside.
May and June are best for wildflowers in the Burren, while some accommodation opens only from June to August. Book well ahead during July and August.
Mountain biking near St Bathans.

6. La Farola, Cuba

Fascinating Cuba is a delight at helmet level. Try the spectacular 9km descent along the La Farola highway, from the crest of the Baracoa Mountains down to the south coast. The highway clings to cliffs hung in tropical vegetation, with guard rails protecting you from drop-to-nowhere gorges, before sweeping from one giant limestone ledge to the next, each turn providing a closer vista of wild open ocean. Built by the Revolutionary government, this magnificent mountain highway is an irresistible challenge for cyclists. Traditionally, the first stage of the Vuelta Ciclista Cuba (Cuba’s answer to the Tour de France) is run over this route.
Food options are minimal: be prepared to eat out of your panniers. It’s also essential to carry your own bike equipment and first-aid supplies.
A touring cyclist in long grass on the Tasmanian Trail, an overland trail from Devonport to Hobart - near Quamby Brook, Tasmania

7. National Highway 1, Vietnam

This iconic road runs the length of the narrow country from north to south. It is the most popular cycling route in Vietnam, a long but immensely rewarding trip along the best parts of Vietnam’s coastline. The route has some reasonable hills, climaxing in the mighty Hai Van Pass (496m) – with a breathtaking descent as pine-clad mountains loom to the west and the South China Sea vanishes into the east. Take the time along the way to gaze at networks of lush rice fields blanketing the hidden valleys below; fish, snorkel or dive the turquoise waters of the coast; and soak up the atmosphere of delightful rural hamlets.
The Indochina Trekking Company, based in Hanoi, offers a variety of cycling adventures in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

8. Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

With the first half decidedly laid-back and the second portion anything but, the mix of scenery and sweat make this one of the best one-day rides in the country. Starting from university-town Dunedin you soon shed the trappings of the city and succumb to the lure of the open road. The serpentine route twists pleasantly along the shore, providing tremendous ocean views, and the terrain is made for cycling. Then suddenly there’s a sharp turn to the right and you’re gaining altitude like a climbing fighter-jet. Get ready for steep climbs, fast descents and the odd albatross to keep you company. The route should be negotiable year-round whenever conditions are dry. However, you’re less likely to suffer frozen extremities on descents outside June to August.

9. Cape Breton Island, Canada

This justifiably renowned cycling route is best-known for the scenery – breathtaking rocky coastlines, the crystal clear Bras d’Or inland sea and the soaring ridges of the Cape Breton Highlands – especially in their autumn colours. But adventure-seekers will also be satisfied as gently rolling hills become invigorating mountains with some tough climbs and heart-thumping descents. Combined with local wildlife (such as beavers, moose and deer), quaint fishing villages, an intriguing Gaelic culture grown from French-Scottish roots and plenty of fresh ocean breezes, Cape Breton is the whole package.
The Celtic Colours roving music festival makes October a superb time to visit.

10. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

By cycling the often overlooked, yet spectacular, far reaches of the northeast corner of Italy, you have the opportunity to intimately discover this earthy region. Along roads that make for easy pedalling, Slovenian farmers tend their fields in the strong sun, rows of vines cling to voluptuous hill country, and you smell the freshly tilled earth and feel the wind cool the sweat from your face. Then in the evenings, relax in a piazza to sample the region’s famous white wines and join the laidback locals for a chat. The route’s icing on the cake is the final scenic jaunt down the Istrian coast.

10 Accessories to Cheer Up Your Office Break Room [PICS]

This Post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.
If your staff room’s highlights are a handful of tattered magazines, a tired vending machine and a half-dead plant, then shame on you. With a little effort and a small amount of cash, you can offer your employees so much more.
The staff room is just as important as any other area in your workplace — work shouldn’t exclude fun, after all. Just look at how successful companies like Google manage to bring serious fun into their workplace.
Take a look through our photo gallery of some great gadgets and accessories to cheer up your staff room and let us know in the comments how you think is best to bring fun to the workplace.
Posting Source:

Is Sony Releasing the PlayStation 4 in 2012? [RUMOR]

It looks like the next-generation console wars are heating up. Sony is now rumored to be preparing the PlayStation 4 for a 2012 launch, according to a new report.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that the PlayStation 4 may boast body movement controls as one of its core features, something that Microsoft pioneered with the Kinect.
Production for the device is rumored begin at the end of 2011, according to Digitimes. The device is being manufactured by Foxconn and Pegatron Technology. Sony intends to ship at least 20 million units, according to the report.
Sony used to be the king of gaming consoles with the PS1 and the PS2. However, Nintendo took the crown from Sony with the Wii and its innovative motion controls. Microsoft struck back with the Kinect last year, one of the fastest-selling devices in history. At the same time, Sony latched onto the motion control craze with the PlayStation Move, a system that combines motion capture with a wand-like controller. More than 8 million Move controllers have been sold since its launch, but it still trails the Kinect by a large margin.
We’ve heard rumors about a potential 2012 unveiling of the PlayStation 4, but never that Sony intended to make it a 100% motion control device. Digitimes has a mixed record at these types of stories, so we’ll have to wait and see if a PS4 is coming to challenge the Wii U.

Eminem's 'Recovery' Becomes First Album to Sell 1 Million Downloads

by Keith Caulfield, L.A.  |   July 05, 2011 9:00 EDT

This week, Eminem's "Recovery" becomes the first album to sell a cumulative 1 million downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The 2010 Web/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope set's total digital haul now stands at 1,001,000. (Overall, the album's total U.S. sales -- including physical copies -- stands at more than 3.9 million.)

Since SoundScan began tracking digital album sales in 2005, a total of 12 titles have moved at least 500,000 downloads. Nipping at Eminem's heels is the red-hot Adele, whose 2011 album, "21," will likely surpass 1 million downloads next week.

"Recovery" debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Digital Albums chart a little over one year ago. It spent seven weeks atop both lists.

Two weeks ago, Eminem's fingerprints were at No. 1 on those charts once again, but this time as one-half of the hip-hop duo Bad Meets Evil(with Royce da 5'9"). Its "Hell: the Sequel" effort debuted atop both tallies, shifting an overall 171,000 in its first frame (89,000 were downloads).

In a statement, Interscope Records vice chairman Steve Berman said regarding Eminem's digital feat: "'Recovery' selling one million digital albums is an incredible achievement by an incredible artist. I have had the pleasure of working with Eminem throughout the course of his career, and I'm delighted to be a part of yet another milestone on his amazing journey."

The rapper's manager, Paul Rosenberg, added, "We are thrilled to congratulate Eminem on the history-making digital sales success of 'Recovery.' Over the years we've made a concerted effort to engage Em's online fan base so this achievement is especially rewarding. Eminem made an amazing album with Recovery and the fans responded in record numbers."

Calgary's Kate lookalikes, Royal-watchers await arrival today of Canadian tour

Hey, is that Kate among the cattle?
Why is the Duchess of Cambridge taking a lunch break in downtown Calgary?
Anticipation is amping up for next week's Calgary stopover onPrince William and his wife Catherine's Canadian tour.
Calgary's Kate lookalikes, Royal-watchers await arrival today of Canadian tour
But royal watchers may be doing a few double takes in the meantime.
Calgary lawyer Kate Ryder and Holly Ferrier, who ranches west of High River, might not have too much in common, but they do share some particular characteristics that set them apart.
With their wavy, brunette locks and high cheekbones, each makes for more than a passable body double for the royal bride.
"I don't look identical, but people say, 'Oh, you look familiar,' and then figure out why," says Ferrier, 25.
Ryder, 29, first made heads turn in the lead-up to the April royal nuptials.
The Calgary lawyer has also had some unusual requests to market her looks, including an invitation to do a wedding fashion shoot in Jacksonville, Fla.
Ryder says she's not too worried about being mistaken for Prince William's wife.
"I don't drive around in a motorcade. I think that will be a little bit of a giveaway," she said jokingly.
Neither Kate look-alike has definite plans to cross paths with the royals during the couple's two-day stint in Calgary, which begins next Thursday.
Ferrier, who also shares a Jan. 9 birthday with Kate Middleton even though they're four years apart in age, spends long hours working on her boyfriend's sprawling family ranch in the heart of cattle country south of Calgary.
"We're going to be working, unfortunately. We'd love to check them out."
A few people have mentioned that her boyfriend, Jonathan Morrison, looks somewhat like Prince William. Ferrier says her own royal resemblance has garnered more attention in the last few months.
"I kind of wonder if maybe more will happen after they visit here," she says.
Ryder doesn't have any plans to change her regular Stampedeschedule to allow for the royal visit. She says she'll pull on a pair of cowboy boots and take in the parade, as usual.
The lawyer admits she'd love to catch a glimpse of the duchess, who is set to drive the parade route with Prince William before the Friday festivities kick off.
"I think it would be cool to see her in person -everyone looks different in person -to see if there are similarities I can pick out.
"I find it really funny."

Five health benefits of red peppers

red pepper health benefits

Red peppers are the belle of the ball at any buffet table. Crisp and incredibly sweet, these ladies in red are an easy sell to anyone who is not fond of vegetables. The only limiting factor is that they can be costly during winter, but now that it's July, we can look forward to eating more inexpensive local peppers.
Did you know that green peppers are just unripe red peppers? Because they are not fully mature, they have a bitter after taste, and half the vitamin C and 1/10th the vitamin A compared to their red or orange siblings. Vitamin A has been shown to improve sperm quality, and vitamin C helps build collagen, which ensures beautiful skin - all these combined makes peppers one of nature's sexiest foods!
Paprika and chili peppers offer the same benefits, but with extra capsaicin, a chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth. This stimulating heat has been shown to increase blood flow making it a popular remedy for libido and pain relief. 
Here are five more alluring facts to increase your red pepper consumption:
1. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2. Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium. This vitamin and mineral combination shows a decrease in anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms. Vitamin B6 is also a natural diuretic, so try stocking up on red bell peppers to reduce bloating and prevent against hypertension.
3. Red bell peppers help support healthy night vision. Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. So when it comes to bell peppers, seeing red is a good thing!
4. Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants . The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancersincluding prostate and lung. 

5. Burn more calories with red bell peppers . Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. Red bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is what makes peppers hot and causes us to sweat, but they do have a mild thermogenic action that increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do. 

Five health benefits of red peppers

Salad pizza 

Enjoy your red pepper on the world's healthiest pizza! Ezekiel wraps contains six sprouted grains and legumes that are combined to create a complete protein. 

2 8 inch (20 cm) Ezekiel wraps 
1/4 cup (60 mL) goat cheese or dairy-free cheese, grated 
1 tbsp (15 mL) basil pesto, dairy-free 
1 small green zucchini, shredded 
1/4 large red peppers, cut into strips 
4 garlic stuffed olives, sliced 
4 snap peas, sliced 
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped 
1 tsp (5 mL) dried parsley flakes


1. Place wraps on cookie sheet and low broil for 2 minutes on each side. 
2. Sprinkle cheese evenly across entire wrap and broil 1 minute more. 
3. Spread pesto evenly over cheese, then arrange the zucchini, peppers, olives and snap peas. 
4. Top with rosemary and parsley. Makes 2 pizzas.

Kate Middleton nearly plays street hockey, races Dragon Boat with Adam McQuaid of the Boston Bruins

Kate Middleton nearly plays street hockey, races Dragon Boat with Adam McQuaid of the Boston Bruins
See, this is why we can't trust the tabloids: The Daily Mail (UK) claimed that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, "was a formidable hockey player" while attending school. So we're thinking she's pretty much the most famous puckhead on Earth … save for the fact that she actually played field hockey. Boo. Hiss.
Still, Kate and Prince William gave (real) hockey its due during their trip through Canada. In Yellowknife, she became the first member of the royal family to start a game of street hockey — and nearly compete in one.
Kate, who was a formidable hockey player herself at school, laughingly shrugged off calls from the crowd to take part herself — especially after she was handed a red sports shirt with her name — Cambridge — emblazoned on it.
'I would have taken a shot if I wasn't in heels,' she told Gloria Francis, 16, from Yellowknife as she gestured to her cream £175 LK Bennett stilettoes. But she did throw the bright orange ball onto the floor to start the game.
One day Middleton … one day you'll be running around the roof of the Quick Stop back in Jersey wearing an old red and green Ken Daneyko jersey. New Jersey not, like, your Jersey.
Ah, but the hockey didn't stop there for Wills and Kate. (We love using those nicknames … makes us feel like we're on the "Today" show). While visiting Dalvay Lake in Prince Edward Island on July 4, they took part in a dragon boat race … featuring Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid(notes) on Middleton's boat (via Bruins Blog).
McQuaid was positioned in the middle of the boat so he was not able to witness Kate's admirable paddling effort in the back. However, he was fortunate enough to meet Kate briefly. He found her to be very personable, though quiet and reserved.
He says hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup and paddling with the Duchess of Cambridge all within the past month is hard to wrap his head around. "Even though I lost the race,'' he adds, "some people might argue I won because I got to be in her boat.''
No sir … she won because she got to be in Adam McQuaid's boat.