Idea Hotel

Check in for intelligence, insight, and vision.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nicholas Gustavson on GoodReads

I just joined Goodreads, check our my profile here for Nicholas Gustavson. I

I may attempt to review as many books as possible.  Send me suggestions about what books to review, or if you have written a book, send me a link and I will review.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Spy Novel about Chinese Espionage in United States

It seems that many books are written about the Second World War and the Cold War. But few books are being written about the ongoing spy war with China. I guess it is a big taboo to write about that when we owe them so much money. But The Guys Who Spied for China is one of the few books that tells about Chinese Espionage in the United States. It’s an unconventional novel based on the author’s true experiences in tracking down these Chinese Spy networks that have been stealing American technology for years on end.

The novel is funny at times and scary at others. The writing style is terrific. It’s very personal so I got the feeling what it would be like to be living in that world. It’s the story of two guys, one an old Cold War Spook, and the other a rock n’ roll rebel type. What makes this book really unique is that most of the story is set in California, instead of Europe or Hong Kong. It’s amazing when you learn how long Chinese Espionage has been going on and how we sometimes end up looking the other way.


Monday, September 14, 2009

How to lose all your Facebook friends in 30 days or less

You've heard of the book "How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less"? Well this here's a great way to lose all your Facebook friends in 30 days or less.

Use Facebook status as your personal soapbox.
That's so cool you joined that new pyramid scheme/religion/political movement. Here's a great way to get the message out: Facebook status. Tell your network about it everyday,and give them helpful links to your Pre-Paid legal personal website. Your mentors will be encouraging you to tap your natural market, and thanks to Web 2.0 technology, it's really easy to spread the world to your whole family, your coworkers, current friends, and past acquaintances you've re-connected with over the past year. Make sure to give them the pin code to that Primerca Conference Call.

Spiritual Desert (Dessert?)
It's well known that most people are lost in the spiritual wilderness, and a great way to share God's love is to broadcast inspirational passages from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life via facebook. People are usually happy to see these messages in the midst of their work day, when the world's pressure is the heaviest. Make sure not to quote the Bible directly; just quote from hip new christian writers.

Politics as Usual
If you are trying to promote a political agenda, remember that although not everyone shares your beliefs, they are really interested in hearing yours. Try really hard to drive the point home by joining political fanpages and sharing this with everyone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Unsnobby Coffee - Mcdonald's new coffee website

So I finally decided to try McDonald's iced coffee. I got it in the drive thru, so I tried my sip while I was driving away, and I was hit with a blast of extremely sweet, extremely cold coffee. It tastes good, but like anything at McDonald's it's good for the wrong reason; the sugar. Their Oriental Salad is loaded with sugar but you don't realize it because you are eating a healthy salad. But the ice coffee tastes great!

McDonald's unleashed their new marketing blitz with the website: Now serving expresso drinks in addition to their wonderful brewed coffee. It should be interesting to see if McDonald's can grab a share of the dwindling $3 coffee market.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Baking Better Cakes

to bake a better cake, I recommend buying a cookbook written buy a professional baker. sells many awesome cookbooks and they are available online to be purchased while surfing the internet at work when you should be working on a spreadsheet or polishing the office's desk.

An even better way to score the absolute best cake is to purchase one from master baker Uzma Kahn from Sinful Decadence. Her cakes are masterfully decorated with a life long pursuit is chocolatiere. A Master for your taste buds. Just one bite and you are in chocolate heaven. I recommend working out the next morning.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Strand Girl Release New Online Store

South Bay Band Strand Girl releases new online musical store for easy access to download their favorite songs. Strand Girl makes beach music for bonfires, romantic sundowns, morning surf sessions, volleybowl days, or just lounging on the sand with a book in your hand and an IPOD in your ear.

Monday, January 22, 2007

If Truth Be Told - Online Dating Offers Many Opportunities to Hook Up -- and to Be Rooked. Here's How to Protect Yourself.


Jan. 12, 2007— Katherine Flansburg met her boyfriend through, a free online dating site. Several months later, they moved in together. Everything seemed to be going well until one morning when they were woken up by a loud banging on the door.

Flansburg, 26, a real estate agent in Santa Clarita, Calif., was shocked to discover that their unexpected guest was her boyfriend's wife. Moments later, a fuming Flansburg rummaged through her boyfriend's desk drawers and found recently filed paperwork for a legal marriage separation, as well as an IRS earnings statement that showed her boyfriend's salary was only one-quarter as much money as he'd told her.

"He was a piece of work," she recalled.

As long as people have been dating, there have been tales of liars, cheats and thieves. In the Internet age, with the anonymity offered by e-mail, and with people blogging about their bad experiences, it seems like there are more examples of nefarious behavior than ever.

In the pre-Internet days, if a woman wanted to find out about her beau's background, or if a man wanted to make sure his new girlfriend wasn't a gold digger, they would have to hire a private investigator, an expensive and time-consuming process. But 21st century daters have new tools that give them easy, inexpensive access to outlets through which they can run background checks on potential mates by tapping into databases and computerized records.

Digging for the Truth

Flansburg was just one of 16 million Americans who have logged on for love, according to a 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. If she had run a background check on her boyfriend before they moved in together and gotten serious, Flansburg may have found out that he was still married or that he'd lied about his earnings. More and more online daters are doing background checks, and some are discovering lies about their mate's age, education, employment and ownership.

The Los Angeles-based Corra Group, for example, used to specialize in employment background checks. But recently it launched a separate Web site for dating-related searches.

By signing up online for as little as $39, along with the name and birth date of a significant other, you can get information about a person's address history, property ownership, as well as any bankruptcy claims, civil judgments or aliases. For $20 more, the search includes criminal records, and an $89 fee gets you a nationwide federal crime search.

Co-founder Gordon Basichis, 59, has 20 years of investigatiive experience and says that requests for background checks are on the rise, especially around Valentine's Day. While about 75 percent of his clientele is female — largely professionals in their mid-30s to 50s — the Corra Group also receives nearly 25 percent of its dating-related inquiries from men. "If they met someone online, they just want to know — 'who is this person?'" Basichis says. "People want to know if someone's full of it."

Many of his calls come from single moms who want to find out if their suitor has a sexual predator history. Other times, it's as basic as verifying a person's profession. And the information rolls in quickly. The company typically turns around a background check in one day.

Pigs, Not Seals

Skipp Porteous, 62, founder of Sherlock Investigations Inc. in New York, is also seeing an increase in online dating inquiries. Background checks for daters are "snowballing," he says, because "you don't know who you're really talking to."

Porteous, who started his investigative career in Los Angeles during the 1960s, will do anything from surveillance to simple background checks. Relationship investigations now make up 20 percent of his work, and he says that at least half the time, his research uncovers people who have told lies about themselves. That number is so high because most of his clients already have an intuition that something doesn't sound right about their sweeties.

"They're suspicious to start with, and we find that their suspicions are usually correct," he says. Porteous frequently digs up lies that involve age, marital status, earnings and education. But some go even beyond that. "Guys love to say they're ex-Navy Seals," he says.

Currently, popular dating sites such as or provide online safety tips but don't mandate background checks to post a profile. tells users: "Because privacy is of the highest importance at, we don't require background checks." But some dating services — including and The — do.

In 2003, Herb Vest, 62, founded the Dallas-based, a site that encourages "safer dating" by requiring background checks on everyone. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony or sexual offense is banned from the site. "If they do come on, and we catch them, at that point we turn them into their parole board and the feds," he says.

Vest ran a finance company for nearly 20 years before deciding to start After tying the knot in 2003, he decided to launch a dating site with his wife. "We both decided that we had something remarkable and wanted other people to experience the same thing," Vest said. After learning that an estimated 30 percent of online daters were married, according to a 2002 Marketdata study, Vest decided to enforce marital checks on anyone wanting to access

But it's not always easy to screen out people who are married. "Our program uses about nine billion hits of different databases," he says, referring to the complex computerized system used to identify if a potential user has a spouse. "We're serious about this." So serious that he's encouraging all dating sites to follow suit. Vest is trying to help pass legislation that would require online dating services to either conduct criminal background checks, or prominently disclose on their Web sites that they don't.

But Basichis says that if a dating site starts requiring background checks, it can send out mixed messages. "On one hand, the site is promising you the hero or heroine of you dreams, while on other hand, they're saying, 'let's check on them first.'"

So what's a single girl or guy to do? Liz Kelly, a 41-year-old Los Angeles dating coach and author of "Smart Man Hunting," recommends that online daters first go the Google and MySpace route. People will portray their real selves on a site like MySpace, but exaggerate certain things on their dating profile.

Kelly knows this all too well. Before her current relationship, she had been on 200 dates in just four years. Many of her online matches lied about their personal traits — and about 90 percent of them lied about their height.

A Screening Method

So, how do you get the truth before it's too late? "You're meeting a virtual stranger, so you have take precaution," said Kelly, who has developed her own online strategy for some of the love-seekers she coaches. Her suggestion: Share two e-mail exchanges, one 15-minute phone call and a one-hour coffee date.

"I recommend that you don't do a background check right away," she advises. "You want to leave some room for romance." Then, she says, if there's chemistry, people can run a background check if they think something sounds off.

Sometimes these searches, however, come up flat.

Despite her past experience, Flansburg, for example, isn't completely sold on them. "I've seen background checks. They're not clear," she says, referring to the lack of information some of the searches turn up.

Flansburg's unpleasant discovery about her ex-boyfriend hasn't deterred her from scouring the Internet for love. "I've met some nice people since then." However, she only uses paid services now. She thinks that more married people log on to free online dating sites because nothing will show up on their credit cards statements.

These days, Flansburg is much more inquisitive and aware, admitting that she has even considered looking through a guy's glove compartment or at his cell phone's "recent call" list. "You have to do your own research," she says.

Basichis agrees, and urges online daters to look for red flags. "Everybody's bigger than life — until you meet them," he says.

Safety tips for Internet dating (according to dating coach Liz Kelly):

Never give out a home phone number.

Use an anonymous e-mail (don't use your entire name as your e-mail alias).

Always meet in a public place and in a neighborhood you know.

Women, in particular, should always get the man's number first and use caller ID to block (*67) for the first call.

Don't share home addresses. Always give a general area instead.

Dating Red Flags (according to Corra Group's Gordon Basichis):

Listen closely for inconsistencies in stories involving ownership, family background and living situations.

If he or she asks you to cash a check.

Watch the way the person behaves around your kids.

If the person is telling you about him or herself and can't account for a long stint of time.

If he or she doesn't have any friends or never introduces you to his friends.

If the person says he or she owns property, or a boat, for instance, and you never see it.