Seville Takes Book Hunters To Heaven

A visit to Seville, in the southwestern region of the Iberian peninsula known as Andalusia, is a high point of any trip to Spain, and for very good reason. The uncommonly beautiful city has an enviable climate, delightful people, splendid and reasonably priced food, crisp and dry wines, and, everywhere, compelling resonances with the past.

Truly a beautiful place.

For bibliophiles with an abiding concern for the continuum, Seville offers two remarkably significant libraries: the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) and the Biblioteca Columbina (Columbus Library). Both are located in the heart of a historical district dominated by the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Seville. Built between 1401 and 1519 on the site of a former mosque, the cathedral retains the mosque’s ornate twelfth-century tower, called the Giralda. Adjoining the cathedral is the Alcazar, an exotic palace-fortress built in the fourteenth century on a site that still reflects the influences of many cultures, including Roman, Paleochristian, Visigoth, and Arabic. For these landmarks, and more, the classical Spanish writer Luis Zapata described this area near the Guadalquivir River as “the best patch of land” in all of Spain.

Conquest on Paper

Spain’s determined adventures in the New World encouraged a bureaucratic passion for documentation. Indeed, the reign of Philip II (1556-1598) has been described by historians as a period of “government by paper.” On one day alone, it is said, Philip read and signed four hundred documents. “No wonder his eyes grew red with the strain, or that his face acquired the parchment colour of a man who had come to live among, and for, his papers,” J.H. Elliott notes in The Spanish World (Harry N. Abrams, 1991).

The Archive of the Indies was established by Charles III in 1785 to serve as a central repository for materials relating to the Indies then being stored throughout Spain. The immediate catalyst was the frustration felt by Jose de Galves, Marquis of Sonora, who had been commissioned in 1779 to write a general history of the Indies based on “irrefutable documents.” To his dismay, he discovered that much of what he needed was “widely scattered” among many offices, leading ultimately to the creation of a general archive that gathered everything of pertinence under one roof.

As an institution, the archive’s function is not unlike that of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., the official record-keeper of the United States. In Washington, the historical record extends back two and a quarter centuries; in Seville, by contrast, the papers preserved embrace close to half a millennium. The archive’s eighty million pages document nothing less than the exploration, conquest, pacification, settlement, defense, and charting by Spain of an area extending from what is now the southern United States to the lower tip of South America, a region western Europeans called, when they first encountered it, the New World. Materials relating to the Philippines and the Spanish Far East are also on file.

The Archive of the Indies is housed in a rectangular structure built between 1583 and 1646 that once served as headquarters for the Commodity Exchange of Seville, a consortium of merchants doing business overseas. Surrounded by palm trees and flanked by ancient stone stanchions linked by black chains, the building is equally attractive inside. Its spacious rooms, called bays, feature arched ceilings, thick mahogany shelves, and translucent floors inset with polished slabs of Malaga marble. The archive comprises some forty-three thousand bulky legajos, or bundles, each containing about a thousand sheets of manuscript, ten percent of them accessible by computer. Storage boxes filling the shelves upstairs are largely decorative, with the collections now housed in safer, environmentally sound areas in the basement. About seven thousand maps and a support library of twenty-five thousand books also form part of the collection.

During my visit in February, the two reading rooms bustled with readers — about seventy, by my count, within an hour after the archive opened — fully half of them delicately scrutinizing old papers at wooden desks. The others were logged on to forty computer terminals made available to researchers whose requests for access had been approved. Exhibitions are mounted regularly and are open to the public; during my visit, an impressive show titled Felipe II y America: Las Ordenanzas de 1573 displayed various maps, ordinances, charts, fortification plans, settlement sketches, decrees, and administrative reports from various sixteenth-century activities in Spanish America.

To describe adequately the breadth of the materials in a few sentences is a formidable task. Pedro Gonzalez Garcia makes an admirable effort in Discovering the Americas (Vendome Press, 1997), a splendid history of the archive that features 250 color photographs:

   The Catholic Kings and Christopher Columbus, the conquistadors and the

   discoverer, missionaries and encomenderos, masters and slaves, viceroys and

   natives, seamen and merchants, elite officialdom and emigrants, judges and

   protectors of Indians in the New World, treasures and shipwrecked galleons,

   city-building and silver and gold mining, printing works and universities

   leap from the time-worn pages.

A Son’s Tribute

Just a five-minute walk away, in a rear annex of the great cathedral next door, is the Biblioteca Columbina, a discrete collection of six thousand books gathered with consummate taste more than four hundred years ago by Hernando Colon — Hernando Columbus (1488-1539) — the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus and Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, a Spanish peasant the explorer met when he moved to Spain sometime between late 1485 and mid-1486 (Colon is the Spanish name for Columbus). Beatriz’ brother, Pedro de Arana, commanded one of the caravels that sailed on Columbus’s third voyage to the New World in 1498.

The contrast between the two libraries is striking. By design, the Archive of the Indies is vast and all-encompassing. The Columbus Library represents a considered gathering of books, a focused collection in every sense, assembled within the four walls of one room by the son of a man whose horizons were measured by the scope of the earth itself.

Usually called Fernando or Ferdinand by English-language historians, Hernando was just four years old in 1492 when his father embarked on the first eventful voyage out of Palos with three small ships. In his memoirs, he provides an eyewitness account of the departure of the second voyage, a fleet of seventeen vessels that carried fifteen hundred hopeful colonists: “Wednesday, on the 25th of September of the year 1493, an hour before sunrise, my brother and I being present, the Admiral raised anchors in the Port of Cadiz.”

Nine years later the Admiral of the Ocean Sea took his son along on the fourth voyage. After the death of his father in 1506, Hernando, who never married, became a very wealthy man, with a handsome income derived from property and slave holdings in the West Indies. At long last, he was able to indulge in high style his passion for literature. He traveled widely through Europe, acquiring books at every stop. In 1509, he went to Santo Domingo on an official mission to establish churches and monasteries. He is known to have accompanied Charles V, a close friend, on at least three journeys abroad. He settled finally in Seville, which had become the center of American trade, to concentrate on scholarship. A skilled cosmographer, he directed an official effort charged with correcting navigation charts and developing a globe that would take account of new discoveries.

Hernando intended first and foremost to pay tribute to his father’s achievements. But he also was an accomplished man of letters. He compiled a dictionary of Latin definitions and wrote a treatise on the colonization of the Indies. His biography of his father, a book with a title so lengthy that it usually is referred to simply by the first word, Historie, was completed shortly before his death in 1539. Hernando’s manuscript has long since disappeared, so what serves as the primary text for the biography is an Italian translation by Alfonso Ulloa, printed in Venice in 1571. An English version, The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by His Son Ferdinand, translated and edited by Benjamin Keen, came out in 1959 (Rutgers University Press). Because the first printed version is not in Spanish, and because no manuscript has survived, some have questioned the biography’s authenticity. Most Columbus scholars, however, including the eminent Samuel Eliot Morison, accept it as genuine. Henry Vignaud, noted French author of numerous histories and monographs on Columbus, has called Hernando’s biography “the most important of our sources of information on the life of the discoverer of America.”

Hernando’s library today is contained within the cathedral complex adjacent to an ancient courtyard installed hundreds of years ago and known as the Patio de los Naranjos, or the Court of the Orange Trees. Here, in thirteen glazed cases resides what remains of an extraordinary collection gathered by Hernando over a period of thirty years, from 1509 until his death in 1539. As a “book place,” this tiny library has a quiet majesty about it, a transcendence that suggests Christopher Marlowe’s wonderful phrase “infinite riches in a little room.”

Anthony Hobson includes the Biblioteca Columbina in Great Libraries (G.P. Putnam’s, 1970), his marvelous survey of thirty-two institutions from the early Renaissance through the mid-twentieth century, and cites Hernando as being “unique among early library founders in placing the emphasis in his collection on the contemporary and the ephemeral.”

Although Hernando acquired some manuscripts, he concentrated on printed books, making him one of the first collectors to specialize in this area. “He bought romances of chivalry and chansons de geste, ballads, carols and poetry of all kinds, moral tales and love stories, saints’ lives, accounts of miracles, prodigies and funerals, relations of current events, mystery plays, prognostications, chapbooks and jestbooks,” Hobson writes. “He bought his books to read.”

Hernando entered detailed notes in all of his books, including information on how much each volume cost, in what currency he paid, and the rate of exchange in Castilian money. As a happy consequence, scholars can track his book-hunting excursions and follow the development of his library. It can be determined, for instance, that he bought books in Rome in 1512-1513, in Italy in 1515-1516, and in Flanders, Germany, Italy, and England in 1520-1522. Hobson includes a detailed examination of this custom in Great Libraries.

In a complicated will, Hernando left the library to his nephew Luis and, as a second beneficiary, the Cathedral Council. As happens so often with a bequest of books, Luis was indifferent to the collection and proved himself an unworthy heir, neglecting the library for many years. The Cathedral Council gained title to the books in 1552 and promptly moved them to the room just off the Court of Orange Trees known as the Nave of the Lizard.

Samuel Eliot Morison writes in Admiral of the Ocean Sea (Little Brown, 1942) that the books continued to suffer from “shameful neglect and dilapidation,” so that today only about six thousand volumes from Hernando’s original library of fifteen thousand remain. Nevertheless, as Morison notes, “this Biblioteca Columbina, adjoining the great cathedral where the Admiral worshiped and where his sons lie buried, is today an inspiration for every American scholar; an alembic as it were where a new civilization was distilled from classical scholarship, medieval piety and modern science.”

Included among the many treasures that do survive is a core collection of items owned by the admiral himself. One high spot is a copy of Marco Polo’s travel diary, annotated in the margins by Columbus. Erasmus of Rotterdam’s Antibarbarorum liber unus contains a handwritten note by the author along with a few words from the ebullient collector: “Erasmus gave it to me in Lovaina on October 7, Sunday, in 1520; Erasmus himself wrote here, with his own hand, the first two lines.”

During my visit to the Biblioteca Columbina, Director Dr. Nuria Casquete de Prado Sagrera said the book she feels is the “jewel of jewels of the collection” is an early printed edition of the Roman dramatist Seneca’s Tragedies (Venice, 1510). These celebrated words appear in the play Medea:

   The age will come in the late years

   When ocean will unlock its chains

   And a great land lie open;

   Typhis shall reveal new worlds,

   And Thule will no longer be

   Earth's Boundary.

In his copy of the book, Hernando penned this comment: “This prophecy was fulfilled by my father, the Admiral in the year 1492.”

A special bookplate has been inserted in each volume in the Columbus Library and contains these words: “Hernando Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus, First Admiral who discovered the Indies, left this book for the use and benefit of all his fellow men. Say a prayer for him.”

Laptop Data Recovery Can Be Simple

Losing files can happen in many different ways and often your only option is to seek professional help if you want to make sure you can recover your laptop hard drive. But you don’t have to get scared of losing your important files because in most cases those files are still present. All you have to calm down, do not panic, and make sure that you are contacting somebody who specializes in laptop data recovery. It could be very hard for you if you don’t have any idea how to retrieve your important files. All you have to do is understand that there are going to be hard drive recovery experts out there, and that you just have to find one.

Now, if you have noticed that you lost your files in your computer, you need to take the action to immediately recover those files. You can browse the web for software that can help you to recover hard drive data. Go to the website where the software is available and have it installed in your computer so that you can recover the files that you lost from your hard disk. It could be accidentally deleted or it is purposely deleted by someone else, the software can help you. This software has been helping hundreds of thousand users that experienced troubles with their files. Most laptop hard drive recovery services used to the expensive but since the website made available to help computer users to totally recover their files, the steps are often easier and even free.

To recover hard drive unit that are installed in laptops, all you have to do is to have the right tools for data recovery. In addition, you need to download the best possible software that will allow you to recover the files that you have lost from your computer. When the software is installed in your computer, all you have to do is to follow the guide given with the software. This is the free software online that is used to recover hard drives so that you don’t have to spend so much to get your file back. Way back in the days, you needed to hire experts to retrieve data from your notebook computer. But these days, files can easily be recovered.

As long as you are familiar with the website or the software was installed in your computer. You do not have to worry from losing your files. But for safety purposes, better have the copy of your important files and save it with your safety name address. Where you can recall whenever your other computer will lost its files. This will help you avoid the risk of losing files and avoid the headache how to recover hard drive.

Many people end up messing their hard drive by trying to repair after they are damaged whereas they do not have the expertise to do so. External hard drive repair should be left to the experts who have the technical know how of conducting the repairs.

Today many external hard drive repair companies have the resources and expertise to carry out these repairs on any type of hard drive. Most of these data recovery processes on hard drives come with guarantees of not paying anything in case data is not recovered to the expected standard. Previously, companies specialized in specific brands of these hard drives but today the market calls for companies that can handle all brands including Freecom, Seagate and Maxtor just to mention a few of the hard drive brands. Most of the hard drive recovery service providers in the market such as HDRA are providing free repair analysis and quotes so that the customer can get a rough idea of the extent of damage of the hard drive. Today, most external hard drive repair companies are providing free delivery and collection of hard drives from your home or business premises at no cost as long as you fill the drive collection request form. Data loss from hard drive damage need not be a headache any more with the technology and expertise we have today.

The first thing you need to do when you need to do an external hard drive repair is find out whether you need a hardware fix or a software fix. How do you know? Listen for intermittent humming or grinding sounds on your hardware. If you find nothing, it may be your software that needs repair. If you hear any sound, it means you have a problem with your disc and actuator arm alignment.

If you are sure it is your software that needs repair, you can run a software fix program. This usually opens a set of directions shown on the screen which will help you easily go through the process. There won’t need to conduct a physical repair once things start working properly after this fix. If things still do not work well, carefully remove the tiny screws holding the drive together. The pieces are very delicate so do not force or bend them to go a certain way. An external hard drive repair can lead to more damage this way.

If you remember dropping the driver recently, something may have come loose. Secure it with a screwdriver. Look for bent platters and arms and straighten them using your hands or a pair of pliers. Be sure to put everything back and working properly together. If things still don’t work up till now, try the external hard drive with other computers. The problem is maybe with your USB port or the computer itself.

Business Travel Isn’t Going Anywhere

Austin travel agents have noted an increase in business travel. Juan Portillo, president of Tramex Travel, said he has seen travel increase about 20 percent, while Marina Byrum, director of operations for Sunbelt Travel, said her business travel bookings have increased about 10 percent.

Both companies do a majority of their work in business travel. Byrum’s firm handles travel for such companies as Lockheed, Pharmaco, GSD&M and 3M. Tramex Travel works with The Continuum, Texaco Chemical Co., Schlumberger Austin Systems Center and many mid-size companies, he said.

Portillo said he did a survey of the top 30 companies and found that most are spending more money on travel this year.

No one really focuses on the travel industry as an indicator for the economy, he said, but he has seen the phenomenon before: As travel increases, the economy is not far behind.

In 1991, many people would make a phone conference call in lieu of buying a plane ticket, Byrum said. They were leery of traveling both before and after the war. But travel levels are back up to pre-war levels.

Portillo said this summer’s price wars were aimed at vacationers and did not help the business traveler much at all.

Airline deregulation raised expectations that cost would come down as a factor of more service and more competition, Portillo said. It created an environment of expectations of all sorts of things that did not happen.

On one hand, airlines are extremely complex and expensive to run, he said. On the other hand, competition is so severe it creates unnatural behavior, he said.

“Airlines are like sharks feeding in a frenzy. No one can tell you they benefitted from the little sale they had in June,” Portillo said. “All those promotions were aimed at the utilization of overcapacity. There are fewer carriers, but more spaces because they continue to expand.”

Despite increased travel, more companies are watching what they get for their money and looking for other options. To analyze how travel money is spent, agencies have set up complex accounting programs.

“We have very sophisticated reporting systems,” Portillo said. His system is able to report exact costs and spot patterns of potential abuse, he said.

Sematech’s reports include monthly savings, equality and exception reports on air travel and monthly usage reports on cars and hotels, Smith said.

To keep tabs on Lockheed employees’ budget, Guys’ travel audit staff interacts with Sunbelt several times a week.

“We have some controls in place through them,” Guys said. “Every week, they furnish us with a copy of the billing, which we forward to California.”

Byrum said her reports include what fare the traveler paid and whether there was an alternative available at a higher or lower price.

Her booking system also features an automated quality control program that will check to see if the fare purchased is the lowest. If a lower fare is found, it also will see if there are any seats available so her company can notify the traveler of a possible savings.

When the expense report comes in from the traveler, it is then reconciled with the information received from the travel agent.

“We’re not an easy customer,” Guys said. “We have a lot of government constraints that our supplier needs to understand.”

Because they are a government contractor, Lockheed has to stay within maximum allowable charges on such items as air fares and room rates, Guys said. A certain percentage of some travel expenses is charged back to the contractor. Those that aren’t are charged to overhead.

“One way or another, it gets back to the government,” he said.

Companies expect the travel agent to be the expert, Portillo said. “They expect you to be right. Total accuracy, that’s the key.”

A travel agent has to understand the needs of the business traveler, he said.

“You’d be surprised at how many travel agencies don’t know what a business traveler goes through. We know it is not fun and that it’s a necessity for conducting business.”

At Sunbelt, dedicated personnel handles Lockheed’s travel needs, Simpson said.

“The relationship is often held up as a model for other Lockheed plants,” she said. “They are extremely familiar with our financial policy and find us the lowest air fares and lowest hotel rates.”

Despite the increase in travel, companies are looking to new ways to save travel money, including faxing, conference calls and consolidating trips.

Lockheed has cut some travel time by installing a state-of-the-art video teleconferencing system.

“We’re moving more and more into a team-based approach and we collaborate more with the other Lockheed companies,” Simpson said. The video teleconferencing system cuts down on travel and allows much more involvement.

A study done before the system was purchased indicated it would pay for itself in the amount of travel money saved.

The equipment has been in operation for only two months, so they are not yet sure how much it will save, Guys said, though it stays booked.

The company also is making its employees more accountable, because the budget has limits and if they go over the limits, there may not be any money left, Simpson said.

Despite all efforts to cut down on business travel, it will never be eliminated.

“It ain’t fun anymore,” Simpson said. “The terminals are crowded and smoky and there are delays. And we have a lot of people with young families.

“It’s not ‘Where do you want me and when?’ anymore,” she said.

But business travel will never be replaced, Byrum said. And as technology develops, the airlines will utilize it to make air travel a more viable option.

“People still like to have some personal contact,” Byrum said. “They still have hands to shake and contracts to sign.”

Recover Laptop Hard Drive with Its Files

Having a headache about how to recover hard drive? Well, this can be done in few easy steps. And it requires you to have the internet connection because you are going to browse for the website that offers professional data recovery services and can help you recover your drive. If you are using a typical software product, it will go like this: There’s quick scan, full scan and guided scan button for you to choose which operation you want to have. If only a few other files are necessary for you to recover, it is best to choose the guided scan. It will let you choose the name of files that you are going to specifically seek out in your folder. In that way you can recover hard drive in your computer and get back all the data that you need. You can save time and money. And become free from worries of losing your files.

Losing your files will also serve as your lesson that laptop data recovery is not as easy as you might think. So, the next time that you are missing very important files make sure that you are going to backup is much as possible. This is probably going to be the only thing that will save your laptop, as these are typically not very workable unit. You have to remember that a laptop hard drive recovery is a process that is going to be more difficult than a regular PC because of the fact that it is a portable computer.

You can recover your hard drive and bring back the deleted files, lost files, files in recycle bin, the missing documents, music and your videos. All of those files can be recovered using either a professional service, or perhaps even file recovery software. All your files are typically still there on your hard drive platters but you need to take action fast. For the past few years when the software was not available yet, it was very hard and very expensive to recover hard drive data. But these days, you can find software around the internet that is downloadable to your computer.

You can buy the software or use the free product that can help you recover your files. And save the software so that every time you experience in losing some of your files, you will have a very easy recovery.

It feels so bad losing the important files but the right tool can help you recover from a laptop hard drive failure. And the solutions become easy that will bring back files and ready to use again.

The hard drive is one of the most important parts of your computer, as it serves to store your files that you want to keep and protect. But there are some important things that we must be aware of with computers and hard drives and how they work together. It is important that those files are protected and can be easily recovered in case of hard drive failure.

There are some instances that we can’t really avoid corruption of the data in your hard drive by either viruses or accidental deletion. In this case, if you need to recover hard drive data, you will really have to think outside of the box.

If you don’t have full knowledge on how to safely perform hard drive recovery, it is still be much better to leave it to the experts. It is not easy to perform a professional task like this just to get those files back; it needs extra care to avoid permanently deleting those files and most data recovery can only be performed by people who have enough knowledge with the process and have a fully complemented clean room. For sure, you don’t want to spend so much of your time fixing this problem by yourself.

If you have a computer at home, you are probably a little familiar with hard drives. However, this knowledge will probably tend to be very limited. You know, for example, that a hard drive is a special part of the computer where all files including pictures, documents, videos and games that you want to keep can be stored. Basically, it is defined as a special device used for retrieving and storing digital data; especially computer data. Technically, it has one or more disks inside it where all file could be kept.

Sometimes we can’t avoid that those files Can be corrupted by virus or maybe accidentally deleted by the user if this happens, a regular or specialized laptop hard drive recovery can be performed, but always bear in mind that t0 recover a hard drive is not an easy job; it requires special knowledge and skills in order for it perform properly.

There are many reliable centers where you could bring your hard drive for recovery; those deleted or corrupted files will be assured of recovery. These centers have special trained employees that could perform and recover hard drive files that has been corrupted by viruses or has been accidentally deleted. You could actually do it by your own but definitely, you don’t want to waste your time doing it; instead let the experts do the job for you and you can avoid further damaging it.

Most people across the world continue to adopt laptops in all walks of lives. As this continues to be a reality, innovators in the field of technology have no other alternative apart from keeping up with the pace at which laptops continue to evolve. The safety of data as well as its integrity is paramount to any user. Data loss has become an inevitable instance in most cases; negatively affecting many users. However, competitive laptop data recovery companies have created laptop hard drive recovery procedures as a measure to get back the data that is lost.

Laptop hard drive recovery comes in many forms, each depending on the instance leading to the data loss. Specialists from competitive data recovery services mainly offer three major hard drive recovery techniques. A USB adapter is a key technique employed to recover a hard drive. These adapters allow one to connect SATA or IDE to another laptop via the USB port. Alternative bootable devices form yet another crucial technique employed by data recovery engineers to provide complete results.


What Is A Competitive Data Recovery Service?

A competitive data recovery company implies a firm that is capable of meeting all the needs and wants of its customers. With the ever increasing use of computers, this kind of hard drive recovery is probably one of the most important kinds of services available today. The increased use of laptops has meant an incredible increase in productivity for industry in general. A laptop can be carried easily and laptop bags have become the order of the day among people. The dangers associated with losing a laptop hard drive are higher when compared to a desktop’s hard drive especially because laptops are moved around so often in day-to-day business.

Smart data recovery companies recommend DVD-RW and CD-RW as major way to back up information on a laptop to avoid the expensive laptop hard drive recovery process. Of course, the actual process of data recovery is very similar whether you are talking about a desktop or a laptop computer. But the fact that a laptop’s hard drive is relatively smaller as compared to a desktop’s hard drive makes the procedure more demanding. Competitive data recovery services perform various laptop hard drive discovery services for free to their customers such as evaluating the laptop and the extent of the drive damage. Urgent hard drive recovery is also a service offered by most of these companies to attend to urgent data retrievals required by a firm or an individual.

Computer Hard Drive Crash – Software Problem or Hardware Failure?

“Computer hard drive crash” is an expression that sounds ominous to computer users, and something dreadful to hear. It is pretty much the equivalent of losing your wallet, which has all of your identification cards, health and other personal information, cash and ATM cards. When the computer hard disk drive crashes, it means serious computer failure. Something went wrong with one of the programs of the computer, which may have led for the system to stop functioning. There are two kinds of computer failure. One is software failure and the other one hard drive failure. Commonly referred to as system crash or Logical failure and hard drive crash or Physical Failure respectively, these two kinds of computer crash are entirely different and require different forms of intervention. System crashes refers to failure of a computer’s operating system (OS). Hard drive crash refers to failure of the mechanism of your hard drive. Both types of failure lead to data inaccessibility but not necessarily data loss. Your data is still inside your hard drive provided that nothing has overwritten it yet. For software problems, you can use data recovery software to get back your files, but for hardware failures, you must use data recovery service as only specialists can help you retrieve your files.

And one of the things that you should always remember that your data does remain on the hard drive. There’s certainly a number of different modes to ensure that you can get effective hard drive crash recovery, and probably a data recovery service is going to be your best choice. These people are professionals and understand exactly what is going on when a drive crashes, and do not have to guess at it. It certainly beats having to fix your own broken hard drive, particularly when you do not have the skill to do so.

Software As An Option

There are available software packages that can help online and offline users of computers to fully recover hard drive data from crashed disks. This becomes the quick solution for office and personal recovery of data from your computer. With this, you don’t have to pay for the experts so that you can recover your hard drive. What is very important is that you have an internet connection because you can purchase these kind of products online with the software that you need. It will help you to recover everything that is very important for you in your files.

If you don’t have the capacity to buy the software online, you may want to use the free downloadable recovery software. It will allow you to recover your files, but certainly may not work 100% of the time. It is highly recommended to either deal with a hard disk repair company, or get a proven data recovery software. This will give you the best chances that you can recover everything. You need to spend almost a hundred dollars but at least you are assured that you can recover all of your data.

More Great Spots in the United States to Travel to Areas



This spring float your boat in the Namekagon River, part of the 252-mile St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Here you’ll paddle everything from tight, twisty swiftwater runs and narrow passages between steep sandy banks to lazy, meandering routes through glacier-sculptured forests and wetlands. The trip can be split into three sections: Namekagon Dam to Hayward Landing (33 miles, navigable only during the spring runoff); Hayward Landing to Trego (29 miles); and Trego to Riverside, below the confluence with the St. Croix River (40 miles). In high water, put in at Namekagon Dam on National Forest Road 211, off County Highway M east of Cable. Later in the season, use the Hayward Landing put-in on Wisconsin 27 outside the town of Hayward, 150 miles north of the Twin Cities via U.S. 63. Overnight camping is restricted on posted private land within the riverway, so stick to the 70 designated sites along the river (permits aren’t necessary). The Wild River Inn in Hayward (715-634-2631) and Namekagon Canoe Rental near Trego on Highway 77 (715-466-2691) rent canoes for about $13 per day and can help with shuttles. A good source for listings of outfitters and services and for information on current water levels is the National Park Service Visitor Center in Trego. Call 715-635-8346 for information.



Looking for some solitude this spring? Then point your canoe down the John Day, a 550-mile free-flowing tributary of the Columbia River. Though people are few here, the land is far from empty; a sharp-eyed paddler will see golden eagles, antelope, bobcats, beavers, bighorn sheep and the occasional rattlesnake. And for those who’d feel naked without rod and reel, the fishing for smallmouth bass and steelhead is superb. Catch the early-season North Fork runoff, a 44-mile stretch of white-water between Dale and Monument, in late March and early April. Another fine trip involves putting in at the Service Creek bridge where Route 19 crosses the main stem of the John Day and floating the 48 miles down to Clarno. If that whets your appetite and you want more, keep going till you reach Cottonwood, another 70 miles down river. Camping on public land along the river is unrestricted, but it’s good form to pitch tents on the beaches. Use a fire pan, (fire restricted after June 1st) and pack out all rubbish and human waste. A complete listing of outfitters that offer shuttle service for canoeists is available from the Bureau of Land Management office in Prineville (541-416-6700).



These days Moab and mountain bikes are as inseparable as hot dogs and mustard–but it wasn’t always so. The former uranium boom-and-bust town came to life again in the mid-1980s when Bill and Robin Groff ignored skeptics and began stocking new-fangled mountain bikes at their shop. Soon the locals were riding the Slickrock Trail, established in 1969 as a motorcross route, and the rest is the stuff of myth. The 12.5-mile bike trail is laid out on the sandstone plateau east of town. It’s blazed with painted white dashes, but black tire marks on the rock do a better job of pointing the way. For beginners, Gemini Bridges and Amasa Back offer scenic vistas and easier riding. After a few days in the saddle, strap on a day pack and hike to the area’s many distinctive sandstone arches, including Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch in Arches National Park. The best times to find yourself in Moab are in the spring and the fall, but unless you’re born to be wild, beware of venturing here during college spring break when erstwhile students turn the place into a prodigious mountain-biking party. For one of the most varied menus in town, serving up everything from sandwiches to spaghetti, try Eddie McStiff’s restaurant. For more information call Rim Cyclery at 801-259-5333.



With 63,000 acres, four lakes, 26 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and a rugged range of surprisingly lofty hills, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the jewel in the crown of Michigan’s parks. Spring is a great time to be here, since the Winnebago caravans don’t stream north until after Memorial Day. Located on the north shore of the wild-and-woolly Upper Peninsula, the park offers two modern campgrounds at Union Bay and Presque Isle, where most people stay. But if you feel like being alone, pitch your tent anywhere along the beach or off the park’s 90 miles of hiking trails. The prettiest campsites are along the 16-mile Lake Superior Trail, which follows the shoreline, skirts the forest, fords creeks and provides magnificent views of the big, ice-cold lake. Be sure to hang your food at night; this is black-bear country, and the critters are expert at relieving careless campers of their victuals. For more information, call the park at 906-885-5275.



Seven years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill nature again reigns supreme in the sound, opening a world of opportunity in this realm of mountains, ice and fjords. Amid the world’s largest collection of tidewater glaciers, late spring is the time to watch sea otters, eaglets, and glaciers calving boxcar-sized icebergs. Sea kayakers put in at the town dock in Whither, at the western end of Passage Canal. To get to Whither hop on the Alaska State Rail train (907-265-2494) in Portage, just west of Anchorage. Plan to camp (bring extra tarps for your tent; it can rain for days), or stay warm and dry in the U.S. Forest Service cabins available for public use along Prince William Sound. Call the USFS at 800-280-2267 to make reservations. Kayak rentals and guided tours can be arranged through Perry and Lois Solmonson, owners of the Prince William Sound Kayak Center (907-472-2452). For pre- and post-trip food and grog Alaskan-style, check out the Sportsman’s Inn at the eastern edge of town.



Savvy campers know there’s much more to Olympic National Park than Mount Olympus and the Hoh Rainforest, splendid though these are. They leave the tourists and head for the park’s western segment, a wild, remote 57-mile stretch of fog-shrouded coastline, sculptured sea stacks and driftwood barricades. And although tourists do find Ruby and South beaches, the cognoscenti slip away and make a beeline for Shi-Shi Beach at the north end of the park instead. Starting at the Ozette ranger station, hike 13 miles west along the Cape Alava Trail and then north up the beach. Take time to explore the site of an ancient Ozette Indian fishing village along the way. The trail includes a low-tide crossing of the Ozette River and a fixed-rope ascent of Point of the Arches, a dramatic promontory punctuated by stiletto sea stacks that march a mile into the wild Pacific. From here, Shi-Shi Beach stretches nearly three miles north toward the Makah Indian Reservation. The campground also has a full Wi-Fi hookup and the ability to contact a variety of computer repair specialists in case you may damage your laptop or hard drive during your trip. The free Wi-Fi Internet is mainly sponsored by a company in Irvine California that specializes in laptop data recovery. Set up your tent, clamber over the driftwood, look for treasures washed up as flotsam, and watch for otters, eagles and whales. Call the park at 360-452-4501 for more information.

Some Really Cool Spots That I Found

Skiing the river trail near my New Hampshire home, I emerged from the cool shade of the pines into bright sunshine. The sun was pulling the white drifts back like a bedsheet, and the earth was rousing from a five-month slumber. I closed my eyes and turned my face toward the warm rays, smelled the brown earth where it lay exposed by the sun and caught the first whiff of spring. It was heavenly.

In the spring, there’s almost too much to do. Ski on sun-dappled corn snow or thread the needle down a boiling rapid? Chalk your hands and scale the crags or pump up the knobby tires and hit the slickrock? If you’re having trouble choosing, help is at hand. What follows is a menu of 20 spring getaways (including 10 of what might be termed the ubertrips, this year’s hot spots for adventure hounds), plus insider tips on where the crowds aren’t. From bouldering in Texas to mountain biking in Kauai, we think you’ll find the perfect way to celebrate the coming of spring.



With its more than 3,500 miles of bays, harbors, fjords, coves and inlets, the Maine coast seems to have been carved by nature with sea kayakers in mind. You can paddle among some 3,000 spruce-fringed islands, choose one to land on and snooze in the warm sunshine. A good place to start is Merchants Row, a cluster of islands near the village of Stonington at the southern end of Deer Isle. Launch at the town wharf, then island-hop over to the ocean campsites, (reservations required), on Isle au Haut, a part of Acadia National Park. Most of the park is on Mount Desert Island, which boasts a vast network of hiking and biking trails as well as gorgeous oceanside cliffs for rock climbing. After all that activity you’re sure to have worked up an appetite, and since Maine means lobsters, head for Eaton’s Lobster Pool in Deer Isle. A great breakfast and lunch spot on Mount Desert Island is the Deacon Seat in downtown Southwest Harbor. Call Acadia National Park at 207-288-3338 for more information.



Forget winter getaways to Hawaii; springtime is the season to enjoy this lush paradise. The vernal equinox marks the end of the rainy season and, just as important, signals a lull between the influxes of winter and summer tourists. If you’re mountain-biking-minded, the island of Kauai with its golden beaches and verdant, fluted mountains along the Na Pali coast, is the place to go. From the town of Waimea, take Waimea Canyon Drive to the Puu O Kila Lookout in Kokee State Park; for the biker with energy to burn, this road offers over 4,000 feet of vertical gain in 18 miles. En route, stop at the Kalalau Lookout for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean, then hit the trails in and around Kokee State Park. Mountain bikes, helmets and car racks can be rented from Bicycle John in Lihu (808-245-7579), a 20 minute drive east. Next head for Polihale Beach, one of the longest, sunniest and most remote stretches of sand in the Hawaiian Islands. Enjoy the surf, but be wary of riptides. (For more information, call the state park office at 808-274-3444.) Then, after all those miles of pedal-pushing, take a morning off and drop in for brunch at the Wranglers Restaurant in Waimea. You’ll have earned it.



It is a beautiful mountain range, to say the least.

The Chiricahua Range of southeastern Arizona is a backpacker’s Eden. Offering cool relief from the desert below, these mountains are characterized by rock towers rising above a unique mosaic of flora and fauna from North and South America. At Cave Creek, which may well be the bird-watching capital of the Western Hemisphere, springtime backpackers have a good chance of seeing northern Steller’s jays, Mexican chickadees, yellow-eyed juncos, acorn woodpeckers and orange-crowned warblers, among other exotic species. The truly fortunate may catch a glimpse of the trojon, a colorful but rare resident of these parts and a relative of the Central American quetzal. Of the more than 150 miles of interconnected hiking paths, be sure to try the Crest Trail, 11 miles of relatively gentle hiking from peak to peak. For information on trail conditions, wildflower blooms and animal sightings, contact the Coronado National Forest Douglas Ranger District at 520-364-3468. Maps, books, geology displays and current information on trail conditions are also available at the Chiricahua National Monument Visitor Center at the north end of the range. Get your supplies at the El Dorado Trading Post one mile west of the park entrance.



There’s something enchanting about sleeping under the desert stars, so bright they seem almost within reach in the clear night air. And for a climber at Joshua Tree, hitting the sleeping bag after a day on the rocks and knowing that there’ll be more than 5,000 routes to choose from come sunrise–well, that’s the stuff dreams are made of. With daytime temperatures in the 70’s and lows in the 30’s or 40’s at night, spring is the perfect time to visit this climber’s Elysium of twisted granite spires. If you find yourself with any kind of computer problems that have to do with your hard drive, you also may want to drive nearby to Irvine and talk to Hard Drive Recovery Associates about hard drive repair. Spring is also when the desert blooms, and the rhatanies, purple mats and pale trumpets are in their glory. When you’re tired of burning out your forearms on the rock, lace on your hiking boots; although Joshua Tree has a well-deserved reputation as a haven for rock climbers, the park also features a wide assortment of exhilarating high-desert hikes. For equipment and local information, stop in at Nomad Ventures in the town of Joshua Tree or call 619-366-4684. Tired of energy bars? Head into Joshua Tree and check out Jeremy’s Cafe for brews, sandwiches and baked goods or try the Royal Siam for Thai food and its renowned all-you-can-eat-Sunday-buffet.

Talking about Malaria

The FDA has since approved numerous antimalaria drugs. Many are not marketed here or are used here only for indications other than malaria.

Chloroquine remains the treatment of choice for patients with malaria caused by species still susceptible to the drug. Resistance to chloroquine is becoming more common, however, and alternative drugs are necessary.

In the United States, Barat says, oral quinine given together with either tetracycline or sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (Fansidar) is the best regimen for treatment of mild to moderate falciparum malaria acquired in areas where resistance to chloroquine has been identified. For patients with complicated malaria who are too ill to take oral medicine, intravenous quinidine is used in the United States. Mefloquine (Lariam) and halofantrine (Halfan) are also used to treat chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria. Halofantrine is not currently marketed here. Intravenous quinine is used in other countries.

The incidence of malaria continues to increase, Gwadz says, “in part due to the spread of resistance to chloroquine and several of its substitutes, but also to reduced effectiveness and acceptability of mosquito-killing insecticides.”

In 1995, the World Health Organization established a system to monitor drug resistance in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

The parasite can be difficult to treat because it can change form to escape the human immune system, says Nell Goldman, Ph.D., associate director for research at FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Goldman says scientists at the center’s Laboratory of Parasitic Biology and Biochemistry conduct research “to learn how this process takes place and figure out how to interrupt it. If we make a break in the circle, maybe we can stop infection.”

Gwadz and colleagues are studying how to give mosquitoes a beneficial gene that prevents transmission of the parasite. To learn more about mosquito biology, they collaborate with scientists at West Africa’s National School of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Mali.

NIAID scientists also are conducting the first human trial of a vaccine to block transmission of malaria parasites from infected people.

Other Mosquito-Borne Disease. Aedes mosquitoes, mainly A. aegypti, an urban-dwelling insect, can transmit four types of dengue viruses, causing about 20 million cases of disease in more than 100 countries each year. A. aegypti mosquitoes tend to bite in the daytime, especially just after dawn and just before dark.

Dengue fever begins suddenly with high fever, severe frontal headache, joint and muscle pain, and sometimes vomiting and rash. Patients usually recover without complications. More serious, dengue hemorrhagic fever can lead to shock, bleeding, and death. There is no specific treatment. Symptoms can be treated with bed rest, intravenous fluids, and drugs to reduce fever.

In 1995, the worst dengue epidemic in 15 years hit Latin America and the Caribbean. Worldwide, the more than 600,000 cases of hemorrhagic fever caused 24,000 deaths. CDC in 1995 diagnosed dengue fever in 86 U.S. travelers, up from 46 during 1993-1994 and 17 in 1992.

A. aegypti mosquitoes also spread the yellow fever virus. Peru in 1995 had the biggest yellow fever epidemic in the Americas since 1950. West Africa also experienced an epidemic that year.

Mild yellow fever causes flu-like symptoms. Severe cases may involve bleeding and liver problems, sometimes leading to delirium, convulsions, coma, and death. Treatment is symptomatic. Prevention consists of vaccination and personal protection against mosquitoes.

Yellow fever vaccine must be approved by WHO and given at approved vaccination centers. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) helped in the vaccination campaign that controlled the Peru epidemic. PAHO is the regional WHO office for the Americas.

Elephantiasis and River Blindness. Worms related to the heartworms that can hurt dogs can give humans lymphatic filariasis, a disease affecting about 120 million people worldwide. Infected female Aedes, Anopheles, and various other mosquitoes deposit the worm larvae while biting.

The adult worm can damage the lymph system, resulting in elephantiasis–disfiguring swelling in the legs, arms, and other areas. The FDA has approved diethylcarbamazine (Hetrazan) for treatment. Surgery may be needed if certain areas, such as the scrotum, are affected.

River blindness (onchocerciasis) is caused by pre-larval and adult stages of Onchocerca volvulus, a filarial parasite transmitted by female black flies. Living near rapidly flowing rivers and streams, black flies bite by day. Most of the 17.6 million people who have onchocerciasis are in Africa, though the disease is common in certain areas of Central America as well. Short-term travelers appear to be at low risk for infection, which is usually found in Americans only when they stay in these areas a long time in roles such as missionaries, field scientists, and Peace Corps volunteers.

Symptoms include an extremely itchy rash, lumps under the skin, and eye inflammation that can lead to blindness.

Ivermectin kills the parasite at the stage when it causes symptoms. Merck, Sharp & Dohme provides this drug free to countries where river blindness is common. It is available here from the CDC under an agreement with the FDA. According to John Becher, one of two pharmacists who oversee the drug service, “we provide certain drugs and biologics as a public health service. Most are for rare diseases.” Ivermectin and other drugs for tropical diseases available through the service are not approved in the United States but are provided under investigational drug exemptions granted by the FDA.

NIAID’s Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases conducts research toward vaccines for elephantiasis and river blindness. While nearly everyone exposed becomes infected, a few individuals are resistant, says Thomas Nutman, M.D., who heads one immunology section. “These resistant individuals have antibodies in their blood that are specific to certain important parasite proteins. We identify the proteins, clone them, manufacture enough so we can study them, and then test them.” Testing is in test tubes instead of in animals, which don’t take the infection as humans do.

Flatworms, Snails, and Schistosomiasis. Flatworms cause schistosomiasis. First-stage larvae infect freshwater snails, then evolve into cercariae larvae, which exit the snails and swim along to find a human host. Penetrating the skin, male and female cercariae move in the bloodstream to the intestines or bladder and mate. Eggs excreted in human waste end up in the water supply, restarting the cycle. About 200 million people worldwide are infected. Severe disease leads to about 200,000 deaths each year.

Most symptoms are due not to the worms, but to eggs trapped in tissue. Short-term infection may be symptomless or cause such symptoms as fever, itchy rash, headache, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, and nausea. Chronic infection can damage the liver, kidneys, and bladder, or intestines. The FDA has approved praziquantel (Biltricide) as treatment.

Places where schistosomiasis is most prevalent include Brazil, Puerto Rico, and St. Lucia (an island in the East West Indies); Egypt and most of sub-Saharan Africa; and Southern China, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia, according to CDC. At greatest risk are people who wade, swim, or bathe in fresh water in rural areas where sanitation is poor and snail hosts are present.

Travelers to such areas should not swim in fresh water; salt water, like the ocean and chlorinated pools, is considered low risk. Bathing water should be heated to 122 [degrees] F or treated with iodine or chlorine, as for drinking. Filtering water with paper coffee filters may remove the parasites. If these methods are impossible, CDC recommends that travelers let bathing water stand three days; cercariae rarely live longer than 48 hours.

WHO-led researchers are planning to test a vaccine in humans.

Trypanosoma Diseases. The parasites Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. brucei rhodesiense cause African sleeping sickness. About 20,000 cases worldwide are reported yearly. Infected tsetse flies, which bite during the day, transmit this extremely serious disease.

East Africa’s sleeping sickness, due to T. brucei rhodesiense infection, causes symptoms within days to weeks. West Africa’s chronic gambiense variety may not cause the “sleeping” part of the illness until months to years after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, lethargy, and confusion, which may progress to convulsions, coma, and death.

Suramin, available from the CDC, is for the early stages of both gambiense and rhodesiense sleeping sickness. Melarsoprol, an arsenic derivative, is also available from the CDC to treat final stages of both varieties. If the patient is known to have gambiense, however, the drug eflornithine (Ornidyl), approved by the FDA, is more effective and safe because melarsoprol can cause serious, even fatal, nervous system problems in some patients. Eflornithine is useful for both early and late stages of gambiense sleeping sickness; it is not effective for rhodesiense sickness.

Trypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas’ disease, which affects at least 16 million people in Central and South America. The parasite infects reduviid bugs. When the bugs defecate, they deposit the parasite, which can enter a human through a break in the skin or through a mucous membrane, such as that which lines the nose, mouth, or eyes. The best prevention is to avoid potential reduviid habitats–mud, adobe, and thatch buildings, especially those with cracks or crevices. If this isn’t feasible, spraying infested areas and using bed nets can help prevent infection.

In its short-term stage, Chagas’ disease may cause no symptoms or may cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and inflammation of the heart or, rarely, the brain. Deaths occur, mainly in children, but most patients survive, their symptoms usually disappearing after four to six weeks. Many years later, about a fourth of patients develop serious, sometimes fatal, heart infection or damaged digestive organs, such as an enlarged esophagus or colon for the long term. Nifurtimox is available from CDC for the treatment of short-term Chagas’ disease. There is no accepted antiparasitic treatment for chronic illness.

About 70% of cases occur in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In 1991, the health ministers of those six countries began a program to eliminate Chagas’ disease by the end of this century. Since then, house infestation has declined 75% to 98% in some areas, PAHO reports.

The Leishmaniases. Sandra Levy is one of an estimated 12 million people worldwide with leishmaniasis. This group of diseases is spread through the bite of female sandflies infected with any of about 20 different species of Leishmania parasites.

Levy had cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores that may leave ugly scars. Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis can cause disfiguring destruction of membranes in the nose, mouth, or upper throat (pharynx).

In visceral leishmaniasis, parasites invade internal organs, causing death if the symptoms are untreated. According to Walter Reed’s Magill, “you have chronic fever, depression of bone marrow and blood cells, weight loss, and a huge spleen so full of parasites it comes down into the pelvis.” Years may pass before symptoms appear.

Recently, 32 Persian Gulf War veterans were identified as leishmaniasis victims, 12 with viscerotropic leishmaniasis, a chronic syndrome associated with the infection, Magill says. They had fever and vague flu-like symptoms, but few signs of overt disease, he says. “Some had lymphnode enlargement that tended to come and go. A couple had slightly enlarged spleens.”

A free clinical evaluation program has been set up to identify and treat all veterans infected with leishmaniasis. (See box, page 30.)

The only current way to confirm a leishmaniasis diagnosis is by finding parasites in a clinical specimen. The FDA is evaluating a skin test developed by the Defense Department for mass screening of troops.

Get Ready For Travel Challenges

Be advised that the medical systems of other countries are often very different than what we are accustomed to. Many countries have national health insurance plans and if you are not a citizen, you are expected to pay cash before services are rendered–even emergency services. This can result in delays or denials of the receipt of medical care. In some areas of the world, the medical care system is so primitive by Western standards that you would be safer to have some basic medicines with you and treat yourself rather than go to a local hospital. And lastly, in more countries than people realize, blood supplies are not screened, syringes and needles are reused and medical supplies and specialists are not available. Even something as routine as a broken leg can become a life-threatening emergency, depending on where in the world you are.

Airplane travel presents several medical challenges in itself. Airplane cabin pressure at cruising altitudes is equivalent to that at about 6,000 feet–about the elevation of Denver, Colo. Some people with lung disease, such as emphysema and bronchitis, may have a difficult time breathing at this altitude. In addition, if you take a tranquilizer, antihistamine or consume alcohol to sleep on the plane, it could intensify breathing problems. Jet lag, particularly when flying east, is a true medical condition. It upsets the internal biological clock, and fatigue for several days can result. Some medicines and nutrients have recently been shown to help alleviate this condition. Your doctor can prescribe or recommend the best course of action.

Malaria, viral encephalitis; hepatitis and parasites are real medical concerns in over one-half of the world. However, pre-trip preparation with medications and vaccines can readily be done. The most common health threat is drinking water from local sources. Precautions about using bottled water, not eating vegetables or fruits unless peeled, and eating foods cooked well done (140 degrees) can save you from a serious medical problem. Also, it is a universally good practice when traveling outside of Western countries to get a hepatitis A vaccination. The series of two injections provides long-lasting protection from this ubiquitous, troublesome virus and is effective in over 95 percent of the vaccinations.

Exposure risks

Temperature can be a major health threat if you are going to be outside for a prolonged period of time (winter holidays). Remember that cold, altitude and sunshine can combine to cause hypotherreia (low body temperature), sun/windburn and breathing problems. Prepare by using proper clothing and eye protection, and consider a medication to acclimate your system to altitude. If you are going to a tropical area, consider how heat and humidity affect you, your susceptibility to insects and diseases, your reaction to intense sunshine and other variable conditions of your guest country. Prepare by taking along medicines, sunscreens, insect repellent and appropriate clothing.

Besides physical conditions and disease, there are other considerations that impact your health abroad-vehicular accidents and assault. Even in Western countries (England), driving can be hazardous. Local customs and vehicles (such as bicycles in China) present a real challenge. Laws regarding accident liability (all parties are guilty till proven otherwise in Mexico) need to be kept in mind. Also, tourists make attractive targets for pickpockets, muggets, thieves and burglars in many areas of the world (like the USA).

Extra protection

Finally, consider a fail-safe position, the purchase of a medical-assistance program and evacuation insurance. There are several companies that operate worldwide, and for a nominal amount, they assist with whatever type of medical or travel problem you may encounter. These companies are set up so that a call to an 800 or collect telephone number will provide you referrals to doctors, assistance regarding your specific medical problem and information about the quality and location of medical services close to you.

They can also manage evacuation to better facilities, assist with logistics of getting a medical team and plane together, getting all of the necessary equipment ready, etc. Some plans even cover the cost of evacuations, which may not be covered under your normal health insurance. Travel agencies, travel clinics, embassies, etc. can recommend these programs before you travel.

Remember, only you are responsible for your own good health. A little planning and preparation and realizing your own medical limitations can make you a knowledgeable, savvy and safe traveler. This knowledge (and a little insurance) is something you should not travel without.

Computers At Risk

Of course, if you are like most people, you like to travel with a laptop. It is always important to make sure that you have all of the data on your laptop backed up you want to make sure that it is safe when you return. The problem with traveling is that you are probably going to find yourself in a lot of foreign environments and your data it may actually be at risk. This is why it is always good idea to have all the contact details for pretty solid hard drive recovery service provider. One of the things that seem to happen quite a bit when you’re traveling is that you get confused and drop things. This is actually a really bad thing because your hard drive is a critical part of your laptop. You do not want to lose all of your cool travel photos and all of the other items that you on the drive, so make sure that you at least taken many steps you can sit protect your hard disk. You’ll find that after your trip is done you’ll be a lot happier about the whole thing.

Travel Agents Vs. Cyberbooking. Not Much Of A Debate

Is cyberbooking easier or cheaper than using a travel agent? I decided to find out. I chose two popular Web-based travel services: Expedia ( and Travelocity ( Then I called my AAA travel agent, whose no-frills service has served me well in the past.

The most appealing aspect of online trip planning is that the sites are always open (a big plus for me, since I tend to get most things done during unconventional hours). So instead of having to make all my arrangements between 9 and 5, I can wait until the kids are in bed and Chicago Hope is over.

And The Hunt Begins

I started with Expedia, a travel service by Microsoft that you can use to research and book flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals. Before I could get down to business, I had to register. That took about 10 minutes.

Expedia’s fill-in-the-blanks interface is fairly straightforward. With the Flight Wizard, for example, I simply told it how many people were traveling, arrival and departure dates and cities, and specific search criteria (particular airlines, direct flights only, cheapest fare, and so on). Here’s where I ran into my first hassle: We were traveling to a small town in Idaho and I had no idea whether Twin Falls, Idaho, or Salt Lake City would be closer.

A travel agent could have told me, but not Expedia, so I guessed and typed ‘Salt Lake City’. In less than a minute, Expedia came up with two flights from Oakland that met my criteria. Both were on Delta, both with a total round-trip fare of $560 for four. Since I knew that Southwest Airlines flies that route and often offers discounted companion fares, I went back a screen to change my search criteria and take a look at Southwest-only options. No such luck. It turns out Expedia doesn’t handle Southwest flights. And, as I later learned, even some travel agents don’t have electronic access to Southwest reservations.

Since I had no choice, I added one of the Delta flights to my itinerary and moved on to the Rental Car Wizard. No shortage of options here–11 models, ranging from $34 to $56 per day. Cheap was the order of the day, so I added the $34 car to my itinerary. Total time for fare hunting and booking: 35 minutes.

On to Travelocity, based on the powerful Sabre travel reservation system operated by American Airlines and used by travel agents. The interface is a little more cumbersome than Expedia’s. For example, when entering information for departures and arrivals, I had to provide a city and state (you can’t just type ‘Salt Lake City’, for example) or, for quicker results, a three-letter airport code. Some codes are obvious, but not all of them, which means I ended up jumping over to the identify-the-destination screen pretty frequently to fill in all the blanks on the entry screen.

Just the Info You Want

On the plus side, I had more options for customizing the information I wanted. For instance, instead of Expedia’s requirement that I select just one airline, Travelocity let me choose four, in order of preference (or, as with Expedia, have it search its database for all available airlines). I could also prioritize preferences by prices, flight times, and airline. My favorite feature, though, is the speedy airport locator. Just type in your destination city and state, and up pops a list of airports and the distance of each from your ultimate destination. Neat.

Like Expedia, Travelocity came up with the two $560 Delta flights. It also offered a third option, though: a $560 fare for four on Southwest (so much for those cheap companion fares). The car rates were also about the same, ranging from $36 to $60 per day. Total time spent with Travelocity: 25 minutes.

I needed a hotel room in Atlanta and found Travelocity’s selection to be much more extensive than Expedia’s. Among the lengthy list of choices was a hotel recommended by the conference I would be attending, so I checked availability and booked a room there. I was hoping to stay in a small inn while in Charleston, but Expedia didn’t offer information on bed-and-breakfasts. While Travelocity offered many hotel/motel choices, including bed-and-breakfasts, Expedia accessed only one: the pricey Charleston Place Hotel, with rooms starting at more than $225 per night.

Too late for this trip, I discovered the Ultimate Bed and Breakfast Directory at It lists and illustrates bed-and-breakfast inns all over the United States (with links to directories in other countries) and includes detailed descriptions and prices, even photos. When I added Charleston, South Carolina, to the search criteria, it came up with 43 bed-and-breakfasts for me to choose from.

With printouts of all my online options in hand, I logged off and called my AAA travel agent to see what she had to offer. She came up with the same flight information as Travelocity and Expedia, with one important exception: Some of the fares were lower. Instead of $560 for the round-trip tickets to Salt Lake City, she got me companion-fare tickets (I knew they were available somewhere) on the same Delta flight for a total of $484–or $76 less than the online services offered. The Portland trip netted a similar savings: $440 for four tickets on Alaska Airlines, instead of the $512 quoted by both Expedia and Travelocity for the same flight on Alaska. Savings so far: nearly $150.

Now I was eager to move on to the final trip. Who knows, maybe I’d save enough to stay in Charleston an extra night. No such luck, though. The travel agent quoted me the same fares on the same flights as both online services: $1100 for two round-trip tickets on Delta. And, oddly enough, the car rental rates quoted by the travel agent were a few dollars more than those offered by either Expedia or Travelocity. Total time spent booking with the travel agent: 15 minutes.

Is Convenience Worth It?

Yes, the online travel services are convenient. I can book flights, rooms, and cars at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m.–whenever the mood strikes me. Sometimes, as with the rental cars, they even proffer the best deals around. But not always. Had I booked flights on either Expedia or Travelocity, I would have paid close to $150 more than necessary. That’s a substantial chunk of change. Plus, as smart as these services are, you can’t ask them questions the way you can a travel agent, or get the promotional or membership discounts to which you may be entitled.

So what will I do for my next trip? Probably the same thing I did this time. I’ll check online, call a travel agent, and then book with whoever has the best prices. It’s not as convenient as calling Michael in the company travel office, but this is my money, so the savings are definitely worth the extra research time.

Spanish Advertising Gets Racy

“The idea is the most important thing,” observes Maris Beltrametti, account director at TBWA/Guerrero & Cano, Barcelona. “If you have the money to do a great execution, so much the better. If you don’t, the idea is so clear that it doesn’t matter.”

An example of the success of simplicidas is this year’s Cannes Grand Prix award-winning spot. Created by Madrid agency Contrapunto for Television Espanol, the commercial shows the dangers of kids watching too much TV. A dog tries a number of tricks to lure its young master away from the TV. Unsuccessful, the dog packs its suitcase and leaves home. The campaign was quintessentially Spanish because the idea was simple, and it was communicated effectively without words.

Last year’s Grand Prize winner wasn’t Spain’s first major award at Cannes. In the summer of 1981 Cannes audiences were delighted by a spot for Ambi Pur room deodorizer. It simply showed a blindfolded cat, against a stark background, ignoring a fish that lay almost under its nose. Equally close to the fish was a container of Ambi Pur; once that was removed, the cat immediately went for the fish. The commercial won a Gold Lion that year.

The agency that created the Ambi Pur spot was Rilova Casadevall Pedreno–better known as RCP. The previous year, the then-young Barcelona shop had won another Gold Lion for a spot encouraging Spaniards to donate blood.

Indeed, RCP’s uncluttered style, coupled with concepts that communicate without words, have come to signal “Spanish” to followers of international advertising. A good example was Danone Yogurt’s “Learn From Your Children” campaign. The pitch reversed roles and showed kids trying to get their reluctant parents to eat something healthful–yogurt. Again, the agency was RCP.

By the mid-1980s, a lot of shops had adopted the simple style, and most continue to use it with certain clients.

For the past few years Europeans have been touting Spain as the country to watch, and the performance of Spanish agencies at Cannes this year suggests they were right. In addition to the Cannes Grand Prix won this year, the country’s agencies brought home four Gold, nine Silver and eleven Bronze Lions. Other awards have been won, and as a result, agency data was backed up rigourously. This was key to ensuring data safety, and preventing unnecessary hard drive recovery services. Data recovery is something needed by most agencies, which frequently go here.

But some argue Spanish agencies aren’t the only ones producing work with an elegant simple style. Isn’t simplicity characteristic of the best advertising created anywhere? “The four-to-ten best advertising people in Spain have learned from advertising in the U.S. in the ’60s,” admits Jose Luis Zamorano, creative director of Rilova Zamorano Rodriguez (RZR) in Madrid and one of the most respected creative veterans in Spain.

Indeed, some of the best Spanish creative is reminiscent of Doyle Dane Bernbach’s vintage ads for Volkswagen, with their stark backgrounds. As Europe scrambles to prepare for the removal of border tariffs in 1992, such clear communication takes on a new urgency. Increasingly a single campaign is expected to speak to broader, more diverse audiences.

But this is a sophisticated country, which, despite its emphasis on simplicity in advertising, can’t be defined in simple terms. It has a complex advertising history, though the agency community is much smaller than in the U.S. Spaniards talk about two creative waves, one generated by Barcelona agency MLLB in the early 1970s, and the other by RCP a decade later.

Historically, there are a couple of agencies considered to be “schools” of Spanish advertising, predominantly for print. Among them are Valeriano Perez & Son in Madrid as well as MLLB. While less is heard about these shops nowadays, they claim a lot of powerful creative alumni. Those who cut their teeth at Perez include Juan Maria Lapena and Juan Mariano Mancebo, the top creative directors at Contrapunto. Ex-MLLB creatives who went on to greater things are RZR’s Jose Luis Zamorano (he also was one of the founders of Contrapunto in 1973) and RCP creative directors Luis Casadevall and Fernando Vallejo. Casadevall and fellow RCP partner Salvadore Pedreno recently announced that they would take a sabbatical from RCP starting in six months; Ernesto Rilova left in 1984.

Other key players are Luis Bassat, who in 1975 started the Barcelona agency that became Bassat Ogilvy & Mather. (It won a Silver Lion this year by using baby pigs tucked under the arms of otherwise elegant executives to illustrate body odor in a spot for Byly deodorant) Bassat’s shop is considered among the more creative of the U.S.-based multinational agencies in Spain. Other creative Spanish shops are linked with bigger agencies, such as RCP with Saatchi & Saatchi, Contrapunto with BBDO, RZR with Scali, McCabe, Sloves, and Dos Por Dos with Lowe.

There are also newcomers to the creative scene, including TBWA/Guerrero & Cano, whose 31-year-old creative director Pablo Cano came into the spotlight recently when the agency won Silver Lions for both Evian and Pentel.

But the most consistently excellent reels, as well as reputations, belong to Contrapunto in Madrid and RCP Barcelona. And as a result, there is an intense, yet friendly, rivalry between these two agencies. After Contrapunto won the Grand Prix at Cannes this year, for example, RCP took out an ad in the trade press to congratulate the other agency.

Spain’s characteristically simple aesthetic isn’t the only kind of work visitors see on agency reels, however. While one is not likely to see many special effects, there are quite a few commercials that, from a production point of view, look like any on a good U.S. agency reel. There are also, however, quite a few mediocre examples. The good print work, as with its TV counterparts, is spare and riveting but much more slick. RCP, most notably, has done outstanding print for Lacoste apparel and Vogue magazine, among other clients.

Joaquin Lorente, a founder of MLLB and now head of his own agency, Lorente-Mussons, likes Spain’s simple aesthetic but sees too much of what he calls “sameness.” He predicts a trend to more “real people” advertising, a movement that he hopes to be leading. “The true way is in the street and in the people,” he says. “I want to see advertising with sincerity, with an extraordinary capacity to explain things in the language of the street.

Checking In On Direct Mail In Spain

In Spain, with its 38 million population and 14 million households, direct response advertising has grown at a rapid pace in tune with the country’s speedy economic expansion since its entry to the EC in 1986. Since 1985 the medium has grown by approximately 30 percent to 35 percent and it is thought to account for 8 percent of the total amount spent on advertising.

Yet despite this growth, expenditure is still relatively low compared with other EC states, and because of a comparative shortage of figures and facilities, Spain presents a number of difficulties in using direct response advertising.

There are only 10 major agencies and five computer bureaus of significant size that specialize in direct mail. Major laser printers number only six, and of the various mailing list suppliers there are just five of importance. There are, however, 12 specialist lettershops.

While there are severe legal restrictions applied to direct mail relating to sweepstakes, there are no restrictions on mailings offering premiums, games of chance or competitions.

No geodemographic system exists in Spain, although there are at least two service companies (one an agency and the other a computer bureau) that are actively investigating microsegmentation and hope to produce a system soon.

Spanish towns have a five-digit postcode with only one level of postcode sorting. Bulk mailers are required to sort by postal rebate sequence and, as a result, obtain rebates of between 15 percent and 25 percent. Postage rates are currently relatively low — a factor that is believed to have contributed significant to the growth in direct mail.

There are no statistics available for the size of the list business in Spain, but oe experienced industry observer estimates the number of addresses dealt with by brokers at 1 million. Rigorous controls are applied to ensure that lists are not copied when they are supplied to computer bureaux. Settlement of invoices is expected within 30, 60 or 90 days, dependent on the client. Some brokers require either total or partial advance payment from new clients.

In the absence of reliable statistics, opinions and experiences vary widely as to the number of clients that are willing to provide response data. It seems, however, that in general, clients are cooperative, and approximately 40 percent do supply response data.

In general direct response advertising is felt to be successful, although the lack of professionalism and proper planning of the past may not have been completely eradicated. But campaigns now garner strong results and there is considerable customer loyalty to continued campaigns and promotions.

The future of direct response advertising in Spain is unpredictable. In the short term, the industry is expected to boom, partly because it is as yet underdeveloped and can therefore only expand in the current economic climate; and partly because the ongoing arrival of the major international agencies in Spain will virtually guarantee continued rapid growth.

Besides being the year of the inauguration of the single European market, 1992 has further special significance for Spain. Three major events are scheduled which are already imposing a profound expansionary effect on the economy: the full integration of Spain into the EC, the Olympic Games to be held in Barcelona and the World Expo ’92 to be held in Seville.

While people within the industry are looking forward to enormous expansion, they also point out that greater facilities and resources are required and that there is a need for more professionals in the business. While there has been a successful launch of the 900 toll-free telephone number, there is concern that Spain’s full accession to the EC will bring greatly increased postal charges.

The Netherlands

By contrast, the Netherlands is one of the most sophisticated of the European countries using direct mail. In the Netherlands — with a population of 14.6 million and 5.6 million households — direct mail accounted for an estimated 22 percent of all advertising expenditure in 1988, while the volume of addressed mail in 1987 was 588 million items.

Data protection legislation came into force for the first time in the Netherlands on July 1, 1989. It had been in the preparation stage for around a decade. And, in the meantime, since the pressure from the Dutch government and consumer organisations has been intense, direct response advertisers (and in particular members of DMIN, the Dutch Direct Marketing Association) have had a self-imposed code of conduct.

Towns in the Netherlands have a four-digit postcode and there is only one level of postcode sorting. Substantial rebates are available to bulk mailers, ranging from 19 percent to 53 percent, and while sorting by postcode sequence is not mandatory, the financial penalty is high if mail is not sorted.

Legal restrictions on mailings involving lotteries are severe, but are less strict on mailings involving sweepstakes, premiums, games of chance and competitions.

There are three geodemographic systems available in the Netherlands: MOSAIC, developed by CCN, Omnidata, developed as a result of the cooperation of Reader’s Digest with the PTT, and Geomarktprofiel. There are a number of list suppliers of which only three brokers can be considered major. In addition, The PTT is an important source of consumer lists. The list business in the Netherlands is estimated to be worth around Dfl. 25 million. Of this, 70 percent is thought to result from direct deals with owners and 30 percent to have been accomplished through list brokers.

The list brokerage cycle operates in a very similar manner to the EC, with clients signing a contract outlining the rights of address use and the penalties that can be incurred if a list is misused. The list broker’s commission is normally 10 percent to 20 percent of the price charged per address. About 70 percent of the clients are normally willing to provide response data from their campaigns.

According to an experienced Dutch direct response advertising observer, a number of suppliers are currently “dabbling” in direct marketing. This was expressed in the views of these advertisers in a survey that was recently published by BBDO in which 33 percent said they are not satisfied with the level of suppliers’ expertise. This criticism was leveled notably at the agencies.

There is overcapacity among lettershops at present. Medium-sized operations with limited machinery available are experiencing increasing difficulties.

It is expected that greater technical expertise and the integration of computer, laser printing and lettershop facilities will be important in the future.

There are already a few examples of integrated “high tech” production facilities. They originate from the forms printing industry. Three forms printers have set up production lines on which they produce complete personalised full-colour mailing packages ready for delivery to the post office. These facilities are very cost effective if the mailed quantity is at least 250,000 and the package does not contain too many changing elements other than personalisation. Then, of course, there remains large mult-disk data depositories with several RAID 5 and RAID 10 server banks. Each is backed up to ensure data recovery problems are minimized. In cases of catastrophic hard drive crash, an expert is called in.

The list brokerage business in the Netherlands is relatively small and seems likely to remain so. This is mostly because the country itself is small and does not allow room for specialised lists with sufficient addresses per list to be of commercial interest. Agencies which used to have their own list departments have reverted to using the few outside brokers available. The protitable segments in the list business are company addresses with a high level of detail per address (e.g., medical people, computer users).

Among laser printing bureaux there is a wide selection of specialised companies which are expert in dealing with direct mail. The computer service bureaux are seen to be lagging somewhat compared with the laser printers, but these are likely to develop further in the course of the next five years.

The direct response agency scene is now dominated by the mostly American international advertising agency networks, notably the ones with a specialized direct marketing division. The main reason for their success is thought in the Netherlands to lie in their willingness to invest “up front” in capable people and good facilities. This investment impresses and attracts major local advertisers. Additionally, within their general advertisers’ client base, they aggressively pitch for the specialised direct marketing part of the business.

As the largest list supplier in the business, the Dutch post office has done a great deal for the popularity of direct marketing. It has also been a strong promoter of international direct marketing. But since the post office was recently privatised we have no wait until the transition to becoming a private company has become fully effective.

For the future, direct response advertisers are watching the opening of country borders with interest, in order to determine what effect new legislation will have on the industry.

The new data protection and privacy laws also make their mark, although at least one observer has expressed grave doubts about the practiciality of stringent legislation being enforced as the use of databases is probably already too well established.

Following five years in the wine trade, Frank MacGinty joined Thames Television and made substantial progress in developing the company’s advertising sales business. He then moved to Airship Industries where he successfully established its passenger carrying airships as an advertising medium in Australia, Japan, Europe and North America, on behalf of the Bond Corporation. MacGinty now serves as chief executive of the Direct Mail Sales Bureau.

Jesus Del Pozo – Master Of Fashion

Jesus del Pozo – literally “Jesus of the Well,” and it’s his real name, to boot – has been blessed in recent times.

In 1988, the designer was awarded the Cristobal Balenciaga Prize by the Spanish government as Best Spanish Designer of the Year.

Last summer, he was one of three designers selected by Gruppo Finanziaria Tessile to launch its Neomode line.

In his first season in the United States under GFT distribution, his line was sold to Bloomingdale’s, Bagutta and Riding High, New York; Jordan’s, Seattle; Number 5, Provincetown, Mass.; Fred Segal, Santa Monica, Calif.; Shauna Stein, Culver City, Calif.; Buffalo, Tarzana, Calif., and Riccardi in Boston.

In Spain, Del Pozo is in the fashion forefront of a country so often described as hot that you expect to see smoke rising from his studio on Calle Almiranta, the same Madrid street where he was born and raised.

He’s being compared with Sybilla by the fashion press here, who suggest that del Pozo just might be the next avant-garde supernova to come shooting out of Spain.

Del Pozo shrugs off the comparisons. “We’ve both been around for a while,” he says noncommittally, though clearly he’s not distressed to be mentioned in the same breath as Sybilla Sorondo.

Sybilla, born in New York of Spanish parents 26 years ago, burst on the Spanish fashion scene with her first collection seven years ago. She won the first Balenciaga prize (for Best New Designer) in 1987, her reputation soared and she has been propelled out of Spain to Italy, where she now manufacturers and shows.

Her rapid trajectory from a Madrid studio to the international scene has inspired a whole generation of designers here.

Del Pozo has been around longer, beginning with a small men’s collection 15 years ago. He started designing for women, and little by little his men’s collection became vestigial and his women’s styles sprouted wings.

Trained in interior and furniture design, he is noted for his architectonic clothing, playing with line and volume for results that are simultaneously new wave and intensely feminine.

When he won the Balenciaga prize, his passion for the architectural possibilities of an excellent cut in a beautiful fabric prompted some fashion writers to compare him with Balenciaga himself, the greatest of all Spanish fashion heroes.

He describes himself as “very Castilian, austere, not at all baroque as the French can be,” adding, “I’m not interested in spangles, but in structure and volumes.”

“I always design with the same woman in mind,” he says, a woman he once described in a Madrid newspaper as someone “who is sure of herself, who has fought and had her own revolution.”

“This woman has to be many different things during the day. A good executive in the morning, a genuine lady at the table and a hot-blooded lover with her husband.”

This image of the superwoman who combines brains and sex appeal – not to mention good manners – has appealed to some of the best-dressed women in Spain, including elegant singer-actress Ana Belen, known for her serious roles and political commitment.

Although sales are still small – $3 million last year, according to Emma Fernandez, del Pozo’s sales manager – the designer gained an advantage over his competitors three years ago when Cedora SA began manufacturing and distributing his designs in Spain and the rest of Europe.

Del Pozo’s relationship with Cedora has allowed him to concentrate on what he does best and gives the economic freedom to experiment.

“Before Cedora, if I wanted to experiment, I couldn’t afford to waste 20 meters of silk. Now I work with a different point of view and in a more relaxed way.”

Of GFT, he says, “I hope the only thing that will change is that I will be able to do everything better. It will make everything easier so that I can concentrate on designing.”

Cedora continues to produce the line with GFT, taking on U.S. distribution through its Neomode line. “Our U.S. contacts were a bit timid last season (for spring),” says Fernandez, explaining that the agreement with GFT took some time to be signed and so sales of the spring collection were “a trial run” for the potential represented by the U.S. market.

“We are very satisfied with the response,” says Pablo de Echevarria-Navarro, director of Neomode in New York, noting that the goal was to promote del Pozo’s name rather than get big sales. With GFT acting as marketing representative in the U.S. and “nurturing” the designer, Echevarria-Navarro says, the hope is that the line will develop a following quickly. If it does, GFT will then take over production, he says, adding that he is consulting with Cedora on the growth of del Pozo’s business.

About his fall-winter collection, del Pozo says, “I don’t really know how to describe my collections in terms of theme, even at the end, when everything is designed. Let’s say that it is designed for an active woman who understands the luxury of being herself.”

Velours in cotton and silk figure in the collection, along with cashgora, a fabric made from the wool produced by a genetic cross between the cashmere-producing goat and the angora-producing sheep.

Although he used to consider color his weak point, he is now universally praised for his artistic shades. “I use all colors but I change shades, tones and combinations. My colors are never very bright; they’re sunbleached, as if they had been eaten up by the sun.”

For winter, he is painting his creations in a warm range from natural beige to dark burgundy with golds, toasts, reds and roses in between, offset by cool, cloudy blues and greens.

Victorio & Lucchino Define Spanish Fashion

The spirit of romantic Spain is alive and well at Victorio & Lucchino.

While other designers lean toward the simple lines and fragile colors of Spain, Jose Victor Rodriguez (Victorio) and Jose Luis Medina (Lucchino) embrace the exuberance of bullfights and flamenco, gaining an interested following at home and abroad.

Winners of Spain’s highest fashion award, the Premio Balenciaga, in the category of best designer for 1990, they have also recently been chosen to create the uniforms for Expo ’92, the World Exposition to be held here next year.

Although they joined forces in 1975, Victorio & Lucchino was strictly a local phenomenon until the early Eighties when they began to distribute their clothes around Spain. International sales did not begin until 1985, when they showed at the New York Pret. The designers now show at Cibeles in Madrid, Igedo in Dusseldorf, Mode Woche in Munich and the Fashion Coterie in New York.

“We are now up to about $5 million in annual billings and almost half of that is export,” says Medina. They sell to about a dozen countries, with Germany foremost among them and prospects for Far East sales improving.

Through U.S. representative Melina Vourlekis, the line goes to a handful of specialty shops including If in New York, Shauna Stein in Culver City, Calif., Modasport in Los Angeles, Gorsuch in Vail, Colo., and Sasha Frisson in Atlanta.

U.S. sales, hovering around the $150,000 mark, aren’t enormous but the designers are pleased at the American attraction to some of their bolder designs, such as a floor-length skirt with deep chocolate brown flounces from the winter 1990 collection. The line is produced by their company, Joluele SA through a group of cooperative workshops.

They would like to join up with a manufacturer and distributor who can take some of the burden off them. “That’s the future of all big designers at the right moment,” Medina says. “But we’re not going to get married to just anybody. We’re looking for the best manufacturer in the world.”

Although they are far removed from the fashion centers of Barcelona and Madrid, they say that living here allows them to remain more themselves, free from outside influences that might dilute the ideas behind their designs.

Seville gives them their palette — warm colors like chrysanthemum, sky blue, scarlet and white.

Their historical sense is keen, and immediately apparent from their office: It is in the house where the painter Velazquez was born. They have decorated their home with an extensive and imaginative collection of Spanish antiques.

History also permeates the names they give to their collections.

“We are trying to send messages in our collections,” explains Medina. “The last one was called `Tarsis’ after the ancient name given first to the Guadalquivir River and later to Seville long before the Romans came. In each collection there are historical elements that reflect who we are and where we’re from.”

They incorporate traditional crafts into their designs, like the crocheted fringes on their shawls.

“Some of these crafts are in danger of dying out,” says the more cherubic-looking Rodriguez, showing handmade lace that is used in their couture wedding gowns. “We’ve gotten together a group of older women in a village near here who pass on the techniques to younger women in workshops.”

The designers say they design for the Andalusian woman, passionate and temperamental, who enjoys dressing up an is aware of looking good. These are not stay-at-home clothes, so they appeal to women like socialite and party-giver Susan Gutfreund and Spanish aristocrats and jet setters like Carmen Rossi, granddaughter of the late dictator of Spain Francisco Franco.

The ideal fabric for achieving this effect, Medina says, is Egyptian cotton voile, supplied by a textile house in Barcelona. “We really love natural fabrics although we don’t reject fabrics like acrylic when we’re trying to do something sexy. But cotton voile is our overall favorite because it’s very subtle, transparent and very manageable when it comes to design.”

The lightness of the fabric is especially important to the designers. “When people see our clothes on the runway, they tell us that it makes them want to touch them because they seem to be flying, vaporous. That’s the feeling that we want to give in our clothing, that it is full of life both inside and out,” Medina explains.

These days the pair is bursting with plans: a lower-price women’s collection, a men’s collection, possibly one for children, maybe a lingerie line. A perfume is also in the works, probably to be launched in the next year.

“We’re not in a hurry with it,” says Medina. “We know what it will be called but we’re waiting for the right moment to do it.”

Finding Out About Data Recovery Costs

Having your data lost in an instant due to a malfunction of certain hardware is a common problem nowadays. Programmers invented data recovery software that would help users and businessmen to recover lost data but of course it does not come cheap or free. Data recovery costs range from 30 dollars to 60 dollars depends on what are the brand and the type of software you need. Of course, something like RAID 10 recovery, as an example, can be incredibly expensive. Data recovery might come in a logical or physical approach. Logical means that the file that were lost were due to the user’s accidental deletion of his or her files or data therefore software is needed. While physical would mean that there is a malfunction in the device itself rendering it inaccessible. Time is an important factor in data recovery. As soon as you discovered any problems with your data or you lost your files, it is best to get a consultation immediately for it to have the best result which is worth the cost at this website.

If you are having problems with your hard disk, you are strongly recommended to rely on the internet to find excellent hard disk repair services. There are, of course, other ways to find someone who can solve your problem, but going online has more advantages than other methods. Here are the top reasons why you should choose to scour the internet for hard disk repair services.

For one, the internet will offer you more options. For instance, your favorite search engine can instantly generate thousands to millions of results, and when you do a localized search, the results will be limited to businesses in your area. Also, transacting online has never been this convenient. All you have to do is to type in a little and then browse through websites. It’s that easy!

So if you are in need of hard disk repair services immediately, do not hesitate to turn on your computer and go online.

Computer hard disk failures are unwelcomed and unavoidable, as there are many things could go wrong. Sometimes, it is not just because of what happens inside the computer, but outside the equipment as well. Spillage of liquids, accidental dropping of the machine (especially in laptop data recovery situations), accidentally hitting it with a heavy object, etc, these things can also cause damage to a computer system. These equipment casualties can burn a hole in the pocket, but nothing can cause more serious wallet emptying than a hard drive crash, which is also known as physical hard drive failure. Before your computer gave away, some very noticeable signs will happen to it. Occasionally though, it will just simply refuse to work without any preceding signals at all. Here are a few things you can observe before your hard drive crash. One, your computer slows down.

Opening files can a take a hundred years (or seconds). Saving files take up even longer.

What a hard drive crash looks like.Two, your files are disappearing. You are sure you saved your office presentation and other important work files but no amount of looking can turn them up. Three, your computer freezes, the mouse cursor do not move, and you cannot encode anything. You needed to restart your computer for everything to work again. This is something that happens frequently, not just a rarely thing. Fourth, you hear a strange clicking sound from your computer, very different from the humming activity sound that the computer emits. When the last thing happens, back up your files ASAP because it means a hard drive crash will imminently happen.


Hard Disk Head Crash

Your friend said his hard disk has had a head crash. Being a computer beginner, the words sound foreign to you. Does it mean that his hard drive crashed? What is a head crash?

To explain it in simple terms, the hard drive is the computer’s memory. It has the ability to store thousands of files. The hard drive is a small box, a little bigger than the size of an open palm. Inside it are platters that spin when the drive is operating, and read/write heads. These heads do not touch the platters, but because there is only a microscopic difference in between them, sometimes the heads touch the platter surface, causing a scratch. A head crash leads to serious data loss that will require some kind of hard drive crash recovery. This scenario is also an example of a hard disk crash. Over time, the scratch worsens, and other areas of the platter also gets scratch as it is constantly spinning, and eventually, the data disappears. This is how hard drives crash. Is it repairable? No. It had already been rendered unusable. But you can still have some data retrieved by going to a solid hard data recovery service. Be prepared for huge cash out though because that kind of service costs a lot.

Modernism and Seville’s Expo ’92

The architects commissioned for Seville’s fair (the first universal exposition since Osaka’s in 1970) seem to concur that straightforward Modernism would be more resonant with the public than Post Modernism or Deconstructivism, the avantgarde movements of the intervening decades. This is not to say that Seville’s fair will be simply a rerun: High Tech, the Modern Movement’s godchild, will be a new (and lively) presence on the scene. It’s also a convenient mode for sponsors to affirm their faith in progress and foster good will among the millions visiting the fair.

Nicholas Grimshaw, a British exponent of High Tech, turned Seville’s triple-digit afternoon temperatures to advantage. Given his premise — that a glass box provides a gesture of welcome for the United Kingdom’s pavilion (2) — the mechanical trappings he overlaid are essential climatic responses. While critics may argue that the glass box is out of place in Spain, it would be unfair to dismiss this elegant structure as a misplaced building: Its mechanical systems substantiate Grimshaw’s High-Tech aspirations. Solar collectors on the roof will provide electricity to pump water for a cascade into an interior pool. Louvers on the north and south walls will deflect the sun’s rays, and the western wall will be a massive structure of sand-filled cells to absorb the heat of the afternoon sun.

Going a step beyond the transparent facade, Jean-Paul Viguier and Jean-Francois Jodry dematerialized the walls of the French Pavilion (3, 4): The main space will be a glass-paved podium sheltered by a broad blue roof and open on three sides. The architects’ motives were both climatic and ideological: The freely accessible square is a shaded respite and a metaphor for the egalitarian ideals that spread from France to the New World. Neo-Classical in inspiration, this pavilion evokes Boullee’s visionary designs: It is likely to impress, and perhaps inadvertantly, overwhelm visitors> a few human-scale references might be in order.

Science and culture, which Viguier considers essential complements of modern society, are the themes of the pavilion’s paired exhibit areas: Its Protocol Building, whose mirrored facade will overlook the plaza, will house displays on art and history. Below the glass pavers of the plaza, moving sidewalks will lead visitors through an experimental theater-in-the-round with mirrored walls that reflect an infinite array of images.

The United States Pavilion (5, 6) by Barton Myers Associates is a modest work of architecture — not in size, but in its measure of creativity. Devices typical of many pavilions, from water walls and moving sidewalks to vast awnings recur here without benefit of a strong design parti. Instead, one finds a series of windowless boxes arranged around three outdoor spaces in a manner better suited for an office park than the American world’s fair pavilion. A bit more exuberance and a more rigorous plan would have been welcome.

The Danish Pavilion (7-9) by Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen Architects will be a minimalist sculpture that doubles as a building. A wall of arced sails, built of plywood, will furnish a powerful image evocative of Columbus’s ships as well as the Sydney Opera House. The curved profile has spatial dividends, too: it defines a soaring exhibit space within, comparable to a church nave or an airship hangar. The concave walls (which serve as movie screens) will be supported by trusses that lean toward an 8-story building for secondary exhibits and functions. Like some work by Saarinen, Utzon, and other midcentury Modernists, the Danish Pavilion’s initial impact is purely formal: Here, the steel structure seems to have followed, but not coincided with, the genesis of the architectural object. Unlike their High-Tech counterparts, Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen give priority to the spatial enclosure instead of to the structure> they offer no sign of how the frame in the multistory building supports the tilted trusses.

Tadao Ando’s Japanese pavilion (10, 11), like an ancient wooden temple, will be a retreat from the mundane to the world of the imagination. While Ando’s reputation is predicated on his intuitive control of light and space with concrete (pp. 74-79 and P/A, Feb. 1990, pp. 83-97.) he seems equally talented in wood construction. Judging from Ando’s drawings and model, this pavilion will be more lyrical and figurative than his work in poured concrete. A monumental arched bridge, modeled on the taikobashi that traditionally marked a transition from this world to the next, will lead visitors to the uppermost of four exhibit levels. Translucent Teflon roof panels will filter light above ten clustered columns, each crowned by an enormous trabeated capital. Like the concave walls that are braced by tensile rods, the overscaled capitals keep the simple building from becoming a simplistic one> it is held taut by Ando’s subtle distortions of tradition.


Just Booked!

I hope that I do not end up in this pile.

I have finally booked my trip to Barcelona for July 2 of this year. This is going to be absolutely fantastic. It has been a while since I have been to Spain, but I cherish my memories of it always. I am actually looking forward to the potential of going back for the running of the Bulls, which is taking place in Pamplona, of course.

I think most of although I am looking forward to getting out of this country, which is getting a little bit stale for me. I have always said that I have had European tastes and frankly the United States does get very tiring after a while. All the political stuff tends to get a little bit over the top and it is not something that you want to have to pay attention to all of the time. As an example, I am of course talking about the presidential election which is going to be pretty much a cluster of madness over the next couple of months. But, I am so excited about the ability to go to Spain and to be able to leave this all behind and leave behind my city and leave behind everything so that I can enjoy one of the best cultures in the world. I love you Spain.

Well, I configured it has come just at the right time because I am really getting to the point where I have gotten very tired of working at my computer. There is really nothing good about working on your computer all time, and I think it has been my recent stretch of working with my computer that has caused a massive hard drive failure that I am still recovering from; one that made it necessary to get professional hard drive recovery from these guys. I have grown to hate this computer and I have always loved it because of course is one of my favorite things to use on a daily basis.

But now I find myself seeing you as an enemy and I look forward to being away from it for at least two weeks. I was glad that my boss gave me all of that time off because if he didn’t I probably would have quit anyway. That is how tired I am of the American life and how much I want the same for myself. I can just picture myself in a beret loving all of Spain. I know that it sounds pretty French, but I’m going to go with it.

Life is good for me right now and I’m sure that my Spain trip will make my life so much more exciting and real. I think vacations are meant to be experiences in which you take on other aspects of your life that you may not have thought about before. It will be good to leave behind the day-to-day mess that is my life. I’m not saying I’m having a troubled time, but I am saying that everything does feel a little bit the same all the time. I am hoping that Spain will change my life forever, much as it has done for so many people across the United States. I am coming for you Spain, I am coming for you.

Dorotea Strikes Back!

Possessing a clear understanding of her partner’s subjectivities, Dorotea appeals to the traditional social codes of blood and lineage (Fernando is an Old Christian noble) in order to remind him of his social and religious obligations and to persuade him to fulfill them. She also employs legal codes pertaining to nobility and the male blood line to reassure him that her own lack of nobility–according to the traditional social structure and its discourses–cannot change or negate his nobility. In a typical performative move, however, Dorotea immediately displaces this argument (and her lack, both of nobility and chastity) with the contestatory code of virtue-as-work (and, therefore, Fernando’s lack of nobility and virtue). According to these incipient discursive norms, if the nobleman does not uphold his part of the contract, Dorotea, due to her works will be more noble than Fernando, as he can only claim lineage (they both can claim blood). According to this new social order, what counts as nobility is good works (and not only in the sense of a moral good), and it is now up to Fernando to demonstrate his worth.

In a final move, Dorotea ends her appeal on a legal note. If her wifely love does not move him, or if he does not value his own nobility, there is a simple and undeniable juridical reason that both assures her chastity and his sacred and legal role as her husband: Dorotea is–and was at the time of their sexual encounter–Fernando’s wife, and she has not only heavenly and earthly witnesses, but his signature to prove it. As Cruz astutely observes: “In a genial stroke of rhetorical irony and feminine vindication, Dorotea singles out her agency through her statement, ‘yo soy tu esposa,’ at the same time that [...] her spoken words abidingly unite the couple into one indissoluble being” (629-30). Paradoxically, it is the patriarchal role of wife that opens a space for Dorotea’s subjectivity and grants her the right to pursue Fernando and to make use of the privileges inherent in the subject position of wife. Dorotea’s final performance as the perfect wife is once again endorsed by all those present, including the curate, who counsels Fernando on Dorotea’s behalf to acquiesce and recognize her as both his wife and his social equal. The labradora’s superb performance narrows Fernando’s options to one: “en fin, [...] se ablando y se dejo vencer de la verdad” (1.36:382).

In the end, Dorotea’s performance of the discourses that were circulating in the economic, legal, and moral treatises of the day succeeds in constructing a viable subject position for the doncella enganada. In fact, her performance is sufficient to enable her to threaten Don Fernando with an intolerable subject position should he refuse her. Throughout her performances in the Sierra Morena and at Juan Palomeque’s inn, Dorotea deftly selects, combines, and recombines available discourses in order to resist her marginalized status as both a deceived woman and a member of the emergent middle class, the rich peasants who were buying their way into Spain’s titled class. A key component of her success is her self-fashioning as a member of this new productive class that arbitristas such as Cellorigo, Gutierrez de los Rios, and Guzman were advocating as Spain’s salvation from economic and political ruin. In this way, Dorotea embraces a symbolic national role and illustrates a strategy to redeem the nation’s idle noblemen. Her genius is that she manages the redemption of both self and nation without replicating the conduct manuals’ traditional limitations on women. By suggesting that it is this new productive class that will reform Spain, Dorotea constructs a female subjectivity that is based more on the contestatory virtue of works than the traditional virtue of chastity. This new model of feminine virtue allows women limited mobility in multiple modalities and is recognized by both the noblemen and the clergy present at the inn: Dorotea is ultimately celebrated for her wit, her words, and her works rather than her virginity.

Dorotea And Don Quixote

In the reader’s first encounter with Dorotea in the episode of the Sierra Morena, she is already a dishonored woman according to the discursive codes of sixteenth-century Spain (1.28:274). Dressed in drag as a shepherd, she tells her male audience which consists of the curate, the barber, and Cardenio–of how she was publicly courted and eventually seduced by the treacherous Don Fernando, although not before she had secured his word that be be her “legitimo esposo” (1.28:282). Her situation, her attentive audience learns, was further complicated when the nobleman broke his clandestine marriage promise, left town, and decided to marry Luscinda, a beautiful noblewoman in a neighboring city. In that vulnerable moment of unviable subjectivity (no longer a virgin but also not Fernando’s publicly recognized wife), Dorotea made the decision to do something with what had been done to her, and she donned male clothing and left in pursuit of Fernando.

By her own admission, however, Dorotea relates that her first attempt to construct an alternative subject position as a shepherd has been a failure. In seeking to distance herself from the unlivable subject position of mujer enganada, her initial performance as a male shepherd trespasses the intelligible limits of normative subjectivity. Much like Alonso Quijano’s performance as the anachronistic Don Quijote, Dorotea’s drag performance is censured through a series of corporal punishments by the men she encounters when she is forced to abandon her search for Fernando and flee to the Sierra Morena. Both her servant and her new master eventually condemn Dorotea’s fraudulent gender performance through their violent attempts to rape her. Although she successfully fights off both assaults, she is at the point of despair when she is discovered by Don Quijote’s friends. Indeed, the sole reason that we hear Dorotea’s story is because the farm girl turned shepherd is once more betrayed by the embodied norms of femininity. Her gender identity is again revealed when, hidden behind a rock, the three men secretly watch the shepherd as “he” takes off “his” cap and shakes free “his” abundant golden tresses (1.28:275-76). The knight’s friends correctly read her gender performance as artifice and the despairing labradora acknowledges to her three spectators that “toda mi industria [...] ha sido de ningun provecho” (1.28:2.88). However, captivated by her beauty and intrigued by her disguise, they entreat Dorotea to relate just how she finds herself in such a place and position. Dorotea’s failed cross-dressing performance, therefore, highlights the paradoxical nature of agency: it is at the moment when we fail to perform the norm that we are either incited or invited to perform again. Dorotea’s newfound audience invites her to perform again, to narrate her self once more precisely because her performance fails when she is undone by the norms that construct the female body. (9)

Her second gender performance for Don Quijote’s friends reveals yet another paradox of agency: it is often the very norms that undo us as subjects in the first place that we must later use to construct an alternative subject position. From the very beginning of her Sierra Morena performance, Dorotea appeals to the discursive codes that have undone her: virtue (she is no longer virgin and not yet a wife) and lineage (she is a peasant in a world where nobility matters). She constructs a mobile subjectivity that allows her to claim multiple subject positions, all sustained through a complex weave of dominant and emergent discourses. Using both the traditional and contestatory discourses surrounding these subjectivities, the jilted farmer’s daughter now creates a multiple female subject position that is nonetheless intelligible within the dominant historical structure. Her self-introduction reveals both an awareness and a criticism of her socioeconomic status in early modern Spain.

Spain’s Downfall Begins

BY THE BEGINNING OF the seventeenth century, it was obvious to those both inside and outside of Spain’s borders that the country was experiencing a profound change; and not for the better, by most accounts: there were a series of national bankruptcies, rampant inflation, a decreasing population, plague, the loss of the Invincible Armada, and revolts from various corners of the Empire. 91) Politicians, moralists, arbitristas (economic reformers; literally, projectors/project planners), and novelists were all putting pen to paper in order to discuss, analyze, and prescribe what they perceived to be Spain’s state of crisis and decline. (2) One of the most famous fictional texts to come out of this conflictive period is Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quijote de la Mancha. The two-part novel is a keen representation of the economic, social, and psychological displacement that was experienced by early modern Spanish subjects as a result of what Jose Antonio Maravall termed “the diphasic schema of a social crisis” (“From the Renaissance” 2). The phenomenon of displacement–conceptualized here as the movement away from a normative subject position to another, alternative subject position–could and did occur (both by coercion and choice) as people reacted to and dealt with the crisis and the absolutist State’s increasingly restrictive response to the expansive tendencies of the sixteenth century. Indeed, Cervantes’s novel is a sustained exploration of the displacement of Alonso Quijano as he attempts to distance himself from the restrictive subject position of hidalgo and create an alternative space in which he can construct himself as an individual. In other words, the normative role of hidalgo available to Alonso Quijano within the dominant discourses of Habsburg Spain (primarily, through blood and lineage) had ceased to produce what Judith Butler terms “a livable life,” a life in which the physical and psychic survival–or both–of the subject is possible. (3) Although Quijano is the wandering subject par excellence, he is not the only character in the text with the dream of distancing himself from an unviable subject position, with the fantasy of being something or someone else.

Did Don look like this?

Much like the famous hidalgo, Dorotea, the dishonored farmer’s daughter whom we first meet in part one, chapter twenty-eight of Cervantes’s novel, also seeks to fulfill her dream of escaping an unlivable subject position. Dorotea herself signals her displacement, which is to say the undesirable change in her subjectivity, when she describes her post-Fernando life as “la vida que ya aborrezco” (1.28:287; my emphasis). In Undoing Gender, Butler notes that once viability is no longer possible within the prevailing social norms, “then it follows that my sense of survival depends upon escaping the clutch of those norms by which recognition is conferred. It may well be that my sense of social belonging is impaired by the distance I take, but surely that estrangement is preferable to gaining a sense of intelligibility by virtue of norms that will only do me in from another direction” (3). Displacement, the chosen and/or coerced estrangement from a recognized subject position, is a survival strategy used by a marginalized subject in order to maintain a sense of self. As a literary concept, displacement can inform our understanding of the material and discursive conditions that both undid Dorotea and enabled her to construct an emergent form of the female individual. (4) Indeed, Dorotea’s presence throughout nineteen chapters of the first part of Don Quijote provides for a well-developed female character who shares a similar fantasy with the protagonist: she wishes to be something other than the ruined maiden that we find wandering in the Sierra Morena.

orotea’s dislocation from chaste maiden to ruined woman allows us to trace the material conditions and the discursive norms that were operating to construct the seventeenth-century female Spanish subject. Furthermore, a sustained analysis of her gender performances permits us to see the breaking points of those norms: the moments where they fail to constitute an intelligible subject, which is to say a subject who is recognized by dominant social norms. Unlike Alonso Quijano, Dorotea ultimately succeeds in locating a new subject position for herself due to her ability to perform the possible: to select, combine, and recombine available discourses in an innovative manner that is non-threatening and, therefore, recognizable, to the established social order. Her eventual success will depend partly on her ability to construct a viable identity from what normative codes had already labeled as an unchaste castoff–and partly on her audience’s ability (and willingness) to recognize her current performance. (5)

Following the theoretical framework for tracking the emergence of the individualized subject proposed by George Mariscal in Contradictory Subjects: Quevedo, Cervantes, and Seventeenth-Century Spanish Culture, I argue that Dorotea, like Alonso Quijano, employs a variety of early modern discourses so as to constitute a possible subject position for herself. By possible I mean that it allows her to avoid further physical and psychic harm and that it allows others to consider her life as viable within the sociohistorical structure of the text. Although Mariscal traces the multiple, and often contradictory, discourses implicated in the construction of the aristocratic male subject, my study continues the work of scholars such as Anne J. Cruz and Rosilie Hernandez-Pecoraro by focusing on the discourses surrounding gender and the female subject. (6) I posit that Dorotea’s success hinges on her decision to select and recombine two diverse discourses of the period: the popular conduct manuals for women and the economic treatises that were appearing in an attempt to remedy the ills of seventeenth-century Spain. Whereas her selection of conduct manuals–full of male-authored prescriptions for performing normative feminine subject positions–is perhaps an inevitable choice, her selection of economic discourses is more inventive. The pairing of the two is ingenious: just as “virtue” in the form of the dignity of one’s works was being used to contest the traditional values of blood and lineage in the normative discourses for men, this debate also had consequences for women–both historical and literary. Throughout her various performances, Dorotea’s combined iterations of the contradictory discourses of blood, lineage, virtue, and gender that were found in the conduct manuals and the economic treatises allow her to resist her triple-marginalization as a woman, as a non-virgin, and as a rich peasant. Her subjectivity, however, is not without Cervantine (Baroque) contradiction and paradox. In order to perform a possible life, Dorotea must be able to act, but she may only act within the parameters of her historical epoch. Her subjectivity (or sense of agency) is proscribed by her material conditions.


Beckham Was Madrid!

I have never been a follower of European football, but I certainly do know quite a little bit about David Beckham and his team Real Madrid. I think I gained a lot of my information about football from a very short period of time when I was watching the Euro cup a long time ago. But I can tell you that it was something that I was very excited about and I have never felt that feeling about soccer fans. I know that they call it football in Spain, and of course that is a fantastic name for it. Europe tends to be right about a lot of these things when it comes to English stuff, so I can’t say that I’m surprised.

Beckham in all his glory!

Title For Controversy Sake Only!

I’m not trying to make the last line a bit of a disclaimer, but I am actually trying to make it a disclaimer. I know that sounds a little bit ridiculous, but the fact is that I know very little about football so I certainly am not one to talk. But I guess the fact that things are beginning to change around the Beckham family is probably a good thing. I had only seen Beckham play for Madrid a couple of times and I was really saddened when I heard he moved on to the Los Angeles Galaxy. In fact, I know very little about Los Angeles in general and frankly the only time that I ever spoke to someone in Los Angeles was when I had a problem with my computer and had to get a data recovery service out there perform mac hard drive recovery for me or there was no way I was going to get my files back (found them at: they did a fantastic job, and it was actually a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be, but that was really my only Los Angeles experience, and that is pretty limited in general.

But I still think that Real Madrid has never been the same since they lost Beckham, and I believe that a lot of people who are huge fans of the team also believe this. But, I guess. The fact that he is a little bit of a soccer ambassador for America, which clearly doesn’t understand the sport in general. I think this is unfortunate because clearly it is good enough for the rest of the world, so why shouldn’t it be good enough for us?

The questions come day in and day out for me.

The Culture Is Number One

I you will need to always loving Spain even from the moment I was born. I know that I have read a lot of history on the Spanish Armada, and I’m not entirely sure if that is what convinced me of the glory of old Espana. Whatever this case was, I do know that I was taken from a very young age by this very beautiful country.

I think what surprised me and excited me most about the Spanish Armada was the fact that this was a massive army of people bent on taking over one of the largest powers in the history of man, that being the British Empire. I don’t think anyone really should’ve met with the British because it was clear that they had made that great island their home for years, and there was no way that anyone was going to take away from that. But, I will admit that it was pretty clear that Prince Philip had no choice at that point and obviously did when he could for Spain. I would like to blame the Swiss in the whole affair, but of course it is tough to do that because of course they are just mercenaries, as they have always been.

Is this what the Spanish Armada looked like?

I rather wish they would have been one of those fantastic battle that everyone talks about when they talk about European history, but it was pretty clear that it fell out very quickly. There was very little to this particular battle, and what turned out was that the Spanish basically ended up starving themselves on the way up to England. Let’s remember that this was the time of airplanes or motors, and sailing a ship took a long time, especially when the wind was against you, which it was for the commanders of the Armada.

Still, that a story always strikes me as both an exercise encourage an exercise in total madness. But then, that is exactly what intrigues me about the Spanish culture in general: is so much joy, though much pain, and so much madness that is a wonder to the whole. My recent trip to Madrid have been fantastic. I intend to return very soon.

Can’t Wait For The MARTA Project. Fantastic Stuff

This stuff is not as futuristic as you might think: it’s happening now!

TSS-Transport Simulation Systems was an important contributor to Project MARTA (“Mobility & Automotion through Advanced Transport Networks”), which was unveiled in spring 2011 after three years of development. MARTA is one of 16 projects that form part of the Spanish Government’s 35-million-Euro initiative to promote investigation and development in transport issues, one of the largest public-private initiatives in the history of Spanish research.

MARTA aims to foster research and development in vehicle-to-vehicle communication and also between vehicles and the infrastructure. These intelligent systems of the future will contribute to the reduction of traffic congestion, accidents and pollution and reinforce incident management strategies. In general terms MARTA will cover communication protocols, vehicle and infrastructure equipment, human-machine interface (HMI), enduser services and methodologies to increase efficiency in the traffic infrastructure as it relates to the motor vehicle.

MARTA is the combined effort of 18 companies from different industries including telephone operators, vehicle producers, infrastructure and service providers, software developers, and automotive suppliers. These companies have subcontracted 19 research and development centres across Spain to work on the project. The results, after four years of work, were presented in February 2011 in Barcelona by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia. ‘This project is all about offering a great great service to all citizens,’ said Ms Garmendia at the presentation ceremony, who also stressed that, through this project, a group of Spanish companies now leads product niches in the global security market and efficiency in transport. ‘We not just talking about patents or business expectations, but also marketed products that are already generating wealth and jobs,’ she added.

TSS, who markets and develops Aimsun traffic simulation software, was closely involved in the area of IT and mobility, particularly the study of accidents, automatic incident detection and strategic planning. TSS actively participated in the Working Group 5 research and development activities and, among other innovations, demonstrated the benefits of coupling the Aimsun traffic simulator with a centralised traffic control centre to optimize traffic flows in urban areas. A pioneer in this area, TSS also developed the anticipatory route guidance concept within the MARTA framework, aiming to offer centralised dynamic route guidance based on equilibrium oriented traffic assignment. This route guidance system is capable of taking real-time incidents into account and providing different alternative routes to individual navigation users.

Using microsimulation in the analysis of road safety, TSS improved the behavioural models of vehicles in the Aimsun microscopic model, refining the models of vehicle tracking and lane changes based on video analysis of vehicle trajectory. This improvement has been made possible by the decoupling of the reaction time of the passage of vehicles made at the beginning of the simulation project. Obtaining accurate models has been fundamental to the use of simulation as a tool for evaluating strategies to improve road safety.

Another major contribution was the preparation of the simulator for event management: TSS prepared a mesoscopic traffic model which was the ideal compromise between the microscopic level of simulation (which has a high level of granularity but correspondingly high calibration requirements) and macroscopic (which is static rather than dynamic and lacks detail). This enabled TSS to simulate networks the size of entire major cities faster than real time. Furthermore, TSS developed a Dynamic User Equilibrium (DUE) traffic allocation that calculates the optimal distribution of vehicle flows on a road network where capacity has dropped due to an incident or any other event. This tool has been instrumental in the preparation of the concept of the anticipatory guidance system, shown in the final demonstration of the project.

TSS also worked closely with ETRA Group to forge a real-time connection between the microscopic simulation and the strategic control centre. This connection has demonstrated how taking microscopic simulation as a tool for prognosis greatly improves the positive impact of strategic control. To test and validate the interactive system, TSS developed a simulation model of Valencia city centre and it was this model that was used during the final demonstration project.