To MWC or not to MWC

Mobile World Congress. Em. Double u. Cee. I finally find myself using the official abbreviation, after holding out for a long time still calling it 3GSM, like an old timer. Back when it started in Barcelona five years ago, it was a different beast. Back then, all the buzz was about highly technical network stuff I didn’t really understand. But there was a promise that it would make mobile internet fast, really fast. Well, I’m not so sure that we have a fast – really, really fast – mobile internet connection anywhere near Barcelona, or that I could afford it if it did.

So fast forward to 2011, and one more MWC – this time around it’s tablets, tablets, tablets… I am writing this on my ipad, finally cutting edge technology even I can understand. Used to be a time when 3GSM MWC week was the only time of the year I didn’t feel completely awkward about carrying two blackberrys, speaking into one, while writing messages on the other… at the same time!

A chance encounter with cool blogger Rob Kerr on Sunday night – his light light up while he tells me and a friend about the new Xperia Play game phone he just saw at the SonyEricsson presentation, and I’m hooked. There might be something in it for me, after all.

As anyone who’s ever innocently tried to book a Valentine’s day getaway to Barcelona on the expectation that it is the middle of February, so low season, and couldn’t find an apartment in Barcelona or anywhere nearby knows, this is the highest week of the year in the city. It is an incredibly busy week, everyone is in a rush to set up their booths, go to meetings, tweetups, more meetings… and did I mention the parties?

We often get requests from clients ranging from recommending a catering supplier, delivering a package to our office or getting a hair dryer. All in a day’s work. But what in the world do you tell someone who asks you for a submarine??

Monday 17:00 I walk through the gates of mobile nirvana, only a couple of hours to get my fix. Good. Don’t wanna overdo it, there’s still three more action-filled days to go.

Jaume birra
Free as in free beer, courtesy of Miyowa

Special thanks to Markus Lonka and his great crew at Mixem Solutions for generously providing a pass to MWC.

Homage to Banesto

Only a few days ago, a group of protesters broke into the Banesto building on Barcelona’s Plaça Catalunya and set up a squatters’ camp to be the headquarters for acts of protest which would culminate in clashes with riot police coinciding with the 29 September general strike.
The Banesto building has sat empty for many years; now was our chance to see it on the inside, so risking life and limb, Albert and I grabbed a camera and shot some footage of the interior.

Flash back to 1937, and read the words by George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia.

Up at our end of the Ramblas, round the Plaza de Cataluña, the position was so complicated that it would have been quite unintelligible if every building had not flown Read more

Don’t let ash clouds keep you away from Barcelona

Icelandic volcanoes and the Authorities contrive to keep thousands upon thousands of travelers away from family, work commitments or holidaymaking

Many of our great clients have been adversely affected by the ongoing shutdown of European airspace as they have been forced to cancel trips to Barcelona. I’d like to offer our empathy to all of you, for it is a situation which could make every one of us feel frustrated and powerless, when all plans go to nought.
Our response to these circumstances is clear and straightforward – we want to make sure that you won’t be kept away from Barcelona for long.

  • We will temporarily modify our policy stated in our terms and conditions articles 2.1.1 and 2.2.2 and shall NOT be claiming any cancellation fees from our affected clients who cannot travel to Barcelona.
  • Whims of the Icelandic gods permitting, our affected clients can make another booking for the SAME apartment (or an equivalent apartment in the same complex) for check in until 31 December 2010 and apply prepayment made as credit for the new booking.

See you all soon

Moreover, we have NOT raised our prices, unlike many other businesses in many industries which have taken advantage of the unfortunate circumstances travellers have found themselves in.
When you decide to travel our way again, we’ll glad to welcome you back!
Of course, as usual, I’m at your disposal should you want to make any inquiries about your bookings and I look forward to your feedback.

X marks the Spot

One of my favorite games as a child was to discover buried treasure. Of course, you needed a gang of like-minded ‘mates a couple of spades… and a treasure map! Before you knew knew it, we’d dug up half the garden and half the lovely old lady nextdoor’s garden too. The time we got really lucky, we dug up a couple of worms, and kept them to go “fishing” the next day.
Flash back to reality… now that we are all grown up, the romance of the treasure hunt remains entrenched in our hearts. So what better way to pay tribute to our childhood memories than by creating a treasure map of our own?

So we at bizFlats did just that, we created a map with all our properties on it so you can quickly find an apartment in your favorite area of Barcelona. It’s still in beta, so if you see anything strange happenning, be assured we’ll work to sort it out. Have a look at the map below

The new bizFlats Map View
The new bizFlats Map View

Pinpoint your exact requirements

You can add and remove the apartments in any area of Barcelona. Likewise, you can add and remove the types of apartments most suitable to your requirements. Then click on a property’s icon on the map itself to get the vital statistics and a picture in the nifty little bubble.

Atop the map you can see a list of apartments too, which is especially useful when you seek out multiple apartments for a big group, all in one location.

Toggle to your heart’s content

Now you can see your chosen apartments either on a list – the traditional way – or on the map. When you include the dates of arrival and departure you’ll get the prices too. So just click the tabs at the top and toggle back and forth as much as you like. Soon, we’ll add a synchronization so if you make a change to the list, you’ll update the map and vice versa.

The treasure of a lovely stay in Barcelona is right here waiting for you to find it.

Do you have suggestions on how to make the map tool even better? Is there a particularly useful tool you have found on another website that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below

Have a merry Chocolate Christmas

The Chocolate apartment in Barcelona

How about spending a few days in Barcelona this holiday season? Maybe shopping for gifts for your loved ones, pampering yourself at a spa or ringing in the New Year… the possibilities are limitless!

Take your friends or family to Barcelona and stay in our famous Chocolate apartment, a spacious gem of an apartment, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and of course the super cozy living area with a fireplace. Throw in the unbeatable central location so you spend more time doing the things you love and you may not want to resist the temptation.

To make your next stay even more special, we’re giving away a box of chocolate and a bottle of champagne for all stays at Chocolate apartment during December and January. Now that’s a great temptation for you… book now on www.bizflats.com.

See you in Barcelona!

How to get Google Website Optimizer and Joomla to work together

Finally, I mustered up the courage and took the time to write my first post. Do read, enjoy, comment, curse to your heart’s desire. If I like the experience, maybe I’ll write even more … you have been warned!

Ever wanted your website to be more profitable?

Nowadays, websites for hobbyists, are well, just for fun; everything else is serious business, so undoubtedly turning a profit is first and foremost. How can you know if you’re not leaving money on the table? One sure way is to tweak your website to get more revenue from each visitor. Making simple changes can lead to large increase in conversion rates and profits.

Google’s Website Optimizer (GWO) probably needs no introduction by now, but let’s say that it’s a tool which allows you to test changes to your website scientifically in a controlled environment, before fully committing them, thus saving you from the painful mistakes of just following a gut feeling. I know from firsthand experience that can hurt, bad.

I won’t go into the gory details of how GWO works or how to set up experiments since google’s documentation covers that pretty well. However, I will say that if you can use just one tool to make better profits from your website, GWO is definitely the one. Heck, even optimization guru Bryan Eisenberg says he’d take it to a desert island! Read more