Best of SCS

Best Hosts For a WordPress Website

We love blogging. And we love the WordPress blogging platform. But we are very much not in love with most website hosts WordPress bloggers use.

Like it or not, a website host is a necessity if you want to run a WordPress blog with your own domain name (which we strongly suggest). It’s a hyper-competitive business, website hosting is. To cut costs most hosting companies skimp on service and reduce their reliability standards. How do hosting companies get away with that? you may wonder. Because most customers make their choice of host by looking at the price and nothing else.

Do not be one of those customers.

The difference between a low and high quality host is the difference between your WordPress blog being down a few minutes per month or being down for hours (or days!). It’s the difference between your blog loading quickly or loading slowly. It’s the difference difference being able to get help with a hosting issue and not.

Here’s our overview of sharing hosting in general and our suggested hosts in particular. Short on time? Skip head to our conclusions:

Continue →


The 10 Best Submarine Movies of All Time

If you like to be under the sea—or at least like your movie plots to take place there—you’ve got several dozens of submarine-oriented flicks to choose from. There’s something compelling about the submarine genre of movies: the close quarters, the life-and-death nature of it, the mystery of what’s out there in the dark and vast ocean depths.

Here’s a rundown of our personal favorite ten submarine movies:

Continue →


eHarmony vs Chemistry.com

Virtually all the internet’s dating websites can be fit into two categories: those with personality matching and those without.

In the latter category, Match is the most popular (and, as we argued in a previous review of dating websites, one of the best). But there are literally hundreds of other websites where you can search through profiles using whatever criteria you’d like.

On a personality matching site, you fill out an online questionnaire about yourself and the website matches you up with potential dates. In this type of dating website there are two major players: Chemistry.com and eHarmony. So what’s the difference between them? And which is better for you? Spot Cool Stuff takes a look:

Continue →


The Best Websites for Booking Vacation Rentals

Vacation home rentals are one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. And why not? Compared to staying in a hotel, vacation homes can provide more spacious and personality-filled accommodations for around the same price. That’s particularly true if you are traveling with a large group.

For the past several months, Spot Cool Stuff has been scouring the internet for websites that let you book temporary vacation homes. We checked out out more than 60. Here’s a review of our six favorites:

Continue →


Kids Furniture That Grows Up

spot cool stuff HOME

Mazel tov on your expected first born child. Now comes the first fun part of being a parent — coming up with the perfect baby name — and the first expensive and time consuming part — buying all the stuff you’ll need for when little Terwilliger enters the world.

Picking out baby furniture can be especially daunting. Much of it is as expensive as adult furniture. Except, unlike a quality sofa or bed, you can’t enjoy baby furniture for long before your little one outgrows it.

Or maybe you can. Some baby furniture is designed to grow with your child from baby, to toddler, to kiddo and even into the tween years and beyond. Here’s our review of five especially cool examples:

Continue →


10 Reasons to Visit Hamilton Island, Australia

spot cool stuff HOME

There are 908 islands scattered around the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast of Australia’s Queensland State.

Of those, 74 islands make up the Whitsunday Archipelago, a national park and one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.

Of those, 11 islands are inhabited.

And, of those, only 1 island has luxury resorts, gourmet restaurants and a sophisticated, yet laid-back, vibe:

Hamilton Island.

Continue →


Have Wood Burning Spa Will Travel

spot cool stuff HOME

Spot Cool Stuff adores glamping travel. Glamorous camping can get you out into a natural environment in the same way tent camping does. But it combines that with touches of luxury like you might find at a high-end hotel. After spending much of our youth backpacking on a rock-bottom budget, we think we’ve earned a bit of luxury.

Much of what we write about glamping on this travel blog concerns resorts that combine aspects of roughing it with aspects of being pampered. (Our review of these 5 especially wondering glamping spots is a good place to start reading about those). We also appreciate products that let travelers create their own glamping experience. Our favorite of those might be this:

The Dutchtub.

It’s like a personal hot-springs-to-go. If you have a tub-sized patch of flat ground, wood and 200 gallons (750 liters) worth of water or snow you can have your own spa virtually anywhere.

Continue →


5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities

spot cool stuff HOME

A joke we overheard in a coffee shop in Italy:

Question: What’s the difference between yogurt and the United States of America?

Answer: Yogurt has culture.

Okay, maybe that’s a little funny. The problem is, it isn’t true. The United States is full of culture. It isn’t as gourmet as, say, Italy. Nor is it as old as China or as all-encompassing as say, India, or as snobby as France. But it most certainly is there. American culture is diverse and interesting; we’d argue it is one of the most fun national cultures on the planet.

Want proof? Below is our recommendation for five distinctly American cultural experiences that you are unlikely to find written up in any guidebook. For this post we only considered experiences that are available across the country. Anything that’s specific to a specific ethnic group or region—attending Burning Man in Nevada or eating gumbo in New Orleans or getting yelled at by a taxi driver in New York City, for instance, were disqualified. We also nixed holiday events, like the 4th of July American Independence Day.

While this post was written with non-American travelers in mind, those from the United States may also gain some travel tips by reading on . . .

Continue →


The Top 10 World’s Coolest Airlines

spot cool stuff HOME

Back in the heyday of airline travel, flying was fun. It was a reason to dress up. It was a glamorous experience, something to look forward to.

These days, passengers on short flights are satisfied if they get so much as a free bag of pretzels. Long haul passengers are satisfied if they avoid getting deep vein thrombosis. And everyone ranks going through airport security up there with going to the dentist.

Fortunately, there are a handful of carriers that still inject some enjoyment into commercial airplane travel. In this post we feature the 10 airlines with superlative cool-factor — 5 global airlines, 4 regional airlines and some possibilities for which airline could land the 10th spot (since we couldn’t decide on one). Factors we considered in making our selections included quality of service, selection of amenities, cabin ambiance, frequent flier benefits and the overall travel experience an airline provides.

Thanks to all our Twitter followers and Facebook fans who helped with this post by sharing with us their opinions on which airline they thought should be named the world’s coolest.

Continue →


The High-Tech Origami Stroller

spot cool stuff HOME

Over the last few decades, baby strollers have developed hipper designs and incorporated more rugged frames and lighter weight materials. But baby stroller technology (such as it is) has remained essentially the same as it was at the turn of the century—the 19th century.

Happily, the humble stroller now is starting to become a little less humble. (And just in time for Spot Cool Stuff’s highly-anticipated first baby, too!) A handful of new stroller start-ups are recognizing that today’s mobile and tech-savvy parents want those qualities reflected in their strollers.

We’ll be publishing a post later on new stroller concept designs, some of which might make it into development and some not. For the moment, though, we are focusing on high-tech strollers currently on the market. Spot Cool Stuff’s top choice among those: the 4moms Origami.

Continue →


Spot Cool Stuff on Twitter