Saturday, January 30, 2010

The world's most expensive iPhone

Austrian luxury designer and jeweler Peter Aloisson has something more to add to his kitty – ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the Aloisson designed iPhone – the world’s most expensive iPhone. While diamond studded phones are nothing new, the only thing the iPhone Princess Plus has to its credit is being the most expensive iPhone.

The phone derives its name from the Princess cut used on 138 of the 318 diamonds on its surface. The rest of the 180 diamonds on the phone are brilliant cut and it has 17.75 carats of diamonds set in 18k white gold around its rim. All diamonds used are of the best quality.This iPhone Princess Plus has a price tag of €120,000 ($176,400 USD) its first customer is a Russian businessman who had pre-ordered it way back in October 2007 for January 2008 delivery. And if you can’t afford this, the poorer lot can buy the iPhone set only with brilliant-cut diamonds. This can be purchased for the more “modest sum” of €45,000 ($66,150 USD).
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

World's oldest and most expensive camera to go under the hammer

A Giroux “Daguerreotype” – the world’s first commercially-produced camera – is expected to set a world record price when it goes up for auction this May at WestLicht Auctions in Vienna.

The previously undocumented camera has been in private ownership in northern Germany for generations and is in remarkable condition given it is 170 years old.

The wooden sliding-box camera was made in Paris in September 1839 by Alphonse Giroux, the brother-in-law of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, the inventor of the first practicable photographic process.

Daguerre even signed the camera to verify its authenticity. Only a few of these cameras are known to exist worldwide and all of those are in public museums.Every detail including the plaque signed by Daguerre, the lens, the black velvet interior and the ground-glass screen are in their original state and the camera also comes with the extremely rare original instructions in German. These instructions, entitled, “Praktische Beschreibung des Daguerreotyp’s” were published by Georg Gropius in Berlin 1839 and feature 24 12x20cm pages with 18 illustrations in 5 plates showing the equipment used for producing Daguerreotypes in accordance with Daguerre’s invention.

The cameras produced by Daguerre’s brother-in-law are more opulently finished that those of the competition and the selling price of 400 Francs was very high, representing approximately the annual income of an average working man at the time. There is no record of the total number of cameras that Giroux produced, but since cheaper and improved cameras came onto the market relatively quickly it is assumed that the numbers were limited.

Making Daguerrotypes is a relatively involved process and the camera was originally sold with all the equipment necessary for their production. This included fuming and mercury boxes, a spirit burner, the silver-covered copper plates and the necessary chemicals. In total all the required equipment weighed around 50 kg (110 lb).
How it works

The camera itself consists of two boxes made of different kinds of wood that slide into each other. The larger of the two, which has the lens attached to it, is fixed to the base plate. The back of the smaller box is either the ground glass plate or the holder insert and it fits into the forward box so that the whole camera is lightproof. The interior is lined with black velvet. In order to bring the image into focus the rear box is moved back or forwards along the wooden camera base.

It can then be fixed in position by means of a brass screw, while a fold-out mirror behind the ground-glass screen allows the image to be seen while standing upright.Initially Daguerre used plates of pure silver but later switched to plates made of silver-plated copper to save on costs. Before the exposure was made the plates were fumed with iodine or bromine inside a special wooden box with the aid of a spirit burner. Under the influence of this fuming process, light-sensitive silver iodide formed on the surface of the plate.

In order to maximise the brightness of the image while focusing the lens’s outer brass fitting was removed. During the exposure the ground glass screen was exchanged for the (now) light sensitive plate (167 x 216 mm). Before the exposure was made the diaphragm was replaced and a swiveling cap served as a shutter. Daguerre suggested exposure times of between 3 and 30 minutes, depending on light conditions.

After the plate was exposed, the photograph was developed with the aid of mercury fumes which adhered to the surface producing a very faint silver image. Development and fixation in a salt or cyanide solution results in a positive image made of grey quicksilver. The tonality of the original pictures varied between grey and blue-grey but, after the introduction of gold toner, they could also be gold, purple or sepia-coloured.

Daguerreotypes are astoundingly finely nuanced and practically grainless – even when examined under a magnifying glass they exhibit very fine details. When they are framed in a way that excludes air they are extremely durable. Daguerreotypes are always unique, which is also one of the reasons why they are such sought after and desirable collectors’ items nowadays.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

40 Nokia Booklet 3Gs - The Most Expensive Way to Play Guess Who

If you were a kid, or had a kid, at any point in the last 20 years, you’re probably familiar with “Guess Who”. This classic game from Milton Bradley taught many of us that it isn’t okay to be different, because you’ll just lose right away. In a slightly nerdier take, the fellows behind the WOMWorld/Nokia site found themselves with 40 Nokia Booklet 3Gs. So of course, they used them to play “Guess Who”.

Instead of picking from a series of faces, each computer had a different mobile phone website on it. This is the sort of extravagance you rarely see, so drink it in. As to why they have 40 of these pricey netbooks, your guess is as good as ours. If you were wondering, at the going rate that’s about $24,000 worth of mobile computing goodness.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Is this the most expensive night out in Wales?

WITH Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the romantics among us will be looking for somewhere to take our loved one away for that special weekend. And those with deep pockets and a taste for the good things in life can treat themselves to a little luxury – and what could be the most expensive weekend in Wales.

A weekend break at Ynyshir Hall, in Powys, will set you back £1,500 for a two-night stay for two under its ‘star grazing’ package. For around £750 per day, you get a deluxe double room and a cookery demonstration with the hotel’s Michelin-starred head chef Shane Hughes.

You also get an upgrade to the ‘gourmand’ menu for dinner on one night with wine to match each course. Dinner is included on the second night’s stay, and you also get breakfast, afternoon tea and a hamper of local food.

Pricey though it is, the food is certainly of a very high standard. The luxury Ynyshir Hall, once owned by Queen Victoria and which has played host to guests including Richard Gere and Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant, last week regained a coveted Michelin star.

The star grazing package has been designed to celebrate it.

Normal room prices at Ynyshir Hall start at £250 a night for bed and breakfast and go up to £405 for a luxury suite.

Value for money? Andrew Davis, chairman of von Essen Hotels which owns Ynyshir Hall, certainly thinks so.

He says: “Our hotels continue to be recognised as fantastic place to visit, stay and dine at and I am grateful to the dedicated teams both front of house and in our kitchens.”

And in press material sent out this week, the company said: “Ynyshir Hall, under the culinary guidance of Shane Hughes, has become one of the most sought after spots in the UK to unwind, recharge and enjoy fine cuisine.”

But prospective punters are not so sure if they’d splash out for such luxury.

Nicky Howson, 26, from Swansea, has been going out with his girlfriend for two years.

He said: “I would never spend a couple of thousand pounds on a weekend away, I’d want a few weeks in the sun for that price.

“If you splashed out that much for Valentine’s Day, what on earth would you get your girlfriend for her birthday?”

Rhys Dwyer, 30, from Cardiff, said spending £1,500 on a weekend break for him and his wife would be a “once in a lifetime” gift.

“You couldn’t spend that much every year,” he said.

“Maybe if you were going to propose to your girlfriend or if it was a 30 or 40-year anniversary. But it is a lot of money when you think about what else you could buy.

“I think most men feel the pressure of trying to get something good for their wife or girlfriend so maybe some men would pay it to make sure their partner is happy.”

Elsewhere in Wales, there are plenty of other places to part with your cash.

Those wanting to make a grand gesture need to look further than two of the capital’s best hotels.

The plush St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay is offering bed, breakfast and dinner and its best room for £679 per night – or £1,358 for a weekend.

Cardiff’s Hilton Hotel will give you the “full run of the hotel” for just shy of £1,400 for Valentine’s weekend.

This includes bed, breakfast, and the presidential suite with access to the executive lounge.

Further east at the Celtic Manor Resort – due to host the Ryder Cup in October – a romantic escape is on offer from £356 per couple.

That’ll get you a two-night break, full Welsh breakfast and the full use of the health club.

A Valentine’s dinner will set you back anything from £50 to £80 a head in one of its four restaurants.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Who has the most expensive car insurance?

A Moneysupermarket.com survey has revealed who in Britain has the most expensive car insurance premiums. The poll suggests it is 17 to 21-year-olds in the G62 postcode area - East Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

However, thirty-something men in Swindon (SN5) and Sheffield (S1) also scored highly. Steve Sweeny, head of motor insurance at the price comparison company, said that fitting this profile or collecting speeding convictions not only increases cover premiums by sometimes nearly 50 per cent but also risks licence point losses and fines of up to £1,000.

He added that the fact there were no women "anywhere near the tope of the table in our analysis" was clearly reflected in the amounts each gender pays for their policies. The Institute of Advanced Motorists recently published findings to fight another driving stereotype - that of old people being a danger on the road. In their research, drivers over 70 were found to be no more likely to cause crashes than any other motorist.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Most Expensive Seafood Hamper -world record set by The Fish Society

Says Fish Society chairman, James Smith: “Our members often want a ‘big spread’, and they will find these packs very convenient. They’d take a long time to make this selection and would be wondering if they had the balance right. We’ve done it for them.

The price… well, the price is the price. It’s not difficult to get to these price points if you are dealing in meaningful amounts of caviar. I can assure you they are good value.”

The Most Expensive Seafood Hamper contains 17 kinds of seafood including 16 inch long giant Siberian crab legs, extra large crab claws from Chile, freshly cooked native UK lobster, four kinds of prawns including monstrous prawns from Madagascar weighing in at half a pound each, assorted more humble but nevertheless crucial shellfish, and as the magnificent centerpiece, 750g of Sevruga caviar.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Most Expensive App Is a Bargain for Some

Lawyers are used to billing outrageous sums for their work but they have years of high costs, including spending thousands on bar review courses, to justify their bills. At least in their own heads. So while the rest of the world is shuttering at the new most expensive iPhone app, would be lawyers are salivating over its potential. Could it be that an actual Bar review course could cost only $1,000? Yup.

A $1,000 app called BarMax CA , designed to help law school students pass the California bar exam, was introduced recently and has already become the most expensive item available in Steve Jobs' virtual marketplace.

The app may seem expensive but for law school graduates used to spending thousands studying for their profession's ultimate exam, the app could be a bargain. The popular BAR/BRI Bar Review -- which comes with an iPhone app for paying members -- costs about $2,000 for example.

"The BarMax CA app) includes thousands of pages of materials as well as hundreds of hours of audio lectures," TechCrunch's MG Siegler wrote. "It’s all the information you could ever want for the two-month course. And again, it can be done all on your iPhone." But does the app actually work? That is all that matters to law students who have hundreds of study guide to choose from.

The Bar exam is one of the most intense tests around with millions in potential salary on the table. And in this high stakes games of poker, wannabe lawyers will gladly pay $1,000 if the app proves to help students pass the Bar.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

World's most expensive ham?

At first glance it looks like another one of those kerrazey stories about the world's most expensive cocktail, which turns out to be crammed full of gold leaf and diamonds, or the similarly bejewelled £22,000 breakfast, but behind the headline, World's most expensive ham goes on sale, is simply the news that you can now procure a very fine leg of jamón ibérico from Selfridges for £1,800.

Which, surely, is not news at all. If you're interested in forking out many hundreds of pounds on good Spanish ham, you can buy a leg of Maldonado ham from the same batch on the internet for £1,322, or this here pata negra from Redondo Iglesias at £19 per 100g. Which only goes to show that Selfridges are selling something that's more cheaply available as "the world's most expensive ham" by bumping up the price.

Aah, but Selfridges' porky offering comes with a DNA certificate in a "hand-made wooden box wrapped in an apron made by one of Spain's most exclusive tailors". Gimmicky? Selfridges food hall? Surely not.

So why mention it, you ask. Well, we love jamón here on Word of Mouth and while we haven't got £1,800, or, indeed, £1,300 spare to buy ourselves a whole leg right now, we are (ahem) kicking off a Spanish themed week with a guide to jamón ibérico by Simon Majumdar (look out this week for recipes, more Spanish themed features and hopefully a live chat with José Pizzaro).

So have a read of the piece, come back and share your love of the pig with us - and post any tips you have on suppliers we don't know about.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Who has the most expensive Miller Lites in town?

Midnight Sunner Jason e-mailed me a great idea for a blog post at 5 a.m. today. You always know if it's someone in the service industry by the time stamp.

Queen Colleen, is, of course, the Queen of Late Night, One Eye Closed To Prevent Double Vision Commenting.

Jason had this question: What Baltimore bar/club/lounge has the most expensive Miller Lite bottles in town? Strip clubs and ball parks don't count, because they would automatically win.

I'm trying to think of the last time I was charged a ton of money for Miller Lite, but honestly, I can't remember the last time I ordered a Miller Lite at a bar. Does that make me a snob?

I don't think so -- I just haven't binge drank at any bar recently. When you're on a tear, drinking seven or eight Resurrections can tear a hole in your wallet (and your liver). That's when $2 bottles of beer sound the most appetizing.

That's when ... IT'S MILLER TIME, BABY! ...

I'm going to make some calls today, to various bars and fancy restaurants like the Prime Rib. Feel free to offer suggestions, and place your bets on who will have the most expensive Miller Lite, and how much it will cost.

Jason said in 2000, he paid $7 for a Corona in Miami.

"I bought two, threw down a $20 and drank water for the rest of the night," he wrote. Wow.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in 2010 by Numbeo's Cost of Living International Rankings

Based on 30 goods and services, Numbeo.com's cost of living survey was conducted by 941 contributors from 382 locations. Most expensive cities (including rent) are Stavanger and Oslo in Norway. The least expensive are Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai in India.

In Numbeo's survey, New York is used as the base city for the index and scores 100 points, all cities are compared against New York and currency movements are measured against US Dollar and EURO. Copenhagen scores 138.91 points and is nearly three times as costly as Buenos Aires in Argentina with an index score of 47.15.

In the beginning of 2010, most expensive cities (excluding rent) are :
- Stavanger, Norway (CPI 169.20)
- Oslo, Norway (152.85)
- Breda, Netherlands (139.70)
- Copenhagen, Denmark (138.91)
- Zurich, Switzerland (132.03)
- Paris, France (130.30)
- Geneva, Switzerland (122.69)
- Milan, Italy (122.58)
- Dublin, Ireland (120.79)
- Brussels, Belgium (120.00)

The least expensive cities in 2010 are Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune in India, followed by Kiev (Ukraine), Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine), Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and La Paz (Bolivia).

Rent is most expensive in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) followed by London (United Kingdom), Geneva (Switzerland), Stavanger (Norway) and New York (United States).

Cities with lowest rent are Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in India. Other international cities with low rent are Medellin (Colombia), Constanta (Romania), Asuncion (Paraguay) and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

On country level the most expensive countries in 2010 are Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Italy and Finland.

The least expensive countries in 2010 are India, Ukraine, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Bolivia, Indonesia, China, Belarus, Ecuador and Romania.

For complete rankings please visit Cost of Living Index 2010. Numbeo.com is the largest free Internet database about cost of living and property prices worldwide. Numbeo.com allows visitors to estimate their own cost of living expenses if they are relocating.

It uses data contributions from people all around the world to make statistical analysis of these data for free availability to everyone in a structured manner. Getting this information earlier was far more expensive and difficult. Numbeo provides different tools around its data like Cost of Living Calculator and Cost of Living Comparison. Numbeo publishes yearly indexes such as consumer price index and property market index per city and per country.

The founder of Numbeo.com is Mladen Adamovic. Mladen was a software engineer in Google Inc., Dublin, Ireland between Feb 2007 and Feb 2009. Before joining Google he spent three years teaching and researching at University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He obtained M.Sc. Electrical Engineering from University of Banja Luka in 2006 and B.Sc. Math from University of Belgrade in 2003.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Most Expensive Coffee in the World

The most expensive coffee in the world does not hail from Jamaica or Hawaii, but instead from Indonesia. Kopi Luwak the most expensive coffee in the world does exist, and those who drink the expensive coffee insist that it is made from coffee beans eaten, partly digested and then excreted by the Common palm civet, a weasel-like animal.

“Kopi” the Indonesian word for coffee along with “luwak” is local name of this animal which eats the raw red coffee beans. The civet digests the soft outer part of the coffee cherry, but does not digest the inner beans and excretes them.

Apparently the internal digestion ends up adds a unique flavor to the beans, removing the bitter flavor, and then beans are then picked up by locals and sold. The most expensive coffee beans can cost up to $600 a pound, and up to $50 per cup, if you can get over the fact that you are drinking such a strange brew. You would know if you drank the most expensive coffee in the world, because the quantities of it are tiny amounts.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

The most expensive things in China 2009

The year-end lists keep on coming, and if there’s one related to wealth, Shanghai will be on it. Plush just released it “China's top 10 most expensive items in 2009,” and Shanghai’s mentioned -- twice. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’re talking Scrooge McDuck wealth in Shanghai, then clearly real estate must be involved. Making the list is the current record holder for most expensive apartment in the city, an nearly 600-square-meter luxury pad in the Tomson Riviera complex. Sold in November, the property cost RMB 96.09 million -- that would be RMB 160,848 per square meter.

This sale represents a 13-percent increase over the February 2007 sale of a similar apartment and the former record holder. No surprise with real estate news like this in 2009 that the government is trying to cool things down in 2010.

Property prices are still increasing though giving Shanghai a good shot at topping the Hurun Report’s “Rich List” in 2010 (it lost Beijing in 2009). Shanghai’s other appearance in Plush’s list? Apples. In early 2009 a supermarket in Shanghai sold apples imported from Japan for RMB 2,009 each. How do you like them apples? Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The most expensive iPhone app iVIP gets a free, red version


iPhone app, iVIP, which was available in two editions – Black and Blue. Now the third version is joining the series and it’s released as a free application – iVIP Red.

According to the official press release, iVIP Red is designed to give a taste of the millionaires’ luxury lifestyle. It comes with access to a limited number of iVIP privileges, all of which are available for those who paid a thousand bucks for iVIP Black. And to eventually entice people to upgrade by purchasing some non-free version of the app
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Most Expensive Virtual Item Sold

A record has been set for the most expensive virtual item, with the Crystal Palace Space station in the Swedish developed Entropia Universe going for 3,330,000 PED in the game's in-game currency – a figure that translates to a cool 330,000 USD.

Entropia Universe started back in 2003, and is a free-to-play MMORPG powered by micro-transactions – or macro ones in this case. The game has previously boasted of holding the most expensive virtual items, with an in-game space resort going for around 100,000 USD in September 2007. The new record has been claimed by the Crystal Palace Space Station, with the item going to long time Entropia Universe player Buzz 'Erik' Lightyear.

Lightyear will be hoping to make back some of the significant investment, with an Entropia Universe expert saying "All Buzz has to do is let the station run, set a decent tax rate, keep it stocked with things to hunt, and he can take all the PED he earns and translate it into cold, hard cash."
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Worlds Most Expensive Mens Dress Shirt

Man? If so, don’t you wanna be the most luxurious man possible? To celebrate their 80th birthday, the Swiss dress shirt making company Eton has created the most expensive men’s dress shirt out there. Made from the finest of Egyptian cottons, this dress shirt features studs and cufflinks encrusted in no less than diamonds.

This most expensive of dress shirts will be doing a world tour before selling at auction next year, with the proceeds going to charity. The Eton 80th anniversarydress shirt has been appraised at $45,000, making it the world’s most expensive men’s dress shirt by far.
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