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Americans Taking Shorter, Cheaper Vacations

Recession-scarred families are still not ready to go out and splurge on vacation. In fact, many are still cutting back on their big summer holidays.

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Some 63% of households making at least $50,000 a year are scaling back on their vacation plans this year, up from 51% in 2010, according to a new survey from Texas-based First Command Financial Services. And for the last three years – since the recession began — one quarter of respondents have been renting a house or condo instead of staying at a hotel and even combining a family visit with their summer vacations, while 46% of travelers said this is their second year of driving instead of flying. “These results reinforce the new frugality that has taken hold of the middle class,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of Texas-based First Command Financial Services, which carried out the survey. Over 80% of families are still taking vacations this year, but Spiker says, “Saving more, spending less and reducing debt are the guiding principles for middle-income families this summer.”

Why aren’t people taking the plunge? Analysts say it’s a combination of post-recession thriftiness and a desire for a hassle-free life. “The surprise is that this was supposed to be the summer that people finally loosened their purse strings,” says consumer advocate and travel writer Christopher Elliott, “but maybe they haven’t as much as we thought.” Travelers are also weary of airline hidden charges, flight delays and long airport security checks, says Kate Hanni, founder of the non-profit FlyersRights.org. “It’s no secret that air travel has become the 9th circle of hell from beginning to end,” she says. (In April, the Department of Transport introduced new rules to protect passengers, although not all consumer advocates believed they went far enough.)

Of the 1,000 consumers surveyed by First Command Financial Services, 24% are taking shorter vacations compared to 20% last year; 20% are taking “staycations” – taking time off work but staying home with the kids – up from just 14% in 2010; 22% are driving rather than flying, again up from 18% last year; 32% of those surveyed are staying with family or friends instead of checking into a hotel versus 26% in 2010. Other money-saving tactics include staying closer to home – 29% of respondents versus 24% in 2010 – with 19% of Americans choosing to cook their own food rather than dining out while on vacation versus 15% last year.

For travelers looking for ways to cut vacation costs, there are money-saving services worth checking out. BeFrugal.com has an online calculator to help travelers decide the cost/time trade-off of driving versus flying. Travel site Expedia.com and daily deal site Groupon.com recently joined forces to offer last-minute discounts on vacations. But – as with all daily deal offers – the clock is ticking. You need to act fast to get the deals: As their names suggest, daily deal sites typically only give consumers one day to choose a discount, and sometimes put a limit on the amount of people who can avail of those temporary deals.

Pay Dirt readers, are you willing to drive for an entire day rather than fly, and bunk in with family members in lieu of a hotel this summer?

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      Linux Mint Forums • View topic – Wine and program shortcuts
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      There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.Before you post please read this
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      Wine and program shortcuts
      by Myrmidon83 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:37 pm
      Greetings all, just installed office 2007 so my complete switch to Linux is almost complete, just FL Studio to try and that’s me got everything running. I have a small issue with installed wine programs though. Ok, I install programs through wine no problems, however, when I go to menu>wine>program the programs don’t launch, nor do they launch from the desktop shortcut. However, they run fine by locating the .exe in the .wine directory so I was wondering, is it possible to copy that shortcut somehow to another location, ie desktop and run as desired? I did try this but the shortcut doesn’t seem to launch from another location so I was wondering if there was a way to make a shortcut point to it somehow?Regards,Myrmidon
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Old Ruler on Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:13 pm
      It’s a good feeling when everything is configured and working to your liking isn’t it. You should be able to right click on the non-working "shortcuts" and edit them. Or you can create new ones and put them where you want, with an icon of your choosing. They are plain text files with a .desktop extension. I keep my home made ones in a particular folder in my home folder.I use a Windows only program called digiguide and digiguide.desktop contains this:Code: Select all[Desktop Entry]Comment[en_GB]=Comment=Exec=wine /home/john/.wine/drive_c/Program\\ Files/DigiGuide\\ TV\\ Guide/DigiGuide.exeGenericName[en_GB]=Runs DigiGuide in WineGenericName=Runs DigiGuide in WineIcon=CharmMimeType=Name[en_GB]=DigiGuideName=DigiGuidePath=StartupNotify=trueTerminal=falseTerminalOptions=Type=ApplicationX-DBUS-ServiceName=X-DBUS-StartupType=X-KDE-SubstituteUID=falseX-KDE-Username=X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=desktop_kdebaseThe double back slashes make it work when the path has spaces in it.When you’ve created the file, simply drag and drop it where you want it.
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Prescottech on Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:18 pm
      Have you tried right clicking on the .exe and clicking the "Make Link" button? Then just move the link to your desktop. I had this same problem before, and this worked. Tell me if it helps
      "Linux isn’t just an OS, its a lifestyle"computechservicesllc.com/computechservicesllc.com/blog/
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Old Ruler on Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:33 pm
      Prescottech wrote:Have you tried right clicking on the .exe and clicking the "Make Link" button?Hmm. Gnome user eh? It’s ‘File – Create New – Link to Application’ in Dolphin.
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Myrmidon83 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:15 pm
      prescottech – Alas your suggestion doesn’t work, I get the circular loading icon and then nothing. Old Ruler – I tried to edit the existing file but going to properties reveals nothing editable on that level. I tried opening it in gedit but it said it couldn’t recognise the character encoding. How exactly would I go about making this in a text editor, would I copy what you put and change the folder location and program names? I’m using gnome by the way if that’s an issue. Still new to this stuff.
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Old Ruler on Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:51 pm
      Yes, exactly that. I’m pretty sure Gnome and KDE use the same format.If you aren’t a Great Britain resident, you’ll probably need to change the ‘en_GB’ parts to your own countries two letter code. There should be dozens of *.desktop files in /usr/share/applications/ which you can look at for comparison. They will probably be bigger files though, as they contain translations of the comments etc. The smaller file sizes will have less i18n.
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Myrmidon83 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:06 pm
      Old Ruler, I just tried what you said but it’s still not working. Loading Icon appears and then…nothing. I’ve still got to run the program from .wine folder. I should mention that this only happens with 0ffice 2007 programs. Any connection?Also, I’m up the road in Scotland so no need to change those things.
      Myrmidon83
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      Re: Wine and program shortcuts
      by Old Ruler on Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:12 pm
      It’s an odd one. I guess there’s some property of the actual windows shortcut(s) stopping it working. Seem to remember ‘work folder’ or similar could be set, but it gets lost in the .desktop method, or maybe command switches? Sure has been a while since I used Windows…Perhaps look at the Office shortcut properties in explorer, if it runs on Wine, or if you know someone who uses it on W7/Vista you could ask them to have a look. Has to be something like that.Mmm. Scotland. Definitely my favourite country.
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    • By WebOsPublisher

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