Try your hand at illustration

My creative side has been blossoming in the past few months for some reason I cannot understand. Nothing in particular brought on my desire to explore my creative capabilities, I just simply started desiring to add a little spice and variety to my days. One of my first attempts at furthering my abilities in the arts was to sign up for a introductory illustration class at a local college. I have always wanted to try my hand at illustration and I finally decided that it was my time. It was my time to see what my hand could create. I have always been fascinated by the illustration in various books and stories, particularly in children's stories.

I love the way that illustration can bring stories alive in ways that words alone cannot. I love the way that seeing a text with an accompanied illustration can bring laughter or tears within an instant. My illustration class started off much harder than I imagined it would. I quickly learned that illustration is both a talent and a developed skill. I learned that someone could have all the illustration talent in the world and yet be lacking in elements that can only be developed by training and refining a skill.

I started the illustration class with a huge need for learning new skills and practicing them. I wanted to walk into that class and be a natural at illustration and I realized that it just wasn't possible. If you are interested in illustration I would suggest you sign up for a class at a local college or art school. There will be days or weeks of frustration, but if you work hard at illustration you will see great improvements in your ability. Any natural talent you have (which most people have at least some of) will increase by leaps and bounds when it is coupled with some hard work on developing illustration skills. If you are a little intimidated about entering the world of art and illustration, don't be. Remember that even the best illustrators of the most famous books started out in much the same place you are at. A place with nothing but a little bit of talent (perhaps) and a lot of desire to do great illustration.

You cannot let the talent of others discourage or intimidate you, instead you must choose to let it inspire you on. Illustration can be a beautiful way of bringing stories to life and of getting the stories that play in your head out onto paper for the world to see.



Online Try your hand at illustration

Auto navigation systems that use laptops or pdas

Auto Navigation Systems that use Laptops or PDAs You may or may not be aware of the many options on today's market when it comes to auto navigation systems. Take my word for it there are now more options than ever before with new options appearing daily. Among the many options that are available for those of you who are interested in obtaining equipment that will assist you in finding your way on long and short trips there are options that can be used along with your laptop or PDA devices. If you currently own and use on a regular basis a laptop or PDA the software or other devices and receivers that are required in order to utilize your laptop as a GPS device aren't nearly as expensive as purchasing a stand alone auto navigation system. In fact, as far as money savers go, this is a great way to save money on your purchase and receive the same great benefits that some of the top of the line auto navigation systems has to offer. You will find these types of devices that are geared towards as many different budgets as the actual stand alone systems. Some of the more popular of these tools include the following: 1) US Global Sat BU-353 USB port GPS Receiver. This nifty device costs less than $100 and allows you to turn your laptop or pc into a GPS. This is a great feature for finding directions and attaches to your laptop through the USB port. 2) DeLorme Earthmate LT-20 GPS. This is also a little less than $100 and gives your laptop fully functional navigation features. This not only works with laptops but also with Palm OS. You will experience rapid satellite acquisition and you have the Street Atlas software to guide you towards your destination. The software is included with the Earthmate. This software will even recalculate your directions should you miss a turn along the way. For the price, I highly recommend this if you have a PDA or laptop already. 3) DeLorme Earthmate Blue Logger Bluetooth Wireless GPS. This is another nifty tool by DeLorme. This device will allow you to receive a real time image of your location but requires an unobstructed view of the sky in order to accurately record its current position. This device also works with Street Atlas software in order to assist you in charting your course and giving proper driving directions. 4) Tom Tom Navigator 6 Bluetooth. If you are looking for feature rich navigation then this is certainly the tool for you. This is useful with laptops and Palm systems. Not only will you find mapping technology that is quite superior but you will also find useful things such as parking garages, fueling stations, and restaurants along the way. You will notice a great variety of prices and features with these devices. The important thing to remember is that you want the same or better features for less with this type of equipment since you are providing either the laptop or the PDA. If you already have the laptop or PDA you should be able to save a tremendous amount of money over the costs of purchasing a stand-alone auto navigation system. If you aren't getting an incredible bargain you might want to debate whether or not the system you opt for really is the best system for you. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that your laptop or PDA can become an important tool in keeping you on the right track when traveling. You may be one of the lucky few who has never gotten lost while traveling (or one of those who refuses to believe they are lost) however, if you aren't then perhaps it is time to seriously invest in either software, equipment, or devices that can help you find your way whenever you are lost. Laptop and PDA equipment offer great alternatives for those who need navigational assistance but need to remain within a strict budget. 674



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7 strategies for handling last minute meetings

Have you ever found yourself having to scramble to organize a meeting at the last minute? Wouldn’t it be nice that if and when this daunting situation arose, you were well prepared with all necessary information ready at your fingertips? That’s why I’ve developed the following seven survival strategies to help you plan for the inevitable, because you know as well as I, it’s going to happen ‘someaday.’ Survival Strategy #1. Question the meeting need. Before you jump into automatic pilot to start your last minute meeting organization, challenge the request. Since deciding to hold a meeting demands serious consideration because of the costs involved, both direct and indirect, double-check the rationale for holding the meeting. Develop a few pertinent questions to ask and find out if a meeting alternative, such as a teleconference would achieve the same results. Survival Strategy #2. Know the basics. If the meeting really needs to happen, make sure that you plan for the basics: What is the purpose of the meeting? Where should it take place – on or off-site? When is it scheduled for – date and time? What’s the meeting agenda? Who needs to be invited? What refreshments and snacks are needed? What specific materials and equipment is needed? What travel and hotel arrangements, if any, are necessary? What’s the meeting budget? When it comes to budget, remind your boss that good quality, last minute buying and cheap don’t usually correlate. The reality is that last minute pricing may well come at a premium. Survival Strategy #3. Develop checklists. Checklists should be every meeting planners guardian angel. They’re there to help out in time of trouble and avoid unnecessary panic. With the hundreds of pieces that make up the meeting puzzle, the only way to put them together and keep tabs on all the details is with a checklist. Become a checklist fanatic and consider having a checklist for each checklist. Cover all your bases. The more thorough you are, the greater the probability of success, even at the last minute. Survival Strategy #4. Create a contact list. When you need something in a hurry who do you call? These are the people who need to make up your contact list. Consider your facility needs, catering, audio-visual, etc. Compile a list with phone including cell phones, fax and email information. Keep this list updated annually as contacts and their information can change. Also include useful website resources as you find them, but remember to check them out beforehand. Survival Strategy #5. Build relationships. Don’t wait until you need a favor from someone, rather continually find ways to build a “dream team” or support network. Build a contact base of other meeting professionals, suppliers, vendors and angels you can call on at the last minute to help you out. Take time to discuss their strategies and resources for dealing with last minute meetings, and add this information to your “survival kit.” Don’t forget to include your fellow co-workers who might be willing and able to help out at a moment’s notice. Survival Strategy #6. Develop contingencies. Because your plans are last minute, the greater the chance of something not working out the way you’d like it to. So what’s your backup? If you don’t have one, all your original plans could be destroyed in an instant, and you’ll be scrambling even more than before to put a second strategy into operation. Have a Plan B ready “in the wings” just in case you need it. Once again, the more thorough you are, the greater the probability of pulling off this miracle. Survival Strategy #7. Learn to laugh. Keeping a sense of humor will definitely help prevent you getting mad, angry and frustrated with those disorganized managers who leave things to the last minute and expect you to perform miracles. Learn to laugh at them and yourself to keep a saner perspective on life. If nothing else, remember that laughing is a great survival technique, which is good for your health and will help reduce stress and blood pressure levels.



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Managers pr more than tix and plugs

You bet! And in three ways vital to you as a business, non-profit or association manager. To succeed, your public relations effort needs to do something really positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that most affect your operation. It needs to deliver external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives. And it needs to do so by persuading those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed. All three, hopefully long before anybody worries about theater tickets or radio plugs! But how do you get to the point where all three of those dynamics actually contribute to your success as a manager?

I believe the fundamental premise of public relations is a good place to start, herewith: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished. Get organized around that premise and you could get behavior changes like more membership applications; customers making repeat purchases; new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; prospects starting to sniff around; capital givers or specifying sources beginning to think about you, and even politicians and lawmakers who view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities. May sound painfully obvious, but you need the entire PR team assigned to your unit on board for this ride. They need to accept that fundamental premise of public relations. A not so obvious first step? Make certain the whole team agrees – really agrees -- why it’s so important to know how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Be deep-down-sure they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to destructive behaviors that can damage your unit. Carefully go over just how you plan to monitor and gather perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences.

Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Your PR people can be of real use for this opinion monitoring project since they already labor in the perception and behavior vineyard. Yes, you can always bring in a professional survey firm, but that can be hard on the wallet. Whether it’s your people or a survey firm who asks the questions, the objective stands: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other potentially hurtful perception and prepare to deal with it. Then you must carefully select which of the above becomes your top priority, yet corrective public relations goal – is it the need to clarify that misconception, or spike that rumor or correct the false assumption or inaccuracy? ! Success is just around the corner when you pick the right strategy from the three choices available to you. Change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. And be certain your new strategy is a good fit with your new public relations goal. So, just what will you say when you have the opportunity to address your key stakeholder audience? In other words, what will you say to help persuade them to your way of thinking? Your best writer must be tasked with preparing such a message because you’ll obviously need some very special, corrective language. Not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if the language is to shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the planned behaviors. At this point, you select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. But carefully insuring that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members. Fortunately, there are dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. As the credibility of your message is always at stake, you may wish to deliver it in small meetings or presentations rather than through higher-visibility media announcements. In due course, you’ll f eel pressure for indications of progress. Which translates into another perception monitoring session with members of your key target audience. Using some of the same questions used in the original benchmark session, you will now be especially alert for signs that the questionable perception is being altered in your direction. Here, you’re in luck because matters can always be expedited by adding more communications tactics, AND increasing their frequencies. Thus, what should come first in any manager’s public relations effort is prompt and effective action in dealing with key, target audience perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move those key external audiences to actions you desire. In the proverbial nutshell, use an action plan that helps you influence your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary. end



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Your ideal client

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."--Bill Cosby Have you ever had a client/customer that was more trouble than they were worth? Maybe they were always late to pay, or didn't do what they said they'd do. Maybe you just had a personality clash, or they expected more than you were able to offer. Whatever the situation, chances are you had an inkling when you first met that client...a tiny voice that you didn't listen to, that was probably overshadowed by the bigger voice that said, "Hey, it's business; I'll take it!" Learn to say no to those clients, before they start draining your energy! The key to being able to do this is understanding Your Ideal Client. Once you know how to recognize who is ideal and who is not, you can practice turning down business from the latter. If you have trouble saying no, you'll need to learn this critical business skill...and what to do to get rid of problem clients you already have; see the resources at the bottom of this article. If you have a coach, ask them to help you complete the Ideal Client exercise, or to role-play those "saying no" conversations. How to discover YOUR Ideal Client There are many ways to approach the Ideal Client/Customer Profile. You can sit down and imagine the best, most wonderful client you could have...whether that is an abstract entity, a celebrity (what writer wouldn't want Oprah as a customer, for example), or a specific demographic profile. If your customers are more likely to be companies, you could look at your current client list, and pick the company that gives you the most business, the most joy, the least heartburn. The Ideal Client Profile Whoever you pick, start a profile matrix with two columns: "My Ideal Client Is:" on the left; "My Ideal Client is Not:", on the right. In the column on the left, list all the characteristics of that type of person or company. Use the questions below as prompts to get you thinking about all the different aspects that client might have. Then, either think of the opposite of all those aspects, or pick the "client from hell" and fill in corresponding traits in the right-hand column. Be really honest with this exercise! If you'd rather only have clients who make over $500,000, put that down! Your clients who don't fit your Ideal characteristics, whether you write them down or not, will eventually "know it. May as well get that over with early! Prompts: Consider these aspects of your Ideal Customer or Client: What career or business are they in? What demographics do they fit? (age, sex, race, religion, income, marital status, etc.) What do they think is important in business? In life? What do they like most about you and your business, products and services? What is the nature of their relationship with you? (transactional, long-time customer, acquaintance, friend, refers others to you, etc.) How do they do business with you? (phone/in person/on the Web; quick transactions/takes time to negotiate; pays early/on-time/at 30 days; etc.) What personality characteristics do they have? What do you get from them (besides payment)? Now What? Compare your current client list to the two columns in The Ideal Client Profile. How many have the characteristics of your Ideal Client? If the answer is "not many," you may need to work on firing some of your clients! Check out some resources below on how to do this. Next, post your Ideal Client Profile somewhere you will see it often. Every time a new potential client comes along, start looking for those Ideal characteristics...and beware the non-ideal! If that little voice starts to tell you something might be wrong, check in with the non-ideal list--and be ready with some ways to turn away non-ideal clients. Offer them other options--refer them to someone else who is a better fit, and make two people happier! Ideal Clients--For Life There are many ways to leverage the work you have just done with the Ideal Client Profile. Here are some ideas: Audit your marketing materials. Do your business cards, brochures, ads and website appeal to your Ideal Client? Are you sending the right message, to the right potential clients? Hone your materials, and start seeing better-qualified potential clients walk in the door. Consider your marketing channels. Based on your Ideal Client profile, where would you expect to find these clients? Is that where your marketing efforts are focused? If not, figure out a way to get in front of them! Review your contracts, policies, terms and conditions. Are they set up to be friendly to your Ideal Clients? Do they give you clear avenues for dealing with non-ideal clients? If not, update them, and you might see non-ideal clients take care of themselves. Start attracting your Ideal Clients today!



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Encouraging your children to save money

As a parent, you usually want your children to have the best that life has to offer. Unfortunately, you know that it can be quite difficult to get the money that you need sometimes as an adult… and you wish that there was some way that you could spare your children these same problems. Luckily, there may actually be a way that you can help your children to prepare for the future today; by encouraging them to start saving money while they're young, you can set up habits that will follow them into adulthood and possibly even help them to build up a nest egg to help them along their way. Children and Money Children like money… after all, it's used to buy the things that they enjoy and it's so hard for them to get. Even small amounts of money seem huge to a small child. That said, children tend to like instant gratification of their wants and desires, so whatever toy or piece of candy that they might want is very likely to be purchased should they be able to afford it. The key to helping your children to save money is to get them to realize that better things can come along if they save the money that they have for a later day. Rewards and Encouragement The easiest way to get your children used to the idea of saving money is to offer up a rewards system when they manage to save some of their allowance or other money. Perhaps you'd offer to give them a little bit of extra money after they save up a certain amount, or tell them that you'll pay a portion of the cost for something that they want if they can save up the rest of the amount. You should also periodically ask them how much they have saved up, offering them encouragements for a job well done when they start to build a little bit of savings. Don't Send Mixed Signals However you choose to encourage your children to save money, it's important that you stay consistent with what you tell them. Don't tell them that they're saving their money so that they can get the more expensive things that they want later only to punish them when they spend it on something that they've been saving for. Make sure that they understand that it's their money and that they can do whatever they like with it, but if they continue to save it then they're more likely to be able to reap the rewards of it at a later time. Savings Accounts After your children have gotten the hang of saving money, you might want to get them a savings account. Make sure that they go with you so that they can be a part of the process… after all, it's their first bank account. It can help a child to feel confident about savings knowing that they're doing a “grown up” thing like opening a bank account. You should also take them with you whenever a deposit is going to be made, so that they can personally give the teller the money and continue the “grown up” feel of banking. Though it may just be them thinking that they're more mature than they are, the positive feelings associated with depositing the money will likely carry over to later life and help to reinforce the habit of saving money long after they've gone out into the world as an adult. -- You may freely reprint this article provided the following author's biography (including the live URL link) remains intact:



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Tools for customizing great plains

Microsoft Business Solutions – Great Plains has captured the US market with its integrated business applications for small and mid-size organizations. Its comprehensive accounting and business management capabilities provide businesses with tools to customize various modules of the Great Plains software. These tools have been proven to have contributed to business growth and tighter control over its processes. There are several ways in which customization and integration can be applied to Great Plains applications because of its open architecture characteristic. Integrity of data and performance of processes can also be validated using one of the many tools as listed in this article. So how do we answer the question of Customizing Great Plains? Dexterity Although Dexterity requires the user an extensive knowledge in software development (primarily in C/C++ or Pascal) and experience in scripting languages (VBScript, or Dexterity’s own script - SanScript), this proprietary programming language that Great Plains was developed in allows access to all of Great Plains resources such as tables, reports and scripts. With this access, you can manipulate and define triggers such as opening a form or leaving a field. Moreover, it can be used to call up procedures and functions and create new applications without interfering with other customizations already in place and integrate them into Great Plains user interface easily. Dexterity can be installed using CD #2 that comes with the Great Plains 7.5 package. Modifier with VBA Modifier with VBA is one of the simplest tools to have for end-users and developers alike. It uses common graphic drawing techniques which can be used to alter the appearance of a Great Plains application. It can be used to move, alter or delete menus within a window so that you can manipulate the importance of each field. It also allows for addition of new windows or controls or simply rearranging those that exists. This customization tool is safe to use since the original information is stored separately from the modified one. Modifications can also be shared with other users. However, unlike Dexterity, it is not recommended to create new applications with Modifier VBA. Continuum for VBA/Delphi This tool uses Great Plains as an OLE Server. It captures the VB or Delphi code as queried by the user for macro recording. However, we do not recommend it since it is an old technology. Crystal Reports Great Plains comes with its own Report Writer. However, its functionality is limited. Introducing Crystal Reports to Great Plains opens up a whole new world of creating reports. With the use of the Crystal Report Designer Interface, you can easily create complex reports with formatting and grouping just the way you want it – professionally done. Grouped data can be summarized and subtotaled and with its drill-down capabilities, the user can view report data in detail. Crystal Reports also came up with a version for Visual Studio. NET. With all the features of Crystal Reports 8.0, the Visual Studio. NET version gives. NET users the flexibility to share information and reports over the internet. Through the use of Database drivers, Crystal Reports connects to the Great Plains database and accesses the specific data as queried by the user and selects the tables or views according to the user’s proposition. In Great Plains, the Tables structure can be found in: Tools > Resource Description > Tables Direct Web Publishing If you’re looking to publish your Great Plains information over the Internet, then using Visual Studio. NET is the right tool to use. It allows the deployment of Web-based applications and XML Web Services and can be leveraged by the use of programming languages like Visual Basic. NET, Visual C# and Visual J#. eConnect Integrating data from outside sources, such as your point-of-sale applications, customer relationship management applications and Web services, to your Great Plains application is what eConnect is all about. eConnect can filter data or add script to the business object according to the specified diagram. It enables for limiting the number of values entered in a field or setting a default value for the field. Although eConnect promises integration, it asks for advanced programming skills. It uses a number of different programs including Microsoft SQL Server, Visual Basic objects and extensible markup language (XML). Integration Manager Converting and transferring data (importing) from one database format (ODBC-compliant) to a Great Plains application can be done with the use of Integration Manager. This tool enables the end-user to map the data source to the target field without the need to search from the database tables. SQL queries can also be defined to accompany your integration and data validation. Integration Manager requires development experience with a background in database maintenance, SQL commands and VBA or VBScript to name a few. SQL Queries Microsoft SQL Server is a database engine that gives users tools for creating, configuring and maintaining databases. It is integrated directly into the Great Plains database. Its Query Engine enables you to create statements to call up certain information from the database. Although this is a powerful tool, SQL queries should only be done with experienced hands. One false statement could wipe out your database. The smooth operations of your business depend on YOU. With the right experience and education, these tools for customizing your applications and database can lead your business to a better ground. Need more information? Contact us: 1-866-528-0577 help@albaspectrum. com For customization work and advice, please contact Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum Chief Technology Officer. His works include development of applications with the use of Dexterity, SQL, C#.NET, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK.



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Copywriting tips and tricks

Copywriting Tips and Tricks Within this article on copywriting tips and tricks, we will look at how you can take a sales letter and maximize its usage in eight different ways. This comes directly from a book written by Dan S. Kennedy, titled The Ultimate Sales Letter. This book comes highly recommended as he is one of the foremost experts on copywriting with in the world today. Copywriters have a very interesting niche in that you can use your own writing to help you develop leads. If you find that you had many inconsistent advertising methods, think about developing a sales letter to help bring in qualified leads. If you develop a successful sales letter, you can send this out in quantities which you pre-determine. The beauty of this is that you can quantify the amount of work that you want to do in a given month and mail out that many sales letters. After having used a consistent sales letter for a certain period of time, you will know what the response rate is and this will allow you to know how much business you should potentially get from mailing a certain number of letters. This can make sure that you always have clients coming into the door when you want them to. It can also help you better pattern the business after your life and lifestyle so that you can pick up the pace when you have extra time and slow things down when other parts of your life become busier. If you have quite a few clients who are telemarketers or you would like to start developing telemarketers as potential clients, you may want to look into developing a sales letter for one of these companies. Telemarketing has become much more expensive and more inconsistent these days due to new laws and it is an industry with very high turnover. Developing a sales letter to send to qualified prospects in the beginning can make telemarketing more effective for these companies and potentially reduce turnover. If you are able to quantify the savings in training employees as well as in better sales, you will find yourself called upon by many telemarketing companies because you will have put yourself in their shoes and can understand the business struggles that they go through. The final way that we will use a sales letter and one way in which you could increase your business is to focus upon dentists and doctors office. Often these professionals are consistently looking for new clients and this could be a way to help them out. You could use a sales letter to help stimulate referrals. These were just a few of the ideas that came from this great book. If you are looking at copywriting and have been in the field for awhile, this article can be very valuable because it can offer new places to look for business. Hopefully this article on copywriting tips and checks will benefit you with more dollars in your bank account.



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Tips on getting more from your credit card rewards program

Do you own a reward credit card or are you planning on applying for one? Many people own one or more reward credit cards on their account but not all of them are reaping the rewards they deserve. In this article, let's discuss some tips on how you can get more from your credit card rewards program and how to make sure that you'll be redeeming those well-deserved rewards: Use your discount privileges. Most reward credit cards include discount privileges that are exclusive only to their card holders. Are you aware of the discount privileges your credit card provides? If not, then take the time to review the terms of your card or check online and make sure that you are maximizing the full potential of your credit card. For instance, some credit cards provide printable coupon codes online that you can use in purchasing from selected merchants. Usually, all you need to do is register online in order to access these printable discount coupons and get big savings. Pay your balance in full each month. Reward credit cards usually come with higher interest rates than regular credit cards so you'll want to make sure that you're not carrying a balance over to the next billing cycle. Why would you pay for additional cost on the interest rates when you can avoid it by paying on time? If you need to pay for the interest rate each time, you may actually be paying more than what you earn from your reward credit card. Stay true to your card's terms and conditions. Did you know that not paying your bills on time, delaying on your payments or exceeding your credit limit can disqualify you from redeeming your rewards? Yes, most reward credit cards impose this rule on their card holders. If you're not sure, take out your copy of your credit card's terms and conditions and review the stipulations on this matter. To be sure that you'll be eligible to claim your hard-earned points, always stay true to your credit card's conditions. Use your reward credit card wisely. To collect points and earn your rewards quickly, obviously you need to use your credit card. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean you need to go out of your way to make unnecessary purchases which can result to credit card debt. Remember, it is crucial for you to pay off your monthly balance regularly to avoid the interest and penalty fees. Exercise caution when using your reward credit card and don't charge purchases on it just to collect your rewards. Pay your utilities using your reward credit card. One way to rack up those points without making unnecessary purchases is to use your reward credit card in paying your monthly utilities. These include your electricity, cable, telephone, gasoline, and other services you're subscribed to. You can also work as a family in collecting points on your reward credit card. If your family members need to make purchases, tell them to charge on your card and pay you the cash instead. This way, you can accumulate more points on your account without breaking your budget.



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Js secrets optin list building

Utilizing the secrets of opti lists Emails are replacing regular mails from the post office. Not only because it is cheaper, since you do not need to buy a stamp, it’s also definitely faster. Emails can be sent in as fast as five seconds, depending on the server, anywhere in the world. No doubt emails are being used to distribute news letters, promotional mails, and other stuff. How then would you be able to round up email addresses to send those marketing mails you have? Here is where an opt-in list comes in. An opt-in list is a directory of email address you can send to those mails to. Though it seems to be easy to find email addresses, if you are talking thousands in numbers, it is going to be hard. Besides, you have to determine the recipient of the email. You wouldn’t want your readers mostly male if you are selling lipsticks, right? A good opt-in list should include the profile of the email address owner. Here are tips on how to create a comprehensive opt-in list for target market. Create your website. Creating a website is made simple nowadays. A lot of programs are milling about assisting regular computer users in making and maintaining websites in a real simple way. Some website creator just needs you to cut and paste, like that of a regular paint program. Several web hosting sites are available too. Some are even free. If you have a site of your own, you can ask visitors to register with you or sign your guest book as they leave. Set up a promotion or a freebie. Not all the best things in life are free, as they say. But you can definitely try to give something out for sure. You can see this done all over the web. Free screensavers, free games, free download of programs. And what do they need from you? They just ask for an email address, your name and a little something more about you. Then you can place a check box on the registration form for sending of email. For sure, you can think of something to give out as well. Write and write some more. There are some web magazines where in readers can submit their writings for a particular topic. If you had a chance to do so, add a link to your article providing information about what you are trying to promote. Some readers of your article may enjoy your work so much they’d like to contact you, so don’t forget to leave your email address too. Pose an easy opt-out option. People who like to join your opt-in list would, along the way may want to opt out of it somehow. People who are wary of joining may not join at all if they see that it would be near impossible to remove their email address from the listing. Show them that it is as easy to opt-out as it is opting in. Check other’s strategy too. It would be better if you can find a partner in generating an opt-in list. This way, you can split the expenses and both of you can share the list generated. It will be best to partner with a company that has a business similar to your own line. Both of you can profit more should that be the case. Use offline ways too. You can put up a small raffle preferably in a supermarket for a certain item they buy. You can place an email address opt-in part in the raffle entry to add to your list. This way, you’d also know the buying preferences of the participants if you mark the entries systemically. Creating an opt-in list entails a lot of work and funds. You should outline how much you will spend in creating an opt-in list. People appearing at opt-in lists are sales prospects. They are those interested in a certain product that you may be selling. Obtaining an optimal opt-in list would boost your sales up so these tools are undoubtedly essential. Acquire an opt-in list now or generate one. Either way, you are reaching to people that can be your one of your treasured customers for a long period time.



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Can cats and dogs live together as friends

Can cats and dogs live together without constantly being at war? It seems that they very often can. We often hear people claim to be a "cat person" or a "dog person", but browsing through the various pet forums it appears that there are many of us that equally like both cats and dogs. My son has a beautiful Border Collie who was the only pet of the house until she was five years old. Then three part Burmese kittens were brought into the family. Mollie the Collie and the kittens were introduced to each other slowly, and Mollie was taught that the kittens were not to be harassed. Naturally she was given extra doses of attention and affection, just to show her that the kittens were an addition to the family, and not a replacement for her. As the kittens grew they soon learned to dominate the dog, after all they are felines and a canine must know its place, besides there are three of them. Often when Mollie is snoozing, or just reclining chilling out, one of the cats will just walk right over her, forgoing the niceties of walking around the dog. Mollie gives the impression that this behavior does not bother her, but sometimes a little sigh of exasperation is heard. Rarely do the cats take any interest in what is in the dog bowl, Mollie on the other hand, will quite often take a sniff of the cats lunch, and if one of the cats is close by it will give a warning hiss. I don't think that it can be said that the cats and Mollie are great friends, they never appear to play together. They live together in a state of tolerance, rather than friendship, but the relationship works OK, my son's house is free of cat and dog fights. But from reading the posts on the pet forums, many people report that their cat and dog are the best of buddies. A lady writes that her Boxer and tabby curl up together on the sofa. Another post from an elderly gentleman reports that his Persian often hitches a ride on the back of his Labrador cross. There are many posts about cats and dogs being taken for walks together, stories of felines and canines being absolutely inseparable, even accounts of dogs pining for cats that have passed away. All this does not imply that any old cat and dog can be thrown together and get on like a house on fire. Some dog breeds are unlikely to put up with sharing their home with a cat. Hounds and hunting dogs, for example may not be a wise choice. Also not all breeds of cat are sociable enough to live with another species of animal. When introducing cats and dogs to each other do it slowly and make sure that you are in control. Never leave your pets without supervision while they are learning to get along with each other. Feeding your cat and dog in separate places, and at separate times is probably best until they are used to one another. Remember that two or more dogs are likely to have a pack instinct, and could see a new kitten as prey. If yours is a multi-dog household and you are adding a cat to your pet family, make the introduction one dog at a time. Remember also that it is not only dogs that can hurt cats, frightened cats can inflict nasty scratches to inquisitive puppies and dogs, and a scratch on the puppy's eyes could be serious. So can cats and dogs live together as friends? Yes, they can, it may take patience and perseverance on your part, but the result will be worth it



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Tired of your traditional alarm clock try a zen alarm clock

Zen alarm clocks are the perfect solution to those of who are tired of waking up to annoying beepers, buzzers, and talk show hosts. Instead, try waking up to the soothing sound Tibetan bell-like chimes or the sound of gentle waves on a beach. Many Zen alarm clocks offer gentle awakenings with scenes of sunrise and sunset and are filled with natural sounds to gently wake you up. Many people who use Zen alarm clocks have said that they feel much more refreshed and relaxed in the morning than when they used traditional alarm clocks. A Zen alarm clock will let you have a gradual waking method that will help you remember your dreams better and leaves you in a more relaxed mood. While a Zen alarm clock might not give you the exact time down to a millisecond like an atomic alarm clock, it will allow you wake up refreshed, and really, which one would you rather have?

Choosing the right Zen alarm clock With so many different types of Zen alarm clocks on the market, it may be difficult to choose the one that is just right for you. Many Zen alarm clocks offer different sounds to wake up to. Also, some of the higher quality Zen alarm clocks may cost much more than some other Zen alarm clocks. Some things to consider when shopping for a Zen alarm clock are the benefits of meditation, zen, an alarm clock that wakes you up gradually, a friendly clock, gifts, incense and greater health. When shopping for a Zen alarm clock, be sure to choose one that perfectly fits what you are looking for. If you choose the Zen alarm clock that is just right for you, you will make up more relaxed and refreshed than you ever would have using a traditional clock.



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Natural cure for flatulence wind

Why does it always happen in a crowded elevator? That's what I'd like to know. Or even worse, you are out with a potential new boyfriend or girlfriend, and you really want to impress, when all of a sudden, WOOMPPFF! Embarrassing or what??? But don't despair! The problem is probably a simple result of eating the wrong foods or too much beer. Lets check out some darn fine ways of dealing with bad smells that don't cost much, and are totally natural. Tip 1 - try eating 'activated charcoal'.

Charcoal tablets absorb the gases that cause wind, and you can eat 'em inconspicuously several times a day if the problem is really bad. Tip 2 - Chew food thoroughly. At freeremedies. com we always chew our food 100 times, whether it needs it or noMore chewing means less air when you swallow, and less air means less ammo for the old 'asscannon'. Tip 3 - avoid know 'hell raiser' foods like cabbage, beans, sweetcorn, brussel sprouts, spinach, squid and monkfish. Although high-fibre foods are useful in your diet, they can lead to bloating, and unpleasant sound effects, especially when fermeted internally with any kind of alcohol. Tip 4 - Fizzy drinks are a no-no. Give up the colas, 7-ups, beers, and other carbonated drinks. Champagne in moderation is actually ok, for reasons scientists don't fully understand yet. Tip 5 - Caffeine causes colonic combustion! The caffeine in tea, coffee, pepsi etc can irritate the colon, and this obviously doesn't help. Tip 5 - and this is the biggie, never try to 'hold it in'. Boffing is a natural function, and cracking one out is just the body's way of expelling un-needed gas. If you try to bottle it up, it will only come back later, double the strength. Don't give 'em time to brew, just sneak them out whenever you can!



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Dead sea minerals health from the lowest point on earth

A study involving a European occupational therapist suffering from psoriasis who had obtained compensation from her health insurance in order to undergo therapy at the Dead Sea has lead to great interest in health funds in Denmark, Germany and other European Countries. This has resulted in their subsidizing treatment from the Dead Sea for people suffering from both Psoriasis and other skin conditions. If Health Insurance companies can be considering coverage of treatment at the Dead Sea for relief and treatment of skin disorders, then it seems reasonable to advocate usage of products manufactured from the Mud and minerals of the Dead Sea. Healthy skin and Assisting to replace or remove electrolytes enables the body to maintain a good fluid balance thereby improving a feeling of relaxation, health and well being. Below is a list of the therapeutic physical and mental well being is dependent on the correct sodium and potassium or fluid balance in the body. This is regulated by the Adrenal gland, which in turn affect healthy function of the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for controlling 28 chemicals in the body. An imbalance of these chemicals or electrolytes can result in certain skin or other symptoms and over an extended period of time results in various illnesses. benefits of the Dead Sea products together with the conditions or symptoms they alleviate. The Dead Sea Salts differ from regular sea salt in 2 important ways. 1) They contain 10 times more minerals than sea salt. 2) The Dead Sea salts absorb essential oils with ease, which enables them to be released into the bath water as they dissolve. This is beneficial for those wishing to benefit from the Dead Sea in the privacy of their own home. Some of the minerals found in the Dead Sea are listed below together with their functions or benefits to health. This provides some insight as to why these minerals assist in cleansing, de-toxing and restoring a healthy status quo of the body, especially the skin and muscles. Minerals and Chemicals found in the Dead Sea Sulfur-is found in the amino acids cysteine, and methionine; as well as in cells, hemoglobin (of the blood), collagen (of the muscles), keratin (required for skin), insulin, heparin, biotin, co-enzyme A, (required for healthy hair, skin, nails, among many other biological structures). Sulfur is necessary for synthesizing collagen. It is required for the adequate digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and a number of vitamins e. g. thiamin, biotin and pantothenic acid; It is also essential to enable cells to breathe Sulfur is necessary for the secretion of bile from the liver and for converting toxins into non-toxins. Chlorine is necessary to maintain the correct balance of alkaline and acid in the body, together with being vital for cell metabolism Iodine is necessary for the production of the hormone thyroxin, and is also vital for both energy and cell metabolism is necessary to maintain the water balance in order for cell metabolism to take place, assisting the cells to absorb nourishment and expel waste products. An imbalance in potassium often leads to water retention. Potassium also plays a vital role in regulating muscle contractions and the nervous system. Sodium like potassium plays s a vital role in assisting the cells to absorb nourishment and expel waste. Calcium is necessary in strengthening cell membranes and cleansing the pores. In addition it is vital for production and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones, together with regulating the heart muscles and nerves. Magnesium is necessary in assisting the body to utilize other essential nutiens and in cell metabolism. Bromine helps with the natural repair of the body together with cell metabolism and can be sued as a natural antibiotic. Saunas often use Dead Sea salts to evaporate the bromides thus creating and environment similar to the Dead Sea. Having a hot bath with Dead Sea salts and allowing the steam to collect in the bathroom will have a similar effect. Other than the benefits listed below for bath salts, steaming and using these salts in the bath can be beneficial for respiratory conditions e. g. asthma. PELOTHERAPY The main healing property of mud is humic acid, which comes from concentration of organic matter. After the Ice Age the earth experienced a compression of plant and animal life resulting in transformation of various rocks and hence, muds. The parts of the earth, which suffered the most erosion, have higher deposits of humic acid. One of these areas is the Dead Sea, which has the largest concentration of humic acid, chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, bromine and various other minerals. Since the Dead Sea Mud (also known as Pelloid) has a high concentration of minerals together with an ability to hold heat, the mud can be used for certain healing benefits. Smearing the Pelloid onto the body in a process known as Pelotherapy provides cleansing and detoxing of the skin which has proved beneficial for skin, muscle pain and arthritic or rheumatic conditions. BALNEOTHERAPY Is an ancient healing form using water, usually with added salts, thereby distinguishing it from hydrotherapy, to condition, relax and revitalize the skin, body and muscles. Its benefits are seen in improving circulation, strengthening the immune system, reducing pain, stress and insomnia.



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Use cialis and go with it

After a series of successful medication approved for the erectile disfunction or the so-called impotence( we may take as an example Sildenafil, known as "viagra, sold since 1998 and Vardenafil, also called "Levitra", found in pharmacies since late August 2003), another medication was created so as to complete the variety of these products and allow people to choose: this latest medication is tadafil(its commercial name is Cialis and could have been purchased since November 2003). What makes the difference between Cialis and the other two erectile-disfunction medications, is the fact that this one persists in the body for a longer period of time, improving or enabling the physical potence to have sex for 36 hours or more Cialis was considered to be more performant from this point of view. As the other two medications are prescribed to be taken for about an hour before the sexual act, Cialis does not give a time, yet a doctor should be assisted as studies show that there were men who have performed the sexual act for half an hour. In any case it is not advisable to use it more than once each day. If discussing Cialis's side effects, you should know that there are pretty much similar to those of Viagra and Levitra. The most well-known ones are dealing with indigestion, back pains, muscle aches and headaches. You should also be aware of the fact that if you combine this treatment with alcohol, the side effects can grow even worse, sometimes even dangerous. Not everybody is advisable to take Cialis; so, if you are thinking about consuming it you should discuss to your doctor first to see if Cialis would or would not beneficial for you. Similar to the cases of Levitra and Viagra, Cialis has accomplished great effects on men suffering from diabetes. We may take as an example a study published in December 2002, specialized in the aspect of Diabetes Care( it studied people having diabetes who were facing also erectile disfunction for more than three months). The study high lined the idea that twenty men suffered from diabetes type1, while 196 men were having type2. A part of these men have tried Cialis in a doze of 10mg before the sexual act for 12 weeks, another part took 20mg in the same conditions and the other part tried the placebo effect(using a similar pill with no effects) The result has shown that 25 men skipped the treatment for unknown reasons. In the case of the rest, the greatest effects on erections and sexual acts were accomplished by those who used Cialis. Sixty four percent of those using a 20mg doze and fifty four percent of those using a 10mg doze have significantly turned their erections into something better. Be aware of the fact that Cialis has not modified the A1c levels(blood glucose control). Men suffering from diabetes, both type1 and type2 felt only the expected effects. In conclusion, what you should know is that Cialis can be an answer to your problems if taken carefully, along with the indications of your doctor. You should not worry about the appearance of other unfortunate cases as this is all study's job. Just go with it!



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Eating disorders and the narcissist

Patients suffering from eating disorders binge on food and sometimes are both anorectic and bulimic. This is an impulsive behaviour as defined by the DSM (particularly in the case of BPD and to a lesser extent of Cluster B disorders in general). Some patients develop these disorders as a way to self-mutilate. It is a convergence of two pathological behaviours: self-mutilation and an impulsive (rather, compulsive or ritualistic) behaviour. The key to improving the mental state of patients with dual diagnosis (a personality disorder plus an eating disorder) lies in concentrating upon their eating and sleeping disorders. By controlling their eating disorders, patients assert control over their lives. This is bound to reduce their depression (even eliminate it altogether as a constant feature of their mental life).

This is likely to ameliorate other facets of their personality disorders. Here is the chain: controlling one's eating disorders controlling one's life enhanced sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem a challenge, an interest, an enemy to subjugate a feeling of strength socialising feeling better. When a patient has a personality disorder and an eating disorder, the therapist should concentrate on the eating disorder. Personality disorders are intricate and intractable.

They are rarely curable (though certain aspects, like OCD, or depression can be ameliorated with medication). Their treatment calls for the enormous, persistent and continuous investment of resources of every kind by everyone involved. From the patient's point of view, the treatment of her personality disorder is not an efficient allocation of scarce mental resources. Also personality disorders are not the real threat. If a patient with a personality disorder is cured of it but her eating disorders are aggravated, she might die (though mentally healthy)… An eating disorder is both a signal of distress ("I wish to die, I feel so bad, somebody help me") and a message: "I think I lost control. I am very afraid of losing control. I will control my food intake and discharge.

This way I control at least ONE aspect of my life." This is where we can and should begin to help the patient. Help him to regain control. The family or other supporting figures must think what they can do to make the patient feel that he is in control, that he manages things his own way, that he is contributing, has his own schedules, his own agenda, matter. Eating disorders indicate the strong combined activity of an underlying sense of lack of personal autonomy and an underlying sense of lack of self-control. The patient feels inordinately, paralysingly helpless and ineffective. His eating disorders are an effort to exert and reassert mastery over his own life. At this stage, he is unable to differentiate his own feelings and needs from those of others. His cognitive and perceptual distortions (for instance, regarding body image – somatoform disorders) only increase his feeling of personal ineffectiveness and his need to exercise even more self-control (on his diet, the only thing left). The patient does not trust himself in the slightest. He is his worst enemy, a mortal enemy, and he knows it. Therefore, any efforts to collaborate with HIM against his disorder – are perceived as collaboration with his worst enemy against his only mode of controlling his life to some extent. The patient views the world in terms of black and white, of absolutes. So, he cannot let go even to a very small degree. He is HORRIFIED – constantly. This is why he finds it impossible to form relationships: he mistrusts (himself and by extension others), he does not want to become an adult, he does not enjoy sex or love (which both entail a modicum of loss of control). All this leads to a chronic absence of self-esteem. These patients like their disorder. Their eating disorder is their only achievement. Otherwise they are ashamed of themselves and disgusted by their shortcomings (expressed through shame and disgust directed at their bodies). There is a chance to cure the patient of his eating disorders (though the dual diagnosis of eating disorder and personality disorder has a poor prognosis). This – and ONLY this – must be done at the first stage. The patient's family should consider therapy AND support groups (Overeaters Anonymous). Recovery prognosis is good after 2 years of treatment and support. The family must be heavily involved in the therapeutic process. Family dynamics usually contribute to the development of such disorders. Medication, cognitive or behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy and family therapy ought to do it. The change in the patient IF the treatment of his eating disorders is successful is VERY MARKED. His major depression disappears together with his sleeping disorders. He becomes socially active again and gets a life. His personality disorder might make it difficult for him – but, in isolation, without the exacerbating circumstances of his other disorders, he finds it much easier to cope with. Patients with eating disorders may be in mortal danger. Their behaviour is ruining their bodies relentlessly and inexorably. They might attempt suicide. They might do drugs. It is only a question of time. Our goal is to buy them time. The older they get, the more experienced they become, the more their body chemistry changes with age – the better their prognosis.



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High blood pressure known as hypertension is very sneaky

It is often called the "silent killer" because it can damage your heart, kidney, and brain, even though you feel no symptoms. Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels, and constitutes one of the principal vital signs. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, you need treatment to prevent damage to your body’s organs. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Doctors do not know what causes high blood pressure in 90 to 95 percent of people who have it. In about 10 percent of patients, the disease can be traced to specific causes: heredity, kidney abnormalities, adrenal gland tumors, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hormone abnormalities, use of birth control pills, pregnancy or a congenital narrowing of the aorta. Other possible causes of higher blood pressure are weight gain and decreased physical activity in winter.

The nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products causes your blood vessels to constrict and your heart to beat faster, which temporarily raises your blood pressure. In some people, alcohol causes blood pressure to rise quite a lot. The key for any high blood pressure treatment is to bring the condition under proper control. Treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is, whether you have other health problems such as diabetes, and whether any organs have already been damaged. Treatment begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. You want to achieve your treatment goal, but sometimes it seems your blood pressure just doesn't want to budge. You and your doctor can carefully review your treatment and lifestyle to see what's going on. For hypertension that isn't controlled by diet and exercise, new treatment guidelines for hypertension recommend that most patients be started on a thiazide-type diuretic, unless there is a compelling need for a different class of medications. However, the biggest problem with treatment of high blood pressure is not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of the application of our current knowledge.



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Best cardio exercises

The best cardio exercises are something you enjoy so you'll stick to it to get the maximum benefits. You may be surprised at how quickly this form of physical activity becomes a habit you enjoy. Exercise and cardiovascular fitness exercises are great for your health but the best cardio exercises get you to your ideal target heart rate as you exercise. To test your heart rate while exercising place your thumb on the underside of your wrist to locate your pulse. Count the heart beats for fifteen seconds and multiply that number times four.

That number is your heart rate. To calculate your ideal target heart rate, subtract your age from two hundred and twenty. Everyone has their own preference of exercise, but these exercises below will get you to your ideal target heart rate and are some of the best cardio exercises. Walking As Exercise Walking as exercise fits well into most lifestyles and is something anyone can do at any age. Start out walking at a medium pace and end up walking briskly so you can get to your ideal target heart rate. Walk where you climb slight grades to increase resistance which will increase your heart rate. Not only will walking as exercise make you feel good it's one of the best cardio exercises to do with a friend. Bicycling Exercise Bicycling exercise also offers no age barriers and people at almost any fitness level can enjoy it. The benefit of bicycling exercise is it builds your strength and agility. Like walking, to get to your ideal target heart rate, find slight grades to ride on to increase resistance. Bicycling exercise is not only one of the best cardio exercises it's not likely that you'll ever get bored. Swimming Pool Workout A swimming pool workout is ideal for a full body exercise and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise in water is easy on the joints because the water supports you and water also provides a natural resistance. To keep your workout balanced, swim laps using different strokes to vary the muscles you work. A swimming pool workout is one of the best cardio exercises because it gets you to your ideal target heart rate quickly. Elliptical Exercise Working out on an elliptical exerciser is one of the best cardio exercises available. Like a swimming pool workout, elliptical exercise is ideal for a full body exercise and cardiovascular fitness. The motion of elliptical exercise feels very natural and compliments normal body movements making it feel like the workout is easier. Elliptical exercise creates a safe workout because it reduces the harmful stress and impact on your muscles and joints. The duration of any cardiovascular fitness exercise should be a minimum of twenty minutes and up to sixty minutes. Test your heart rate while exercising and calculate your ideal target heart rate. To get to your ideal target heart rate just adjust your speed or resistance. That way you get the highest possible benefit and the best cardio exercise possible. Copyright © 2005 Treadmill-Info. com All Rights Reserved.



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How to build a deck 5 considerations for building a wood deck

How to build a deck? Building a wood deck correctly can create the perfect transition between your home and your backyard. How to build a deck planning and construction should result in a wonderful place to go to relax and unwind after a hectic day. Whether you are going to have your deck built by a professional or do it yourself, building a deck correctly requires proper planning and design. Here are five basic considerations for building a wooden deck: 1. Choose Your Deck Type - there are several types of decks you can have for your home. An outdoor patio deck can be attached to your home. A convenient location for your outdoor patio deck could be attached to the family room or kitchen. How to build a deck that is a destination deck? A destination deck would be typically be located in a special place with a view and would not connected to your home. You might have a winding path that would lead to the destination deck. How to build a deck that is a connector deck? A connector deck is several smaller decks of any shape or size connected to each other with pathways. 2. Consider Your Deck Activities - when building a wood deck, will your deck be a place to grill and barbecue? Are you going to have parties and entertain family and friends? Is your deck going to be a quiet place for lounging reading or enjoying your favorite beverage? Will you have a luxurious hot tub on your deck? To increase privacy, will you have landscaping, plants or trees around your deck? Take some time and think through how to build a deck that will perform the way you want. Go online and buy a good book on planning and building a wood deck. 3. Decide Your Deck Size - if your house and backyard is smaller and you won't entertain large groups, you likely don't need a large deck. Too large a deck can actually make the house appear smaller. Keep it simple, but add an angle or two to the deck design if you want. When building a wood deck, you can divide the deck into two areas - one area for lounging and sunning and another section for cooking and dining. 4. What Deck Materials Will You Use - if you will be building a wooden deck, there are several structural parts. Your deck may need concrete footings that extend below the frostline if you'll have freezing winters. If your deck will be on sandy soil, you may need to build larger footings that will support the deck posts or beams. The posts can be 4"x4" lumber which is generally strong enough to support the deck. If your deck is above ground, you may be required to use 6"x6" structural posts. The deck beams will rest horizontally on the posts and will support the deck joists. Deck joists will be spaced horizontally every 12", 16" or 24" and will support the decking boards. The decking boards are the floor of your deck that span from joist to joist. 5. Design and Build It Yourself or Hire a Professional - unless you live in a very rural area, there will probably be building code requirements, permits and inspections needed when building a wooden deck project. Contact your local building official to see what is required in your area. One major advantage to having qualified professionals help is that they understand the legal side of how to build a deck and can help ensure building code requirements are met. One of the best ways to understand how to build a deck is to view wood deck plans that have been built many times. Seeing attractive deck plans can give you deck building ideas that will simplify your planning and design. Copyright 2006 InfoSearch Publishing



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My space is your space myspace com

This article has an accompanying comic strip that can be found at: http:// m6.net/articles/images/myspace. jpg You know, I've been writing articles on the Internet for over 2 years now and it never seems to amaze me how slow I am to pick up on new phenomena that keep springing up on the World Wide Web. Just as I hear about some really cool website/web concept, I am then told about a new one that everyone else already knows about. Well, this time I feel like a total recluse. I've been walking around in my own head-space not realizing that one of the most popular sites in the world, http:// myspace. com/ is where much of the human community is getting together to share 'space', or if you want to look at it another way, to share life. People are connecting with each other on the Internet for many different reasons, and most of them can be done here. Myspace. com is currently receiving more page views than the popular Google search engine, around 10 billion per month. It is essentially a social networking base-station, a place to meet and connect with other people for any and every reason imaginable. At first it looks a little like a dating site, which is definitely a huge aspect of its existence, as romantic and intimate interaction is such a massive priority in the lives' of humanity. Where it goes a few large steps further is with its integration of communication mediums and networking tools. You can have your own blog, record your own MP3 music files, and even make videos for all of your 'friends' to check out. (If you want your movie or song to get out there, make as many friends as you can!) Each person's web pages can be creatively original in their own right which brings out the uniqueness of each personality. Friendship is the main driving force behind this postmodern 'movement'. On-line groups of friends who have connected because of similar interests (there are many different categories) get to choose who they want to share their information with, so in essence, you choose who you want to meet. It is working well, as is testified by over 20 million users currently joining every month. One obvious impact that this site has had on social and economic structures is in the music industry. If you go to the 'music' category (thousands of groups of people into similar music are listed) you will find that many bands have put up pages offering a few of their songs to download for free. I'm not talking about famous bands that you hear on radio or see on TV (although they too are joining in - and getting better sales than ever before). I'm talking about no-name groups that we never would have gotten an opportunity to hear before. Without the aid of heavy marketing, airplay, and record label support, some bands are selling millions of records. This is totally knocking out the concept of the 'middleman'. Production and promotion costs are low, and revenue that used to be obtained from CD sales is now being made by merchandise that devoted fans are ready and willing to buy. To put it bluntly, these bands are giving up their day jobs and making a healthy living without the help of the mass-market and its Top 40 hit lists. This is a new level of social interaction. Bands are realizing that to relate to their audience, the best way is to humbly communicate with them one-on-one. Imagine the feeling of being able to send and receive emails and photos with your idols. Well, that's the ticket. Some bands are spending a lot of time on the email, and the result is a fan-base that is dedicated on a direct human being to human being level. Updating their blogs and downloadable songs regularly is quickly bringing visitors back again, making for an audience that stands by their favorite groups. Rock stars used to be untouchable, 'more-than-human' people who lived separately from the rest of us with their mansions and limousines. Now the paradigm is shifting and we are realizing they are just talented people, people like you and me. The key to this new freedom-based communication is in Chinese whispers: Word-of-mouth. Through electronic messaging, people are spreading the word about the next cool thing faster than ever imagined. Whole groups are informing other highly defined and connected groups about which film is worth going to watch at the theater, which TV show is the one to see, and which people are spreading the 'right' messages in their blogs. It's spelling the end of programmed media. People are getting to read, listen, and watch what they are interested in, without having to change the channel or stand in line at the music store. You also have the opportunity to meet many others who are interested in the same things as yourself. The need to go on blind dates or cruise local bars is diminishing as you can read into people's personalities by seeing what they write and say about the world. The days of being hounded by company marketers into buying an album could be on its way out. The paradoxical thing is a huge percentage of the total world web's advertising is done on this one site! The two worlds are colliding in an age-old clash that is causing some to wonder how long this great thing will last. How many times have you seen a cool band's music suddenly decrease in magic once they started making it big in the commercial realm? Sell-outs we call them. Well Myspace just got bought up by one of the richest men in the world, Rupert Murdoch. When you join Myspace the first friend you automatically connect with is Tom Anderson, one of the original founders of the site. He looks like a normal guy. He's 29 years old, into contemporary culture...a lot of girls send him email comments-I hope it's not just because he's rich! It was this guy's identity that struck a chord with so many normal people. Rupert Murdoch might be cool in the eyes of the Fortune 500 but to the rest of us we know he's not going to be having chats about the latest O. C. TV show or his cherry red 57' Chevy (there's a category for car maniacs). Could the sellout factor take away the great possibilities this site has to offer? Will people give up on it, or stick with because of its original ideals? Will your space and my space become 'his' space? We'll have to wait and see. I still think it's awesome.



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