7 things to know when renting a car

In today's society, there are a number of reasons why people rent a car. Some of the top reasons are vacations, a car they own is in the shop and renting a nicer car for a special occasion. Whatever the reason that you are considering renting a car; there are some things that you should know first. 1- It is wise to shop around when looking for to rent a car. Always find at least three rental car companies to compare, although more will be better. Be sure to ask all the companies the same questions to get the most accurate answers. Most rental car companies will have websites online to find basic information, but it is best to call as local branches may have deals that are not advertised online. 2- When you call, be sure to ask about price, vehicle availability, as well as any specials that the branch has to offer. It is worth noting here, that many of these companies will have special arrangements with hotels, airlines or even warehouse stores. 3- You will want to ask about any special instructions that are required of you while renting the car, for example, filling up the gas tank or pick up and drop off times. Not adhering to these policies can result in fees. 4- Many companies that will rent a car to you will also be willing to either deliver the car to you or pick you up and take you to your rental. This service may require a fee, but can be worth asking about if you are flying to your destination. 5- The rental company may offer you insurance to purchase, however, your personal auto insurance may be all you need in the event of an accident with a rental car. Call your auto insurance agent and ask before paying extra at the rental counter. 6- There are a number of choices that are open to you when renting a car. Each class of car will vary in price and gas mileage; consider this when making your decision. While many companies may be willing to upgrade you, this is not always the case. It is wise to choose the car you want and hope for an upgrade than to reserve less of a car and be disappointed when an upgrade is not offered. 7- Have a credit or debit card handy to reserve the rental car with, most companies will only guarantee a car with this assurance.



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Catalytic converter hazards

Your catalytic converter can be hazardous to your health...literally! Take care of your car and your catalytic converter will do what it is supposed to do: reduce pollution. Government auto emissions control legislation mandates that virtually all cars built or sold in the U. S. come equipped with a catalytic converter. A smart device, catalytic converters help to convert dangerous and polluting exhaust gases into less harmful carbon dioxide and water.

As helpful of a device that it is, there are some hazards that come with the use of a catalytic converter. Read on to learn what you need to know about your vehicle’s catalytic converter. Many consider a catalytic converter to be a godsend. With pollution levels ever climbing, the U. S. government acted to reduce harmful pollutants in a step to clean up the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency was formed by the Nixon Administration and the agency was instrumental in passing the Clean Air Act to help America control pollution. Since 1975 virtually every passenger vehicle has come equipped with a catalytic converter. As helpful as catalytic converters can be, they can be problematic. Besides catalytic converter failure, which generally goes unnoticed until your vehicle flunks its next inspection, it is the intense heat of the unit that can cause problems.

If you work on your own vehicle, you need to let your car cool down completely before working near the exhaust system. Catalytic converters get very hot, as hot as 1800 degrees, and any burn sustained from touching a hot converter can be very dangerous, even deadly. Motorists have also learned that a catalytic converter can be a fire hazard. For the past three decades police and fire department reports have indicated that many car fires have been started because a motorist parked their car over dry leaves. Even when the engine is off the hot converter can drop a spark which can ignite leaves underneath. If that happens, your car can be engulfed in mere minutes and destroyed by the conflagration.

There are also hazards that occur to the catalytic converter itself. Because the unit burns at such hot temperatures, catalytic converters can suffer rapid thermal deactivation. Some experts suggest switching to synthetic engine oil to help reduce phosphorous contaminants a known contributor to catalytic converter failure. No, you cannot legally remove your catalytic converter as you may become subject to stiff fines and penalties. Yes, if your car was built before 1975, none of these concerns matter to ou so enjoy your classic and let her rip without pollution controls holding you back!



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Understanding laser hair removal

If you have heard about laser hair removal, then you are likely to be one of the many that believe it is an easy way to get rid of unwanted hair. Although many people do find great success with the treatments, others will need several to succeed. And, there is no real way to know how you will react to the laser treatment until you have it. Who Should Have It? The ideal candidate for laser hair removal is the person who has dark colored hair. The darker the hair the more likely it is that the laser can remove it permanently. With that goes the pigment color of the skin. Individuals who have a dark complexion will not be ideal candidates because the hair is harder to see. Light skin, dark hair is the best situation to find yourself in. You will also need to have a good budget. Sessions of laser hair removal can last upwards of several hours and will require several thousand dollars to complete. If you need multiple treatments, that too can become even more costly. The average is four visits per person. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair color. You will need the melanin to be able to absorb the energy from the laser and then incorporate the heat into the follicle. The heat will actually kill off the follicle, making it impossible for hair to re-grow. Also, those who have a dark colored skin tone have more melanin, it is necessary to insure that the process will still work well. To help this, a cold compress will be used to keep the affected area cool. The laser will not target the cold areas which are important for it to work properly. The skin can be kept cool in another way as well. This is multi pulsing laser technology. Laser energy is pulsed or interrupted, rather than streamed. That means there is less heat which helps to cool and at the same time, protect the skin. Other laser removal devices include: Alexandrite, a long pulse laser; Diode, which generally is used on darker skin; Q-Switched Nd:YAG, which delivers two wavelengths that work on both deep and near-surface follicles; and Ruby, that as the name implies, consists of red laser beams capable of targeting melanin. There are a number of excellent resources on the internet that will help you to discover why or why not laser hair removal is the right solution for you.



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Using business computing to grow your company or get your new company off to the right start for the new year

Well the end of another year is nearly here and hopefully for all you businesses owners it has been a very good year. If it has been a very good year for your business then after your done patting yourself on the back for a job well done it might be time to take a look at how your going to improve you business over all and how you might want to change or improve your business computing and processes so that you can grow you business even more in the coming year. If you’re a new startup company then hold on because besides making suggestions for existing companies I am also going to give some good ideas to research for your new business as well that might just help your business get off to the right start for business computing and Information Technology. Even if your company did not have a good year then maybe this article will give you some ideas to research or think about that might turn your business around. To start if you have been in business for a few years and your business is starting to experience good grow and profits then it might be time to review the office and computer equipment that you have on hand. Is the equipment new or over 3 to 4 years old and how did some of the office equipment impact your bottom line last year.

For example did that old printer need to be serviced a lot or jam or break down a lot costing you productivity and expenses to have someone fix it all the time. If this is an issue then it might just be time to get a replacement for your office. Like all office equipment printers will needed to be replaced you should evaluate just how much all the down time and service cost was for that printer and then look a cost for good replacement you might be surprised that getting a new printer might actually save your business money over time. Even if you paid for printing services you might want to review the cost and see if investing in printer will save you money. Another good example would be if some of your employees are using older computer that take longer to process data and job task. Again if you think about cost in man hours and delay you might find it is costing you more then a good replacement computer for those people. Alright you looked at your office and all the equipment and your really don’t find any old equipment that is causing problem as matter of fact your office is running pretty good. Then if your company does not have a presents on the web maybe it is time to look at investing in setting up a web link and resource for your company.

The same goes for startup companies since this can be low cost although it can also become expensive if you pay for different services to promote your business but it can really promote your business. Think about it this way by having a webpage for your business you have a good way to show your customers and business partners the great products and services that your company offers. I will be posting a new article that will discuss more about putting your business on the web in a few days. Another thing that you can look at improving or changing is servers if you have them. If you have 2 or 10 servers that have been running for sometime then maybe this might be a good time to upgrade them by adding storage capacity or even replacing them with more efficient ones. Servers can be one the most expensive investment but they usually will last sometime before you have to replace them. Another item you might want to look at is your computer networking. If your company is running a T1 or just a DSL line you might want to look at expanding it especially if your company is expanding and is send more data and information or doing more online research.

Also if your office is growing in size and you might have to upgrade your network switch especially if you noted serious slow downs. Another thing to think with company networking is security and firewalls which is an item that you might think about to help protect your growing company. Also don’t forget another great investment is backup equipment and software after all backing up your data can save you in the long run and keeps your vital business records safe even if a main computer crashes that had customer or project data on it with backups you can quickly recover afterward. The last item to look at is software and tools that you run for you business. Maybe it is time to upgrade or invest in some new software tools that will help you increase productivity or help you attract new customers. The investment in the right software tools could really add to your business help you attract new customers. A good example is if you company runs Pro-E tools for mechanical design only then you might want to also add some other tools such as Cad tools to do designs. If you notice that a lot customer wanted some Cad designs as well as Pro-E layouts then you just added to the service you can provide to existing customer and you might find new customers that only want the new Cad designs services so you have just expanded your business just by adding one software tool.

This is just an example of how one software tool can add to your business before you invest in a new tool be sure that the cost is worth the investment and it adds to your business. In conclusion business computing improvements to your business by adding to productivity and efficiency of the day to day operations and can help you take on more clients and over all help you build your business. Hopefully this article has been informative and helpful to you. If you’re looking for more Business computing information and solutions then be sure to check our website listed below.



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Starbucks china blend a slam dunk grande

Admittedly, there are few genuine “can’t miss” propositions. But I’ve got one for you, Starbucks in China. Giant corporations being granted carte blanche in a totalitarian environment are reminiscent of an age when kings granted exclusive licensing for fur trapping. Starbucks has the product, the relationships, and with some nimble campaigning they’ll have the ubiquitous branding in no time. It will be game, set, match – if it isn’t already.

China is the emerging powerhouse economy in the world today, but it is not a free-for-all for foreign companies. Many companies, in America and elsewhere, would maintain it to be quite the opposite. China has garnered a reputation for being rather lax in its enforcement of intellectual property laws. Tech companies in particular, such as Microsoft, have been frustrated in seeing their handiwork pirated in China. You may add golf club manufacturers, music companies, movie studios and any number of industries to the list of the aggrieved. And then there’s Starbucks, our giant American caffeinery. I’m looking at a franchise right now from my office at ICMediaDirect.

com in the Empire State Building. It’s always busy, filled with sightseers. Did you know that there’s a franchise at the Great Wall? Were you aware that Starbucks announced an opening of one of their stores in Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Chinese were furious? They initially resisted, but quickly got used to it? (I guess the Chinese are just like everyone else.) What does Starbucks have that Calloway Golf doesn’t in order to do business like this? A product that you can’t reproduce, that’s what. You can’t fake coffee beans en masse. That’s the cornerstone that guarantees Starbucks success in mainland China. Their CEO, Howard Schultz, has declared China to be their “number one priority” in terms of growth. Schultz and Starbucks aren’t shy about their Chinese ambitions. Currently they have about 11,000 stores in 37 countries, including about 375 in China. By 2008 Starbucks expects to derive 20% of their revenue from Chinese locations. Starbucks has a long-term goal of 30,000 stores and some 8,000 in China. This is a ramp-up of truly gigantic proportions. Remember, China is, perhaps in name only, a Communist country. While some of the communist economic policies may have fallen by the wayside, the ministers in Beijing have tightly clung to their power. Starbucks has been fully waved in, green lights, red carpet, welcome wagons – the works. This isn’t because they think the CEO is a nice guy, but because their product, its distribution channels and everything can’t be copied. I could hem and haw all day about this, but there’s more proof that the fix is in on behalf of the Seattle based coffee chain. In recent weeks Starbucks has won not one, but two lawsuits in China protecting its intellectual property. Some enterprising, and certainly observant, locals decided to copy elements of Starbucks brand and serve coffee themselves to their fellow countrymen. No dice. Chinese courts ruled in favor of Starbucks. I wonder if the local coffee merchant thought he had a chance? Did the Chinese judge think long and hard about the various merits each side had? Were economic ministers in Beijing curious as to how this case would turn? There was no drama. An accomplished CEO like Schultz wouldn’t publicly refer to such lofty goals to succeed in countries like China without knowing he could reach it beforehand. Somebody in Beijing likes them, or again, likes the revenue they generate. It reminds me of a book I recently read on the infamous pirate Captain Kidd. In short, the English crown hired Kidd to rob pirate fleets for profit. While he was at sea, the winds of political change shifted somewhat and he became a scapegoat – his “trial” was a farce. The powers that be needed a quick conviction and Kidd paid with his life. Perhaps the stakes were not as great, but the outcome was just as assured when China ruled in favor of Starbucks against local knockoffs. Okay, so Starbucks has the quality coffee and international distribution channels down, they’ve got a golden okay from Beijing, now all they have to do is convince a country with 5,000 years of tea drinking experience that there’s something new, something different – called coffee. This calls for branding. China is moving towards Westernization, or a more capitalist economy. The growing appetites and expectations of a consumer driven society make the task of Starbucks task easier, especially since their competition is negligible. With the appropriate deals struck in Beijing, it’s now time for Starbucks to sell themselves to the Chinese people. Here’s how they’ll win: • They are aiming at the young urban Chinese demographic, and store locations are comfortable and offer a social setting – a welcome break from cramped apartments. • Starbucks locations will serve as Internet user hubs, where socializing and downloading music will be central to the Starbucks Experience. Advertising agencies, like ICMediaDirect. com, will be running seasonal online campaigns (similar to this past Christmas season’s Red Cup campaign in the US) for Starbucks in order to associate the chain with what’s hip. Crossing Medias like music downloads and entertainment websites will be crucial. • There is a consumer consciousness that’s new to capitalist cultures (never leaves, actually) emerging in China that’s similar to Russia. Coffee will be the drink of change and through multimedia branding with governmental support; this idea will be solidly reinforced. I don’t push stocks. I don’t preach politics. I’m not searching for justice or defending oppressors. But there is one thing I know – Starbucks can’t miss. Joseph Pratt Media Analyst ICMediaDirect. com http:// icmediadirect. com e: joseph@icmediadirect. com



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Supercharged secret 2 credit card utopia

INTEREST BEWARE, THERE’S SAFETY IN NUMBERS! Note: The following is part 2 of a 5 part series, Over the course of these 5 articles, I am going to introduce you to several methods for maximizing the use and benefits of the best Credit Cards and offers on the market today. This information, when used in conjunction with one another, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. I like to call this approach, the “5 SuperCharged Secrets to Credit Card Utopia.” SECRET 1: I AM THE CONSUMER. AND I HAVE LOW-RATE SUPER-POWERS! SECRET 2: INTEREST BEWARE, THERE’S SAFETY IN NUMBERS! SECRET 3: TURBO-CHARGED KILLER RATE SAVING INFORMATION! SECRET 4: YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, AND I’LL BUY SOME MORE BEER! SECRET 5: LIVING IN CREDIT CARD UTOPIA Without further Ado, let’s continue with Secret #2: SECRET 2: INTEREST BEWARE, THERE’S SAFETY IN NUMBERS! 1) This secret method isn’t for everyone. I would venture to say that this turbo-charged low rate secret is really for those with reasonably good credit. But with that said, you may have good ENOUGH credit, and it doesn’t hurt to TRY. If you don’t succeed, then you’ve been blessed with the one thing most people don’t have, and that’s a GOAL… You know what you want, better credit, and there are TONS of resources out there to help you get from point A to point B, much faster then you can imagine. When you get there, this method is for you for sure! Work towards this! It’s worth it. 2) If you have pretty good credit, it’s time to use it to your MAXIMUM ADVANTAGE. Do you like to shop at Costco®? I do. I LOVE shopping at Costco®. I know it costs me a membership fee every year, but I save money like CRAZY! Why? Because Costco® can buy in bulk, and get huge deals from their merchants. You see, there’s safety in numbers. Costco® Members enjoy the benefit of pooling together their buying power, and extracting huge savings from vendors and suppliers. 3) And here we go! Secret #2 revealed: Take that concept, and apply it to Credit Cards! Interest Rates beware, because there’s safety in numbers! I’m talking about the big BLUE! I’m talking about American Express®. Now, most of us who have not yet climbed on board to AMEX® are comfy with having a Visa®/MasterCard® in our wallets. I know. I was one of you at one time. You think it’s better, because Visa®/MasterCard® are more widely accepted. Right? I’ll grant you that in some smaller “ma/pa” operations, you may not be able to swipe your BLUE. But other than that, AMEX® is widely, widely accepted everywhere…Worldwide. 4) Go check it out for yourself. AMEX® is generally available at all nationwide chains like department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and many, many other fine establishments. My wife and I spend money, just like you do. We use AMEX® as much as we can, and we don’t have a problem with the ability to swipe it virtually everywhere. 5) I believe, firmly, American Express® is using the concept of pooled membership, to give you KILLER interest Rates, and amazing perks too. I believe that the benefit of this pooled power is passed on to you, as a member of American Express®. How do I know this? Because I’m a member, and I can attest that the interest rates are low, low, low! For example, as of today’s date, my American Express® Blue (no annual fee, by the way) is carrying a 9% interest rate (I also get balance transfer checks all the time…See Secret 1.) 6) Are there lower rates out there? Well, maybe. But, I don’t care. I like the fact that I don’t have to go shopping for a low rate. I just KNOW that American Express® IS the lowest, if not one of the lowest. It’s just so much less work for me as a consumer, to be a member of AMEX®. No more shopping around. 7) Go with the Credit Card Company that takes care of the CONSUMER FIRST! . I don’t mean to sound like a commercial. I also have a Citibank®, and other fine credit cards in my wallet, and our website provides information on ALL major credit card companies, not just AMEX®, so I have no vested interest in one over another. But the secret knowledge here is that American Express® seems to have the BUYING POWER to consistently give consumers some of the lowest interest rates on the market, and that’s what makes them the BEST. 8) Check it out for yourself. Do your own research. Don’t rely solely on this writer’s testimony. Go look around. Compare all the benefits, and the rates, and the rewards programs, and you’ll see. AMEX® has no competition. Not for the consumer, anyway. And in Credit Card Utopia, we always go with the best. As powerful consumers, we come first. We NEVER settle for less. We’ve enjoyed providing this information to you, and we wish you the best of luck in your pursuits. Remember to always seek out good advice from those you trust, and never turn your back on your own common sense. Publisher’s Directions: This article may be freely distributed so long as the copyright, author’s information, disclaimer, and an active link (where possible) are included. Disclaimer: Statements and opinions expressed in the articles, reviews and other materials herein are those of the authors. While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. The author will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.



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Internet scams add to worries of online banks

The advent of the Internet has been a huge boon to the banking industry. Long concerned about the costs of doing business, banks have quickly embraced the Internet as a way of doing business with their customers without having to pay employees to handle the transactions. The Internet is open for business 24 hours a day and a "teller" is always on call in the form of a fully automated system. Unfortunately, certain clever criminals have made the very notion of online banking inherently risky. Using a system known as "phishing", these unscrupulous types have sent out millions of e-mail messages that appear to be from legitimate banking institutions, asking customers for personal information, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. Many people have replied to these messages without realizing that they are not from their bank, but from someone who wants to steal information from them.

An even worse problem is that of "pharming" where malicious code directs customers who are trying to find a bank's Website to a site that the criminals have set up that looks just like the real one. This one, however, is only there to steal information. This has led to some customers losing money, as the crooks have been able to infiltrate their bank accounts using the stolen information. An even worse outcome is that there is not a bit more unease among all consumers about engaging in financial transactions online. There are a number of solutions in the works. Some of them involve more detailed questions of customers as the log in, so that their identities can be more accurately confirmed and so that the customers can be assured that they are at the right Website. The hardware solutions are more effective, as they require that the customer use a physical device to connect, such as a card that displays a number that changes once a minute that only the real bank's server knows. The problems with these solutions are cost and the problem of physically distributing the devices to the public.

Internet commerce is still in its youth, and these problems will eventually go away as the entire system becomes more sophisticated. In the meantime, customers who bank online should make a habit of becoming more cautions as they use the Web for financial purposes.



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Oracle e business suite development new technologies

We have already talked about the importance of Java Technologies at “Oracle E-Business Suite Customization: New Directions”. Not only for Oracle Company itself, but also for the Oracle E-Business customers, whose investments must be preserved. Now we present tools and frameworks, you will use if you intend to develop in Java: • Java Language Itself: is an object oriented language, so if you are not used with this paradigm, we strongly advice you to study this already established paradigm. To develop in Java you will use a lot of standards and libraries, they are known by its name, J2ME, J2SE and J2EE, to portable, standard and enterprise applications respectively; • JDeveloper: is an integrated development environment (IDE) built in Java for Java development. It is complete considering the development life cycle, so you can model, code, debug, test and deploy. It is prepared for Web, XML, Web Services, SQL, J2EE and Oracle ADF development. Provide built-in features for open sources tools and frameworks, such as Struts, Ant, JUnit and CVS. According to Oracle, JDeveloper is the tool of choice for Forms, Reports and Designer customers because it carries a similar development model. • Struts: is a java framework considered a de facto standard to build web applications. Struts is a solution to organize what was happing when people used Java Servlets and JSP freely. Struts implements the MVC (Model / View / Controller) pattern, so you might separate business logic (Model) from web application flow of control (Controller) and JSP/html code (View). • J2EE: is an architecture to define standards to solve enterprise level problems, like persistence, scalability, availability, security, distributed computing, etc. This standard should be followed by application server vendors, so a J2EE application would run on any J2EE application server complaint, like Oracle OC4J (OAS), IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, JBoss, etc. It is not a simple architecture to solve a simple problem. Get ready to study and understand the complexity of enterprise programming (we will deal with this matter on others papers to help you). • EJB: is a J2EE standard to define components to write business logic at the server side (Session Beans), to define a domain layer to access data (Entity Beans) and to deal with asynchronous and queuing messages (Message Driven Beans). The last EJB standard release (the 3.0), not commonly used yet, became much easier to develop with. The previous one (the 2.0 and 2.1) should be used with a series of design patterns to solve common problems, what make the code not so easy to program and understand. The first one (the 1.0 and 1.1) was useless to enterprise level development; it did not implement even a one to many relationship. • Oracle ADF: according to Oracle, ADF is an application development framework design to simplify J2EE development and bring productivity and ease of use of Oracle forms to the J2EE platform. ADF with JDeveloper is the best choice for Oracle E-Business Suite, because Oracle made this environment familiar to Oracle Forms, Reports and Designer developers. Next papers we go deeper about J2EE and Oracle E-Business Suite Development. If you need help, give us a call: 1-866-528-0577, 1-630-961-5918, help@albaspectrum. com



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Repair a scratched cd or dvd with household items

If you’re having problems getting a CD to work in your computer because it’s scratched, there are some easy solutions. First, try cleaning the CD with a little dish detergent. Use your finger to gently rub the detergent on the CD and coat it real good. Don’t use a cloth, it can make more scratches and defeat your purpose. Rinse it off well with water and try the CD in the drive again.

If you are still getting read errors due to the scratches, then it’s time for the unlikely solution: toothpaste. Yep, you read it right. Put a little toothpaste on a Q-tip and polish the scratched area until they disappear or until they can’t get any smoother. Then wash the CD in water. That should hopefully fix it. If not, just retry polishing with toothpaste. If a few cleanings do not solve the problem, then try a metal polish such as Brasso in the same manner as the toothpaste. There is also a solution that involves gently rubbing Vaseline on the CD from the center outward. But I’m of the opinion if it goes that far and the CD still can’t be read, then it’s time to trash it. Something else to consider: If your CD drive has trouble reading CD’s or DVD’s that aren’t scratched, then you need to clean the drive’s laser lens. You’ll need a CD/DVD-Player Laser-Lens Cleaner for that. They can be purchased at any computer store and even Wal-Mart.



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Debt consolidation services and information

The Fundamentals of Available Debt Consolidation Services Owing large sums on your credit cards and other bills is a very stressful situation. Every dime of your paycheck is allocated before you even cash it, you have collection agencies calling you both at home and at work, and you constantly have to worry about making ends meet. Worst of all, with the incredibly high interest rates you're paying, it could conceivably take 15 years or more to pay off the amount you owe. But you could change all of that right now by taking advantage of debt consolidation services. Debt consolidation services are designed to help get you back on your feet quickly. Although the specifics vary depending on the nature and extent of your financial troubles as well as the debt settlement or credit counseling company you sign up with, most debt consolidation services operate to get you out of debt fast. The debt relief provider will review the details of your financial picture and explain if, how, and where they can save you money. If you like what you hear and if you agree to pay the fees they charge for their debt consolidation services, the company will go to work on your case. If you choose a debt settlement company, you may get negotiated settlements on your credit card debts at significant savings to your current balances. Debt settlement lets you lower your monthly payment (sometimes cutting payments in half), get debt free fast, save up to half of what you owe, and avoid bankruptcy. Sound too good to be true? Well, there is a trade-off in a debt settlement program: your credit rating will take a hit, since you will be reported as delinquent during the life of the program (average time is three years). On the other hand, credit counseling doesn’t impact your credit score. But beware, credit counseling will be listed on your credit report, and many lenders do not like to see that you had to seek third party help for your debts. The big benefit of credit counseling is reduced interest rates on your debts… which lowers your monthly payments. Another benefit you'll get from any debt consolidation service is the ability to make a single payment each month to pay down all your bills, rather than having to juggle ten or more payments on your own. This will be much more convenient for you, and you'll always be right on top of your payment, rather than worrying about whether you sent out all the bills on time. Many companies that offer debt consolidation services can also help you get a loan to pay off your balances. The loans can either be secured or unsecured. A secured loan typically uses real estate as collateral, so you can only get this kind if you own a home or other property. If you're a renter, you would have to get an unsecured, or personal, loan. Since you wouldn't be putting up any collateral for this loan, however, you can expect to pay higher interest rates than on a secured loan. As you can see, debt consolidation services provide you with a lot of options to choose from. A good debt consultant can walk through all of your alternatives, and help you select the solution that meets your financial goals. By taking advantage of professional debt consolidation services, you'll be able to regain control of your personal finances and end your money troubles for good.



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Increase your trading profits

Do You Want Increased Profits? Then Go After Decreased Losses! Hello, this is Bob Eldridge and I'd like to share with you a frequently overlooked source of profits from your trading. It's a simple concept yet so very important if you expect to be able to continue trading for any length of time! The concept is that of controlling both the number of losses you have and the dollar amount of those losses. I realize that statement sounds so obvious that you might be tempted to put this article away in favor of a night of bad television, but please stick with me here. I'll share some things with you that you probably don't expect to find here! To better visualize the concept I'm describing, picture a large washtub, the kind you probably remember from your childhood. Now imagine the difficulty of filling the washtub if it has several 'six-inch' holes in the bottom! No matter HOW MANY garden hoses you have filling it up, the water is running out faster than it's going in!! Now imagine plugging each of the holes, one at a time.

Plug the first one and the difference is almost imperceptible. Plug the second hole and you begin to notice that there is less water splashing on the ground. Plug the third and you actually may see the water level in the tub begin to rise ... just slightly, perhaps, but rise nonetheless!

Plug ALL the holes but one and the difference becomes measurable! Now that you're down to one hole, let's begin to repair it a piece at a time. First we cover HALF the hole ... while the tub still leaks, you can now tell there's more water going INTO the tub than running out the bottom. Patch half the remaining leak and you begin to adapt to the idea that it's OKAY if a little water comes out, just as long as there's more going in than coming out! Our trading accounts are something like that. Most new traders have HUGE trading account "holes" and the money is draining out faster than they can replace it! No matter how profitable they are on some of thier trades, they just seem to give it all BACK! If we're smart about our trading when we notice that, we'll STOP trading until we find the challenge and FIX it! What I'm describing are the DIRECT results of FOCUSING on the profits and almost totally forgetting about controlling the losses. There are many reasons for that but despite the reason, the results are the same. Left unchecked, such a situation will take us totally out of the trading business in a very short period of time! Does this describe you and your trading account? Would you like to know how to 'FIX' it? Let me share with you four RULES for trading which directly address losses and if followed, can 'plug' many of your profit leaks! RULE 1. Wait for the stock to CONFIRM the anticipated direction before entering the trade This rule can decrease the NUMBER of losses you experience. As simple as that sounds, it's one of the most often violated principles of good trading habits. So often is this rule broken that we are all familiar with cute little descriptions such as "catching a falling piano", or "reaching for a falling knife." What you use for this confirmation is your own affair; price rise or fall, momentum, frequency of trades or bid / ask "size" are just a few ways. Personally I combine them all (more or less), developing a 'feeling' about the confirmation, rather than a measurable quantity. However you choose to define confirmation, let experience be your best teacher here and do NOT enter the trade until you're convinced the stock is moving your direction! RULE 2. When you are filled on the entry, place a STOP loss to minimize your potential for loss. This rule controls the AMOUNT you can lose on any one trade. I like to use about 1/2 of the stock daily movement for my stop loss amount. For example, if a stock price moves on average, say $1 every trading day, then I'll back off 1/2 of that, or 50 cents and place my stop loss there, limiting the losses possibly incurred on that trade. Whatever you use, be FAITHFUL in adhering to the protection afforded by the stop. In other words, DON'T CHANGE IT. If you're stopped, you're stopped. He who trades and runs away lives to trade another day! So much for minimizing the NUMBER and dollar amount of losses. Equally important is allowing your profits to maximize AT THE SAME TIME! Here's how to do that. RULE 3. When you become profitable in a trade, replace the stop loss with a TRAILING stop, trailing by that amount of profit. This one is so important that I believe it should be the 22nd amendment to our Constitution! Say you're up 25 cents in a trade and you have your stop loss in at 50 cents below your entry (on long positions). Replace the stop loss with a 25 cent trailing stop. At THIS point, you WORST CASE outcome for the trade is BREAKEVEN (give or take a couple of pennies)!!! In my live trading lab on my website, I often refer to this as the MAGIC point in the trade. You have virtually NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to gain from that point on! Finally, for the 'do-it-yourself - traders ... RULE 4. Leave the trade alone from this point on! The market overall will do a much better job of managing the trade (with the above rules observed) than you or I EVER could! Once you've reached the MAGIC POINT in your trade, just go away and do something else. Your trade is on autopilot! I'm glad to have been able to spend the last few minutes sharing this with you. I hope it helps you to trade more profitably!! Bob with Better Trades



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How to choose the best golf school

More people are becoming enamored with watching and playing golf. Even children are taking to this laidback sport that has become a household word, thanks to Tiger Woods and other famous and charismatic golfers. Most people find golf interesting because it gives them a chance to indulge in sports while keeping themselves physically fit at the same time. True enough; golfers prefer to walk the greens than take a ride in one of those fancy golf carts. A person who wants to learn how to play golf should get the services of a good trainer. Even people who already know how to play golf will benefit from the experience of a good trainer.

All golf enthusiasts should start with the basic know how of playing golf and this can be best learned through a golf school. A good golf school can make the difference in a golfer’s future playing style and performance. A person who wants to play golf professionally should avail of the training of a golf school. There are various golf schools but choosing the perfect golf school depends on the player’s preferences. However there are basic factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a golf school. The first rule is to always check out the golf school before enrolling in any of their golf courses or trainings. This way, you avoid wasting your money and your effort when you find out later that you have made the wrong choice. Majority of the people who want to enroll in a golf school either want to learn how to play golf or improve their existing skills. The primary consideration should thus be the reputation and the ability of the instructors in the golf school.

Good instructors will help you learn hgolf or improve your skills in playing gold. An inept instructor will only make you a worse player than you already are. It is also advisable to ask if the sessions are individual or in group because you might want to get the full attention of the instructor if you are a beginner. Also ask for the qualification of the instructors to help you decide in choosing the best golf school. The popularity of golf has made possible the proliferation of golf schools and you can find them anywhere, even through the internet. It is easier to get information on the golf schools and their courses through the internet because you only need to do computer research unlike visiting them physically and getting the information you need one at a time. Enrolling in a golf school will cost you money so you should make sure that you make time for the lessons or that the training schedule coincides with your free time. This way you get the most of your money and at the same time learn a new sport or improve skills you have already acquired.



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Hair weaving and hair grafting

What is hair weaving? It’s the science of weaving or braiding human or synthetic hair to the roots of existing, healthy hair so that it grows along with natural hair, thus giving the impression of a thick growth. It’s also called hair integration or hair intensification. It’s a procedure appropriate for people with thinning hair. It’s not something that requires a hospital visit; it’s usually done in salons as a temporary procedure. How does it work? Two or three shafts of hair natural or synthetic are woven into the root area. Some of the natural hair is woven or braided together to act as an anchor, to which the add-on tufts are sewn, woven, knitted or glued.

The extensions have to be repositioned every five or six weeks as the natural hair grows out. Sounds Complex. It is. Apart from the sheer tedium of repeated ‘surgeries’, the procedure stresses the existing hair as well. Also, keeping the scalp and hair clean is a problem, as vigorous washing could loosen the new hair. The American Hair Loss Council advises the procedure only for people with plenty of healthy hair, and that too, for periods not longer than a few weeks. A patch test is essential to ensure the person undergoing the procedure is not allergic to any of the adhesives or implants used. Implants for the hair A non-surgical implant is the dressed-up term now used for a simple procedure that has been upgraded over the years. Actually, a non surgical implant describes the attachment of a hair system to existing hair with surgical glue, and subsequent trimming to ensure the add-ons blend with natural hair. What about more long-term solutions? Hair Graft. This is the most popular surgical method, but it can be done only on people who are partially bald. The results are permanent and can be achieved in four or five sittings. The procedure involves removing hair follicles from the back of the head (where the growth is the most persistent) and implanting them on the pate. This hair grows naturally, requiring no follow-up action. It’ll never resemble a thick mane, but it’s presentable. Tissue Expansion It involves implanting silicon balloons with hair bearing skin on either side of the head. The implants are inside the skin over the ears so that the hair bearing part of the head expands. The expansions are then re-grafted in front of the head, so the hair appears to grow naturally from there. This calls for two surgical procedures, one at the time of implantation and the other for re-grafting. Any drawbacks to the surgical procedures? There may be swelling, bruising or mild pain inhibiting normal activity for a couple of days after the procedure. There may also be numbness on the back of the neck, from where a strip of skin is removed. Also, it’s important to remember that individual hair types and characteristics - such as wavy or curly hair - affect the results.



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7 ways to grow flowers

Flowering landscape trees are the crown jewels of the yard. Perhaps no other plants, individually, can have as great an impact on how a yard looks in spring. Browse the articles to which I've linked below for information on particular varieties of flowering landscape trees. Pictures are included. Crape Myrtles: Landscape Trees of the South A popular choice in flowering landscape trees for Southerners, crape myrtles have a long blooming period (mid-summer to fall). The blooming clusters of these flowering landscape trees come in pink, white, red and lavender. The clusters appear on the tips of new wood. Northerners can sometimes get away with treating these flowering landscape trees as perennials that die back in winter but come back in spring. Trees Not all specimens with a weeping habit are flowering landscape trees, but this article looks at several weeping varieties that do bloom, headed by four types of cherry. Saucer Magnolias The size and shape of the blooms are what suggested the common name for these flowering landscape trees. Want a specimen with a brilliant bloom as big as a saucer? Access information on these beauties here. Rose of Sharon Although some people think of it as a landscape "tree" (because it gets tall and can be pruned so as to have a single trunk), rose of sharon is, in fact, a flowering shrub. The fact that it blooms relatively late -- and for a long time -- makes it a valuable plant for those looking to distribute their yard's color display throughout the growing season. Top 10 List of Flowering Landscape Trees and Shrubs for Spring | This article features information on ten flowering landscape trees and shrubs that brighten our spring seasons. Included are redbud, callery pear and crabapple. Hawthorn: Late-Blooming Landscape Trees This article offers information on Washington hawthorn trees, which are perhaps most valued for the time at which they bloom (late spring to early summer). Many of the popular flowering specimens bloom earlier in the spring, and while their blossoms are pleasant sights for eyes sore from winter's barrenness, they desert us too quickly!



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Living with food allergies

Odds are good that you know someone who suffers from food allergies – possibly a mild aversion to nuts, dairy, eggs, fish or some other food. You may even know someone who suffers from extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, and must carry an epinephrine injector with them at all times in case of such a reaction. But if you yourself suffer from food allergies, then you know firsthand the challenges of avoiding one or many kinds of foods, particularly in a society of refined food products that may often include all of the items you are allergic to even in a case where this seems unlikely. This difficulty is compounded by the ambiguous ingredient listings which are often included on foods, with names such as "natural and artificial flavorings". As a way of helping consumers to deal with the sometimes unclear ingredient list on food products, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect on January 1 of 2006. This law mandates that food manufacturers declare when any one of the eight major allergens (milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, peanuts, crustaceans) are present in a food product. As such, if a product that you are examining on the shelf was packaged before January 1, it may not include the full declaration of allergenic substances. That situation becomes increasingly unlikely as time goes on, however many products now have extremely long shelf lives – there may be product sitting on shelves for some time which was manufactured before the New Year.

When preparing foods if you or someone else in your family (or at an event) suffer from food allergies, be sure to pay close attention to the ingredients in anything that you use, as well as to use clean utensils to prevent the possibility of contamination from a previous usage. Learn the specific scientific names for allergens, such as casein (allergen in milk)so that you know what to look for when examining labels. Living with food allergies is not easy, but with some effort you can avoid putting yourself or you allergy-suffering loved ones at risk.



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Treating dyslipidemia in old age

As the percentage of elderly people in the United States continues to grow faster than any other age group, the incidence of CVD grows too. According to Kannel , 1 CVD accounts for 58% of the mortality in persons >85 years, and the incidence of atherosclerotic disease in persons >65 years is more than double that in middle-aged persons. Can anything be done to reduce fatal CVD in a population exposed to a lifetime of CV risk factors? Despite skepticism from some physicians, Kannel thinks CV risk can be reduced in this population (see below); he cites studies showing that correction of hypertension and dyslipidemia reduces morbidity and mortality in both middle-aged and elderly people. The effectiveness of other measures has not been established but appears to warrant investigation, including: reducing homocysteine levels reducing fibrinogen levels smoking cessation exercise weight reduction Implications of Dyslipidemia in older populations: About 25% of men and 42% of women >65 years have serum TC levels >240 mg/dL, the level at which NCEP ATP-II guidelines recommend treatment. 2 Citing the Framingham Heart Study, Kannel notes that the median serum TC at which coronary events occurred was only 221 mg/dL in men and 246 mg/dL in women, leading to the conclusion that 50% or more coronary events in the elderly can be expected to occur at cholesterol levels below those recommended by NCEP ATP-II for initiating treatment. 1 What should the clinician look for? Although total blood lipids measured after age 65 have not been consistently found to correlate with the development of coronary disease or the occurrence of strokes, when cholesterol fractions other than TC are evaluated, positive relations have been found: for example, the TC:HDL-C ratio efficiently predicts CHD in the elderly as well as the middle-aged. 1 According to NCEP guidelines, patients should not be excluded from consideration from lipid-regulating therapy on the basis of age alone, although quality-of-life issues acquire special importance in managing older patients. Because both dietary and drug therapy have additional clinical implications for older patients, treatment of the elderly should be individualized. Are older patients getting adequate treatment? Although the use of pharmacologic cholesterol lowering in middle-aged patients is generally accepted and is increasingly utilized, patients aged 65 to 75 who have a history of CHD and might benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs are generally undertreated or not treated at all, according to a recent CHS report by Lemaitre et al. 3 The CHS was designed to investigate risk factors for CHD in men and women aged 65 and older (see below). It also provided an opportunity to examine the impact of the NCEP guidelines on physicians' prescribing patterns for elderly patients.



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Is a new poker table on the cards

In this context, a poker table is any table which is dedicated to card game playing. They come in a few different shapes and types, but generally attempt to emulate the effect of the card tables found in a casino. Depending on what you're looking for, you can spend less than a hundred American dollars, or well over a thousand. If you're looking at poker tables for sale and you want something of fairly high quality, but your budget doesn't stretch that far, there are still options available to you too. The classic style poker tables are large oblong tables that can usually seat somewhere between four and eight players. They have straight sides, capped with roughly semi-circular ends, having a white padded border about 8” wide running around the outer edge, on which players would typically rest their arms or hands. The poker table top is a soft felt, usually a green similar to pool table material, but sometimes black, red, or other colors. An average example of one of these tables costs somewhere in the $200 to $350 bracket, with features like ease of assembly, quality of workmanship and materials, and the inclusion of extras like a footrest bar running around the legs for the more expensive models. If you are looking for a table of the finest quality and construction then you can pay more than $1000, which will give you a very impressive table. Due to the size and cost of these tables they are often not a feasible solution for your average Friday-night card player. This is where folding poker tables come into play. Folding poker tables are usually smaller and less expensive than the “professional” style mentioned above, but the principle is the same. Usually hexagonal or octagonal in shape, they have a felt surface sometimes including markings for placing players' chips and the deck, and so on. The legs will fold easily away, allowing the table to be stored flat when not in use. These tables are not necessarily low in quality, nor are they always small. Small such tables can be found for between $50 and $150 and larger ones can be as much as $350. It is also possible to find very good quality collapsible poker tables built to the oblong shape mentioned above which may cost more still. As the cheaper folding tables are not usually used by “pro” players, you can often find poker chips and tables bundled as a single package, which may be cost effective if you're happy with what they're offering. An alternative to a full table is a poker table top. This is essentially just the crucial top part of the table that you can simply lift into place over your existing dining room table whenever you have your card games. Like the folding poker tables these are easily stored flat when not in use. If you're after a very budget-friendly solution, then consider a poker table pad, which is simply a table-cloth like pad that matches the style of a typical poker table. You simply unroll this out over your existing dining room table. One final alternative exists for those who are skilled with their hands and desire a table of the highest quality: Make your own. With the wonder that is the modern Internet you can perform a simple web search and find that there are literally dozens of poker table designs with illustrated step-by-step instructions for building your own table, all for no more than the cost of the materials and a few Sunday afternoons in the garage. The end result can be simple and pragmatic with a fairly rudimentary folding table being your end result. If you're more ambitious, and willing to spend a little more, you can be rewarded with a stunning table with lacquered wooden finish on the frame, a soft padded border, and a richly covered poker table top built to your own dimensions.



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20th century home decorating guide

The custom of appropriate and harmonious treatment of home decorating, interior decorations and suitable furniture, seems to have been in a great measure abandoned during the present century, owing perhaps to the indifference of architects of the time to this subsidiary but necessary portion of their work, or perhaps to a desire for economy, which preferred the cheapness of painted and artificially grained pine-wood, with decorative effects produced by wall papers, to the more solid but expensive though less showy wood-panelling, architectural mouldings, well-made panelled doors and chimney pieces, which one finds, down to quite the end of the last century, even in houses of moderate rentals. Furniture therefore became independent and "beginning to account herself an Art, transgressed her limits"... and "grew to the conceit that it could stand by itself, and, as well as its betters, went a way of its own." Interior Conservatory Finishing The interiors, handed over from the builder, as it were, in blank, are filled up from the upholsterer's store, the curiosity shop, and the auction room, while a large contribution from the conservatory or the nearest florist gives the finishing touch to a mixture, which characterizes the present taste for furnishing a boudoir or a drawing room. There is, of course, in very many cases an individuality gained by the "omnium gatherum" of such a mode of furnishing. The cabinet which reminds its owner of a tour in Italy, the quaint stool from Tangier, and the embroidered piano cover from Spain, are to those who travel, pleasant souvenirs; as are also the presents from friends (when they have taste and judgment), the screens and flower-stands, and the photographs, which are reminiscences of the forms and faces separated from us by distance or death. The test of the whole question of such an arrangement of furniture in our living rooms, is the amount of judgment and discretion displayed. Two favorable examples of the present fashion, representing the interior of the Saloon and Drawing Room at Sandringham House, are here reproduced. How The Gather Inheritance Influenced On The Home Decorations There is at the present time an ambition on the part of many well-to-do persons to imitate the effect produced in houses of old families where, for generations, valuable and memorable articles of decorative furniture have been accumulated, just as pictures, plate and china have been preserved; and failing the inheritance of such household gods, it is the practice to acquire, or as the modern term goes, "to collect," old furniture of different styles and periods, until the room becomes incongruous and overcrowded, an evidence of the wealth, rather than of the taste, of the owner. As it frequently happens that such collections are made very hastily, and in the brief intervals of a busy commercial or political life, the selections are not the best or most suitable; and where so much is required in a short space of time, it becomes impossible to devote a sufficient sum of money to procure a really valuable specimen of the kind desired; in its place an effective and low priced reproduction of an old pattern (with all the faults inseparable from such conditions) is added to the conglomeration of articles requiring attention, and taking up space. The limited accommodation of houses built on ground which is too valuable to allow spacious halls and large apartments, makes this want of discretion and judgment the more objectionable. There can be no doubt that want of care and restraint in the selection of furniture, by the purchasing public, affects its character, both as to design and workmanship.



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Razzle dazzle them

Once upon a time not so long ago, there was a little boy who went to the market to try to sell his wares. He wasn’t having any luck. “Who will buy my sweet red roses? Two blooms for a penny,” he sang out hauntingly. A young man came along, full of soft-spoken enthusiasm. “I can give you a great tool that will help you sell your roses. I can design this fabulous new application to help you get your message across. I can give you templates, hundreds of pretty clipart. You can create your presentations in blazingly brilliant colours with glorious animation.

I can…” “But, sir (kind knighted sir), they’re only roses…” “Ah, don’t you see. What you need are pretty pictures, snappy words. Then, you can sell anything.” The young man started singing, “If you give them a bit of the razzle dazzle. Razzle dazzle them. You’ve got to razzle dazzle them. Today the roses, tomorrow the world!” And so marked the birth of slide show presentation software. (Sorry, guys. That was just a bit of unconfirmed rumour). What is true, however, is how much slide show presentation software such as PowerPoint has revolutionised the business world. Company forecasts are now disseminated in presentations (complete with video clip, animation and sound). Staff meetings are run in slide shows. Project status meetings are driven by presentation slides. Even courtesy signs are printed using presentation software. You know the ones I mean: “Please Ensure You Have Flushed Before You Leave!” on the toilet doors and “Please clean up after yourself. Your mother does NOT work here!” over the kitchen sinks. I confess. I have cultivated a doomed PowerPoint dependency over time. I’ve spent countless hours tinkering with the graphics, experimenting with 100 shades of blue and resizing 500 different tiny icons until they were the identical size. More tragically, I’ve worked into the dead of the night typing, deleting and retyping to come up with just the right word – one that’s concise, punchy and easy on the eye. Commenced…no. On track…oooh. Ahead of schedule…hmm. Completed? YES! After all, “Preliminary high-level design specifications – Completed” is easier on the eye than “Design Specification – Commenced”. One of my corporate-ignoramis friends was not so convinced. According to her, if presentation software really was the greatest thing since sliced bread, then one must be able to do a lot more with the application. It must become an indispensable part of modern civilisation. She set me a challenge, which I accepted (all too hastily). It meant that last weekend, armed with my laptop and my all-in-one scanner-printer-copier, I made the following five things for home: I-made-it-myself I-love-you Valentines card A well-done-for-coming-second-last certificate of achievement for niece 20 copies of my-own-original-recipes booklet for Christmas presents My whole-life mission statement 10 inspirational posters to stick on the bathroom mirror, kitchen wall, toilet door… The same day I presented my 9-year-old niece with her “certificate of achievement”, she thanked me with her own presentation for me (and a very pretty and professional looking one at that). The feature slide looked like this: Why I deserve a NEW PC: Everyone else has a newer PC Kerry’s parents have just bought her a new PC Even Kerry’s little brother has a better PC I’ll do my homework on it I’ll really use it…I’ll even make slide shows with it!! It got me thinking. Somewhere along the line, we have turned everything into presentations and slides shows as though every piece of communication is a sales pitch. I suppose I’m not intrinsically against the presentation software. After all, it is just a tool – not the Devil incarnate. It is us, the intelligent users, who control the quality of our communication (with or without the aid of the presentation software). Quality comes from following the fundamentals like: keep the presentation points to the point, don’t bore the audience, don’t read from the slide, avoid excessive jargon, don’t dumb down the actual speech and, most of all, content matters. The folly lies in the well-intentioned experimenters who insist on cramming the page with either whiz-bang animations or smearing the page with linguistic tripe. Whoosh, another bullet point shoots across the page. Whoosh, I’ve forgotten what the presenter just said. So, let’s make a pact that we shall never bore each other with show-and-tell-a-thons. We shall never try to bamboozle each other with impressive looking slides. We shall never swamp presentations with meaningless graphics or management-speak jargons. We cannot let a piece of software get the better of us. In the mean time, I can’t wait for the introduction of the ‘Resume Template’. Perhaps it will come in Productivity Service Pack 143.



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The dos and donts of koi ponds wps

The Dos and Don’ts of Koi Ponds First, you must understand that Koi ponds are not just simply holes in the ground that you can keep fish in. For a Koi pond to work properly, and actually sustain fish, a number of different things must be considered when you begin planning it. A few simple rules will ensure that you do not end up with an expensive hole with dead fish. First, unless you have a large amount of knowledge in outdoor landscaping, fish keeping, and construction, it may be a good idea to leave the pond building up to a professional. While some people think that building the pond yourself with save you money, this could not be further from the case. If your pond is not build properly the first time, you will end up spending a large amount of money on fixing the problems that come up. Not only that, if your pond is not properly setup, you may not even be able to keep fish alive. Remember when you hire a professional, it is their job to give you what you want. They can give their knowledge when it comes to decision making, but ultimately, they will do whatever you want them too. Because of this, you cannot blame them if your pond fails do to location, size, or other factors. However, beware of extremely cheap quotes as they may cut corners that could potentially cause you problems later. While quotes will come in different, there should not be a very dramatic difference between them. Koi ponds, are by no means, swimming pools or animal water troughs. This is the reason why so much care must be taken in planning and building your pond. It may cost more money then building a typical swimming pool, but the rewards are much greater. Be sure to keep all children and other none fish pets out of the pond, as they can cause problems. If your children swim in your pond, not only could they cause a chemical imbalance, but they could also cause major problems such as leaks. While it is typically ok to have other pets around your Koi pond, some pets may get the idea that is fun to mess with your filtration system or chase your Koi around. Remember, the majority of Koi ponds are permanent once they are built. This means that you cannot decide in two or three weeks that you do not want you Koi pond in the front yard, that you would rather have it in the backyard. Carefully plan each and every aspect of your pond, because once it is built, there is little you can do to change it. Remember such things as size requirements, and placement. Finally, remember that maintaining a Koi pond can be a substantial amount of work. Make sure that you will have enough time to carry out the everyday needed maintenance, and remember that, like with any other pets, issues will arise that require extra special attention. Vet visits may be needed, or you may need to take some extra time out of your weekend to clear up an algae infection. Have a plan, and make sure that if you are going to be going away, make sure someone with enough knowledge to properly maintain you pond is available until you return. (word count 559)



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