Air freight shipping

Know the Costs and Know How To Save on Air Freight Shipping Air freight shipping, in most cases, is fairly complicated when it comes to pricing. But there are of course some areas when all you need is to look at the price list and voila - your parcel is already in mid air. Letters and parcels are often priced based on the weight, size and the service level the shipper chooses. These are often fixed and seldom would one find great discrepancies in pricing. But as for air freight shipping prices, it is no good to be surprised at how high one item can cost. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association has provided a system of pricing shipments known as the National Motor Freight Classification. This works on the principle of creating classes for items and for each class are some general prices. Items are basically grouped into various types to make listing easier. This grouping is based on qualifications like loadability, mixed-environment appropriateness, density and a number of other factors. In general, freight classes apply to all items - from express letters to huge machineries including helicopters and planes. Freight classes range from 50 to 500. Freight shipments are rated by means of "per one hundred pounds" parameter. However, other air freight forwarders make use of per hundred weight system and cwt. Each freight class is able to provide discounts on the base rate. Plus, there is always a discount given on the transportation rates. Nevertheless, such discounts can be set off by charges that are often treated as accesorial yet crucial to the base rate that would later come up for the shipment. The most commonly found accesorial charges and surcharges are discussed below. To save on these charges, it is best to know your grounds first and study in full the terms and conditions of air freight shipping as provided by the freight company. Lift gate - When there is no forklift or loading dock available, a lift gate service is billed to help drivers load and unload the shipments for residential pickups and deliveries or commercial pick up and deliveries. To avoid complications during the process, it is best that you notify the air freight service provider in case you see the need of a lift gate since trailers are rarely equipped with this item. Additional fees in reconfiguring routes - Most air freight shipping are designed to follow a route of some sorts. If you require the company to take another route apart from what is earlier set, they would most likely charge you with additional fees for this extra work. Extra charges on inside pick up and delivery - When you need to have your shipment picked up or delivered inside an establishment or a building, this will impede the carrier to finish his route on schedule. Thus, to set off the expenses they are likely to use, carriers will require you of some additional charges. Residential pick up and delivery - To off set the costs incurred for transferring shipments to smaller trailers, most air freight shipping companies require extra charges on residential pick ups and deliveries. This is the case since most local laws restrain larger sizes of trucks from entering residential areas. There are literally hundreds of possibilities for extra payments that would stock up on your final bill. For Less-than-Truckload and Truckload shipments, it is advisable that shippers seek for intermediaries who would not only guide them through the process but would also realize for them some forms of savings.



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Reasons for buying a car

Besides the obvious reason, transportation, are there any other pressing reasons for buying a car? Perhaps it is a necessity like requiring inexpensive transportation to and from work. Or, maybe you are a “stay at home” Mom or Dad and need a vehicle to haul children around to school and various other activities. Regardless of your reason, make certain that purchasing the car is for a valid purpose and not just because you want to outdo “The Joneses.” In this guide we will show you some of the pitfalls to avoid as well as information to make your selection much easier. The following are basic reasons you should consider when making that all important car purchase. Is it a good buy? The best time period to buy that car you have always dreamed of having is later in the month. Usually, there are numerous rebate programs and bonus offered by month’s end based on a dealer’s monthly sales quotas. The idea is that, sometimes dealers fall short of meeting their sales objectives. If their performance is assessed by the end of the month this can prove to be good news to most car buyers since dealers now have no choice but to sell vehicles at a price that is lower than their norm. They are pressed to make more sales that will count for their monthly sales and that puts you at an advantage as a buyer. Peace of mind Sometimes dealers do a song and dance routine just to make that sale. The result is that often car buyers end up with car features they realize later on they do not really need and a price they actually could not afford. You can avoid this potential stress by always remembering to trust your instincts. If ever you feel in doubt, the answer -- don’t -- do not let yourself be pressured to making that purchase now. This is a common strategy of car dealers wherein they compel the customer to buy that car, now, this moment, today! Do not forget that you should always sleep on it and then decide. This is a lot better than making your mind up now and forever holding your peace. First Impression To quote a common clichй, first impressions usually last. Though not always true, when buying cars, you could get many ideas just by observing how car sales people deal with you. Usually, these non-verbal signals are fairly correct enough enabling you to know what to expect from your car purchase. If at any time you feel that the person selling you the car is not trustworthy or simply do not like him or her, always remember that you have the option to leave. It is advisable that you do not sell yourself too much. Time is precious, especially yours. So do not waste it. You are always free to politely walk away, anytime, anywhere, and in any way you like it. But if there are not many car dealers in your area, you may want to linger for a few moments more and wait until the negotiations you have with your dealer breaks down and you simply have no option but to run off. The Invoice Price Another thing to consider when buying a car is the invoice price. Make sure to ask that you see the invoice. If dealers are working their tails off against it, you have enough reason to believe that the car being offered is an unpleasant deal. Usually, the price on the invoice is the cost the dealer paid the manufacturer for buying the car. This is before any rebates or incentives were included. Once this is known, only then will you have an idea as to how much the dealer could profit from each vehicle sold. Knowing this information could enable one to be more confident then in negotiating the price. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price In layman’s term, this is commonly called the sticker price. This is the price one usually sees in the window of the car that is being sold. Never ever consider paying the amount stated on the sticker price. This amount is just the starting point to your negotiations with the dealer. Incentives There are instances when manufacturers provide the dealers with a little something extra, like money, rebates or a bonus because they are able to sell cars that are either overstocked or undersold. Make sure that before actually purchasing a car, you were able to know if that car you are buying has some dealer incentives attached to it. If so, take off that amount from the car’s purchase price and have yourself a very good deal and hopefully, a very good car as well.



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Choosing the right repair shop

With the cost of car repair going up, choosing the right repair shop is important than ever. If you are paying a couple of hundreds of dollars to have your car repaired, you had better be sure that every dollar you've spent was really needed to repair your car and wasn't just an inflated shop's price or totally unneccessary repair. Which shop is better? The dealership? A large repair shop? A small independent shop? Each one has it's positives and negatives... Each one is under pressure to make money in order to survive... The dealership has the latest diagnostic equipment and the factory trained technicians, but the cost of labor, about $90 per hour, is not uncommon (not to mention the cost of parts...) Large repair shop. Prices are better than at the dealership, but availability of latest diagnostic equipment and factory trained technicians are in question... Small repair shop. These shops simply can't afford the investment needed to buy or rent the expensive diagnostic equipment or expensive training. Back to the original question - how to choose the right repair shop? There is no simple answer.... First of all, the shop and repair area should be clean and the shop's technicians should be ASE certified. There always be a question: how honest are shop's employees? You always need references from other people, who have used this shop before, and you always have to check with local BBB (Better Business Bureau) for complaints against this repair shop. If the nature of your car's problem has been determined, and car doesn't need any additional diagnostic, like if you need a brake job, you can go to the small independent shop if you know a good and honest mechanic there. They can do a good job and their prices are very competitive. If your car does need a diagnostic, its always better to go to the place that has the proper diagnostic equipment (not necesserally the car dealer). Read following information before you go and spend some money... Most of the cars on the road today have the OBDII - on board diagnostic system. If you have inexpensive scanner (code reader) that cost $50 - $80, you can connect this scanner to the connector below the steering column and scan on-board diagnostic computer for so-called "trouble codes." If scanner shows any trouble codes, refer to the booklet that comes with the scanner. In most cases, the booklet will give you an idea, which system is mulfunctioning. Your benefit? If you know what system is mulfunctioning, and the service advisor at the repair shop tells you that something completely different should be fixed, you know what is going on... Also, for example, if your scanner tells you that problem is your oxygen sensor. If problem is not the wire, that connects the sensor to the car's electrical system, you can call around, get prices for the part and labor, and choose a place to replace the sensor. If, after repair is done, your scanner doesn't show the oxygen sensor related trouble code, the problem was fixed! You can save a lot of money this way! Like we have said before, the inexpensive scanner (code reader) is your first line of defence against high auto repair prices and dishonest technicians... Lastly, the proper maintenance will help to minimize unexpected repairs, which will save you money!



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Sleep during infancy and childhood

SLEEP DURING INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD. During infancy. --------------- For three or four weeks after birth the infant sleeps more or less, day and night, only waking to satisfy the demands of hunger; at the expiration of this time, however, each interval of wakefulness grows longer, so that it sleeps less frequently, but for longer periods at a time. This disposition to repose in the early weeks of the infant's life must not be interfered with; but this period having expired, great care is necessary to induce regularity in its hours of sleep, otherwise too much will be taken in the day-time, and restless and disturbed nights will follow. The child should be brought into the habit of sleeping in the middle of the day, before its dinner, and for about two hours, more or less. If put to rest at a later period of the day, it will invariably cause a bad night. At first the infant should sleep with its parent. The low temperature of its body, and its small power of generating heat, render this necessary. If it should happen, however, that the child has disturbed and restless nights, it must immediately be removed to the bed and care of another female, to be brought to its mother at an early hour in the morning, for the purpose of being nursed. This is necessary for the preservation of the mother's health, which through sleepless nights would of course be soon deranged, and the infant would also suffer from the influence which such deranged health would have upon the milk. When a month or six weeks has elapsed, the child, if healthy, may sleep alone in a cradle or cot, care being taken that it has a sufficiency of clothing, that the room in which it is placed is sufficiently warm, viz. 60 degrees, and the position of the cot itself is not such as to be exposed to currents of cold air. It is essentially necessary to attend to these points, since the faculty of producing heat, and consequently the power of maintaining the temperature, is less during sleep than at any other time, and therefore exposure to cold is especially injurious. It is but too frequently the case that inflammation of some internal organ will occur under such circumstances, without the true source of the disease ever being suspected. Here, however, a frequent error must be guarded against, that of covering up the infant in its cot with too much clothing throwing over its face the muslin handkerchief and, last of all, drawing the drapery of the bed closely together. The object is to keep the infant sufficiently warm with pure air; it therefore ought to have free access to its mouth, and the atmosphere of the whole room should be kept sufficiently warm to allow the child to breathe it freely: in winter, therefore, there must always be a fire in the nursery. The child up to two years old, at least, should sleep upon a feather bed, for the reasons referred to above. The pillow, however, after the sixth month, should be made of horsehair; for at this time teething commences, and it is highly important that the head should be kept cool. During childhood. ---------------- Up to the third or fourth year the child should be permitted to sleep for an hour or so before its dinner. After this time it may gradually be discontinued; but it must be recollected, that during the whole period of childhood more sleep is required than in adult age. The child, therefore, should be put to rest every evening between seven and eight; and if it be in health it will sleep soundly until the following morning. No definite rule, however, can be laid down in reference to the number of hours of sleep to be allowed; for one will require more or less than another. Regularity as to the time of going to rest is the chief point to attend to; permit nothing to interfere with it, and then only let the child sleep without disturbance, until it awakes of its own accord on the following morning, and it will have had sufficient rest. The amount of sleep necessary to preserve health varies according to the state of the body, and the habits of the individual. Infants pass much the greater portion of their time in sleep. Children sleep twelve or fourteen hours. The schoolboy generally ten. In youth, a third part of the twenty-four hours is spent in sleep. Whilst, in advanced age, many do not spend more than four, five, or six hours in sleep. It is a cruel thing for a mother to sacrifice her child's health that she may indulge her own vanity, and yet how often is this done in reference to sleep. An evening party is to assemble, and the little child is kept up for hours beyond its stated time for retiring to rest, that it may be exhibited, fondled, and admired. Its usual portion of sleep is thus abridged, and, from the previous excitement, what little he does obtain, is broken and unrefreshing, and he rises on the morrow wearied and exhausted. Once awake, it should not be permitted to lie longer in bed, but should be encouraged to arise immediately. This is the way to bring about the habit of early rising, which prevents many serious evils to which parents are not sufficiently alive, promotes both mental and corporeal health, and of all habits is said to be the most conducive to longevity. A child should never be suddenly aroused from sleep; it excites the brain, quickens the action of the heart, and, if often repeated, serious consequences would result. The change of sleeping to waking should always be gradual. The bed on which the child now sleeps should be a mattress: at this age a feather bed is always injurious to children; for the body, sinking deep into the bed, is completely buried in feathers, and the unnatural degree of warmth thus produced relaxes and weakens the system, particularly the skin, and renders the child unusually susceptible to the impressions of cold. Then, instead of the bed being made up in the morning as soon as vacated, and while still saturated with the nocturnal exhalations from the body, the bed-clothes should be thrown over the backs of chairs, the mattress shaken well up, and the window thrown open for several hours, so that the apartment shall be thoroughly ventilated. It is also indispensably requisite not to allow the child to sleep with persons in bad health, or who are far advanced in life; if possible, it should sleep alone.



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How to run a vending business

To start off, there is a lot that you would need to learn about the vending business. It is a business that you need to get into only if you are well prepared. You should be willing to learn and not be afraid to make mistakes. In the long run, all this will serve you well. Planet Antares vending offers a viable opportunity for someone who is willing to work hard. When you start a vending business, you will most likely be running your business from your home.

Whether or not you need additional help for your Planet Antares business, will all depend on the number of machines that you have. Since most operators start off their business from home, then it would be wise to engage the help of your family. If and when your business grows, you can then move it out of your home to new premises. Focus on profitability The location for your Planet Antares vending machines is very important. Make sure that you match the right machine with the right location. You can acquire a truck that is fitted with wooden racks, freezer or a refrigerated cooler. This will be used for the transportation of the snacks and beverages. Alternatively, you can use your personal vehicle when your vending business is still new. If you give personal service top your customers, you will lose very few accounts or maybe none at all. Get to know the first and last names of 80 percent of the contacts in your accounts. It is also very important that you listen to product requests. By serving locations with products that they want, it will mean more sales for your vending business. Health awareness Health products are an issue in some locations. You can have snacks that are 50% healthy or 100% healthy in your locations. It all depends on the need of that particular location. Schools are locations that usually want healthy products in their vending machines. To get to know if a location wants health products, you will need to find out if the location will need such products. People, who are health conscious, don’t mind spending more money for health products, since they know what they are gaining. Technology Technology is now being widely used in the vending industry. If your Planet Antares vending business is running successfully, you can even think of installing technology. It requires ample investment, so it means that you should be financially able to invest in technology in order to have it in your vending business. These days, there are all forms of technology that are used in vending to improve efficiency; you just need to find the right one to suit your vending business.



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The secrets of highly effective networking

We have come to observe the enormous growth of the network marketing industry. It is manifested from the billions of people who have participated in it, to the billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services that have been sold through it and by it. But what is Network Marketing? Network marketing (also networking/multi-level marketing) is an industry made up of a chain of independent distributors, whose tasks are to sell the company’s products or services and at the same time recruit more distributors who would likewise sell the company’s products or services. It is often called ‘people’s franchise,’ because the seemingly endless recruitment eventually results to a hierarchical organization, which is also referred to as a distributor’s “downline”. In networking, each distributor earns: (1) commissions through direct product sales, and (2) residual income from the sales of the distributors in their downline. Bonuses may also be given upon attaining specified sales levels. Perhaps what makes network marketing appealing is that it is generally conducted at home, and this greatly reduces the operating costs that are incurred in the traditional business, such as employee wages or office rent. Although others have made fortunes in network marketing, a lot of people find themselves unable to achieve any kind of success. This is because while there are legitimate network marketing plans, there also exists a great deal of illegal pyramid schemes. So what does it take to be successful in networking? First, we must learn how to get started in a network marketing business: Know the basics: evaluating a plan. The reason why many people end up as failures and drop out of a particular business enterprise is that they readily join a program without having any idea what to do or, worse, what the program really is all about. Proper education about a particular business is necessary before paying or signing a contract. Take the time to learn about the network marketing opportunity, and take the time to think it over. You may want to consult your family, friends, or lawyer before making your decision. In evaluating a particular business opportunity, consider the following: The Company There are numerous network-marketing companies that flood the market today, with more emerging at a faster rate. There is always the risk of these companies’ going out of business, either through collapsing like a house of cards, or being forced to shut down by law enforcement. This is why careful consideration should be made in choosing a company. Know the company’s track record. Check with the local government where the company is based (or the agency where the company is registered) for lawsuits or any other records. Also, choose a network marketing company that is known for its integrity. Above all, the company should adhere to high moral principles or professional standards, and should stand behind their products or services. Talk to people who have had dealings with the company. Beware, though, of shills – they are ‘decoy’ references that make outrageous claims or exaggerations that are in favor of the company. The product Know the products or services that the company sells. Ideal products and/or services are those that are unique, are used by the average person everyday, and are competitively priced. Be cautious of ‘miracle products’ – there should be substantial evidence/s that would back up their claims. The key to an effective and successful networking is for distributors to love their products. It is very easy to promote products or services that you like and you personally use. Capital Remember that Network Marketing, like any other legitimate business, is a real business. There will always be a “cost of doing business”



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A short guide to effective public speaking

Delivering an effective presentation to 20 or to 200 people is difficult. Because listeners have better access to information since the internet became commonplace, audiences expect more content from speakers today. In addition, because of the entertainment slant of most media today, audiences want a presentation delivered with animation, humor, and pizzazz. If you would rather spend your time preparing your content than reading a book on public speaking, this is an article especially for you! From my experiences in delivering over l500 speeches during the past 20 years, here is a quick guide to giving an effective and interesting presentation your very first time. Begin with something to get the attention of the audience. This might be a startling statement, statistic, or your own story. Listeners pay close attention when a person begins with, “Two weeks ago as I was driving to work a car pulled out in front of me….” You could begin with a current event: “You might have read in the paper this morning about the flood that….” A question is another way to make people listen. “How many of you feel our society spends too much on medical care?

” might be a way to begin a presentation about curbing costs. Whatever technique you use, when you grab the attention of the audience you are on your way to a successful speech. Second, be energetic in delivery. Speak with variety in your voice. Slow down for a dramatic point and speed up to show excitement.

Pause occasionally for effect. Don’t just stand behind the lectern, but move a step away to make a point. When you are encouraging your audience, take a step toward them. Gesture to show how big or wide or tall or small an object is that you are describing.

Demonstrate how something works or looks or moves as you tell about it. Show facial expression as you speak. Smile when talking about something pleasant and let your face show other emotions as you tell about an event or activity. Whatever your movements, they should have purpose. Structure your speech. Don’t have more than two or three main points, and preview in the beginning what those points will be. With each point, have two or three pieces of support, such as examples, definitions, testimony, or statistics. Visual aids are important when you want your audience to understand a process or concept or understand a financial goal.

Line graphs are best for trends. Bar graphs are best for comparisons and pie graphs are best for showing distribution of percentages. Tie your points together with transitions. These could be signposts such as “First,” “Second,” or "Finally.

" Use an internal summary by simply including the point you just made and telling what you plan to talk about next. “Now that we have talked about structure, let’s move on to the use of stories,” would be an example. When you have an introduction, two or three main points with support for each, appropriate transitions, and a conclusion, you will have your speech organized in a way that the audience can follow you easily. Tell your own story somewhere in the presentation--especially in a technical presentation. Include a personal experience that connects to your speech content, and the audience will connect with you. You want to help the audience link emotionally with what you are talking about, and the personal experience does that. With almost any topic you might choose, you have at least one “war story” to relate to the topic. When you tell the story, simply start at the beginning and move chronologically through the narrative, including answers to the “W” questions: “Who,” What, “When,” "Why," and “Where.” To add interest and understanding to your speech, include a visual aid. A visual aid could be an object, a flip chart, a PowerPoint presentation, overhead projector slides, or a dry erase board. Whatever visual you are using, make sure everyone can see it. The best way to insure this is to put the visual where you will be speaking, and then find the seat farthest from it and determine if you can read the visual from that seat. Introduce the visual properly rather than simply throwing it at your audience; explain what the visual will do before you unveil it. Don’t allow the visual to become a silent demonstration. Keep talking as you show the visual. You are still the main event and your visual is an aid. Look at your audience, not your visual. When the visual is not in use, hide it from the audience. Humans are a curious lot, tending to keep looking at the object and losing track of the speaker—you! If you are delivering a persuasive speech, in addition to your own stories include testimony of experts whom the audience respects and whose views reinforce your points. Add a key statistic when possible to show the seriousness of what you are discussing. For example, if I were discussing the need for improved listening to better serve your customers, I might add that although we spend half of our communication time in listening, our listening efficiency is only about 25%. By using stories, testimony, and statistics in your persuasive talk, you add depth to your evidence. Look at the audience as you speak. If it is a small audience, you can look at each person in a short period of time. If it is a large audience, look at the audience in small “clumps” and move from one clump to another. One way to insure good eye contact is to look at your audience before you start to speak. Go to the lectern and pause, smile, look at the audience, and then speak. This will help you maintain good eye contact throughout your presentation as well as commanding immediate attention. One of the ways to have consistently good eye contact is not to read your speech. Use note cards that have key words on them. The word or phrase should trigger the thought in your mind and then you can speak it. If you are including a quotation or complex statistics, reading from your note card actually lends credibility. If you write out your speech you will tend to read it and lose eye contact with the audience, as well as not being as enthusiastic in delivery as when you speak from note cards. Include a “wow” factor in your speech. Something in your speech should make your audience think, “Wow!” It could be a story, a dramatic point, an unusual statistic, or an effective visual that helps the audience understand immediately. With a “wow” factor, you then have something to look forward to in the speech that you know will have an impact on your audience. You’ll become a more enthusiastic speaker because the “wow” factor will get you as well as your audience pumped for the speech. Consider using a touch of humor in your speech. Don’t panic at this suggestion; you are not becoming a comedian but rather lightening up a serious speech so that people will be more accepting and interested in your ideas. Humor will help you to be perceived as an amiable person, and it is hard for people to disagree or be bored if they are smiling at you. Until you have lots of experience, keep your humor short. Perhaps inject a one-liner or a quotation. Yogi Berra said a lot of funny things. “You can observe a lot just by watching” for example. Tell a short embarrassing moment in your life that you might have thought not funny at the time. Now that you can laugh at the experience, you understand the old adage, “Humor is simply tragedy separated by time and space.” Don’t poke fun at your audience; you should be the object of any shortcoming, showing that you can laugh at yourself. Avoid long stories or jokes. Even seasoned speakers know that funny stories soon become unfunny if they go on too long. Probably the least risky use of humor is a cartoon. The cartoon is separate from you and if people don’t laugh, you don’t feel responsible. (Be sure to secure permission to use it.) Finally, leave the audience with something to think about. People remember best what you say last. You might summarize your main points, or you might complete the statement, “What I want you to do as a result of this presentation is....” But beyond that, make your last words a thought to ponder. For example, I might end a speech on becoming a better speaker with “As Cicero said centuries ago, 'The skill to do comes with the doing.'” A more modern guide to effective public speaking was penned by some unknown sage: "Know your stuff. Know whom you are stuffing. Know when they are stuffed." One never becomes a “perfect” speaker; developing public speaking skills is a life-long experience. But the points discussed here will get you started in becoming the speaker you want to be and the speaker your audience wants to hear.



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Viral link building through link baiting

Link building is one of the major keys in ranking effectively with the search engines. Many techniques have evolved to capitalize on the hidden gold from attaining top rankings and getting free search engine traffic. Of them all, link baiting has to be one of the best methods to build incoming links. Link baiting boosts the link popularity of a web site and has quickly become a very effective method of promoting web sites, by increasing their traffic and raising their search engine rankings. Due to the viral aspects of link baiting, inbound links increase very quickly without much additional input after it has been setup. Despite the fact that some consider it to be a black hat technique, link baiting is very popular these days and many top SEO experts recommend it highly. What is link baiting? It is simply a means of creating content that spreads like a virus on the internet. No, this isn’t the kind of virus that infects your computer. Rather, viral content writing involves material that is made freely available online such as tools, useful software, articles, news, gossip, humor, or controversy.

The goal of this original content is to attract the interest of other web publishers or peers in the industry, who in return, will add links to their web pages because they like or consider the posted material to be interesting, original, or useful for their site visitors. The materials used in link baiting can provide a valuable information resource to their readers and visitors or it may be just rumor or gossip posted on the web site for the sole purpose of “hooking” as many links as possible. This technique doesn’t involve requesting any links actively from other webmasters. Webmasters voluntarily link to your website. This is a safer technique when compared to reciprocal linking or purchasing off-topic links which can get a site owner in trouble. It represents the true value and meaning of the Internet. The first thing everyone needs if they are going to 'bait' a link is of course a good 'hook'.

As mentioned before, there are various types of hooks, such as tools, software, news, attacks, humor, rumors, controversy, articles, stories and essays. There are “nice” hooks and “nasty” hooks. SEO experts do not recommend the nasty hooks, as they may lead to unexpected consequences (such as litigation). In order to prepare the bait with the highest probability of success, you have to know the current trends, latest news and any rumors on the web. Find the hottest, most intriguing topics or fill a void of a sufficiently large market that needs to be addressed. After you decide on a theme and write the material, you must promote it. It's easy to promote something if you are a well-known author or blogger.

In case you aren't, try to contact a professional and ask for his help. Never ask for a link because most people get annoyed by that. If the material being promoted has good content, it will most likely be noticed, read and linked automatically without having to “beg” anyone to link to your site. Something that “catches the eye” will spread all over the Internet like wildfire and attract lots of quality visitors to your website. Link baiting has been revived somewhat lately due to the increase in popularity of blogs and RSS which provide people with an easy method of posting their material online.

The main disadvantage of utilizing link-bait methods is that they are usually time consuming and can be quite difficult to develop. In order to write interesting and original material for link baiting, a great deal of investment in time and effort on research and brainstorming are needed. At first sight link baiting may seem like it’s not worth the effort because of the time and effort involved. Well-orchestrated link baiting, however enables any webmaster to generate a ton of free links from well-known sites and even top industry authority sites that would otherwise be expensive or otherwise impossible to obtain. It can save thousands of dollars in advertising costs to obtain these links and can potentially generate a lot of sales by attracting high quality traffic to your web site especially if your materials have good content. With many top SEO experts recommending it, this phenomenon has grown into a more mainstream marketing vehicle for webmasters.



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Computer consulting balancing your portfolio

Do you have a balanced portfolio in your computer consulting business? Target 70% of your businesses in the small business state. Keep a small amount of your business dealing with home networks and the consumer side and then have 5-15% of your business with much larger businesses. This setup works for many computer consulting professionals but it all depends upon where you want to take your business. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket Make sure that no single one of these clients accounts for more than 10 percent of your computer consulting revenue. If you get most of your money from one source and then lose that client because they were acquired, sold, or had a change in management, you stand to lose a lot of revenue. It is very difficult to bounce back from something like that. Fire Your Bad Clients As crazy as it seems, you may also choose to fire one of your clients. Every once in awhile you’re going to run into some real problem clients that aren’t worth all the money in the world. These clients will drive your computer consulting staff nuts to the point that they’re taking sick days and everyone’s dreading going out to see them. At some point you'll decide to cut them loose. If they make up too much of your current base, you'll have a hard time firing them. Reasons to Fire Clients You may also have some clients that aren’t meeting your monthly revenue goals and aren’t paying on time or aren’t meeting their computer consulting contract commitments. You really need to have the luxury of cutting one or two of them loose each year without it taking a huge chunk out of your revenue. Lots of management consultant gurus say that you should fire your bottom 20 percent of your customer list every year. You may not need to be that precise, but you are going to find some people that have ridiculous, unrealistic demands and you should be prepared to fire them. Make Room for Your Ideal Clients Don't tolerate computer consulting customers that are verbally abusive, harrass you, and cause you too much stress. If you have enough other clients that are the kind you want to work with, it will be easier for you to replace the problem client rather than reform him. Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Business Computer Consulting. com. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}



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Common pitfalls of credit card use

Credit cards are one of the financial industry's success stories over the last half century, going from strength to strength since the first general purpose card was invented by Joseph P. Williams of the Bank of America in 1958. Since then, the number of cards issued has risen dramatically, and now most adults carry at least one card, with an increasing number of people carrying several. There's no doubt that plastic can be a great convenience, making it easier to shop online, by mail order, and by telephone. They remove the need to carry cash beyond small change, and despite some scare stories they are actually more secure than cash, and offer more guarantees should you receive faulty goods or bad service paid for with the card. However, it's also widely accepted that credit cards have a serious dark side, although you might perhaps not know that by looking at card issuer advertising and marketing materials. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to rack up debts on your card account with little to show for the money you've spent. The interest rates charged on these debts can be among the highest in the credit industry, and real problems up to and including bankruptcy can result from irresponsible use of credit cards. So, accepting that you want the convenience of a card, how can you ensure that you stay out of trouble? The first major culprit in building up debt is impulse spending.

Paying with plastic just doesn't feel the same as spending with cold hard cash, at least until your credit card statement arrives. Resist the temptation to 'put it on the plastic', and ask yourself if the purchase you're about to make is one you'll regret when the time comes to actually pay for it. Also avoid using your card to pay bills and other day to day expenses, unless you plan to repay this borrowing when your statement comes. Credit cards are an expensive way of papering over the cracks of a badly thought out budget, and if you really need to borrow then explore other, cheaper ways such as bank overdrafts, credit unions or even personal loans. As well as allowing payment for goods and services, most card accounts now let you withdraw cash from ATMs and pay by check. Be very careful when making use of these services, as the interest rates charged on them are usually higher than the normal purchase rate. There is also normally no interest free period, so even if you repay the borrowing at the end of the month it'll still be a costly exercise. Even by following the above steps to minimize your debt, most people will end up carrying a balance from month to month. This is where possibly the most important advice comes into play: never pay just the minimum amount required. Years ago, the minimum payment was fairly high, at 5% of the outstanding balance. These days, the more common figure is 3% or even 2%. If you only repay this small amount each month, nearly all of your repayment will be swallowed up by interest charges, leaving your debt virtually untouched. This situation can increase the amount of time it takes to clear your debt by literally years, and is hugely expensive in the long run. For this reason you should always try to pay off as much as you can each month, even if it's only a little bit more than the minimum. Lastly, while we're talking about repayments, make sure that you set up an automatic monthly repayment for your card account. It's very easy to overlook making a payment, and the fees charged for late or missed payments are one of the main ways credit card companies make their profits. It's better to keep the money in your pocket than theirs!



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Rn to bsn career benefits and education options

The complexities of a changing medical field in technology, advanced information, and facing a growing leadership role among nurses has increased the need for a degree of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing among registered nurses (RN to BSN). This higher level of education takes commitment and dedication and in the following article, we will outline how to achieve these goals. Advancing your nursing degree – The difference between RN and BSN Beginning a career in nursing for those who desire an abbreviated education will get an associate’s degree (AD) which usually involves 2-3 years of schooling. A nurse may also follow a diploma program, usually through a hospital, that is also 2-3 years in length before becoming an RN. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Sample Survey, 70% of nurses have AD or diploma level degrees. An RN must also pass all required examinations such as the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses) before practicing with patient contact. For many nurses looking to advance their careers, a BSN is the natural next step. It is a 4 year program that includes research oriented learning, leadership training, and liberal arts. Many of the students that are enrolled in the BSN program are previous RN’s with associate degrees or diplomas. They are now going back to school with all the hardships involved; financially, time inflexibility, family and other outstanding commitments. The differences between an RN and BSN are not necessarily clear to the patient who is being treated with basic care. A nurse treating a patient won’t be asked, “excuse me, are you a RN or a BSN?” Yet the differences lie within. The education gained, the additional technical training, and the potential advancement are not immediately recognized by the patient. A nurse with a BSN can review research papers, advocate for the patient, work with leaders in the hospital or medical facility with confidence and advanced management skills. A nurse with an RN may have all these abilities, yet a BSN enhances them and increases advancement opportunities. Career Opportunities with a BSN RN’s return to school for a number of reasons, yet many are personal in nature: To become leaders in the nursing industry, advancing their careers, or move to the next level and receive a master’s or doctoral degree. Management-level nursing requires an advanced degree such as a BSN. According to the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in management, nurses can become anywhere from the assistant head nurse or head nurse, to assistant director, director, and vice president and upwards. Other career opportunities include research, consulting, and teaching. A nurse with a BSN can manage a home health care clinic and ambulatory services, etc. Nurses can also move into the business side of nursing to becoming an manager of an insurance company, pharmaceutical manufacturer, and managed care organization (U. S. Dept. of Labor, 2005). Salary Benefits of advancing a degree from RN to BSN Advanced nursing degrees create new career opportunities and justify an increased salary. An RN and a BSN will receive the same salary for the same nursing position, but as the BSN moves through the ranks to a higher position, salaries tend to increase. For example, a promotion to a management position of head nurse with a BSN has a higher salary than being the floor nurse with an RN. Education Opportunities and Education Cost In 2004, there were 600 RN to BSN programs in the United States. Many RN's use the tuition reimbursement from their employer as an incentive to go back for the BSN. There are also accelerated BSN programs for those individuals who already attained bachelor or higher degrees and wish to go into nursing. There are more than 165 of these programs in the United States. These programs are 12 to 18 months in length (U. S. Dept. of Labor, 2005). In choosing the appropriate program, it is necessary to choose whether to work in a classroom setting or study through an online RN to BSN program. The classroom setting has many benefits which include peer contact and live lectures. Sharing experiences with others and learning from other previous like-minded RN’s is a great benefit. The dilemma with classroom education for most nurses is the stringent scheduling and time management needed to attend class and work around an RN’s busy schedule. An online nursing degree course is the other alternative. It is a way for nurses to work while continuing with their education with flexibility around time commitments. The non-clinical portion of the classroom courses are given online and the clinicals are usually arranged at a medical facility near the nurse’s home. There may be timed lectures or the nurses may do lectures at their own time with assignments being sent to the lecturer by fax or mail on designated due dates. Examinations are usually offered online. Many times the online school follows a semester schedule and has a set start and finish date, though this is not true for all schools. To learn more about online RN to BSN programs, refer to your school of choice and learn what that school offers. Conclusion Personal satisfaction, a qualitative factor that can not be measured or quantified, is what many BSN students say is most important about receiving their advanced degree. Our society is advancing in all areas, with technology and intellectual expertise. The information is available and the prerequisites allow many RN's to attain an advanced degree; the determining factor is, we must advance as a society and create leaders in all areas of industry. A BSN gives the degree and knowledge and critical leadership skills for an RN to advance in the world of medicine, business, and personal achievement. Copyright 2006 Michael V. Gruber, MPH



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Exercise definition and benefits

The health benefits associated with regular exercise are numerous. Specifically, exercise can help prevent heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis. In addition, it can help fight depression as well as promote improved stress management. To maximize your overall health benefits, experts typically recommend that you perform 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, you can also achieve significant health benefits by completing 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week. If you are just beginning an exercise program, starting at a slow pace with low-impact activities such as walking or swimming will allow you to improve your physical fitness level while safeguarding you from unwanted overuse injuries and burnout. Once you get in better shape, you can gradually integrate more strenuous and varied activities into your routine. Positive Impact of Physical Activity According to the U. S. Surgeon General, regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the United States. Further, regular exercise effectively: Reduces the risk of dying from heart disease. Reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure. Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already Have high blood pressure. Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. Helps control weight. Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling. Promotes psychological well-being. The health benefits of exercise can be achieved by virtually everyone, regardless of age, sex, race or physical ability. Therefore, if you want to feel better, have more energy and live longer, simply follow a program of regular, moderate exercise and enjoy a better quality of life.



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Department 56 collectibles creating lasting memories and traditions with dept 56 displays

Now that the Christmas season is here, decorating is a top priority. Department 56 collectors of lighted ceramic houses are no exception. Many wait all year to get their Dept 56 houses and accessories unboxed and displayed. But why is collecting and displaying them so enjoyable (and important)? Why do Dept 56 collectors go to such lengths to make displays that are beautiful, whimsical and memorable? Here are five reasons why collecting Dept 56 houses (and other collectibles for that matter) is so enjoyable. • Dept 56 Collections are Simply Beautiful and Interesting to Show The Dept 56 collection of houses and accessories are beautifully designed and always interesting. These artists obviously put a great amount of time and thought into designing the pieces and never miss adding that unique touch of character to each of them. The finished products leave no doubt about their efforts. The Dept 56 pieces are simply gorgeous whenever, or wherever, they are displayed, whether it be individually, in a vignette, or in a large display. Since the pieces are so unique and beautiful, it's really hard to go wrong displaying them. Within a short amount of time, you can take these intricate houses and accessories and make them into an absolutely stunning display. • Dept 56 Collections are an Investment It's commonly known that you usually "get what you pay for." Accordingly, since so much detail and thought goes into the production of these pieces, it is only natural that they will not be cheap. Consequently, collecting Dept 56 pieces can be an investment that might easily add up. As with other worthwhile investments, it comes naturally to show off these pieces. Therefore some thought and effort should go into your displays so that the collection looks as incredible as possible. • Dept 56 Collections are Fantastic for Creative Expression Dept 56 collections particularly lend themselves to those who have a taste for creativity. Making arrangements of any kind is an exercise in creativity, but combining artistic expression with 'city planning' is always enjoyable. After all, no one wants a boring display. With all the accessories that come with the Dept 56 collections, innumerable productions of displays can be made quite easily. From the simple to the complex, from the serious to the whimsical, the varieties are endless. Just about everything is available to make the task simple. Of course, the most necessary accessory is careful thought, which, when combined with a little planning, can turn your displays into something really beautiful as opposed to the impersonal, drab displays seen in many stores. • Dept 56 Collections Allow you to Express your Imagination We all like to dream and imagine what would be if..... With your Dept 56 collections you can bring some of that imagination to life. For instance, what would you have been doing if you could have lived back in the wintery times of Dickens? Which shops would you have liked to visit (or own)? Where would you have liked to live? Or how about if you lived in New England. What would you have liked to do there? Fish, watch the sea, skate,??? Your collections allow you to display some of your dreams and desires. • Dept 56 Collections can Create many Wonderful Memories and Traditions How invaluable are your family traditions? We all have them and enjoy them (hopefully). Of course, your Dept 56 displays can be a lasting tradition and memory for yourselves, your kids and your friends. I don't know about you, but in our house we usually get our houses out for Christmas. Then we go to great lengths to make them interesting, exciting and original! For young children, this yearly tradition can be exciting. They can remember the fun of previous years and eagerly wait to see how this year's display will be different. After doing this for a number of years the traditions and memories set in. Of course, they might soon want to have their own Dept 56 displays! For whatever reason, we can all agree that a memorable display takes time, thought and patience, but is there any question that the effort is enjoyable and worthwhile?



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How to prepare for a long flight

The first thing I like to do is to get as little sleep as possible the night before I fly, this way by the time I get to the plane I can hopefully just go to sleep and wake up at my destination. I only recommend this if you are able to perform any tasks you need to do before your flight. If you have to drive for 5 hrs first you may want to get a good night sleep, and maybe take some Tylenol pm or something else to make you drowsy. Many people like to get a little drunk on a flight, I am not one of them, but if it helps you relax and get some sleep then I say go for it, just don’t allow yourself to drink to the point where you become an obnoxious drunk on a plane. My next tip is to get to the airport 3 hours in advance, this is for 2 reasons. By getting there so early I am always one of if not the first to actually check in for my flight, which usually gets me a good seat, and I don’t have to wait in long lines.

The other reason for always getting t the Air port at least 3 hrs before your flight is, if you check in early you cant get bumped from the plane, the people who get there last minute sometime here the words overbooked. Things to pack in your carry on: When ever possible I try to avoid putting things under the plane, but sometimes it is unavoidable, depending on how long I am going away for. What you take with you on the plane can make a big difference between having a pleasant flight and being so unbelievable bored that you go mad. I always make sure to bring a fully charged MP3 player, my MP3 player hold 20 gigs of music so I never have to go into my bag to chance a CD or a memory card, and I have way more music to listen to then time to listen to it. This way I have the music for any mood I may be in, so I just load it up and listen as I fall asleep on the plane. Just incase I cant sleep I will also make sure to bring a book with me, if for whatever reason I can not fall asleep which does happen to me, I like to take my mind off things by getting lost in a good story, but something light and entertaining, I have always found a good Action book or even Science Fiction to be good for that. I also recommend bringing a thick soft sweater with you on the plane, this can be used if it is cold on the plane, or you can use it as an extra pillow. I like to play video games, so I travel with one of the new hand held video games everywhere I go, so if I am not in the mood for reading I can play some games and keep myself occupied, and that really is the key. Keep yourself busy on the plane and you will be amazed at how fast the flight goes, if you stare at the clock and focus on the planes progress it will feel like forever.



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How home emergency cover can assist the needs of the over 60s

Imagine that it is Sunday night and you are watching your favourite television show before you go off to bed for the night. The next thing you know your hot water boiler bursts and floods your home. Who are you going to call at such a late hour on a Sunday night? With a home emergency insurance policy in place, all you need to be doing is picking up the phone and calling your insurance company. Although it would be fair to say that a number of the benefits of a home emergency insurance policy can be found elsewhere, such as in your home buildings insurance policy, with a home buildings insurance policy there may not necessarily be a guaranteed responses time.

As such, your Sunday night accident may have to wait to Monday morning to have someone come and fix it. However, with a home emergency insurance policy, the response time should be immediate, to meet the needs of your emergency. Benefits of a home emergency insurance over include: - 24-hour call out for a locksmith in case you lose your house keys - repair man to come and check that you do not have a gas leak - water repairs if you have a burst boiler, pipe, drain - roofer, should you have any problems with your roof; such as loose, dangerous titles or a leak - someone to come and fix your toilets if they should block - a repairman to come and fix any window panes that may be broken Indeed, the level of emergency service can be arranged to fit the needs of the person arranging the insurance. As such, this type of insurance is specially beneficial to the aged during the cold winter months in the UK when a number of unforeseen events can occur and when they are ill-equipped to handle the problem. Two factors you will need to keep in mind with home emergency insurance however: - firstly, there shouldn’t be any excess payment, otherwise this negates part of the reason for having the insurance; - second, because there is no excess payment, the insurance company will try to cap their maximum liability under the insurance (in most case to between Ј500 and Ј750). Here, you need to ensure that the cost of calling the local emergency repair man and for the materials he needs to complete the job will not significantly impact on this threshold limit.



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Improve your golf game with this secret weapon

Any golfer who has made any effort to improve their golf game will have already heard the often-repeated expression that golf is all in the mind and that the game starts there. But what many golfers do not know is that they fail to improve their golf game because their minds are not prepared for what they must do to make significant progress. Mention the word ‘exercise’ to most amateur golfers and rather than getting enthusiastic about using it to improve their golf game, they will start seeing images of heavy sweating from rigorous exercises. The sort of rigorous exercises that super athletes in the NFL or NBA have to do regularly in some gym. Their minds are tightly shut to the idea of exercises such that they can never get to the point where they can examine the subject deeper to find out what sort of exercises professional golfers do to improve their golf game and maintain the quality of their performances as much as possible. These golfers will not have heard that senior citizens, some of them in the advanced age category of 80 years old, have successfully undertaken golf-specific exercises. The result has been that their golf games have improved tremendously. Surely an 80 year olds' physical condition will not take the sort of exercises many amateur golfers fear and want to avoid. So these golf exercises are not what most amateur golfers think. Unless a golfer is prepared to approach the subject with an open mind, it will be very difficult for them to improve their golf game. While the mind is a very powerful tool, having a body that is physically prepared will produce the best results from a golf mind set on winning. To really improve your golf game you need to start with an open mind.



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Is overeating an addiction

People dealing with obesity can now benefit from bariatric surgery. This specialized procedure is only offered for those patients who are morbidly obese, and need to have this surgery to avoid life-threatening complications. Not all overweight people can choose to have this surgery though since it is a major procedure that presents significant risks and side effects. The procedure would also require permanent changes in a person's lifestyle. For a number of weight loss surgery patients who have undergone bariatric or any other weight loss surgery, giving up food may mean drinking alcohol, or even having compulsive shopping. Researchers call this behavioral shift an “addiction transfer”, which means transferring one compulsive act (in their case overeating) and replace it with another in order to numb emotions or fill an inner void. Mental health experts said that since these bariatric procedures have been more common nowadays, they are seeing an increase in cases of alcoholism, obsessive shopping, gambling, and promiscuity.

They also noted that the problem with people who had surgery has not been attending therapy to address their issues behind their eating disorders. Most of them are emotional eaters, and when it has been taken away, they will be left with the thought of what to do with their emotions. Cases have been reviewed with two post-surgery patients that went on air with Oprah Winfrey regarding their state. One woman became an alcoholic two years after her operation. With binge eating gone as a coping mechanism, she began drinking up to 10 martinis a day to soothe stress.

Even if she lost 150 pounds, the negative feelings that added to her obesity still lurked. Another woman who lost 200 pounds because of surgery revealed that she has been having affairs as a way to distract herself from her unhappy marriage. This can trigger depression that some post-operative patients try to “self-medicate” with alcohol, shopping, or smoking cigarettes. A psychologist further stated that another paradox for this issue would be that the positive step of dropping pounds after surgery can be stressful in itself. He said that dynamics can change after one starts to reduce weight and putting the next foot forward. Relationships can shift as one puts balance in his life, and the lifestyle one would have requires adjustment. Experts emphasize that bariatric surgery does not cause addiction. This kind of surgery has been around for 30 years, and there is no sufficient data linking surgery and addiction in a conclusive manner.

Mental health workers suggests that after surgery, patients should attend a support group or go into therapy sessions. A post-surgery patient shares that after losing 200 pounds from his operation last April, he started dealing with anxiety issues for about two months. But with therapy and medications, he felt a lot better. If anyone is interested in having any kind of weight loss surgery, make sure to know more information than just the basics.

Take time to evaluate one's physical and emotional state before having an operation. After surgery, take time to relax and enrol oneself in therapy sessions or counseling groups to be able to take away the remaining negative thoughts that might resurface in the future.



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Type at home for extra cash

How would you like to earn cash from anywhere you have access to a computer and the Internet? Many everyday people just like you and I feel exactly the same way. Do any of the following questions best describe how you feel? * Do you want to avoid the daily rat race of a typical 9-5 job? * Are you disabled? * Tired of being broke? * Are you almost homeless? * Do you hate your job? * Are you unemployed? * Do you want to spend more time with your family? * Would you like to be able to pay the monthly bills for the first time in a long while? If any of the above areas describe how you feel you are not alone. These are just a few areas that describe many good people on a daily basis. Many people get discouraged, depressed and feel like they cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some feel like this and are afraid to take the chance on something that can change their life. They just don't believe anything good can happen for them. It can, but you have to be determined and make it happen. The Work at Home and Home Based Business arena works for many people, yet many fail miserably. Why is that? Well some of the reasons are due to the fact that they do little or no research, jump in the first program they see and more than likely get scammed, leaving them further depressed. You should either use a website like mine, but not necessarily mine, that has done some research for you or be prepared to spend the time evaluating programs yourself. The next step is to narrow down to 2 - 3 good programs that match your skill sets, comfort level, time constraints and income objectives. This could change your life surely it's worth the time to do it right. One the many areas available to you on the Internet is the Type at Home niche. I did some research just as you can and found a few companies that should fit the bill. Take your time and you can find them too. I found many companies running ads such as Typers needed, Typing Simple Data Entry From Home or Data Entry operators needed. It's important to find companies with a good track record. Some of the companies offer work regarding to typing simple ads and give you step-by-step guidance on how to be successful. This guidance is very important, because most people don't know where to start, need money badly and badly need the guidance. What are your steps to success? * Do your research or use a website you trust. * Make sure you understand you work at home profile. * Narrow down the choices to a couple of programs. * Join and read the step-by-step guidance. * Start working from home and exercise patience. If your reading this article you more than likely have all the tools necessary to work from home. You should be able to find many different types of opportunities such as Type at Home, Data Entry, Paid Surveys, Rebate Processing and more. Be sure to match researched programs with your work at home profile so you have the best chance for success. Take the plunge. You will likely spend less than it cost for a family to go out to dinner and a movie one evening. Invest in your self you deserve it! Please feel free to read both this article or one of my many others by visiting my link in the resource box below. I always enjoy getting emails pertaining to my articles or my site. Your feedback is important to me. I wish you great success!



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Life advice looking through a window

Living in today's metropolitan world of cellular phones, mobile computers and other high-tech gadgets is not just hectic but very impersonal. We make money and then invest our time and effort in making more money. Does it end? Not usually because we are never satisfied. How many times have we convinced ourselves that if only we had some more money, life would be so sweet? But then, after receiving a substantial raise, we realize that it wasn't enough and that we need more?

What Should You Do? I have read many books on life such as Robin Sharma's Monk says this and the monk says that, and they all seem to say that money is not necessary. But it is. Can you do without cash and a lot of it? I know I can't. So, I went to the neighbourhood Rabbi and asked for advice that will help me find my true way in life. The rabbi nodded and took me to the window. "What do you see?" he asked me. Promptly, I answered, "I can see people walking to and fro and a blind man is begging for alms at the left corner." The Rabbi nodded and guided me to a big mirror. "Now look and tell me what you see?" "I can see myself," I man answered. The Rabbi smiled. "Now you can't see anyone else. The mirror and the window are both created from the same raw material: glass, but because on one of them they have applied a thin layer of silver, when you look at it all you can see is your own reflection." The Rabbi placed his arm on my shoulders. "Compare yourself to those two pieces of glass. Without the silver layer, you saw the other people and felt compassion for them. When you are covered with silver, you see only yourself." I looked at the Rabbi and stared. "I don't understand." The Rabbi continued. "You will become someone only if have the courage to remove the silver covering over your eyes in order to again see and love others." He patted me on my back and sent me on my way. I have thought of what he said and come to the conclusion that he had a point. Yes. We need money and we should not aim to lead a moneyless existence; its pointless and will only cause us and our families many heartbreaks in the future. Instead, I suggest that we should follow the advice the Rabbi gave me. When we approach life through a silver covering, all we are able to see is ourselves. But discard that covering, and you will be able to see and feel everyone else. Conclusion: In life, we are allowed to and should be able to look at both kinds of mirrors, but we should remember that a mirror reflects only us; a window is the door to compassion, health and true wealth. In other words, seek wealth by all means, but don't let it dissuade you from life, people, children and the poor and needy.



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Get started in computer game creation

Getting Started in Game Creation I’ve always loved video games, ever since I first played them on a friend’s computer in the afternoon after elementary school. There’s something almost magical about the fact that we can move images around and interact with virtual worlds, a living fantasy presented for us to interact with however we please. I’ve also always wanted to make games myself but, until recently, didn’t have the technical knowledge to do so. Now, I’m a second year software engineering student, so if I weren’t able to code a game without too many dramas there’d be something drastically wrong. But what about the common person: the person for whom the term ‘memory leak’ conjures up images of their grandfather, ‘pipeline’ is where the water flows, and ‘blitting’ is unheard of? Well, everyone can get in on the game creation process, and you don’t even need to learn ‘real’ programming to do so. So where do games start? With an idea. Games, like all fiction, require an idea to be successful. Sure, in the same way you can just sit down and write a story without foresight, you can jump on in and slap a game together. However, unless you get ridiculously lucky, the best works are usually the ones that have been well thought out beforehand. There are two methods of planning a project. You can start from a known technological standpoint and build your project on top of that or you can just go for the design, add as many features and ideas as you like, and then remove the ones that you can’t use when you’ve decided on the technology you’re going to implement the game with. In general, the second type is probably the best one to go with when designing games. When you’re first starting out however, the first option will save you many headaches. So, for a first game you’re going to want a pretty simple idea. Don’t get me wrong, crazy-go-nuts game ideas are fantastic, and there should be more of them out there, but you’re not going to be able to create a real world simulator with fifty billion virtual people all interacting real time with your actions having a butterfly effect on the future of the virtual universe when it’s just your first game. Really. Many people try it; none that I know of have succeeded. Imitation is the best way to start out. Simple games such as ‘Space Invaders’, ‘Tetris’, ‘Pacman’ or even ‘Pong’ are great places to start. All are largely simple to create but have some inherent challenges. ‘Pacman’ for example, requires path finding for the ghosts. I recommend that you start even simpler than that for your very first attempt. ‘Space Invaders’ is a nice point to jump in. You can make a simple, complete game without much effort and it’s almost infinitely extensible. If you’re stuck for an idea, pick a genre that you enjoy. Do you love adventure games such as ‘Monkey Island’, ‘Grim Fandango’, ‘Space Quest’, ‘King’s Quest’ etc.? Design one of those. Are you into fighting games like ‘Street Fighter’, ‘Tekken’, ‘Soul Calibur’, ‘Mortal Kombat’ and so on? Come up with an idea for that. Do you like first person shooters such as ‘Quake’, ‘Half Life’ or ‘Doom’? I don’t recommend it as a first project, but you can always give it a go. Feel free to be as generic as you like, this is a learning experience after all. Now that you have your idea it’s time to flesh it out. Don’t worry about the technology or the fact that you may not know how to actually implement a game just yet, just grab yourself some paper and a pencil and go crazy with ideas. Describe the main characters, game play, goals, interactions, story, and key mappings, anything you can think of. Make sure you have enough detail so that someone can read through the notes and play through the game in their head with relative accuracy. Changing game design during the coding process is almost always a bad idea. Once it’s set, it should remain set until the tweaking phase (I’ll go into this more later) or you’re likely to enter ‘development hell’, where the project goes on and on; more and more work is done with less and less outcome. At the end of this period of your game creation, you should have the following: A written outline of the game’s characters and possibly a sketch or two (be they space ships, yellow circles, cars or the prince of the dark kingdom of Falgour, you need to know who or what the player will be and who they will compete against) A written outline of the story (if there is one, this isn’t too vital for ‘Space Invaders’ or ‘Tetris’, but for ‘Uber Quest: An Adventure of Awesomeness’ it’s a really good idea) A description of game play, written or storyboarded. Storyboards are visual representations of ideas. Draw your characters in actions, with arrows showing the flow of action and short written descriptions detailing the events occurring in your image (because some of us aren’t fantastic artists and our images can be a little… open to interpretation…) Now that you have a fleshed out idea, it’s time to work out how this will all get put together. If you’ve gotten to this point and are worried that you’re going to have to spend years learning complex programming languages in order to implement your idea, fear not! Others have already done the hard yards for you. There are many RAD (Rapid Application Development) Tools available for game creation, a number of which are available for free online. Some of them still require you to learn a ‘scripting language’ (a simplified programming language made for a specific task) but in general this isn’t too complicated or involved. I’ve compiled a brief list of some of these I have found at the end of the article. The free ones are listed first, organized by game genre. Well, that should be enough to get you started in the creation of your game. The most important thing to remember once you’ve gotten this far is that you need to complete your game. Many people start a project and then lose interest and it fails, or they keep moving on to one new project after another without finishing anything. Start small, build a working (if simple) game that is, above all else, complete. When you get to this stage you will always have a huge number of things that you wish to change, fix etc. but you’ll get a great feeling from knowing that it is, in its way, finished. From this point, you can start the tweaking phase. Play your game a few times and ask others to do the same. Take note of what isn’t fun or could be better and change things here. At this stage, it is more important than ever to keep backups of previous versions so that if a change doesn’t work you can go back and try something different without losing any of your work. It is at this point that you can add all new features, improve graphics and sounds, whatever you please, safe in the knowledge that you’re working on a solid foundation. When you’re happy with your game, why not share it with the world? There are many cheap or free places out there for you to host your files on and then you can jump on link lists and forums and let everyone know about your creation. Well, I hope that this has been a helpful introduction into the art of creating games. It’s a great deal of fun, and can open whole new avenues of creative expression for you to explore. Jump in and have fun! Links: General Game Creation: (Tools that allow easy creation of many different game types) Game Maker: http:// gamemaker. nl MegaZeux: http://megazeux. sourceforge. net/ Adventure Games: (Games such as Monkey Island, King’s Quest, Space Quest etc.) Adventure Game Studio: http:// bigbluecup. com AGAST: http:// allitis. com/agast/ 3D Adventure Studio: http://3das. noeska. com/ ADRIFT (for text adventures): http:// adrift. org. uk/ Role Playing Games (RPGs): (Games such as Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Diablo) RPG Maker: OHRPG: http:// hamsterrepublic. com/ohrrpgce/ RPG Toolit: http:// toolkitzone. com/ Fighting Games: (Games such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soul Calibur etc.) KOF91: http://sourceforge. net/projects/kof91/ MUGEN (unfortunately the site is largely in French): http:// streetmugen. com/mugen-us. html Side-Scrolling Games: (Games such as the 2D Mario Games, Sonic the Hedgehog, Double Dragon etc.) The Scrolling Game Development Kit: http://gamedev. sourceforge. net/ There are many others available as well. One particularly useful site for finding game creation tools is: http:// ambrosine. com/resource. html Also of note, although not freeware, are the excellent game creation tools available by Clickteam at: http:// clickteam. com/English/ Klik and Play and The Games Factory in particular are the programs to have a look at and download the free demos of. If you really want to do things right and program the game yourself, there are some excellent programming resources available at the following locations: Java Game Programming: http://fivedots. coe. psu. ac. th/~ad/jg/ http:// gamedev. net/reference/articles/article1262.asp http://javaboutique. internet. com/tutorials/Java_Game_Programming/ Visual Basic Game Programming: http://markbutler.8m. com/vb-tutorial. htm C++ Game Programming: http://www3.telus. net/alexander_russell/course_dx/introduction_dx. htm http:// rit. edu/~jpw9607/tutorial. htm General Information: http:// gamedev. net/ http:// gamasutra. com/



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