The History, Present and Future of Aerial Photography in India and The Rest of The World

Aerial Photography refers to capturing shots with the help of an airborne camera. A sea change has been witnessed in the field of Aerial Photography during the course of over 14 decades of its glorious history. Back in 1858, a French photographer named Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, for the very first time, succeeded in carrying out a session of Aerial Photography with the help of a hot air balloon tethered at the height of 80 meters. Unfortunately, none of those priceless shots has survived to this day. Two years later, in 1860, Samuel Archer King and Wallace Black captured Boston from a height of 630 meters. Fortunately, this aerial photo has survived, and it now goes by the name of Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.

Initially, Aerial Photography was carried out with the help of pigeons, kites rockets and balloons. In 1897, Alfred Nobel became the first human being in the world to succeed in capturing an aerial photo with the help of a rocket-mounted camera. Nine years later, in 1906, George Lawrence captured San Francisco before and after the infamous earthquake. Lawrence succeeded in carrying out this session of Aerial Photography with the help of a 49-pound camera mounted to the height of 2000 feet with the help of a train of as many as nine kites. L.P. Bonvillan, in 1908, captured the very first aerial photo from an airplane. During the first World War, detailed maps were prepared with the help of Aerial Photography.

Fortunately, the professionals did not take a long time in making pigeons obsolete in this regard, but the use of kites and balloons for mounting the camera to the desired height continued, and a few professionals still use it for the same purpose. However, manned planes and drones, these days, are the most popular carriers of aerial cameras.

Drones are preferred by most of the professionals over their manned counterparts owing to the ability of the former to capture equally good shots without involving a whopping amount of money.

The lighting conditions in the area that needs to be captured with the help of a drone should be perfect. In this context, ‘perfect’ refers to reasonable light. Contrary to popular belief, too much of sunshine isn’t healthy for drone photography. According to most of the professionals, the best time for carrying out Drone Photography is just before the sunset. The quality of the concerned lens should be superlative since it invariably plays a vital role in deciding the fate of each and every aerial shot. It is highly recommended to refrain from using drones for photography on days when it’s raining, snowing or windy out there no matter how advanced the concerned drone may be since the results will, almost always, be disappointing.

Drones are popular not only popular because of the reasonable cost involved with them but also because of their versatility. The duration for which a drone can stay airborne varies from model to model, and a drone either comes bundled with or without a built-in camera. So, coming across a drone that fits the bill no matter how specific the need may be is always easy.

The use of gimbals in drone photography is recommended since they enable the drone-mounted camera to capture stable footage. These days, there is no dearth of drones that can capture footage in 4K and this is one of the reasons why the concerned shots are detailed in nature.

These days, filmmakers in all parts of the world have started to use drones for capturing stunning footage that looks great on the big screen. So, the reliance on land-based cameras has now started to witness a decline in filmmaking that isn’t drastic, but reasonable won’t be an inappropriate word to use for the same. Such a decline is also being witnessed in many other fields.

One of the most important applications of Aerial Photography is in the field of Disaster Management. Drones can easily capture clear footage of any area that is difficult to access via foot. The same drones also facilitate the rescue operations by capturing the areas that are severely hit by natural disasters like earthquake and flood. Drones, these days, are also being used for monitoring the construction of any illegal structure to ensure that they can be demolished as soon as possible.

Most of the builders in all parts of the world have started to use drones for coming across the most conducive sites for carrying out the intended construction.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in any part of the world, you need to comply with the guidelines laid down by the concerned authority and India is no exception to this fact.

The most important guidelines laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for carrying out Aerial Photography in India are as follows:

1: A drone flying in India needs to stay in the Visual Line of Sight.

2: Drones in India are prohibited from flying in controlled airspace.

3: It is mandatory for all the operators in India who want to fly a drone at/above 200 feet above ground level in the uncontrolled airspace to have an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit issued by DGCA.

4: A drone flying in India should have a Unique Identification Number issued by DGCA.

Visit the official website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to make yourself aware of all the concerned guidelines in detail.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in Australia, the operators need to have a certificate as well as a license issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In Australia, drones that weigh under 2 kilogramme can be used for commercial reasons.

In the United States of America, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows the operators who are licensed pilots to fly a drone. The operators should always keep the drone in the Visual Line of sight and ensure that everyone in America stays unharmed with such operations. Visit the official website of the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire the awareness of the detailed guidelines.

The United Kingdom is considering to come up with reasonable laws for the individuals who wish to carry out Aerial Photography, but as of now, there are just a few guidelines that need to be complied with for carrying out the same. Currently, anyone in the UK can buy and fly a drone that weighs less than 20 Kilogramme. The drone should always be in the Visual Line of Sight that refers to the height of 400 meters. For flying a drone beyond the 400-metre mark, the operators need to have the formal permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. The drone should maintain a distance of at least 150 meters from any area that is flooded with people. A drone in the UK can’t be used for commercial purposes. Visit the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In Ireland, the operators need to register all the drones weighing over 1 Kg with the Irish Aviation Authority. While flying, all the drones in Ireland should always maintain a distance of at least 5 Kilometres from each and every aerodrome. A drone is prohibited from flying in a civil airspace or an airspace controlled by the military. Visit the official website of the Irish Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In India, Aerial Photography doesn’t date back to many years in the past, and therefore, it isn’t as popular as it is in a few other parts of the world, but the awareness of this acclaimed method of capturing shots is now spreading at a gradual pace. A considerable number of Indians have now realised that Aerial Photography is better than its land-based counterpart in many ways and this is the reason why they are now more interested in the former than the latter.

Aerial Photography is playing an important role in the growth of India’s tourism sector by tempting millions of people across the globe to pay a visit to a large number of monuments, shrines and many other tourist destinations in India at least once. The growth of India’s real estate sector also owes a lot to the impressive shots captured through drone-mounted cameras since they have proved to be successful in encouraging the potential buyers towards the piece of land that has been put on sale.

An impressive number of business houses across India have now started to use the aerial footage for advertising their products and services, and they are happy with the results.

Aerial Photography in India is expected to witness a surge in the number of takers in the future because the number of service providers in the concerned field is increasing and consequently, the cost of availing Aerial Photography services is expected to come down to the point when most of the Indians will call it affordable. Currently, despite being interested, a lot of Indians can’t afford to opt for Aerial Photography.

We Were Once

If statistics are correct, the majority of us will say good-bye to a spouse or two before we are through with our journey in the here and now. We grow and change, they do not; They grow and change, we do not. It is all a matter of perspective and probably the most basic "he said / she said" kerfuffle of all time, huh?

This whole partnership thing can be so very hard; So darned confusing and painful. And, if we are honest, many of us do it for way too long. We stay and try so very hard. We become heroes in the hardship of "hanging in there" and holding it all together.

What about that person we so loved and believed in? Where did they go, these life-partners we've said goodbye to (or should have said good-bye to); The man or woman of our dreams that we married with dewy eyes and committed souls?

I find that my love for the man I married is still very much there. The problems came when he became someone else; He failed to live up to my imaginings of who he was in our "we-ness." We had a make-believe "dream team" thing going on; The cultural imperative of the ideal marriage in "Leave it to Beaver" land. And I so loved the ME that showed up when I was with him; At least in the beginning.

Then that ME got tangled and mangled as I tried to live up to an idealized vision of maritime unity. The "she" of me and the "he" of him both morphed into less-thans as we fell so short of the "us" we thought we were creating.

I kept hammering away because so much time had been invested; And so many things were wrapped in that two-of-us. Mine had become a four-of-us family arrangement with homes and homes, children and schools, pets and pantries, in-laws and holidays, jobs and vacations.

I got disappointed and then I got heart-tired and then I got lazy and then I got scared. So, I quieted that fear with all the doings that "duo living" entails. A lot of discomfort can be quieted by routine and silence – my silence, his silence and the silencing of that inner voice. You know that one that you just keep slamming the door on; The one you ignore and tamp down with family events, television shows and "what's for dinner?"

I got used to it and I settled. I got neglected and neglected and time kept its march. Then one morning I really looked in the mirror and understood that the relationship I was trying to save was killing me. The reflected "bounce back" of the "me" in this broken "we" was a sad, lost lady with only my name riding her face.

It was time to turn off routine and put aside the "must get dones." It was time to really look at the dance I had been doing for so long. I took some long, deep breaths as I spent some long, deep time in thoughtful fact-looking.

Then I dropped a suitcase down from the shelf.

Should the Grout Match or Contrast With the Tile Color?

Those pretty little mosaic wall tiles deserve a lot of fuss, but be sure about the appropriate grout. Handling backsplash tiles would be so much easier, but the choice of tile needs to be carefully made. Choose the grout color and decide whether sanded or unsanded grout. Fine sand added to the grout mixture makes it stronger. Lesser chances of aging grout breaking up easily. Consider color equations too. Sanded grout offers rich colors to match or contrast with the beloved tiles.

With all those advantages, who would choose unsanded grout? You need them if tile joints are 1/8″ or smaller. Everybody wants durability all right, but if tiles are made of soft stone, unsanded grout is the answer. The sand may end up damaging the tiles. Besides, not all like the grainy surface that sanded grout needs to have.

A few selection of mosaic tiles with information about the best grout patterns.

Saddle Canyon Rhomboid Glass Mosaic

These classy diamond-shaped tiles are colored green, white and speckled black. The wonders of crackled glass shine through in pretty shades. Colors appear randomly and 3D effects in the modern bathroom leave you breathless. Such a glass mosaic tile variety requires unsanded grout to avoid damage to the glass.

Arctic Ice 4×12 Glass Mosaic

Pretty walls covered in subway tiles have existed for over a century. Classic is the trendy theme of this august glass mosaic. Crystals of a frosty whiteness reveal a reflecting surface. Install this cleanly polished glass tile on accent walls and backsplashes. They find effective applications everywhere in modern and fashionable surroundings. Sanded grout would work well because of the wide joints between the tiles.

Keystone Blend Interlocking Marble Mosaic

It is a linear pattern of dreamy interlocking marble mosaic. The gray, blue and white are revealed in random spaces. The truth is that Arabescato Carrara Marble has been blended with glass. Use it as a backsplash or let it cover the lower part of the wall. Each way, it is a fabulous winner. The gentle nature of the mosaic calls for unsanded grout.

Café Forest 2×2 Marble Mosaic

A dramatic nature display, the gray, ivory and beige contain dark brown veins. Any room comes to life under its impact. Visually exciting and immensely elevating, they help decorate spaces gracefully. Unsanded grout would best fill the narrow joints.

Walnut Travertino 2×2 Porcelain Mosaic

Coffee and cream combine in porcelain mosaic tiles made of Walnut Travertino. Install it on the floor or the wall. Fill the joints with a contrasting color of sandy grout.

Well-Intended Messages: It's For Your Own Good!

"You want to start your own business? That's territorial risky."

"You want to go where? But that's so far."

"You want a new what? Now, that's not very practical."

"You want to leave a 'good job' for that idea? How will you take care of your family?"

Any of this sound familiar?

From whom do we most hear these intentionally helpful, yet personally discouraging entreaties? From who mouths do the "yes, buts" and "you shouldnts" and "what ifs" tumble so readily? Those who should be most supportive of us … our loved ones! Our families. Our friends. Our colleagues. We summon the nerve to tell them our inner thoughts, and then we're sorry we did. Family, friends, and sometimes professional colleges are skilled at generating a variety of emotions within us. One set of experiences to which we are subjected involves receiving advice "for our own good".

Is it really? For our own good? Moreover, how do we handle such advice? In this article I will:

• Identify who typically sends these messages to us,

• Examine how these messages affect us – especially when we think about sharing our ideas, and

• Offer ways to turn these messages into positive experiences, so that we can appreciate the time we spend with the people who make us the craziest in our lives.

With their words of caution, they are well meaning in that they say these things to us to protect us; To warn us. They do not want us to be hurt. Family members frequently consider themselves as our true supporters. They think they are being supportive of us and our goals when they tell us about the last time someone they knew tried what we wanted to try, and failed. They think they are being caring by warning us of the pitfalls of our journey towards fulfilling our goals. They don't want us to be disappointed or demoralized if we fall short of our success. They want us to be safe in the world, but by making such suggestions, they discourage us from reaching for our dreams. While they mean well, they can be more detrimental to our success than beneficial.

Yet, how do their messages affect us? Their words, when spoken by people whose expressions mean the most to us, feel like "downers" and discouragers. We hear messages underneath the words that tell us we're not worthy, we are incapable, or we are crazy, disillusioned, or wrong. We know that is not the intended message, yet we can not help but internalize the messages.

Let us look at how to turn these messages into positive experiences for ourselves-especially when we want to share our ideas with the people who mean the most to us.

To overcome or balance-out these messages, we must pause and look beyond the words we hear when our loved ones issue their entreaties. Acknowledge that we hear what they tell us. Then consider the messages that they are really trying to convey to us. Consider the following approaches to turn the "for your own good" messages into positive experiences.

• Find people who communicate positive messages – people in Toastmasters or Optimists clubs, or other volunteer organizations who lift our spirits and share positive perspectives on life. Attend meetings. Make lunch dates with these people. Pick up the phone to talk with them.

• Say to your negative-message family members or friends, "See you later. I have something that is important that I do" during the coming weeks and get out among positive people. We need to surround ourselves with each other.

• Read positive books and biographies of those whom you admire.

• Listen to audio programs that teach and encourage.

• Watch uplifting video programs.

• Attend a motivational seminar or a light-spirited movie at a theater.

Figuratively – and sometimes, literally – disappear into a world that takes you away from the negativity. Allow yourself to return to your wishes, needs, wishes, and dreams. Re-kindle your spirit.

Once we renew ourselves with positive messages, we can return to our loved ones. We can return to our friends, with the best of intentions, and appreciate the time we spend with the people who seem to make us the most crazy in our lives. We can share our ideas and not allow people to dissuade our dreams.

Prayer Tip – Pray Believing

Try an experiment the next time you pray. Just believe. Jesus said to pray believing. Have faith. Act as if you have trust. Listen for the desires of God. Watch for answers to your requests. Watch for the ways God guides you. Be open to possibilities. Look for opportunities and take action upon them.

In spiritual counseling sessions with people, I often ask them to pray so I can assess their prayer skills and guide them deeper. Prayer is a conversation. Once you have spoken of your desires and expressed your feelings, it’s time to listen and receive. Most people have been trained in church to stop at the “Amen.” I can feel them energetically close the door and walk away from their request. Then they complain that their prayers are never answered. It’s like going to a consultant for help, then leaving immediately after you have explained your need, without waiting for a response or guidance.

After you’ve made your case in prayer, stick around! Linger in that sacred state and listen within for the response. Often when I pray, the response comes immediately in energy, insight, and love. At times, all is quiet on the other end and I must be patient, trusting in divine timing. Sometimes, I am blessed to receive words that carry energy and act as a gateway into higher consciousness.

Plan prayer time into your daily life. Can you sit in your bed and pray for 15 minutes every morning before getting up? Do you pray in the shower? While driving to work? During exercise? While you fold laundry? Can you devote 30 minutes to prayer before bed?

How can you make ordinary tasks more meaningful with prayer? How much time can you find to devote fully to God? Make a plan. Put your plan in your schedule and follow it.

Fun With Fondue

When you're craving comfort food, fondue is always a favorite. Popular in America in the 1970's, fondue is back with an urban twist that tempts the palate with much more than the plain cheese, hot oil and simple chocolate pots of yore.

Originating in Switzerland many centuries ago, Fondue (Fawn-DOO) is French for the word "melt" and is considered their national dish. The harsh winters of the Alpine mountains mean isolation from the outside world for months at a time with limited food supplies. The only readily available ingredients in the villages were cheese, bread and wine. As the winter dragged on, the cheeses made the previous summer began to dry out and spilled the villagers to melt them and create a tasty, fulfilling meal.

You do not have to be an Alpine villager to enjoy these simple concoctions. A fondue party just might be just the thing you've been searching for to enjoy with family and friends.

Most any food can be "cooked" in a fondue pot and fondue parties are a great way to enrapt your guests for an endless evening with good food, good wine, mingling and great conversation.

The party can be set up in stations or the guests can be appointed at tables in small groupings. If your knees are still in good shape, it is fun to sit on pillows on the floor around the coffee table. As long as the pots are easily accessible without a long reach for anyone, the set up can be most anywhere. Follow the tips below to create a perfect fondue that will amaze and satisfy your hungry party guests.

Fondue Pots and Utensils

  • Broth pots should be a heavy, stable metal over a hot flame that keeps the contents bubbling.
  • The traditional earthenware fondue pot is called a "caklon."
  • Ceramic pots are best for cheese and chocolate fondues.
  • Sterno, alcohol, and gelled fuel capsules are designed to keep the pots boiling vigorously.
  • Tea lights or diffusers on the bases of the pots may be used to keep the pots warm.
  • Fondue forks and bamboo sticks are best for sparing bread, meat, vegetables, fruit and confections.
  • Bamboo skewers allow more than one piece of meat at a time to be cooked on them. Soak them in water to prevent burning while touching the pot.
  • Small Asian baskets work well for dipping delicate fish in broths. These can be purchased at Asian markets.
  • Fondue plates, dinner forks and plenty of colorful, festive napkins are essential for gracefully eating the cooked fondue.

Cheese Fondue

  • Prevent cheese fondue from burning by using a heavy metal pot with an enamel or cast iron base or a heavy glazed earthenware pot.
  • Melt the cheese slowly on the stovetop and then transfer it to a pot with an alcohol burner. Allow it to gently bubble, not boil, to keep the cheese from becoming stringy.
  • If it does, lower the heat and continue warming until the cheese re-melts and the mixture becomes smooth once again.
  • Increase the heat slowly and keep stirring if the cheese forms a lump.
  • Keep the cheese creamy by swirling the dippers in a figure eight.
  • Considered a delicacy, the crust that is formed on the bottom of the cheese fondue is to be shared by all.
  • Bread for dipping should not be too fresh or it will crumble in the pot.

Fondue Secrets

  • Cut all ingredients for dipping into one or two-bite sizes, about 1-inch cubes.
  • Double skewer the items or place them past the very tip of the skewer to avoid losing the food in the pot.
  • Use flavorful liquids only.
  • Use a dry or semi-dry wine in the cheese to help the proteins melt smoothly.
  • Keep cheese and dessert fondue at about 130 degrees Fahrenheit with a diffuser on the flame, a very low flame or a twilight candle.
  • Chocolate should be eaten warm, not hot.
  • Chill the fruit dippers before serving so the chocolate will coat them better.

Pride and Passion in the Kitchen With the Lacanche Range Cooker

A good cooker can make people want to cook, in the same way that a great car can make people want to drive. The Lacanche cooker, which is to the kitchen what some of the UK’s best known small company sports car manufacturers are to the road, is pretty much in a class of its own. It’s beautiful, it’s reliable, it’s outstandingly specced up and it comes in at just the right price.

Lacanche products take their name from a village in the Burgundy region of France – where they have been made for something in the order of 200 years. That’s a heck of a lot of time to have been manufacturing a single product – and that, of course, goes a long way to explain why a Lacanche range cooker is as highly regarded as it is. The Lacanche cooker is the Gallic professional’s oven of choice (indeed, one of France’s top chefs resolutely uses Lacanche and nothing else) – but it has been made to segue seamlessly into the domestic market, with smaller models offering the same performance in more manageable chunks.

Okay – so that might count all these Lacanche cookers as a bit special: but what’s so great about having a professional class cooker in a domestic home? Simple. Pro style cookers that really have the seal of approval of the pros, are sensitive in the same way that those well made cars are responsive – they heat evenly and well, and they allow users to cook like the cook books suggest that they can. A Lacanche range cooker will turn out a Sunday roast that looks and tastes like a Sunday roast should.

As if all this performance and class wasn’t enough, the Lacanche cooker, or at least the genius who designed it, has had the presence of mind to turn on the style in the looks department too. Anyone who fails to stop dead and start coveting, when confronted by the gaudy reds, bright yellows, or clean sky blues of a Lacanche is probably dead. They really do look special – with solid, gorgeously painted iron work and gleaming chrome finishes.

Unlike most range cookers, which are built big and big alone, Lacanche range cookers have been constructed in stepped sizes to suit the needs of every type of kitchen. Professional kitchens can take advantage of models like the Vezelay, a whopping two and a half meter long culinary monster equipped with two 74 litre standard ovens, an 84 litre simmering oven, and an array of hobs that look as though they could propel a starship. Domestic users are able to condense that Lacanche cooker performance into a far more digestible package, with single oven and grill models available at only 700mm wide. Both the Cormatin and Rully models carry 74 litre ovens but fit comfortably into a small kitchen – meaning that Lacanche range cooker performance is available to everyone. They should use it.

Air Ozone Purifiers – Are They Good Or Bad?

Ozone is like the sun. Without ozone you would die. Yet too much can affect your health. So when air purifier companies try to sell you that ozone air purifiers are “death machines” or ‘healthy air miracles” the truth is somewhere in the middle.

How The Controversy Started

A year ago Consumer Reports claimed the Sharper Images Ionic Breeze air purifier emitted 150 to 300 parts per billion of ozone in samples taken 2 inches from the machine. This report led to the highly successful Ionic Breeze infomercials being pulled from TV. The Breeze image ionic Sharper Brand died, replaced by the Oreck air purifiers with overpriced infomercial units.

(Sharper Image’s Breeze Ionic Midi, breeze ionic plus professional, and breeze ionic quadra review models no longer have an Ozone problem.)

Let’s look at both the “good” and the ‘bad” about Ozone in Air Purifiers:

Ozone is Good…

o You would die if there was no ozone.

o Ozone is simply oxygen with an added molecule.

o It is nature’s own air cleaner.

o Ozone is produced by nature and cleans the air.

o At low levels, as found in nature, it does a superb job of cleaning the air.

o Some purifiers allow for on/off Ozone, allowing you to “treat” the room

o All electric motors, and computers, produce Ozone

…and Ozone is Bad

o The EPA standard for ozone exposure is 80 parts per billion over 8 hours.

o Ozone levels over 100 parts per billion can causes injury to the airways

o “High Ozone” warnings signal that the air is bad.

o High levels can irritate lung tissue

o Even air purifiers that claim “no ozone” produce ozone if they have a fan.

For Asthmatics: Many people with asthma or lung problems consider avoiding ozone. If you like ozone for occasional room treatment (as I do) find a unit with low levels, timed, and don’t sleep too close to it. You may also want to treat the room and leave the room empty for 3-6 hours. The ozone will fade in that time.

Conclusion: Do You Want It In Your Purifier?

My advice is to avoid ozone, and go with UV and Tio2 which is effective for mold and mildew.

How to Fix Your Cheesecake – A Troubleshooting Guide

A cheesecake should be relatively trouble free but occasionally problems do come up. Over the years, we’ve been asked the following questions.

“What’s the easiest way to make crumbs for my crust?”

Lots of folks use a food processor; we don’t bother. We use a heavy duty zipper-type plastic bag and crush the crackers or cookies with a rolling pin a few at a time. We save the plastic bag for the next crust. If we’re in a hurry, we just use packaged graham cracker crumbs rather than crushing crackers.

“I have lumps in my cheesecake. How do avoid those?”

Most likely the lumps are from globules of cream cheese in your batter. Before adding any of the other ingredients, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together until completely mixed. The sugar crystals will cut through the cream cheese breaking up the globules. In the heat of the oven, the sugar will melt further breaking up any pieces.

If your recipe calls for chocolate, either white or dark, the lumps could be chocolate. When the chocolate is mixed into the cool batter, it solidifies and creates lumps. To avoid that, make sure your melted chocolate is hot, well above the melt point. With your mixer running, drizzle the hot chocolate into the batter. With the chocolate hotter, it will disperse before setting up.

“I bake my cheesecake for the time specified in the recipe and the center is still soft. What am I doing wrong?”

You’re probably doing nothing wrong. Baking times in recipes are always estimates and can be affected by the temperature in your oven (calibrated temperatures are seldom right), the depth of the batter, whether the pan is light or dark (dark pans bake faster), how cold your batter is, and other factors. Don’t worry about the time and just bake it until it done. (See the next question.)

“How do I tell when my cheesecake is done?”

There are three ways. You can gently shake the cheesecake. If only the center is still jiggly, it’s done. This is not very precise but with practice, you can get good with this method.

The most common way is to stick a knife in the batter about one-inch from the center. If it’s done, it will come out clean.

The most precise way to tell when a cheesecake is done is with an insta-read thermometer. Stick the probe in the center of the cheesecake and see what it reads. A cheesecake is done when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. That’s when the proteins in the eggs coagulate.

“How do I stop my cheesecake from cracking?”

A cheesecake top without a crack seems to be the ultimate measure of success. It shouldn’t be. A crack doesn’t affect the taste. Many cheesecakes are topped and the topping covers any cracks.

There may be a number of reasons for cracks:

– Too much air incorporated into the filling may cause cracks.

– Too much baking time will over bake the filling and is a common cause of cracks.

– Uneven baking may be a cause. If you are using light gauge, reflective pans, consider switching to heavier gauge, dark pans.

– Too high of heat may cause cracking. Consider baking at 325 degrees instead of at 350 degrees.

– It your cheesecake cools too rapidly, it may develop cracks. Don’t let your cheesecake cool in a draft.

Cheesecakes with starch in the filling are less prone to cracking.

“My crusts crumble when I try to serve my cheesecake. What am I doing wrong?”

It’s the butter that acts as the mortar holding the crumbs together. The butter needs to be well mixed with crumbs. There has to be enough butter, a minimum of four tablespoons per crust. The mixture needs to be compacted with firm pressure. We use a pastry tamper or heavy mug to compress the bottom and to press the sides.

Always cut and serve your cheesecake cold. That way the butter is a solid. If the cheesecake gets too warm, the butter melts and the crust will crumble.

Baking a crust is not necessary but it does tend to hold the crust together. The sugar melts in baking and tends to hold things in place once it cools and sets.

“I always seem to muck up my slices when I cut my cheesecake. What’s the best way to cut a cheesecake?”

Use the right knife, a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Don’t use a serrated knife as filling and crumbs tend to stick to the serrations.

Cut with a downward pressure, dragging the knife as little as possible. After each cut, wash and dry the knife so that you have a clean blade slicing through the cheesecake.

“My slices seem to stick to the base and it’s hard to remove them. Is there an easy way to neatly remove my slices?”

There is an easy way to get slices to slide of the pan base. Heat a wet kitchen towel in the microwave. Lay the towel on the counter and place the cheesecake directly on the hot towel. In a couple minutes, the heat will soften the butter against the base and slices will easily slip off.

It helps to have a springform pan with a smooth base.

Preparing A Turkey Dinner

For some reason, it looks like there is always a holiday right around the corner and with these holidays, come families and family gatherings. So it's inevitable that it's going to be your turn to cook that family feast.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or it's your first time hosting the gathering, preparing a turkey dinner for family and friends can be stressful on anyone.
Preparing your kitchen and yourself for the big day will be the key to your success.

By following a time line of up to 10 days prior to the big day you will be able to enjoy not only preparing the meal but also your company.

One week to 10 days prior

Prepare a list of everything you will need, including dinner napkins and decorations

Clean your oven thoroughly and check your appliances for problems. You will have lots of time to take care of those unexpected issues you might find

Clean out and rearrange your refrigerator, making sure there is lots of room for the turkey and all the trimmings

Mentally prepare yourself for the days to come

Three to four days prior

Purchase your turkey, keeping in mind to allow one half pound per person. Allow for more if you would like lots of leftovers

If your turkey is frozen set it in the refrigerator for defrosting (it can take up to 3 days to properly defrost a turkey in your fridge)

Go through your list and buy or get what you need for the big day

Bake dinner rolls and appetizers and set them in the freezer until the night before the dinner

Review your supplies to ensure everything you need is in your kitchen

The day before the dinner

If your turkey is frozen and you have not allowed three days for defrosting, set the turkey in a bowl or pot in the sink. Fill the pot with cold water and leave the cold water running slowly. Defrosting a turkey this way may take several hours

Iron the tablecloth and any linen needed

Include the children in the preparation by having them decorate and prepare games for your other young guests

Prepare the cranberry sauce or leave and set it in the fridge

Save time on the big day by peeling and chopping the vegetables. They can be stored in the fridge as well

Prepare and bake your desserts and appetizers

Take out and thaw any frozen items you might need

The morning of the big day

Prepare the turkey for cooking

Cook the bird on 350 ° F allowing for 20 minutes of cook time per pound of turkey

Prepare your side dishes and have them ready to cook or heat when the time is right

Set your table and wait for your guests to arrive

Sit back, relax and enjoy the meal with your family and friends

Preparing and cooking a big turkey dinner or any other large meal does not have to be stressful. Preparing your kitchen and yourself for the task will make your day a breeze, even if it is your first time.

Basic Fixes For a Polaris 280 Pool Cleaner That Has Stopped Moving

The Polaris 280 Pool Cleaner is a one of the best in ground pool cleaners available on the market today. Even though it is an older model, it consistently outperforms the newer models of Polaris pool cleaners. It also requires less maintenance and is easier to troubleshoot and fix when problems do start happening. Like all pool cleaners, with age the cleaner will eventually start wearing down and working less efficiently. One common symptom that may show up is when the Polaris 280 simply stops moving and isn’t doing any of the cleaning it normally does so well. The following troubleshooting tips will help identify why the cleaner has stopped moving.

Obstructed Cleaner Wheels – first things first, turn off all the pool equipment and remove the cleaner from the pool. Inspect the wheels and make sure they turn freely and that there isn’t anything stopping the wheels from turning. It is real easy, and very common, for a pool toy, small branch, or other types of debris to get jammed in between the wheels stopping them from moving. When this happens, everything else could be working great, just the wheels can’t turn. Once the toy or debris is removed, the Polaris 280 will be back on track to keep the pool clean again..

Is There Enough Water Pressure? – next, make sure there is enough water pressure being delivered to the cleaner. Since the Polaris 280 is a pressure side pool cleaner, it needs a sufficient amount of water pressure to function properly, and without the necessary pressure it will not move. Turn on the pool equipment and visually confirm that the pool has good circulation. If there isn’t good water flow, following are the most common reasons.

1 – Main Pool Filter is Dirty – if the main pool filter has not been cleaned recently or the filter pressure gauge has a unusually high pressure reading, the main filter needs to be cleaned. After cleaning the filter, retest the pool cleaner to see if that solved the problem.

2 – Wall Filter Screen is Dirty – the Polaris 280 pool cleaner is equipped with a small filter located inside the wall fitting that can get clogged with debris. If this screen is clogged, there won’t be enough water pressure getting to the pool cleaner.

3 – Booster Pump Malfunctioning – turn on all the pool equipment including the Polaris 280 booster pump. If the pump doesn’t come on, obviously that is a problem. If it does come on, check the water pressure getting to the pool cleaner by slowly and carefully lifting the cleaner to the surface of the water and reaching in the water to feel the water pressure. Be sure to hold the cleaner under the water, and hold the tail so it doesn’t squirt water in your face. It is a good idea to wear glasses or goggles when doing this test.

Pool Cleaner Wheels Need Repair – if the cleaner wheels are not obstructed, all the filters are clean, and there is good water pressure reaching the pool cleaner, the wheels may need repair. Three components to the wheels commonly wear down and need replacement over time.

1 – Wheels – the wheels have grooves that engage the drive shaft. Any of the three wheels that have worn or broken grooves will need to be replaced. The wheels can easily be visually inspected for bad grooves.

2 – Wheel Bearings – each wheel has two wheel bearings that will wear out over time. Indicators that the bearings need replacement are excessive horizontal play and/or wheels that don’t turn freely. If it suspected that the bearings are bad, remove the wheels and it will be obvious.

3 – Tires – if the tires have excessive or uneven wear, or have stretched to where they don’t fit tightly on the wheels, they need to be replaced.

After going through the problem solving tips above, if the Polaris 280 is still not moving, it may have a more complicated internal mechanical problem. Call a pool service professional or the local pool store for help.

Preparing Items for Decoupage


Lightly sand any rough spots. Fill rough spots and holes with wood filler and then sand. Wipe with a damp sponge. If you want a stained background, use a water-soluble, alcohol-based wood stain. You may need to seal the wood.

You can apply your cutout directly onto untreated wood, but it’s better to apply a sealer. Before sanding wood paint a base coat first as the water-based paint lifts the fibers of wood way from the surface so when you sand the paint the fibers are easily removed. The first coat of paint highlights imperfections that you can correct with filler.

When using a wood base, remember that oil and water don’t mix. The most common decoupage glazes are water-based and won’t adhere properly to wood that has been stained with an oil-based stain.

If you’ve stained wood with an oil-based stain, you need to seal it with an oil-based sealer. If you want to decoupage a piece of old furniture and aren’t sure of the finish, find an inconspicuous spot to test your glaze.


Wash your glass item with soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and wipe dry. Wipe the surface with rubbing alcohol or vinegar and allow to dry before working on the surface. Don’t touch the surface once it has been cleaned as oil from fingers can cause your images to not seal properly.

You need to be extra careful to remove any excess glue from the glass surface, once your prints are applied. It’s also very important to work on a clean surface. When using PVA glue on glass, add a drop of glycerin to prolong the drying time. Once you have applied your cutout to the glass surface and allowed the glue to dry, you can remove any glue by wiping the glass with a window cleaner. Don’t apply glue to the image, only to the glass. Don’t worry about leaving too much glue between the glass and the image as it will dry clear. The more glue you work with, the easier it is to get rid of bubbles. Similarly, it’s OK to leave a thin film of glue both on the glass and the back of the image.

Spray a small amount on a damp sponge or cloth and remove any excess glue from the glass. Cotton swabs work well to remove glue from small areas.


To decoupage on plastic, you need to roughen the plastic first with sandpaper. This will give it some tooth with which to grab and provide a tight seal. You will need to allow extra drying and extra curing time than with other surfaces. Dry to the touch isn’t enough. Lightly press your finger in an area that won’t show to test it if possible. If not, allow several days for drying to be on the safe side. Keep the object protected against dust while it’s drying.

LED Retrofit Kits And Their Benefits

Lighting cost is an area many people concentrate on especially when building. Everyone yearns for cheaper, more user friendly and environmentally friendly lighting options. Facility managers and even homeowners who are conscious about costs want modern solutions that still serve their purpose efficiently. LED retrofit kit make a very popular lighting solution for all. This is because the kit is long lasting, efficient and calls for minimal maintenance. The retrofit kits are popular options for both commercial and residential settings because of the following benefits.

1. The kits are energy efficient

Compared to conventional lighting systems such as incandescent bulbs, LED retrofit kits consume lee power with a huge percentage of high light output. The retrofits are therefore not only energy efficient, but also more economical. They make amazing choices for offices and showrooms among many other settings.

2. They are versatile

The LED retrofit kits can be used in a wide range of applications. They come in handy in offices, commercial buildings, garages and even homes. The kits are designed to fit almost any given place with illumination needs.

3. The kits are long lasting

The LED lights do not easily burn out compared to bulbs and fluorescent, they last thousands of hours thereby becoming an inexpensive lighting solution. The need to keep changing them every once in a while is eliminated.

4. The retrofit kits have exceptional dimming capacity

They offer maximum brightness instantly as compared to other lighting systems. In addition, you can easily regulate the brightness according to your demands and what you find most appropriate for the given setting. It means, therefore that you can still enjoy even lower energy use by dimming to the right levels.

5. They are free from UV rays and infrared

LED retrofit lights do not have ultra violet rays as compared to infrared rays and fluorescent tubes. They are free from UV transmission, thereby making the kits suitable for environments that are sensitive, such as museums, art galleries and archaeological sites.

6. They come with less maintenance needs

LED retrofit kit offer flawless lighting for years and there is no need for regular replacement. The kits are functional and do not require much maintenance to keep them functional as they are designed to do.

7. The kits do not flicker or make humming sounds

For this reason, the retrofit kits keep the lit area peaceful and quiet compared to conventional lights that keep flickering and make noise causing eyestrain and headaches because of these characteristics. An LED retrofit kits saves you from these annoying effects. When used in industries, the kits have shown to have positive effects on performance, wakefulness and mood.

LED retrofit kits come in different sizes and designs in that you can choose an option that suits your settings and lighting needs best. It is best that you get your kits from reputable suppliers for quality purposes to enjoy all the benefits they have to offer. There is so much to enjoy besides the energy efficiency.

Common Calorie Burning Exercise Barriers

Everyone knows that exercise is a really important part of the weight loss equation. Yet so many people either don’t find the time to exercise or simply get bored when exercising! The key is to anticipate the common barriers to exercise so that it can become a regular part of everyday life.

Lack of time

If lack of time is your barrier then try more efficient forms of training like HIIT training which cycles between high and low paced exercises. Try reframing the meaning exercise in your head, It doesn’t have to be a gruelling 3-hour session at the gym. Exercise can be as simple as taking the stairs or walking the dog!


This is one I suffer from! Try changing your workout routine or even try your hand at cross-fit which is a variety of activities aimed at burning fat. You could even start a workout group with your loved ones, turning exercise time into family bonding time.


Let’s face it most people’s lives are simply just too hectic to get to the gym every day! If you are one of those people, try a workout routine that doesn’t involve leaving the house. The best way is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Make sure to make your exercise isn’t dependent on the time of day or the weather.


Plan ahead by booking your travels in areas where there are a variety of gyms and fitness centres. If you are stuck in the airport, clock some miles by walking the airport terminal. And if all else fails, you can even workout in your hotel room


Always make sure you are fully recovered before you return to your normal workout routine. But in future remember to always do proper warm ups and cool downs in order to prevent injury in the first place. And when you do climb back on that workout band waggon, remember to start slowly and give your body a chance to catch up to its old fitness levels!

Exercise is a vital part of the weight loss formula but at the end of the day, the key is to be consistent in your workouts. After all, weight loss is like a plane taking off – it doesn’t work if you slow down at the end! And even though we haven’t touched on the subject of dieting, remember that you can’t out work a bad diet!

Setting Up a Standard Home Office Will Give Your Home Based Business a Better Chance of Success


It has become a fad these days for people to set up one form of business or the other at home. Part of the reason is the relatively low startup and running costs of such Home Based Businesses.

One of the ways to ensure success of your Home Based Business is to establish a standard home office.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the type of fixtures, furniture and equipment that should be acquired and the beneficial effects they have on the success of the business.

What is a Home Office?

It’s a specific place in your home that you have chosen to be your primary place of work.

But honestly the more dedicated and professional the office space, the better chances of more productive work taking place.

My usual advice is that every Home Based Business owner should endeavor to dedicate a room as an Office if there’s enough space.

Requirements For A Standard Home Office

A standard Home Office should be equipped with appropriate basic fixtures, furniture and equipment to enable it function efficiently.

What I recommend as basic furniture and equipment for a standard home office are listed below:

• Ergonomic Desk

An ergonomic desk is a functional desk specifically built to alleviate stress during work. The desk should be at the right level to enable you rest your elbow and write conveniently.

• Ergonomic Chair

An ergonomic chair is designed to support long periods of work by providing the right amount of sitting comfort. It should be built to support the lumbar region. This will help reduce back pain since you’ll be spending a good part of your time on it.

• One or Two Visitor Chairs

There should be at least one Visitor chair

• Fireproof Filing Cabinet

Getting a fireproof filing cabinet is very important. It will help secure important documents in case of fire.

• Laptop Computer

You should have a Laptop computer with a good broad band internet connection. Endeavor to install the latest micro soft office suite.

• Dedicated Official Phone Line

As a Home Business Owner, projection of a professional image is very important. So ensure that you get a dedicated phone line for your home business. Don’t forget to train every one that may answer the phone on how to answer with an official welcoming voice.

• Adequate Lighting

There must be adequate lighting in order to provide the right eye comfort and ambience.

• Printer, Copier and Scanner

Every standard home office should have a Printer, Copier and Scanner. In order to cut down on cost and manage available space more efficiently, you can invest in a 3 in 1 printer

• Paint Color

A light colored shade is usually preferable. It will give the office the right ambience and create the right mood for work.

• Properly Positioned Electrical Sockets

Appropriately located electrical sockets are good for easy use of Laptops, Printers and any other equipment that may require power source.

These are the things required in a Standard Home Office.

With all these properly arranged, you’re good to go.

Benefits Of A Dedicated Home Office

• Improved Productivity

Psychologically, once you step into the home office, you tell yourself that you have reported for duty and you behave like somebody at work.

• Professional Image

Any Client coming to discuss business with you will take you more seriously because a dedicated Home Office gives the business a Professional outlook

• More Privacy

You let everyone understand that once you’re in that room called Home Office, you should not be disturbed except in an emergency.

The overall benefit will lead to more productive work and increase in profits.


Indeed having a dedicated well equipped Home Office will help you work comfortably for longer hours thereby reducing Stress.

You’ll be able to increase your productivity and boost the growth of your business.

If you don’t have enough funds to put all the above mentioned things in place, just get started with what you have and upgrade as you go along.

In the final analysis, a dogged determination to succeed coupled with other attributes of the success matrix will play a major part in the success of your Home Based Business.

We have come to the end of this discussion.

Do you have anything to add? Perhaps I omitted something?

Please feel very free to send in your thoughts and suggestions.