How To Plan For A Wedding

They say that planning a wedding can be chaotic, but for some who have been dreaming about it for most of their lives, organizing it is fun. The idea of organizing things may be overwhelming at first, but if you know what you want to wear and you know where to find cheap wedding rings, things won’t be that hard. Preparing for a wedding always begins with a plan and deciding on a theme. To find out more about how to prepare for a wedding, here are some tips to help you out:

• The most important thing that you should consider is the theme of your wedding. Having a theme will allow you to easily make decisions on some other aspects of the event like your venue, reception, bride and groom ring sets and all the other important details. Make sure that you already have this in mind beforehand so that things can flow smoothly.

• Another decision that you should make is your wedding date. Decide on it as a couple and have other options, just in case the first date you decided on won’t work out.

• You won’t be able to execute all these plans if you don’t have enough money. Be practical when setting up all the details and see to it that your money can cover everything that you want to have.

• When deciding on your bride and groom ring sets, ask help from your family and friends. They may have a jeweler in mind that you can check out. Don’t make rushed decisions when it comes to these things. Try to look into your options carefully until you find what you are looking for.

• Set a meeting with the person who is going to officiate your wedding. Inquire about the flow of the ceremony and ask if they have any restrictions.

• Decide on the number of people who will be attending. Make a list so that you won’t miss out on any of your relatives and friends. If your slots are limited, make sure that your visitors confirm ahead of time. That way, if they can’t come, you can give the slot to others who are willing to attend.

• Set an appointment with the people who have crucial roles in making your wedding happen. These include your caterers, florist, people who are in charge with the program, and so on. Pay special attention to the designer who will make the gowns for the entire entourage. Make sure that everything is organized and planned well.

• See to it that you sign up for a marriage license and all the other legal documents that are required. Make sure to submit these as soon as possible and take note of their validity dates.

Planning a wedding will involve a lot of details. If you want it to be stress free, make sure that you plan things properly and ahead of time. Be practical when making your choices. Remember that simple gowns and cheap wedding rings are okay. Everything doesn’t have to be expensive. The most important thing is that every person that you love and are close to you will be there for you on your wedding day!

Marble Information

Marble is any limestone or dolomite that can take a high polish and still be usable. Marble is generally formed from limestone undergoing metamorphism. When exposed to extremes of pressure or heat limestone turns into calcite or dolomite crystals, which are the primary materials in marble.

Marble has a famous history. The ancient Greeks built their architecture, cities, and sculptures often from Pentelic and Parian Marbles, quarried in Greece. The romans later used marble in their buildings as well, quarrying in the Greek spots and finding roman marble quarries of their own. Marble is, in a lot of ways, what the classical and Hellenistic age was built from.

It is still used heavily today in construction, and can be quarried all over the world. The uses for this stone are almost endless. It’s used in flooring, counter tops, pillars, stair cases, colonnades, paneling, and facing stone in architectural structures. It can’t however be used outdoors, since water would corrode its crystalline structure. It is also very smooth and therefore tends to be slippery, which makes it unfavorable to use in high traffic areas.

Marble is one of the most beautiful stones, with a highly polished smooth face and a wide variety of colors. These various colors are due to impurities, such as iron or carbon, getting caught in the marbles structure during formation. They often appear in stripes which makes the marble, especially when cut, very beautiful.

It’s these properties that make marble suited to some of the more delicate arts. It can be crafted into beautiful home furnishings, and it has been the material used in many of the worlds most beautiful sculptures. It is one of the most beautiful, elegant, historically prevalent stones that can be used.

Computer Lingo!

Computer lingo!

Or, “techno-babble” as I like to call it. If you don’t know your IEEE 1394s from your PCI Express x16s, then you may have a problem if you plan on building or upgrading hardware in your computer. Knowing the talk is essential for getting parts that are compatible and not blowing up your house with parts that conflict (just kidding, you’d blow up your whole neighborhood) (just kidding again, you’d just have to return the part and lower your head in shame for not reading this article).

Here’s some techno-babble that is useful for building or upgrading a computer:

Mobo: Motherboard – the circuit board that all of the computer components are attached to.

AGP: Accelerated Graphics Port – High-speed port on a motherboard for attaching a video card (not the standard, PCI Express x16 is today’s standard)

ATX: Advanced Technology Extended – Standard for computer motherboard and case design.

PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect – Slot on the motherboard used to attach peripherals such as a sound card.

PCI Express x16: A more specific version of standard PCI, it is the standard slot for Video Cards on a motherboard.

GPU: Graphics Processing Unit – Your Video Card.

SLI: Scalable Link Interface – The technology to link two or more video cards to produce one output. What’s better than one video card? Two video cards.

SATA: Serial ATA – Method for transferring data from your hard drives to your motherboard and devices. This is today’s standard; provides increased bandwidth (it’s faster than PATA). Used for Hard Drives.

PATA: Parallel ATA – Method for transferring data from your hard drives to your motherboard and devices. It is the most common, however, it is not as preferred. Can be connected to all drives; Hard drives and CD/DVD drives.

CPU: Central Processing Unit -Crunches the 1s and 0s and turns your $1000 box into a computer.

AMD: Advanced Micro Devices – A CPU manufacturer known for making cheap efficient processors.

Socket 939/AM2: Associated with AMD brand processors, this is the physical layout of the pins that connect it to the motherboard.

Intel: A CPU manufacturer known for making powerful processors that aren’t cheap.

LGA 775: Associated with Intel brand processors, this is the physical layout of the pins that connect it to the motherboard.

GigaHertz(ghz): The clock speed of the computer. Used to determine the speed of the processor.

RAM: Random Access Memory – Your computer uses this to store data used by open applications.

DDR2 400: One example of RAM slot type. DDR2: double-data-rate two and 400 is the speed of the memory. It is critical that you check the motherboard to and RAM to be sure these match.

Gigabytes(gb): The unit used to measure the size of storage. I recommend having atleast 1gb of RAM.

Megabytes(mb): A unit used to measure the size of storage.

USB: Universal Serial Bus – Used for connecting peripherals, ie: Mouse/Keyboard or MP3 player.

IEEE 1394: A Firewire port. Used for data transfer much like a USB but much faster than USB2.0, however, it is not common.

PSU: Power Supply Unit – Powers the system, I recommend at least 500Watts.

Techno-babble really is a different language but it is important to pay attention to those little three letter acronyms for they may cost you time and money. Good luck and happy building J

Various Options and Types of Window Blinds to Choose From

If your windows are the standard sizes, it is more logical to purchase blinds that are already ready-made. These blinds are available in different styles, colors, designs and materials. They are less expensive than the made to order ones. When selecting, get the blinds which can make your rooms look more beautiful and classy. Make sure that the color and design blends well with your wall paper, flooring and the other features in your place.

Blinds are categorized as follows:

* Roller Blinds are made of stiffened fabric operated by spring mechanism. Some come in straight ends and other styles. There are styles whose width you can cut to size. There is also the blackout roller blind if you want to block out the daylight from entering your room. If you desire, it can be placed behind curtains. So if you happen to be a light sleeper, you may opt for this type of roller blind which is simple to fit.

* Roman Blinds or fabric shades are commonly made from fabrics of silk, cotton, faux fax leather, faux suede, linen or hemp. They can be raised and lowered by a cord mechanism connected to the slats or rods on the back of the blind. The fabric form into stylish pleated effect when raised. Roman blinds are typed into flat, hobbled, balloon and relaxed roman blinds.

The most common type is the classic flat roman blind whose pleats lie flat when it opens. Its appearance is spic and span and pleasing to the eye. If you want an artistic and elegant look, the hobbled type of roman blind can be for you. Its edges lean outward when they are open.

The relaxed roman blind presents a casual sporty look. Its folds are a bit rounded and the fabrics are made of lightweight materials. Finally, there is the balloon ready-made roman blind. These blinds are also made from lightweight materials like the hobbled. They are called balloon blinds because they look airy.

* Venetian Blinds are the blinds most people are familiar with. They can have horizontal metal, wood or plastic slats of different widths. It is versatile and you can do whatever you like to put it up or pull it down to control the light entering the room. Venetian blinds are further classified into ready-made wooden venetian blinds made from many types of wood. If you want an exotic or tropical look, wooden venetian blinds made from driftwood, bamboo, oak, etc. can be for you particularly if your flooring is also wooden. This blind are higher priced than the others. There is also the lightweight aluminum venetian blinds in different colors and the PVC venetian blinds which are getting to be popular. Last option is the mini venetian blinds which come in narrower slats and casual look.

* Vertical Blinds – these blinds have vertical panels made of metal, wood, vinyl, or fabric. They are very effective in blocking out or letting in enough sunlight. The types of vertical blinds are paper blinds which are permanently pleated. They are stylish and fashionable together with curtains and lower priced. Another type is the cane whole or split bamboo vertical blinds if you want a see through suppressed lighting. They come in roll up or pleated. Cane blinds have an exotic and Mediterranean appeal.

If you want low-priced blinds that are easy to install and maintain, durable, beautiful, stylish, modern and practical, choose from the wide range of options and styles of ready-made blinds itemized above. It is a wise and realistic decision

The Different Types of Concrete Cutting and Breaking

Concrete cutting, can be explained in the layman’s terms as the process of creating holes and openings through concrete surfaces, walls and ceilings. This process can be used for more complicated tasks along with revolutionizing tools and methods like coring concrete pile caps to removing unwanted concrete from a site. Concrete cutting, drilling and sawing are one of the greatest challenges for most of the drilling experts because the concrete is one of the toughest materials to work with due to its hardened nature. Special tools are needed to get the job done and safe without damaging the underground utilities and electrical conduits through the concrete.

The good news is that today, a wide range of concrete saws are available in the construction industry for fulfilling out different types of concrete sawing operations such as dry sawing and wet sawing. A concrete saw is nothing but a high-quality tool used by drilling experts to make cuts and openings on hard materials such as brick, masonry, and tile etc., apart from concrete. This tool can be hand-held saw or a big walk behind saw which often work with the support of either electric motors or gasoline.

Dry Sawing- Exclusively for Outdoor Projects

Dry sawing is a concrete cutting technique which is recognized by production of enormous dust; hence it is great for large-scale outdoor projects. Normally, diamond blade is used for dry sawing so that it can be protected from getting overheated in the absence of water. Diamond blades are also very useful for heavy and duty tasks, huge construction schemes and outdoor performances. Dry cutting saws, unlike wet cutting saws, may give off large amounts of dust and other flying chips, which can cause injuries in your respiratory tract. Dry cutting tools and saws are perfect for professionals, as their higher power is incredibly helpful for heavy concrete parts, prolonged jobs and dense concrete.

Wet Sawing Technique

The second important sawing technique that is accepted widely across the world is called wet sawing which is characterised by dust reduction, protecting the operative’s health. Wet sawing is considered as an eco-friendly friendly concert when compared to dry sawing. The saw remains cool because of water, which makes it easier to break through.

Different Types of Sawing Techniques

Wire Sawing

Wire sawing’s everyday need of the construction industry essential for creating highly accurate cuts or openings in steel and reinforced concrete. If you are looking forward to creating different types of shapes in a variety of different sizes, then nothing can to be more useful to you than wire saws. Wire saws, which can be diamond embedded cables used for creating holes and openings offer tremendous flexibility to contractors and helps in minimising wastage. Since wire sawing is an anti-vibration technique of creating cuts, it does not produce any types of cracks around the openings created by the contractors.

Floor Sawing

Floor sawing is the most commonly used method for cutting holes and cuts into roads, bridge decks and pavements, where awkward shapes and sizes need to be cut.

Wall Sawing

The main purpose of wall sawing is to create cuts on vertical structures inside heavily strengthened concrete such as walls. Wall saws are very close to track saws, and they are mostly used in building projects for creating openings such as doors and windows.

Rings Sawing

The ring sawing technique is predominately used for executing small and medium sized concrete projects. Ring sawing technique is very similar to chain sawing, for creating holes and openings in confined spaces with high accuracy and precision.

Last but not the least, if you are looking forward to hiring concrete contractor to bring innovative solutions to your complex project look no further, contact concrete cutting, nothing is impossible for them to cut.

Bat City USA – Austin, Texas

Most people associate Austin, Texas with the outstanding music scene and industry that is there or the “Longhorns” of the University of Texas at Austin, however, there is something else incredible that resides in the heart of the city and that is a colony of over 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats.

I had previously read and heard about this anomaly which is the largest urban bat colony in the world but I had never witnessed it so I decided to check that one of my bucket list as I was in town on business. I made my way from I-35 over to Congress Street and then I drove down it and across Lady Bird Lake to Riverside Drive and the “Long Center for the Performing Arts” where there is a great public parking garage. I parked there and then walked across the street to Butler Park and made my way down to the Lady Bird Lake bike and foot trail.

It was about an hour before sundown and it was a warm October evening. A few clouds were in the sky and as the sun began to set it turned the interesting glass and steel architecture of the downtown skyline to gold and it reflected beautifully in Lady Bird Lake. There were all kinds of people outside enjoying the open areas near the lake and running, walking and biking along the trails.

I walked along the trail east and under the Ann W. Richards – Congress Avenue Bridge. I walked under the bridge and found that on the east side of the south abutment of the bridge, there is a round grassy hill where people gather to watch the bats emerge from their perches each night. There were interpretive signs there that told much information about these mammals.

I learned that each evening about 20 min. prior to sundown, 1.5 million bats stream out of the bridge and go foraging for insects. These winged varmints consume anywhere from 10,000 – 30,000 pounds of insects each night! One adult bat is capable of eating over 600 mosquitoes in an hour! These bats made this bridge their home back in 1980 when the deck of the bridge was refurbished.

When this was done there were 16 inch crevasses created in the concrete running the length of the bridge. Apparently, the temperature and humidity in these crevasses is perfect for female bats to raise their young. Over 750,000 female bats give birth to a single pup each on an annual basis at this bridge.

Each spring these bats migrate up from Mexico and then around November, they migrate back down to warmer areas for the winter. As I stood there listening to the un-seen bats chattering, waiting for them to come out, appreciating the graceful arches of the Congress Avenue bridge, a few singular “blinks” of colored light occurred as the various lighting decorations of the downtown skyscrapers came on… neon white here, blue over there red and gold lights.

More people began to gather at the site and hundreds of people were up on the bridge looking over the railing in anticipation of the great nightly bat flight. Pleasure craft and tour boats milled about in the water and it was warm with a slight breeze. Just then a deaf guy came up to me and tried to sell me a button, I waved him off and then thought about it again and thought “what the heck” and summoned him back.

I asked him through gestures how much and he handed me a button. I looked at the card with it and it stated “I made these buttons to earn a living and any money would be appreciated” I gladly handed him some money and took my button that showed bats flying over the bridge. On the back of the card was the American Sign Language alphabet with pictures.

I thought this was very cool and I thanked him. He was very grateful and he motioned that I should go up on the bridge to the first light pole cause that vantage point was much better. I took this expert advice and climbed the stairs up to the bridge deck and sidewalk near the first pole.

All of a sudden, bats began emerging from under the bridge… they looked like a bunch of black butterflies or leaves that were being blown by some big fan somewhere. The stream of bats was ever increasing until there was a constant “Bat River” coming out from under the bridge and down Lady Bird Lake.

This Bat River looked like a hoard of locust off in the distance and the flow of bats continued for about 10 min from various locations under the bridge. This was truly an amazing sight to behold. I’ve seen a bat here and there exploring an old mine or cave but I’ve never seen hundreds of thousands of them pouring out from under an urban bridge with skyscrapers reflecting colored light in the water.

It was incredible. If you are interested in witnessing the Bat exodus… the best times according to the information are from March to October with August being the best. If you go there, it is highly recommended that you do not touch any bats because you can injure them and they may harbor disease. These bats are of extreme importance to the Austin environment as they devour tons of pests every night.

There is actually a “Bat Hotline” you can call for viewing information. The number is 512-416-5700 and then enter 3636. You can also find all kinds of useful information concerning Austin, TX on the website http://www.austin360.com. You can find all kinds of information on http://www.batcon.org/ Bat Conservation International. I’ve seen a lot of things in my travels but this one makes my most unusually amazing list. Go to Austin and witness a true anomaly of nature in a truly beautiful setting.

Realtors – Are Your Pictures Working For Or Against You?

Realtors must be able to wear multiple hats in order to compete in today's market. Gone are the days when being a good salesperson is enough. Thanks to the computerized world we live in, you now have to know how to effectively market your product as well.

Statistics have shown that 85% of prospective homebuyers are first turning to the internet to browse the real estate market in their area. Having professional looking, beautifully staged photographs of your home is critical. There are many great homes out there that are not even being seen because the pictures on the MLS are misrepresentative, and so poorly done.

Based on my own experience of photographing the homes of my clients, I know how difficult a task it can be. Judging by the quality of photographs I am seeing on the internet, I am not alone. There are many more people who 'Do not know how to photograph homes than' Do '!

The following are some picture taking tips that will turn you into a pro in no time. . .

Click Away – We're living in the digital age, so click away! In order to get more interesting shots, position yourself in different corners of the room to get a variety of angles to choose from. And remember to take some high shots (as in standing on a chair or stairway), as well as low.

Light Sells – Turn on all of the lights in the room. Indoor lighting has a photographic quality which adds an inviting, warm atmosphere to your pictures.

Flash Alert – Take your pictures both with and without the flash. At times a flash can add a hard light quality to your pictures. By removing the flash it will force your camera to draw in natural and artificial light, giving a comfortable glow to the shot which buyers can respond to.

It's A Blur – A photographers trick is to press your arms against your sides and spread your feet to form a tripod effect with your body to steady your shots. You can also lean against a wall or in a doorway for extra support.

Do-Overs – This is one time when do-overs are allowed. Thanks to technology our digital cameras tell us instantly how well we have performed. The lens sees the world differently than we do, picking up each little detail ie the cluttered countertop, or the dogs head in the corner of the picture!

Live a Little -Create interest by positioning focal points to the left or right rather than always in the center.

When to Shoot – An hour or two after the sun rises, and an hour or two after it sets. This is when the light is the most flattering.

Watch Your Back – Make sure natural light is coming from the side or back of you when taking your pictures to avoid glare. This tip is critical , and most often the one we see people not following on Realtor.com!

Pay Attention to Detail – Remember to shoot some of the emotional connection points in each room which focus in on staging effects.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. Grab your wide angled lens camera, go out there and get some great shots!

Tips on Selecting Roman Shades and Curtains

ROMAN SHADES

The hottest trend in window fashions right now is roman shades. Clean, classic, and efficient are words that describe this window covering. Roman shades operate by a standard cord lock, a continuous cord loop, or a remote controlled motor that pulls the fabric up and lowers it down. When in the down position, the fabric can be flat, hobbled, or in a waterfall formation. The shade can be lined with a light filtering lining or with darkening lining. Thousand of options are available for the face fabric allowing the roman shades to coordinate with any design style you can come up with. Depending on the fabric and style selected roman shades will work with any style from contemporary to traditional, or transitional. Roman shades work well in children's rooms, family rooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms. When in the raised position, the fabric folds up onto itself and forms a soft valance look. It is a very clean look and never looks messy.

Roman shades can be mounted either inside the window frame or outside the window frame. To use an inside mount, you must have a two inch flat surface inside the top of the window casing to mount the shade. On an inside mount it is important to remember there will be a slight gap on both the left and right sides to allow for smooth and easy operation. If there is not two inches of mounting depth on the top of your window, you need to outside mount your shades. Usually an outside mounted shade fastens to the window trim and will extend from the outside of the trim on the left to the outside of the trim on right. This is always and better option if you are using a room darkening shade because the overlap on the window blocks more light.

Quality of roman shades is very important. A professionally made roman shade will usually last ten years or more, when raised and lowered every day. The rings are hand sewn on the back and will not deteriorate in direct sun. All roman shades are lined to ensure long life and durability.

Roman shades can be made to fit your windows and design style and are the finishing touch to any room.

CURTAINS

Adding fabric to any room is an important element of interior design. Fabric can add color, softness, drama, serenity, romance, or whimsy depending on the colors, patterns, and textures that are chosen. Curtains and draperies are a very easy and interesting way to add fabric to the total room design. Curtains can add elegance, sophistication, luxury, and comfort depending on the type of fabric that you choose. Sheer drapes or curtains will create romance and elegance by softly filtering the natural light from the window. Plaids or herringbone patterns will create a more masculine feel. When choosing the fabric for your curtains, think about the texture, sheen, iridescence and durability. Linings are important for curtains because the lining can be room darkening and a lining helps to improve the acoustics of the room. Even a lightweight standard lining is important because it will increase the durability and make the curtains last longer. Roman shades draw up and down and are available with several lining options and can be used as an alternative to curtains. Curtains or draperies add the finishing touch to any room.

Changeability – Can You Drive Your Business Without it?

“…a systematic and institutional capacity forchange may now be a company’s single most valuable asset.” Michael Hammer, Beyond Reengineering

You may be in charge of your company but are you in control of it? How many times have you tried to manoeuvre your company in a particular direction to find that it is incapable of responding in either the right timescales or manner? Make no mistake, your ability to steer and move your company is only as good as its inherent ability to respond to the need to change, its business change capability. Would you accept a car that had a rubber steering column and did 0-60 in whatever time it felt like? Of course not, so why accept the equivalent in terms of business change management?

Take a good look at your own company. Operationally you may be doing a good job of servicing the customers. Management wise you’ve probably got a good team doing your planning and overseeing the day-to-day operations but how well are you coping with your changes? How many IT projects do you have on the go? How many reorganisations or office moves? What’s the impact? What’s the cost? What’s the benefit? Who’s doing what to whom and when? How do you know? Is it within your means to change the direction and momentum of that reengineering programme? Is change a necessary evil or an opportunity to succeed? It’s probably a bit of both but one thing is for sure, it’s not going to go away.

The Change Imperative

All businesses must change over time or else they will fail. The commercial landscape is constantly changing due to the interplay between the market, legislation, technology and competitors. Two things are needed to navigate that landscape: headlights and a responsive vehicle. New and small businesses tend to have the latter by default. They don’t have the massive cultural, technical and customer legacy of larger, older companies to hold them back. The smarter of these businesses will have also invested in a good set of headlights. As they succeed they too accrue a legacy to slow them down, unless of course they have developed a business change capability in line with their growth.

When is a Change Not a Change?

So what is a business change capability? Let’s start by defining a business change. All businesses can naturally cope with a limited amount of variation in the cases they handle. Shops can handle different basket sizes and mixes, manufacturers can produce customised products and hospitals can treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. The twin daily operational goals of efficiency and effectiveness produce a compromise position. Increases in efficiency tend to result in specialisation that in turn reduces the ability to handle variation whilst the drive to be effective requires an ability to handle all the variation being thrown at it by the chosen market. It’s fast food versus a la carte service. At the end of the day a particular operational model is implemented. Any change to this operational model is a business change. A business change capability is the means to efficiently and effectively (there they are again) perform a business change.

House of Cards

That’s OK then, all you need to do is improve the way you reorganise, implement systems or move office. If only it were that simple. Businesses are incredibly complex and sensitive organisms. They can swallow directorial dicta without blinking but change the coffee in the finance department and your invoices take three times as long to process. The operational model mentioned above is not as simple as an organisation chart or a flow diagram. It is multidimensional. Move location and you affect processes, roles, infrastructure and communications. Change a department’s structure and you can impact jobs, systems, facilities, information flow and loyalties. Implementing a new system will change processes, skill-sets, responsibilities and data. Any potential change needs to be considered holistically to increase the chance of success (or for those whose cup is half empty, to reduce the risk of failure).

The Whole and Nothing but the Whole

Taking a holistic perspective of change brings with it a whole new mindset compared to some of the more traditional change efforts. No longer do you have ‘system implementation’ projects, you have ‘process improvement through faster access to information and the removal of organisational boundaries’ projects. No longer do you have ‘reorganisation’ initiatives, you have ‘the clarification of roles and responsibilities through the clear ownership of processes and the implementation of supporting systems’ initiatives. The days of dropping a new system or organisational structure from a great height into the operational business without making sure it fits must come to an end.

Turning on the Lights

Now that we have a holistic view of a business change we start to notice something. There appears to be more interference between the various change initiatives taking place in the company. Joe’s new customer care processes rely on roles that Fred is removing in his web interface project. Helen’s team-working initiative is being impacted by Sue’s relocation project. The holistic viewpoint has not created these overlaps it has simply made them more visible. To complete the picture we need a common language across all the initiatives that enables these overlaps to be seen. That language comes in the form of business models.

Super Models

Business models provide a pictorial and textual description of a business. They act as a set of maps onto which change activity can be plotted. Only by using a common set of models across the business and for all change initiatives can we determine who is doing what to whom and where effort is duplicated or lacking. Without this, time, money and energy will be wasted regardless of the skill and best intentions of the participants. These models must cover the various perspectives required by the holistic view. This includes process, organisation, systems, data and location. ‘That’s all well and good’ I hear you say ‘but these models will always be out of date’. ‘Not if you build their maintenance into your change processes’, I reply. Which brings us nicely to the next topic: method.

Process Rules

Whether they like it or not all businesses have method or, if you prefer, processes. How good they are is another matter but all businesses have a way of working. They know what to do when certain events happen such as a customer placing an order. Similarly, in order to conduct business change we need a method or a set of processes. What do we do when a potential change is identified? What do we do when a change project needs to change scope or fails to deliver? How do we handle a new corporate vision? How do we handle a simple process improvement? How do we allocate resources across dozens of competing changes? A permanent business change capability needs to be able to answer these questions by providing a set of processes, roles and supporting systems capable of dealing with all of these situations. Such a capability has the added bonus of being self-improving. It is just another set of business processes etc that can be modeled and changed.

So What…..?

So what does all of this mean? It means that, with a set of repeatable processes that help define potential changes holistically, assess their impact and interdependencies, determine the optimum mix of integrated change initiatives across the company and maintain an accurate set of business models, you have some hope of driving your company through that mixture of mine-field and oil-field, the corporate landscape. Without it you’d better get used to that rubbery steering and sponge-like response …but then again maybe it is time for a service.

Digital Camera Basics Made Simple

Digital cameras can be perplexing to many beginners. When shopping for a digital camera it is very likely that you will encounter terms like white balance, pixel, ppi and dpi mean and how they affect image and print quality.

You may be probably expected to know the difference between things like optical zoom and digital zoom as well as the advantages and disadvantages between storage formats such as Compact Flash (CF), Microdrives, Sony Memory Stick, Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia and camera interface technologies such as USB 1.1, USB 2.0 and Firewire IEEE 1394. Lets make things simple and go to the basic things you actually need to know.

Pixels

A pixel is a abbreviation of the term PIcture ELement. Digital images are basically made up of small squares, just like a tile mosaic on your kitchen or bathroom wall. Are the more pixels the better? For viewing on the internet, resolutions of 640 X 480 is enough. For a typical 4R photo, you need a resolution of 1200 X 1800.

Difference Between Digital Zoom and Optical Zoom

Most cameras have both optical zoom and digital zoom functions. Optical zoom works just like a zoom lens on a traditional film camera. The lens changes focal length and magnification as it is zoomed. Image quality is high through the zoom range. Digital zoom simply crops the image to a smaller size and enlarges the cropped portion to fill the frame again. Digital zoom always results in a consider loss of quality.

The Storage Wars

There are quite a few different memory cards used in different digital cameras.

Compact Flash (CF) – The original memory card. Somewhat larger than the others, but used on all high end DSLRs. Available in capacities up to 2GB.

Secure Digital (SD) – Very small – about 24mm x 32mm and 2mm thick. SD cards have a built in write-protect switch to prevent any unintentional removal and certain encryption capabilities. This may be of very little interest for most digital camera owners.

Multimedia – Same size as SD but with less features and no encryption capability. There are some that can be used in some SD cameras but they are not 100% compatible with SD cards in all applications.

Memory Stick – It is introduced by Sony and used only by Sony cameras.

XD – Developed and used by Fuji, Olympus and Toshiba – even smaller than SD. 20mm x 25mm by 1.7mm thick

There's really no reason to pick a camera with one brand over another unless you have multiple cameras or other devices which may also use the same memory cards. Then it is more convenient if they can share the same cards.

Buying a Digital Camera

Some magazines advertise cameras at low prices yet they charge high shipping cost or they may tell you it is out of stock. Of course they have a more expensive model for you. Shop for cameras only from reputable dealers. At least they probably have a more responsive customer service.

Do You Find Yourself Needing a Housecleaning Service?

If your experience is like mine, you are extremely busy and are considering a housecleaning service to meet your needs. But if you are like some folks I have talked to you may have experienced maid services in the past that start out good then turn into not-so-good over time. What are the important things to consider when searching for a house cleaning service? Have you tried a company that started out well and then progressed the wrong way into diminished quality and non-existent customer service? How can you avoid this in the future? A service which can be evaluated at every visit is something to seek out, but not so easy to find at times.

When most people look for reliable and consistent service they are trying to buy back some time to use for more important things. Many services available will also hire out for special needs such as before or after a party, getting ready for guests or to clean up after a construction project. Here is a list of the top ten things most people look for in a reputable housecleaning service:

1. Reliability and consistency

2. Affordability

3. Eco-friendly applications which protect your health

4. Pride in service and pleasing the customer

5. A competent screening process and certification process

6. Tried and true methods which have been tested

7. Well established standards for housecleaning

8.Custom tailored to meet your specific needs

9. Federal, state and local compliance with labor laws and insurances

10. Supplies their own equipment and supplies

You can find help online at a service that will connect you with the professional services you need. There are services available which can meet all of these needs. A trained professional operator can help you with all of your needs. Maybe you have questions like whether or not you need to be home when the cleaning takes place, is the work guaranteed or what if you need to reschedule. Questions such as what to do with your security alarm on cleaning day or what needs to be done with pets while the cleaning is taking place will influence your choice. Maybe you need to know whether or not your valuables are safe in your absence are all things to consider when looking for a reputable housecleaning service. Check out these online services and find a professional that will get the job done right.

Be Fit With Yoga And Physical Activities

We all want to be fit mentally, spiritually and physically. But with our busy lives and hectic schedule, how can we find ways to be fit? It is hard enough to manage our time with our everyday activities, how can we squeeze in activities to help us be mentally, spiritually and physically fit? But we all know that being holistically fit is the only answer in staying sane. But how do we achieve that?

To be mentally and spiritually in tune, you can enroll in a yoga class. Yoga is a discipline which deals with the physical as well as with the mental. However, it is often associated with meditative practices on Buddhism and Hinduism. The yoga that we refer to is actually known as yoga postures or yoga positions. This is called asana. Asana is a body position which means sitting down or to sit down. It is usually the initial position when starting the meditation and is intended to improve the body’s vitality and most especially flexibility, restore and maintain the person’s well-being, and develops the ability to remain on a sitting position while meditating for a long period.

There are a few traditional practices when performing asanas and these are as follows:

  • One should not eat before performing asana. You should have an empty stomach.
  • The body should be relaxed. One should never use force or pressure. One should make sure that the body is steady and should not tremble.
  • When lowering parts of the body like the head, it should be lowered slowly. Raised heels should be lowered slowly too. In yoga, there are no sudden movements.
  • It is also imperative that the person doing the exercises should control his breathing. There are specific breathing patterns for each position and this should be followed properly in order to achieve the desired result.
  • There are asanas that target specific problems such as stress and headaches. For a stressed body, Corpse Pose or Child Pose is performed. For reducing headaches, Sukhasana or Savasana are to be performed.
  • As for the physical part, one should be physically active. Do exercises, do sports. If you are into sports, try to do it weekly. It is a good workout to release all the stress and tension of the week. If you are into exercises, hit the gym after work. That way, not only will you be releasing your pent up anger toward your boss, you’ll also be keeping your body in shape by focusing all your energy in your work out. Dancing is also a good form of keeping a fit body. It tones your leg muscles. But depending on the kind of dance, it can tone your whole body. But if you do not like to do those, then brisk walking to the office will suffice. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You will be shedding pounds and keeping fit in weeks.

Remember, a healthy body, mind and spirit will always give you a positive outlook in life. No matter how much hardships come your way, you will be able to tackle them as easy as 1,2,3.

Ten Ways to Reduce Calories and Help Control Weight

1. Monday morning weigh in

A good way to help you control your weight is to keep checks on it weekly. It's important to know what's happening with both your body weight and fat percentage. If you're going to weigh yourself, do it on Monday morning when you'll see the results of what you did over the weekend. If we're going to cheat, most of us do it on the weekend. Knowing that you're going to weigh yourself on Monday can help keep you on track over the weekend. Or, if you do slip over the weekend, a Monday morning weigh in can help give you that little incentive to get back on track.

2. The party plate plan

If you go to a party that has snacks (and what party does not?), Make sure you put your snacks on a plate, and do not put more than two foods on your plate at one time. Putting lots of different foods on your plate will usually cause you to overeat. By putting only two foods on your plate you are forcing yourself to choose what you want to try. And often, you'll be satisfied after only one refill.

3. The popcorn snack

When you're watching TV and you feel like you just have to have a snack, try air-popped popcorn. Four cups have about the same calories as 15 potato chips. If you think air-popped popcorn tastes too bland try flavoring it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or some other flavor that you like.

4. A trick for those of us who are chocoholics

If you must have some chocolate, try dark chocolate dipped strawberries instead of chocolate truffles. The strawberries have about half the calories and are filled with anti-oxidants. But try to remember that even though the strawberries are better for you, do not over indulge.

5. The middle of the cake

Many birthday parties have a sheet cake as part of the celebration. Ask for a piece from the middle rather than an overly frosted end, and you will save yourself 100 calories or more.

6. Halloween treats

Many of us enjoy giving out treats to the kids on Halloween. Unfortunately, it can be hard to resist eating as many of those little candy bars as you give out, or saving a bunch to snack on for several days after the event. Try handing out small packages of raisins or a little trinket instead.

7. The lozenge substitute

The self control to keep from grazing on hors d'oeuvres can be very allusive at times. If you think you're going to have a problem resisting the hors d'oeuvres at a party, you may want to try sucking on a menthol flavored lozenge. Each one has less than 20 calories and they'll last up to half an hour each. Additionally, the menthol flavor will usually be strong enough to keep other foods from tasting good.

8. Drink the bubbly

Parties are one of the largest temptations most of us have when it comes to ingesting extra calories. Not all of those calories come from the food we eat. Festive drinks can be a big calorie problem. Instead of having that 300+ calorie margarita, try having a 90 calorie glass of champagne. Or better yet, drink sparkling water with some lemon and you can help your friends by being the designated driver.

9. Hot dogs do the trick

Protein helps to satisfy our hunger for about 3 – 4 hours. When you're getting ready to go out somewhere that you know you'll be tempted by food, have a couple of fat free hot dogs without the buns before you go out. They will greatly reduce your desire to eat too much while you're out.

10. Eating in courses

Instead of serving all the food at dinner at once, serve it in courses. Have a nice salad first, eating it slowly to enjoy all the different flavors. Then serve the main course. Encourage talking while eating to slow things down. Finish off with a light dessert of fruit. By serving dinner in courses and trying to eat more slowly you will give your body time to actually register the fact that food has been ingested. This will give you a full feeling sooner, and help to keep you from over indulging.

Money Management Tip – Paper Or Plastic?

Think carefully about your spending patterns. When you are going into your purse or wallet to pay for a product or service do you pull out cash or a plastic card with a magnetic strip? If you are in debt, there is a very high likelihood that you are pulling out plastic to pay.

Maybe what I am about to say is blatantly obvious, but read it anyway. One of the reasons why we end up in debt is because we know all the “obvious” things but we don’t change our behaviour despite that knowledge.

Don’t Use Plastic… Only Use Cash!

Here’s why:

1.There is no emotion associated with spending money through plastic.

2.When you pay cash you can see and feel the money going away.

3.You can see how much is left and your next purchase will be considered carefully.

4.Credit cards incur Riba/Interest. Since you are in debt, obviously you can’t afford what you are buying on credit.

5.Fees, fees, fees… Save on those gosh darn fees!

If this is not enough to convince you then let’s try a little experiment. It would be best to try this as of your next pay day, but if it is more than 3 days away, then start this experiment tomorrow (I really want you to try this).

•For the next one month, act as if there is no such thing as plastic cards. The only means for you to purchase something is cold, hard cash. Also there is no such thing as cheques for the next one month.

•Document your emotions as there is less and less money in your purse or wallet.

•Document your spending during the month.

•Compare it to the previous month which was mostly plastic. That should be easy because all the activity is available online.

After the month is over, you will see then that giving up plastic while in debt, is like staying away from an addiction while in rehab.