CCTV – Closed Circuit Television Cameras Explained in Plain English

There are few places in today’s ‘Big Brother’ world you can go without encountering CCTV cameras. For good or bad, they are here to stay. There is no doubt that covert and overt CCTV cameras play an important part in reducing crime and enhancing safety but do we need so many?

The short answer is ‘NO’ especially when CCTV cameras are used for crime prevention and detection. In terms of crime prevention or deterrent value we might use more CCTV cameras in a highly visible way. High presence CCTV is a valuable security tool. The very presence of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras deters criminal activity, but there is a certain science in getting the placement right. Any cowboy CCTV installation firm can slap up a boatload of cameras, the first victim caught on camera might be the buyer!

Because CCTV cameras are becoming an important part of many company’s business management and loss prevention programs it is essential to have a reasonable understanding of your requirements – or more importantly, deploy the skills of a reputable UK CCTV consultant.

The benefits of implementing a quality CCTV system include: Minimising the risk of theft and other illegal activities. Protecting your premises from threats such as arson, terrorism and vandalism. They are not just there for crime prevention and detection! Monitoring individual employees work performance helps improve business, Improving customer service by observing peak periods and planning the staff rotas. By observing staff activity CCTV can assist in staff training too by pinpointing areas which need addressing..

We are laden with Acts of Parliament, Laws, Rules and Regulations which can bring heavy fines upon us if we fail to maintain them. CCTV can help by enhancing health and safety standards and ensuring employees comply with legal obligations. In so many cases a well-designed CCTV system can help by doing the work of a much larger guarding team, thus leaving people free to deal with situations that arise in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Reducing the quantity of CCTV cameras and therefore the cost can be achieved by creating a job description for each camera. There’s more to a CCTV camera than meets the eye, much is in the lens itself, the zoom facility and maneuverability. The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best, as any honest UK CCTV expert will tell you.

Your CCTV camera must be fit for purpose and you need to be very precise when instructing your CCTV consultant. Lets look at Car Parks for example; there may be various elements that need to be observed; the entrance/exit and entire area, any individual car and a close up on the drivers’ face and/or the registration number.

Another example is a retail counter; we need to monitor the point of sale for both security and health & safety. Estimating an individual’s height is important so whilst distance is essential we need to get a very close view of money being exchanged … and without compromising reproduction quality for evidence.

Some of these cameras will clearly need to be visible and act as a deterrent. We also might want high visibility CCTV in domes so that nobody can see which way they are pointing and of course we might want to catch someone in the act so we choose covert CCTV.

We are not always able to observe an event in real time and need make recordings for later viewing and of course for evidence when required.

Locating CCTV cameras isn’t the only aspect, the monitors are equally important. We’ll look at the different types further down because focussing on the ergonomics of a security control room or guards station is important right now.

How many monitors can one individual view effectively at any given time for say, one hour?. Is it better to have all four events working from one monitor? Is there an optimum distance from the location of monitors to the CCTV operators’ eyes? – How is this calculated? . How long do we need to keep recordings and in what format?

Video recordings have been effective in helping employers and police identify criminals whilst conducting crimes including; armed robbery, burglary, car park robbery, credit card fraud, colleague harassment, computer abuse, customer returns fraud, employee theft, shoplifting, vandalism, and more. Hidden cameras are often a short-term measure for targeted surveillance operations and specialist advice from UK CCTV Experts should be sought and an understanding of the Data Protection Act is essential.

When we don’t understand something, we are vulnerable and the CCTV industry is no exception, especially when buying after the event and seriously effected by a previous incident.

Not all CCTV Consultants are vultures and rogues but getting an understanding of elements such as colour and monochrome video cameras, time lapse VCR’s, switchers and multiplexes, remote movement control, telephone video transmission systems … and more – Look no further, here is a simple guide to CCTV. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive buyers guide but will certainly help along the way.

Because CCTV cameras are becoming an important part of many company’s business management and loss prevention programs it is essential to have a reasonable understanding of your requirements – or more importantly, deploy the skills of a reputable UK CCTV consultant.

The benefits of implementing a quality CCTV system include: Minimising the risk of theft and other illegal activities. Protecting your premises from threats such as arson, terrorism and vandalism. They are not just there for crime prevention and detection! Monitoring individual employees work performance helps improve business, Improving customer service by observing peak periods and planning the staff rotas. By observing staff activity CCTV can assist in staff training too by pinpointing areas which need addressing..

We are laden with Acts of Parliament, Laws, Rules and Regulations that can bring heavy fines upon us if we fail to maintain them. CCTV can help by enhancing health and safety standards and ensuring employees comply with legal obligations. In so many cases a well-designed CCTV system can help by doing the work of a much larger guarding team, thus leaving people free to deal with situations that arise in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Choosing the right CCTV system and having it professionally installed is essential – it will provide you with superior results and will ultimately save you time and money. Remember that commercial CCTV systems don’t come in ready-made kits, so each component can be provided especially for your needs. We will take a look at each one of those items.

CCTV pictures are displayed on monitors. Small desktop monitors, rack fitted security monitors or large hanging multiscreen monitors, they show the end product of your system – live and recorded pictures. Monochrome, colour or high definition colour, monitors are available in a range of sizes. Contrary to popular belief, larger monitors do not show a wider picture, they merely display in larger formats. In selecting monitor size, the distance from viewer to screen will dictate the required monitor size. Reception desks and counters may be fitted with 9″ or 12″ monitors, whereby a wall or ceiling mounted monitor showing a multiscreen display will need to be quite large. A good CCTV surveyor will recommend a monitor to best suit its environment.

Moving (pan/tilt) cameras can take the place of many fixed cameras. Generally fitted with a zoom lens, they can be remotely controlled to cover a wide area. Used predominantly in larger retail and commercial perimeter protection, the benefits of a carefully positioned camera are vast. Often housed within a dome, these cameras can spin round and round to any position faster than any subject being viewed, and zoom in for a close-up picture. They can be ‘taught’ to ‘tour your premises, viewing key areas much more effectively.

Medium Resolution Monochrome, ( black & white ) with good sharp images of around 400 lines and light sensitive down to 0.1 lux these are excellent all-round cameras which can easily meet smaller budgets.

High Resolution Monochrome with premium digital technology performance of 580 line and 0.05 lux ensure superb pictures even in very dim lighting conditions. Medium Resolution Colour: Never before have colour cameras been as good or as accessible to smaller budget systems. Excellent for retail and good quality general surveillance, with typical 350 lines and 1.5 lux performance.

High Resolution Colour: Full digital colour cameras offer premium pictures with crisper definition and excellent performance to 480 lines and 1 lux.

Day/Night Cameras: All day and all night – one camera. Using the latest digital intelligent sensing, these cameras offer the full performance of the high-resolution colour cameras by day, then automatically switches to high-resolution monochrome camera when light levels fall.

For premium installations.

What is lux?

Lux is the standard measurement of light. Typical levels of lighting as recommended by the lighting industry are:

Indoor

Warehouses 20- 75 lux

Emergency stairs 30-75 lux

Corridors and stairs 75- 200 lux

Shops 75-300 lux

Offices and reception areas 300 -500 lux

Banks and offices 200-1000 lux

Assembly lines 300-1000 lux

Outdoors

Full sunlight 10,000-1,000,000 lux

Overcast day 100-10,000 lux

Twilight 1-10 lux

Full moon 0.1-1 lux

Overcast night 0.01-0.1 lux

Star light, clear 0.001-0.01 lux

Star light, overcast 0.0001-0.001 lux

Benefits of 3D Television

With the runaway success of the 3d craze with films such as Avatar and Up, as well as other blockbusters, many television manufacturers are beginning to develop home 3D televisions so the general public can enjoy that immersive experience in the comfort of home. From 3d sports to high quality movies, you'll be able to put yourself in the film or game, as long as you pick the right unit. With the help of this guide, you'll have a better understanding of just what you can get when you pick up one of this.

The way this type of television works is not like your typical theater experience. The 3d television projects an image that, to the naked eye, may seem blurry and hard to make out, but when you put on the appropriate 3d glasses, the filters in the lenses will bring the images together and simulate stereoscopic vision, where depth perception and the like stems from. There are even televisions that will attempt to simulate a three-dimensional image without the use of projectors or glasses, using a system known as lenticular technology, but they can be exorbitantly expensive, even compared to other 3d television units out there on the market – they run right now for tens of thousands of dollars.

The best option for you is to wait out all the varying manufacturing companies to see what technology will become standardized, so you're not leaving spending an incredible amount of money on something that might be dropped in terms of programming and content. However, if you absolutely have to have a 3d television now, do some research online to explore your options, and you'll find plenty of wonderful ways in which to bring the magic of 3d into your home. Before you know it, you will enjoy incredible images that will bring your entertainment to life.

Making Homemade Lures

I remember when I first started making homemade lures I think I was around 12 years of age. I used to marvel at all the fishing lures inside my tackle box and wonder at how to make homemade fishing lures. Back then there was no internet, no computers for that matter and I had no idea where to even begin. I just jumped into the hobby of tackle making with both feet and learned through trial and error. Let's just say my first few fishing lures turned into dismal failures. The paint job was terrible and would not stay on the lure, my early lures had zero action in the water, but those early learning lessons and experiences make it a lot of fun to look back on.

Making homemade lures actually is quite a broad topic. It all depends really what kind of tackle you are interested in making. Is it spoons or spinners? Perhaps you want to learn how to make wood fishing lures, or maybe you are just interested in fly tying. The problem is there are so many kinds of fishing lures that covering a topic such as making homemade lures in just 1 article becomes a huge task for someone to cover.

Thankfully, though the art of tackle of making no matter what kind of lure you're interested in does not have to be costly to get into and it's not as difficult as you might think. The best bet is to search the net and try and find other articles or books on the subject. There may not be a ton of information about tackle making but what is out there is generally pretty good to get you started off properly.

Here are a couple quick tips on spoons and spinners that you might find useful. Did you know that you do not have to buy spoon or spinner molds and that you can make sure spoon molds out of some old 2×4's you have lying around. What I do is take a spoon shape or spinner blade shape I wish to make and trace it out on a hunk of wood. Make sure to widen the shape as spoons and spinner blades are not flat. Then using gouges and chisels you can create a negative impression of the spoon or spinner into the wood and sand the shape smooth. Then using a hammer with one of those yellow plastic knobby ends you can shape sheet metal into the conformed shape. By trimming and filing smooth you can land up with a pretty nice looking spoon or spinner blank.

You can also get by without having to buy any fancy wire benders in order to make your spinners. By hammering in the ends of some 2×4 a couple nails (it may take a few attempts to get the configuration right) and then cutting off the heads of the nails with a hacksaw makes a pretty nice wire bender for using just scrap lying around.

Of course using fishing lure supplies designed for making homemade fishing lures is a lot better and the results more consistent, but for the beginner that wants to start off in the hobby of tackle making without having to spend any money it is possible using tips like this to make half decent home fishing lures. Then imagine the excitement you'll enjoy when you catch that first bass or trout on that spoon or spinner you made the night before. Such satisfaction is priceless.

A Brief History of Ancient Greek Art

From its beginnings in the Minoan Civilization to the age of Hellenistic art, Ancient Greek art remains an important time period in the advancement of artistic techniques and approaches. Each new century brought profound changes to the Egyptian art that preceded it. From the Bronze Age to the birth of the Roman Empire, Greece dominated the art world, and its influence continues to the present day.

Minoan Art

The earliest Greek art, indeed in Europe, dates back to the Bronze Age. On the small Aegean island of Crete (now a part of Greece), the Minoan Civilization developed, roughly in parallel with that of Ancient Egypt. For example, Minoan art relied on a schematic style (repetition of human figures, for example) that was commonly found in Egyptian art as well. Art was comprised of carvings and painted pottery until 1500 BC, when what is frequently called the “Palace Period” emerged, and wall painting first appeared in Europe, although only fragments survive today.

Unlike Egyptian art, however, Minoan art reveals a naturalism and subtlety not seen in the art of Egypt. Their seafaring orientation lent a natural subject matter, which is reflected in Minoan painting. “Frescoe with Dolphins” (1500-1450 BC) that today still hangs in the remains of the Palace of Knossos, Crete, shows an amazing knowledge of the oceans and sea animals, like the dolphins.

Another fragmentary painting that remains from the Minoan Civilization is “Toreador Fresco” (1500 BC). Encapsulated in this artwork is one of the recurring themes of Minoan culture and art, bull jumping. Thought in some way to be connected to Minoan religious practices, the painting depicts 3 acrobats leaping over the horns of a bull. The fresco is most unusual in that it depicts a time lapse sequence, in which we see the acrobats grabbing the bull’s horns, then another mid-vault, and the final acrobat landing with arms outstretched.

Mycenaean Art

Succeeding the Minoan Civilization, on mainland Greece, the Bronze Age Mycenaean Civilization was in full flower. Its history and legends were captured by Homer in his epic poems, “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” which reflect the end of the Mycenaean period (“the heroic age”). One of the most enduring artworks from the time is a “Funeral Mask” (1500 BC) thought to be that of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks to victory in the Trojan Wars. All that is truly known is that the golden death mask is from a royal tomb.

Fragments of Mycenaean paintings were found at two sites: Tiryns and Pylos, with scenes from everyday life. In contrast to Minoan art, Mycenaean was much more serious in nature. The Mycenaean Civilization collapsed around 1100 BC, marking the end of the Bronze Age and the end of pre-history (that is, the period of history before written records existed). By 650 BC, Greece had emerged as Europe’s most advanced civilization.

Emergence of Greek Pottery

Following the Minoan and Mycenaean Civilizations, a record of painting is nearly lost in Greek art. Where the Egyptians, Minoans, and Mycenaeans used frescoes, later Greeks painted on wooden panels that disintegrated over time, and the main artistic record is instead found in pottery remains. Pottery always served a specific use (storage jars, drinking vessels, containers for perfume, and so on). On this pottery, a new trend was foreshadowed: the Greek fixation on the human figure, something that would become a central motif of Ancient Greek art.

Exekias, one of the most famous known potters, signed at least two of his works (black figure pots) that remain to this day. His most famous, “Dyonysos in His Boat” (540 BC) is important not only because of its perfect balance, but also because it signals the new direction that representation would take–away from symbols to a style that shows the world more as it actually is.

Another change in the development of pottery can be seen in the “red figure” technique, in which human images were not painted but instead formed when a black background was applied around them, letting the red clay show through. “Pallas Athena” (480 BC) and “The End of the Party” (490 BC) are two important examples of this style.

Portraying the Human Form

The focus on the human figure is first seen in Greek pottery and later in sculpture. The portrayal of the human body by the Greeks in their artwork had a direct impact on its inclusion and development in Roman art, and later in Western art in general. The early Greek statues, such as “Kouros” (late 6th century BC) were based on the Egyptian grid system. Gradually the lines of the body lost their stiffness–as seen in “Kritios Boy” (480 BC)–and eventually emerge into sculptures that capture the musculature of a natural human form, as in “Discus Thrower” (450 BC).

Etruscan Painting

With the expansion of the Ancient Greek Civilization came a new artistic development, found on the Italian peninsula in the 8th century BC. Influenced by Greek artistic changes, yet uniquely its own, the Etruscan style was greatly admired by the Greeks. Early Etruscan art was typified by wall painting, and an important example remains in the “Tomb of the Leopards” (470 BC) at Tarquinia. The mural shows a joyful group of revelers, drinking and playing instruments.

Much of Etruscan work, however, had a sinister edge, fixated on the fleeting nature of life. In “Mourning Women” (late 5th century BC), a fresco from a tomb at Rivo di Puglia, the scene depicts brightly colored mourners who lament the inescapable advance of time.

Classical Period

The most important painter of the Classical Period of Ancient Greek art (475-450 BC) was Polyanotos, yet none of his work remains. We know of his most famous painting “Discus Thrower” only from the writings of ancient Greeks. The most important surviving painting from the 4th century BC is “The Rape of Persephone” (340 BC), which is located in a tomb complex that also contained the remains of Philip II of Macedon.

Full of richness and life, this naturalistic painting is the explanation by the Greeks of seasons. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of fertility, who is carried off to the underworld and will re-emerge as Spring.

Hellenistic Art

Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the rise of the city-state emerged, and so did Hellenistic art in Ancient Greece. Alexander’s cosmopolitan influence had already taken place and was flourishing through a mix of Eastern and Western styles. Hellenistic culture prevailed in the region until well after the Roman Empire took hold.

The Eastern influence meant a blossoming of art for its own sake, with more decorative embellishment, and religion relegated to the background. In place of religious subjects, art focused instead on gardens, still life, portraiture, and capturing the daily life of Greeks. The art was also much more widespread. Paintings could be found in barbers’ and cobblers’ shops as well as palaces (as recorded in ancient writings).

Art during the Hellenistic age was also more focused on “truth,” even when this meant the depiction of violent, dramatic scenes. The definitive example of this philosophy can be seen in “Laocoon and His Two Sons” (1st century AD), a sculpture that depicts a horrifying scene. Taken from Virgil’s “Aeneid,” the sculpture depicts a Trojan priest and his two sons in the process of being strangled by sea monsters, a revenge from the gods.

Rediscovered in 1506, the sculpture had an important effect on Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo, who called “Laocoon and His Two Sons” a “singular miracle of art.” The sculpture’s influence continued, and El Greco later painted three works based on the Laocoon story as well.

How Best To Use Lamps In The Living Room

Each room in the house has its own unique decorative style with furniture that fits into that particular d├ęcor. It makes sense that each of these rooms will also require their own type of lighting that will differ to the rest of the house.

The living room is usually set as a more formal room than the rest of the home as this is where you are likely to entertain guests. Before you select your lighting, try to pick out fixtures within the living room that you can accentuate. If choosing free standing lamps, make sure that the lamp is not in the way of people walking around the living room. It does not make sense to have the lamp in the middle of the room so that you can focus the light on a specific object. The lamp needs to be placed against the wall, in a corner or next to another item of furniture.

When focusing the lamp on a fixture such as a wall painting, you also need to make sure that the lamp is not blocking the view of the painting. Otherwise this becomes a pointless exercise of focusing light on an object that no one can see properly. Certain lamps can be bought with a very long stem which could make the lamp very top heavy. The lamp shade will also play a role in how top heavy the lamp will become. If you do decide to buy a long lamp, make sure that the base is of an adequate weight that the lamp will not fall over.

When looking for lighting in the living room, try to match the lamp shade to existing colors and materials within the room. This will help the lighting to blend in with the rest of the room. If you do a lot of reading in the room, try to buy a lamp that will provide sufficient lighting. A swing arm lamp is a good way of moving light around the room when required. You can easily focus light on your book, and afterward back onto the wall painting.

The 5 Components of a Successful Entrepreneur

The Dictionary.com definition of ‘entrepreneur’ reads “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

When starting your own venture, whether it be a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, franchise, or home-based network marketing opportunity, risk is always involved. There is no certainty to what the future holds. That’s why it’s called a ‘risk’ and not a ‘guarantee.’

Entering the world of free enterprise can be as scary as it is exciting. With any risk, there’s a certain element of fear that comes into play. Even the most business-savvy of individuals questions what the future holds and wonders whether they should listen to the people telling them they’re crazy and making a huge mistake.

But always remember this: the ones who speak negatively of your ventures are not putting money in your bank account. If they throw negativity at you, it’s best to pay them no mind.

The key to unlocking the door to success is adopting and adhering to the Five Components of a Successful Entrepreneur.

1) Develop the Proper Mindset –It all begins here. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” As an entrepreneur, your mindset will dictate where you’re headed and how you’ll get there. In order to stay the course, it’s imperative you block out the outside forces that attempt to pour cold water on your efforts. The sooner you establish a goal-oriented, results-driven mindset that blocks out negativity and allows you to learn from every scenario you encounter, the sooner you’ll see the best results from your enterprise.

2) Define Your Goals and Mission –Going into business for yourself without a clear-cut mission and goals to accomplish is as foolish as heading on a cross-country trip with no map or GPS. Without goals to work towards, you’ll get lost…and may never find your way back. You have to have a reason why you’re putting in the effort. There has to be something at the end that rewards your labor.

And it doesn’t always have to be money. It could be the ability to fire your boss, travel, golf, spend more time with your kids, whatever drives you. As long as you believe in your goals and mission strongly enough, nothing will stand in the way of helping you reach them.

3) Apply Drive, Passion, and Work Ethic –Nothing in life comes easy, and anyone who’s ever told you there’s a quick-and-easy route to success is drunk on their own kool-aid. It takes blood, sweat, tears, passion, and commitment to become successful, as well as a work ethic that keeps you motivated through the toughest of times. You can’t expect the world to fall to its knees in front of you simply because you opened a business. You have to make it happen through your own effort.

4) Implement a Proven Marketing System to Carry Out Your Mission and Achieve Your Goals –Without a system in place to market your products and opportunity, you’ll make no sales and be dead in the water. You have to find a way to make sure what you’re promoting is getting in front of the right people. This starts with educating yourself on how to do it, which inevitably requires a trip out of your comfort zone.

Remember, Michael Jordan didn’t pick up a basketball for the first time and become the greatest player of all time. He had to work, learn, and dedicate himself to learning how to accomplish great things. Successful entrepreneurs face these same obstacles. But as any successful person will tell you, the learning experience is what makes it fun!

5) Take Action and Stop at NOTHING to Achieve Ultimate Success –Everything you learn and absorb is worth NOTHING if you don’t take action and do what’s necessary to succeed. Many people salute the flag of “getting overwhelmed by overwhelm” or “paralysis by analysis” and never accomplish what they set out to do in the first place because they get locked inside an unnecessary need for perfection.

Without question, you’re going to face obstacles and make mistakes. But learning from your mistakes will lead to overcoming the obstacles, inevitably leading to the level of success you desire.

The world of free enterprise is filled with stories of both success and failure. And the stories of success were born from dedication, sacrifice, and commitment. Those who failed either gave up before they could learn what it took to be successful or were in search of the next big ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme. They wanted the ‘magic’ solution to all their aches and pains without putting forth the effort required for true entrepreneurial success.

The truth is, there is no magic involved in the success stories you hear. The successful entrepreneurs you hear about overcame the odds by dedicating themselves to their own entrepreneurial development. This development then bled into their business and instead of waiting for success to fall in their lap, they went out and earned it themselves!

The Used BMW X5 Gains Favor

The BMW continues its dominance of luxury car markets the world over as more auto players enter the arena. Car technology has definitely changed exponentially in the last 50 years. With the entry of more auto manufacturers into the world market competition has intensified as each automaker attempts to prove themselves. While it is a true statement that most of these automakers have brought truly wondrous features to the cars they have produced, a few automakers continue to dominate the luxury divisions. One of them is the BMW. There are many brands of the BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ) but one brand that has stirred attention is the x5 sports utility version.

A new x5 is a technological marvel. BMW was somewhat late in joining the SUV market but when it did, it represented itself well. This statement was solidly sent out through the X5 which is a next generation sport utility vehicle.

A new x5 can run up to $55000.00. This may be a hefty amount and due to the tough economic times, many are looking for bargain prices and have therefore settled for looking for a used BMW x5. The used versions can be equally delightful depending on the actual condition and the dealership. Car dealerships like CarMax take particular care to ensure that a used model fits the actual standards of quality. This means that extensive tests are run on the actual model to ensure that everything is in shape. A used BMW x5 can run you anywhere between $20,000 and $45000 depending on the features installed.

The x5 is usually 4-door and comes with standard SUV features. It has a v8 32v 8-cylinder engine which is primarily powered by gasoline. Hybrid brands are still in the works. The exterior deviates a little from the standard “Big Three” SUV models in that is appears to be more compact. It comes with a 5 -speed or automatic transmission that boasts dynamic stability allowing the passengers to experience some of the smoothest rides ever in the motoring world.

The interior comes with climate-controlled AC which employs computerized temperature-monitoring. This means that the front of the car can have an entirely different temperature setting from the rear seats. Some models come equipped with additional accessories such as an auxiliary DVD player with a screen which flips open much like the one inside an airplane. The sound system is Bose, which offers customers an added layer of luxury. The speakers are optical surround which is ideal for very high quality orchestra sound.

Other features include heated seats, dual temperature controls, cruise control and tinted windows. It also comes with anti-lock ABS brakes and dual airbags. Newer models also sport side airbags. Most features which come preinstalled in most high-end vehicles are also found standard in the X5 such as power steering, power windows, front and back wiper blades, automatic side mirrors and the like.

The best place to buy a used BMW x5 is at the local dealership. This is because of two things; One is that you are able to physically examine the vehicle and even conduct a test drive. Two is that you are able to take advantage of the service warranty that is offered. eBay is also another excellent place.

4 Great Recipes to Create a Cherry Desert Using a Dutch Oven

Deserts using a Dutch Oven is a great way to cook. This article will show you 4 easy dutch oven cherry deserts. Each of these recipes use simple to find, easy to pack ingredients.

The first Dutch Oven Cherry Desert requires:

Ingredients:

1 can crushed pineapple

1 can cherry pie filling (she said you can use others)

1 box yellow cake mix (NOT the pudding style)

1 1/2 cups melted butter (I'm sure you could use less if wanted)

Start by pouring your crushed pineapple including the juice into the Dutch Oven (DO).

Now add the pie filling. Next pour DRY mix on top of the fruit and filling. Next melt 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter. Pour over the dry cake mixture. Next bake at 350 degrees (about 10 coals on botton and 12-15 coals on top), and it will usually take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Take out when done and let cool before serving.

Here is a nice Cherry Desert from our European friends. Black Forest Cake in a Dutch Oven

To start with you will need to line a 12 "DO with heavy duty aluminum foil, this will reduce the clean up required.

Next using a box of Devil's Food Cake, prepare the mix as per the instructions on the back of the box. Pour the prepared mix into your lined DO.

Gently spoon the cherry pie filling ON TOP of the cake mixture. (DO NOT stir the pie filling into the cake mix.) Bake as you would a Cobbler. It should be done in about 30-35 minutes. Test with a toothpick or metal skewer. If the it is clean the cake is done; if the it is gooey with cake mix, let it bake longer.

When done, remove it from the coals and let it cool a few minutes. Server while warm with whipped cream or Cool Whip (if desired).

This desert is a Cobbler.

Open 2 cans of Cherry pie filling, put in a foam lined Dutch Oven, pour on top a white, yellow or spice cake mixture dry. Put on top of cake batter half a cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces & scatter around the dry cake mix. 10 coals on bottom of DO & 15 on top. Cook for about 45 minutes.

The last Dutch Oven Cherry Desert, before I have to raid the refrigerator, is for those on a diet. This is a reduced calorie favorite.

Start with a standard box of cake mix. Dutch Chocolate works very well. Do NOT mix according to the directions on the box. Mix in one can of reduced calorie cherry pie filling and a can of diet lemon-lime soda. Bake at 350 per the directions on the cake box. About 30-45 mins.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. They can be modified to work with almost any fruit mix. Apples and Peaches both are very good.

Lose Belly Fat After Pregnancy – Meal Plans 101

Meal plans? Why would meal plans help me lose belly fat? Simple. Planning and preparation will help you make the best choices because it takes the thinking out of what you will eat. This is a key component of weight loss.

So, you want to lose belly fat after pregnancy and tone up all over? Great. You are in the right place. Exercise alone will not get you the results you are looking for. Although losing weight is about 90% mental, once you CHOOSE to lose weight then nutrition and exercise are tools to use to get YOU there.

I like bullet points or numbered lists to tell me what to do, so I will do that for you.

1. Make a 30-day calendar for the next month

Planning for the next month makes it easier to grocery shop and prepare for your meals. If you are on a budget, like most of us in this economy, this will also help you save money.

2. Create your meal plan each day for the next month

This may sound a bit overwhelming, but once you have your recipes you will not have to do all this research again. I got a lot of my recipes from joining Jillian Michaels' website. I also just tweaked old recipes and made them healthy and more nutritious by adding protein powder, flaxseed, etc.

3. Create your grocery list from your meal plan

This is where saving money comes into play. If you are like me, you're shop and buy items that you never used and ever thread them out. Well, if you shop for your meals then you will have food for those meals only and you will not end up throwing stuff out.

4. Do not buy any processed foods

Not only are pre-packaged foods expensive, they have preservatives and unhealthy fats in them. I make my own bread, it's about $ .50 / loaf when I make it. It's whole wheat and I know every single ingredient that's in it! Again, it comes down to planning, planning, planning!

5. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup because your vitality depends on it!

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) leads to belly fat! If you want to lose belly fat after pregnancy, then I suggest you read those food labels and STOP eating foods with HFCS. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that men who consume very high levels of fructose elevated their triglyceride level by 32 percent. As trygliceride enters our blood stream, it makes our cells resistant to insulin, making our body's fat burning and storage system even more sluggish.

Finally, once you have a plan in place, work your plan and lose belly fat! I guarantee if you are planning healthy meals in advance you will be prepared to "battle those cravings" because you know you have a plan in place and food to make it!

I could go on and on about what to eat and what not to eat, but these are the main points to help you create your meal plan. Start from a foundation. If planning for 30 days in advance is too much for you right now, then plan for a week in advance. It's always OK to start slow, habits stay longer if we start them slowly and stay consistent.

If you are ready to lose belly fat after pregnancy, then I suggest learning more about a comprehensive program that will get you there with a fail-safe system.

A Brief History of Bunk Beds

Although no one can actually verify its inception or debut, there’s no denying the fact that bunk beds have been around for many years. Loft beds, futon bunk beds and standard bunk beds, in one form or another, have occupied the bedrooms and hearts of parents and children for generations on end. And with good reason too – because there is nothing quite like the fun and joy that comes with sleeping in a bunk with your best friend or favorite cousin and chatting the night away – when you very well know that you should be sleeping instead.

And while it’s nearly impossible to trace where they actually came from, it seems that we can thank the ancient Egyptians for, at the very least, the idea and the concept of bunk beds. And even though there aren’t any visual pieces of evidence to confirm this, it can be safely assumed that the loft beds of the ancient Egyptians looked drastically different to the modern and comfortable bunkers that we are familiar with and accustomed to today. Having said that, the fact of the matter is that bunk beds have definitely come a long way over the years.

Today’s modern and funky bunk beds come in a whole myriad of designs, shapes, colors and materials. In the early days of the modern and popular bunk bed, you simply would have two boxy, similar shaped and sized bunk beds perched atop one another – a testament to function, if not form. However, if you fast forward through a few decades, today’s commercially available bunks, which are commercially available are equal parts sleeping devices and equal parts works of art. Yes, bunk beds have evolved into not just something that you stick in a bedroom, but a focal point of the home.

There are bunk beds which are made from high-end wood materials such as maple or walnut bunk beds. For other people, they may want something a bit more powerful; hence they look towards purchasing a metallic or iron-based bunk bed. And in addition to the materials used to construct these beds, they are also infused with splashes of colors and personality. Cherry colored, bright white, dark blue, black, silver and other hues and tones are now readily available for people to purchase and place in their children’s bedrooms. That is, without a shadow of a doubt, a far cry from the beds that the ancient Egyptians first came up with all those years ago.

Another advancement of bunk beds is the form that bunks today now can take. Yes, conventional twin above twin bunk beds are still available, but now, you can get twin above full bunk beds too. These are bunk beds that have a full-sized bed at the bottom, and a simple twin-bed sitting on top of it. Today’s bunk beds now serve a much greater purpose than simply providing a location in which to sleep – now they serve as space savers and decorative home pieces too. However, no matter what style, form or shape bunk beds take – and will take in the future – there’s still one aspect that will always remain – and that’s the pure joy and fun that bunk beds can provide on a nightly basis.

No matter how bunk beds will look in the future, there’s still something to calling the top bunk, then racing up the ladder and sitting up high in the sky (or, at least, it feels that way to a child). Now, nobody knows if the ancient Egyptians enjoyed racing up a ladder and calling the top bunk, but even if they didn’t – they at least started something that has lasted just as long as all those pyramids they built.

Spina Bifida – What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a serious birth defect that occurs when the tissue surrounding the developing spinal cord of a fetus does not close properly during the first month of pregnancy. It is part of a group of birth defects called neural tube defects, a disorder involving incomparable development of the brain, spinal cord, and / or their protective coverings.

In infants with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close properly, causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones of the backbone. Infants born with spina bifida sometimes have an open lesion on their spinal where significant damage to the nerves and spinal cord has occurred. Although the spinal opening can be surgically repaired shortly after birth, the nerve damage is permanent, resulting in varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs. Even when there is no lesion present there may be improperly formed or missing vertebrae and accompaniment nerve damage. In addition to physical and mobility difficulties, most individuals have some form of learning disability. Spina bifida may also cause bowel and bladder complications, and many children with spina bifida have hydrocephalus (excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain).

The three most common types of spina bifida are:

  • Myelomeningocele. The severest form, in which the spinal cord and its protective covering (the meninges) protrude from an opening in the spine.
  • Meningocele. The spinal cord develops normally but the meninges protrude from a spinal opening.
  • Occulta. The mildest form, in which one or more vertebrae are malformed and covered by a layer of skin.

Spina bifida is one of the more common birth defects in the United States. The incidence of spina bifida can be decreased by up to 70 percent when a daily folic acid supplement is taken prior to conception.

TaylorMade Vs Titleist Golf Balls?

We've studied prices on TaylorMade vs Titleist and think you'll like what we found.

TaylorMade or Titleist? So, you like premium golf balls? You play your best with them and if you're with clients, you do not want to embarrass yourself with a cheap ball. You also want to score well so you do what most experts suggest – use a ball with great spin and excellent feel to get it closer to the hole. Tour players know scoring is primary and prefer Titleist (# 1 ball on Tour). But some say the relatively new TaylorMade Tour Preferred golf ball is an average player's tour ball that's equal if not better than the time tested and well known Titleist. In our opinion, both balls are similar and make a nice statement when playing with friends or clients. Of course, they cost more. So here are 3 Tips on how you can find a good price on these premium golf balls.

Tip 1: Ask

Most know it's very hard to find Titleist or the TaylorMade Tour Preferred at bargain prices especially when you walk into the ProShop before a game and you realize that you did not have time to get new balls. So our first suggestion is to simply ask the counter what's been selling most for them (You may not get a premium ball but you'll get a popular one). Do not forget to ask them if that's their best price, or calmly make an offer just below their asking price but not so low to shock them. But assuming there's a line in back of you and you want to get out quick try the next tip.

Tip 2: Do not buy the ProShop Sleeve of 3 balls

We all know sleeves are pricey. Instead, try a dozen of the Proshop's best sellers. Stay away from major brand used, refurbished and recycled balls. The're cheap but do not have the distance of new balls.

Tip 3. Buy online.

There's no overhead like retail shops, usually free delivery and leave you with more $$ in your pocket. Buy three or four dozen at a time and keep a dozen in your car just in case you run short.

Bonus Tip: Check what others do.

You do not want to sift your way through masses of self serving info. You want TaylorMade or Titleist (or Callaway or Nike or some other major brand). You do not have time to go online. The net is vast.

Home Lighting – Creating Illusions with Window Treatments

Windows comes in all sizes, shapes and construction. You can create illusions using standard curtains or other window dressings available today. Long drapes are more formal, short curtains tend to be more casual. You can use different styles to add to your interior decorating, such as country, with wide tides and ruffles.

Curtains can help the following problems:

1. Small window – extend the rod beyond the window frame. This will create the appearance of a larger window. More light will filter through the opening.

2. Large window – Attach your rod in the normal position. Try using tiebacks on the curtains. Use a valance.

3. Short / Tall windows – For short windows attach your rod above the window frame. Taller windows will appear shorter if you use a draped valance. It will soften the window.

4. View – If your purpose is to hide the view, match the window color to your wall covering. It will reduce attention to the window.

Today there are so many choices – Vertical blinds, miniblinds, wood blinds, curtains, material and fabric shades, and shades of all types. You can keep it simple or layer the materials. Investigate the choices before you finish your room. If you give this some forethought, you can design your area to allow for changing window dressings each season.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

If you are a home owner and want to save yourself the cost of having a so called professional install your laminate flooring, and take the pride of do it yourself install, you will need good step by step approach instructions.

The first thing you will need is a good solid and level subfloor. Make sure it is clear of all debris left over from taking out your old floor.

You will then have to determine which way you want the grain of the wood to run. Take and lay out some of the planks to see what way looks the best for you. Once you have figured out which way to run the planks you will need to determine where to start. I always recommend starting at the longest straightest wall in the left hand corner of the room.

You will need to stagger out your joints when laying your planks. This is accomplished by starting with a full plank in your first row then running full boards all the way down to where your landing ends. Remember to keep a 1/4 "gap between your planks and the walls for an expansion joint. a 1/3 of a plank the full boards down the row the rest of the way. Then you just start repeating the pattern all over again, full, half, third.

You will need to undercut your door jams so that the laminate will fit under the tribs of your doors giving you that professional look you are seeking. When you get up to another floor where the laminate stops you will need a transition piece between the two floors. Most all of the manufactures have transition pieces to match the same color of your flooring. You will need to stop your laminate one inch short of the flooring you are butting up to. This will leave a gap between the two floors where a track is put down that the transition piece fits into. Once you have your transition piece cut to the proper length it will just snap into the track. Once it is snapped into place do not plan on getting it out because once it is in it's in. If you try too take it out you will end up snapping it in half. trust me I learned the hard way and broke too many pieces trying to get them out.

Deep Seating Wood – A Great Addition To Any Patio Or Deck

Deep seating wood is essential when considering those that seek not only luxury, but that for the indoor and outdoor setting. Made available, regardless of what type of furniture you might be searching for, deep seating wood, you can be sure, will always compliment, as well as accentuate, any sunroom, garden patio, or poolside, bringing that indoor indoor sophistication to any outdoor appeal .

It's been, and will continue to be, the construction of the deep seating wood, that makes it the most notable piece of furniture in your ensemble. Manufactured by one of the most popular woods, teak, rest assured that regardless of the many weather conditions that your furniture can, and will face, during the many seasons made available, without recommendation, your furniture will have the longevity of that of the mighty petrified pine, found in California!

Unlike many of the outdoor furniture we can choose from, deep seating wood comes equipped with the most comfortable of cushions to be made available on the market. Mostly, made of "Sunbrella" material, you can be sure that, not only will you have at least two feet of comfort ability offered you, but will, again, have that assurance of a material that will withstand the harshest of weather conditions that can be thrown at us, or our furniture, per se. You can be set at comfort knowing that you will not have to race around searching for cushions in order to make your ensemble complete.

When considering what might be the best functionoted in this type of furniture, is the variety in which it comes. For the "helpless romantic," be assured that you can find the loveseat of your choice at your disposal. For those that enjoy the personal seating arrangement while sharing the company that prefers the same, there are the single chairs made available, as well. For those that wish to bring the environment of the comfortable indoors outdoors, there are plenty of deep seating wood sofas, as well, to accentuate the perfect company, or family, setting. Save the amazement after noticing the arrangements that are made available to suit, not only yours, but everyone's preference and preference, when considering the deep seating wood furniture made available to you.

Deep seating wood is renown for it splendor, and top-shelf comfort-ability. These types of furniture can do nothing less than offer you, not only a conversation piece, but also the hours of comfort-ability necessary to talk about such a wise purchase. It has not only been proven that the deep seating wood furniture is actually good for your pains and aches that come with everyday activities, but it, too, has been noted that there is not any better way to establish an alternative to an indoor setting , but you also will not have to relinquish anything from your indoor fashion etiquette.

If style is what you're looking for, then you might as well end your search here. If it's the comfort, and longevity that you're searching for, then it's safe to say, your quest stops here. You could not possibly find another piece of furniture that will roll all these things into one, sort of like a pizza with everything on it would do, if that's what you desire.