3 Basics to Consider When Buying a Digital Camera

October 6, 2013 by  
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When looking to buy a digital camera there are some things we actively watch such as the lens, megapixels, and sensor. However, we often overlook three other important components: media, batteries and flash. Let’s have a look at what you should watch for.

The Media
If you are buying a cheap digital camera with only internal memory that’s fine, but for most digital cameras you are going to have some type of external removable storage medium. The most common types are SmartMedia and CompactFlash. Most Sony cameras use memory sticks and a few actually still use mini CDs. IBM Microdrives and MultiMedia Cards (MMC) are commonly used. What’s most important is ensuring the camera you buy offers you the type of storage that will provide you with the amount of storage space you are looking for. It is a good idea to understand the difference between these media options before making your final choice.

The Batteries
All digital cameras use some type of battery – either lithium-ion, nickel-metal-hydride, or alkaline batteries. You can buy alkaline batteries anywhere, which makes them really convenient; however, they do not last very long and so if you take a lot of photos this can get very expensive. If a digital camera comes with a rechargeable battery than the charger should also come with it. Some cameras allow the use of more than one battery type. Whatever battery you have make sure that you have adequate spares so that you don’t find yourself missing that great shot because your batteries are dead.

The Flash
If you have low light conditions it can be hard to shoot unless you have a good reliable built in automatic flash. Cameras that have all kinds of presets for your flash are really great too because you don’t have to do anything but point and click. After all, not all of us want to understand about the lighting, we just want to point and click, and get a great picture. Look for forced fill flash and slow sync flash too. If you want more power out of your flash than built in flashes offer then look for a digital camera that is equipped with a hotshoe or that is compatible with off camera flashes. If there isn’t a recommended flash unit there are many different providers out there so shop around for a good price.

Choose the right media, batteries and flash will make owning your digital camera that much more enjoyable.

Training older dogs

April 23, 2013 by  
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If you have acquired an older dog, you may be concerned that it it will be impossible to train him.  This is not a fact at all!  No matter how old your dog may be, it is unlikely that training him will be nearly as difficult or as time-consuming as you may think.

Training an older dog generally does require more patience than training a young puppy.  The first reason for this is he has had plenty of time to develop all kinds of attitude problems, behavior problems, and personality quirks which you probably find quite disagreeable.  As he did not acquire all of these learned traits in a day, they will not be gone in a day, either.  No matter how good you are at training a dog, patience is the key to success;  and this is especially true with an older dog.

Another factor which occasionally enters the picture is that an older dog may have developed health conditions.  This can prevent him from being able to function as well as a younger dog, and it can also influence his attitudes and behavior.  A dog who is not physically fit, weak, or suffering from ailments which make him physically uncomfortable, will require much more patience and understanding from you.

The key is to keep all of these points in mind, because they can have a very strong influence on how your dog responds to your commands and how he reacts to you.

When you have acquired an older dog, you will not be starting from the beginning as you would with a puppy.  Training an elderly dog usually means having to “untrain” everything negative which he has already learned.  This does not have to be nearly as intimidating or troublesome as you may think;  but it does require a great deal of effort on your part to remain calm and consistent.

No matter how advanced in age your older dog may be, it is not difficult to help him to learn new, more appropriate behavior.  When you train him in a positive, consistent manner, you will have a dog who will be your good friend for many years to come.

Training your new puppy

April 18, 2013 by  
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When you are planning to acquire a new puppy, it is a good idea to decide in advance what expectations you will have for him.  The training experience will be much easier for both you and him if you can be very clear about what you want him to do and what you do not want him to do.  This kind of consistency will bring you the very best results.

When you are planning to train your new puppy, it will be helpful for you to keep your standards in tune with his age.  For example, a very young puppy simply does not yet have the natural ability to achieve complete control over his bladder or bowel functions, so some amount of accidents should be expected.  If you grant him some leeway due to his age, and do not expect perfection, you will get much better results.

Training your new puppy works the best when you establish a solid routine for him.  This is important in regard to locations and to time.  When he knows where he is supposed to sleep, where his food and water dishes are placed, and where he can find his toys, these factors will make him feel at home.  If you place your new puppy on a schedule, and hold to a consistent routine, this will give him a sense of security.  The security of knowing when he is supposed to sleep, eat, and play will help him to be much more manageable.  It will be easier to train a puppy who feels at home in his new environment and secure in his new daily routine, rather than one who does not have these benefits.

Your new puppy can be a wonderful addition to your life!  In turn, you can be a wonderful addition to his!  All it really takes is keeping in mind that you are dealing with a beginner who is in an entirely new environment with entirely new expectations.  As soon as you begin to relieve him of all of his uncertainties so that he knows where and how he fits in, training him for good behavior will be quite easy.

Training a dog for children

April 7, 2013 by  
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Many people have had bad experiences with dogs and children.  Some children do not like dogs;  some dogs do not like children;  and sometimes you can find both at the same time.  If you have children, and you want a dog, you may have the concern that they might not be compatible.  As the last thing you want is an ill-tempered dog who is not safe to be around your children, you may be thinking about giving up the idea of getting a dog altogether.

In most cases, this extreme is not necessary.  You can have a dog who gets along very well with your children–  one which your children will love!

Training a dog to be a good companion and playmate for your children is not difficult.  It does, however, require teaching appropriate behavior to them both.

Choosing a dog who does not display unnecessarily aggressive behavior is important when he will be living with small children.  If he has a pleasant disposition, he can be trained to play nicely and be cooperative with your children as well as with you.  It is equally important for your children to know that your new dog is not a toy;  immediately subjecting a new dog to unfamiliar rough play can cause him to become aggressive or nervous.  You don’t want your dog to bite your children, believing that he has to defend himself, nor do you want him to be afraid of them.

While it is very important to let your children know that they must be gentle and considerate with your new dog, it would be wise to not leave him unsupervised with very young children.  If you let your youngsters and your new pet get accustomed to each other slowly, and in your presence, it is the most beneficial way of introducing them to each other and helping them to form a compatible relationship.

When you have young children, it is a good idea to take the prospective new dog’s personality into consideration before coming to a final decision.  A dog who is playful, yet reasonably well-behaved, will be the best possible match for your youngsters.

10 Easy Steps To Save Money On your Energy Bill

January 8, 2013 by  
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Here are 10 easy steps that you can take right now to save money on your energy bills each month:

1.  Move furniture away from heating vents and hot and cold air returns. This ends up blocking the return and causes the room to stay cool or hot.  You furniture should be kept away from these returns to get the most use of the energy and save on  energy costs.

2.  Change your furnace filter.  When was the last time you did this?  If you change it every month, you will have a more efficient furnace that not only acts as a heater but also generates the air through the ducts for the air conditioner as well.

3.  Switch to energy saving light bulbs.  As each bulb runs out, change it with an energy saver.  You will soon find you are saving energy and buying less light bulbs.

4.  Fix leaky faucets.  They waste gallons of water.  Remove the handle, tighten it with a wrench and chances are you will have fixed the faucet.  If not, you can easily install a new faucet which costs under $30 at most home  improvement stores.

5. Install a hand held shower head.  This will make taking a shower a breeze and cleaning the shower even easier.

6.  Fix all windows with cracks. If you have storms with cracks, have them replaced.  They are energy wasters.  Do  this before the cold air sets in and you will save money on your heating bill.  Storm windows are easy to replace and can be taken to a glass shop and re-glazed.

7.  Install weather stripping on doors and windows.  If you are ready to winterize your house for the cold weather, or even if you just want to save on the air conditioning costs as your cool air is escaping all of the time, then use weather stripping, which is easy to get at a home improvement store, to better insulate your windows and doors.

8.  Clean the lint trap in your dryer every day.  Each time you use the dryer, clean the lint trap.  This will not only make the clothes dryer run more efficiently and save you money on energy costs, but will eliminate a potential fire hazard.  The dryer has a vent that goes outside as well that should be vacuumed out periodically

9.  Never run your dishwasher or clothes washer half full.  It costs just as much to run a full washer as it does one that is partially loaded.  And while you are at it, rinse those dishes before putting them in he dishwasher as it will make them cleaner and save on your energy costs.

10. Partially cook your foods in the microwave and use it for defrosting foods before adding them to the oven or stove.  The microwave not only works quicker, but will end up using less energy.  You can save energy when cooking by defrosting your foods that can be defrosted before cooking by using the microwave.

Build An Energy Efficient House

October 19, 2012 by  
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Whether you are building a new house or adding on to an existing house, you are going to want to make sure that they new house is as energy efficient as possible.  With the cost of natural gas and electric skyrocketing in recent years, now more than ever is a time to be conscious of saving money on your energy bills.

Making your new home more energy efficient is not difficult and just takes some knowledge regarding what will do the job.  Here are some new tips on making any new construction, regardless of whether it is a new house or an addition, more energy efficient:

Choose Energy Efficient Windows

Old fashioned windows lose heat and cool air because they are not insulated.  Old fashioned windows are difficult to clean and consist of double hung windows, storm windows and screens.  They have to be taken apart to clean and often have to be cleaned from the outside.  You can save on your energy bill by getting new thermal glass energy saving windows.  These do not have storms as the glass is insulated and will protect against the cold as well as the heat.  They pop in and out to make cleaning easier.  You can use from double hung windows or casements.  Not only are they energy efficient, but they are maintenance free as well as the window jambs are vinyl clad.

Choose The Highest Grade Insulation

When you are building a new house, chances are that your builder will put in the lowest grade insulation that conforms with code.  You should ask for the highest grade, which is R-4, that can be added to the walls and blown into the attic.  This may end up costing you a few hundred dollars extra in upgrades, but will make a big difference in energy efficiency as well as your energy bill.  Get the best insulation in the house that you can get.

One Air Conditioner Or Two?

If you have a large home, you may do better with two air conditioning units, one for each floor.  This will help you save money as you do not have to put the burden of cooling the entire house on one big unit.  You can turn the one unit on when you are upstairs and the other during the day.  Both can also run simultaneously and if they are on a temperature controlled thermostat, which they most likely will be, they will not overrun.  If you have a large home, consider more than one air conditioning unit to save money on your energy costs.

Choose appliances that are energy efficient and also consider a maintenance free exterior that will better insulate the house.  This will end up saving on your heating and cooling bills.

Workshop goals

August 6, 2012 by  
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Every workshop must have a clearly defined goal.  The goal is the desired result that the organization envisions, plans and commits to achieve.  The reasons behind organizing a workshop may be many and various. It may be that an organization wants to focus on its recruitment procedure.  Other businesses may need to undertake some team building activities for newly formed teams.  Another reason could be to teach better organizational skills to a section of the staff.

The workshop organizer has to define the workshop goals that represent the intended outcomes of the workshop and are aligned to the participant’s needs and interests. It is important to define at least two goals; one goal that focuses on the workshop content and one goal that focuses on taking actions.  Coupled with this it is important to identify objectives for each session of the workshop, the objectives being the steps leading to achieving goals.

Thought must be given to what it is the organization wants the participants to know at the end of the session.  Once that is known it is possible to form well constructed goals.

Contribution limits on a 401k

July 28, 2012 by  
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Without contributing to retirement savings, most people will have a difficult time making ends meet later in life. That is why many 401k participants want to input as much of their income as possible. There are two different types of contribution limits put on 401k accounts. The first is the government imposed limit, which changes yearly. The second type of limit is the employer set limit.

Different companies allow varying 401k contribution limits. At no point is the amount a participant contributes to a 401k to exceed the IRS set limits for contributions. To assist employees in preparing for retirement, the government has increased the maximum limit for contribution to a 401k as well as the “catch-up” contribution allowed. To keep up with cost of living increases, the government continues to allow higher contribution limits on 401k accounts. The increases are linked to the living expenses for the year prior to contribution.

For participants who are 50 years old or over, catching up on lost 401k revenue, because of late starts is a great feature. The catch-up feature is most likely a result of the increasingly unstable status of Social Security. However, there is a government contribution limit on catch up contributions made to the 401k as well. The government set limit is 5,000 as of 2007.

In order for individual employees to get the most out of their contributions, or maximizing contributions, they should also take advantage of matching. Matching is part of the overall 401k plan, although not always available. Companies contribute up to 50% of every dollar that a participant saves. Those matched funds, up to six percent of the salary, are not counted towards total contribution limits.

Taking advantage of any maximization of contribution is very important. There are few, if any, pitfalls to doing so. Contribution limits on a 401k can be a deterrent to some wanting to save lots of money quickly. The sage advice about diversifying could be a solution to that concern. It is important to contribute the limit or as close as possible to the limit in order to see a good return.

401k Plan

July 28, 2012 by  
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Most people don’t realize that their company’s individual 401k plan allows them to choose many details of their 401k. Most companies, for instance, allow participants to choose the individual funds in which their money is invested. The percentage amount participants want contributed and whether they would prefer a pre-tax or after tax-based 401k plan are also options.

Once the different options are chosen, the funds allocated from all employees are invested into the predetermined stocks. Most 401k plans allow the individual to change details year round as a convenience. To accommodate new employees, companies allow enrollment in 401k plans year round as well.

Investing wisely in a 401k plan is quite important to maximize savings. In addition to contributing the maximum and participating in a matching program, it’s important to look at the investments that the money is funding. If, for instance, it’s discovered that most or all of the contributions in the 401k plan are funding company stock, it might be better to diversify.

Funding different types of investments is important for a profitable portfolio. It’s also important to increase the contribution amount annually as the government set limits will inevitably increase.

All 401k plans vary in the amounts they will allow the participant to contribute. At no point are those amounts to be higher than IRS limits. The average contribution amount is usually no more than ten percent.

The standard 401k plan pays a lump sum when retirement age is reached. At that time, a defined contribution amount will be disbursed once. As the end of the 401k plan’s saving term ends, taxes will come due; that is if the contributions weren’t made after taxes. The amount that is disbursed from a 401k plan might sometimes be a disappointment, as fees for maintenance and other related costs have been debited. The funds are guaranteed by the government in the case that the company files bankruptcy. This is a huge improvement over pension plans that in recent years have come up short as many retirees were due to collect. They, in turn, had no recourse to collect the funds.

10 Questions an Interviewer May Ask

July 24, 2012 by  
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Once upon a time job interviews were comprised of a conversation between interviewer and interviewee and based on this conversation, the job seeker was either hired or sent on their way. Within the context of this conversation, questions were asked, but today much of the conversation has disappeared as more and more interviewers are using custom made interview forms. Some of the questions you may encounter include:

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What did you like most about your last job?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • How did you solve a problem regarding an angry or dissatisfied customer?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What would your previous co-workers say about you?
  • Give an example of your ability to make decisions under pressure.
  • Why do you want to work for this company?

There are many variations on the above questions but most of these are pretty standard. Of course, work experience is a given and some employers want to know if you smoke. Often, employers ask questions they are not supposed to ask but it is usually career suicide if you bring up that fact.

The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for any interview is to find out everything you can about the company you are applying for. In addition, make sure you have all the dates clear as to where you worked and how long you worked there. Even if you have already sent a resume take one to the interview with you so that you can glance at it if you need to. Above all, be on time and be prepared!