Net Neutrality Threatened by Trump Administration

Tom Wheeler, the former chair of the FCC, used his final speech before stepping down to warn businesses and consumers that their choice of cloud services and business applications could be severely limited if the incoming administration strikes down the 2015 open internet order that he and his group put in place. This order positioned the FCC’s net neutrality regulation that prevents Internet Service Providers from slowing or blocking traffic on their networks. This gives all traffic equal opportunity and speed and prevents network favoritism.

Wheeler also showed concern for the Internet of Things, an area of economic growth that is quickly becoming top of mind to many businesses and policy makers in Washington.

“[T]he growth of the internet of things is another area that depends on the open connectivity of those things,” Wheeler said. “If ISPs can decide arbitrarily which IoT device can be connected, or favor their own IoT activity over their competitors, the bright future of IoT dims.” Wheeler continued, “As everything goes into the cloud, the ability to access the cloud free of gatekeepers is essential. If ISPs get to choose which applications and clouds work better than others in terms of access, speed and latency, they will control the cloud future,”.

Wheeler’s position may not be a surprise now but given his past as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless sector his support of net neutrality may come as a shock.

Bill Wilson, a consultant for Broadband Landing, said, “Wheeler may be underplaying the seriousness of the situation. Net Neutrality is the biggest deal that no one really understands. If consumers and small businesses actually realized what the internet would look like after it was bought and sold by large corporations that was be worried. This would be all that was being talked about.”

Wheeler has the same question many businesses do, namely will Trump dismantle a policy that is clearly working? With republicans openly opposed to net neutrality things do seem dire for the policy.

Wheeler’s speech not only acts as a warning to the incoming administration but also clearly attempts to widen the scope of the net neutrality debate as a whole. Consumer impact of the open internet order is almost always the lead in any discussion of net neutrality but here Wheeler’s focus was on the danger to businesses and their increasing use of cloud computing. Interruption or the slowing of these services is a bit more destructive than a video playing slow. Businesses might be required to completely change back office management systems. A company like Salesforce.com could have their customer base divided between users that have an ISP that allows their traffic and ISP’s that won’t. Situations of this type could be repeated across many business services. If AT&T buys a firm that provides CMS to sales and marketing groups, it is not unthinkable that they would show preference to this firm over others.

Wheeler specifically calls out Verizon and AT&T for the “zero rating” programs that give some companies free access by not charging customers for the data they use. While this isn’t the feared “Fast Lane” net neutrality has been trying to avoid, it may actually be worse.

Wheeler finished his speech with, “It now falls to a new set of regulators, to a new FCC and to those who advocate before it and the Congress to determine the road that they want to take from here,” Wheeler said. “We are at a fork in that road. One path leads forward and the other leads back to relitigating solutions that are demonstrably working.”
While the fork in the road analogy fits, it’s actually a bit more drastic than Wheeler makes it seem. One road leads forward and the other leads back a decade and then off a cliff into a hole filled with alligators.

For more information about the largest high speed Internet providers in the United States, you can visit at http://broadbandlanding.com/providers/

Messaging at Work Got Us Thinking About Moving to a New Apartment in Alamo Heights

My wife and I were messaging back and forth one day while we were at work. We were on the computer using a live messaging system. We were both in our offices at work doing the same old boring stuff we usually do on a Monday morning. Our topic of conversation turned from the regular stuff to maybe looking at apartments for rent in Alamo Heights. Our lease was ending where we were at, and we definitely wanted a new place to live. We wanted a nicer apartment, nicer neighbors, and we wanted to adopt a dog. We could not really have any of that where we had lived for the last year. Continue reading →

Vitamin C for Skin Care

If you look through a shelf of skin care products at a department store, you’ll notice that many labels feature vitamin C as one of their active, “miracle” ingredients. “Anti-aging” is just one of the many claims made for products containing vitamin C. While some of these claims are scientifically valid, there are some facts about vitamin C in skin care that you should consider before purchasing a product in order to choose one that can truly deliver benefits to your skin.

vitamin-c-for-skin-care

Vitamin C Skin Benefits

  • Antioxidant Protection

Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C is able to offer some protection against cellular oxidation. Cellular oxidation happens when skin is exposed to environmental elements, such as UV rays and pollution (it is estimated that UV rays count for up to 80% of the skin damage caused by the oxidation process). Using a topical antioxidant, such as vitamin C, may attenuate the oxidative damage and support the skin’s self-repairing process. The consequences of oxidation include premature aging (wrinkles, dark spots, sagging, etc), skin disorders, and skin cancer.

  • Increased Collagen Production

Oxidative stress may also lead to collagen breakdown. Collagen is a protein found in several parts of the body; in the skin, it contributes to its firmness and elasticity, like a glue that holds the skin tight. In order to prevent premature aging of the skin, it is important that we boost its collagen production. Production tends to naturally slow down with age and is ulteriorly compromised by exposure to environmental elements like UV rays. Topical application of vitamin C has been shown to effectively increase collagen production, helping to prevent premature aging signs.

Additional benefits of topical application of vitamin C include:

  • Improved hydration
  • Decreased pigmentation
  • Enhanced sunscreen effectiveness
  • Reduced inflammation

Tips for Shopping Vitamin C in Skin Care

  • Vitamin C-based skin care products come in a variety of different formulas. You may find it in creams, lotions, serums, and other types of treatments. However, not all products are effective; some of them do not deliver enough vitamin C into the dermis. Another common issue with vitamin C-based products is that some of them do not contain the ideal ingredients that work well with vitamin C. By using the wrong carrier, the vitamin C present in the product cannot penetrate the skin properly. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when shopping for vitamin C-based skin care products:
  • Vitamin C is an unstable compound, and when exposed to air, heat, and light, it oxidizes. Ideally, in order to prevent/reduce oxidation, a vitamin C-based product should be packaged in an air-tight bottle with a pump.
  • The different forms of vitamin C are only effective in formulations with a certain pH. For example, the most well researched form of vitamin C found in skin care products, ascorbic acid, is only stable in a very low pH formula (about 3.5), and therefore tends to be irritating and cause redness. However, ascorbic acid is also know to be a very effective form of vitamin C for the skin, so it should be your preferred option when shopping for a skin care product. Alternatively, look for a water-free product, such as a face oil.
  • Read the label! Look for a vitamin C concentration between 0.3 and 20%. The higher concentration, the better the absorption, but a concentration higher than 20% can cause redness and irritation, and not be absorbed as well. If the product you try causes an irritation, you may try another one containing a smaller percentage. Patch test on a small area of your skin before applying on your whole face.
  • Vitamin C may be particularly effective when combined with certain ingredients, such as vitamin E. The two compounds work synergistically in protecting the skin and retarding cellular damage. Look for a product that contains both vitamin C and E.

Started to Work on the Business Plan

I have been thinking about this for a good while, but it is time to put it on paper and work on the fine details. This is not an easy thing and it is rather stressful, since you are faced with the fact that mistakes can be really impactful. So you have to think about what can go wrong and work out the best way to avoid problems. I have been looking at an online pay stubs generator since one of the guys I am talking to did not like the fact that I was not going to use a traditional payroll check system. That seems like a big waste to me, especially in the initial phase where there are only going to be a half dozen people on the payroll. Personally dealing with a check is just a big waste of time when a direct deposit system is going to save you the time and the trouble of going to the bank every week. Continue reading →

Finding out the Unfortunate Truth

My former girlfriend and I shared some of the best years of our life together. It all came to a screeching halt one day when we broke up. She had been cheating on me and once the truth came to light, I didn’t want anything else to do with her, and she didn’t want to see me either. I found out that she was cheating on me through the use of a snapchat hack that lets people look at photos that are normally thought to have been deleted. The photos can still be accessed after they’ve disappeared from the eyes of a normal user.

There were signs that made me suspicious that something might be going on with my former girlfriend. She became more distant and barely wanted to do anything together anymore. Continue reading →

Shaggy Rugs Are Back in Style

Yes, I think it was back when I was a child in the 1960s and early 1970s that shaggy rugs were at the height of style. Maybe they were popular at different times in different countries. This is when I remember seeing a lot of them. I really liked them. They feel so good underfoot. I like to walk around in my bare feet or in my socks. I know some people cannot do this. We have hardwood floors in our house, but I wanted some shaggy carpeting in a couple of rooms. I did not even know if it was still made.

I looked online and found a place that has all kinds of shaggy rugs for sale. Continue reading →

Top 5 BI Software for SMBs

In this era of information technology, fact and figures are the weapons that shape the future of your business. Now, Big business organizations have ample money to spend on customized MIS (Management Information Systems) and ESS (Executive Support Systems) but for small companies, the scenario is not the same. In most usual context, managing data is difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses, many of whom don’t have in-house IT departments. As a business owner, how can you get a clear overview of your company’s performance without hiring programmers to create proprietary software and reporting? Well, one answer is purchasing Business Intelligence (BI) software. BI software offers features that can help business owners capture and review data in a myriad of ways, enabling them to forecast sales, write budgets, set prices and communicate across multiple departments and locations.

While the primary concern of many business owners may be the cost of the software, there are other considerations to keep in mind – e.g. quality, features, portability, compatibility, etc. Most of the BI suites listed here do not have a pre-determined price due to varying level of customization required for different types of business organization. So, this article follows the benefits and features of the BI suites to determine the top 5 that may be good choices for small to medium sized businesses.
SiSense

SiSence considers itself the Robin Hood of the BI world due to its contribution to ‘data justice’! They believe in data independence for small, emerging companies who can use this software for taking decisive actions. In fact, the essential features of this BI software are gathering, analyzing and sharing – quite simple yet pivotal. Moreover, SiSense offers a user-friendly interface, ideal for business owners who have not previously worked with BI software. Their Elasticube database uses minimal hardware and a single server and minimizes data usage so you can share information easily. The suite includes data warehousing, dashboards, ETL functions, and reporting. Companies can use SiSense on-site or in the cloud.
Pentaho

This BI software optimized for cost –effectiveness. What’s unique about this? Well, it’s the integration between data and business analytic which created a self – sufficient analytical platform, capable of providing time and money saving information instantly. Pentaho users can use a dash-boarding wizard that makes customizing and sharing data quick and easy. Some of the products and services recommended by this software are data integration, business analytic, big data analytic, mobile BI, customs visualization, consulting services, etc. Other features include online analytical processing (OLAP), data integration, reporting and data mining. Simply put, this is an all rounding BI platform.
Looker

Looker is unique through its zero – lag, high portability, cloud-based analytical infrastructure. This BI software works with your data wherever you store it, whether it is on-site or in the cloud. Looker works like a web server. So, you do not have to warehouse your data. Each time a user searches within Looker, it creates a sharable URL that makes it quick and easy for users to access the data that other users have already mined. There are also other quite impressive features of Looker – personalized setup, support and access points, limitless data pass through a facility and super innovative data modeling features. Well, if you need a BI with maximum portability – Looker is the one for you.
BI360

BI360 has some exclusive features that provide this BI with a competitive advantage. For instance, the resource library and highly customized solutions in the industry are helpful for having a precise analytic outcome. In addition to dashboarding and data warehousing, BI360 offers drag-and-drop reports and a budgeting module. Along with budgeting analytics, users can forecast sales too. BI360 also allows users to create profiles, making it simple to find the right person to handle any problem. This collaborative feature makes BI360 a good choice for companies with multiple locations.
Exago

Exago is a web-based, self-serve BI solution. It assures user-friendly operation with advanced functionality. It requires no plug-ins or downloads. Exago’s features include standard and ad hoc reporting, dashboards and interactive data visualization. It also features four different report designs and customizable data solutions that integrate with your current system. Pixel perfect templates, automated scheduler, user-defined formulas, the compatibility with multiple platforms (PC, Smartphone/tab – android/iOS), and output formats (PDF, RTF, CSV etc.), are some of the additional lucrative features that Exago offers. Moreover, this BI’s programmable features lend themselves to managing solutions for multiple clients.

There are many other brands of BI software available. If you are shopping for business intelligence software that will help you to gather and use data for empowering your firm, it is a good idea to shop around and find the software with the features you need. Most companies offer prices based on the number of users, so make sure to request quotes and do a thorough price-product comparison. Just remember one thing, it’s a software that just helps you analyze the data but it’s you who’ll use the output. So, ensure the optimum utilization of your software and make you unique to the marketplace

Mr Do! – Classic Arcade Games Reviewed

Mr Do! Revisited

Mr Do! is part of a legacy of Japanese developed arcade games, involving memorable characters with strange names such as PacMan and Donkey Kong, that stood out amongst all of the generic Space Invader clones flooding the market in the early 80’s.

The game was created by Universal and distributed by Taito, and starred a jolly clown, the aforementioned Mr Do!, who must dig tunnels underground to collect cherries without being caught by patrolling monsters. The game developed a huge fanbase following its release in 1983, thanks to its brightly coloured graphics, memorable tunes and frenetic gameplay.

30 years later Mr Do! is still fondly remembered by early arcade gamers, even though the character never achieved the iconic status of Donkey Kong.

Mr Do!
Mr Do!
Origins of the Mr Do! Arcade Game

Mr Do! was released during a period of intense activity in the arcades, with new cabinets being released every week to a public hungry for the latest games. Taito looked to capitalise on this demand in a unique way, one that would appeal to arcade owners as well as players.

By releasing Mr Do! as a conversion kit rather than a cabinet in its own right, operators could make the most of their existing investment and re-utilse cabinets that were no longer attracting players. The kit included everything from the printed cicuit board to the control panel and artwork, allowing an existing cabinet to be reborn as Mr Do!, and at a much lower cost than an entirely new machine. This was a first for the industry, and would famously be repeated by Nintendo when they initially released the classic Donky Kong as a conversion kit to replace their failing Radarscope game.

Taito went on to sell 30,000 of these Mr Do! conversion kits, and the game became a huge hit, and was later released as a compete cabinet bearing the Universal branding.

Dig Dug by Namco
Dig Dug by Namco
Game Influences

Anyone familiar with the arcade game Dig Dug, released by Namco in 1982, will be able to spot the influence it had on Mr Do! Both games were set in an underground maze, that could only be travelled by tunneling through the earth, as well as enemies that could be destoyed by dropping heavy objects on them.

There are also elements of PacMan, such as the collection of fruit (as opposed to pills) in order to complete a level, and the appearance of bonus items in the centre of the screen to generate extra points.

In Dig Dug a level is complete when all the monsters are destroyed, whereas in Mr Do! requires you can also collect all of the fruit on the screen to progress, in a style similar to Pac Man. You can also progress when EXTRA is filled, or when a 1UP diamond is obtained.

Mr Do! Level 2
Mr Do! Level 2
Playing Mr Do!

Mr Do! begins each level in partly drilled underground maze, populated by monsters, and filled with various types of fruit. Your clown must wander the maze and create new tunnels in order to collect the cherries, which are grouped in blocks of eight around each level. Also dotted around the level are large apples, which fall when the earth is removed from beneath them, crushing anything unfortunate enough to be in the way. By carefully timing the removal of the apples, the chasing monsters can be crushed without harming Mr Do!

As a secondary weapon, Mr Do! carries a ball which can be thrown down a tunnel, bouncing from the walls until it strikes and destroys a monster, or is returned and caught by the clown. Only one ball can be in play at a time, and if it destroys a monster it needs to recharge before being used again.

Occasionally, bonus food items would appear in the centre of the screen, which acted like the power pills in PacMan, and released purple monsters which were capable of eating through apples, but helped you rack up extra points. In addition to the purple monsters, a monster would appear in the shape of a letter, one of five spelling out the word “EXTRA”. If all the letter monsters are destroyed an additional life is awarded via an animated cut-scene.

In order to create a sense of urgency, if you take too long to clear the level, extra monsters appear who can drill through walls to attack Mr Do! Adding to the frenetic game pace is the catchy theme tune, a version of the “Can-Can” which perfectly fits the on screen action.

Mr Do! had 11 different levels to complete, each level represented by a tunnel shaped like the level number, except for the first level which was shaped like the a D, and the last shaped like a zero.
Mr Do! World Record

The official world record high score for Mr Do! is held by Jimmy Linderman, who scored 30,075,000 on the 21st September 2008
Mr Do! Sequels

Due to the success of Mr Do! there were a number of sequels starring the titular clown. Mr Do’s Castle was released in 1983, and adopted a platform game format very similar to Space Panic, which required you to smash holes in the platforms for the monsters to fall into.

Mr Do’s Wild Ride followed in 1984, this time featuring a roller coaster track which Mr Do! uses to collect cherries whilst avoiding the oncoming cars.

A final game in the series, Do! Run Run was available as a conversion for Mr Do’s Wild Ride, and was a combination of PacMan and Amidar, in which you had to consume the dots, or draw a line around a number of dots to turn them into Fruit. The other series hallmark, the dinosaur-like monsters also made an appearance in Do! Run Run.

None of these sequels managed to capture the public’s imagination in the same way as the original Mr Do!, mainly due to the slightly derivative nature of the games, which broke no new ground and were just not different enough from the competition.

Home Conversions

Some memorable home conversions were produced, including an official release on the ColecoVision console and the Atari 2600. Due to the limited graphical capabilities of these early consoles, the spirit of the original was captured, if not a pixel perfect home reproduction. There were also versions released for the Apple 2, MSX and Commodore 64 home computers.

Mr Do! would later be converted for more modern hardware that could do justice to the original, through Nintendo’s Game boy and Super Nintendo platforms. The SNES version in particular was notable for additional features such as a 2 player battle mode, making the most of the capacity of the later console.

A not so official release was created for the BBC Micro, entitled Mr Ee!, and this was probably the most authentic conversion produced, albeit without the approval of the original developer. British gamers were therefore able to play an arcade perfect version at home long before the official SNES release.

The Careers of Former Disney Channel Stars After Their Departure from Disney Channel

Former Disney Channel stars such as Shia LaBeouf, Hilary Duff, and Alyson “Aly” Michalka, have very successful careers after departing from Disney Channel and their hit television shows. They find much success in acting, music, books, fashion and other ventures. Here you can find out what former Even Stevens stars Shia LaBouf and Christy Carlson Romano, former Lizzie McGuire stars Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, and Lalaine, and former Phil of the Future stars Ricky Ullman, Alyson “Aly” Michalka, and Amy Bruckner have been up to since their departure from Disney Channel and their hit television series.
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Wall Street Collector’s Two-Pack (Wall Street / Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)
Wall Street Collector’s Two-Pack (Wall Street / Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)
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Shia LaBeouf and Christy Carlson Romano

Shia LaBeouf and Christy Carlson Romano starred as brother (Louis) and sister (Ren) in Even Stevens – an American Comedy Television Series that aired for three seasons on Disney Channel from 2000 to 2003. Since the end of the hit television show both Shia and Christy had successful careers though Shia’s career proved to be more successful.

Shia LaBeouf continued his acting career and starred in hit blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Transformers alongside Megan Fox, Wall Street alongside Michael Douglas, and I Robot (which also starred Will Smith), to name a few.

Christy Carlson Romano continued her acting career starring in movies such as Cadet Kelly alongside Hilary Duff, Campus Confidential, Suicide Dolls, Looking for an Echo, Moving In, and Mirrors 2. She was also the voice of Kim Possible on the Kim Possible animated series on Disney Channel. Besides being part of movies and television Christy dived into Broadway, starring as Mary Phagan in Parade (from 1998-1999), as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (in 2004), and as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q (in 2008). She also starred as Michelle in the Off-Broadway’s White Lies. In 2004 she released an album with Walt Disney Records – Greatest Disney TV & Film Hits.
Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff
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Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, and Lalaine

Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, and Lalaine starred in Lizzie McGuire – an American Teen Sitcom that aired from 2001 to 2004 on Disney Channel. They played best friends Lizzie McGuire, David “Gordo” Gordon, and Miranda Sanchez.

Since graduating from the hit show, Hilary Duff had much success in movies, fashion, music, and books. She has starred in such hit movies as Cheaper by the Dozen, Raise Your Voice, Beauty & the Briefcase, A Cinderella Story, Agent Cody Banks alongside Frankie Nunez, Cadet Kelly alongside Christy Carlson Romano, and Material Girls alongside her sister Haley Duff,

Hilary signed with Hollywood Records and released a number of hit albums. Her first album Metamorphosis was released in 2003. It peaked at #1, and was certified 3x platinum in the US. Her second album Hilary Duff was released in 2004. It peaked at #2 and was certified platinum in the US. Her third album Most Wanted was released in 2005. It peaked at #1 and was certified platinum in the US. Her fourth album Dignity was released in 2007. It peaked at #3 and was certified Gold in the US. She also released an album called Best of Hilary Duff. It did not receive any certifications and didn’t peak very high on the charts.

Besides movies and music, Hilary entered the world of fashion releasing two fragrances with Elizabeth Arden – “With Love…Hilary Duff” and “Wrapped with Love”. In 2004 she launched her clothing line Stuff by Hillary Duff which was sold exclusively at Target in the US. In 2009 she co-designed a collection for DKNY Jeans called Femme.

Hilary also found herself to be a successful author. Her YA novel Elixir became a New York Times Bestseller.

After Lizzie McGuire went off the air, Adam Lamberg continued his acting career starring in such films as Max Keeble’s Big Move, When Do We Eat?, Beautiful Loser, Lonesome, Dead Man’s Walk (TV mini-series), and Radiant City, to name a few.

Lalaine continued her acting career as well starring in movies such as You Wish!, Promise Land, Her Best Move, Annie and Borderline, to name a few. She also made a cameo in Easy A.

Besides movies, Lalaine turned to music. In 2003 she released an independent album Inside Story and in 2004 recorded an album titled Haunted. She later signed a record deal with Warner Bros. She was also a member of the band Vanity Theft from 2010 to 2011.
Ricky Ullman, Alyson “Aly” Michalka, and Amy Bruckner

Ricky Ullman, Alyson “Aly” Michalka, and Amy Bruckner starred in Phil of the Future – an American Situation Comedy that aired on Disney Channel from 2004 to 2006 for two seasons. Ricky Ullman played Philip “Phil” Diffy, a High School student from the year 2121 who was hiding that he is actually from the future. Alyson Michalka played Keely Teslow, Phil’s best friend who later became his girlfriend. Amy Bruckner played Pim Diffy, Phil’s younger sister, who was mischievous and up to no good.

While starring in Phil of the Future Ricky Ullman, whose real name is Raviv Ullman, also starred as Roscoe in Pixel Perfect (2004), a Disney movie made for television, and as Sam in Searching for David’s Heart (2005), an ABC Family television film. He starred in other films such as The Big Bad Swim and Driftwood in 2006, Normal Adolescent Behavior and The Violin in 2007, Prom Wars in 2008, and Spring Break ’83 and How to Make Love to a Woman in 2010. Ricky also appeared in episodes of hit television shows such as Law & Order: SVU, House, The Middleman, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Guiding Light, That’s So Raven, Big Love, Cold Case, Rita Rocks, and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

Aside from being on television Ricky took to the stage starring as Louis in The King and I, as Stanley in A Rosen by Any Other Name, and as Tommy in Dead End. He also starred in Peter Pan and The Music Man.

Music also became part of Ricky’s life. He formed a band Goodbye Ian with actor Douglas Smith. The name was later changed to His Orchestra. The band released its debut album Field Guide to the Wilds in 2009.

After the end of Phil of the Future Amy Bruckner starred as Bess in the feature film Nancy Drew and as Haley Long in the animated television series American Dragon: Jake Long. Prior to that she starred in films such as Rebound (2005), and They Are Among Us (2004). She also appeared in episodes of other hit televisions shows such as ER, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Judging Amy, and American Dreams.

After Phil of the Future ended its run on Disney Channel Alyson Michalka, aka Aly, starred in Hellcats (airing on the CW) where she played a college cheerleader Marti Perkins from 2010 to 2011. She also had film roles in movies such as Bandslam (starring alongside Vanessa Hudgens), Easy A (starring alongside Emma Stone), The Roommate (starring alongside Leighton Meester), Cow Belles (a Disney Channel movie where she starred alongside her sister Amanda Joy “AJ” Michalka), Now You See It… (a Disney Channel movie), and Super Sweet 16: The Movie.

Besides movies Aly turned to music forming a band with her sister Amanda Joy “AJ” Michalka and signing with Hollywood Records. The band was originally called Aly & AJ but later changed its name to 78violet after they split from Hollywood Records. The band released their debut album Into the Rush in 2005, which was certified platinum and sold over a million records worldwide. In 2007 the band released their second studio album Insomniatic. Potential Breakup Song, a single off the band’s second album became a mega hit and was certified platinum, selling over a million copies. These two albums were released under Hollywood Records

Art and Poetry – Colours of my Dream

The Palette of Dreams

Do you dream in colour? Do you see pastel drifts, rainbow shades, pixel perfect panoramas? There are dreams that are dark and monochrome. And then there are those that burst with colour. How does your brain decide what colour palette to print your dream sequences in? Does it have an internal cinematographer who decides which colour tone suits which theme?

There are many colours in my Dreams. Parched yellows, browns and fading sepia for those lonely vistas. Claustrophobic dark blues, indigos and pitch black shadows for nightmarish sequences.

And then there are those that burst with every shade of the rainbow, Bright, sparkly, rippling with life and energy, bursting with love and longing. I wake up from these strangely happy and content and yet with a feeling of loss – as if I had woken up too quick, wanting more, yearning.

There are paintings that do the same- bright, vivacious yet leaving you with a sense that real life would struggle to match up with those colourful renditions.

Vladimir Volegov’s paintings do that to me.

The phrase ‘ the colours of my dream’ popped into my head as I saw his work. It stuck in my head and buzzed around like a proverbial bee until I rescued it into my poem.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Art of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir VolegovArt of Vladimir Volegov
Art of Vladimir Volegov
Art of Vladimir Volegov
Vladimir Volegov
Vladimir Volegov
Vladimir Volegov

Born in Russia, Volegov showed early promise when he started painting and sketching at the tender age of three. A stint in art school followed and he then served in the army. He subsequently moved into the Lvov polygraphic institute in 1984. He won several art competitions while he was there. He became a much sought after commercial artist after moving to Moscow in 1988, doing work for several publishing houses and for CD sleeves and album covers.

In the nineties, Volegov travelled throughout Europe, financing his travels by painting portraits in the streets of many European cities such as Barcelona and Vienna. This experience cemented his love for capturing the human form amongst the vividly colourful settings.

Plasma Tv- Free Related Hints About Plasma Tv Stands

As you devour this article, remember that the rest of it contains valuable information related to plasma TV and in some way related to plasma flat screen TV, 32 LCD HDTV, 32 inch plasma TV or LCD TV stands for your reading pleasure.

There’s nothing worse than being unable to make yourself heard! If there is audio on your material do you have a way to amplify this? Many screens have basic speakers on them, but this is less use for larger events.

LCD has a higher native resolution than plasma TVs of the same size. This results to sharper images and makes LCD TV the better choice for HDTV. LCD TVs consume almost 30% less power than Plasma TVs. LCD TVs are generally lighter than similar sized Plasmas. Among the two, LCD screens have a longer life span than plasma screens. LCD’s can last up to 60,000 hours in comparison to Plasma that average from 30,000 to 60,000 hours. Plasma TVs are more prone to screen burn-inns in comparison to LCD’s, although newer plasma technology is less susceptible to these.

Plasmas generally have an edge in the ability to produce deeper blacks and more saturated colors than LCD’s. Plasmas are also better at producing full motion video than LCD’s because of the response time of the LCD panels, although this difference is disappearing.

Don’t forget to realize that this article can cover information related to plasma TV but can still leave some stones unturned. Head on over to the search engines like Ask Dot Com for more specific plasma TV information.

If you intend to use a game console and/or watch standard TV broadcasts over cable, satellite or antenna, an LCD TV is a superior choice over plasma televisions. The repetitive image from games and unused black-filled borders will damage a plasma TV by burning a permanent image into the phosphor.

In contrast to CRT televisions, plasma TVs are really the newest technology in TVs and come as wide screen TVs that are only about 6 inches deep at max. In comparison to CRTs this is a massive improvement in size and depth. Instead of having a laser to hit every single pixel like a CRT TV has a plasma TV is built with single transistor electrodes at each pixel, because of this you do not need a massive void at the rear of the TV to accommodate an electrode gun. Since plasma TVs has transistors instead of a light source each pixel contains 3 fluorescent light cells: one red, one green, and one blue. The picture on a plasma TV is created by each pixel varying in intensity to produce a different color, with this happening to every pixel a picture consisting of millions of pixels is produced. This light consists of free flowing ions called plasma and hence is why this type of TV is called a Plasma TV.

Furthermore, then of course there are the size and slenderness of the plasma TV. It is this thinness that attracts so many buyers, and in fact, many plasma televisions are lightweight and thin enough to hang on a wall, as well as thin enough to fit virtually anywhere. This contrast is particularly obvious when one compares a new plasma screen TV to the old rear projection big screen TVs, which could fill an entire room and were very bulky to move from place to place.

It might interest you to know that lots of folks searching for plasma TV also got information related to another 1080p plasma TV, Samsung TV plasma, and even HDTV plasma here with ease.

Spion 5 Mega Pixel Digital Binocular Camera – A Voyeurs Dream

Whether you enjoy bird watching or just spying on your neighbors, the Spion 5 mega pixel digital binocular camera is must have. After all what is the fun of spying on something or someone if you cannot take pictures to show your friends afterwards.

The Spion Digital Binocular Camera Package

The Spion binoculars come packaged in a very colorful and eye catching box. The boxes side also contains a fairly detailed spec sheet so buyers can get a little bit of info about what they are looking at.

Spion Digital Binocular Package

When I first opened up the box I was pleased to find the Spion digital binocular camera came with it’s very own soft carrying case. I also found an installation cd, USB cable, lens cloth, neck strap, instruction manual, and warranty card. The makers of the Spion 5MP digital binocular camera seemed to throw in everything but an SD card and a tripod.

Closer Look At The Spion 5 MP Digital Binocular Camera

There is no doubt that the Spion digital binocular camera look sleek and stylish. But what really makes it tick? So without further delay I will get down and dirty for you and breakdown all of the Spion’s technical specs.

Lets begin with the most basic and biggest part of the Spion binoculars first. Of course I am talking about the binoculars themselves. They are your basic 8×32mm adjustable binoculars. Not really nothing to fancy. Just a nice easy and comfortable to hold pair of binoculars.

There sure was not to much to say about that part of the product now was there. But now with that out of the way we can get onto the fun stuff and take a look at the camera portion of the Spion 5MP digital binocular camera.

I would like to start this off by saying that the Spion uses a very basic 5 mega pixel digital camera with a 4x zoom. This has to be my biggest gripe about the Spion digital binocular camera. While looking through the binoculars themselves you can see up to 8x, but your picture will never get closer than 4x. Simply put your picture may not be as close as what you are viewing through the binoculars.

The digital camera portion of the Spion is powered by four AAA batteries. However standard alkaline batteries will only allow you to take about 25 pictures at 5MP. So just like any other digital camera it is in your best interest to get some rechargeable batteries.

The Spion comes equipped with a 1.5” TFT LCD screen so you can view your pictures directly from the camera or even view what the binoculars are looking at. I myself find the 1.5” screens to small. But there is really no reason why you should even have to look at it since your eyes should be watching through the binoculars themselves. However you may find it hard to watch the LCD outdoors since it has no backlight. This can make figuring out what you are doing fairly difficult.

The Spion’s digital binocular cameras control’s are also very strait forward and easy to learn. Everything you will ever do with them will use only four simple buttons. The first button is the on / mode button. This button will turn on the camera with a simple push. Once the camera is on you can push it again to bring up the menu. When you want to turn it off simply hold the button for 3 seconds.

The next button is the take picture / set button. This button is all you need to push once you have found something to take a picture of. When you are in the menu this button will also select whatever you have chosen.

The next two buttons are the up and down buttons. These buttons will help you navigate through the Spion’s menu. They will also be the buttons you use to zoom in and out. I really don’t think the control’s could of got much easier than that.

Now you get to hear about another gripe I have about the Spion digital binocular camera. You just picked up your new Spion binoculars, so you rush home rip open the package, throw in some batteries and proceed to go outside and take a few pictures. But wait, your new Spion just will not do it. You need to go back and get yourself a darn SD memory card!

That is right the Spion is not manufactured with any internal memory. And you used to think that the measly 25 megs they included on your digital camera was bad. So now you have to go and buy an SD card (up to 1GB) just so you can use your Spion binocular camera.

But you will be pleased to know that once you have everything you need your Spion is capable of doing the following. You can take pictures at either 0.3MP, 2.1MP, 3.2MP, or 5.0MP. But that is not all. You can also record movies at either 320 x 240 @ 30fps or even 640 x 480 @ 12fps.

Once you have taken some great pictures or even made a small movie you will probably want to put it on your computer so you can share it with your friends. To do this the Spion digital binocular camera uses a standard USB 1.1 port. Simply attach your binoculars to your computer with the included USB cable and it should find a removable storage device. This is where you can find your pictures / movies.

One last basic feature that I do not want to leave out is the ability to attach a tripod to your Spion 5MP digital binocular camera. Tripods can be pretty handy with a digital camera but you could probably live without one. With the Spion though I can almost guarantee it will save you a lot of headaches. Cameras are a lot easier to hold still and usually you are not using the zoom. With the Spion binoculars you will be using the zoom almost 100% of the time.

Spion 5MP Digital Binocular Camera Specs

Resolution: 3.0MP interpolates to 5.0MP

Image Size: Still Image 0.3MP – 640×480, 2.1MP – 1600×1200, 3.2MP – 2048×1536, 5.0MP – 2560×1920
Movie LO – 320×240 @ 30fps, HI – 640×480 @ 12fps

Image Format: Still Image = JPEG Movie = AVI (no time limit)

Storage Media: SD / MMC Memory Card (Up To 1GB)

Zoom: 1x – 4x

Exposure: Automatic

White Balance: Automatic

Shutter Speed: 1/20~1/2000

Display: 1.5” TFT LCD Screen

Interface: USB 1.1

Power Supply: 4 AAA Alkaline Batteries

Language: Chinese, English, French, Germany, Japanese

Magnification: 8x

Objective Lens: 32mm

Eye Relief: 14mm
Exit Pupil: 3.9mm
Angular Field Of View: 6.3 degrees

A Few Sample Pics

1x zoom

4x zoom

Here are a few sample pics from the Spion digital binocular camera. Both pictures where taken looking in the exact same area (full dune buggy in view). Notice how the 4x zoom pic turned out a little off center.

Conclusion

So to sum everything up I would have to say that the Spion 5MP digital binocular camera is an all around fun gadget. It may not be the greatest digital binocular camera on the market but one thing is for sure. Whether you are looking to spy on wildlife or your neighbors wife the Spion 5MP digital camera binoculars are sure a great investment and offer some good bang for your hard earned buck.

Psd To Magento Slicing

If you are looking for a team that can assist you in PSD To Magento conversion project, then you should check out the offers found on PSDArea. We are specialized in making your website more appealing to the visitor and easy to use. We provide professional PSD To Magento Slicing conversion including PSD To Magento Slicing services to the companies looking to redefine their website and bring it in line with current W3C compliance.

The process of converting PSD To Magento is very easy when working with PSDArea, as well as very efficient. We address every aspect of the concerns you and your company have in fulfilling the task you have assigned us. We guarantee that the integrity of your work will be maintained 100 percent, and you will receive a pixel perfect final result.

We undertake all types of PSD To Magento conversion and provide comprehensive range of online integration in shortest possible time. We also provide a wide range of PSD To Magento conversion themes from which you can choose on an affordable price.

How to Create Cross Browser Pixel Perfect Layouts With CSS and a Reset

When people hear the words CSS, they often freak out especially if they come from a Table based background. But please, don’t be scared. It’s a nice world to be in once you get the hang of it. With the tips below, I hope to give you some baby steps in creating cross-browser friendly CSS tips so your websites look the same in any web browser.

Star-Selector Reset

To start off, we want to begin our CSS document with what is known as the star selector (*). Your code will be this simple:

* {margin: 0px; padding: 0px;}

What that does is tell the web browser to interpret ALL HTML elements (h1, p, UL, LI, etc…) to have NO padding and NO margins. It’s literally a global reset.

Now, in your css when you give an element a particular MARGIN or PADDING, every browser that reads it will adhere to those rules. By default, every browser has its own DEFAULT method of handling the margins and paddings, which throw your layouts off from browser to browser.

Using a second set of divs for padding

Another method I use to deal with margin/padding issues across browsers is when there are 2 containers floated side by side, and you give padding to them. Internet Explorer will treat this differently then say Firefox. The key is to embed an extra pair of DIV’s inside the main containers, and apply the padding to those internal divs. Case in point: In the code sample below, 200px width will actually become 220px because of the 10px side padding.
Instead, you want the width to stay 200px, and the padding to apply inside. The solution is one extra DIV pair with the 10px padding applied like such:

I posted sample code on the Pastie Code website: pastebin.com/pgi2c4yb

So between the * selector reset and applying your box padding to an internal set of div’s, your cross-browser attempts will be much more successful.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4194233

Hand-Coding Vs Automated Coding for Pixel Perfect PSD to HTML Conversion

There is always being a confusion between hand-coding or automated coding in context of pixel perfect PSD to HTML conversion when it comes to select which one is better – human or technology. Which is better option for converting PSD to HTML – automated coding or human coding? In the niche market of web development and web programming, both – manual coding and automated coding are preferred for converting PSD based files into HTML.

One can find myriad statements regarding hand-coding and automated coding based on different perspectives of people. Some web developers say that man has created technology to streamline some process and machines worth nothing without man. On the other hand, some people say that advanced technology is the necessity of the hour and human requires it to do most of the things.

Let’s begin comparison between hand-coding vs automated coding with software generated codes first. There are many online softwares available for converting PSD into HTML proclaiming for high-quality PSD conversion into the desired format. On the other side of the coin, hand-coding or manual coding is the most meticulous work that requires experienced and skilled HTML developer backed by solid knowledge of (X)HTML codes and web programming.

Quick Glance at a Hand-coding vs automated coding for Pixel Perfect PSD to HTML conversion:

Lack of accuracy: In the automated software coding, lack of accuracy and aesthetical value has been outlined in converting PSD format based files into strong HTML mark-up language. On the other hand, human coders generally ensure SEO semantic and cross browser compatible manual coding.

Time-saving: It is belived that PSD conversion through automated software coding is quite time-saving whereas hand-coding takes comparatively more time.

Cost-effective: The automated software PSD conversion is very cost-effective in comparison to professional hand-coding from restricted budget point of perspective. People with huge budget prefer manual coding by hiring dedicated web developer for highest level of quality.

High Risks: The hand-coding of PSD conversion through dedicated XHTML developer ascertain forclean, easy-to-read, table-less and error-less codes whereas majority of automated softwares failed to provide it.

From the above hard-boiled comparison, an individual can conclude that the stiff competition between man and machine for ‘superiority’ will never end. In this context, people with minimal knowledge of HTML/XHTML/CSS mark-ups prefer automatic coding to convert PSD format based file into HTML/XHTML contrary to that people looking for high-quality codes hire virtual assistance of dedicated web developer for hand-coding. It mainly depends on the business requirement, budget and expected quality standards on individualistic needs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5523176