How to Spend a Relaxing Day at the Beach by Yourself

A day at the beach with the whole family is fun, but a day at the beach by yourself is an entirely different experience.

Do some research online and find a quiet, secluded beach that is appealing to you. The best beaches to visit when you are searching for a little peace and quiet are the more natural ones without an overabundance of hotels and residential homes. Believe it or not, beaches like this do still exist and they're not that hard to find. You may have to drive a long way to get there, but it will be worth the journey. Even beaches in close proximity to you may be less populated in the off-peak season and during the week. Take plenty of supplies with you so that you are comfortable. Pack a first aid kit in case you find yourself too far from civilization to acquire medical assistance.

Explore the beach and admire the awesome beauty of nature. Take lots of pictures with your disposable camera, but leave everything else untouched so that the next person to visit the beach can enjoy its natural beauty as well. If you were brave enough to bring an expensive camera, be very careful to protect it from sand and moisture. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are the best times to get dramatic beach photographs.

Find a secluded spot and spread your beach towel or bamboo mat. Enjoy the soft, peaceful sounds of the waves crashing and the birds chirping. Immerse yourself in that good book that you've wanted to read. Don't forget to apply sunscreen several times throughout the day. You can still be burned by the sun's ultraviolet rays on a cloudy, overcast day.

Do not swim in the ocean while you are alone. If you are pulled away from shore by a strong rip current, there will be no one to save you. Save swimming for your next visit to the crowded public beach with lifeguards. Never turn your back on the ocean!

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How to Get Through Airport Security Checkpoints Quickly

Seeing the airport security checkpoint is intimidating for those who don’t travel by air very often. Long lines and frustrated travelers make the checkpoint seem like an unfriendly place. Security screenings don’t have to be an overwhelming experience if you are prepared.

Visit the website for the airport where your flight will depart. They should have a list of regulations for passengers. These rules are subject to change, so don't assume if you've flown before that you know what to do and what not to do.

Dress appropriately. Don't wear shirts with offensive messages or outfits that are too revealing. Think comfort and simplicity. Check all of your pockets before leaving for the trip and remove all metal objects and anything that could be considered dangerous or questionable. Sandals or flip flops are great footwear for flights because they can be slipped on and off quickly and easily. Carry a backpack or duffle bag and put your loose change, keys, mobile phone, and anything metal in your bag. This will be your carry-on bag. Make sure there is nothing dangerous in the bag. Pack all liquids, toiletries, razors, etc. in the luggage that you check at the counter when you receive your boarding pass. You don't need any of those things on the plane, so why let them slow you down? If you require medication during the flight, have all of the necessary information about the medicine with you and be sure the name on the bottle is your own.

Arrive at the airport least an hour and a half before your flight boards. Be serious when passing through the security check point and pay attention to everything going on around you. There will be plenty of time for jokes and horseplay once you get to the gate. Watch the security agents for cues, respond when they talk to you, and follow all directions. If they select you for additional screening, don't get angry or ask why. It's a random procedure that is enforced in order to keep us all safe and it usually only takes an extra few minutes at most. Be polite to everyone around you and speak in a normal voice.

Have your boarding pass and ID in your hand because it will be reviewed by several security agents as you advance through the check point. Remove your sandals or flips flops and put them in a plastic bin. Place your backpack or duffle bag in a separate plastic bin. If you have a laptop computer, remove it from its carrying case and place it in a plastic bin. All of these items should be placed on the moving belt. Be sure to remove your belt if the buckle activates the metal detectors.

If you are selected for extra screening or if someone traveling with you is, then watch each other's belongings as you wait. Following these simple tips will make passing airport security check points faster and easier and it will increase the chances of you making your flight if you're in a hurry.

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How to Host a Successful Baby Shower

A close friend or family member is having a baby and you want to host a memorable baby shower for them, but you’re low on ideas. Here are some ideas to help you plan for the special day.

Decide who will be involved in hosting the shower. Organize a group of people and decide who will be in charge of keeping the shower planning on-track. The main host of the shower should be a friend and not a family member, as etiquette dictates, but family may certainly be actively involved in the entire process. Good communication is essential to success. The "lead planner" should coordinate with the expectant parents and determine the best date for the shower. Most people throw baby showers in close proximity to the due date of the baby, but don't wait too long as some babies do come early. At least one month before the due date should be fine as it allows time for the parents to evaluate the gifts they receive and determine which ones to keep and what they will still need to buy for the baby.

Keep all receipts for the money that everyone involved in hosting the party spends on the shower so that all expenses can be equally divided. Choose the cutest invitations you can find and try to decide on an overall theme for the shower. Knowing the sex of the baby in advance is helpful, but not required. Buy a bouquet of balloons and enough separate balloons to tie in strategic locations throughout the shower. Be sure to have enough balloons to tie a few to the mailbox in front of the house where the shower will be held. Request a guest list with mailing addresses from the expectant parents and mail the invitations no later than six weeks before the event. Include an RSVP as it will help you to plan the necessary food and refreshments more carefully.

Arrange several activities for the shower and have a few back-ups just in case the shower lasts longer than expected. Some fun games to play are baby trivia, unscrambling words that refer to baby terms, writing cute messages on diapers for the baby, and creating custom outfits for the baby using white onesies and fabric paint. If the shower includes both men and women, have two baby dolls and some props, like diapers, clothes, bottles, etc. and make the men try to care for the baby while the women shout instructions to them. Simulate all of the distractions that would normally happen during the day, like preparing a meal, a phone ringing, or a visitor at the door. This is almost always amusing.

Set up for the shower early in the day to allow time for someone to go pick up anything that was overlooked. The day of the shower should be fun and completely stress-free for the hosts, the expectant parents, and the guests. While the expectant parents are opening gifts, have someone write the names of the gifts as well as the gift givers on a sheet of paper. This will be a great help to the couple when it's time to write thank you notes. After the shower, each host should total the amounts that they spent and report them to the lead planner. They can determine who owes money and who gets a refund.

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How to Choose a Great Date Movie

Dating is fun and easy, but sometimes we all need a little help planning the details. How about going to see a good movie? But which movies are the best date movies?

Research the types of movies will appeal to your date. Whether you are a girl or a guy, you should be able to tell which subjects would be of interest your companion. If you're not sure, ask them. You don't want to buy tickets to see a horror movie and then find out that they are terrified by them and have a horrible time.

Don't take your date to see a romantic movie, whether it's funny or not, if this is a first date and you're unsure whether you will want to have subsequent dates. That may give them the wrong idea. Action movies or comedies are usually pretty safe. There's nothing wrong with going as a group to see a movie. If nobody is available to go with you and you want to be sure there are plenty of people around, choose the most popular movie that you can, go see it on a weekend night, and be sure to be a few minutes late. Usually the back row of the theater is taken by the time the movie previews begin and you will be forced to sit closer to the front.

If you want to have a romantic and exciting movie date, choose a film that is not very popular and one that has been in the theaters for several weeks. Plan your date night during the week, choose the latest show time, and get to the theater early. This will almost guarantee you seats in the coveted back row of the theater. If the movie is unpopular enough, you may discover that you are the only ones in the theater. Have fun, but stay alert and watch out for the ushers who often check the theater at some point during the movie. They usually carry flashlights.

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How to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Visitors

Your home is your comfort zone; a place where you can unwind at the end of a long day, but is your home ready to accept overnight visitors? Follow these easy steps and be prepared for them.

Perform a thorough cleaning of the entire house. Vacuum every inch of carpet and rugs and sweep and mop all the other floor coverings. Use disinfectant to clean all counter tops and bathrooms. Change the air filter in the hallway return. Make sure each room of the house is as clean as it can possibly be. Adjust the thermostat temperature to the most comfortable setting for the current season. If you have pets, find out whether your guest has any pet allergies so that you'll know whether or not to keep them separated.

Wash and fold your best towels and leave enough stacked in the bathroom for each day that your visitor will be there. Prepare a basket with soap, shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, and shaving supplies, in case they forget a few things. Buy plenty of snacks and drinks and have them chilled well in advance. Rent a few movies as back-up entertainment and leave them near the television. If your visitor has given you any special gifts in the past, find them, dust them off, and leave them out on display to show how much you appreciate the gift.

Create a guest account on your computer and be sure to leave the computer logged into that account so that your visitor may check their email and use the Internet without having access to your personal files and information. It is a good idea to create a restore point on computers running Windows operating system and back up any important files to external storage devices. Lock all filing cabinets and search the house for documents like bank statements or personal mail and put all of it away. Now is a good time to shred any old documents that you no longer need.

When your guest arrives, give them a short tour of the house and show them to their room. Keep the house quiet and give them plenty of time to unpack and relax. Offer them refreshments and tell them where to find you when they are ready. If you will be eating out, prepare a list of restaurants in advance and allow your guest to choose their favorite type of food. Enjoy your time together without worrying about the condition of your home and without the stress of making last-minute decisions.

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How to Start a Blog for Your Baby

As a new parent, it’s not always easy to find time to record a baby’s early life in their baby book. Create a blog for your baby to help you to complete the missing information in their baby book later and give them an interactive window into their early childhood as an adult.

Choose a blogging website and sign up for a free membership. There are many blogs to choose from. Find a blog that is easy to use and one with enough features to suite your tastes. Consider making the blog private and only sharing it with your spouse. Keep the whole project a secret from your child until they are much older. It will be a sweet and unexpected surprise for your son or daughter to receive access to so much information about their childhood. Verify that you are able to download backups of the blog to your computer and do so frequently.

Take lots of digital photographs of your baby. A mobile phone with a built-in camera is extremely handy for this. Remember that pictures taken with a camera phone will typically be low resolution and perfect for displaying on the blog, but will not make good printed photographs. If you wish to print many of the pictures that you take of your baby, buy a decent digital camera and keep it close by at all times. If you take mostly high resolution photos of your baby, use a photo editing program to make lower resolution copies to post to the blog because they will take up far less space and load faster in your web browser.

Post interesting and detailed blog entries every day. Write as though you are speaking to your child directly. Don't write, "Ate applesauce for the first time today." Make the post interesting and discuss things that were happening, not just with your child, but also with family members and friends whom they will be able to relate to later in life. Don't share any negative or personal feelings about anyone and don't talk about your problems or worries. Keep the experience positive and upbeat. You can also add brief clips of current events, but remember not to just link to other web sites. Most websites change constantly, so you'll want to make snapshots of pages or find files that you can save on the blog or link to. PDF files are a great format to use for capturing pictures and text in a single document because they display the same way, no matter which browser you use to view the file.

Upload short, compressed video files or sound clips to the blog. This will require additional equipment, like a digital video camera and the appropriate editing software, but the results are well-worth the investment. Your child will one day have the ability to watch their first steps or hear their first words by simply logging into the blog, which will be far more interactive than their baby book could ever be.

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How to Build a Kid Friendly Computer

Do you worry about your children using your computer? What trouble can they get into on the Internet? What harm could they do to your important data? Why not build them a computer of their own?

Build your children a computer using some inexpensive parts that you buy online or recycle an older computer. The child's computer doesn't have to be very powerful or loaded with memory. Just build something functional that they can call their own. If the hard drive is used, format it in order to wipe it completely clean. Install an operating system that you are familiar with. For this example, we will use Windows XP. Once the operating system is installed, remove all applications that your child doesn't need. This should free up quite a bit of space and remove a lot of distracting icons. Install some fun children's learning games and create shortcuts for them on the desktop.

Customize the computer to match your child's tastes. Apply cool stickers to the computer case or even paint it a wild color. Adjust the screen resolution so that the text and icons are larger and easy to see. Change the background on the desktop to a colorful splash with some familiar cartoon characters that your children will recognize. Once you have everything set the way you like it, create a store point using System Restore. This is found by clicking the "START" button and going to All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore. Chose the option for creating a restore point and name the restore point description something easy to identify, like the current date. Now, if your child changes a critical setting by accident, you can restore the computer to perfect working order.

Take control of your child's online experience. Buy a router and configure it with policies that restrict the times that they can access the Internet. For even more control, purchase Internet monitoring software that will block websites based on your criteria. Use Windows Remote Assistance software or one of many available remote access programs to monitor your children's activities if they are located in another room or if their monitor isn't visible to you. You can also configure your router to save a log file of the pages they visit that they cannot delete unless they have access to the router.

Password-protect your own computer and leave it logged off when you are away from it to encourage your children to use their own computer. Check the permissions on your computer and turn off sharing to the root of your hard drive. You will not have to worry about them accidentally deleting your files or infecting your computer with any malicious viruses. Let them have all the fun they want with their computer and if they mess it up, just reformat it and start all over.

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How to Shop for Less Money at the Grocery Store

Don’t pay more money than you should for food and necessary household products when you shop at the grocery store. Use these helpful tips to save some money.

Prepare for your trip to the grocery store by evaluating exactly which foods and household products you need to buy well in advance of visiting the grocery store. Carefully planning the meals that you will prepare for your family is a very important first step to saving money. Make a detailed list of all required items, but do not list them by popular brand names. Use phrases like "laundry detergent, steel wool pads, and toilet paper." It is convenient to pick up brand name items at the store when you see them on your list and then look up and identify that same name on the shelf. This is known as brand recognition and it does not happen by accident. Only choose brand names if you are able to find a discount coupon for the product that makes the price comparable to generic or store-branded items. This also applies to recipes. Just because a recipe calls for a certain type of ingredient, there is most likely a cheaper alternative that will produce the same taste and the same results.

Do not go to the store on an empty stomach. If you shop while you are hungry, you will be tempted to buy unnecessary food items that you would not ordinarily want. Visit the store in the evening after you've eaten supper and after the crowds have dispersed. Anxiety over being surrounded by too many other shoppers or knowing that you have to hurry home to prepare a meal will impair your ability to choose the best items for your money. You need plenty of time to stand still and calculate price versus quantity of each item before you commit to placing it in your cart. If you have trouble performing mathematical calculations in your head, be sure to take a small calculator with you. When you place the item in your cart, check the item off your list, but also write down the current price. This information will be useful for your next visit to the store.

Choose the store where you will shop carefully. Don't shop somewhere just because it is convenient to do so or because you know other people who shop there. Compare prices on as many items as you can and look for weekly specials. If you have a membership to a store that sells items in bulk, evaluate whether the savings that you get from buying the larger quantity makes it worth buying that much. If you know other people who use the same items, offer to split bulk items into smaller parts and each person chips in their portion of the price.

Shop alone if possible. Having children or other people with you is distracting. When shopping with friends, they often want to tell you which products are best and they will encourage you to buy things that you would usually avoid. The exception to this is if you associate with individuals who shop aggressively for bargains. These people are your allies. Watch them closely and learn from their habits.

Sign up for one of the store's "preferred shopper" cards. These cards allow you access to discounts that are not available otherwise. Most stores will post specials for card holders on each aisle beside the products. If you do not have your card, many stores can search for your member number by referencing other information, like your telephone number. If they cannot, ask the person in line behind you if they mind you using their card. Most decent people have no problem with this.

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How to Enhance Your Freelance Articles Using Google Documents

As a freelance author writing articles for eHow, it is important to constantly improve your writing skills with each new project so that your work stays fresh and relevant. Use Google Documents as a tool to help you enhance your articles in several important ways.

Sign up for a Google account if you do not already have one. Google offers a valuable collection of free products that may be used to enhance your experience on the Internet in several crucial ways. One tool specifically, Google Documents, is a handy resource for eHow article writers. Create an account with Google Documents. Once your account has been set up, you may access Google Documents by visiting the main Google website and signing in. To the upper left of the Google logo, you will see several links and the word "more" with an arrow pointing down. Click "more" and then select "Documents" to access your Google Documents account.

Create a new document with the title, "Article Ideas" or something similar. As you think of new ideas for articles, type the proposed title into that document, one title per line, and save it. When you have time to write the article in its entirety, you can use the list that you compiled to remind yourself about your earlier ideas. When the article is published, remove the title from the list. Spend some time brainstorming ideas for a rainy day when you may have more time to write than you do creative topics. Set a goal to have at least one hundred article ideas on that list.

Create a second document with the title, "Article Categories." This document will contain the title and URL of each article that you write for eHow. Copy and paste the article title first, and then on the next line, paste the URL. Leave a blank line between articles so that they may be easily distinguished from one another. Once you have all of the titles and links entered into the document, arrange them into categories and type the category title in bold above each section. Some examples are "Family, Automotive. Financial, Technology, etc." This list will be valuable when it's time to add resources to your articles. If you write a new article about an automotive topic, paste that title and URL at the end of the existing titles for that category and then choose at least three relevant titles and links to add to the "Resources" section of your article. If you use a web browser like Google Chrome which utilizes tabs, it is very easy to switch back and forth between your Google Documents account and the eHow website.

Maintain copies of all of your articles by pasting them individually into Google Documents. This will provide you peace-of-mind in knowing that you have a backup copy of each article stored safely online where you can access it at any time. Create a folder in Google Documents called "My Articles" and move them into it. You could also create sub folders based on the articles categories. By grouping your articles into categories, you can see which topics you write about most frequently. This will help you to determine your strengths and also show you areas where you may want to produce more content in order to achieve maximum exposure. Only do this, however, if you're knowledgeable in those areas and you have something important to share.

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How to Make Your Wife's First Mother's Day Special

Mother’s Day is a special day in which we remember the important women in our lives who have earned the distinct honor of motherhood. The most cherished celebration of Mother’s Day is the first one for a new mom. Here’s how you can make it memorable.

Celebrate every Mother's Day by doing special things for your mother and your grandmother. When your wife becomes a mother too, it is crucial that you don't overlook the importance of recognizing her on this special day. She will remember her first Mother's Day for the rest of her life. The goal for a caring husband is to make the day special so that she will remember it fondly. Start planning Mother's Day for your wife months in advance to allow you enough time and savings to make it extra special.

Begin Mother's Day by allowing your wife to sleep-in. Attend to the baby's every need without asking your wife for help and keep the house quiet so that she can rest. Fix a nice breakfast including her favorite foods, like omelets, pancakes, or crepes. Serve her breakfast in bed and give her some pretty flowers, but don't go overboard. Arrange a few bright and colorful fresh-cut flowers in a pretty vase. When she is finished with breakfast, give her a long foot massage followed by a soothing body massage. If the baby is still sleeping, you could also use this time for a little intimacy and maybe share a warm shower together.

Plan an event-filled day and include activities like a trip to the park and a picnic. Be sure to take your baby along so that you all get to spend time together. As the strong and loving husband that you are, you should take over the responsibility of feeding the baby, changing all diapers, and carrying as many baby supplies as you can on your own. While you want your wife to enjoy the company of your child, you also want this day to be very stress-free for her. Take lots of pictures to include in your photo albums.

Enlist the services of a babysitter, preferably a trusted family member, and take your wife out for an elegant dinner and some entertainment. Try to plan something that you don't normally do. Take her to a nice restaurant that you've never tried. After dinner, go see a play or take a romantic night cruise. Explore whatever couples-friendly activities are available in your area. End the evening with a romantic stroll through a safe and well-lit area. When you find an especially beautiful spot, pull the piece of paper with the special poem from your pocket and read it to your wife. Share a sweet and passionate kiss with her. If all of these things are done with love and sincerity, she will remember them in perfect detail for the rest of her days. If your babysitter is willing to keep your baby all night, surprise your wife even further by reserving a nice hotel room with a Jacuzzi tub. Find the coziest bar that you can in your area and take her there to enjoy a few of her favorite drinks before retiring to the hotel for the night.

At the end of the evening, when you're both snug and comfortable in the room and your wife is expressing how wonderful a time she's had; provide her with one last sweet surprise. Give your wife her actual Mother's Day present. An ideal gift for a first Mother's Day is one that represents her, you, and your baby in a keepsake that she can hold onto forever. A picture of the three of you in a nice frame is one idea. If you are resourceful enough to have made something with your baby's hand or foot prints on it, this is a good occasion to give it to her. When it comes to the gift, it's not the dollar amount that's important, it's the thought. The dollars all go towards the events leading up to this moment.

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How to Snoop-proof Your Computer

Do you worry about people snooping around on your computer or trying to use software or underhanded tricks to spy on you? Be proactive. Learn what signs to look for and how to protect your private information.

One of the most obvious ways that people spy on unsuspecting computer users is to access their computer while they're not around. Improve your security by setting a BIOS password, also known as a "power-on password. To set a BIOS password, you must access the BIOS during start up. If your computer is set to display messages during start-up, it will briefly display the correct key to press in order to access the BIOS. If this message does not appear, try repeatedly pressing the "Esc" key or the "F1" key during the boot sequence. Once you have accessed the BIOS, follow the onscreen menu to set the password. Write down the password or use something very easy to remember because it is difficult to reset this password if you forget it. BIOS passwords are not a 100% fool-proof method for keeping out snoops. Someone who knows what they are doing can bypass a BIOS password if they have enough time to remove the case and gain access to the motherboard. If this happens, you would know it the next time you used the computer because it would no longer require the password or your password would no longer work if they changed it.

Give would-be snoopers one more obstacle by setting an operating system password for every user account that accesses the computer, especially the administrator account. The administrator account is often overlooked and left unprotected by Windows users as it is hidden by default. None of these passwords are effective if the computer is left logged-on all the time. Log off the computer when it is not in use and power it down while you're away.

Other tools that snoops use against you are various spyware programs with capabilities that include, capturing images of your screen, recording your keystrokes (key loggers), tracking your internet browsing history, intercepting email and instant messages or even recording through the computer's attached web cam and microphone. It's difficult enough to prevent intrusion on your computer by unknown attackers accessing your computer through the Internet. It's even more devastating when you are blindsided by friends, family, or guests in your home who snoop into your privacy.

To combat this, begin by uninstalling any programs that you do not regularly use. If possible, do a complete reformat of the hard drive and reinstall only the operating system and the programs you use the most. For Windows users, identify all of the programs that are required to operate the computer using the Windows Task Manager, which may be found by pressing the "CTL", "ALT", and "Delete" buttons quickly in sync. Write down a list of all of the entries under the "Applications" tab and then do the same for the "Processes" tab. Update this list each time you install something new. Grant your primary user account administrative rights to the computer and disable the ability to install programs from all other accounts. Each time you use the computer to access personal information, check your list against the Windows Task Manager and if you find any suspicious entries, identify them by searching for their exact name on Google.

Periodically check the connection from your keyboard to your computer to verify that no add-on devices have been installed without your knowledge. There are hardware devices that function just like software key loggers, which are capable of recording your keystrokes. They may be installed by disconnecting the keyboard and then connecting it through the device into the computer. They are small and almost undetectable unless you are looking for them. Also look for any unidentified USB devices that may be connected to the computer, most likely in the back. A USB wireless access point could be left attached and allow someone to compromise the computer at their leisure without having physical access to it.

If you use a wireless network, log into the router and be sure the wireless connection is secured. Try accessing the network from an unauthorized device and see if you are able to get in. Keep up-to-date antivirus and internet security software running on the computer to thwart malicious attacks from viruses, Trojans, and other forms of malware. If you are still not satisfied with these measures of security, purchase an external or removable hard drive and take it with you wherever you go. Store your private information on this drive and not on the shared computer.

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How to Write Articles while on Vacation

Just because you go on vacation, you don't have to forfeit valuable writing time. Prepare wisely so that you will always have the appropriate writing tools available when inspiration sets in.

Make the most of your tiem away from work. Vacation is a time for relaxation and for doing as little as possible. When your mind is at rest and free from distractions, you can put it to good use by thinking of ideas to write about. How often do you find yourself thinking of great article topics, but you are unprepared and have no viable means to develop them into complete articles? Prepare yourself to write while on vacation or simply away from home by taking along equipment that will allow you to record your thoughts in a format that is easy to convert and upload to your preferred content resource web site.

Buy a laptop or netbook PC. Lower priced laptops and netbooks have made mobile computing accessible to a larger segment of the population. Many professionals need a full-featured laptop in order to conduct business while away from the office, but writers who simply want to record their thoughts at a moment's notice, should consider a lower cost netbook. The netbook fills the need for mobile word processing without imposing a huge expense. If you are fortunate enough to have a laptop or a netbook, you should have no trouble creating quality content on-the-go. Wireless Internet access makes online publishing convenient because you don't have to wait until you get home to make your work available to the world.

Don't leave home without a means to record your thoughts. If a laptop or netbook is out of your price range, consider purchasing a lightly used PDA, like a Palm Pilot or an HP iPAQ mobile computer from an online auction. Portable keyboards are available which are compatible with PDA's. It is even possible to type entire articles using a stylus and on-screen keyboard. That's precisely how this article was written. While it is a labor of love and quite tedious, it will be easier to transfer at a later time than a hand-written document.

Use whatever means you have at your disposal to record your ideas. When no digital solution is available, you may find yourself using an old-fashioned method: pencil or pen and paper. If you think ahead, you can make even this format easier to transfer to the web. Hand-write the article using only printed letters, not cursive and try to write as clearly as possible. If you scan this page later using a scanner with OCR (object character recognition), then you may be able to convert it to a digital document with only minor corrections, thus saving you a lot of time and typing.

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How to Talk to Your Husband about Problems without Fighting

It seems so cliché to say that men and women do not think alike, but many couples would benefit from acknowledging these differences. Knowing what to say and how to say it can mean the difference in an amicable resolution and a terrible fight.

Actively listen to your spouse. It is important for a husband to comprehend, not only his wife's most pressing concerns, but to dig deeper and find out how these problems affect her emotionally. Men tend to approach solving problems in the same way that they tackle challenges at work; identify the problem, brainstorm solutions, and fix it. This works very well for handling many of life's challenges, but certainly not all of them. A woman expects her man to automatically adapt to each problem, consider how it affects her on a personal level, and handle it carefully and appropriately. A man would rather solve a problem quickly, get it behind him, and move on to happier things. This is where things get a little tricky.

Be flexible. In order to communicate effectively, both men and women have to compromise to some extent. Husbands need to spend more time learning what makes their wife tick and be able to identify which things are most important to her so that he can carefully match them with any corresponding problems as they arise. Women need to be patient and realize that not every problem will receive a perfect and timely solution. Sometimes, it's acceptable to leave a few things broken in order to address larger problems.

Be respectful of each other. Both a husband and a wife need to use appropriate dialog when speaking to each other. For example, "Would you mind cleaning up the living room?" is perfectly acceptable. "You never pick up anything in here! Look at this mess! I always have to do everything and all you do is walk in and throw your junk on the floor and leave it for me to clean up!" is a little harsh. While both phrases will probably get the job done, the latter will lead to aggravation and probably an exchange of vicious words. Don't speak in generalities. Just because your husband overlooks something, don't berate him and tell him that he doesn't care. Avoid using the words "always" and "never." Do they really apply? Speak in a thoughtful manner and if you are addressing a specific concern with your husband, make the conversation about that and don't jump around and try to include everything that he's ever done to irritate you. This will confuse and aggravate him every time because he won't know for certain which problem is bothering you the most. Rather than try to fix everything at one time, it is easier for him to retreat.

Don't let the sun go down on your problems. Make the start of each day a good one. If something is bothering you in the evening, don't go to bed angry. At least try to resolve it before you sleep and if you can't, then declare a truce and resume the argument later. Don't leave the house in a fit of rage. Many people get into fights and one person jumps in the car and screeches off. It is not safe to drive when you are in a heightened emotional state. If you need a break from each other, go to separate ends of the house or go outside and get some fresh air, but don't drive away. Don't use cheap insults when speaking to each other and try not to say things you don't mean just to hurt each other's feelings. When the smoke clears and you settle down, things like that tend to leave uncertainty and weird vibes between people.

Speak to each other the way that you would like to be spoken to. Don't be condescending or mean. If you find that it is impossible to have civilized conversations with your spouse, you should seriously question whether your relationship is meant to last. If you are at this point, seek professional help from a licensed family counselor.

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How to Teach Others Good Social Behavior

Don’t be discouraged when you encounter people who aren’t courteous to you. Teach them the right way to act by setting an example of good social behavior. You may just be the person who changes their life for the better.

Do your best to be a good person all day; every day. Be the kind of person that you wish everyone else was. It's hypocritical to complain about the way that other people behave if you act the same way. Start by wearing a smile instead of a frown. Even a smirk will do. It's contagious. Be friendly and complimentary of people. Say kind things whether they are deserved or not. Be the first person to speak when you encounter someone new, whether it's a salesperson or a random stranger that you pass in the grocery store. People are affected by compliments, whether they acknowledge it outwardly or not. A kind and gentle word from you can make a world of difference to someone who is having an otherwise bad day. Do the same thing for your family and friends. Pick something about that person; their appearance or something good about their character, and give them a little praise or just tell them how much you appreciate them.

Stay aware of your surroundings. Each time you walk through a doorway look ahead and then behind you and hold the door for the next person. Let people with fewer items ahead of you while waiting in a check-out line. Always watch where you are going so that you don't bump into people and be sure to look behind you when you're walking backwards. If you are pushing a shopping cart around a store, park it in strategic ways so that it will not block other people who wish to pass. If someone near you drops something, pick it up and give it back to them. Offer to help children, the elderly, or those with limited abilities to reach something on a high shelf or to carry something that is too heavy for them to handle.

Drive like every car around you is transporting someone you care about. Don't cut people off or give nasty hand gestures. Give people, especially motorcycles plenty of room by allowing a safe following distance. When you stop in a line of traffic, be sure not to block entrances and exits. Leave enough space for people to pass. Drive slow and safe through parking lots and if you see people about to cross in front of you, allow a few extra seconds for them to cross safely. Don't try to speed up and get by before they step in front of you. When parking your car, check before you walk away from it to see if you are parked correctly. Use your horn only in the worst scenarios. If people around you do stupid things, take a deep breath and forgive them rather than acting out on your anger to make sure they get your point.

Don't talk louder then you need to in restaurants or stores. Do not use foul language in public unless you are seriously injured and then it's forgivable in small doses. Do not talk on your mobile phone while performing a business transaction. This includes sales counters and drive thru's. If your phone rings during a transaction, silence it, wait until you're done and then return the call. If you are a smoker, be courteous of other people and choose the places you smoke carefully. I realized soon after I quit smoking just how bad second hand smoke imposes on non-smokers. Don't leave messes for other people to clean up. This includes restaurants, restrooms, stores, and other people's homes.

Set a good example by following these simple suggestions and you could influence more people than you'll ever realize. People may even imitate some of your good habits unintentionally. Even the most minor improvements are a step in the right direction. Learning to truly forgive is the best thing you can do to help you stay on the right track.

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How to Detect Boats in a Log Flume Ride

It’s time for yearly maintenance and you need a reliable solution to replace the sensors in your log flume attraction. Try industrial infrared photoelectric sensors to keep your log flume running trouble-free year round.

Purchase an industrial infrared photoelectric system. Check the ratings on the photo eyes and be sure they have an IP67 rating or better. Also check their range to be sure it is more than adequate to cover the entire distance across the river. If the photo eyes need to operate underwater, choose the most powerful combination of transmitter and receiver available.

Mount the photo eyes in a through-beam configuration for the best performance. Do not rely on reflectors because they will cause problems as they get dirty. If the photo eyes will spend any length of time underwater, it is a good idea to purchase the hard-wired cable version instead of a quick-disconnect type. If you do use quick-disconnect sensors, be sure to squirt dielectric grease into the connectors before attaching them together. This will help keep the connections dry and the pins free from corrosion.

Ask the manufacturer or distributor of photoelectric sensors for a demo set to test in your ride application before you buy. Try several sets from different companies side-by-side to determine which ones work the best. Follow a strict maintenance schedule and replace the photo eyes at least once a year. Your visitors will appreciate the extended ride uptime that quality sensors provide.

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How to Operate an Automatic Door Using Infrared Photoelectric Sensors

An automatic door is not complete without infrared photoelectric sensors to control it. Photo eyes provide a non-contact method to detect people or objects passing through the door and may be used in conjunction with a controller to open the door.

Choose a quality set of industrial infrared photoelectric sensors. It is imperative that sensors are used on an automatic door, not just to open the door, but to prevent the door from closing with a person or object underneath. Photoelectric sensors are ideal for this application because they do not require the door to make contact with the subject to detect their presence. Ultimately, the manufacturer should provide wiring diagrams and installation instructions to help interface sensors or other input devices with the door controller, but the following instructions should give you a general idea of how they should be used.

Mount the photoelectric sensors in a through-beam configuration. This will save you a lot of trouble later. Do not try to mount the photo eyes on one side and use a reflector on the other because you will find yourself constantly cleaning the reflector. Infrared photoelectric sensors provide a stronger and much more reliable beam when they are mounted across from each other. If the photoelectric system that you are using includes an external amplifier, compare the voltage ratings for the photoelectric system and the PLC. If they are a match, connect the output from the amplifier to the door's PLC input card.

Configure the photoelectric system to output all the time, but then take away that output when the photo eyes detect something. This is commonly listed by the manufacturer as a feature known as "Normally Closed", "Light Operate", or "Make Switching." Program the PLC to interpret an output from the photoelectric system as a "false" condition and the absence of that output as a "true" condition. When the PLC reads a "true" condition, it should open the door, and when the condition returns to "false" it should close the door. This does two things, it opens the door when an object is detected and also if the photoelectric system experiences a fault or loss of power.

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How to Plan a Vacation to North Carolina

North Carolina is a beautiful state and there’s nowhere I’d rather live. For those who wish to visit, here are some favorite vacation ideas straight from a North Carolinian.

Decide what time of year you would like to plan a vacation to North Carolina. Different regions have different things to offer depending upon the season. The Appalachian Mountains provide breathtaking scenery year round, but the best time to go is in the fall just as the leaves begin to change colors. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway will remind you just how colorful and amazing nature can be. Plan a visit to the Biltmore House in Asheville and you'll be amazed at the shear magnitude of the home and the magnificence of the property. Drive over to Boone, NC and enjoy some down-home cooking at the Dan'l Boone Inn. You won't leave hungry. There are tons of shops and activities that you can fill an entire day exploring. Tell the folks at the Mast General Store, I said "hello" too. If gambling is in your blood, there's a Harrah's Casino nearby in Cherokee, NC where you can try your luck. Don't leave this area without experiencing the outdoor drama "Unto These Hills."

Visit North Carolina's beautiful coast. For beach lovers who enjoy walking with their feet in the ocean or witnessing a picturesque sunset on a clean and well-preserved beach, I suggest a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There are plenty of rental homes all along the coast, so lodging should not be a problem. While you're there, pay a visit to the Wright Brothers' Museum and learn some important aviation history that happened right here in NC. Then make the drive down to the Cape Hatteras Light House and see another one of our state symbols up close. While visiting the Outer Banks, learn as much as you can about the rich history of pirates and their dark tales of treachery along North Carolina's coast. One of the most famous is none other than Edward Teach, commonly known as "Blackbeard" by all you scurvy dogs.

Experience some local cuisine. The best barbecue in the entire world can be found in Gaston County, NC. My favorite barbecue restaurant is Kyle Fletcher's, but there are many others like RO's, Black's, and Carolina Country BBQ that offer tasty pork or beef plates with a variety of sauces. Gaston County also has a fine selection of fish camps, which for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is a restaurant that offers almost any seafood that you can imagine deep-fried with a side of hush puppies and slaw. While you're in the area, make the short drive to Charlotte and watch a Bobcats Basketball game or a Carolina Panthers football game. The city of Charlotte, NC may seem small compared to other major cities, but they pack a lot to see and do into a small package. If you're a NASCAR fan, head over the Speedway in Concord, NC and cheer for your favorite driver.

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How to Detect Visitors in a Driveway Using Infrared Photoelectric Sensors

Sometimes you just need an extra minute to prepare for a guest’s arrival. When the doorbell rings, it’s often too late. Why not install a system that will alert you to the presence of a guest before they ever make it to your door?

Choose a quality set of industrial photoelectric sensors. Infrared photoelectric sensors may be used to detect objects in a number of ways. Mounting the sender and the receiver across from each other is known as a through-beam configuration and provides the strongest beam. Retro-reflective mounting places the sender and the receiver on the same side and bounces the infrared beam off an object when it is in close enough proximity. Diffuse proximity mounting uses the same layout as retro reflective, but also uses a reflector on the side opposite the photo eyes. Any of these three configurations may be used to set up a driveway monitoring system depending on what type of structures are adjacent to the driveway.

Evaluate the best location to mount the sensors. This may be a mailbox, a fence post, a brick building, a bridge, or whatever standing structure happens to be within range of the driveway. If you mount the photoelectric sensors in a through-beam configuration they do not need to be very close to the driveway, whereas the other two options will need to be much closer, depending on the type of photoelectric sensors used, like ten to fifteen feet

Trace a route back to your home for burying the sensor wires, but don't put the wires in the ground yet. Instead, extend the wires back to the house above-the-ground and connect the photo eyes to the appropriate power source or to an external amplifier if the photoelectric system includes one. Connect the output of the sensors to a buzzer or bell with a noise that is distinctly different from the sound that your doorbell or telephone makes so that you can easily distinguish them. Many photoelectric amplifiers include a relay output, so connecting them to a buzzer should be as easy as connecting a mechanical switch. See the manufacturer's website for wiring diagrams.

Test the system using different types of cars and trucks and also people. Adjust the sensitivity of the photoelectric system to the optimum level and mount the photo eyes at the right height from the ground to hit the midsection of most vehicles. When everything is set correctly, bury the conduit containing the wires and do your best to conceal the photo eyes from view. This system will provide a reliable means for detecting guests before they are standing on your doorstep and could also be interfaced with a security camera or lights. The opportunities are unlimited.

Industrial photoelectric sensor supplier

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How to Find the Door Security Code for a Ford Explorer

If you’ve ever locked the keys inside a Ford Explorer XLT or Eddie Bauer, you know the benefit of having the door keypad to unlock it. What do you do if you’ve lost the code?  XLT and Eddie Bauer model Ford Explorers are equipped with a five-button key pad on the driver's side door that may be used to gain entry to the vehicle or to manually lock all of the doors from that side in the event that the owner misplaces their keys or locks them in the vehicle. This feature is great for those times when you'd otherwise be stranded outside the vehicle.

If you have forgotten the code, you do have the option to pay the dealer where you purchased the Explorer and they will provide the code, but the fee is significant. You can find the code hidden inside the Explorer, so why pay for it? The keypad is not helpful if your keys are locked inside and you don't know the code, but if you still have access to the interior of the vehicle, you should be able to locate the code and memorize it or write it down. You just have to know where to look.

Open the rear hatch of the Explorer. Inside the drivers' side of the storage area, there is an access panel where the jack is stored. Open this panel by twisting the knob and completely remove the panel. You may have to remove the jack from it's holder to see the code.

Using a flashlight, look inside the panel in the direction of the front of the vehicle. There is a label inside with the code typed on it. You may have to look at odd angles to see it or use a mirror to get a better look. Write down the code and then close and lock all the doors of the Explorer. Try entering the code to unlock the doors. Pressing the two buttons on the far right twice simultaneously should lock all the doors. This quick lock function is a universal feature no matter what code is assigned to unlock the doors. If for any reason the code does not work, consult the dealer. They may have to reprogram the keypad, which will also cost you.

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How to Maintain a Trailer

Operating and storing a trailer in various weather conditions will eventually lead to wear and tear that can make operating it dangerous. Perform these routine maintenance steps to keep your trailer at its optimal performance level.

Do a walk around inspection of your trailer each time you hitch it to a vehicle. Check for visible damage to the walls, floor, tail lights, tires, and to the wiring harness. Look under the trailer to see if there is anything hanging down that may drag the ground. If the walls or floor of the trailer are made of wood, keep the wood treated to avoid rotting. If you find rotten boards, replace them immediately. If the majority of the trailer is metal, apply a fresh coat of paint at least once a year and touch up scratches or exposed metal to help prevent rust.

Check the wiring harness for breaks or brittle wires. Replace any corroded wires or connectors and try to run them through a piece of conduit if possible. Ask someone to assist you with checking brake lights and turn signals. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Verify that the license tag has an up-to-date renewal sticker and that the registration for the trailer is in the glove box of the vehicle which will tow it.

Inspect the trailer hitch and be sure the ball is attached tightly. With the trailer attached to the hitch, test the connection by pulling up on it aggressively, but be careful not to strain your back. The safety chains should be clean and rust-free and they should be attached each time the trailer is used.

Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure in the trailer's tires. Do not load too much cargo onto the trailer as to exceed the recommended towing capacity. If you are not sure about this limit, check the trailer manufacturer's website for details or look in the owner's manual if you have a copy. Do these routine checks to ensure the safety of your cargo as well as everyone who will be travelling on the same road.

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How to Connect a Three-wire DC Sensor to a PLC

An application calls for a three-wire DC sensor to report to a PLC. How should they be connected together?  Check the input card of the PLC and find the voltage rating. Does it operate on DC voltage? Also determine whether the input needs to be sinking (NPN) or sourcing (PNP.) Look at the sensor and make sure the voltage rating and PNP / NPN type is the same. If there is a mismatch, refer to the manufacturer's instructions for both devices to determine compatibility.

If the PLC's input card is rated for DC voltage and it is a sinking (NPN) type input and also if the sensor operates on DC voltage in the same range and its output is sinking (NPN), then the two should be compatible. Connect the PLC to the power supply, but do not turn the power supply ON yet. Then connect the sensor's positive source voltage wire, which is normally brown, to the positive terminal of the power supply. Connect the negative or neutral sensor wire, normally blue, to the power supply as well, but on the negative terminal. Then connect the sensor's signal wire, normally black, to the PLC input card at the number address that you will assign as the sensor in the PLC program. When the sensor is activated, it will connect the PLC output to neutral or ground, which the PLC will interpret as a "true" condition and respond as programmed.

If the PLC's input card is rated for DC voltage and it is a sourcing (PNP) type input and also if the sensor operates on DC voltage in the same range and its output is sourcing (PNP), then the two should be compatible. Connect the PLC to the power supply, but do not turn the power supply ON yet. Then connect the sensor's positive source voltage wire, which is normally brown to the positive terminal of the power supply. Connect the negative or neutral sensor wire, normally blue, to the power supply as well, but on the negative terminal. Then connect the sensor's signal wire, normally black, to the PLC input card at the number address that you will assign as the sensor in the PLC program. When the sensor is activated, it will connect the PLC output to the positive terminal of the power supply, which the PLC will interpret as a "true" condition and respond as programmed.

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How to Avoid a Job Interview Scam

When you really need a job, it’s easy to overlook things that would normally alert you to a scam. Here are some tips that may help you identify a fake job interview.

Send out resumes and cover letters to potential employers with job listings matching your area of expertise. Keep a list of the ones you contact and record the date. Follow up with them to improve your chances of acquiring an interview. Be wary of employers who you have not previously had contact with who call or email a job offer or interview.

Do adequate research on any employer before you go on the interview. Determine their location, what type of business they are, and what type of services they offer. Inquire with the Better Business Bureau and see it they have registered complaints. Ask friends if anyone is familiar with the company.

If everything checks out, agree to the interview and go prepared with copies of your resume, cover letter, and a list of references. When you arrive, look closely at the property. Is it in a safe area? Do they have security guards or cameras? Do they look well-established? Only enter the building with the bare necessities and leave most personal belongings at home. Turn off your mobile phone or pager before entering as well.

Do not give the interviewer any personal information during the interview, like your social security number, or any bank information. You name, phone number, address, and then the standard list of past-experience type questions should be the only things they ask you. If you do not want to answer a question, politely refuse. It is your right. You may fear missing out on possible employment, but you don't want to give someone too much information until you know they are legitimate. Pay close attention to the requirements versus the compensation package that they offer. Does it seem like a good match or does it seem a little far fetched? Also be very cautious if they seem too eager to give you the job with minimal questions or interview time. If this happens, do not agree right then. Tell them that you would like to think it over and that you will contact them very soon with a decision. Ultimately, you want to find the perfect job, but you should never get so desperate that you leave yourself open to a scam.

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How to Handle People Who are Rude to Your Family

It is nearly impossible to avoid rude people these days. Everywhere you go people are invading your family’s space with foul language, obnoxious behavior, cigarette and cigar smoke, obscenity, and a host of things that you would prefer to shield your family from. You don’t have to back down or run away when you encounter these people.

The first and most obvious way to avoid confrontation with rude people is to only take your family to "family-friendly" places. If you are hanging out in a bar at 11:00pm with your children, you should probably consider leaving rather than asking everyone to quiet down and stop drinking. Later, evaluate why you were there with your children in the first place. I know, this scenario sounds absurd, but I witness it all the time. In a family-friendly environment, people are more polite and more tolerant of children's mischief. Usually these places are smoke-free, don't serve alcohol, and typically don't tolerate obscene behavior. This, in itself, is a deterrent for a large part of the crowd that you are trying to avoid while spending family time.

Be prepared because no matter where you take your family, you will eventually encounter people who have no regard for others and these are the ones you have to make the decision whether to confront or avoid. The easy thing to do is to pick up your family and move away from them or leave rather than try to correct the situation, but this approach teaches your children to run away from problems rather than handle them. Also, this person may be causing discomfort to a lot of other people and will continue to do so until their behavior is corrected. They should be stopped!

Evaluate each situation for what it is. Is the offending person breaking a rule of the establishment that you are visiting or are they violating any law? Is their behavior affecting other people? Is your family's safety or health threatened because of this person? If confrontation is the solution you choose, establish friendly contact with the person and remind them that they are in a family environment and ask that they refrain from whatever it is that they are doing. Don't use obscenities or insults and don't project threatening body language. Be polite and speak in a firm voice, but don't be loud and try to draw attention. If you embarrass the person right away, they may retaliate against you for that reason alone. The person may be unaware that their behavior is offensive and you don't want to be perceived as the obnoxious one. If they apologize and stop their behavior, return to your family and try to avoid contact with the person for the remainder of your visit. Do not discuss what just happened with your family until you are completely out of that environment.

If the person disregards you or is rude to you, then do a second evaluation. Is this person stronger or more physically fit than you? Could they possibly have a weapon? Are you outnumbered? If any of these situations are true, then you should choose your next move wisely. It is not worth sustaining bodily harm or going to jail for a stupid mistake. If you have an obvious advantage over the person, repeat your request and inform them that if their behavior does not improve immediately, you will seek assistance from security or a manager of the establishment. If these people are not available or if the person seems unimpressed, then take your mobile phone from your pocket and call the police. Inform the person that you are calling the police as you walk away, but be careful to watch your back. The thought of being arrested may influence the offender to move on or it may cause the situation to escalate quickly.

Do not assault the person or threaten them under any circumstance! If they attack you, then you are welcome to defend yourself and any witnesses to the event will surely corroborate your story if the authorities are involved at a later time. Just be careful not to take on more than you can handle. Your family's safety is absolutely your top priority and you should avoid all of this if possible, but at some point, you have to make a stand and say "enough is enough" or rude people will gradually taint every enjoyable family establishment available to the rest of us.

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How to Turn Debt Reduction and Bill Paying into a Fun RPG

Who enjoys paying bills? Online bill payment services have made the task easier for some, but it’s still boring and who likes to let go of their money? At least have some fun doing it. Turn paying bills and reducing debt into a fun role playing game!

Identify all of your assets and debt. Make a list or a spreadsheet and include everything from your mortgage and car loans to your checking and savings account balances. We are going to give an alternate identity to each item. Checking accounts are your weapons and magic, while savings accounts are your life energy. You should designate an amount of money that you want to deposit into savings each month. If you meet your goal, your alter ego stays healthy. If not, you become injured or sick and you must find ways to earn extra money to "heal yourself." As the savings account grows, so does your level. If you have $1000 in savings, you have achieved level one. For each thousand you aquire, you "level up." Set goals so that when you reach a certain level, like level 10, you treat yourself to something, like a new HD television. This will reduce your level for a while, but you will have just as much fun reaching it again.

Give each expense a separate identity. Monthly bills become evil henchmen. You can defeat them temporarily, but they keep coming back each month. If you have artistic ability, create a drawing of how they might look. Make the water bill an evil ghost pirate and the power bill an evil fire demon, etc. The amount of the bill is the character's total life points. If you make a minimum or partial payment, then you only injure them. When you pay the bill completely, you vanquish that foe, at least until next month. Devise ways to reduce the damage that enemies inflict on you by reducing services or conserving energy and water, or changing spending habits. Weaken your foes so that they are easier to defeat.

Identify larger debts, like a mortgage, a home equity loan, or a credit card as your boss characters. They are strong and can withstand multiple hits, and ultimately, they cannot be defeated until they are paid in full. They may possess the power to regenerate or heal themselves through monthly interest. Think of clever ways to defeat them, like casting a freeze spell on them and transferring their balance to a zero interest credit card. This will prevent them from healing themselves at least for a while and give you the opportunity to attack. Then use a strong weapon like the "Mighty Blade of Income Tax Returnia" to deliver a devastating blow to the enemy.

Make the game even more exciting by involving your spouse as another member of your party and let them attack monsters and boss characters from a separate bank account. You'd be surprised how quickly you can vanquish foes when you work as a team. Leave messages or send emails to each other and say funny things, like "Today, I learned the magic spell of Reduction and cast it upon T. Wyvern, the Protector of the Mysterious Cable. This lowered our monthly damage by 5200 hit points." If several married couples decide to play this game, you can encourage each other to reach new levels and share tips on how to defeat enemies more efficiently. Create fun and even humorous new weapons and magic spells in order to enhance everyone's experience.

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How to Protect Yourself from Unauthorized Third-Party Charges on your Phone Bill

Your phone bill is an open target for scammers to bill you for whatever fake services they choose and your state and federal government will not do anything to change this. You are free to try and fight it, but the best defense is to educate yourself and spread this information to everyone you know. You will find that your efforts are the only thing keeping your money out of a scammer’s pocket.

Look carefully at your monthly phone bill. You should know the type of services you signed up for. If anything looks suspicious, call your phone company and ask them to explain the charges to you. Look for things like Internet hosting services or long distance services that don't belong there.

Ask the phone company to cancel any fraudulent charge and reimburse you for the current month. You will probably find that this is all they will be willing to do. Next, demand that the phone company blocks all third party charges to your account. The ethical thing to do would be for the government to revise the law in favor of the consumer, requiring them to authorize third party charges on their own phone bills, but this is not even a consideration right now. While you are talking to your phone company, ask that they "freeze your long distance carrier." This will help prevent a company from changing your long distance service without your consent.

File a report with the FTC, your state Congressman, and your state attorney general. Also contact your local utilities commission. Reporting a phone bill cramming scam to the FCC is a waste of time as it does not fall under their jurisdiction. You may receive a sympathetic response from your Congressman with instructions on how to protect yourself in the future, but no offer to help fix the overall problem. You can call to confront the illegitimate companies that did this to you, but it won't get you far. The first company that you contact will be the billing company who only provides their billing services between the scammers and the phone company. They will claim to have nothing to do with any other services. If you call the company who perpetrated the scam, they will hang up, be rude to you, or provide a recording of your voice agreeing to a host of things that you never really did.

Learn how the scam works. Here's an example. A representative from the scammer company calls you and tries aggressively to convince you to say something affirmative, like "Yes" or "OK". They will offer you all sorts of things as they attempt to meet their goal. They record your responses and splice them to suit their illegal needs. It's the equivalent of you calling someone and recording them saying "yes" and then playing the tape to the authorities with your voice asking, "Did you break into my home and steal $250,000 from me?" and them answering "yes." I know this sounds totally absurd, but it's exactly how you wind up paying $19.95 per month for something you never agreed to. The difference is that you wouldn't get away with it and yet, somehow they continue to. Learn how to identify these scammers when they call and only provide them with negative responses. It gets them aggravated very quickly. Just keep answering "no" as you hang up. Whatever it is they are offering, you probably don't want it anyway.

Tell everyone you know to check their phone bills regularly and to write letters to their elected government officials expressing outrage that this practice is allowed. Third party billing could survive and be a legitimate means of collecting money from someone if it were properly executed, but this is not the case. Consumers must be constantly on their guard until the agencies who are supposed to protect us do their job and put an end to obvious loopholes in the law governing third party billing on phone bills.

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How to Choose the Best Location for a Trade Show Booth

Have you ever left a trade show and wondered why you hardly collected any leads? Did you do something wrong? Was your booth not attractive enough? Did you not use effective signs? Maybe the problem was the location where you setup your booth.

If you have previously worked a specific trade show, build upon your experience of that show and reprise your game plan when it is presented in the same exhibit hall again. Were you satisfied with the amount of traffic and the number of quality leads? If so, leave well enough alone and guard your secret diligently. If your results were less than stellar, maybe it's time to try a new strategy.

Look closely at the floor plan for the show. This is most likely available online. Look for familiar companies and see where they position themselves. Most shows have similarly themed companies grouped together. You don't want to set up too close to a competitor, but you also don't want to isolate yourself and make it hard for visitors to find you.

Do not choose a space right at the entrance of the main hall. You will receive a flood of traffic all at once that will overwhelm you and then everyone will pass on by. When visitors have seen the rest of the show, they will be tired and probably have little time to stop and talk to you on the way out. Do not choose a space that is close to restrooms or a food court. Things like that have a tendency to distract people. Do not choose a space in a side hall that is connected to the main hall by a door or hallway unless you just want some quiet time to reflect on your thoughts.

Take advantage of a space drawing for booth availability if it is provided and try to choose a booth that is close to the end of an aisle and near the front of the main hall, but at least two or three aisles away from the entrance. Choose the side that faces early morning traffic so that you attract the people who just rushed the entrance and then slowed down after passing the first few aisles to look around. Use a company sign that is very specific in describing what your company offers.

Spend some time walking the show and take note of which companies have the largest crowd and how much time people spend at the booth. It is a good idea to set up near them next time, but not directly next to them. You want to benefit from the substantial visitor traffic, but you also don't want potential customers' attention drifting to a nearby busy booth. Also pay attention to the companies who have annoying attractions or people in their booth. Avoid setting up near them in the future. Annoying people usually don't change their habits year after year and nothing is more aggravating than to have a talkative exhibitor from another company in your booth, distracting you while valuable potential customers size you up and then keep walking. If you are a small company and you transport your own booth equipment and set it up yourself, pay attention to the proximity of the loading area to your booth. Exhibiting near the loading area can make a huge difference to you on the first and the last day of the show.

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