Fighting Truthiness and Hype in Marketing

In 2005, Stephen Colbert, in his TV show, the Colbert Report, coined the word, “truthiness.”

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions. – Wikipedia

We know that truthiness is rampant in politics.

But it’s also rampant in marketing.

Many of us think that marketing is mostly truthiness, not real truth in any way, shape or form.

We expect hype and exaggeration, if not downright deception, when it comes to promoting products and services.

Because of this, many of us become almost immune to the majority of marketing messages.

We assume that whatever someone says about their business, product, or service must be a form of truthiness, a veiled lie that hides the real facts.

So, as an independent professional wanting to attract more clients, you are faced with a real dilemma.

You are puzzled about how you can persuasively communicate the value of your professional services given that most prospective clients will doubt almost everything you say.

Because of this, I’ve noticed that many independent professionals shy away from marketing completely.

While others chose to go to the truthiness dark side, hoping an excess of hype will carry the day.

A recent email promotion I received contained a number of over-the-top marketing promises about an online marketing program:

“You will witness a revolutionary new technology being released that will allow you as a small business owner (regardless of skill level or experience level) to… generate as many new clients as you can possibly handle.”

Would you believe that? No, it’s truthiness and hype incarnate!

And anyone who does believe it is likely a naïve, gullible person looking for miracles with little work on their part.

So how can you eschew truthiness and still market your professional services effectively?

That, as they say, is the million-dollar question!

Well, the opposite of truthiness is honesty.

And yes, it is possible to communicate the value of your services truthfully, honestly, and with integrity.

But to do that you need to watch out for certain things that can become a slippery slope in your marketing.

Truthiness Insight #1

You must realize that what you feel about something is not the same as facts about something.

“I feel that my consulting services dramatically increase my clients’ productivity.”

OK, that’s nice, but by what objective measure are you determining the actual effectiveness of your professional services?

How about doing some measuring instead, such as before and after metrics?

When you have actual proof of what happens before and after, your credibility increases, as does your own confidence in your services.

The best marketing outlines real benefits and advantages based on facts, not hope.

Truthiness Insight #2

It’s not unusual to see client testimonials about how great it was to work with someone.

That’s nice and it’s certainly positive, but it’s not as powerful as reports of real changes.

“I lost 20 pounds in four months working with Ralph on both my diet and exercise program. He really supported me during the challenging times and helped me develop positive new habits that have stuck with me for the past year.”

This certainly trumps something like: “Ralph is a wonderful health coach who I trust with my life. You should definitely consider working with him.”

We often hear about the importance of getting testimonials. However, better to focus on getting solid results for your clients and then getting the testimonials will be easy.

Truthiness Insight #3

When you always speak in superlatives about your services, you again undermine your credibility.

Remember, people are skeptical and understandably so. So many promises made by marketers end in disappointment.

Better to actually talk about some of the drawbacks of your services than paint a completely unrealistic picture of “success without effort.”

I make it a point of telling all my prospective clients that if they engage me it will take a lot of work on their part to get out there and attract new clients.

They appreciate that I’m realistic and don’t sugarcoat things.

But believe me, in the past I’ve been less than realistic and it hasn’t turned out well for me!

We need to turn off the hype and get real. When we do, we tend to build more trust and confidence with our clients.

Truthiness Insight #4

We live in a sound-bite world.

Sound bites are important, as they are effective at getting attention and interest for our services.

But is there depth beyond the sound-bite? If not, you’re going to come across as shallow and insubstantial.

I once attended a public speaking course that stated: “You should know 30 times more than what you say in your presentation.”

That’s what real professionalism is about: deep knowledge, understanding, and experience in your field.

As they say, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

This is the motto of the truthiness practitioner and ultimately won’t bode well for your long-term success.

Truthiness Insight #5

One of the hallmarks of truthiness and hype is ever-changing marketing messages.

You think, “Heck, if one message isn’t working, I’ll try another until something sticks.” But you pay little attention to the validity and authenticity of the message.

A message that is clever, catchy, or over-the-top may get attention, but undermine your professional image.

Your message needs to be interesting and believable.

It should make people think, not insult their intelligence.

Take some serious time to work on your marketing messages. Run them past your current clients and get their reaction.

Others will notice truthiness and hype before you do.

But you’ll know you’re on track if they say, “yes, that really hits the nail on the head; that’s the reason I decided to work with you.”

Start banishing truthiness and hype from your marketing.

Not only will you build trust with your clients, you’ll start to attract more of the right clients, clients who are looking for a professional who walks their talk.

Cheers, Robert



Source by Robert Middleton

How to Become a Bartender – Top 10 Characteristics of Great Bartenders

Bartending is one of the most coveted position of the blue collar professions, which is why it isn’t always easy to get in. For starters, you’ll need to make sure you possess the right characteristics and skills or you can forget it. Just being aware of them can help you improve in each area so you can better your chance at getting your foot in the door. Let’s take a look:

1. Personality – It keeps them coming back again and again. Think of yourself as a theatre performer. People go out to bars in for the possibility of finding something that they don’t find at work every day. Do you know why personality is so important to bar owners and managers? Because the bar takes on the personality of the bartenders. Dull bartenders = dull bar. Enthusiastic, entertaining bartenders = busy bar.

2. Knowledge – It’s simple: if you don’t know the drinks, you’re just a jackass with a cool job and a bottle opener.

3. Attentiveness – Attention to details, such as placing a bar napkin under each drink, clearing off empty glasses, and keeping guests drinks full is all about paying attention and giving supreme customer service. Imagine yourself as a personal assistant to someone very important. Every detail counts.

4. Memory – In a fast-paced, high-volume environment, you’d better be able to remember multiple drink orders so you can get them out efficiently or you will have a lot of angry guests, not to mention an unhappy bar manager.

5. Speed and Efficiency – If you have a great memory but you have no multi-tasking ability, the memory does you little good. Guests want their drinks NOW!

6. Personal Grooming – Whether the bar you work for requires full uniforms or if you are allowed to wear a t-shirt and jeans, make sure you are clean and look sharp. This isn’t a John Wayne movie. No one wants a dusty, sloppy bartender any more than they want to watch a John Wayne movie.

7. Endurance – Bartending is a job that requires both mental and physical stamina. Not only do you have to know all the drinks and deal with drunken buffoons, you are often on your feet 6-10 hours per shift, depending on the hours of operation. It can wear you down if you’re not prepared.

8. Good Cash Handling and Math Skills – You are part of a team back there, so if you have problems handling cash, the other bartenders will not be happy at all. Also, good math skills allow you to add up drink prices in your head so you can call out the total to guests before you even have to ring it in. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

9. A Thick Skin – Remember, you are dealing with drunks all night long. Never take anything personal, and once your shift is over, leave it at the bar. Don’t brood over a bad tip or the cheapskate who gave it to you for the next three days. It’s pointless, and you won’t survive.

10. Eye-Contact, A Great Smile and a Firm Handshake – Those three things will take you a long way in building a clientele of regulars, not top mention the best shifts from the manager.



Source by Dave Allred

How To Use Online Video For Marketing

Video marketing is an excellent way to boost engagement, increase brand awareness and enhance search engine optimization. Video is shared more and gets more response than text, which is why your business needs to use online video for marketing.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive equipment to create a marketing video online. Smart phone work great for recording videos for YouTube.

Introduce Yourself

Make a short video about yourself, including why you are working in your chosen niche and how you can help your customers. Upload the video to your website home page. People want to know if you’re the right person to trust, and seeing your face and hearing your voice why will help them to get to know you.

Keep It Short

Usually, short videos are best. Think of three short points about a certain subject and talk about them in a short video. Include closed captioning as an added touch. It will not only be appreciated by people who are hard of hearing, but will also help your videos be picked up by the search engines.

Create A ‘How To’ Video

Your target audience will love seeing how to do something so they can do it on their own. They’ll also see you as more of an expert than before. When you upload your marketing video online, take the time to include the title, tags and descriptions, as well as links to your landing pages or website.

Going To An Event?

When you go to an industry event video some of it. Then put it together or make several videos from the event to make a series of short videos. Try to make your videos as professional as you can based on your audience’s preferences. Having said that, don’t get too caught up trying to make everything perfect. Sometimes a ‘straight from the heart’ video will have more effect than a professionally shot video.

Something New Coming?

If you have a product launch coming up, an online marketing video will whet your audience’s appetite for more. Make a short video with a question that makes them think of the problem that they have that you might solve. When you make your video, remember your background. You can create a good background with a fold-out wall separator or room divider. Add a plant and the suitable lighting, and you’ll have a great background for all your videos.

You Don’t Have To Appear On Camera

When you’re creating an online marketing video you don’t have to appear on camera if you don’t want to. You can use software like PowerPoint or Keynote to create useful slides that can be transformed into a video. As you create more videos the process will become easier and quicker.



Source by Jon Allo

Kenya Lake House Vacation

You become one of the privileged few when you stay at the kongoni Game valley ranch. The elegance of the Brithgttti ranch house and its dramatic setting make this a very special place. The Kongoni Game Valley Ranch house is on a hilltop overlooking Lake Naivasha and the surrounding volcano peaks. The romance of the place begins in 1901 with a French marquis who built this home in Africa for his new American bride. They lived there happily until the early 1940’s.they are both buried in a secluded part of the garden where the view they loved is absolutely breathtaking. The long low stone house with its ochre-tiled roof stands in a wide expanse of mowed lawns and tended gardens. It all feels very established and well-cared for there is an aura if quality. The house is built around a central country yard the communal living and dining rooms overlook the lake and open out to a wide veranda furnished with commodious wicker furniture and cushions. Guests are encouraged to relax in this restful spot and enjoy the magnificent view.

Below, shinning beyond its fringe of acacia trees is the lake framed by extinct volcanoes and the soaring sides of the rift valley. A forest of primeval euphorbia contrast with the clipped lawns and English style flower beds of the garden. Meals at Kongoni are memorable; intimate tables, garden flowers, and views from the sunroom at breakfast, cozy candlelight inside at night. The food is wonderfully can smell the bread baklkig; pizza arrives fresh from oven. The emphasis is on gourmets Italian cooking and the pasta and ice cream are homemade. Gianna jokes that the big five at Kingoni valley ranch are parmesan cheese, olive oil, capers risotto and pasta-mouth watering. Guests can take a walk at the shore or go boating. you are likely to see a wide variety of birds and perhaps a wide-open toothy yawn from a hippo. You may decide. you may decide simply to sit on the veranda in cushioned comfort and absorb the beauty and peace

Accommodation

Kongoni can accommodate up to 26 guests. Every guest room has been furnished by Gianna. The many personal touches remind you that you are in a private home. Each room has a rather charming and old fashioned bathroom. Many with turn of- the century European fixtures, including bidet. Most rooms open onto the central courtyard but some are in separate cottages or have private outside entrances. Some have fireplaces, and one even has an en suite sauna. Kingoni Valley ranch has recently opened another house very near to the lake with beautiful water views. Though separate this house is still on ranch property and can accommodate a private party of uo to seven guests in one single and tree double bedrooms. it is fully catered and can enjoy all the activities and facilities of the ranch

Lakeside House

Lake side house is a small home near the turnoff onto Moi south lake road the grounds and gardens are not very grand, but you can look toward the papyrus at the edge of the lake from the veranda. Guest sleep in one double room in the main farmhouse and in a nearby cottage .The cottage rooms have en suite shower bathrooms. The rooms are very small and rather crowded with furnishing. There are homey touches such as books magazines and instant coffee/tea tray.



Source by Joe Maina

The Many Uses of Sunflower Oil in Restaurants

Owning a restaurant can be very demanding at times. You need to keep your customers satisfied by preparing good fresh food and keeping your kitchen hygienically clean in addition to the excellent customer services skills that you need to hone. When it comes to fresh food, it’s the preparation and ingredients that makes the difference. Starting off with a pure sunflower oil will add to the goodness of the dish.

I want to explore how many uses there are for sunflower oil in restaurant kitchens and how it improves these dishes.

  • Frying. Deep frying is one of the most common uses of sunflower oil namely because it has a high smoke point of at least 227 degrees Celsius. It can be used to fry French fries, onion rings, battered fish, chicken and much more. It is, however, imperative that the chef uses pure sunflower oil when deep frying and does not reuse the oil for the next batch. Reusing frying oil will lower its intensity and pose a health risk.
  • Roasting. Using sunflower oil during the roasting process will add a lovely golden brown colour and crispy texture to dishes such as chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables, etc. When a chef prepares the roasted chicken dish, he adds oil to the roasting pan and coats the chicken with the oil before adding the spices. He then places the chicken in the oven, turning it over only once so that he can obtain that sought after golden brown colour that people love.
  • Cooking. This is probably the most common use of vegetable oil, for cooking purposes. When preparing any dish on the stove, the chef will heat the pot; add the sunflower oil, then onions and the remainder of the ingredients. Cooking any meal always starts with heating the cooking oil. Many wonderful dishes are prepared in this manner such as stew, curry, biryani and casserole.
  • Baking. Any good restaurant has dessert on its menu, especially cake. Cake cannot be baked without sunflower oil. The type of oil that you use in baking will make a difference to the texture and lightness of the cake. Sunflower oil makes the cake lighter and complements the other ingredients, thus making the cake more flavourful.
  • Salads. This may seem strange to some but vegetable oil can be used as salad dressing or in the making of salad dressing. Therefore, creating another element of flavour to an otherwise ordinary salad. Every restaurant should have their own signature salad dressing.

Sunflower oil has many different uses for any restaurant that offers a wide array of dishes. It is clearly a very versatile oil that can be used for frying, roasting, cooking, baking and in salads.



Source by Hassim Seedat

What Are the Available Restaurant Maps Online?

Traditionally, when people were looking for a new restaurant, they would pick up a copy of Zagat’s or some other fancy food guide. But in just a few short years, online maps have come a long way and now offer local information on businesses, shops and eateries too. Sites like Google Maps allow users to create their own maps of favorite establishments that they can save or share with friends and family. There are hundreds of food maps online, although a few noteworthy ideas have risen to the top.

On the West Coast, what could be better than eating a real, authentic Mexican taco out of a truck? With heaping portions, loads of options and mama’s homemade guacamole, you just cannot go wrong. You just can’t get that level of deliciousness from a restaurant, Californians say. However, it can be tricky to locate these trucks, especially if you are from out-of-town. Thus, Yumtacos was born.

Creator Joshua Lurie-Terrell of Sacramento, California said he had been keeping a list of the best taco trucks for quite some time. “As soon as friends of mine knew I had this list, people were calling me all the time,” he admits. From there, transferring the data onto a Google map was no problem. Once the site was live, people could add their own taco truck sightings. Yum Tacos primarily focuses on California, although authentic Mexican taco trucks have been plotted from as far away as Baltimore, Maryland.

Another site, Chinesefoodmap, is based on mapping out the Chinese restaurant locations for Chinese immigrants. Web users will also have access to reviews, menus, driving directions and other local information. Creator Brian Hui first created this site only in Chinese and focusing on Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Chinese food establishments. However, the site has grown nationwide to metros like Houston, Seattle and Atlanta, and an English version inevitably popped up as well.

Users of Google Maps have created a number of restaurant “mashups” based on the Google template. One of the most notable sites is Menurequest, which features more than 5,000 links in New York, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Users can visit the restaurant’s website, read reviews, get driving directions and make online reservations through this amazing map. These are just a few of the food maps available to culinary curators. Perhaps your very own city has a site designed just for hungry local residents like you.



Source by Mike Ramidden

Galley Provisioning

Galley provisioning needs a lot of thought if you are going blue water sailing, or on an extended coastal cruise, a lot of pre-planning needs to go into your time at sea. Start 2 or 3 months ahead and write everything that you eat and drink down in a binder.

Separate the binder into what you will need including:

• Food Provisions!
• Equipment needed!
• Marine Refrigeration!
• Favorite Recipes!

Keep track of what you eat for the same period on shore, the number of people that will be on board plus the number of meals during this time. When counting the days off shore add extra time, some say 50% more time in case of bad weather, a slow passage or even miscalculation of food needed.

Cruising builds a healthy appetite running out of food or drink, or even basic ingredients can spoil an otherwise idyllic cruise. And being hungry can bring on fatigue and impair a safe passage.

Basic Provisions:

Get everything dry that is possible and store large quantities in plastic sealed containers, amounts depend on the length of your trip. It is amazing how much variety can be made from flour, rice, baking powder, yeast, powdered milk, pasta, beans, even dried potatoes and vegetables are a good stand by.

Then look at coffee, tea, long life milk, powdered drink mixes, sugar, salt and pepper, cooking oil, vinegar and sauces. Spice things up with dried herbs, chilly and then by adding some tins and frozen products.

When galley provisioning think about the times you’ll feel like pizza, pancakes, lasagna, spaghetti with different sauces, muffins in different varieties, you can whip them all up in no time with these basic ingredients. There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of freshly cooked bread when out at sea! You don’t need an oven to make it either; try using the pressure cooker or a Cob if you have one.

Dry sausages and salamis are great for pizzas and pasta, or an antipasto to have with drinks.

Protein… Meat, Cheeses & Eggs:

Meat is best vacuum packed; it’s tender and keeps longer. A variety of cheeses can be kept without marine refrigeration or months kept in preserving jars covered with virgin olive oil, and some like feta can be flavored with herbs or spices. Cheeses covered with red or yellow wax keep longer.

Keep eggs in a cool place and keep turning them. Some sailors manage without any refrigeration; it can be done with some careful galley provisioning.

Fruit & Vegetables:

Long life fruit and vegetables like pumpkin, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, oranges and lemons, are good to stock up on and store in well ventilated areas; nets are great for this.

Salad vegetables, tomatoes and bananas and others that have a short shelf life store in green supermarket bags and eat early in your voyage. You can buy these provisions at markets along the way.

And when galley provisioning remember when the salad vegetables run out this is the time to think about coleslaw made from cabbage. Many sailors grow their own herbs and sprouts, if there is room and a place that is not going to get bucket loads of sea water drowning them, they help provide fiber and vitamins and liven up meals.

Have three days pre-prepared meals when galley provisioning, easy to eat when you are getting your sea legs especially if you get some heavy weather.
Even on shorter coastal trips this is wise and helps if anyone is likely to get seasick from spending time in the galley.

Yummy Snacks:

And don’t forget the snacks! Lots of them for sun-downers and night watch, great for an energy boost when the weather is too bad to cook.

They can range from cups of soup to chips and dips, biscuits and crackers, cheese and gherkins, energy bars whatever you fancy. And some special treats for special occasions or just for the moral if needed.

Adjust your galley provisioning according to whether you are coastal sailing, blue water sailing and the lands you will visit and availability of stores and markets.

Some countries are great with local markets and fresh produce, others be cautious of introducing ‘creepy crawlies’ to your galley.

Fresh Fish & Seafood:

And don’t forget the freshest meals can be in the sea you sail, fresh fish and other seafood caught from your yacht so have some good recipes to add variety.

And don’t forget your choice of drink be it wine, beer or spirits ( and the mixes), even when going off shore to foreign ports you are not restricted like when you are flying… just take what is a reasonable amount!

Whatever that may be… ? Ever made your own beer? It is possible on board and many sailors do, it’s a big saving too!

Last but definitely not least… water! You can’t survive without it, it is even more important than food so besides full tanks and extra containers of water, find small spaces on the boat to store bottles of filtered water.

I don’t have a water maker and yachts I’ve been on that do I don’t like the taste, and I know others feel the same way, so these bottles can be a ‘life saver.’ Or disguise the taste with a cordial.

Galley Equipment:

The galley is an important part of any boat and the equipment used needs to be taken into careful consideration. If you are looking for quality, and an amazing variety to choose from at a low, low price consider shopping on line.

Galley provisioning adjusts to factors like whether you have a fridge or freezer, and there are preferences here. I have got by very well with just a big freezer, freezing what is necessary and chilling and putting into a cooler what needs to be kept cold.

I have no oven aboard my yacht just a double gas burner and grill, and like so many who cruise a big deep pan is essential for our ‘one pot’ dishes. The other saucepan I use the most is a double pot steamer.

Strong plastic containers of all sizes are an important part of the modern day galley; they keep dampness and ‘creepy crawlies’ out and have a multitude of other uses.

Fall in love with a pressure cooker, one of my most essential pieces of equipment in the galley. They are fast cooking, so save gas and in the tropics speed keeps the heat in the cabin down, and the time spent ‘slaving over a hot stove’.

Even in bad sea’s they are safe to cook in with the sealed lid and they can cook casseroles that are tasty and tender in a fraction of the time of an oven and even bake bread.

The Cobb is fantastic too; a portable cooker that can be used on any surface on the boat or ashore, and runs on a handful of heat beads. It can be used as an oven and makes delicious roasts, smokes fish, bakes bread and pizzas, and can be used as a stove or bar-b-que.

Compile some recipes’ together and make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment and put these in your binder. Not just main meals and one pot meals, but some treats to delight the crew with! Bon-Appetite!



Source by Christine Couch

The Image Adjustment Lab and New Histogram in Corel Photo Paint X4

The Image Adjustment Lab is an area within PHOTO-PAINT that allows you to make global changes, correcting the color and tones of most images quickly and easily. Before using the Image Adjustment Lab, it’s best to do any cropping or retouching beforehand.

Also, if you have any masking to do, it’s a good idea to do that beforehand as well. Since the Image Adjustment Lab will make global corrections to your images, masking off the areas that you don’t want to be color corrected is important. My suggestion is to take only the areas that you want corrected and copy those sections as separate Objects (layers).

Features

Some of the features of the Image Adjustment Lab allow you to:

  • Look at a before and after preview of the section you’re working on.
  • Create an Auto Adjustment (which is often a correct color balance or very close to it the first time you use it).
  • Set a White and Black Point.
  • Make global corrections such as Temperature, Tint, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and Midtones.
  • NEW: The Real-Time Histogram allows you to edit images with greater accuracy. The histogram lets you know if the highlights or shadows will be clipped and it also shows you if the dynamic range has been expanded too much (which may create a posterizing effect). It’s recommended that you use the automatic features first. If they don’t give you the result you’re after, then you can start experimenting with the various sliders.
  • Use the Create Snapshot feature to take snapshots of your work in progress. These are displayed below the working image, allowing you to keep track of your adjustments. If, for any reason, you don’t like the changes, you can click on a previous snapshot to restore the color balance or you can access the Click to Reset button to start over from the beginning. These features make it relatively easy to manipulate images, but it’s easy to get caught up in the features and lose track of what you’re doing. I recommend that you keep a notebook handy when working on images (especially when working on a complex project) and take note of the settings. These will come in handy when you work on a new project with similar issues.

To access the Image Adjustment Lab, go to the main toolbar and click on Adjust: Image Adjustment Lab. This brings up the Image Adjustment Lab dialog box.

The Controls

At the top of the dialog box are a number of tools which govern navigating your way around the dialog box.

  • These are the Rotation tools, the Pan tool, the Zoom tools (zoom in/out, fit in window (F4) and display image at normal size) and the Preview Modes.
  • On the right hand side are the automatic and manual controls which are organized in a workflow order for image correction. Essentially, you start in the upper right hand corner and work your way down. These sliders (which include the option for numeric entry include: Auto-adjust, Temperature, Tint, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and Midtones.
  • The Auto adjust button is often the only tool you’ll need. It corrects the lightest and darkest areas and adjusts the tonal range in each channel.
  • The White/Black point automatically adjusts the contrast in the image. The black/white eyedroppers also create some tonal neutrality in the image and aren’t just for setting the white/black points.
  • The Temperature slider corrects the color casts by “warming” or “cooling” the color casts in the image. This allows you to compensate for lighting issues at the time the photography was taken.
  • The Tint slider governs the green and magenta in an image and is the control you would use after the Temperature slider to fine-tune the image.
  • The Saturation slider controls how vivid your colors are. Moving the slider to the right increases the effect while moving it to the left decreases the effect.
  • The Brightness slider controls the overall brightness or darkness of an image.
  • The Contrast slider contros the difference in tone between the light and dark areas of an image. Use of this control can mute colors or increase image detail.
  • The Highlights slider controls the brightness in the lightest areas of the image. Here, you would also use the Midtones and Shadows sliders to fine-tune the image. Of the next two controls the Shadows slider lets you adjust the brightness in the darkest parts of the image, while the Midtones slider controls the brightness in the midrange tones of an image.
  • Directly below these controls are the Real-Time Histogram, the Hints pane and the Create Snapshot button. As mentioned earlier, the histogram lets you know if the highlights or shadows will be clipped and it also shows you if the dynamic range has been expanded too much (which may create a posterizing effect).
  • The Hints pane gives you information about each slider and gives information about how to use them. To see the corresponding hint for a given slider, hover your mouse above the slider and the information will appear.
  • Below is the Create Snapshot button. This is used to preserve details of the changes you make as you go through the process of correcting an image. Each snapshot contains the detials of your changes. Clicking on Create Snapshot creates a thumbnail beginning on the lower left of your images. These allow you to revert to an earlier stage of image correction in case you don’t like what you’ve done currently.
  • Immediately after that are the Undo/Redo and Reset to Original controls which appear on the lower left of the dialog box. You can use these buttons to Undo/Redo parts of your image, or click on the Reset to Original button to reset your image to the beginning of your corrections.

The Image Adjustment Lab Dialog Box

Ideally you’ll want to take care of light/color correction issues on location, but that isn’t always possible.

Beyond this chapter is a video tutorial that I’ve created on how to use the Image Adjustment Lab. Another option for image corrections is to work with the Tone Curve, which is also quite effective.



Source by Nathan Segal

Making Mini Sites With Joomla CMS

While almost everyone has heard of minisites by now if you know anything about internet marketing, very few people have considered using an open source and free CMS or content management system, like Mambo or Joomla, which is based on Mambo code, to produce minisites.

What are the advantages of using a CMS like Joomla to rapidly make and deploy minisites on the internet?

1. Joomla is easy to use and you can use thousands of free CSS based templates that support the latest standards and have a site up in hours, not days.

2. Joomla support easy wysiwyg or what you see is what you get visual editors that allow you to set up and add content to a site as easily as using a word processor on your desktop computer. What this means is that your site supports the latest web 2.0 standards and can grow in content easily and quickly without redeveloping your website from scratch.

3. Joomla has thousands of extensions and you can easily produce websites that rival sites costing tens of thousands of dollars for nothing. You can easily add membership sites, photo galleries, streaming video, audio, chat, and forums as well as rich blogs. In short, everything to make your site “sticky” and keep bringing back those visitors over and over again.

4. Joomla makes changing the look of your site a snap, since you can change your template and quickly change the look and feel of your website in just minutes, allowing you to freshen up your site every once in a while.

5. Joomla is continuously updated and is now releasing a beta version called 1.5. Most people are still working on 1.03 or so, but it is nice to know that future upgrades are available.

6. Joomla is well supported by many Hosting services now, and is able to be installed by Fantastico scripts with just one click. There is a user manual and several video packages that show you how to make templates and set up membership sites for profit.

7. Joomla and most of it’s extensions or add ons are free and open source so it is cheap to get a very professional web presence on the internet.

For all the advantages, it will take a few weeks to get used to the new methodology of using a CMS to manage and deploy your websites unless you are used to making websites from your browser. Once you get the hang of it however, you never want to go back to the slow laborious system of desktop website creation and uploading.

I recommend you go to one of the sites called Joomlatutorials.com and go through the tutorials right after installing Joomla and before you do any work on your own site. Basically, you start with a template that you get for free at the largest free site template repository called http://www.joomla24.com. They have over 1,500 free templates you can start with. Alternatively, you can go with one of the many commercial template companies that offer a variety of paid templates that you can modify and make into your site.

Once you select the template, you must change the permissions on your template and media areas of your template section in Joomla under your public html directory so that you can make changes to the appropriate template and files.
You do this either within joomla or most often, from cpanel using your file manager functions and set the file permissions to 777 for the folders and 666 for files.

You must get a log in from your hosting company after installation so that you can go into the administrators section that you manage and build the site from and make changes and add content to the site.

After you log in, you go to the templates section in the site manager and click on new.

Then you are presented with a dialog that asks you to browse on your computer and pick the site template which must be in zip format and you upload the template on your site. After a few minutes, if it is successful, and it tells you so, and then you click on continue. Then your site template will be listed with the other default templates. You click the radio button to make the template you installed the default template.

Then, you click on the radio button to select the default template and then you click on html to edit the html for the template page. You will be checking for the image files on the page.

As you can see, you need to study html and I would especially study CSS or cascading style sheets and tables so that you know how to place things on the page. In any event you need to look for the header graphic and replace it with a graphic header of your logo or a header image for your site.

You must be sure the graphic is slightly smaller than the size given so that the header graphic or logo will show up without messing up the format of the template or page. You must upload using an ftp program like Transmit or Filezilla the image file that you want to use for your logo or header image. Once you find the joomla folder in the public html folder, you must click on it to find the templates folder. Inside that there is an images folder. You must upload your chosen image to that folder. It should be a .jpg or .gif file in the same format as that used in the template if possible. Once the image shows up in the file, your next job is to change the html in the html file and replace it with the name of the image you uploaded. Then when you pull up your [http://www.sitename/joomla] your front page should show your graphic logo or header file.

Next, you need to unpublish those buttons on the front page that you don’t need. You go to the main menu section and unpublish everything but the home button. You will need to go to joomla extensions page and go to menu section and find a menu extension that will allow you to use images or other files to set up your menus. Then you will have the appropriate file extension ready when it is time to link your menus which is the last step in setting up your website.

One thing you can do now is figure out what extensions or extras you will need on your website. You can just have a straight minisite but you will do better in the search engines and in the eyes of your visitors if you have a theme based content site and not just a sales page. If you add a chat client, a forum, and a blog to your site then you will find that your visitors become involved with the site and keep returning. The more they are on your site, the greater the chance they will buy what you have to offer, be it an affiliate offer, an ebook, or a membership.
Check each section of the extensions. Especially the graphics section where all the banner advertising extensions are. You can monetize the site with banners and/or text ads that will bring additional money onto the site. It is true that if you use AdSense on your site, your site will show up in the search engines sooner. There are several AdSense modules. You will need to add docman or Remository if you will be setting up files for download on your site. Community builder or AEC will serve you well if you are setting up a membership site. You will need One of the wsiwyg content editors in the content and news section so that you can edit your pages easily and quickly. You must set up your wysiwyg editor as your default editor for Joomla. Then when you go to add content, you can easily and quickly edit your pages. You should go to the Blog section and add X-Blogg for editing your blog offline and download one of the blog programs for easily setting up and running a blog from your site. You will need to add one of the payment processors and/or a shopping cart for your site if you will be selling products from your site. Once you have added all the extensions, be it a component, module, or mambot you are ready to go to the next step.

Next, you will start adding the sections you will need in your site. Then you will add categories to the sections until you have divided your site into an organized entity. Then you will edit the front page using the content editor and the wysiwyg editor you have made the default content editor. You will add images and add articles so that everything is done to your satisfaction. Use Polls, banners, and the AdSense or other text ads for your affiliate programs to the front page on a rotating Banner or rotating ad schedule. That way you can track where most of your sales are coming from . Keep adding articles and other sections to your site until it is finished. Don’t forget to add sales pages for each of the products or affiliate opportunities you are promoting. Then you will add a Thank You page for any downloads you need to offer or ebooks or software. You will have to set up the extension and add any thumbnails or links you need to download products for.

Once that is all set up check all your images and your spelling for all your articles. Check your links and make sure that everything is in order. Make sure your shopping Cart is working properly by adding a sample products and ordering them. Make sure that any forms are working properly to add your visitors to your opt in list.

Add your newsletter buttons and set up your mailings. Set up your autoresponders for any orders or requests for you newsletters. I suggest you set up your newsletters in an archive section on your site so that people can download them from the site in case their email Spam filter eats your newsletter.
Once everything looks good publish your pages.

Congratulations, your site is now live. Write two articles in your area of expertise a day and you will have over 100 articles in a years time circulating all over the net earning you money. You just submit the articles to article directories and you will add a signature file mentioning your experience and your main web site. As I said, if you do this to hundreds of sites you will soon see a flood of traffic to your site and the money will follow! Joomla Greetings for the holidays!



Source by Kathy Elliott

The Latest Ad Hoc Mobile Personal Tech Networking Device Patent by Apple

Every day the smart phone market has something new to say, new to report, or more information to retort. For instance, now Apple is upping the ante on their control over the smart phones they sell, and has decided to apply for a few new patents. Yes, this is all typical in Apple Style, and yet, one of those patents is very telling to us at our Internet style Think Tank, as we are constantly remunerating about such things.

Great article on August 20, 2010 in ARS Technica entitled; “Apple May Be Looking to Lock Out Unauthorized iOS Users,” by Chris Foresman who reported that Apple filed a patent titled; “Systems and Methods for Identifying Users of an Electronic Device,” such as heartbeat analysis, photo, voice print, and suspicious behavior uncommon to the known user.

So, I guess a thief who has stolen the phone would then be giving away his/her picture, voice print, keystrokes, and Global Position (location). The patent appears to also be able to turn off phone, erase hard-drive, and download all information to the “cloud” which is to protect the user. Yes, very nice, but with this technology, the authorities could also shut-it-down if the individual was suspected of being a bad guy, rioter, terrorist, etc. too.

Now then some folks at Slash-Dot ask, well would this also allow Apple to shut off those who “jail-break” from Apple’s proprietary software? A great question posed by SoulSkill (screen name). A very good question, and inquiring minds, like mine want to know. But I also suspect that by having this feature, it means that the US Army would be interested in this for our “Blue Force” tracking in the Net Centric or rather Ad Hoc networked battlespace too. See that point.

If an enemy gets a hold of one of their mobile devices, boom! – it is shut off and we have a picture of the enemy’s camp, and what questions are asked, and the position of the soldier or device? Wow, now that is what I call using privileged information during interrogation. It also helps Apple sell its devices to the US Government over competitors like Motorola, Nokia, HTC, Google, and Blackberry too.

Unfortunately, this will totally fuel new conspiracy theories and NSA fringe seekers living in old cold war missile silos waiting for the apocalypse or Terminator’s SkyNet to take over? Is this more big brother, or just upping the stakes in the world of personal tech, and government, military security for communication devices? You decide, I’ve already decided for myself.



Source by Lance Winslow

Toasted Sandwich Maker – Mario Batali Panini Maker

The dimensions of the Mario Batali Panini Grill and Press is 22.5 x 12.3 inches and it weighs 15 pounds. This was one of the largest Panini makers and would be good for preparing quick simple meals for a family and reviews claimed a high quality item that was easy to clean.

A Toasted sandwich maker needs to be heavy gauge cast iron with a similarly robust lid for cooking the top and producing nice grill marks. At 15 pounds this Panini maker may be too heavy for some to lift but a heavy pan and lid will conduct heat and brown much better. It also has tall sides to sufficiently hold in any cheese, juices, or marinade that may leak out without running onto the stove top. This Panini maker is larger than we needed for cooking for two so I purchased an All Clad Panini maker which is smaller. I had one disaster but after trying it out a few more times I have been very, very pleased with it.

My first toasted sandwich was the disaster. You can not hurry a Panini maker! After airing the smoke out of the house, and some good natured ribbing from my husband, I learned to turn down the heat! It’s seems to work best when the pan and press are preheated on medium heat or slightly below. Be sure to preheat pan and press on separate burners. It is also necessary to spray pan and press with non-stick cooking spray or grill with a little oil. Be careful when lifting press as some of these press handles can get very hot.

A toasted sandwich favorite of ours is to take a slice of 1 inch sourdough bread, brush both sides with olive oil or butter, layer smoked gouda, prosciutto, onions, tomato, fontina cheese and slice of bread, place in your preheated Panini maker and grill. Better yet, experiment! Make a toasted sandwich with your favorite ingredients. In minutes you will have a wonderful, quick meal with your favorite ingredients.

We live in Oklahoma which can mean days and days of wind not to mention the pop-up thunderstorms that wreak havoc on a charcoaler! A Panini maker can also be a great stove top grill. Mine has worked great for grilling meat, grilling asparagus and other vegies. Toss asparagus in olive oil season with salt and pepper and grill. It takes about 2-3 minutes for crisp tender asparagus. Another favorite veggi is a small yellow squash cut in half length wise brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and basil or Italian seasoning and grilled until it just begins to soften.

A Panini maker would also work for breakfast. We like to put a slice of Canadian bacon and cheese between to halves of an English muffin and grill until golden. I found a recipe that kids would love and is really, really easy. Split 6 mini bagels into 2 halves, spread creamy peanut butter and grape jelly on bottom half, top with top half and grill. The kids have a hot breakfast they will love!

Remember, a recipe is merely a guide!



Source by Lea Ann Gingerich

Tumbled Stones For Healing, Prosperity, Peace and Love

The definition of a beautiful life is good health, prosperity, harmony, peace and love. Another definition of life is the circumstances that prevent one from living a beautiful life, making it stressful, difficult and loaded with ill-health. Tumbled crystals, tumbled rocks can alter your life to a beautiful life as crystal and rocks do posses an aura, a power that is specifically used for healing and balancing the energy.

What are Tumbled Stones?

Pieces of natural minerals or rocks that are usually 1 to 5 cm, which are processed to make them smooth, round pebbles are called tumbled stones. Every rock or mineral is selected for its appearance, color, translucence, ability to withstand polishing. Some people simply collect rocks and minerals as a hobby, while one also has the option to buy tumbled stones.

How to polish rocks and stones?

People who collect rocks and stones as a hobby can polish the same with polishing material and sand paper. Rock tumbler kits are available at most stores for hobbyists. Business houses who deal with the supply of tumbled stones identify the purpose of the use of stone to cut, polish and sell it as wholesale tumbled stones.

Uses of Tumbled Stones

Tumbled stones are also known as tumbled gemstones and have a wide range of applications. These stones are widely used as decorative for gardens and landscaping, water fountains, desktop articles, vases, making jewelry, spiritual healing and rock massages.

Tumbled gemstones are believed to be energizers. Stonehenge, dates back to 2600 BC is a prehistoric icon in Britain, which symbolizes mystery, power and endurance. Stones are charged with energy, the life force that connects you and energizes you.

Crystal healers and gemologist have come to understand and accept that every stone has an aura which affects the people around it. It helps to balance and harmonize the energies of the person with nature. Every tumbled stone is understood to have an effect on the chakras, which affects the physical, emotional and spiritual health of the user. A combination of tumbled stones has a combined effect on the person in whose vicinity the stones are kept as these stones are a life-force, energy givers. Besides the energy benefit, the tumbled stone make an amazing decorative piece for homes or offices.

There are over 100 types of tumbled gemstone combinations available at leading rock shops. All stones are identified by rock experts, tumbled and sold with details of its weight in carat and its effect of the various chakras.

Gemstones and crystals will always have an effect on the individual. If you do not believe in going to an expert for advice, you can yourself identify which rocks, minerals or stone are right for you as you will be able to sense the attraction or aversion to them. This ‘feeling’ is experienced not only when you touch the stone, but even when you are surfing online and wondering which to buy. Go by your instincts and the stone that is right for you will enhance your instinct for a peaceful, healthy and harmonious life.



Source by Joy Mitchell