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

College Scholarship Search for the Frustrated Student

It may seem like the fall of a student’s junior year it too soon to search for scholarships but it is not. In fact, I often tell parents to start searching for scholarship the moment that your student enters high school. It is an unusual time to talk about money for college. Most parents and students are thinking that there are four years until graduation. While life is going on college acceptances are just over the horizon. It is true that the early bird gets the scholarship. The key to having a scholarship strategy that works is staring early. There are some parents who have a formula for success. They have a binder where they are already collecting scholarship information. They attend every scholarship and grant training session that they can. Each parent and student should consider finding scholarships a team effort. Start by meeting with someone at your local library. There are a lot of college scholarship resources in the library and there is always someone who is willing to help.

Did you know that there are billions of dollars in scholarships that go unused every year? Some students say it is too hard to apply for scholarships. That is why I tell all students to get started on their scholarship search early. Starting early is the best way to prevent each student and parent from getting overwhelmed. You should have different types of scholarships in each section of your scholarship binder. You can also have your own library of scholarship books and articles that you are picking and reviewing. There are thousands of scholarships on Google. You can search by college major and interests. Ask your student to talk to their high school counselor about scholarships that are available. The school counselor should have information that they are receiving throughout the year. Let them know that you are interested in receiving information and that you will apply

There are a lot of scholarships that are based on a student’s performance in high school. Each student should work to obtain the highest grades possible. Get a tutor right away or make arrangements for the teacher to meet with your student. The critical issue for each parent is deciding how to use each year as leverage against the rising cost of college. Look for small and large opportunities to find scholarships in newspapers and in magazines. Call local college’s financial aid office to find out more about their scholarships and deadlines. Call your bank or credit union to see how you can start saving and if they have scholarships.

If you are the parent of a 11th grade student it’s time to get ready for senior year by asking your student to obtain scholarship recommendation letters from their teachers. Create a calendar with scholarship deadlines and ensure that your applications are submitted on time. Don’t allow yourself to get behind. It’s easy to miss out on a scholarship because your application was not submitted on time. Use the summer to get ahead of the game. Ask your son/daughter to write answers to several scholarship questions. Some of the questions to expect: How will you use our scholarship to complete your undergraduate degree? Why do you deserve this scholarship? How will you make a difference in the world after receiving your degree? Remember grammar and spelling count, if a student wants to have their scholarship application considered.

Investing in your son/daughter’s education is one of the best decisions a parent and student can make. Start your scholarship search early so that your student has the flexibility to pay for the college of their choice. Position yourself to reap the financial rewards of saving pursuing scholarships. You will not regret your investment of time and you can have money to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses.



Source by Stephen Jones Sr

3 Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes For Kids

People of all ages, not just kids, love their sweet treats. Whether it’s cake, ice cream, donuts, candies or pies, we all have that cravings for sugar from time to time. Children, especially, are fond of sweets. You don’t want to deprive your little ones of dessert so just try for healthier alternatives!

Here are some quick and easy gluten-free desserts that are perfect for kids:

Fudgy Chocolate Cake In A Cup

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (sifted)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dollop ice cream
  • 1 pinch salt

In a large bowl, combine flour, caster sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa and salt. Carefully mix in milk, butter and vanilla extract. Stir until ingredients are well-combined. Pour mixture in a microwave-safe mug and heat in the microwave for 1 minute.

Cool for a few minutes before dusting with remaining cocoa. Serve with ice cream on top.

Easy Apple Crumble

What you need:

  • 6 red apples, cored, peeled and each sliced into 8 wedges
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, softened

With a small amount of water, heat a pan over medium heat then place apple wedges to cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. To make the crumble, mix together 3/4 cup sugar, rice flour, almond meal, desiccated coconut and margarine in a bowl. Mix with clean hands until ingredients are well-combined.

Layer the cooked apples (along with the juices) in a greased oven-proof dish. Place crumble mix over apples and bake in a pre-heated oven (180C) for half an hour or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold with cream or yogurt.

Choco-Almond Crunchy Bites

What you need:

  • 4 pcs. SunRice Thick plain rice cakes, crumbled
  • 1/4 kg (or a little more) milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricots

In a saucepan, melt the milk chocolate with a little bit of water over low heat. Once melted, add the crumbled rice cakes, almonds and apricots. Stir to combine ingredients well.

Remove from heat and scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time into a greased baking sheet. Allow a few minutes to cool and harden before serving.

These quick and easy gluten-free desserts for kids are real winners, even for adults!



Source by Angela Kidd

Have You Ever Wondered How To Get Facebook Likes and Use Them To Your Advantage?

For those of you who want to find out how to get Facebook likes, this article will prove to be a golden nugget. So, is there life after a like on Facebook? Don’t be surprised if I tell you that yes, there is – and plenty of it!

If you bare with me until the end of this article, not only will you find out how to get those much-desired likes (and how to increase your number of followers, of course), but you will also discover ways to leverage those followers to your advantage.

Shortly put, in the first part you will get all the info you need to start collecting ’em likes, and in the second part you will learn how to convert an inactive follower into a fruitful lead.

Are you ready… ?

Part one – Proven Ways To Get ’em Likes!

  • Add a Facebook widget on your blog

I love the wild web out there. I simply do. What I don’t love, however, is reading an incredibly well-written article and not being able to share it and show it to my friends on Facebook. It’s a pity, really…

Don’t do this mistake. Don’t be among those people who cannot keep track of their articles’ shares and likes and who don’t give their readers the opportunity to make your articles go viral.

A Facebook widget is perhaps one of the best things that you can do in this matter. You can either add it at the beginning of your article, at the end of it, or in a ‘flying box’ on the right hand part of your article. This way you make it easy for people to share your content and you can also keep track of the social activity your article generated.

Cool, huh? Hush, there’s more about how to get Facebook likes…

  • Add a signature tool like WiseStamp

With WiseStamp you put your emails to work. As the name suggests, using this tool you can create awesome email signatures. Awesome… ? Yes! You can include not only your name and email address, but also small icons of social media platforms.

And guess what? Facebook is not the only one you can add. You can also include your Twitter account, your G+ profile, your LinkedIn address and even your RSS feed!

This way all those who receive an email from you have the opportunity to view your social media profiles and become a follower.

Still not enough info about how to get Facebook likes? Well…

  • You can also create a contest

Facebook contests are among the most used features of the social network.

Pay attention, though! The popular ‘Like and Share’ contests are illegal. Not many know this, but there are plenty of people who have woken up one morning and saw their official pages closed. Forever! And this was all because they encouraged followers to like and share in order to win something. So this is not a good answer on how to get Facebook likes…

For you to be able to host a contest on Facebook, you will have to resort to Facebook Adds. They’re great and I’m sure you’ll love them.

  • Ask your friends to like your page

Perhaps the easiest way to increase the activity on your official page is to invite your friends to like your page. They know you personally, so they know you’re an amazingly innovative person who shares cool stuff – so they will like your page.

The downside to this solution on how to get Facebook likes is that they are not necessarily an ‘active’ audience, meaning that they are not 100% interested in your activity. Maybe they are curious, but many of them are not the ‘hungry for a solution’ type of followers.

  • Ask your email list to like your page

So you have these clients in your email list and you keep in touch with them from time to time. You are on the right track but… what about having a more engaging conversation with your clients and prospects?

You know what would be really awesome? A daily conversation where they get to know you better, where they get to know you even on a personal level.

Here’s a secret: you can do this. Send them an email with an invitation to join you on Facebook! What are you waiting for?

  • Add the link to your business card

Business cards – how traditional, right? But you can add a flavour of contemporaneity to it by making it virtual.

How?

Include all your online information on it. Like, for example, your website address, your email address and… your Facebook URL. It’s really easy to increase the number of followers if you know how to get Facebook likes, right?

If you want to go the extra mile, you can create a QR code for your website and your Facebook page and include them on your business card. This way people can access them directly from their smartphones.

  • Add your Facebook link to your “Thank You” pages

Another cool idea is to include your Facebook URL in your Thank You pages. If you made a sale, or simply you have a new subscriber to your newsletter list, it is good for them to know they can stay in touch with you through Facebook.

  • Include your Facebook page in your blog comments

Maybe a person likes your comment and thinks of it as being thoughtful. So they will want to find out more about you. And often times, a search on Google is too much to ask… So why not include a link to your Facebook page in your comments on blogs? It’s a cool way to increase your audience and to keep them updated!

Part two – Going from Likes to Leads in one simple step

Now that you know how to get Facebook likes, let’s see what you can do with them.

Stop!

I am going to share with you one of my secret ingredients that gets me more leads than any other method. To be honest, I am amazed that there are not that many people already using it, because it is THE gold mine of leads. It is a strategy that I have been using for a long time and it is working like crazy – all the time, 24-7!

All you need to do is just include on your Facebook page those pages from your website where you offer free goodies. This is also done using Facebook Apps, but it’s so simple to do, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed.

Tip: Facebook does not allow unsecured websites to use the Apps feature. This means you will have to have a https:// kind of hosting.

Bonus tip: Boost posts can help you increase the impact of your posts. They will cost you a little extra money, but the bright side is that you have complete control over how much you want to spend. Nothing more, nothing less! And leads will come… like bees to honey!

Now, as always, I want to hear from you! Tell me…

Do you know other answers to this article’s question, “How to get Facebook likes”? What did you try lately and didn’t work or.. did work?

How much time do you spend per week to increase your Facebook likes? Is it worth it or you don’t see any results by now?

Do you have any other tips, tricks, suggestions, or stories that would help everyone else who’s reading?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to share about how to get Facebook likes!

Did you enjoy what you just read?

Then I have a suggestion for you: share this article with your friends.



Source by Istrati Florentina

Holding Effective Condominium Board Meetings

Evaluations work. A very effective practice for Board members is to evaluate the quality of their Board operations. Many times, Board members do not know what they do not know about their own Board. Board evaluations are mandatory in many for-profit industries. These Board members know it is critical to regularly conduct short, practical evaluations of their Board operations, and then act on the results of those evaluations during the year.

Evaluations need not take a long time — many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results and plan a strategy for improvement.

Some boards may feel they do not need assessments. I would suggest that these boards complete the free Board assessment tool offered by BoardWalk Consulting. This assessment should also be completed confidentially. If your board scores anything lower than an eight on any of the five criteria, then it may be time for an evaluation to find and correct deficiencies in your operations.

Before you undertake the exercise to evaluate your board, make sure everyone is onside with this exercise and the first question to ask is, what are we evaluating? There are different assessments that can be completed, like board effectiveness or individual board members. Individual board member performance should never be evaluated until everyone has been educated on their role within the board. It can be demoralizing to be evaluated against criteria you were not aware was part of your responsibility. We will focus this article on board effectiveness as a whole.

Here are some sample questions to help evaluate your board performance. Have your board members complete the survey, and then summarized the answers. Instruct your board members that the survey should be completed quickly and with honesty, do not over think the answers.

Some points to consider before implementing the assessment.

1. Make sure your questionnaire is relevant to your corporation and the items you wish to measure. Your board members will lose interest answering irrelevant questions.

2. In order for evaluations to work, everyone must be open and honest. The only way to accomplish this is to ensure confidentiality in the questionnaire. Have an independent third party prepare the summaries.

3. Don’t try to be too comprehensive in your assessment.

Commit to acting on the results of your survey. These evaluations tools give an excellent picture of a board weaknesses and strength. Their power is proven. If there is no follow-up to these exercises, then they are simply a waste of the time and energy of your volunteers.

– Board has full and common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of members, management and staff within the corporation.

– Board receives regular reports on finances/budgets, products/program performance and other important matters.

– Board effectively communicates to the community.

– Board meetings facilitate focus and progress on important matters.

– Each member of the board feels involved and interested in the board’s work.

– The board members receive regular training and information about their responsibilities.

– New board members are oriented to the board, including a board operation manual, the corporations Declaration, By-laws and the Act, as well as their roles and responsibilities as board members.

– Board organization is documented with a description of the board and board committee responsibilities.

– The organization has at least the minimum number of members on the Board of Directors as required by their bylaws or the Act.

– The board has a process for handling urgent matters between meetings.

– The board has an annual calendar of meetings.

– Meetings have written agendas and materials relating to significant decisions are given to the board in advance of the meeting.

– Conflicts among directors do not interfere with the Board’s work.

– Our financial monitoring and control systems enable us to quickly identify errors and protect us from most criminal activities.

– I am proud to be a Director of this corporation.

The responses should ranked as simply “Agree or Disagree”, collected and summarized. I like to view the summaries in bar graph format.

These summaries for each question can then be used to determine if there is a problem in a particular area, and can also help prioritize areas to focus for improvement.

Condominium Corporations would do well to take note of the practices of boards in highly effective companies. While the industries may be different, the need for effective decision making structure is the same.



Source by Tracey McLellan

Adobe CS6 – How Can This Help Your Business?

Adobe CS6 – how can this suite help your business?

Early last year Adobe launched Creative Suite 6 (CS6), and with it brought some amazing new tools and features that are unparalleled when compared to previous models. What really makes CS6 stand out is how simple it is to use. Adobe has really taken the time to listen to what people have to say and has engineered a more bespoke platform that can enhance and benefit your workflow.

Creative Suite has played a fundamental role in design over the years and it can now be said it’s a key part to your offering whether you’re a designer, developer, photographer or social media agency professional. With CS6 you can’t help but make comparisons to its predecessor.

While CS5 was a great step forward, CS6 is a huge leap into the future. The biggest updates most important to a designer can be found within Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Photoshop CS6: What can the new tools help you with?

Photoshop is an internationally renowned program that can enhance your creativity with its amazingly fast performance powered by the Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine. Its groundbreaking new Content-Aware tools and re-engineered design tools feel more tailored and powerful but the hero tools are CSS export and Background Save. CSS export lets you instantly generate CSS from text and shape styling within Photoshop, this coding can be simply pasted into your favorite web editor to design websites in less time. With the Background Save option you can keep working even while saving the largest of Photoshop files in the background, which is a real improvement that can help your productivity soar.

The new Photoshop offers over 62 per cent more new features than the previous version. The new interface is a welcomed upgrade; thanks to several slick interface tricks and the removal of a redundant toolbar, productivity can definitely be boosted and frustration eliminated. The good thing about Adobe is it caters for the masses, so you can revert back to the original interface if needed, but why would you? Housed within a slick modern user interface, this upgrade can help your business surpass expectations quicker and more efficiently.

InDesign CS6: What can the new tools help you with?

Most professionals in the publishing industry use InDesign. It’s natural for people to be intrigued by what has changed in InDesign CS6 so here are some features creating industry buzz.

The growing popularity of smartphones and tablets has led to high expectations for digital imagery and usability, but, as you may know, the wide variety of devices causes problems for designers and developers. Annoyingly, you can be forced to resized and rework projects for each device. Adobe InDesign has shown great attention to this issue by including a new feature called Liquid Layout. This feature addresses the problem with multiple layouts for various screens, making the work for a designer easier and faster. Now you can create elegant and engaging layouts for print, tablets and other screens.

Other features make it faster and easier than ever to efficiently design page layouts for print or screens. You can improve productivity with time savers such as split window, content collector tools, grayscale preview, easy access to recently used fonts and much more. InDesign CS6 is pushing the boundaries.

Illustrator CS6: What can the new tools help you with?

CS6 moves the bar even higher with Illustrator. With precision and speed, you can create and work with large files without fear of it crashing. Illustrator has listened to its core consumer and has integrated a modern interface to streamline daily tasks. The user can now enjoy a tracing engine like no other, seamless pattern creation and the application of gradients within strokes.

Adobe Creative Suite 7 (CS7)

As we move forward its so exciting Adobe are rumored to be working on CS7, I wonder what features they will bring out next, one thing we’re sure of it will be amazingly helpful to your business if it is based on CS6.

Working for an integrated search, social media and PR agency, I have used many tools within Creative Suite 6. Whilst I’m still exploring, I can say it has benefited our offering for many clients. I feel as if I have enhanced my creativity and performance, meaning the investment has been truly worthwhile.



Source by Rebecca Pye

5 Quick Tips For Preparing And Cooking Grilled Pizza

Whether you’re grilling for a small group or a large crowd, pizza is a great choice for every party menu. It’s easy to make yet filling, not to mention delicious! It’s also a safe choice even if you’re expecting children at your party. These 5 quick tips for preparing and cooking grilled pizza will help you have a wonderful meal at your next backyard barbecue.

Use a gas grill if you’re a beginner

If it’s your first time to grill pizza, experts recommend using a gas grill because the temperature can be regulated easily. A charcoal grill works fine as well (some even claim it’s better for achieving the delicious smoky taste), but given that the dough cooks quickly, you would have to be extra attentive to keep your heat at the right temperature until the dish is cooked through.

Choose your dough

The dough is the heart of a pizza, so be sure to get a good quality one that can withstand the heat of the grill. You can buy some ready-made ones at your local grocery store but you can always opt to make your own for better results.

Prepare toppings beforehand

Whether you’re baking or grilling pizza, it’s important to have your toppings ready and within reach once you start the fire. Make sure that you’ve sliced your onions, grated your cheese, chopped your mushrooms and any other preparations needed. Experts also recommend pre-cooking your meat so that once it hits the grates, it will be cooked through.

Flip the dough right

Flipping the dough while cooking on the grates isn’t the easiest thing to do especially if you’re a first timer. Use pizza peels (wooden or metal) for this. Use long-handled tongs to assist with turning the dough over – grab the dough at the edge then slide it onto the peel for turning. However, if your peel is metal, you can use it as a spatula for turning the dough.

Prepare your cheese

Cheese is one of the ingredients that may make or break your grilled pizza. Make sure to use grated or very finely diced cheese for your pizza so that it melts faster with the heat of the grill and cover your dough evenly once cooked.

Many people say that pizza cooked on a grill is the best variety because it has a more natural taste to it on top of the appetizing smoky flavour. Follow these 5 quick tips for preparing and cooking grilled pizza for better results!



Source by Adrian T. Cheng

Turkey Fryers – Electric or Propane?

Given the proximity of the up coming holidays, many people have been considering deep frying a turkey for the first time. There are many different kinds of turkey fryers out there to choose from. Primarily outdoor propane deep fryers or indoor counter top electric fryers. The differences between an outdoor deep fryer and an electric fryer vary greatly. We will start with electric turkey fryers.

First and foremost, electric fryers are made for indoors. You can take your electric fryer outdoors to use one day at a time. But you should bring it back indoors once everything has cooled, and put it away. It should never be left out on your patio like a backyard grill. The morning dew alone is enough to ruin the inner workings of an electric deep fryer.

You can take an electric deep fryer camping if you have electricity, but you can forget about tailgating with one unless you have a generator.

An electric turkey fryer can be a large counter top deep fryer. My first fryer was an electric counter top turkey fryer. It not only fries small turkeys as well as deep frying anything you want, but you can also steam and boil with it. I’ve been known to make Low Country Boil right in my house in the middle of the winter.

Not all so-called electric turkey fryers, are actually deep fryers. These units work with high radiant heat. They technically roast, not deep fry. There is really no oil involved. Less mess to clean up. You can roast other meats in these units, but you can not fry up a batch of french fries in one of these.

Most electric turkey fryers have a safety shut off feature if the oil becomes too hot. They mostly all have a thermometer or temperature gauge as well. This is a great feature because most of these units will tell you that your oil is up to temperature by a light on the gauge or unit. This is also good if you are frying things other than turkey. If you are frying up multiple batches of things, like Buffalo wings or onion rings, you should always let your oil come back up to temperature between batches.

Now, speaking of oil temperatures, electric fryers do take longer to heat oil than outdoor propane deep fryers. It also takes longer between batches to come back up to temperature. You want fried crispy food, not oil logged greasy food. So pay attention to your oil temperatures. Don’t get hasty and put food in before it’s time.

Lastly, you don’t have to worry about the kids and the dog needing to have somewhere else to play. Odds are they are not playing on the counter top or in the kitchen, so the odds of your indoor electric turkey fryer getting knocked over by a game of soccer or football are next to nil.

Now we’ve discussed electric turkey fryers. Let’s move on to outdoor propane turkey fryers.

There is the issue of LP gas. You must have a propane tank to cook with, but this affords portability and versatility. You can go anywhere! The beach, camping, tailgating, or even just a different place in your back yard. And speaking of versatility a traditional turkey fryer consists of a stock pot and an outdoor propane cooker. Not only can you deep fry with them, you can stew, boil and steam food. You can make chili for a cold weather camp out or have a New England clam bake right in your back yard. Always make sure you have an extra LP tank around, just in case.

Have you ever deep fried food in your house? The fact that your outdoors is great, because now your whole house won’t smell like you deep fried a turkey two or three days later.

Even though you are outdoors there are still safety features to keep in mind. You always want to be on stable, sturdy ground, and not near any buildings or materials that can catch fire. The kids and the dog will now have to find a different place to play than where you are set up. If it rains you cannot take your outdoor turkey fryer indoors. Do not take it on the porch or in the garage, as this could just end in a really bad day!!!

Frying oil will heat faster with a propane fryer than an electric one. Even after you put a whole turkey in the oil, it takes a significantly less time to come back up to temperature, than if you were using electricity. Most traditional outdoor fryers do not have a built-in temperature gauge though. You need a deep fryer thermometer and you need to monitor your temps. There will be no little light telling you that the oil is ready. There is no safety shut off either. Again you need to monitor your temperatures and turn your regulator valve down if need be.

Traditional turkey fryers always run the risk of overflow and flare ups. This can occur if placing the bird too quickly into the fryer, or if it is wet or not properly thawed. A way to avoid the danger of overflow and flare ups is to get a safer fryer. These units typically have the flame on the back side and self-contained fire tubes. Any overflow that may occur would happen at the front of the unit. No hot oil or flame should ever come in contact. All the same safety precautions should still be taken. Like having an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy at all times and protective gloves.

Electric or propane, indoors or outdoors, you should never use water on a hot oil fire.

Never leave your fryer unattended, indoors or outdoors.

Whether you decide on an indoor electric turkey fryer or an outdoor propane deep fryer, weigh your options, research, and make an informed decision. Which fryer is best? That decision can only be made by you.



Source by Jenifer Whelan

Oats Kuzhipaniaram, Mukani Halwa and Carrot Payasam

Oats Kuzhipaniaram:

Requirements: Oats-1cup, Banana-1: Cashewnut-1 Tablespoon: Sugar-3/4 cup: Cardamom-1 Teaspoon: Milk-1 cup:Ghee- 1 Tablespoon.

Method: Soak oats and cashew nuts in milk and grind it in mixie. Then add Banana and grind it to make a nice paste. Add sugar and cardamom with the paste and mix it well. Pour it in Kuzhipaniaram tava with Ghee, fry it till it becomes golden brown in colour. It can be eaten along with tomato pickle. It will be the youngsters favorite dish.

Mixed Carrot Cutlet:

Requirements: Carrot-200 gms, Big onion-1, Green Peas-50 gms, Cheese-50 gms, Chilli powder-2 Teaspoon, Corn flour-100 gms, Salt-Required amount, For frying- Ghee or Sunflower oil.

Method: Peal the Carrot and Onion and grate it. Cook Green peas, grated carrot. Mix corn flour and chilli powder well and add grated cheese to it. Then add cooked peas and carrot and grated onion to it and make it as a small balls. Then put the tava on gas stove in flame and press the balls in to vadas and keep it in the heated pan. Pour ghee or oil for frying. After it becomes golden brown in colour take out the cutlets and serve with hot chilli sauce or Tomato sauce.

Carrot Payasam:

Requirements: Ooty Carrot Big -2, Milkmaid-1 cup, Sugar-11/2 cup, Cardamom Powder- 1 teaspoon, Cashew nut and Dry grapes-10 pieces, Badam Essence-Little.

Method: Peel Carrot grate it and cook it in a pressure cooker. Cool it sometime and grind it. Then pour it in a pan and keep it slow flame. Add sugar till it dissolves. Now add Milkmaid, cardamom powder and fried cashew nuts and dry grapes. Once the payasam become thick switch of the flame and add badam essence. Mix it well, cool it and keep it in the refrigerator. After cooling serve it in glass. It is very healthy too. . . . .



Source by Janaki V