How To Get Into Video Games

July 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Recreation & Fun

how to play video gamesVideo games are still a popular hobby by many people across the world of all ages. It’s just as common for the older generation to play video games as well as the younger generation, many people tend to exclude the older age group from playing which can make you loose a huge percentage of buyers if the producer targets a specific age group.

There are many ways in which people can get into the video game scene, some of the common reasons are due to friends and family playing them on a regular basis. If a close friend or family member recommends a good game they think you will like, more times then not you will try it out to see what the fuss is about. They can be very addictive and after one test run, you could be hooked onto that specific series of games and will buy all future releases. Many children nowadays are not very outdoor and sociable, another alternative to watching TV is video games, they provide hours of entertainment which will make the parents happy as they know where they are, what their getting up to and most of all that they are staying safe.

In today’s market there are plenty of different genres of games in which people can play. Not every genre will be suitable for every gamer, the common genres are:

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  • 1st person shooters
  • 3rd person shooters
  • Role playing game
  • Strategy
  • Sport
  • Fighting
  • Adventure
  • Platform
  • Simulation
  • Puzzle
  • Educational
  • Arcade

That’s just a few top level categories, many of these expand out into sub genres giving even more choice for the gamer. As you can see from the list above, you can guarantee that you will find a suitable genre that you enjoy and become a big fan.

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With the increase of technology the gaming industry will only get better as technology improves, the main downside is the price, the later consoles can cost around $500 and above which each game varying from $60+ depending on the age of the game. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on video games in a few months, especially if you play various genres to give you a change depending on your mood.

You can guarantee that if you’re into video games then you will have a hobby for life, new and improved consoles are always due to be released as it make millions of dollars profit for the manufacturers to keep the clientele satisfied with new games and sequels to preceding world famous games.

Another common way of people getting into video games is by playing online, if you spend a fair amount online you will of more then likely played little online flash games which can be terribly addictive as you waste many hours per week trying to beat them. The benefit of these online games is the fact they are available to play free of charge and require no downloads so it’s quick and easy.

There is another variation of online games which entice many people into playing, these are games that have the single player option to play on your own against the artificial intelligence and also include a multi player mode in which you can sign onto the internet and play against human players.

This is very popular amongst the 1st person shooters and role playing games (RPG) such as counter strike, unreal tournament, battlefield, Diablo and many more. These types of games are free to play online once you have bought the game for the desired console. There are certain online games that require you to buy the game itself and install it, and then if you want to play online you have to pay a fee per month. An example of this type of game is World of Warcraft which is one of the biggest online multi player games available to date with well over 8 million users playing on a daily basis. These can be quite common as gamers around the world don’t mind paying a fee to play per month if the game play will be unique and keep them entertained for hours.

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How To Write a Cover Letter

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Jobs & Careers

how to write a cover letterWhat is a cover letter? Obviously, it is a letter. This letter gives your employer a background of its proceeding documents (resumes, bio data, etc) for possible employment. It gives the reader (in this case, the employer) an introduction on what to expect in the proceeding documents.

Since it is an introduction (that’s why it is called a cover letter) of your job application documents, it must be written as professionally as possible. This is because you want to impress your employer from the start so that you will be his choice for the job you seek. The following are points to ponder in writing a professional cover letter.

General Directives:

A cover letter is written in a one whole page. Thus you may want to include important information about yourself. Avoid irrelevant information, for they will fill valuable space (which is intended for the most important ones) in your one-page cover letter. Be general in your cover letter. Reserve the specifics in the resume.

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In writing a professional cover letter, it is obvious to write it with correct spelling and grammar. Come to think of this: do you expect a professional to be wrong, especially in the most basic terms? Consider proper spelling of words, word association (like subject-verb agreement), etc. Also please use simple words that can be easily understood. Don’t use highfaluting words that cause “nosebleeds” to readers. Thus using such terms will bring you to nothing.

Unlike resumes, cover letters are written in a first person perspective. Thus the use of the terms “I”, “my”, and the like are to be maximized. A cover letter is a personal introduction about you. Thus you must personalize its form.

Specific Directives:

Generally, a cover letter is composed of three paragraphs. Each paragraph contains specific information about you.

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An introduction of the self must be contained in the first paragraph. It tells about you as yourself. It also tells about your desire to work with the company you are applying to and why the company wants your services. It must be short, but not hurried.

The second paragraph includes your professional career history and educational background. It must be included in this paragraph the skill, experiences, educational background, and job history acquired prior to the job you are applying for.

The third and last paragraph must include the opportunities that the company has in having you. You must also include a sentence which expresses an appointment time with the company.

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How To Prepare For an Interview

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Jobs & Careers

how to prepare for an interviewYou just got out of school and you’re raring to join the work force so you could start earning your keep. Or you must be an old-timer hoping to get a stab at that managerial post that’s been opened in your company. Like most candidates, you would have to go through an interview or even a series of it before the company hands down their choice.

What To Do:
Nothing beats preparing for an interview. Everyone knows that. If not, these candidates learn it the hard way and just shake their heads in disappointment after it’s been done. You don’t have to go through the same and miss that wonderful opportunity of getting hired and forego the feeling of accomplishment that goes with it.

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It is imperative that you completely understand your strengths and weaknesses. When you prepare your resume, make sure you can back up the details you put in there when asked for more specifics. Anticipate that questions will most likely be directed towards your skills, work experience, educational background, relevant training, career goals or lack of it. The interviewer might even give you situational questions related to the job you are applying for.

Research and Practice:
It would also boost your opportunities if you researched on the company and the position you are aiming for. The interviewer will most definitely ask you why you feel you are fit for the job. This is where researching would help you because no interviewer would appreciate being asked what the post is all about. I can just imagine the interviewer rolling their eyes at you. The interviewer may not be as expressive but you can go ahead and kiss your chances goodbye. Interviewers will want to hear your qualifications aligned with the requirements for the job. The person who fits the job most will most likely get past the interview and win the job.

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Now, you may the best fit for the job but you end up getting tongue tied and failing to express yourself in words because of nervousness. It is expected that a person who goes through an interview gets butterflies in their stomachs. The best way to overcome this feeling is coming in prepared. Practice in front of the mirror so you could see how you project yourself during an interview. Are your hands too distracting when you talk? Do you have that smug expression when talking about your accomplishments? Be sure to project yourself professionally so interviewers will take to you positively during interviews.

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How To Write an Essay

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to write an essayThe formal essay is a fundamental in education. A formal essay is the best way to share knowledge on a particular topic and is a very popular form of exam. An essay can be personal or research based, but an essay generally follows the same format.

The Outline:

A well written essay can easily be tied back to an outline. It is heavily framed than then fleshed out with details. An outline for a classic five paragraph essay looks like this:

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I. Introductory Paragraph

II. Main Idea #1

a. Detail about Main Idea #1

b. Detail about Main Idea #1

c. Detail about Main Idea #1

III. Main Idea #2

a. Detail about Main Idea #2

b. Detail about Main Idea #2

c. Detail about Main Idea #2

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IV. Main Idea #3

a. Detail about Main Idea #3

b. Detail about Main Idea #3

c. Detail about Main Idea #3

V. Closing Paragraph and Summary

Introductory Paragraph:

The introduction to your essay should contain your thesis statement. This is the one sentence that summarizes your entire paper. All supporting paragraphs will provide details about this statement, so it must be broad enough to say your complete message, but it also must make a solid point. Generally the thesis statement is the first or last sentient of the introductory paragraph.

Body Paragraphs:

Each of the body paragraphs in an essay makes a point. Each paragraph should follow the same format as shown by the outline above. The first sentience of each is the topic sentence for that paragraph. The topic sentence should contain only one supporting point, such as “The French Revolution was disappointing to many of the French peasants of the time.”

Then, each of the remaining 3-4 sentences should give details and proof as to how and why the peasants were disappointed. Each paragraph should make a different point with at least two supporting statements and details following the topic sentence. You can have as many body paragraphs as you do points to make.

The Closing Paragraph:

After you have introduced your topic and stated your point using your thesis statement, you offer support. Your body paragraphs offer supporting statements and details that show your thesis statement to be correct. Finally, you must wrap up your support and close the paper using a powerful ending.

The closing paragraph restates your thesis and ties in the supporting statements. Ideally you should have a powerful final statement that will linger in the mind of your reader and help cement your point. In some cases, the closing paragraph could be shortened to a single sentence and tacked onto the end of the final body paragraph, but it is cleaner to simply add a final paragraph.

Essay Overview:

From a very high perspective, an essay is clean and tidy. You first introduce your topic and tell the reader what you are about to say. Then, you say it. Finally, you wrap it up and tell the reader what you just said. There is no room for extra items or long drawn out side stories.

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How To Help Your Kids Adjust To a New School

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to help a kid adjust to a new schoolStarting a new school is tough at any age. Kids can be tough on new students and it can take awhile for the new kid to settle in and find his spot in the already existing social food chain. Parents can help their child adjust more quickly in many ways.

Find a group:

The hardest part of starting a new school is not having a place to belong. Help your child find his element by locating the ideal group for him to join. Sports, music, art and other extracurricular can give a new student an immediate sense of belonging and bring him close to others with the same interests. It gives him an identity in a large body of students which takes out much of the social stigma of being new. It also provides your child with a safe activity complete with a monitored peer group.

Dress correctly:

At silly as it seems to most parents, children as young as elementary school immediately judge others based on wardrobe and appearance. As much as physical appearance doesn’t matter to you, it may matter a great deal to your child. Take your child to the mall to see what others his age are wearing. Is there a particular brand of shoe that most have? Are shirts in or out?

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These small things can help him blend in from the first day. Don’t worry about his individuality. He has plenty that will show itself in time. The last thing he needs now is to be teased about having the wrong kind of haircut – unless he thrives on being different.

Pack a lunch:

The worst time of day for new students is lunch time. Not only is the cafeteria set up differently on every campus, there are new lunch rules to learn and follow. The worst part of any lunch room is the seating arrangement. Everyone already has a place to sit, and the new kid often has to sit alone. There isn’t much a parent can do to help this scenario unless you can introduce your child to others before he starts the new school.

One thing that can help is to throw some lunch items in his backpack. That way he has something to eat without having to experiment with lunch lines and procedures and has the option of snacking in places other than the cafeteria. Many schools allow students to eat in the library or outside which may make his solo status less evident until he finds his own crowd.

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Make a test run:

Take your child up to school before his first day to scope out his classes and locker. Make a test run through the building so he knows how to get from one place to another without being late or having to ask directions. Make sure his locker works and possibly stash school supplies before he starts classes. The less he has to deal with the first day, the better.

Meet the teachers:

There is hope that if he meets his teachers before starting class, he won’t have to make an embarrassing speech the first day. Take a tour through the building right after classes let out and let him speak briefly to each of his teachers. This is also a good time to see what extra supplies he might need the following day when he first comes to class.

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How To Enforce Study Time

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to get your kids to study The academic load in schools today is large and in some cases, overwhelming. The intense studying and outside reading once reserved for college campuses has trickled down into high schools where parents must help their teenagers structure their time to get all homework and studying completed in a given day.

The hardest of these tasks is to enforce study time. After all, there is no worksheet or problems to show they did the reading and studying at the end of the day. To enforce study time, consider the following:

Study with your child.

While it takes a great deal of time out of your day, the best way for your child to learn material may be to work with you. Help her study by having her summarize main points and work on the guiding questions found in most text books together. Sit down together and take turns reading out loud or work through examples. You might realize a passion for science and social studies you never knew you had, plus your child will see exactly how much you value her education and her.

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Ask questions.

At the very least, you should ask your child questions while she studies or at the end of the study session. Flip open her book and find the questions for the assigned chapter. Go through them and see if her answers are suitable. Skim a few pages and ask for a summary or major point.

Make it routine.

The best thing to do to help young adults is establish a routine. Children of all ages respond to structure and routine, so make it a habit to study at the counter every evening while you fix dinner. Or make it “quiet time” for certain hours each day while everyone in the family studies, read the paper or catches up on professional materials. This shows quiet support of studying and provides a supportive environment.

Monitor

Keep an eye on your studying student. Many young people prefer to study with friends or in their room, but both of these may provide too many distractions. Collect cell phones before study time to limit incoming calls and keep the computer turned off until all reading is complete. Occasionally stop by your child to see that progress is being made and that everyone, including a possible friend, is on track.

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Follow up

If your student studied Thursday evening for a test on Friday, go back through major points together on Friday morning. Skimming material is not as effective as reading it carefully and practicing problems within it, so reading alone may not be the answer. Help her remember important points by quizzing her over breakfast or before she goes to bed at night.

Encourage

Simply encouraging studying is far better than forcing it. You can’t force learning and trying will most likely make your teenager rebel. Encourage quality study by participating or demonstrating your support. Sending your child off to study while you loudly watch her favorite program or chat on the phone with friends will be viewed as unfair and rude. So at the very least, find yourself something quiet to do while your child studies. Then, everyone can enjoy watching the show together.

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How To Encourage Good Grades

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to encourage good gradesThere is an old adage that says you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. This metaphor is applicable to may things, including your child’s grades. You can attempt to force your child to get good grades, but that will eventually backfire when your child openly rebels or begins to suffer from intimidation tactics. Rather, you should encourage your child to strive for good grades and help her develop her own motivation to do well.

There are two ways to encourage any behavior. The first is a system of external rewards, or extrinsic motivation. These external rewards can be money, gifts or simple praise and enthusiasm. The other method is internal rewards on the part of the child. These are called intrinsic, and can only be brought about by the child herself. The best motivation for good grades combines a system of both.

Positive Reinforcement:

The most important thing to remember when encouraging good grades is that you are seeking to motivate – not intimidate. Threats and negativity might produce results, but they will cost you in the long run. At the very least you will be damaging a relationship, but can also drive a wedge between you and your child affecting respect levels and communication. To be sure that you are sending the right message, reward the behavior you are seeking and avoid punishing the behaviors you’re not.

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Reward System:

Good grades should be rewarded. Even if you fully expect nothing less from your child, you should still celebrate each time she brings home a great report card. Some parents give their children money or gifts for good grades, which is a personal decision. Others, however, avoid doing this.

Rewards for bringing home good grades do not need to be large. In fact simple rewards may be more meaningful than sums of money. Lavish praise and obvious pride can go a long way toward making your child feel special. Even teenagers in the throes of rebellion still feel good knowing they’ve made their parents proud.

Communicate with your child to let them know how important their homework is and offer to check over it with them. Sit down and help your child study for tests. Quiz them. Education is important, not just the grades. Your actions and intentions will be very clear, so throw your entire being into supporting your child and her education.

Developing a Drive:

Over time, especially if you started young, your child will develop an internal drive to make good grades. Your praise and enthusiasm will rub off on her and she will begin to feel her own sense of pride for a job well done. Continue with your reward system to constantly bolster her own. Soon you will be working together toward a common goal.

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Be Reasonable:

A final note on good grades is to set reasonable expectations. If your child struggles in a subject, her best effort might only produce a C. It is important to remember that working to do her best often means working harder than those to whom the subject comes easily. Her efforts should be doubly rewarded, and you should encourage her and work with her to repair any deficiencies she may have in the subject area.

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How To Contact Your Kid’s Teachers

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to contact a teacherStaying involved in your child’s education is not only wise but is also necessary for your child to achieve at their best level. Teachers are highly trained professionals with years of experience, but only you know your child at every level. By working together, teachers and parents are able to help a child meet his full potential.

Staying in touch with teachers has gotten easier over the years thanks to technology. With many parents working outside of the home, running up to the school during the day is often impossible, so we must rely on other methods.

Phone Calls:

The most classic means of communication is still used today. Many teachers will make a phone call home if they need to discuss your child’s behavior or performance, but parents can take the initiative on phone calls as well. Teachers have their own voicemail and extensions in most schools, so parents can call and leave a message at any time – including during class. Most schools send calls directly to the teacher’s voicemail to be returned later if classes are in session.

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Emails:

Thanks to increased technology on campuses, teachers are now also accessible by email. Permission slips can be sent via email as well as notes about special circumstances. Many teachers are open to emails and might even prefer them as they can be answered while students are working on other assignments – unlike phone calls.

If you have access to email, send your child’s teachers a quick note. The other nice thing about email is that it can be sent to multiple teachers at once. This cuts down on phone time and possible confusion. Send one message to all his teachers and wait for responses. It is also nice to have a printed copy of communications to share with your child or spouse as necessary.

Internet:

Many school districts have fully embraced technology and now have calendars with the daily lesson plans and assignments online. These websites also have contact information and notes from teachers or administration to parents. Other teachers have personal web pages for their classroom or blogs with notes and help for assignments. Parents who are interested in keeping up with their child’s homework and classroom assignments can access these sites from any computer.

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Notes:

If you have a young or very reliable child, a written note might get to a teacher. Doctor’s notes and other excused absences must be written, but other short notes can be handwritten as well. Teachers often send notes home with young students, but older students are unlikely to deliver the message unless it is something positive.

A Conference:

Teachers have one period or time off during the day that is called their conference time. This is a time teachers should be collaborating with each other or conferencing with parents. Never hesitate to contact the school to set up a conference with your child’s teachers. Sometimes a bit of face time can make a powerful impression on your child and if nothing else, allows you to meet the people your child spends most of his day with.

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How To Pay For College

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to pay for collegePaying for college can be a daunting feat. There is no doubt that the value of a college education is immeasurable, but the tuition and fees make it hard to remember that sometimes. There are many ways to pay for college. So many, in fact, it’s feasible for anyone to get the training they need to be successful.

How to Save

If you are lucky enough to be planning for college down the road, there are many instruments to help you save.

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Start a savings account as soon as possible. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when its time to start school. Once you have a solid start in your savings account, transfer that money to a mutual fund.

You can take advantage of a 529 plan which will offer some tax breaks inside the United States or just invest in a traditional mutual fund. Be sure to make your choice of instruments aggressive. The cost of college tuition is outpacing inflation, so lean toward stocks to make sure your money is earning as much as possible. Of course, you should scale back the intensity of the aggressiveness as the college years actually approach.

How to Get Loans

Many families and individuals, even if they have savings, are still unable to pay all college costs without taking out a loan. Fortunately a university student loan is far easier to apply and qualify for than any other loan.

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Begin your loan process by researching your options. You might qualify for special grant and loan programs or be better off with government sponsored programs including Canada student loans. You must also come up with an actual amount that you will need to get through your school years.

Once you have established your needs and desired programs fill out the student loan application. Be sure to include all necessary information. This is not the time to try and hide certain facts. Parents can apply for loans on behalf of their children, but student loans are simple for most young people to qualify for on their own.

Once you have the application completed, always read back over it to be sure all information is correct. Then move on to any letter or essay requirements. Not all applications have essay requirements.

Take some time to create and proofread and revise any required letter or essay. Try to be creative without losing your theme and focus, but make it entertaining and pertinent. This letter or essay will be your first impression on the committee or banker, so you want it to count.

Finally, double-check your writing and read back through it. Then submit your application online or mail it. If you are mailing it, be sure to leave at least seven days prior to the deadline for any mishaps in the mail. It is also a good idea to mail the application from the post office so that it is metered rather than stamped as this will make it less likely an incident of any kind will occur.

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How to Consolidate Student Loans

July 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Business & Finance

how to consolidate a student loanBeen to school? It doesn’t matter if you graduated or flunked out – chances are if you started a college education you now have a slew of student loans. Of course, those individuals hard working enough to actually finish their degrees owe that much more to various lenders.

Student Loans

A student loan is a thing of beauty. Interest rates are low, the payments are deferred until you graduate and there are almost unlimited amounts of money available. For those without college funds or scholarships, student loans are the best way to get through a college program. After all, as soon as you graduate and get a job, the student loans will be simple to pay back. Be that as it may, you may find it even easier to handle the payments when you learn how to consolidate student loans.

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Consolidate Student Loans

To consolidate student loans, you’re simply rolling the amounts you owe into a single loan. You then make a single payment to a single bank which saves on time, hassle, and for those still using a checkbook- postage. In some cases, consolidating student loans means you pay less overall to repay what you’ve borrowed.

The first thing to do when considering how to consolidate student loans is to speak with the issuing bank for each loan you already have. You need a consolidation loan with favorable terms (i.e. low interest rates) so the best place to start is with the people who’ve already loaned you money. Ask each bank if they offer student loan consolidation and get information about terms.

Then, armed with that information, spend a bit of time researching other options such as credit unions, online banks, and bidding sites online. When you’ve sampled the various programs available, decide which is the most promising to you. You should be looking for a program with low interest rates, friendly customer service, and few or no fees for the consolidation itself.

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Apply or work with an existing lender to arrange a consolidation loan. The lender may pay off the other loans for you, or you may be given a sum of money from the new consolidation loan to be used to pay off the lump sums of all the others. If you receive a lump sum, be very sure the money gets where it needs to go as quickly as possible.

Follow up a week or two after the consolidation to be sure all loans have been rolled into the new student loan consolidation. Clean up any issues you may find quickly as student loans can have an impact on your credit the same way credit cards can – although with different degrees of impact.

Finally, when you’re making a single easy payment every month and all of the original separate accounts are closed and paid in full, you can relax knowing you’re making as much progress as possible every month on paying off your education.

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