How to Get HDTV

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to get hdtvYou’ve heard about it, and you’ve seen it displayed in stores. Perhaps now it’s time for you to get HDTV.

Buy an HDTV

To get HDTV (high definition television) programming, you must have a television capable of showing the HDTV picture. Visit your local electronics store or shop online to see the various HD compatible televisions available. High definition can boost the price of a basic television set, but it is becoming increasingly a standard feature in most new sets. Check to see if your current television allows for HD, and if not, treat yourself to a new television with HD compatibility.

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Call the Cable Company

Chances are, if you’re just now buying a HD television, you don’t already have HDTV coming through the cable box or satellite. Pick up the phone and call your representative about the HD options available in your viewing area. There are more HD channels being released all the time, so chances are good you have at least a handful of HDTV channels to choose from.

Your cable company may offer a HDTV package, or you may have to choose which channels you’d actually like to receive. Once you’ve made your selections and gotten service set up, you can expect a visit from the installation tech.

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Install Your HDTV Box

Some companies may be able to send HDTV signals to your current cable or satellite box, but chances are you’ll have to get an upgraded receiver. The cable technician will come to call with the new box, a new remote, and all the necessary wires. You’ll need to show him how your new television works and have the owner’s manual on hand for the new TV should something prove tricky. Most likely, however, the tech will plug in a few wires, make a phone call, and have your HDTV up an running in less than thirty minutes.

Enjoy!

Once you’re installed, you can pull up the old TV trays and popcorn while you enjoy crystal clear picture and sound. Throw in a new HD DVD for a real trip through the movies and spend some time experiencing nature as closely as you can through wires with HD Discovery. The longer you watch HD, the more you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

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How to Choose What Size TV to Get

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to decide what size of a tv to getLooking for a new TV? Sometimes bigger isn’t better, but often times it can be more fun. When you need a TV, choose the size wisely to avoid wasting money on too much television or straining your eyes to try and see your bargain buy.

Consider Your Location

Where is the television going to be used? This can make the most important distinction in television size. A TV for the kitchen is usually small, twenty inches or less, as it sits on the countertop and you don’t want it blocking any cabinets or hanging off. A television for the living room, on the other hand, should be large enough to be enjoyed by everyone. At the minimum, a family television should be twenty seven inches.

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Consider Your Space

If you’re planning on putting your television on top of your dresser in the bedroom, you’ll want something small enough to fit the space easily, but large enough to see while laying in bed. You can opt for a larger television if you plan to use TV shelves to store cable boxes and DVD players as the shelves will put these bulky items above the television rather than beside it. If you have a television niche built in to your living room, find the size of television that fits more comfortably. Be sure to include the dimensions of any stands or carts as well.

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Consider Your Budget

Smaller budgets will most likely be buying a smaller television. Of course, you might be able to buy a larger television with a less quality picture, but you’ll have to decide which is more important to you – size or graininess. Look around for televisions on sale to find a bargain on a high quality television in the exact size you need. If you’re forced to buy a small television now, never fear. There is always a place for a small TV somewhere in your home when you’re able to upgrade to the big screen.

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How to Lose Weight

July 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

how to lose weight >All of the television commercials and emails we receive make it seem simple to lose weight. Take a pill, buy this book, try this special meal plan and in recent years, have this surgery. Losing weight isn’t necessarily challenging, but it does require effort and a commitment. To change your body, you’ll have to change your routines and possibly your whole lifestyle. Here’s how to lose weight.

Understand Calories

Calories are individual sources of energy. Your body needs energy to perform its daily functions and the number of calories a person actually needs in a day varies by what he does and his size and age. For example, a teenage boy requires thousands of calories a day to keep up with his activities and his body as it grows literally inches a month. A thirty-five year old man is less likely to be playing football or basketball after school and is only growing out at this point, so he needs far less calories. The amount of muscle you have will also increase the number of calories you require.

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Excess Calories

If you eat more calories than your body needs to complete its daily tasks, the extra calories are stored in the body as fat. The more calories you consume over your body’s required amount the more fat is stored in the body.

Reducing Calories

The first step to losing weight is to reduce the number of calories you consume on a daily basis. As it is better to burn calories rather than starve them away, you’ll want to reduce calories by no more than 1000 per day over the span of a week or two and increase your activity level.

Activity Level

Calories are designed to be burned. This means that if you continue to sit on the couch but simply stop eating, you will lose weight, but most of that weight won’t be a long-term loss. Your metabolism, or burn rate, will dramatically slow effectively burning fewer calories over time. Then, once you stop the particular diet, your metabolism burns fewer of the calories you’re now consuming again and the weight piles back on.

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Instead of a simple diet, increase your activity level to burn 500 or 1000 calories a day. A brisk one hour walk will burn 350 calories. Combine a one hour walk with a slight reduction in calories and you’ll find your weight loss goals much more easily met.

A Weight Loss Plan

If you are serious about losing weight, you should make two changes. The first is to increase the amount of healthy foods you eat and reduce the unhealthy ones. Don’t diet per se, but do replace fattening chips with rice cakes or whole wheat crackers. Skip the ice cream and have sorbet. Track how many calories you’re actually consuming to keep it close to how many your body actually uses on a day without the extra exercise. This will help to keep your metabolism up. By simply switching from high calorie foods to lower ones, you’ll be eliminating hundreds of calories from your diet.

Increase your activity level dramatically. Take the stairs at work and walk when possible. If you can’t get to a gym or take a long walk, try to do short bursts of activities during the day. Get your heart pounding as often as possible. Even standing or stretching while watching television burns far more calories. Walking in place or on a treadmill while you watch your favorite shows burns even more. The more calories you burn and the more muscle you build, the faster the fat will come off.

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How to Punish a Child

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to punish a childSpanking is taboo and time-out doesn’t always work. What’s a parent to do? Here are a few ways to punish bad behavior.

Ignore It

If you see your child breaking a minor rule, you always have the option of ignoring it. If he knows you know, this option isn’t appealing as blatantly ignoring something that is supposedly off limits undermines your entire discipline system. But if you hear your teenage swear accidentally on the stairs, keep walking and pretend you didn’t hear. You don’t have to punish everything – only behavior that is dangerous or defiant.

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Discuss the Problem

A firm voice and a shaking head make many children greatly remorseful. Establish eye contact with your child and let them know in clear terms that a particular behavior is unacceptable. A scolding might clear up the problem, but be sure to let her know the consequences if she is defiant and continues to break the rule during this calm discussion phase.

Removal from the Situation

If your child is acting up because a friend or family member is a bit out of control, you don’t want a time out which will punish only your child for the conduct. Instead, remove your child from the situation tactfully which is punishment by separation for both of the involved parties. A discussion on behavior later will remind your child that your rules apply everywhere – even if her cousin doesn’t seem t have the same guidelines.

Removal of Privileges

Once your child knowingly breaks a rule or acts in a dangerous way, removing privileges is highly effective. Be sure your level of punishments meets the level of the crime and set the punishment effectively the first time. If you realize later that a day of no TV would have been enough, follow through with your original week long restriction. Otherwise your child will think all punishments will be lenient and disappear before the time is up. Besides, skipping television never hurt anyone.

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Time Out

Time out works well for younger children. The number of minutes in time-our should correspond with the child’s age and you should always be as calm and rational as possible when putting a child in time out. Ideally, you warn and scold your child the first time an offense occurs and then place her in time out when she willfully does it again.

Calmly let her know why she’s in time out and require her to apologize when her time is up.

Spanking

If you don’t have a problem with spanking, it can be an effective discipline tool. It should, however, be used as a last resort and only with a clear head. A single swat on a thickly diapered bottom is probably punishment enough following a drawn out sullen wait and scolding. You’re going for psychological factors, not pain in spankings. Older children don’t benefit from spankings, and will be more effectively punished by removing their privileges.

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How To Keep a Spiritual Journal

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

how to keep a spiritual journalKeeping a spiritual journal is something that is usually associated with Bible study. An online search of the topic will pull up a plethora of Christian resources. The intent of this article is to offer suggestions which anyone of any faith can use to begin a habit of keeping a spiritual journal. 

The only tools you will need are a place to record your thoughts and some form of sacred text. I would encourage you to be open to rethinking the traditional interpretation of"sacred text." Most people, when you ask them what a sacred text is, will being listing books such as the Bible, the Quran, the Tao Te Ching, et al. Yet most people can recall moments of epiphany which occurred when not reading the typical sacred text. 

The lyric of a song that touches the heart deeply, a quotation from a movie that has a profound meaning, a painting, a sermon, even the forwarded email that has already been read by hundreds of people before reaching your in box can be experienced in a spiritual way. In other words, do not limit your definition of how you will receive sacred messages.

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How you keep your spiritual journal is completely up to you. Whether you choose to write it out longhand or write it out on a computer will depend on what makes you feel most comfortable. What you include in your journal should be as unique as you are. I offer a list of things you may or may not incorporate:

Prayer/Meditation Experiences

Most faiths have some form of prayer or meditation practice, a way for the individual to reconnect with the sacred. A Prayer Journal can be kept to record requests made and answered. A Meditation Journal can be used to track the length or type of meditation as well as any messages the practitioner may have received. Once again, I want to encourage you not to confine your definition of prayer and/or meditation to the times when you consciously quiet yourself for these moments. You may find yourself thanking God as you drive in your car for a near miss on the road that kept your from being involved in an accident. Or you may find yourself having a transcendent moment when you see a beautiful sunset. While you may not be in a position to immediately record the experience, you can try to remember to write about it later, when you are able to do so. 

Messages Received

As stated previously, how you receive spiritual messages will vary. You may read something from a book, hear something in a poem or song, find an interesting quote in a movie, television program. How and when you hear the "still small voice" is not something you dictate. That said, making a habit of going to some form of sacred text to read these messages is a discipline that is well worth the time and effort. This may include your sitting alone with a book, reading and taking notes, or listening to a teacher in some form of public gathering, on video or even recordings. The key is to make it a habit, whether it be daily or weekly. Those who make a habit of listening will find themselves hearing more messages beyond the time set aside for receiving them. It is not unusual for someone who has made a habit of recording messages they receive to find themselves to receiving more at different times and not only when they themselves are sitting down in order to receive them.

Lessons Given

Finally, you may find yourself communicating with another person and say something that is surprisingly wise, something you may even recognize as being beyond yourself. As always, be aware that this can happen at any time: during a conversation, in a letter or email, even during a chat. Although you may not always be able to write about the moment in your journal at that precise moment, you can always record what you remember at a later time. You may even be able to jot down a few key words or phrases on a napkin or notepad you carry with you. Later, when you have some quiet time to write in your journal, do so with as much detail as possible. Try not to wait too long because it is easy to lose the immediacy of the lesson if you procrastinate. It is always best to make the time then hope you will find it later.

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This is just a small sampling of what you might choose to do in your own spiritual journal and is not meant to be inclusive. As you can see there are no rules as to what you can or cannot include. The only rules I ever consider imperative for Spiritual Journaling are as follows:

Date all entries.

If you do not keep any other form of journal you may want to include a brief summary of your life or the day’s events. This is especially useful for the Prayer/Meditation Experiences section as well as Lessons Given. These extra notes can offer surprising insight to your spiritual growth when you read these entries later, whether it is a year or even a decade after the entry was originally written.

Record the source.

When journaling about messages received be sure to give credit where credit is due. If you are listening to a teacher/preacher, write down the person’s name and even the location when the teaching was given. If it is a recorded program, whether audio or video, you may not know the specifics but do the best you can with what you know. If the message is drawn from a text, whether a book or movie, poem, song, write down the title, author (scriptwriter, lyricist), and page number where applicable. 

I can say, with the utmost confidence, that if you choose to make a habit of recording your responses to spiritual experiences you will not only be able to trace your journey and growth but will find yourself having deeper and even more frequent experiences than before. Making this commitment to yourself will have benefits beyond your expectations.

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How to Do a Short Sale

July 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Business & Finance

how to complete a short home saleA short sale, or flip, seems simple enough when you watch a television program or read of other people’s success. Flipping a home can be simple if you know what you’re doing and the real estate markets support you. But short sales can be risky at the best of times. Here’s how to do a short sale.

Find a Market

Before you even think about a home, you must first find a housing market with conditions accommodating to a short sale. Area such as California have seem home prices rise dramatically in almost all areas, especially for homes that have been updated. Rising home prices and high levels of demand are ideal for a short sale. Be sure you’ve found a neighborhood where fixing up a home will bring you profits, not be lost in the sale process if the upgrades don’t add the right balance of value to the home for the area.

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Find the Right Home

Look within your selected market for a home that is in need of updating but that doesn’t have expensive necessary repairs such as roofing or foundation work. Redoing a kitchen and updating fixtures is one thing, but repairing termite and water damage is another. Find a home that seems to be behind its neighbors. By bringing that home up to date, it should make it more valuable if the entire neighborhood is increasing in value.

Find a Cheap Home Loan

When you’re doing a short sale, you’re not interested in building equity over time. You want to mortgage the house for as little as possible for the six months to a year that you’ll be holding it. California mortgage options include interest only and short-term variable rate loans ideally suited for this purpose.

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Complete Home Upgrades

To maximize profits, you must complete repairs as quickly as possible without spending an arm and a leg. Find a good general contractor if you’re too busy or inexperienced to act as your own and keep the workers coming. The longer it takes to sell, the more profit is lost. Upgrade areas that are obviously in need of updating, but focus your attention on areas that make a substantial impact such as kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and the living areas.

Sell Your Home!

Sell the home as quickly as you can. Short sales can take as little as a few weeks or might take up to a year. The moment your house is presentable, put it back on the market. Stage it well and work on curb appeal to sell it quickly. Every month it sits, you’re losing money in mortgage payments, so be flexible in your sale price – price it to sell, not necessarily to maximize profit. Waiting three months to sell $10,000 higher might net you nothing if you paid as much in mortgage payments during that time.

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