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Fingerless Gloves + Touchscreen = Win!

Sometimes you have an impossible task. For me, recently, it was finding the best cycling gloves that are comfortable, economic, and also allow me to use my touchscreen. It took a bit of searching as I was rather particular about what I bought. After careful scrutiny, I ended up with fingerless gloves. There are advantages and disadvantages to these, but it depends upon what is most important to you. Do you want coverage or do you want to access your touchscreen? I pride myself on being able to come up with sound solutions given many options. I know how to read between the lines and determine which product will serve me best. It is not enough to read the testimonials as they aren’t always specific enough. You must look at the photos carefully and read the product specifications. You want a good fit with some dexterity. You want a good grip on your bicycle controls. Given that I use my touchscreen virtually all day long, this turned out to be the priority in making my decision. When a particular usage is that obvious, why not go with your instincts.

I was so engrained in this search that I decided to buy a pair of cycling gloves like these for my brother as a gift. I knew he was wedded to his touchscreen so I went with a similar model but in a different color. He praised my choice to the skies. When we ride together now, we look like fingerless twins. What is good enough for me is certainly good enough for my brother. Getting the identical item therefore made perfect sense. There are constant choices in life to make, each more significant than the other. You have to have a good idea of your priorities to choose a good end result. Don’t just go with someone’s recommendation or because it was selling at deep discount. You get what you pay for is wise advise. Sometimes we don’t take the time to think things through. If we took hours on every purchase, we would never get anything done.

I should right a protocol for buying things online. It would start with why you want the object and what is your ideal price. You then list your options and start to compare as you reflect. You can make charts of pros and cons of each type of cycling glove for example. You could circle the important points—the key things you have discovered in your research. The item with the most circles wins. Above all you want your gloves to be well-made, preferably in the US, comfortable, designed for functionality and performance. You absolutely must be able to operate your touchscreen devices perfectly without a problem. Keep your gloves handy stored in your bike and take care of them if they get damaged, torn, or wet. Treat them like kid gloves and they will respond in kind. Good luck my fellow glove searchers.

My New Favorite Thing

I adore my new watch. It is my first smartwatch and man does it deliver. Its functions are multiple, making it a prized possession. It costs a pretty penny but I checked it out first before splurging. This is a once-in-a-lifetime buy and I made sure it was worth it. It comes from the famous brand Movado known for superior quality and design. Its Sport Motion model gives you everything you could possibly want including Bluetooth connectivity that you can pair with a smart phone or another device you may own. It can track steps like a fitness watch and even sleep. You just program in your goals. You don’t need several items to do what you need if you have a good smartwatch.

You can enter your activity goals on the date subdial. This beauty has a stainless-steel case and black bezel that surrounds the round dial and the matching reflector ring. The engineers got it right on this one. It has a silver-tone dot configuration that is iconic for Movado and hands that contrast elegantly. There are additionally white and orange accents that complete the dial. It makes for a beautiful focal point that you will look at frequently. Let’s not forget that this watch as Swiss quartz movement and is waterproof up to thirty meters. Plus, the push-button clasp secures the bracelet to your wrist. I can do all kinds of things with my new smartwatch over which I am ecstatic.

You can look but don’t touch. Once I took off the watch to show it to someone and I dropped it. So, I am not going to do that again. You can buy them online which doesn’t allow you first-hand judgement, but they are certainly available in stores. If you want to celebrate some success, treat yourself to this amazing mens watch. Sometimes we just owe it to ourselves to indulge. At this price, no one is going to give it to you for a holiday or a birthday. Sure, there are other choices, but when you consider functionality and design, the Movado wins every time. It is an award-winning company and is even sold in museum shops.

I have never seen one of my friends or colleagues wearing this watch, which is one reason for its purchase. I wanted something unique and all my own. A watch is kind a personal symbol or mode of identity because people always notice them, sitting prominently on your wrist. I can’t say that I have style in my attire, but I believe that I have made up for it with my stellar watch. Check it out on the Web and you will read the ample positive reviews. They are what sold me on it apart from the many uses. People seem to be honest when commenting on what pleases or displeases them, and this watch only gets raves. At night, I keep it in a dish on the dresser so it is the first thing I see when I open the drawers.

One for the History Books

I do things for friends that sometimes fall out of bounds of the normal, but we are pals after all and it is part of the close relationship to put yourself out and see things through to the bitter end. Not every selfless act for a friend is pleasant, but in retrospect it has some meaning. I am thinking of the time I had to take someone to the ER for a case of emergency food poisoning. My friend could have gotten badly dehydrated if he had not received immediate fluids. Meanwhile he was throwing up all over the floor and the poor ER nurse’s shoes. As a dedicated healthcare provider, she did not utter a word. I don’t know who felt worse about it: my friend or I. Nurses pride themselves on their cleanly appearance and I knew we had ruined her plan for the day. You can’t clean shoes with a little soap and water and hope to get out the fragments or the smell. She was going to have to do a major scrub job and then rush to her car for another pair. How many times in her career has she had to do this? Maybe this one was for the history book and it was the only time. Maybe when you see a vomiting patient, you learn how fast you have to turn away.

My friend was admitted that night and spent hours of discomfort waiting for the food poisoning to pass. It wasn’t until the next day that we both came up simultaneously with the great idea of replacing her nursing shoes with a new pair. We felt guilty that they had gotten ruined and the only way to assuage this guilt was to do a bit of shopping. This was also one for the history books. How many nurses get gifts from former patients? Not many we would bet. We found a store that carried medical clothing and footwear and searched for the size we were told that she wore. A fellow nurse was only too willing to help us out in our quest.

We selected a light blue woven fabric sneaker that matched the nurse’s uniform. Blue we were told is the color used in the ER on weekdays. We actually had enough sense about us to take notice. The shoe had a cushioned thick sole and we wanted the identical item. It was a slip on style with added laces for tightening to achieve the right degree of fit. We didn’t even care about the price. My friend was so embarrassed about the fiasco that he would spend anything to make amends.

Seeing the nurse’s face when we brought over the string-tied box was enough to alleviate any guilt or concern. She was surprised and quite pleased at our gesture. Upon opening the box, she exclaimed that we had found her favorite kind and that they were the most comfortable for work. “It wasn’t necessary by any means,” she cooed. But you could tell she was very content. Here was a patient scenario she would never forget.

Celebrate Like a Pro

Building websites is fun and lucrative and I am happy to say it is my line of work. It is creative, innovative, and one of the most in demand jobs around. You could celebrate that fact any day of the week. However, my crew and I celebrate like pros only after an individual website build to mark its success and completion. While it happens with some degree of frequency, each time is a milestone to us.

Celebrating should be a regular part of life and most of us don’t do it nearly enough. We roll through our days, weeks, and months, forgetting to pat ourselves on the back every once in a while. It makes for dull living. There are times when it pays to take a break, sit back and witness work accomplished. It feels good and gets the spirit lifted every time. Take it from me that it should be a regular practice no matter what field you are in; and it should be done in a group! The pleasurable mood reverberates in unison with others, so take advantage of the camaraderie when and where you can. Life is all about the little joys that add up.

I believe that if you are going to celebrate, you should do it right. In my world, this means that we like to toast to achievements done as they happen. We get the best booze for our drinks and use only pure crystal barware in the appropriate sizes. Someone is in charge to make sure this gets done. Nothing less will do. If you are going to celebrate in style, why not have something quality in mind. Anything less is going to be a disappointment.

As it were, we came to the good barware part a little late in the game. We were celebrating with mixed drinks for the most part, eschewing the more plebeian beer and wine. (We get plenty of that stuff in our lives although it is surely great in its own way.) No, instead we were going for scotch whiskey in a nice glass on the rocks, vodka martinis, manhattans, gin and tonics, and the like. The best brands of renown graced our makeshift bar countertop. We had been doing this for some time and enjoying it immensely, but something was missing in the overall experience. It was the glassware believe it or not. That was it! It wasn’t up to snuff. The everyday options were plain Jane in comparison and added little to no pizzazz. Someone had the brilliant idea of getting fine crystal barware at a garage sale, and that was the beginning of a new tradition.

Does the liquor taste better in a crystal glass? Maybe, but I can tell you that it feels right and particularly special. You can get used stuff, of course, or have your own gang chip in and buy a new set that is brand spanking new to be inaugurated by you. Your choice. What matters is that you have these glasses on hand, and plenty of them. Celebrating like a pro has its requirements.

Instant Guest Room

If you have a spare room, a sleep over is no problem. But if you don’t, you should think ahead. You never know when someone will be snowed in or forced to stay till morning due to torrential rains and floods. A friend might be your guest if you are working on a project that takes you deep into the night. This has happened to me more than once. So be ready to roll out the air mattress; it comes in mighty handy.

I don’t think many people stock them in the linen closet, folded tight and ready to be blown up into a comfort zone. When they are filled with air, they are surprisingly comfortable. You need a blanket or two and some pillows to finish the job. With me, I trotted it out at midnight and voila! Instant guest room. I am sooo glad I was given one to me by my enterprising cousin for a gift. He had one, too, and passed on the practicality. I was duly appreciative and let him know I appreciated his wisdom about hospitality at home.

It stood forlorn at the back of the coat closet for a year until it was needed. I had, in fact, forgotten where it was and had to do some fast searching. Fortunately, I don’t have that many closets, and few that could house a portable sort of bed! By the way, you can keep them under an actual bed, in the garage if covered in tarp, in the attic, or trunk of your car. You just want it ready, willing, and able when the time comes. It is an emergency cot, sleeping bag, and mattress all rolled into one. No one should ever have to sleep on the floor or ground for any reason.

Accommodating guests is a nice thing to do, even if they are there only to work. They are still visitors to your home in a sense, and you may stop and have a drink or two to relax. So get a decent one that won’t burst open if your friend weighs over two hundred pounds. I have seen them on the Internet, of course, where I see everything else I want to buy.

I have compared them to the one I own and have scoured discount prices. You see, I plan to give one as a gift myself to a lucky recipient. I know that it is something everyone needs but doesn’t own. It solves the problem of the person who has everything. No more racking my brain about a birthday gift for a hiker or a teen girl who has slumber parties. Why not give an air mattress like this for a holiday or even as a wedding gift. Now that would be unique. Accompany it with a nice Coleman stove and a skillet and you are set.

In short, an air mattress can get you out of a fix at home, or it can keep you comfortable and dry outside while camping. It can do double duty as a bed for pets. Don’t underestimate the value of having one or two just in case.

Programmable Vacuums

If you are technologically minded, you probably like things automated. Take housecleaning for example. You probably have a central vac system or a small compact bot for dusting up. Why do it yourself when a nonhuman can do it. Then you don’t get accused of exploitation! You don’t have to pay under the table and you don’t have to file IRS taxes. All you do is fill out a warranty form and turn the device on.

Computers aren’t really used much for cleaning tasks as much as they are for refrigerators and stoves, dishwashers, and laundry units. There is no electric broom or dust pan. We have come a long way with other appliances. Washers and dryers, among other machines, have digital displays and operate almost flawlessly with their upgraded controls. They are better than ever before and technology is here to stay.

Vacuum cleaners have some technology involved at this stage of the game, but the basic operation is much the same as before: suction and friction do the job. It is about rotating brushes and fans. It is more about how to make a vacuum better without having to make it bigger. Devices are now getting more sensors, to be sure, just like the little robot versions, and we should expect to see some exciting developments in the household cleaning sphere in years to come. No more bumping into table and chair legs or crashing into the chest of drawers. But a lot more is in store for the average vacuum user.

What else can technology offer the weary housewife or house husband? Your trusty vacuum could let you know when the bag or trash unit inside is full. It could prevent overheating when the fan goes on the fritz by cooling it off. It could change from low to high suction pressure at the flip of a switch or button and change hose attachments automatically so you don’t have to use cumbersome accessories. They would just pop out of the standing machine! It could raise and lower the height of the vacuum to suit the user, and it could suck water from a spill in any particular mode.

Vacuums already can run on batteries and can be recharged with ease, alleviating the stress from worrying about tripping over cords. They already are lighter in weight and simpler to operate. They can attack dust and dirt on carpets, floors, concrete, stairs, or even outside on the patio. They are bag-free, more sanitary, and more streamlined than ever before. The industry knows about upgrades and what pleases consumers. Having said that, a lot of the best robot vacuum cleaners that are on the market today are still fairly primitive in their designs – they move around the room, until they bump into something and then change direction – there’s no way to upload a map of the room to the device and make sure that it covers every spot. They have created a product that has universal appeal and widespread use. They are forever at the design table making changes to make household life easier.

Programmable vacuums are not millennia away. They are in process, and the rush will soon be on. It has happened with other appliances, and it will happen here. It is exciting to imagine the prospects of automation and technological advancement. The best is yet to come.

Wire Framing or Sketch Pad?

WireFraming

Building websites is tricky business. It requires skill, organization and the patience of a saint.

We can short cut the process by using graphical techniques to plan out our work ahead of time so we can see what our website will look like before we start coding.

This paper method for web development has evolved over the years. It is now called WireFraming.

But, before we get into that, let’s see how a sketchpad and some colored pencils or markers can help us create a new website.

By matching, you sketch pad to the shape of the screen you will working with and a technique called storyboarding you can create a sequence of images to show what your website and its associated pages will look like.

Story boarding is used now to make many of the Blockbuster movies you see now in the theaters and on the web.

So if is no wonder it is used for developing websites as well.

In sequence of pictures, you show the various screens of data and the functionality you want to have in your site’s design.

This is highly useful for a number of reasons. It can be shown to your fellow developers to decide whether the project is worthy of taking further. A webpage may be for internal customers at your firm or externally for a customer need for which your company expects to make money.

It can be used to show your execs and the department heads the project’s merits and get the signoffs needed to move ahead with design and coding up of the web pages and logic needed to make the site go live.

The project then may have to be pitched to your customers or clients you are creating the website for.

In this case, you will need to take the color out of your drawings.

Colors often distract from the important design features. Many a project has been delayed by arguments over the color scheme of a pages theme.

It is better show a plain black and white series of pictures showing function and content. This allows the stakeholders to weigh in on the project on a whole and get them to green light the project.

Once this has been done, you can show color and settle on a final color palette to use to create the final theme.

WireFraming developed from this simple process and in now a industry in its own right and there are many companies out there that supporting wireframing that does the same thing as we have be illustrating using artwork and storyboarding for. With the expansion of this digital artwork that you can use to show a mockup of what the software will do.

The question is now to you want to invest in the software tools that can duplicate what you can do with markers colored pencils and sketch pads.

The bottom line is of course how much money your company wants to devote to attracting new business and use technology to pitch your company’s website’s designs.

What can a VPS do for you?

Hosting a website is a hurdle you have to get by after you have created your website. Many people love WordPress, how it can make getting a webpage up fast, and simple as well.

But, they don’t want to be on WordPress.com, as that doesn’t portray the image they want to show the world. So while they like WordPress. They want a different solution.

One is by using a Cloud hosting service. You are also in luck with as many today support WordPress websites.

This gets you out of your dilemma of being tied to the WordPress URL.

You now also have a variety of hosting solutions. One of the more interesting is the Virtual Private Server. (VPS)

This is where you have an imaginary Web Server that supports only your website.

For all intents and purposes it acts lick a real machine that has CPUs, memory, disk, Internet access etc.

This VM resides on a real machine that has many of these VPS boxes running on it.

This offers you many advantages. You can upgrade your memory, number of CPUs and other features. This often can be done on the fly without having to shut down your website.

If your business expands this is an easy way to let your Website’s performance to increase as its size grows. This helps prevent bottlenecks that can slow response times.

Another interesting feature with a VPS is that you can clone servers without having to actually contract for or buy any new hardware. So, instead of having one machine you now have two. This is a great way for a company, which has a preferred website design to utilize it for different groups within your firm and keep the users separate from each other.

For a company this speeds up bringing a successful eBusiness to new geographical locations, whether city, state, or country. These modular companies are more agile than a single large monolithic website that tries to handle the entire company.

This simplification of operations also lends itself to customization if needed.

If one VPS has a particular need that, a single area may require for its niche that may not be required for the others. You only have to make changes to that VPS and not affect the many hundreds or thousands of other users who may not require that functionality.

This saves greatly on your Web Maintenance costs.

The changes can be implemented on a small portion of the whole company and not affect the rest of your VPS network. If require system wide changes you can then schedule future changes and ripple them through the network in easily manageable numbers.

So, you see a VPS is a Software machine that gives you flexibility, expandability and at a much lower cost, that if you had to buy the hardware and set up multiple servers to get the same functionality.

The fact that all the VPSs are isolated from each other also enhances your security and data integrity

How to get a winning Website

More and more people are turning to WordPress as it offers a quick and easy way to get your company or personal website up quickly, simply, and cheaply.

The problem is the resultant website looks amateurish and lacks the look of more “professionally” designed websites.

So, what is the solution for you to get your website up and make it look good at the same time?

One solutions is to have it done for your and hire a design team of freelancers to do the work. You of course have then to take bids and get the best buy for you company.

Another simpler solution is to go to sites that already have website themes done and purchase the one you want. This gives you website that only requires slight changes to make it yours. Your logo is overlaid and you content is replaces the placeholder content.

You have in a short time a customized website that brings your business, products, or services to the web.

A third method entails you using a cookie cutter package that uses drag and drop that you use to build your website like a jigsaw puzzle.

This solution allows keeping the work in house and the software is simple enough that your office manger could build a corporate website in a short period of time.

You see having a highly trained staff of programmers on the payroll is no longer needed. Which new functionality would require it? General website functionality has been automated to the point that most websites all have similar functionality.

This drag and drop mentality is beginning to gain popularity as companies are trying to cut their IT costs. With the drop in prices for these development packages like “Genesis Framework” used by Studiopress. This is spawning many freelance website developers and builders. So, that now a website can cost as little as $100.

Freeware development software is also making inroads’ on the website development industry.

Many free software packages can now be downloaded that gives you a presentable website in as little as an afternoon’s worth of work.

The day of hand coding your website has given way to websites in a box as well that not only gives you a website but actually gives you an online business that goes along with it as well.

These automated eStores come to you as a boxed solution that all you have to do is load it to you webhost and with a little configuration, you are in business.

So you see nowadays you are presented with a dilemma of not just getting a website up and running, but which method to use.

You have the new world of the Cloud and now you have so many ways to bring your website to the Cloud as well. Your website can be created and brought up to speed using the traditional method of being hand coded.

You can hire the work done by freelancers. An Already created themed website, which can be customized. You can now also just buy a complete eBusiness in a box that gives you an eStorefront that is ready to be hosted and loaded with you catalog of Goods and services.

Decisions, Decisions But that the beauty of the Cloud today is that you have the choices and you can use the one that makes the best sense for you.

eBusiness in a Box?

Many times a webpage is the top-layer of an eBusiness, which may have many databases, order entry, shipping, inventory control, and billing systems.

You could spend a lot of money building this. You could also hire the work done. The Website, databases would need to be designed, created. Your products, services and ordering information would be needed to be codified and the data entry of inventory.

This is why packages like SAP are the popular way to do this. However, it may be cost prohibitive for many SMBs. (Small to Medium Businesses)

Another solution is to signing up with the eBay or Amazon eBusiness areas and they will let you open a virtual storefront hosted on their systems.

The 3rd solution is to get an eBusiness in a box. This is becoming popular and you can host your business where you choose in most cases and that means you can take advantage of Shared Hosting or VPS Hosting. This allows you to save on your IT costs and get you up and running independent of Amazon, eBay, or even Yahoo.

These solutions all rely on you buying their package and it comes with a website and all the rest you need to host your own eBusiness and webpage. You do have to shop around a bit though as some are not true complete businesses in a box, but a client package that sets you up under the umbrella of the software maker’s site similar to the eBay/Amazon models.

However when you get the right eBusiness in a box solution, it is a simple process to modify the website to fit your business and you are up and running.

However, there is a 4th way. This entails a hybrid approach. This requires combining a website, Smartphone, email, a Human Being(s) and a package like Quickbooks Pro and PayPal.

While this isn’t as pretty as the automated solutions, it does work and makes thousands a month for those who employ it.

The setup steps are reasonably simple. You obtain a webpage (you can use any of the methods you wish). You then link it to you email account or your SmartPhone.

On your webpage, you post a catalog of your products. This can easily be created with that selfsame SmartPhone.

Once this is done, you, wait for an order via email or SmartPhone text.

Not very sophisticated true, but it works for many college students well enough to work their way through college and have pocket money.

As you get a handle on how it works and you can expand. Quickbooks Pro can provide you with an inventory system and invoice/order system. While not as powerful as SAP, it can grow into a respectable SMB in a short period of time.

The 4th and final way is to use software obtained from eBay call Magneto and you have the complete eBay business model in a box. There are different flavors and the cost is proportionate to the size of your business. However, they do offer a Free version as well. The reason this is listed separately is that the eBay model is one of the best for setting up a business and the package itself stands apart from most of the other eBusiness in a Box solutions. As it is the exact system used by eBay itself

You now have 4 possible ways to create an eBusiness out of the Box.

“Happy Webbing”

Are Free Web Graphics Development Tools Worth the Price?

Let’s face the price of a good web development suite doesn’t come cheap. Adobe can have a hefty price tag, especially if you buy all the bells and Whistles that go with it.

Graphics WireFraming tools are hot right now and the prices for those packages are soaring.

So what can you do?

There is a little known African nation you could go to that has the highest software piracy rate in the world. You can tour there and buy any product made by anyone dirt-cheap. Many used to go to China and buy bootleg copies of all the popular packages. But the New Chinese President Xi is stamping down hard on bootlegging industry in China.

So, the sources for these products are drying up quickly as Chinese justice is swift and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of it. Also bringing these packages back to America is getting more difficult as TSA screeners are scrutinizing Laptops and Tablets now from those returning abroad. So it really isn’t worth the risk anymore to acquire pirated software anymore. (There are many who will of course disagree.)

And unless you work for a firm that will pay for the best and of course, they will want a BIG return on their investment.

You often have to make do with bits and pieces you download from the web and try to cobble something together to get your websites up and running.

This might actually be a viable solution IF you go about it intelligently and choose the “Right Stuff.”

Let’s take a look at some Net freebie Graphics packages that are quite good at what they do to help you get your WebPages up with a professional look and panache that may give the more expensive web Graphics development tools a run for their money.

Graphics images are one reason many turn to Adobe. However, in countries like China Adobe products are no longer welcome after the Snowden Wiki leaks affair.

Other countries are following suite and beginning to divest themselves of American top end IT software products and it is estimated because of the NSA, 20 to 40 billion dollars in business has be jeopardized or loses already incurred by the Snowden leaks, NSA backdoors, and hardware tampering.

Mischief may become the replacement for Adobe, as it is a fantastic software-painting package that offers an infinite canvas as well as imagery creation that almost defies description. The people with money agree and Mischief was recently acquired by The Foundry, which may make pump in enough capital to make a rival for Adobe’s dominance in the graphics industry for web development.

l https://www.madewithmischief.com/

l http://www.creativebloq.com/digital-art/mischievous-digital-art-software-bought-foundry-111413575

Gimp is another alternative to Adobe. Its learning curve is much simpler and intuitive than for Adobe.

It offers many of the same features and functions you need to get the images just the way you want them to create beautifully rendered graphic images for your Web pages. http://www.gimp.org/

For image editing, Aviary has a package you should see as it can take virtually and image and process it any way you want and one of its other selling points is that it can become part of your website and you can even allow visitors to utilize it on your site with features you allow them to use. https://www.aviary.com/

So you see, you now have choices when it comes to doing Graphics on your website. Look at these 3 options and decide for yourself whether Free is worth the price to you as well.