Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snazzy Art Cars That Would Stun Your Neighbors!

Imagine driving around in one of these roadway masterpieces! Pull into your driveway and have everyone on the street check out your wheels. It’s fun to day-dream at any rate. ~ Michele


One fancy Bug



Art Car Lamborghini – artist unknown


fat art car

Fat Car - creator Erwin Wurm



more Fish Car images at tomkennedyart.com/blog/?cat=3



Esther Mahlangu  - car painted in the traditional Ndebele pattern from South Africa (BMW).  - from New York Times



BMW art car by Italian painter Sandro Chia – Chia Face car? - from New York Times



“Protect Me From What I Want” Car

Jenny Holzer's Le Mans Roadster includes aphorisms like "The Unattainable Is Invariably Attractive" and "Monomania Is a Prerequisite of Success."  - from New York Times (BMW art car)

Once you have your fully customized art car you’ll have to have specialty dvla plates put on it too. I mean it would only be proper.

Silly American Criminals

from: sweetie79.tripod.com/Jokes/Law&Justice/law7.htm

This just goes to show the quality of our criminals has definitely taken a nose-dive!


Wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun, a thief burst into the bank one day.  Aiming his gun at the guard, the thief yelled, "FREEZE, MOTHER-STICKERS,  THIS IS A ****-UP!"  For a moment,   everyone was silent. Then the snickers started. The guard completely lost it and doubled over laughing. It probably saved his life, because he'd been about to draw his gun. He couldn't have drawn and fired before the thief got him.  The would-be thief ran away and is still at large.


A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole the bank's video camera.  While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)


A man walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change.  When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled out a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter.  The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.    If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, was a crime committed?


Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly.  He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run.  So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window.  The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious.   Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass.  The whole event was caught on videotape.

New York:

As a female shopper exited a convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran.  The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give the police a detailed description of the snatcher.  Within minutes, the police had apprehended the snatcher.  They put him in the cruiser and drove back to the store.  The thief was then taken out of the car and told, "Stand there for a positive ID."  To this instruction the man replied, "Yes Officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."


When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motorhome parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he had bargained for.   Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motorhome near spilled sewage.  A police spokesperson said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motorhome's sewage tank by  mistake.  The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

New Jersey:

A Newark woman reporting her car as stolen mentioned that there was a car phone in it.  The policeman taking the report called the phone and told the guy that answered that he had read the ad in the newspaper and wanted to buy the car.  They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.

Michigan: The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 7:50 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash.  The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order.   When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off an ATM by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home--.  with the chain still attached to the machine-- with their bumper still attached to the chain-- with their vehicle's license plate still attached to the bumper.

File this Under Silly Canadian Criminals

from dumbcriminals. com/cars/in-prison-there-is-no-beer/

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – A man suspected of stealing a loaded beer truck was nabbed after a police dog followed a trail of beer and clothes to find him hiding on top of a porch, Edmonton police said on Tuesday.

The police dog was called out to a parking lot in the western Canadian city on Monday morning where a beer delivery truck, recently stolen outside a liquor store, had been abandoned after a collision.

Edmonton police spokeswoman Karen Carlson said the dog and its handler followed a trail of discarded beer, a cooler, a hand cart and pieces of clothing to a nearby apartment building.

A crime like this could only happen in Canada where the populace consumes more beer than the world consumes water, which is ironic because their beer is practically water.

But that must have been a close one. There’s only one of three things that a trail of empty beer cans and smelly clothes could lead to: (1) a stolen beer truck, (2) a frat house during Rush Week, (3) Mel Gibson.

But the chase didn’t end there. The story said he tried to run out the back window of his second-story apartment when police showed up at his door. He claimed he was going on a beer run.

Side Note:

I know a friend of a friend that decided to go on a similarly dumb beer run in Toronto. He just left a trail of trashed vehicles for the police to track him. (Oh well, his toronto criminal lawyer has a mortgage to pay off too.)

How To Build Your Own CD and DVD Duplicator

re-blogged from:  discread.com/cd-duplication/how-to-build-your-own-cd-and-dvd-duplicator/

For business or home users who need to make multiple copies of CDs and DVDs, having a dedicated CD DVD duplicator is a powerful solution. A dedicated CD and DVD duplicator is reliable, fast, easy to use, and easy to maintain. It also produces more universally readable media than other methods.
Copying one CD or DVD at a time is no problem for today’s fast machines and reliable burners. But if, for example, a user needs to get a parts list on CD to their top 10 wholesalers every month, or needs to distribute 50 copies of a sales-training video on DVD, then one-at-a-time is not the way to go. Besides being tedious, it can tie up one or more PCs–something many businesses cannot afford.

Two Types of Duplicator Towers

Duplicator towers are typically built using one of two methods: Either as a PC-based system, or using a specially built piece of hardware called a duplication controller.

Here’s a quick view of their relative benefits:


  • Can be used for other tasks (though not when duplicating)
  • Easily expandable
  • Good use for an older PC
  • Wide choice of duplication software

Duplication Controller-Based:

  • Fewer parts: no motherboard, memory, or OS needed!
  • Simplicity of construction and operation
  • Designed for optimal data throughput for fewer copy errors
  • Compact size

While I’ll discuss both options, this article will focus on the more flexible PC-based approach. I’ll show you how to build a PC with multiple burners that is optimized for channelized data transfer between the disk and burners to avoid buffer underrun–the most common cause of copying failure. Before we start building, let’s examine this important issue.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good Copies

The process of burning CDs and DVDs is not without problems. At the top of the trouble list is compatibility, or a lack thereof. The industry has adopted a large and growing number of disk formats and media types. This means that a disc that plays just fine on one machine may not work at all on another.

Also, problems inherent with the burning process can render a disk unreadable on some players. Anyone who has burned copies of their favorite music CD has probably had the experience of seeing “disc not found” or a similar error message when later trying to play the disc in their car or portable CD player. These defective disc are also known as “frisbees” – good only for throwing or possibly skeet shooting to vent some frustration.

Here’s a breakdown of the current leading CD and DVD formats. Including non-recordable formats, I count a total of 10 that you need to at least consider:

Non-recordable Disk Formats

CD-Audio:CD disc with audio tracks in the CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) format, which is the standard for recording music tracks on a compact disc.

DVD-Audio: An audio-only storage format similar to CD-Audio that can also contain music videos, graphics and other information

DVD-ROM: (Digital Versatile Disc-Read Only Memory): A read-only DVD disc used for storing data, menus, audio and video. Most DVD-ROM drives will play DVD-Video movies, but home DVD players cannot play DVD-ROMs.

Recordable Disk Formats

CD-R: The most popular format for writing discs, CD-R normally holds up to 700MB of information, but larger, less compatible discs are available up to 1GB. The discs are inexpensive and can be used to share data with any PC equipped with a CD-ROM drive.

DVD-R: DVD-R is similar to CD-R in that you can write to the discs only once. But it has much more storage capacity (up to 4.7GB of data). These discs are normally used for burning high-quality video to be played on a DVD player.

DVD+R: Similar to above, but is a competing format..

CD-RW: Unlike the CD-R format, the CD-RW format can be written to and erased multiple times. CD-RW drives read and write to either CD-R or CD-RW discs, but many older CD-ROM drives can’t read CD-RWs.

DVD-RW: Like CD-RW, DVD-RW is a rewritable format and a rival to DVD+RW. The discs are designed to be used like a video tape and video can be recorded and erased and played back in a DVD player. The drive can also create CD-RW and CD-R discs…

DVD+RW: Similar to above, but is a competing format.

DVD-RAM: This special format comes both with and without a cartridge that contains a DVD disc. Think of it as a removable floppy disc with storage space up to 9.4GB. These discs can only be played in special DVD-RAM drives or special set-top player/recorders. With the best error correction and longer life than any of the other optical formats, it’s ideal for storing and archiving data.

There are other reasons why burning can fail, too. The most notorious is a condition called “buffer underrun.” It occurs when the buffer supplying data to the burner is emptied before all the data requested can be written. It happens either when data is interrupted or can’t be supplied fast enough to the writing device. If the PC’s software and hardware fail to prevent this situation, the disc is rendered useless. The good news is that there are several ways–using both hardware and software–to avoid buffer underrun.

Now let’s start building our duplication tower. As I mentioned earlier, there are two main ways to go: PC-based, or duplication controller-based. Let’s look at the PC solution first.

PC plus Software Solution

In general, I recommend IDE devices. If you have been building PCs for a while, SCSI might seem like an obvious choice for attaching multiple media devices. In fact, SCSI is used in building monster duplicating systems where data-bus control is critical. (For example, Nero software has built and tested duplication towers connecting 32 burners via SCSI.)

But IDE devices offer several advantages over SCSI. While SCSI may provide better control of more peripheral devices, IDE invariably wins out in price, availability, and ease in configuration. One serious limitation of IDE for this application is the limit of two devices sharing one channel with a Master/Slave relationship. To build a system with multiple IDE burners, you must use multiple IDE controllers, which use up valuable PCI slot real estate. Still, since IDE parts are so widely available and proven, I prefer IDE for systems with six or fewer burners. I only use SCSI for larger systems where cost is less of an issue.

Here’s my parts list and considerations for a PC-based duplication tower:

  • Motherboard: I recommend Pentium III / 400 MHz or better with at least 128 MB of RAM. (With requirements this modest, consider retooling an older PC as a duplication tower.) Remember that the number of IDE devices you can add depends on the number of IDE ports that are available. For example, many popular IDE controller cards support only two IDE ports. Depending on how many burners will be installed, you may need to obtain additional PCI slots.
  • Hard Disk Drive: You’ll need a 40 GB hard disk if the system will be used for copying CDs only, but a 120 GB drive for duplicating DVDs. Either way, partition at least OS and data partitions. Then, for the most expedient transfer to your line of burners, keep individual files or disc images on a data partition. The newer 7200-RPM drives are best for copying DVDs and achieving higher write speeds, though they’re not necessary for CD duplication. Also, remember to defrag your disk often; it’s one way to avoid burning errors (and see more tips below).
  • IDE Controllers: As already mentioned, you’ll need additional IDE controller cards to attach IDE burners. Each card supports two channels, and each channel will support one master device and one slave. I prefer adding additional controllers when possible, then configuring all burners as master devices; this achieves top speeds while still avoiding buffer underrun. SIIG’s IDE controllers, such as the model SC-PE4B12 are know to work well for duplicating applications. Sadly, Promise IDE cards have had issues with duplication software, so I’d avoid them for this application. A word about cables: For best performance, use 80-wire IDE cables for all primary connections between the IDE controller and the DVD/CD burners or ROMs. These newer IDE cables have 80 wires–twice as many as the older cables–but still connect to 40-pin headers. Also, 80-wire cables produce faster, more accurate data transfers, which, in turn, support faster devices. Plus, the cost difference between 40- and 80-wire cables is minimal.
  • Case: Look for a sturdy case with ample bays on the front. If you are building for four or more burners, choose a full tower for space. Some case manufacturers offer a “duplication tower” case that’s ideal for this application; these cases include front-accessible bays with good airflow. Also, consider adding extra cooling if your duplication tower will be used in a production setting. Remember, these boxes are called “burners” because they actually use a laser to burn the disk. That creates a lot more heat than a normal PC. Finally, avoid running the system “open” or with case covers or sides off, even when testing. With the covers removed, air will not flow through the case as designed, and the system could overheat. Burners generate a good deal of heat, and they depend on fresh air being pulled through and around them to keep them cool. Proper air circulation is critical.
  • Power Supply: You’ll need a high-quality power supply to meet the demands of your system. A minimal system with a couple of burners will require at least 250 watts. Larger systems with additional fans would be safer with at least 300 watts, even more.
  • Monitor, keyboard, and mouse: Standard equipment is adequate, as there are no special requirements here.
  • CD/DVD ROM: As your source, this should be reliable and at least as fast as your target burner’s speed. That way, it will help to avoid buffer underrun on occasions where you might copy directly from CD/DVD ROM to CD/DVD Burners. It is more efficient to burn from a disk image, so–other than to make the occasional one-to-one copy–CD/DVD ROMs are typically used only to load data onto a drive partition. For my tower, I chose Lite-On IT’s Model SOHD-1673S 16x DVD ROM drive for both price and reliability.
  • CD/DVD Burners: I recommend that, whenever possible, you use drives of the same make and model number. While a burner is not strictly necessary, you will enjoy a distinct advantage by using drives of just one type. This will guarantee the same buffer sizes and buffering strategy. All the burners I’ve seen from major manufacturers perform well and are reliable, and I’ve seen little difference among them. Also, some burners, including the Lite-On SOHW-812S Dual DVD+RW Writer, have a 2 MB cache and employ buffer handling to prevent a buffer underrun condition. (Lite-On calls its buffer-handling feature Smart Burn.)
  • Application Software: My pick is Nero’s latest, Nero 6 Reloaded, which is available as part of Nero’s Ultra Edition. Like most commercial copy software, Nero creates a hard-disk image of the CD or DVD you will be copying. It then buffers the data while it initiates the writing process to your line of burners. This is carefully orchestrated so the data arrives at the burner on time to avoid buffer underrun. Nero also recognizes the various buffering strategies of the burners and configures itself accordingly. Nero is an obvious choice for software; the vendor has a long-standing reputation as the leader in the field, and it performs significant testing with multiple burners. Also, with Nero 6, users get support for up to four target burners and can purchase a software key to turn on support for more.
  • Operating System: I chose Windows XP Home Edition since no special features or networking are required. For optimal performance on the duplication software, configure Windows for the maximum size for PageFile under System Performance. Also, avoid using WinME and Win95 to run your duplication towers, as these two OSes are known to have difficulty handling the duplication processes, buffering, and multiple controllers required for making disc copies.

See the rest of the article including assembly tips here

If you want to choose another option over building dvd duplicators consider visiting vinpower digital. Vinpower can provide quality solutions for dvd duplication.

~ another great source of information!

Kids Eat Free FAIL


epic fail photos - Kids Eat Free FAIL

Submitted by: Unknown

Kids Eat Free FAIL


Oh well, I guess they might as well be consumed before the educational system has a chance to fail them. ~ Michele

Cool(er) Color Interiors

Sometimes it’s so refreshing to see new colorful interiors. Look that the colors, patterns and shapes that come together beautifully in this great turquoise room. Images are from Gourmet magazine and come by way of houseofturquoise.com




More fun wall treatments from wallsneedlove.com can be seen below.Wallsneedlove provides a practical and simple wall treatment solution by selling interesting wall decals that anyone can apply to a room.



I love this stuff! So much fun! I just want to get crazy on all my walls!

~ Michele

Dirty water kills more people than war: UN

re-blogged from thestar. com/news/world/article/784057--dirty-water-kills-more-people-than-war-un 

A local resident fills a container with water taken from a partially dried-up reservoir in China's Yunnan province March 4, 2010.

A local resident fills a container with water taken from a partially dried-up reservoir in China's Yunnan province March 4, 2010.


The Associated Press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon challenged world leaders Monday to ensure that all people have access to safe drinking water, saying more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.

“Clean water has become scarce and will become even scarcer with the onset of climate change,” the U.N. chief warned in a message coinciding with World Water Day.


Every day, millions of tons of untreated sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are poured into the world’s water systems, and it is the poor who “continue to suffer first and most from pollution, water shortages and the lack of adequate sanitation,” Ban said.


According to a report issued Monday by the U.N. Environment Program, the estimated 2 billion tons of waste water discharged daily fuel the spread of disease and damage ecosystems.


At least 1.8 million children under the age of five die every year from water-related diseases, or one every 20 seconds, the report said, and over half the world’s hospital beds are occupied with people suffering from illnesses linked to contaminated water.


Achim Steiner, executive director of the Nairobi-based U.N. agency, warned that if waste can’t be managed properly, “that means more people dying from waterborne diseases.”


The secretary-general called the deaths “an affront to our common humanity.”

World leaders have the “know-how to solve these challenges and become better stewards of our water resources,” Ban said, and he challenged them to act ahead of a high-level General Assembly meeting in September to assess progress toward meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty by the target date of 2015.


One of those goals calls for reducing the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by half.


According to the latest report of the Joint Monitoring Program for Water and Sanitation, the world is on track to meet the drinking water target.

Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, chair of the secretary-general’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, speaking via video-link to Nairobi’s Water Day events, said 810 million people, including 120 million in sub-Saharan Africa, had gained access to drinking water since 2000 “but we cannot lean back.”


It isn’t certain that this water is safe to drink, he explained, because an alarming quantity of water carried unsafe levels of microbes and chemicals, making people sick.


At a high-level General Assembly water event Monday, former assembly president Jan Eliasson, who chairs WaterAid Sweden, added that despite the progress, some 885 million people still did not have access to clean water and there were still great regional disparities.


Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said the number of people in rural areas without clean water is over five times the number in urban areas — and 37 per cent of people without access to clean water are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Migiro said the sanitation picture was worse.


Although 1.3 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, the world is likely to miss the U.N. target by a billion people, she said.

“Access to clean water and adequate sanitation are a prerequisite for lifting people out of poverty,” she said.


Eliasson said it was time to end “turf battles” and bring together governments, the private sector, universities and others to tackle the problem.

He called for a higher percentage of development aid to be given to improving water and sanitation.


“If the world is to thrive, let alone to survive on a planet of 6 billion people heading to over 9 billion by 2050,” UNEP’s Steiner said, “we need to get collectively smarter and more intelligent about how we manage waste, including waste water.”

Some frightening facts in this news report! Even in developed countries it’s a  good idea to drink filtered water. I use an under-the-sink water filter and it really helps to get excess sediment out of my tap water. ~ Michele

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ten Types of Crappy Interviewees

Have a look at these great observations re-blogged from theoatmeal.com  Here are some short-cut ways to size up potential employees.

~ Michele

See more more interviewee types at the original post here.

PS. If you’re a bullshi**er in need of some first-rate association management software investigate alinity.com. Alinity provides great targeted software that can benefit the social media guru inside and outside any social media’d awareness campaigns.

Things (and People) Caught Smoking

I know that sometimes it seems like everything and everyone around you smokes.  Here your worst suspicions are confirmed.

~ Michele


Animals Caught Smoking

cat smoking


bad kitty








Smoking Objects





People Smoking

smoking to much



Vincent Van Gogh;
Skull of a skeleton with burning cigarette





Kitaj, Ron B. (1932- )


If you want to create a peaceful calming environment you can just try aromatic incense k2 incense. K2 incense is a favorite among yoga practitioners and discerning buyers looking to create a special relaxed space in the home and office. for more information about k2 incense, visit FastAroma online!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leonardo Da Vinci, At It Again


Okay not quite, the guy has been dead for hundreds of years. That doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from his work though and latch onto one of his prints. Have a look at some of the drawings and paintings that can grace your walls.


proportions of the human figure






christs head


virgin and child

What is nicer and more high-brow than than a 14th century masterpiece reproduction gracing your walls. La De Da!

Anyway, to find more lovely prints a Google search brings up a slew of poster shops and you can find many an attractive art poster at http://www.postersframed.com/. Worth checking out. ~ Michele

California: Group Health Insurance Coverage vs. Individual Health Insurance Coverage

by ccruiserboyy

Although health insurance isn’t required in the state of California, having the benefits for your employees not only promotes loyalty, but also provides a healthier employee base. For families, health insurance is a cost effective way of making sure your loved ones are taken care of, for whatever the health reason.


California coverage can be difficult to decipher, however. Different plans provide varying degrees of coverage at different costs. If you’re looking for health insurance, whether for yourself, your family or your business, a little clarity may help.


Group Health Insurance vs. Individual Health Insurance

Insurance carriers differ on the types of coverage they offer. However, many offer both group and individual insurance, each type with its own set of rules, regulations and standards:


Individual health insurance, as the name implies, can be provided for individuals and families. It’s a single policy dealing with one person or family. Generally, individual health insurance coverage is for those not covered through employment, or those that aren’t eligible for publicly subsidized coverage. Many individuals also choose this type of coverage when their group coverage through employment runs out.


Individual insurers can deny you medical coverage based on whether you or your family is considered “high-risk”. High risk includes pre-existing conditions such as cancer or immunodeficiency diseases, someone who smokes and/or drinks and many others. The definition of “high-risk” depends completely on the insurer, who will expect the insured to go through a health exam to determine whether the high risk factors are there.


Premium payments are usually expected on a monthly basis. How much those premiums are depends on the coverage you need, as well as the insurer you choose. In addition, depending on the insurer, you may have to pay additional costs for medical treatment. You might pay a portion or a fixed amount for any hospital visits.


If you’re filling out an insurance quote, make sure you pay special attention to the policy, any medical problems you may have, what primary physicians and specialists are in the insurance network, the amount of deductible and the out-of-pocket costs. All of these points will factor into how much your individual health insurance coverage will cost, as well as what you can do with it.


Group health insurance provides coverage for groups, such as to a company for their employees or a specialized set of freelancers. Compared to individual coverage, group health has an entirely different set of rules.


The main point at which individual and group insurance differs is that insurers can’t deny group coverage because of medical issues. In fact, it’s a California law that small employers (2 to 50 full time employees) be guaranteed group health insurance coverage if they choose to purchase it. The health status of the employees can’t be held into account.


Likewise, the insurers calculate risk differently. While individual insurers calculate the risk of the individual, group insurers spread the risk over the entire group. This also applies to how they determine the price of the premium. Rather than an in depth medical exam, insurers use risk factors such as age and gender – general demographic information – to determine premium costs.


Several insurers carry a wide variety of group plans. If you choose to offer health insurance to your employees, make sure you investigate both the insurers and the available insurance plans to get the best quotes for your business.


Medical-Ins is full-service California health insurance broker. They offer group, individual and dental insurance from a variety of insurance companies. Visit online today for a free quote or call 888-537-7948.

50 Simple Tips for Improving Your Website

  • Great Tips re-blogged from seohosting.com/blog/seo-help/50-simple-tips-for-improving-your-website/
  • Written by: Tyler

This checklist provides 50 simple ways for you to make your website even better!

Stumbleupon Button

1. Use .htaccess to redirect the non-www version of your website to the www version.

2. Extend the registration of your domain for at least five years.

3. Make sure that when a visitor clicks your website’s logo, they are taken back to the homepage.

4. If you think your font is too small, make it bigger!

5. Remove widgets that aren’t directly enhancing your website.

6. Include an easy to find contact link, e-mail address or phone number on every page of your website.

7. Use a CSS stylesheet to make your website printer friendly.

8. Fix or remove broken links (external and internal).

9. Add ALT tags to all of your images.

10. If your website is using frames, get rid of them!

11. If you don’t have a robots.txt file, create one.

12. Provide the same basic navigation menu on every page of your website.

13. Use the same color for links throughout your website.

14. Spell check your content.

15. Format your content so that it is easy to scan.

16. Add at least one picture to every page of your website.

17. If you don’t have an About page, create one.

18. Use your About page to show your brand’s personality.

19. Include at least three pictures on your About page.

20. If your website has pop-up windows, get rid of them!

21. Link to relevant social media profiles from your About page.

22. Add a search box near the top of your website’s layout.

23. Create a privacy policy page.

24. Place a link to your privacy policy at the bottom of every page.

25. Use dashes in filenames instead of underscores.

26. Add a link to Google Maps on your Contact page.

27. Add internal links from one piece of content to another.

28. Write a unique META description for all of your main pages.

29. Validate your source code and correct any errors.

30. If you have a link exchange page, get rid of it!

31. Add a site search box to your 404 page.

32. Create a sitemap for your website.

33. Add a link to your sitemap at the bottom of every page of your website.

34. Add a copyright notification to the bottom of every page of your website.

35. Underline your links throughout your website.

36. Turn off music that automatically plays.

37. Get rid of any flashing GIF animations.

38. Include your website logo at the top of every page.

39. Register the .net and .org versions of your domain and redirect them to your website.

40. If you don’t have a help or support section, create one!

41. When you answer a question via e-mail, add the answer to the help/support section.

42. Look at your contact forms and see if there is any information you don’t have to request from your visitors.

43. Add your analytics code to every page of your website.

44. Get rid of any pages that automatically resize visitors’ browser window.

45. Create a favicon for your website.

46. Only use email address that include @yourdomain.

47. Label each box of any forms on your website.

48. Show a confirmation any time a visitor completes a significant action on your website.

49. Create one new piece of quality content for your website every week.

50. Leave a comment with your suggestion for the fiftieth tip!

Great tips – definitely worth reading! ~ Michele

Consider a premier los angeles web design for all your web design needs!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Designer Baristas: 50 Incredible Works of Coffee & Latte Art


Have a look at this wonderful java art re-blogged from weburbanist.com


What’s better than the first sip of a hot cup of coffee made just the way you like it? Well, maybe if that hot cup of coffee did double duty as fine art, you’d enjoy it even more. It’s hard to tell just how long baristas have been creating tiny works of art in coffee cups; latte art has been around in the U.S. for at least two decades, since coffee houses in Seattle began pouring simple patterns into the foam portions of their drinks. Since then it’s evolved into an international obsession, including classes, competitions, online galleries, and coffee houses that promise a work of art with every drink.



(images via: Journeys Coffee, Tonx, DavidR, Matt Harding, Mimi Lees)

Hearts were one of the first latte art designs to become popular, and they remain one of the most commonly-seen designs today. By preparing both the espresso and the milk foam just right, baristas can masterfully move the milk pitcher while pouring the milk into the coffee, thus creating these remarkable, if completely temporary, designs.


(images via: Nicely, RayJay, Lindsay, Art in my Coffee, PoYang, Ellen)

Rosettes or rosettas, the lovely leafy designs above, are another long-standing latte art favorite. The man credited with bringing latte art to the U.S. is David Schomer, coffee industry leader (sometimes called a “coffee prophet”) and owner of Seattle coffee shop Vivace Espresso. He saw a photograph of a rosette pattern made in an Italian coffee shop and recreated it in his own shop, thus securing the rosette’s position in latte art history.


(images via: Art in my Coffee 1, 2, 3, 4)

When Schomer and his employees started making shapes in their customers’ coffee drinks, they were often asked if it was intentional. It’s easy to imagine that a heart could be a happy accident, but since then baristas have moved on to creating much more complex shapes and patterns. Creating a memorable piece of latte art is all about the interplay between the milk foam and the “crema” of the espresso.



(images via: Nalundgaard, Art in my Coffee 1, 2, 3, 4, Chris Blakely)

Mastering latte art is even more difficult than most people imagine. There are so many elements that go into making an impressive cup of art that it’s hard to get them all down perfectly. Along getting with the temperatures, textures and colors of the coffee and milk just right, the barista has to practice extensively to be able to predict how the art will come out. After mastering the simple patterns and shapes, he or she can move on to the more complicated designs.


(images via: QuinnCombibos, LivAtlantis, Kuba Bozanowski,
Another factor that coffee art baristas have to overcome is the medium itself. Foam only stays stable in hot coffee for a short amount of time, so the art must be created quickly. But there’s little room for error since the foam is unforgiving and there’s no way to erase a mistake. Certainly not the least of all worries is the thirsty customer who just can’t wait to get their hands on that mug of steaming deliciousness.



(images via: Sarah0s, Bianca Smith, Po Yang, K Robison, Spamanella)

Some latte art uses only the arm movements of the barista to create shapes in the milk foam: this technique is called free pouring. But there are plenty of other ways to create art in a cup. A technique called etching involves using a stirrer to manipulate the coffee and foam to create defined edges and shapes. Some baristas use chocolate or caramel syrup to write or draw on top of the foam. And from time to time, you might see a design in cinnamon or chocolate sprinkles laid on top of the foam with the help of a stencil.


(images via: Tonx, Chris Blakely 1, 2, wsh1266, CoffeeShopChat, INeedCoffee/CoffeeHero)

Some coffee shops have made names for themselves by including stunning latte art with every order. Customers come in for their creative handiwork as much as they do for the coffee. Latte art is such serious business for these shops that every barista is required to attend lessons on making the designs and patterns, and they are encouraged to develop their own signature style to wow customers.


(images via: Chris Blakely, Bread Mouth, mmmsedap, wsh1266, coaxeus, Chris Blakely)

In the hands of a capable coffee artist, just about any kind of design is possible. It can take years of practice to get good enough to create original designs, but many baristas are so passionate about coffee that they don’t mind putting in the time to learn. These amazing coffee designs can be seen in coffee shops all around the world, from Seattle to Tokyo and everywhere in between.


(images via: Chris Blakely, Art in my Coffee 1, 2, 3, IndieKid, zpeckler)

Of course, with the rise in popularity of latte art have come the inevitable downers: the people who say baristas are spending too much time on the art and not focusing enough attention on the coffee. Making fabulous coffee is, of course, an art of its own – so is it too much to ask that coffee shops serve a delicious cup of coffee that’s also beautiful? According to the many coffee shop aficionados out there, it seems that there are plenty of places to find a cup of coffee that satisfies both your taste for divine coffee and your taste for unique temporary art.

I wonder if anyone provides web-based instruction in how to create ones own lovely creations. The only Online java training that I’ve come across doesn’t go down quite as smoothly. I Love this stuff though and it would be fun to learn more.


~ Michele

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creative Advertisements on Buildings

Have a look at these amazing ads from the site www.amusingplanet.com/ – a great site!

Outdoor advertising presents limitless options and approaches for advertisers to reach their audience. But with hundreds of brands and billboards competing with each other to draw consumer’s attention, getting noticed in a busy street isn’t easy. This is where size as well as creativity counts. Here are some huge outdoor advertisements on building facades that caught our attention.

On first look, this looks like an ad for paint, but actually it is one from Nationwide Insurance.


To promote the brand image and preference for Axe, female students' dormitory was wrapped in the shape of a calendar to demonstrate that a new female can be met on a daily basis.


A clever advertisement from Alco's cleaning products says “Wash me”.


An advertising campaign from Absolut


To promote Allstate auto insurance, an actual car was placed on the edge of the parking garage in Marina Towers, a famous landmark in the center of downtown Chicago.


Advertisement campaign by Powerhouse Gym creates an impression that body builders are lifting heavy weights from the construction site



An advertisement campaign from Coca Cola


This Vodafone ad is placed outside London's Heathrow Terminal


The idea of Anando Milk Building Ad was to encourage kids to drink more milk by exaggerating the benefits of milk by almost giving them superhuman powers. This was achieved by using a billboard, amidst a prominent building which created an illusion as if the child was pushing a part of the building with just his hands.


Large murals promoting the movie Inception


An advertising campaign from LEGO


“Check the gas” - an advertisement in Russia (could work for child safety products too)


To demonstrate Pantene's claim of "really strong hair", three Rapunzel-style stunts were staged in downtown Toronto for two days, where live male climbers went up over three different oversized ponytails.


An advertising campaign from Red Bull


Advertisement from Siemens Mixer


A huge Nike ball stuck on the side of a building promotes the World Cup.


A clever ad demonstrates how fast you can run with Nike tennis shoes.


Mini Cooper Vending Machine Building Advertisement


A clever advertising placed near a busy Auckland intersection promotes a local channel's screening of the movie Kill Bill Vol1


An advertising campaign from Sprint PCS X-Ray


An advertising campaign from Nike creates the illusion that the runner ran through the first building to the next.


A Strong Tape advertising campaign at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has a huge duct tape roll stuck to a billboard which is also held in place by more duct tapes.


Creative Advertisements on Buildings