Life Lessons from Yoga

On September 23, 2010, in Health, by jon

Click Here for Runners Yoga!

Release tension, increase productivity and improve energy levels by incorporating yoga into your daily routine! Applying yoga’s breathing and stretching principles in simple ways will elevate the quality of your work, health and personal relationships. 

Begin by focusing on breathing. These techniques can create an oasis of calm in the midst of chaos, so taking a short break will actually improve your focus and improve the quality of your work. Long and slow abdominal breathing is shown to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Try this simple exercise at your desk using a timer. Sit comfortably with good posture and eyes closed.  Listen to each breath as you inhale and exhale. Keep your focus active by saying the words “inhale, exhale” to yourself with every breath. When the timer begins to chime, gradually return your focus to the room around you, feeling refreshed and ready to continue with the day.

In yoga, stretching and strengthening are keys. This eases tight muscles and addresses posture imbalances caused by long hours at the computer. Many yoga stretches can be adapted to the office setting. Set a timer as a reminder to stand and move at least once every 30 minutes and take at least one stretching break during your workday. You will come back to your desk feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day’s remaining projects.

 

Four Steps to Getting a Web Site Online

On September 18, 2010, in Business, by jon

Creating a Web site can be intimidating if you don’t understand what is involved. These feelings stop many people from proceeding, which is a real shame as a Web site is a powerful marketing tool and can be a lot of fun.

There are four steps in creating a basic web site, they are:

Step One: Domain Name (URL) Registration-This is the address people will use to access your web site (www.yourcompany.com). Once you have determined that the URL you wish to use is available, the cost to register a name is anywhere from $5.00 to $30.00 per year. A domain name needs to be renewed every year.

When you register a domain name, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Your contact information must remain current. If your email address is going to change (most often because of changing to a new Internet Service Provider) it is imperative that you change your contact email address before your old address becomes invalid.

Use a position (such as “President”) instead of an actual person as a contact-this is more stable, in case the person ever leaves the company.

Make sure your company/organization is listed as the “Organization Name” (the “organization” will be considered the “owner” of the domain name.)

To see if a domain is available, go to http://www.whois.com.

Step Two: Design of the Web Site. This is where the look, feel, and content of the Web site are determined and created. Web sites are created using HTML (HyperText Markup Language). This can be hand coded, or a program such as Microsoft Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver can be used. Often companies/organizations will hire a student to create a Web site because they know HTML.  Your web site will be a reflection of your company/organization. Don’t let it be a bad one. Cost for web site design varies greatly depending on where the company is located and what the needs of your Web site are. Designers will either charge by the hour or by the project. If the designer charges by the hour be sure to have a detailed contract as to what they will do and how long it will take.

Tips for hiring a web site designer:

Visit their web site. Do you like what you see?

Ask the web designer for examples of other web sites they have designed.

Get the names and phone numbers from at least three of the web designer’s clients. Call them and ask if they would hire the person to work on another project.

Do they have a contract that outlines the agreement, what they agree to do and what your responsibilities are? Get everything in writing.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, from cost, to design and search engine placements.

Step Three: Hosting your web site on a web server. This is basically where you rent space on a computer that is always connected to the Internet. Price will vary, depending on the amount of disk space you will have and the connection to the Internet. Be cautious of a free or low cost hosting service, as they tend to be very slow and may put ads on your web site.

When choosing a hosting company here are some questions to ask:

Does it backup daily? If the server crashes, you don’t want to have to recreate your Web site.

Does it offer POP3 (password-protected) email accounts?

What kind of tech support is included?

What type of a connection to the Internet does it have? The minimum connection a Web server should have is T-3 (45 Megabytes per second). A T-1 (1.5 Mbps), or worse yet a cable or DSL connection (0.768 Mbps), is not adequate for the amount of traffic a commercial site will receive.

Does it support Full FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Access? This allows you to transfer files from your computer to the web server.

Does it offer web site logs showing you how many visitors your site has, what pages they are going to, how long they are staying, etc.?

Does it allow for use of forms and CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts? This allows you the ability to create a form where visitors can be asked questions or register for meetings.

Step Four: Marketing Your web site. You should be thinking about the marketing of your Web site as it is being designed. The content of the site needs to reflex the search terms you will want your site to appear on search engines. The first step to marketing your web site is to include your Web address EVERYPLACE your phone number appears. This includes brochures, business cards, print ads, etc. In addition, include your Web address on your telephone voice message and email signature.

Your site should be submitted to search engines a minimum of every six weeks. Currently you can submit to AltaVista, Google, MSN, Dmoz, Netscape, and Fast at no cost, while AOL, Excite, HotBot, and Snap are not accepting submissions. Yahoo!, Looksmart, Lycos and Inktomi all charge a fee to review and index your site.

Pay for click search engines, such as Overture, are becoming an essential part of web site marketing. These search engines work basically like an auction. First you determine what search terms you want your site to appear under, now search for those search terms and determine what the bid amount for the position you want is. You then open an account and place your bid. Yes, you can be outbid.

 

http://fitday.com/

“FitDay is a free and private web site designed to help you track and analyze the important aspects of your diet and fitness. Your personal FitDay account serves as a diet & Exercise journal. You can track the foods you eat and the exercises you do on a daily basis. Based on your journal entries, FitDay analyzes your diet, exercise, and weight to generate graphic reports.”

http://www.lhj.com/weightlossplanner

 This Diet Planner is sponsored by Ladies Home Journal (LHJ.com). The Diet Planner lets you “set your weight loss and exercise goals, track your intake and chart your progress.” In addition, supportive e-mail will be sent to you on a weekly basis. No calorie counting is required.

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/

“The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is the focal point within the USDA where scientific research is linked with the nutritional needs of the American public. This site includes “The Interactive Health Eating Index (IHEI),” an online dietary assessment tool that includes nutrition messages. After providing a day’s worth of dietary information, you will receive a “score” on the overall quality of your diet for that day. This “score” looks at the types and amounts of food you ate as compared to those recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid. It also tells you how much total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium you have in your diet. Also included are recipes and tips for healthy, thrifty meals.”

http://www.dietsite.com/dt/corpindex.asp?Aff=DEF

“Provides diet analysis and informs about sports nutrition, diet news, and nutrition facts with the goal of positively impacting nutritional status. DietSite also provides Online Interactive Tools to help individuals to lose weight responsibly. These tools include Online Diet Analysis, Recipe Analysis and other Weight Management Tools.

 

Best place to vacation in the Caribbean

On September 15, 2010, in Travel, by jon

Atlantis ResortThe Atlantis Resort is a legendary property on Paradise Island, near Nassau in the Bahamas and just a hop from Florida. An amazing place prior to 2007, The Atlantis added the AQUAVENTURE waterpark, The Cove luxury lodgings, and The Reef Atlantis beachside tower with kitchen-equipped suites.

Main features at the Atlantis Resort:

The Atlantis has a 97-acre “waterscape” with over 20 million gallons of lagoons, pools, waterfalls, not to mention its giant subterranean aquariums, all adding up to the “largest marine habitat in the world”.

Giant Waterslides
Near the Royal Towers, the five-story Mayan Temple has a 60-ft. vertical drop that ends in a clear tunnel inside a shark-filled lagoon, and a pair of Challenger slides where you can race your friends.

Meanwhile, in AQUAVENTURE, the 120-foot Power Tower, has four wild slides including “The Abyss”: a near-vertical 50 feet drop through darkness, and two inner-tube slides where you can ride up a conveyor to the slide.

River Loop
AQUAVENTURE redefines the river-float experience. Get on your inner tube and ride all day: through lifts and drops, white-water Rapids, 80-foot underground tunnel and caves, and even up a conveyor to the giant waterslides, if you like.

The Atlantis: Beach and More Water Play Zones
Guests can variously enjoy a white-sand beach, multiple swimming pools, 7-acre lagoon with shallow sandy shore (and kayaks and water toys), large kids pool with slide and waterfalls, baby pool, Splashers kiddie waterplay zone.

The Dig at The Atlantis, and Giant Aquariums
The Atlantis has some of the largest tanks full of sea life in the world, and you can get a subterranean view at The Dig, an Atlantis-themed maze of chambers.

Other Atlantis Resort Features: Giant casino, spectacular glass sculptures, wide choice of restaurants, spa, and Marina Village with shops and restaurants.

What’s special about the Atlantis Resort for families?
•Ripples kids’ pool is a large area with slides, waterfalls, other fun features, and ample room for loungers for parents; there’s a second smaller baby pool as well
•Splashers water play zone is for kids under 48″, with slides, dumping bucket, squirters, etc.
•Gentle Travel for families with babies: a special kit with night-light, lullaby CD, baby care products, and tips about keeping baby’s routine while traveling; Prompt Response hot-line; and more.
•Chow time: kids will enjoy feeding time at the Predator and other lagoons.
•Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA): an 8000 sq. ft. kids’ club, in partnership with LEGO toy company, with LEGO construction room, performance area and sound booth, kids culinary program in deluxe kitchen, arts and crafts, LEGO Mindstorm interactive play, wizardology room, Victorian kitchen and dollhouse, outdoor play space
•Club Rush has dance floor, movies, videogames and is open early evening for kids 7 to 13, and later for kids 13 and up.

Tips for family visits to the Atlantis Resort:

•The Atlantis grounds are large: look at a map to get the picture, and consider where you want to stay. Royal Towers are near the waterslides, and kiddie pool zone; Coral and Beach Towers are a considerable walk from the Mayan Temple waterslides, even farther from AQUAVENTURE, but close to the lazy river.
•The Beach Towers is family-friendly and casual.
•Wear flip-flops or water-shoes in the water park areas – the surface gets Hot!
•The Reef Atlantis has suites with fully-equipped kitchens.
•Another option is Harborside Villas, which can accommodate larger families; a frequent shuttle takes guests to the Atlantis proper. (Walking might take 10 minutes.)
Keep in mind about the Atlantis Resort:
•Expect that food is expensive; also, 15% gratuity is added at all restaurants. Budget-wise families could pack some fruit leather and granola bars for kiddie munchies; buy refillable drinks; head to the Marina village for snacks at Starbucks and family restaurants; and read visitor comments for other tips.
•Guests staying at the adjacent Comfort Suites have access to the Atlantis facilities including pools, lagoons, waterpark, casino, spa, kids’ camp.

 

Is Dwight Howard the next MVP?

On September 13, 2010, in Basketball, by jon

Dwight HowardDwight’s best statistical season was 2008-09. Dwight averaged 20.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game, and made a whole lot of noise about how Dwight could land the MVP by increasing his scoring totals by five points and keeping his rebounding and blocking totals consistent. 

Now, one could argue that the Defensive Player of the Year award exists for categories like rebounding and shot-blocking, and it’s a valid point.  Then again, if Howard makes such an impact on defense that he disrupts the course of every other team’s offense, it’s hard to ignore in the MVP voting.

Howard’s best chance to help his candidacy will be to have developed more advanced offensive skills in the offseason.  Given that he’s reportedly been working with Hakeem Olajuwon, and that he’s got Patrick Ewing as an assistant coach, Howard’s had plenty of opportunities to improve his game this summer.

If Howard’s hard work pays off and he starts converting some of the easy shots he misses in the post—averaging somewhere around 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 or 4 blocks per game—he’ll have a real shot at bringing home not just the Defensive Player of the Year for the third
straight year, but his first MVP award as well.

 

Do you like Google Instant Search?

On September 8, 2010, in Technology, by jon

A couple days ago Google launched their new invention called Google Instant Search.

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as we type. Google is helping us get better search results, faster. As most people type slowly, but read quickly, we can scan a results page while we type.

The most obvious change is that we get to the right content much faster than before because we don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.”

Benefits
Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.