What’s your ‘TV persona’? Picking the set that’s right for you

With so many options available, how do you choose the TV that fits your needs, personal interests and living space? Often, viewers’ personalities and habits say a lot about what type of TV is best suited for their lives. You can help refine your search for the right TV by identifying your “TV persona.”
The TV experts offer some insight into five TV-watching personality types, and some tips for choosing a product that matches your personality:
1. The Videophile
A nice picture and decent sound isn’t going to do it for the videophile. These technological perfectionists pay close attention to details and optimal viewing conditions. Videophiles want the best picture and audio quality possible, including a full backlit LED array that delivers a brighter, smoother, cleaner picture. They want a refresh rate that virtually eliminates motion blur and delivers crystal clear images. Like a new car they’re most likely to show-off their shiny “rims,” or supplementary sound system, too – at least a soundbar, but most often a powerful home theater system that blows the windows out of any living room.
2. The Family Man/Woman
This consumer desires a high-end experience at an affordable price. Other monetary considerations – like mortgages, day care costs and family vacations – inspire them to seek the most bang for their buck when it comes to their TVs. They also need to please multiple viewers with content that pleases all ages – from kids that watch cartoons to teenagers that want to get their video “game on” and parents that just want to kick back and enjoy a movie. They need a TV with options, one that offers 3D and Internet-connected “Smart TV,” like LG’s LM6700. With six pairs of theater-like, flicker-free 3D glasses that require no batteries or recharging, outfitting the entire family is easy and inexpensive. Built-in Smart TV capability affords simple access to limitless content, including movies, TV shows, songs, live games, apps and personal video.
3. The Bachelor/Sports Fan
With fewer responsibilities, the single-person viewer often has a little bit more free cash and doesn’t mind spending a little extra on a big purchase. These viewers seek step-up- picture quality and faster refresh rates that helps them to view sports, video games and high-speed action with less motion blur.  They’re also not afraid to splurge on all the extras, such as Smart TV, 3D functionality and built-in Wi-Fi and demand a sleek, aesthetically pleasing package that looks high end.
4. The Internet Junkie/Multitasker
Google TV will win the heart of this type of consumer, who enjoys Web surfing for information and uses a variety of streaming services. These technology devotees demand a TV that offers a dual-core processor that provides improved streaming and picture quality when streaming online content or browsing the Web with its Google Chrome browser. They like familiarity and want the same user experience on their phones, tablets and now their TV. They also crave the kind of user-friendly navigation capabilities provided by LG’s gesture-based Magic Remote with Qwerty keyboard. Like an air mouse, it has point/click, a scrolling wheel and the ease of a keyboard, not to mention voice recognition, overall a familiar experience for computer lovers.
5. The Recent Grad/First-timer
These consumers have just finished college, started their first professional job and are looking for just the basics for their first home. A standard LCD or plasma TV can give them the biggest screen for less money. Bells and whistles and aesthetics take a back seat to solid picture quality.
With a little research and a firm understanding of your TV persona, you can find the right television to fit your needs, budget and lifestyle.
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U.S. foster care population continues to decline. Why children benefit from more permanent homes


Malik, 14, wears a smile from ear-to-ear when recounting how he and his brother Matthew, 12, went from two of the world’s millions of waiting children to become the adoptive sons of Kyle and Petra Ray one August morning three years ago. “During our court date to finalize our adoption, I remember asking my dad, ‘Is mom crying because she’s happy?'” Malik says.  

 
There are more than 400,000 children in foster care across the United States, according to the most recent report released by AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System). This is a sobering number. The encouraging news is that this number continues to decline – down more than 8 percent from 2008, and nearly 30 percent from 1999, when there were nearly 570,000 foster children.

 
One primary reason for that decrease is the implementation of proactive social service programs such as Safe Families for Children (SFFC), a ministry committed to keeping kids out of the foster care system, preventing child abuse, supporting pregnant and parenting teens and strengthening families. Safe Families for Children enlists host families to provide temporary care for children whose parents are experiencing personal difficulties so that they can work through their troubles without having to place their children in foster care.

 
“Over the past several years, the SFFC ministry has seen substantial growth across the country,” says Dr. David Anderson, founder and executive director of SFFC. “The ministry has been embraced throughout the communities in which it serves, with local residents and organizations – including many churches – stepping up to help families in crisis. It’s truly remarkable to see the difference SFFC can have on keeping families together and children out of foster care.” 

 
Family preservation professionals, such as Bill Blacquiere, president of Bethany Christian Services, know that while the decade-long decrease in the number of children in foster care is a positive sign, there’s still plenty of work left to be done.

 
“Last year, more than 254,000 children were placed in foster care, so our work is far from over,” Blacquiere says. “Family preservation and social service agencies like Bethany must continue to lead in raising public awareness and do a better job of recruiting families, community organizations and local businesses committed to supporting the country’s most vulnerable children.”
More than 40 percent of foster children end up abusing drugs and alcohol, 40 percent turn to crime, and up to 10 percent give up hope and commit suicide, according to Bethany.

 
For more information on foster children, visit www.Bethany.org.
IMAGE CAPTIONS:
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Caption 1: Malik and Matthew were among 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. They were adopted by Kyle and Petra Ray in 2009.
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Bathroom lighting for practicality & ambience


Decorating any room can be very time consuming and demanding, as you want to get everything just right if you are to enjoy the finished project and achieve the look you want. The bathroom, although generally one of the smallest rooms in the house, is just as important as any other and should be allocated as much thought and time.

Lighting can be highly effective and instantly transform a room giving it that wow factor so many people want to achieve. Chandeliers, pendant lights, wall mounted spotlights and mirror lights come in all shapes and sizes and chosen carefully will make your bathroom one that you can enjoy spending time in.

If you need some inspiration then there are lots of places to find it, home decorating magazines and books can provide up-to-date ideas and designs, visit high street lighting stores or showrooms, or look online for lighting supplies.

When you think of the bathroom don’t just see it as a place where you get clean, it can be much more than that. Many see it as a refuge where they can attend to their ablutions in privacy or chill out in a hot bath for a while with the door locked away from the hassles of the family, so comfort and lighting is essential if this is to be achieved.

Bathroom lighting can come from various sources and how you choose your fixtures will depend on your taste, the decor, and your budget. Economical and attractive ceiling lights come in a range of styles, from the simple flush light and semi-flush light styles to glitzy chandeliers. Using wall lights or spotlights in the bathroom gives you the ability to adjust them, direct them to highlight a certain area or particular feature you admire. Place a spotlight over a piece of art to draw attention to it, or over the mirror for extra light can be effective particularly for those bathrooms with no natural light.

Lighting around the mirror has to be quite bright as you need to see what you are doing, particularly when it comes to applying make-up and shaving, Led bulbs and halogen lamps are generally used in lighting fixtures for these purposes as they are bright but not glaring. Bathroom shower downlights are perfect for using in moist locations as they are manufactured to safety standards, choose from a range of polished stylish chrome or brass, or classic white with clear glass upper body for a sophisticated addition to your bathroom.

Illuminated shelf lights are a nice touch in the bathroom and come in a choice of colors and sizes, using the latest led technology they use minimum energy too. The glass is toughened for safety and slots into the aluminum back ballast, complete with a built in LED driver and LED strip they require no additional wiring. They can create a truly unique contemporary effect and enhance the environment with a soft glow.

A bathroom is also a place to escape to for some peace and quiet, where it’s ok to lock the door on your other half and children. If your plan is to take long hot baths in the evening then soft and atmospheric lighting is going to be an important factor. If you have the space you could have a small table top lamp next to the bath or on a shelf to use as a softer lighting option instead of the brighter overhead light. You could even invite your partner into the bath with you and have a romantic evening together!

Never rush into choosing your lighting solutions, consider how the area can be seen to its best advantage through the use of different lighting effects. Online companies can give information and you’ll get a good discount.

Search online and you’ll find a huge choice of safety rated waterproof and showerproof lighting available and suitable for the bathroom as they have IP65 safety rating against moisture intrusion and dust ingression. Look for products that offer low voltage and mains voltage options, as well as the fire rated safety option.

by: Kathryn Dawson

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_5527.shtml

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Using employee engagement surveys to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty

It is almost always best to start by focusing on your employees first. Highly satisfied and engaged employees are essential for achieving high levels of customer satisfaction, retention and long-term loyalty. Start by listening to your employees and taking action based on their ongoing feedback.

Conduct an employee survey / employee engagement survey to gather information, suggestions and insight from your employees. Ask them what it is they like about working for your company and what can be done to help them do their jobs more effectively, as well as do a better job of taking care of customers. Include questions about the effectiveness of internal communications, business processes, teamwork and how employees feel about your company’s direction.

Make sure your employee surveys / employee engagement surveys also include questions about effectiveness of supervisors and managers, empowerment, ability of employees to make suggestions, effectiveness of rewards and recognition, fairness of compensation, adequacy of employee benefits, treatment of diverse groups and fear in the workplace. Include questions about quality, customer service and ways to increase productivity. Ask questions about anything that may be positively or negatively impacting employees’ and customers.

Don’t be surprised if you end up identifying a very large number of challenges and opportunities. If challenges and problems exist, you need to know about them, prioritize them and take action. There is no single silver bullet. Identifying and addressing the top three problems is not enough, especially when there are many more problems that are impacting your employees and customers.

It is important to do a thorough and objective job of analyzing the survey findings. It is then equally important to create a comprehensive action plan and to do a good job of getting everyone involved and executing the plan effectively. This requires communicating the results of surveys so that employees know that you listened to them and that you are committed to making needed changes based on their feedback.

Your goal should be to use the employee survey results to achieve large-scale increases in employee engagement and satisfaction, with a much greater focus on your customers and meeting or exceeding their expectations.

To ensure that you are achieving success, conduct employee attitude surveys annually to measure progress and to identify any new challenges and opportunities that surfaced since the previous employee survey. Your focus on and commitment to continuous improvement will ensure continued customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Once you start to achieve positive results, you should also conduct customer surveys to assess customer satisfaction levels and to see how your customers feel about your company, your employees, your products and services and other key issues that drive customer satisfaction and retention. Don’t be afraid to ask customers about things you know you are not doing well. You need to learn about how customers feel. Guessing isn’t good enough. Your customers are probably also buying from your competitors. It is important that you learn first-hand how they compare your company, products and services with those of your competitors.

In summary, take good care of your employees, set the right direction, provide good leadership, identify problems and opportunities, take action and measure ongoing progress. This will enable your company to attract and retain customers and to be competitive and profitable.

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Retirement planning crucial for small business owners


Planning for retirement is crucial for everyone, and it is especially critical for small business owners, the business leaders many cite as the life blood of the American economy.

Indeed, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business owners employ half of all private sector employees, pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, and have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.

The challenge before American small business owners is keeping their companies financially healthy long-term. This is so that small business owners do not over-rely on the sale of their business alone to take care of them in retirement, and so the business will continue to remain a viable employer in the communities it serves.

 

Because small business owners and entrepreneurs are busy every day working to keep their businesses running strong, their schedule can often interfere with planning for the future. But in this economy, planning is a must in any business strategy. Without it, business owners may be surprised to find that the ultimate sale of their business may not leave enough for them to live on. This is because the sale timing might be off, or their finances are not strong enough to cover a full retirement.

 
“Setting a target number – or dollar figure of what is needed to live on for the rest of your life – is important, and it should be determined at least 10 years before you’re ready to retire,” says Tara Reynolds, corporate vice president with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). “And as you approach retirement, it’s also a good idea to re-calculate what the business is worth with a proper business valuation to determine how you will need to fund your non-working years, if the value has changed. Having this plan and expectation in place can help you determine the best way and time to retire from your business.”

 

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The average business owner expects to retire at age 68, according to a survey conducted by GfK Custom Research North American for MassMutual this year. Yet only one-third of the respondents had a sound retirement strategy to ensure income for life, having access to income when needed, managing potential health care expenses and leaving a legacy to the next generation.

 
MassMutual financial professional Katheigh Degen of  Kansas City offers the following tips to help small business owners stay financially secure during the run up to retirement.

 
* Anticipate needs – Traditionally, most people need about 70 percent of their current annual income to live comfortably in retirement. Know what your business is worth – both as one entity, and also broken down into smaller parts. Only about 10 percent of business sales involve the entire business as one lump sum.

 
* Save on the side – You’ve probably heard about diversifying your portfolio, and the same is true with diversifying your retirement plan. Put aside 20 to 25 percent of your gross income in savings outside of the business. This provides you with flexibility as you plan your exit from the business. For example, if you have an heir or employee interested in purchasing the company, they might not be able to afford it all at once, but could take over the helm with smaller payments over a period of time. Having additional savings can help you tide over in retirement while you also receive payments for the business.

 
* Explore options – As you near retirement, selling off your business in one setting would make everything easy. But as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t always work that way. Knowing your business’ value can help you evaluate offers that come your way, so you can make an educated decision on whether to sell and live comfortably in retirement, or keep working and pursue a better offer.

 
* Don’t wait too long to find a buyer – Within three to five years of retirement, business owners should start to find a buyer for the business. Of course, this plan demands that the owner set an expected retirement date and stick to it. By waiting too long, owners may begin to experience poor health and low energy, which could affect productivity and potentially the profitability of the company.

 
Planning for retirement is so crucial, and owning a business can often add complications in timing the retirement perfectly.

 
“Business owners put so much hard work into building the business and making it strong and viable in the market,” says Degen. “With additional planning in retirement strategy, a good business owner can retire and see the business continue to succeed even after it has been transitioned over to new owners.”
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Increasing security with the use of car cameras


When it comes to car security, people generally think of car alarms and GPS tracking devices. What many people do not know is that car cameras are equally effective at tackling all surveillance issues. These products can be directly installed anywhere in the interior of your car, SUV or truck. Some of them can also be attached to the license plates to defend against car part thefts, which generally take place without actually breaking into the car. These lightweight and highly efficient cameras can be placed anywhere inside the car, where they are virtually impossible to detect. The images produced by these cameras are often of very high quality and can be used to solve tangled insurance cases.

Here are some of the most common benefits of car cameras:

• The camera feeds can work as concrete proof in all driving related cases.

• They also work as evidence for solving complex insurance cases involving car thefts or road accidents.

• The camera feed can also double up as evidence for law enforcement.

Car cameras can be installed within minutes by practically anyone. Their frame rates are generally around 25-30 frames per second and they typically come with a built-in recorder to store images for a long period of time.

Features of High-end Car Cameras

The following are some of the distinguishing features of high end car cameras:

• They come packed with a file over writing feature. This means older records are automatically replaced by newer ones.

• The video or images can be played back on any computer.

• Power cord can be directly attached to the lighter of the car.

• They boast of automatic battery backup in case the car is turned on.

• They provide continuous audio and video streaming.

Tips for Buying any CCTV DVR Recorder for Your Car

The recording device is responsible for storing and maintaining surveillance tapes. The traditional method of recording on tapes has been replaced with the newer digital recording methods. These devices store data on small SD cards which can have a storing capacity in the range of 8 to 32 GB. This means storing large amounts of data without the fear of running out of disc space. Another thing to keep in mind is what quality of recordings you wish. Better quality often implies a higher price.

Even motion detectors can now be integrated into the CCTV DVR Recorder of your car. This means that the car camera will remain inactive if there are no apparent movements and will spring into action as soon as its motion detectors are triggered. This allows saving a lot of precious car battery power and also helps cut back on recording useless feed on the car tape.

The format used for making these recordings is also of prime importance. For example, if you intend to stream the video through the internet, you will need a different format of recording than when you intend to view it on your computer.

Another innovative way of car recording can be obtained by integrating it with an existing car alarm system. Here, the recording starts only after the alarm has been triggered.

In Car Cameras Used in Police Cars

This is what the International Association of Chiefs of Police has to say about in car cameras used in police cabs – “It has become another valued tool in an officer’s arsenal that confirms and assures the high degree of professionalism they demonstrate daily in the performance of their duties.” The feed obtained from these cameras have played a prominent role in solving hundreds of cases each year, besides serving as training tutorials for various police academies. These car cameras also instill confidence in the general public and work as a shield against any abuse at the hands of the police.

by: Kathryn Dawson

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_5679.shtml

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