Becoming A Virus Removal Pro Is Not Easy – Here’s Why

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Would your life drastically improve if you were considered the “Go To Guy” that everyone calls the minute their computers catch a virus infection?

Think of having the ability to remove spyware, rootkits, adware, viruses, Trojans and more from any and all computers? Today just might be your lucky day, as I have several tips that I want to share with you. These important facts will help you to realize the work, trial and error and time needed to become an expert at malware removal.

The following five skills are MANDATORY, for anyone looking to become a virus removal pro:

1.) Realizing which is the best (and worst) virus scanning software

Learning the best and most effective software to use when removing malware, is one of THE most important attributes of a virus removal pro. A vital component of becoming a virus removal pro, is knowing what software to use to remove malware. Not all virus scanning software is created equal; there are some expensive programs available that need to be renewed (re-purchased) yearly, yet several of these programs are not as effective as some FREE software! In other words, that $50 virus software in that shiny new box, will roughly detect a mere 3 out 10 viruses – that will CRIPPLE a computer!

Norton antivirus, or McAfee, or Panda, or the most robust solution, are NOT able to remove EVERY infection from a computer (bet you didn’t know that)! As a matter of fact, no ONE particular software is totally effective in removing all infections from a computer. It is important to use several types of software when scanning for malware, and knowing WHICH software to use is key in becoming a virus removal guru.

2.) The ability to educate users on how to avoid infection (and how to get infected in the first place)

Another skill that must be learned and then taught as an expert, is how people usually get infected in the first place! In other words, you will need to pay close attention to the various infections that are common in the present and not too distant past. Tracking different infections will allow you to also track the infection method, or what caused the malware to “execute” or spread. For example, did the customer click on a picture that they were emailed? Did they click on a “you are infected pop-up” (even closing it)? Did they allow an infected computer on their network?

Knowing how to communicate with and educate a customer on how to prevent infection, is a necessary skill that many technicians and consultants fail to learn or practice. Being hard to understand (“geek-speaking”), rude, pushy or is a step in the wrong direction for anyone looking to become a professional.

3.) Learn which processes that run in Windows are “normal” Operating System processes

In order to remove any and all malware from a PC, it is important to know what NOT to remove. Removing system files, folders or other important Windows files can cause a computer to become unreliable, lose data and in the worse case be rendered totally unbootable. It is extremely critical to know which processes running in Windows are valid processed.

This can be difficult to do due to the fact that, whenever software is installed on a computer (either trusted or malicious), that software has processes that run in Windows, or depend on Windows hosts processed (such as svchost.exe). One you are able to identify which processes run in Windows by default, and how to identify processes that are harmful, you are one step closer to becoming an expert. Unfortunately due to the vast number of processes and files that can run in Windows at anytime (and change depending on the computer), it is best to learn this through hands on experience.

4.) Knowing what to do at a time when “nothing else can be done”

There comes a time in every virus infection, when you aren’t allowed to install any software at all, especially antivirus software that you will use to remove the infection at hand. At the same time, the firewall will be disabled, Windows Security Center will be stopped, the internet connection may be disabled by the malware, the computer won’t boot in safe mode or may not even boot AT ALL!! What are you going to do at this point?

A virus removal pro has learned how to “workaround” the problems that an infection can cause. He or she knows how to use an external drive to backup precious data, then scan and clean viruses from a computer successfully. This expert also knows how to re-enable an internet connection that has been disabled by malware, as well as how to remove pesky and difficult viruses can cause internet browsers to “re-direct” to BAD websites (sites that contain more viruses).

An expert also knows how to reserve the damage done during a malware infection, to return a computer back to “normal,” especially when it comes to removing the hidden threats that MOST antivirus software NEVER detect. The same threats that steal passwords, credit card information, contact names and information, and more; then uploading it to other spammers and thieves. Editing the HOSTs file is one method to reverse damage inflicted by malware, as well as manually removing rogue files that usually appear in the same folder types, such as “System32.”

5.) The ability to learn by referencing step by step details or instructions

Is becoming a virus removal pro more difficult than you anticipated it to be prior to reading this article? I have learned “the hard way”, that it can take YEARS of hands on training – experiencing various scenarios, many types of infections and behaviors; as well as overcoming many of the issues experienced when removing viruses, to truly become a “pro”.

A significant amount of time is needed, as well as hands on experience with many different computers, to become proficient in tuning a computer to the level of performance that existed before becoming infected. Tune ups are needed after every malware removal, largely due to the fact that most infections cause a computer to run “slower” than it did prior to becoming infected.

A tune up consists of (among other things): cleaning the registry, removing unnecessary programs from start-up and in Windows, turning off unneeded services, cleaning temporary files, tweaking Windows settings for maximum speed and performance; and more.

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Penis Enlargement Before and After Photographs – How to Tell If They Are Real or Doctored Images

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They say that a “picture is worth a thousand words,” and when pictures are used as a marketing tool, especially to show “Before” and “After” improvements, these thousand words can be a “big” selling point.

Advertising agencies and marketing experts have used such before/after photos for years to help sell diet products, facial creams, detergents, and everything else where an “improvement” could be captured on film. Because, as a consumer, when we have a visual image of something “Before” and its positive transformation in the “After,” it’s hard to argue with evidence that appears to be so factually evident.

Using such before/after photos is a great way for advertisers to show just how fantastic their product really is. However, such before/after photos can also be used in an underhanded way to “pull the wool” over someone’s eyes. When this happens, “What we see is not what we will actually get.”

Such photo manipulation is easier to do in the digital age than in previous eras. It used to be that if a photograph needed to be altered or retouched, a mechanical air brush was used. In fact, many people specialized in “cleaning” up photographs for people and magazines, to make the people in the photos more appealing and attractive.

Today, though, all we need is a good Image Manipulator on our computer to make such changes. With such programs, it’s easy to alter a digital photograph in just about any way possible. Such alterations are extremely popular on dating sites, where photographs are “Photoshopped” to make the individual appear more attractive or sexy than they actually are in real life.

In many penis enlargement advertisements, we get to see great examples of such Before/After photos. In one picture a man is sporting a three-inch penis… Yet in the next photo, it appears to have grown to a massive length of ten inches. However, are such images totally accurate? How do you tell which images are honest and which images may have been modified?

Well, spotting such altered photos can be tricky, but it’s usually not that hard to spot a doctored photo. Looking at a cylindrical object, like a penis, makes it easier. Simply look at shadows, lighting, and the surrounding environment of the penis. Usually something will catch your attention that will be out of place.

Clarity of image is important, too. Look at the clarity in areas that seem to have been “enlarged.” Simply look for fuzziness in the area that has “grown.” Usually such changes in texture will pop right out at you. The fuzzier such areas are, the greater the chance that these areas have been modified.

If you’re still unsure, there are also numerous programs On-line and software that you can download (for free) that will help you determine if an image has been “doctored” or not. Simply type something like, “how to tell if an image has been Photoshopped” into an On-line search engine and you will find plenty of programs that will analyze an image for you, and help you determine if it is has been altered or not. Simply “click” the Right mouse button over the image on a web-page and you will have the option of saving the image to your computer. Once this is done, simply put it into one of these nifty programs and it can tell you if the image was modified or not.

This can also be quite handy if you are into the On-line dating scene, too. You can use similar programs to test photographs of potential dating partners. If you see that his/her image has been heavily altered, you might want to re-think about continuing a relationship with this person (On-line or not). The reason for this is that they are presenting themselves in a way that is not factual. In other words, they are being dishonest and misrepresenting themselves. Now, who would want to get involved with such a person?

Technology changes, but, unfortunately, people never really seem to change.

Georg von Neumann

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Learn How to Troubleshoot Faulting Module ntdll.dll Error

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If you have been using your computer for a long time, you will be aware of some of the unexpected windows errors like the Faulting Module ntdll.dll error.

Faulting Module ntdll.dll errors are capable of creating numerous problems to the performance of your computer. It is quite imperative to get rid of these errors completely. This type of error will appear unexpectedly, and most of the users who are not much technically aware of the computers will find this situation pretty hard. Therefore, a majority of them will seek the assistance of an expert and will spend money for it. This content will provide you some tips, which will help you to repair this type of error on your computer.

Firstly, you do not have to worry and scratch your head when you see a Faulting Module ntdll.dll error in your system. You should always remember that the present technology would help one to fix any type of problem that occurs in your computer. However, before getting into the depth, it is quite imperative to know more about the Faulting Module ntdll.dll error.

This type of error commonly appears when you will install a new software program or even uninstall an old program from your computer. If a program is not installed or uninstalled properly, the Faulting Module ntdll.dll error can take place. This is also one of the main reasons why you will be getting irritating pop ups on your system.

If you have good technical skill over computers, you will be able to fix the problem manually by yourself. In case, if you are a non-techie, you may require the assistance of a software. A registry cleaning software can perform a full scan of your computer and fix those corrupt and damaged files. Therefore, it is advisable to get a windows registry repair utility and get rid of the Faulting Module ntdll.dll error as well as other registry problems of our PC.

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Plotting Problems – Episodic Writing

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The rejection letter says: “Your story, on the surface, appears to be well-told and has appealing characters. However, the writing is episodic; the story lacks direction.”

You frown. Huh? The story lacks direction? How could it? Your main character is on a quest; how much more of a direction could you have than that?

Clearly, this editor doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Oh well. It takes all types… you bundle up your manuscript and send it out to the next publisher.

Six rejections later, you feel more than a bit miffed. This is a good story; everyone in your writing group says so. Your writing style is smooth and accomplished (even a few editors have said that).

So why the heck do they keep rejecting it? It’s something to do with the plot; that much is clear. But what?

If you’re lucky enough to get feedback, look for clues in the comments that have been made. The moment you see the word ‘episodic’, that is the biggest and best clue you could have. Not all editors will use this term. They might say things like ‘what is the story question?’ or ‘the character has no clear-cut goal’ or ‘there is no character growth’. All of these things can point to your story being episodic.

1. What Does “Episodic” Mean?

If someone tells you that your story is ‘episodic’, they mean that your story is a series of episodes, or events, that are very loosely tied together. The “events” crop up one after the other as a way of entertaining the reader, but there is little character growth between one episode and the next. Nor can we easily see how one event grows out of the one before.

Some examples of how a story may be episodic:

(a) The “Little Tommy had never had such an exciting day!” theme:

FIRST: A child starts out in a normal/boring situation. Then something happens to change things. (A child might find a doorway into a magic kingdom, go on a balloon ride, go to stay on the grandparents’ farm etc etc)

SECOND: The child sees a series of amazing sights/takes part in various fun activities/experiences several hair-raising incidents.

THIRD: The child says “What a lovely day I’ve had. I’ll keep this fairy land a secret, but I’ll keep going back to have more fun with my new friends!” (Or: “Phew. I’m glad that’s over. I’m so happy to be back home!”)

What’s wrong with this? There is no plot. Just a bunch of ‘stuff’ that happens to fill in time.

(b) The “Fantasy Trap”


FIRST: The main character is drawn into a different world or discovers that he/she is ‘the chosen one’.

SECOND: This character is presented with a ‘quest’ to prove his worthiness to take up the mantle of the Chosen One. (He might have to free a character/being from enchantment or imprisonment, OR to learn to use the magic that is buried deep within, OR to right a great wrong etc etc.)

THIRD: The character sets off on his quest. On the way he is faced with one challenge after another (Menacing Fantasy Creature #1, the Hypnotic Field of Flowers, the Dreadful Sucking Swamp, the Shape-Changer, Menacing Fantasy Creature #2, the Dark and Deadly Forest, the Awful Abyss, the Mountain of Sorrows, Menacing Fantasy Creature #3 and so on and so on…)

FOURTH: The character overcomes each obstacle in turn. He finally frees the imprisoned Queen or finds the Sword of Destiny or whatever. He saves the land from annihilation or closes the door between two worlds and keeps evil at bay for another 1000 years.

Yawn. Another cliched fantasy novel ends.

Now, before you indignantly start to point out the many classic (and popular) fantasy novels that fit into the above formula, let me point out why some books work and some don’t (even though they appear to have the same ‘ingredients’). This applies to any genre.

1. The character is reactive rather than proactive.

In other words, he spends the book stumbling from one obstacle to another, reacting to whatever crops up. He doesn’t sit down and formulate a clear plan of action. Quite often, other characters guide the outcome.

2. There is no story question.

The ‘story question’ is the question that is aroused in the reader’s mind at the beginning of the story: “Will the guy get the girl?”; “Will Mary succeed in taking over the firm?”; “Will Xanor take his rightful place as Head of the Galaxy Alien Committee?”; “Will Laura track down the serial killer before she becomes the next victim?”; “How will Toby find his way back from the Land of Giants?” and so on.

You can see why ‘Little Tommy’s Exciting Day’ type of story doesn’t succeed. Tommy doesn’t set out to do anything or solve a problem (other than being bored) and is faced with no challenges along the way. Stuff just happens.

Any book needs to answer the story question, but it must be more than a simple yes or no. It must show HOW the main character achieved his goal, and it must show how the character grows and changes as he pursues his goal. He needs to have a plan of action. Inevitably, he will need to adapt to circumstances – but with each new obstacle, the main character must (1) react; (2) evaluate the plan and make necessary changes, THEN (3) move forward. In most episodic stories, the character simply reacts then moves forward to the next obstacle WITHOUT making further plans. Quite often, older/wiser/stronger secondary characters will decide on the next step for him. Not a good idea! This gives you a weak main character.

3. The reactive character does not operate from his strengths.

He magically finds new skills when needed, rather than possessing them beforehand. He overcomes each obstacle by luck, intervention by someone else, or an amazing new talent that comes as a surprise to him.

2. What You Can Do to Save An Episodic Story

  1. Give your character a goal. e.g. “Mary is forced to leave her child behind. She is determined to come back for him.” Then begin the plan of action. (Mary’s first step is…??? What further action does she plan?)
  2. Give your character significant strengths and some weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses will determine her plan of attack and ultimately reveal the flaws in that plan.
  3. Decide on the obstacles that the character will encounter on her way to the goal.
  4. Decide how your character will react to these obstacles and how this will affect her plan of action. Her reaction should be governed by her strengths and weaknesses as well as by circumstances. She will either overcome obstacles, go around them, or turn them into opportunities. Each setback will require a new plan of attack. Each triumph will determine the next step. Other people can help, but make sure your protagonist makes most of the significant breakthroughs.
  5. Check every scene to make sure it moves the story forward. How will the scene affect the character’s growth and the eventual outcome? Is she moving closer to achieving her goal? Has she earned her success? How does each scene relate to the initial story question?
  6. Make sure each scene flows logically from the one before.

If you can see that your story IS episodic, then take the time to work out just what it needs. You may be able to fix the plot with minimal rewrites, but that’s unlikely. By having your main character make more decisions, you could easily find that he would have chosen a different direction. That’s probably a good thing… you’ve discovered that you’ve been more of a puppet master than a wise author who lets her characters learn by their mistakes.

Grit your teeth and get to work. After you’ve diagnosed an episodic plot, then operated on it, you’re going to be a much better writer.

(c) copyright Marg McAlister

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4 Ways to Deal With Party Disasters at Your Twilight Party

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This November Fans are looking forwards to the release of New Moon in theaters. Twi-Hards everywhere are finding different ways to celebrate. One that has become an established tradition for many fans is a Twilight party. Many fans are having parties based on their favorite series incorporating images and motifs from the series to make their own   unique  events. However a true fan takes these elements and makes a completely original event all their own. But what if something goes wrong? How can you turn a potential disaster into a stroke of pure genius? Here are some potential party disasters and how you can turn it around.

You get a whole lot of uninvited people who come to crash your party. This can be a major problem because you will likely plan your party for a set amount of guests. All these other people will not only strain the resources you committed to your party they might cause you to break some housing and fire code! First, see if you can find some volunteer bouncers. If you know someone people on your high school football team or some adults you can trust call them over to help you do some crowd control. Second, have your guest list handy and quickly make some badges or VIP passes. Give these to the guests you invited to separate them from the rest of the crowd. Charge a cover. Tell them if they want to have fun at your party they have to abide by your rules and help pay for the party otherwise you are calling the police. These measures will help control the extra crowd and will likely give you extra money at the end of the night. Also have your neighbors apprised ahead of time that you are having a party.

The DJ doesn’t show. Well no worries. In this day and age when everyone has a laptop and an MP3 with a shuffle function a DJ is superficial quickly hook up your iPod to a docking station and connect it to some speakers. If you don’t have some you can get a cheap set at Wal-Mart for just around $30 to $40 dollars. If you need some fresh tunes poll your guests for favorites and download them online from Amazon. You can also get some songs from Stephenie Meyer’s playlists. These are some of the songs she listened to as she wrote the Twilight series.

Another potential problem is that you don’t have enough food. This is something that can be taken care of two ways. You should have some extra drinks or food that you made on the off chance guest were more hungry than usual. This is will help tide people over until you can think of something else to make. Second, the convenience store and grocery store are your friends. If any of your friends has a car, have them go on a shopping trip to get items like chips and more soda. You can also have everyone pitch in to make more Twilight themed treats such as blood punch.

Of course there is the danger of your party hitting a slow point. The one thing that every party organizer dreads is a party that loses its energy and excitement. A way to deal with this is come up with some party games that can be quickly set up. If you have the party at your home and you have a game  system  use it. Play some of your favorite party video games. Have a game of Twilight trivia or Flashlight tag. The goal is to use your imagination to come up with ideas.

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A Personal Review of Oris Watches

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Oris watches have long been recognized as beautiful crafted Swiss watches. Oris watches may not have the same brand recognition as some other Swiss-made watches but they are never the less an exceptional timepiece that anyone would be proud to own.

I’ve owned an Oris wristwatch for many years; in fact, my Oris was my first ever Swiss watch. I’ve never tired of my Oris watch, and although I have since bought other fine Swiss watches, I wear it often and still admire its simple but elegant design. So, perhaps the following review of Oris watches is a personal view, though I have tried to remain objective on the current collection of Oris watches.

Oris watches used to follow the more traditional lines of watch design, but recently the company has endeavoured to offer the consumer more up-to-date watch designs, particularly in the sports watches arena. Oris began making sports watches only as recently as the nineteen seventies. Their first sports watch was the Oris Chromoris. Oris still manufacture the Chronoris today, the most recent model being the Chronoris 2005. The Chronoris Chronograph is a simple design made from stainless steel with a black and orange saddle-leather strap; the strap is supposed to emphasize the ‘sportiness’ of the watch, however I feel they are better sports watches on the market today. A better sports watch offered by Oris is the TT1 collection. These watches come with mechanical automatic movement with simultaneous indication of 2 individual time zones. You also get a date display at the 3 o’clock position as well as a black dial with luminous display, a curved scratchproof sapphire glass, with water resistance up to 100 meters. In my opinion the Oris TT1 Worldtimer is the best watch in this series. Recently Oris teamed up with the Williams F1 Team to produce the Oris Williams F1 Team sports watch. I’m not a tremendous fan of this watch. Call me a snob, but I wouldn’t want a watch I owned to be known by any other brand except the watch brand. Also, I think if you are looking for a sports watch they are other brands of watches that offer better styling.

The Oris Big Crown Collection belongs to their aviation series. The big crown being a reminder of the early days of aviation when pilots had to adjust their watches whilst wearing thick gloves. This collection of watches is more like what I’d expect from Oris. The Oris Big Crown comes with mechanical automatic movement with stop function display of hours and minutes from the centre, small permanent second at nine o’clock, decentralised minute and hour counters, second counter from the centre, date at three o’clock. The is black guilloché with white numerals and indices, white lacquered hands; all contained in a stainless steel case 316L with applied fluted bezel, screwed case back. The watches are water-resistant to 50 m with plexiglass and black calfskin leather strap with Louisiana croco pattern and security clasp. The watch is also available with metal bracelet. The Oris Big Crown is a very beautifully designed piece of engineering.

The Culture series of Oris watches is what Oris is all about. Currently Oris offer the Frank Sinatra collection and the Miles Collection. These watches come in various models offering chronograph, complication, mother of pearl facia and diamonds) for those who like such things). My favourite collection is without doubt the Artelier collection. The Oris Artelier Chronograph, Oris Artelier Complication and Oris Artelier Lady Date are fine watches, but the Oris Artelier Pointer Date is the jewel in the collection. Oris are famed for their pointer date or sweep calendar. The company first developed this feature in 1938 and the pointer date is pretty much unique to Oris. Most watches display the date through a window on the dial but the Oris pointer date is a third arm that moves anti-clockwise around the face; the days of the months being displayed as another circle of number outside the hour marks: the end of the pointer arm being either a t-shape or the more traditional semi-circle. I own a pointer date Oris watch and am only too delighted to show this unique feature to those who appreciate a fine watch.

Without question Oris watches are top rated Swiss watches that are a desired by consumers who appreciate good quality mechanisms with simple but elegant designs. Oris watches are also reasonably priced compared to some other brands of watches and owning a beautiful Oris wristwatch is well within the means of most people.

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Understanding the Purpose of Foot Rails

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Foot rails are very common today in bars. They’re used in the home or in commercial bars. They are fixtures that make your feet comfortable and they can make any bar look classy.

Apart from its aesthetic sense, foot rails have a purpose. By its name alone, it’s meant to provide comfort to the feet whether a person is standing or seated on a chair. It can be quite tiring to just stand with both feet on the ground but with a foot rail in place, you can stand with the other feet elevated for added comfort.

Foot rails can also be added to trucks. To succeed in the installation process, you have to get the proper measurement and read the instructions well. Holes will also have to be drilled on the truck’s body or chassis to attach the rails using screws. The purpose of foot rails in trucks is to serve as resting place for the feet. It also makes for a unique look.

It’s amazing how the plain tubing has been made into a more functional fixture. Without this material, the bar could have remained simple and a drab. The fact is, foot rails are available today in different materials which means you can match it with the theme of your interior space.

Wood is a popular and classic choice but other materials have evolved to provide people with more choices. There’s the metal foot rail that has become a preferred option these days. It can be made from stainless steel, aluminum or brass. The brass rail evokes an elegant look because of its yellow finish that resembles the color of gold. Finishes vary as well such as the polished copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, satin stainless steel, satin nickel and powder coated colors.

Foot rails need not be a straight line all the time. With so many companies manufacturing this fixture nowadays, customization is the current trend. There are those that can expertly bend and miter foot rail tubings to fit any bar measurement especially those that have corners. Foot rails can also be ordered in specific lengths for people who want to install the fixture on their own.

Other components are required to complete any foot rail project. These are the end caps, flush fittings, flanges and the post and floor brackets.

The end caps complete the look of your foot rails. They can be flat, round or decorative depending on your preference. This component is easy to install you just need to slip it on the end of the tubing. But you can use a strong glue to keep it secured.

Foot rail brackets come in different types as well. The combination type is one which can be mounted to the floor and to the bar itself. These are secured using the screws. For one foot rail, you will need several brackets which should be placed at a distance of six inches from the end of the tubing or at least three brackets for an eight-foot rail.

Preparation is key to installing a great foot rail. This ensures that the measurements and your materials are correct.

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Unique & Functional Kitchen Island Ideas

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If you are looking to do a complete kitchen remodeling for yourself, or for maximum resale value, don’t neglect the kitchen island. Once just a place to pull up some stools so the kids could eat before running to the bus, the island and it’s function in the kitchen has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years.

In addition to seating 4 (or more), islands today are used to house “luxury” appliances that do not fit in the cabinet structure like a second microwave, second oven, wine refrigerator or even another cooktop. Islands many times are fully wired for electricity and have plumbing for a second sink. The base of an island can be used as a wine rack. The possibilities are almost endless.

We are often asked if the countertop of the island needs to match the existing kitchen countertop in style, or what will be installed as the main kitchen countertop. In most homes I would say it does match, but it really does not have to at all, nor does the material need to be the same. In fact, if you are not going to match them up exactly it’s better if it looks like you are not even trying to match them, so using a completely different color and surface is perfectly acceptable. For example, we have seen islands of concrete when the rest of the kitchen countertop is made of granite or another material. We have seen a black island used as a nice “dividing wall” to keep the kids away from a white kitchen.

What can we expect to pay for an island during a remodel? This one is too hard to answer because there are simply too many choices. A “ready to install” stock island you can purchase in a home store with connections for drainage and power can run about $800. A custom concrete countertop island with sink, cooktop, and wine refrigerator can easily eclipse $10,000.

If you are not looking just for resale value, and we assume many of you will actually want to use your island, just think if the main uses for the island before construction. Will it be a place for the kids to eat breakfast or a baking center for your wife who like to make pies and cakes? The design should really follow the function when it comes to an island. For example, if you are tired of not being able to put hot pots directly on your countertop, install granite on your island, where placing a red hot pan should be no problem.

Plan the height of your cabinet appropriately. Since most islands will have at least two stools or chairs pulled up to the surface, you may want to think about the seating or stools first. There are two kinds of bar stools with one being much higher than the other. Unless the island will be used primarily for family eating, there really are no hard and fast rules on height. It does not have to match the height of the kitchen cabinet, but often does. If it is not going to match it should be taller in most cases.

Islands can “float” as well. Smaller islands used primarily as an aid in cooking or baking can be fitted with wheels and moved around the kitchen as needed to aid in cooking. Whether you consider a floating island will probably depend on what you have installed on the floor now, or plan to install (a soft wood will be nicked and scratched).

For those remodeling and looking for an “open” feel where perhaps the wall or half wall separating the kitchen and the dining room is taken down, a strategically placed island acts as a subtle room divider mentally separating the kitchen from the dining room but with a much more open feel.

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Five Reasons to Visit Finland

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Finland is a country of extreme contrasts – icy winters and golden summers, and vibrant cosmopolitan cities mixed with vast areas of remote wilderness. You are sure to enjoy these when you visit Finland, along with the following.

The Christmas Country

Christmas is the most festive time of the year for the Finns, filled with   unique  and heartwarming traditions, which is why it is a great time to visit Finland. Get to see the St. Lucia Festival in Helsinki, which is one of the country’s pre-Christmas celebrations, especially for the Swedish-speaking Finns, and while there, grab the chance to skate at the city’s popular ice rink or shop for crafts and delicacies at the St. Thomas Christmas Market. You can visit a graveyard in Helsinki, too, which is filled with candles on Christmas Eve or spend a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with a Finnish family.

The best part about spending Christmas in Finland, though, is that you get to see Santa Claus – for real! Drop by the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi and get to meet the man in the red suit himself in his office, as well as his herd of reindeer and little helpers. You don’t have to wait until the Christmas season to do this, though, since the Santa Claus Village is open all year.

Snow Castles and Igloos

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to sleep in an igloo? Put an end to your curiosity and spend the night in one in Finland, such as one of the the Harriniva Igloos, where you can sleep on a double bed made of snow under a blanket made of reindeer skin. Spending the night in the Kakslauttanen Igloos is recommended for couples since most are built for two. There is even one with a clear roof so you can gaze up at the Arctic skies – or even the Northern Lights – while wrapped up in each other’s arms.

There are also entire complexes made out of snow in Finland during winter like the snow castle in Kemi where there is a bar, a restaurant and a chapel made out of snow where you can have or see a truly  unique  wedding. There is also a snow village in Yllas where you will see many astonishing ice sculptures.

Saunas

There are approximately 1.8 million saunas in Finland so make sure you try out at least one when you visit Finland. Indeed, the Finns love the sauna. In fact, the word sauna itself is a word from the Finnish language – the only one to be included in the dictionary. Some saunas use electricity while others – roughly 500 – are traditional smoke or wood-burning saunas, which are usually located beside the lake. Popular saunas include the smoke sauna at Hotel Kakslauttanen – the largest in the world with a capacity of up to 70 people – and the newly opened Sauna Gondola in Yllas.

Wildlife Watching

Finland is home to an amazing diversity of Finland, although it is most known for its large population of European brown bears and wolverines, which you can get to see if you visit Finland. Indeed, there are many wildlife watching tours you can take during your stay so you can observe rare wild animals in their natural environment without fearing for your life. It is also easy to spot reindeer and different birds such as the elegant whooper swan – Finland’s national bird.

Outdoor Adventures

Aside from wildlife watching, there are many exciting activities to keep you occupied if you visit Finland during the summer, such as hiking and cycling in its stunning nature parks, horseback riding, playing golf, sailing, kayaking and rafting. In winter, these activities are replaced with skating, skiing, snowboarding, fishing and reindeer or dog sledding, which means you will certainly have a lot to enjoy no matter what time of the year you come visit.

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The Best Aviation Headsets for Passengers

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If you’re a private pilot and you carry passengers on cross country flights or on local sightseeing trips, you might be looking for the best aviation headsets for passengers.

Your passengers need hearing protection like you, and having communication with the pilot on the intercom during a flight can make it more enjoyable, so it’s imperative that you furnish your passengers with decent aviation headsets.

If your budget allows, buy ANR headsets. They are definitely worth the investment. You don’t have to spend $1,000 to get a good one, either. They have become more affordable and can be purchased for around $300 or a little higher.

The alternative to ANR is of course, passive noise reduction headsets. Some of these models can be purchased for less than $100, which sounds good, but beware of being too cheap!

Whichever brand or model headset you select, make sure you take note of the following:

· Weight

· NRR

· Padding

· Adjustability

Compare the actual weight of several brands and models. Find a set that weighs as little as possible. A heavy headset can lead to neck and shoulder pain on a long flight, especially if the passenger is a slight woman.

Passive noise reduction headsets are rated by the EPA for their ability to reduce noise. They give each headset a NRR (noise reduction rating) which is shown in decibels. The higher the NRR, the quieter the headset.

The most comfortable ear cups are gel-filled, not foam filled. Gel has a way of conforming to your ear better than foam. Gel equipped headsets cost a little more than foam ones and are slightly heavier, but your passengers will thank you for them.

Some headsets also have padding under the top headband. This helps reduce the pressure on top of the passenger’s head, thereby improving the comfort level.

Finally, the best aviation headsets for passengers should be fully adjustable. Because everyone has a different sized and shaped head, having the ability to be adjusted for height and width is crucial.

The clamping pressure should also be able to be adjusted for different width heads. Clamping pressure can lead to a severe headache over a couple of hours. Make sure to personally check for the right fit on your passenger’s headsets.

So when choosing the best aviation headsets for passengers, you have to strike a balance between the comfort of your passengers and staying within your budget.

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