How To Clean Decks Like A Professional

Deck Cleaning may look easy but, there are quite a few steps involved to clean decks the professional way without causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Deck cleaning is a very popular service performed by power wash contractors today but it is not done properly in most situations. The most important factor in deck cleaning is surface preparation. Great surface preparation is the KEY to outstanding results. Prep right, and the deck will turn out GREAT. Rush through prep, skip a step (or two) to save money and/or time, and the deck won’t look nearly as good.

Thorough cleaning of the deck or fence is essential to get good results. If the wood was previously sealed, you must strip off the old sealer rather than just clean the wood. If any old sealer remains, it might interfere with Ready Seal soaking into the wood. If the wood has not been sealed within the last five years, a deep cleaning is probably all that is needed. If you are not sure if the deck or fence must be stripped, a simple “splash” test is all you need to find out. Sprinkle a little water from your fingertips on to the dry wood. If the droplets soak into the wood right away, you don’t need to strip. If they form little droplets on the surface, you do have to strip.

High-pressure washing of wood is not necessary or advisable. Instead, use the proper-strength chemical cleaners to do all the work. Then you simply RINSE using your pressure-washer. Doing it the right way means using your pressure washer to agitate slightly with MODERATE pressure and HIGH water volume. Use the pressure washer responsibly. Too much pressure on the surface of the wood will cause furring damage.

Pressure washers are rated in PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute). The ideal pressure washer for cleaning wood will use at least 3-4 GPM (or more) at about 300 – 1000 PSI for most outdoor wood.

Since your pressure washer probably puts out 3000 PSI, you need to ‘detune’ the pressure. There are three methods for reducing the pressure while keeping the volume of water. First one is to hold the tip farther from the surface of the wood. The pressure falls as the water is fanned out from the tip, so greater distance from the surface means less pressure reaching the surface. This is not a scientific adjustment, and is not the recommended method. The second way is to invest in a proper nozzle that will reduce the pressure to an acceptable range without restricting water flow. These nozzles can be purchased from Sun Brite Supply. The absolute BEST way to accomplish this reduction of pressure is to use a dual-lance wand (also called a chemical injection wand). This wand has a valve built-in that, when opened, allows water to be diverted to the second tube (or lance). With the chemical injector tip on that second tube (black in color) the water going through that tip has little or no pressure behind it. The more you open the valve, the lower the overall pressure delivered by the wand is. With this set-up, you can use low pressure for the deck and run full pressure to clean the driveway afterwards – without carrying a second wand or additional tips.

Cleaners and strippers have to be used carefully, too. Too much chemical or too much “dwell” time will cause the surface of the wood to develop “fuzzies”.

Sun Brite’s SEVERE STRIP or REMOVE strippers can be applied through a DECKSTER sprayer, but can also be applied using a pump-up sprayer in an emergency. SBS sells Spray Doc pump-up sprayers in a model that is designed specifically for doing decks. It features a brass wand and tip that are easily adjustable, allowing you to fit the spray pattern to the job.

Allow either stripper to sit on the wood for about 10-15 minutes to loosen the dirt and/or the old sealer. When stripping, be careful to avoid getting caustics on any painted or aluminum adjacent surfaces. If you accidentally get stripper on one of these surfaces, rinse them gently as soon as possible. A caustic stripper will not damage latex if it is gently rinsed off.

Most contractors use REMOVE for the bulk of their work. If you run into a really tough finish that might take two strips to get done, you are usually better off using SEVERE STRIP. This is pretty strong stuff (almost three times as strong as REMOVE.) The disadvantage in using a product this strong is the danger it presents to you if it gets on your skin. The real advantage is that it will strip almost anything the first time through. We don’t recommend it for stripping acrylic finishes, for example, but during our field product tests SEVERE STRIP even stripped acrylic house paint off of rough-sawn cedar! Be careful out there.

Before applying a stripper to the deck, wet down the adjoining surfaces (such as plants, lawn, or house siding) with a hose. Minimize any water landing on the wood to be cleaned. Consider shielding plants and house siding with drop cloths to prevent contact with the detergent.

Use the pressure washer to “rinse” the surface. Avoid holding the nozzle too close to the wood or holding it in any one spot too long. Hold the pressure wand about 8″ away from the wood and “sweep” it off in a rinsing motion. Use a “golf swing” motion, and avoid washing each square inch of the wood. Keep the wand moving smoothly over the surface to avoid leaving marks on the wood. Proper technique determines the results, so take some time to practice when you are able to.

Once the entire surface has been power washed (and is still wet, but without puddles) apply Wood Britener to the wood with your DECKSTER sprayer. This will neutralize the pH of the wood and brighten it. You may let Wood Britener dry on the wood overnight without rinsing it off.

The wood is now clean, and it needs to thoroughly dry before it can be sealed (at least a day or two). As the wood dries, you will see a bright, clean, new-looking surface. Now your ready to seal the deck, for more information visit the Deck Sealing information and procedures page.



Electrical Contractors and Outsourcing

Reliability, hiring and termination costs are persistent problems in the electrical contracting industry. Thorough screening, testing and interviewing techniques can help prevent reliability issues. The question is, do you have time to do all of these things and maintain focus on the job site?

First review a list of functions your company must do to hire, maintain and retain an employee. Place a cost on each item using the time value of the person who must handle each separate item. For example and simplification, your office manager earns $15.00/hour and spends a half-hour a day dealing with employee issues. The time value is $7.50 to perform that function. Do this for each item listed below and come up with a daily total amount. Divide the total by 8 and determine if you are performing the functions cheaper than the staffing company can. Most electrical contractors can not because they are set up operationally, not administratively.

If you need a guideline to compare costs, most staffing companies charge a very small amount on top of each hour billed; use 5-7% as a general rule. Keep in mind this includes all labor burden costs including state/federal payroll taxes, worker’s com, liability insurance, payroll processing, etc (see list for the rest).

Outsourcing your human resources function eliminates the need for:

Placing job ads, handling phone calls from ads, processing job applications,checking references,performing criminal background checks, scheduling and paying for drug testing (if required), scheduling and conducting interviews, controlling Worker’s compensation insurance costs, maintaining liability insurance on employees, paying for office staff human resources training,

employee handbook development, safety program development, administration and injury reporting, payroll administration, mailing checks and setting up direct deposit accounts, payroll tax accounting – weekly payroll and annual mailing of W-2’s,

time tracking of field employees (electricians), offering and administering health and savings plans, worker’s compensation claims processing, processing unemployment claims, handling court ordered garnishments, paying attorney’s fees if a suit is filed against your company, addressing and processing NLRB issues, dealing with and paying for other post-employment obligations (wrongful termination suits, HIPPA notifications, etc)…and all of the other time consuming costs not mentioned above that chew into your bottom line!

What many electrical contractors do not take into consideration is the amount of time away from production and the amount of time their office staff devotes to recruiting, hiring and maintaining each employee on the payroll. This is a variable cost outsourcing labor solves.

Going back to the numbers, variable costs are costs that can be varied flexibly as conditions change; like the number of electricians you need to carry on your payroll at any given time. The point made here is that labor is a much more flexible resource than capital investment. Outsourcing labor provides you and your staff with freedom away from time consuming human resource functions. The time you save is better spent marketing, dealing with customers, suppliers, and focusing on the work at your project site.

Spend time to add up the time and cost of the listed functions involved in hiring and retaining electricians. Ask a staffing company to provide you with a cost breakdown of their hourly charge for each electrician’s skill level. Keep in mind staffing companies cover all the costs you would and charge a nominal account administration fee (the fee is normally much less than what companies spend on the list of HR functions). Compare the costs. Remember to consider the intangible benefits of reduced liability, time savings and increased freedom to focus on your customer.

Most contractors will agree that for any given electrical contracting project, outsourcing is cost effective. One key point that must be emphasized is outsourcing labor is not a “one size fits all” solution to controlling variable costs. Businesses that are comfortable where they are do not make good candidates. On the other hand, a business that wants to grow while maintaining tight control over variable costs makes an excellent fit.

We can never predict when an employee will decide to leave a company but, we can control what it will cost to replace that person using effective outsourcing strategies. Keeping the right mix of permanent and temporary employees is the key to controlling the priciest variable costs in our industry – labor. Outsourcing electricians allows you to control variable costs that are discussed in the next few paragraphs.

As you are aware, variable costs are the costs directly linked to the tempo of operations in electrical contracting. They are called variable because they vary with the size and workload of the business. This means that the more projects bid and won; the more labor, material, etc. costs will rise. The more labor costs rise, the more employee-related administration costs go up.

This, of course, is in contrast with fixed or overhead costs. These costs are those that are incurred regardless of whether or not your company works one or ten projects. These costs do not vary as the pace and size of your operations change unless a dramatic change is made. Variable costs are project specific, whereas, fixed costs are associated with the entire company. Office leases/mortgages have to be paid no matter what is produced or in what numbers. Hence rent or a mortgage is a fixed cost.

Consider a situation where you determine your electrical contracting service yields a 25% contribution margin. Your figure can then be used to determine whether variable costs for your project(s) can be reduced. You can choose to bump up the price of materials and/or reduce your labor costs.

Material pricing adjustments is the easy part. Labor costs are not. To attract and retain quality electricians, you must pay more than the competition, offer benefits and training.

Remember your bottom line or net profit is determined by how you decide to spend each penny of your contribution margin on fixed costs. We know you can control your fixed costs by deciding on how much to spend on vehicles, equipment, tools, phone service and all the rest of your business needs

But, what is the true cost to attract, hire, manage and retain a qualified electrician for a three month project and what is the cost to hire a permanent/full-time employee? You probably know the answer, the cost is the same. It is the replacement cost of the employee that will eat into your bottom line after you conduct all of your human resource or human capital management functions in-house. And what price do you place on the expenditure to bring someone new into your company? And what does it really cost to replace that person? The answer is simply the cost of time – your time, your staff’s time and all time removed from project related activities.

Learn more about outsourcing electricians [http://www.strategy-construction.com] at Strategy Construction’s Web Site.



Nubia Z11 Review

With the release of the One Plus 3T, Nubia had to build a phone that would not only bring in the loyal crowd that they’ve gathered over the years, but they also had to make sure that this phone would be good enough to outshine the One Plus 3T completely and put them back on the market as the number one brand on the market. After a couple of months of constant research they came up with the Nubia Z11, a smartphone that looks very promising at first sight. Is it good enough to surpass its lifelong rival, the One Plus 3T, or is it going to take the 2nd place once more? Let’s see.

1. The Design

First of all we need to mention the fact that the Nubia Z11 is one of the very few bezel-less smartphones you can buy these days, which instantly makes it an incredible device to have. This little detail made most of the youngsters fall in love with the design instantly, and once you’ve got their attention, you’ve practically already achieved the impossible. Secondly, the phone’s body is made entirely out of metal, which gives it a very sturdy feel in the palm. The more rounded metal frame also makes the phone easier to hold, which was again, another great design choice made by Nubia. Another really amazing part about the phone is the color combination on the back. Two gold lines run along the top and the bottom of the phone’s back, and the fingerprint scanner is also golden. The camera module is red, which really sticks out, but not in a negative way. Needless to say, the phone’s very pretty.

2. The display

The display is simply put amazing on this phone. The 5.5 inch FHD panel looks incredible from all angles; it’s elegant, vibrant and very pleasing to the eye. Although the colors are a bit oversaturated, the display still manages to look incredible. Overall the display is very good, especially for people that watch a lot of videos on their phones.

3. The performance

Although Nubia phones have been known for the experience more than the performance, the Z11 manages to perfectly encapsulate both needs in just one slim device. Thanks to its Snapdragon 820 SoC and 6GB of RAM this phone can practically run every app on the market. It’s fast, responsive and overall it offers a very good experience for both the social media lovers and the hardcore gamers. Overall the Z11 surpasses the OnePlus 3T in this department. The only problem the Z11 has is the heating temperature. If you’re one of those people that likes to play games for hours or one of those people that binge watches movies for a longer period of time then you might find the phone to be a bit too rocket-like during these sessions. The Z11 can actually push higher than 42 degrees Celsius in less than 15 minutes if you plan on watching a 4k video. Of course, it wasn’t really meant for this type of a workout, but still, this is a new generation phone, so people expected a lot more from it on this department.

4. The camera

This is where the compliments stop. Nubia phones have always been known for their cameras, most of the Nubia devices had incredible cameras, these cameras rivaled the flagship phone cameras, but the Z11 is quite different. The pictures look blurry and a bit too white at times, you flinch only for one millisecond and your picture looks absolutely terrible. The camera is not even great, it’s just embarrassing. It’s a shame, outside of a few minor flaws if it weren’t for this camera the phone would have been almost perfect.

5. The battery

The battery sort of redeems the phone a little bit. It’s a 3000 mAh battery which lasts for about 5-7 hours, depending on how much you try to use it. It’s not perfect, but it does surpass its rival’s battery. The OnePlus 3T’s battery lasts for about 4-5 hours, which seems to be that phone’s definitive flaw.

The Verdict:

Overall the phone is very impressive. It’s incredibly beautiful, it has a stunning design, the display is gorgeous and the performance is very enjoyable. If it weren’t for its battery the phone would completely surpass the OnePlus 3T, but because of it it’s kind of a tie. In the end it comes down to this: If you prefer the camera over the battery life then choose the OnePlus 3T, if it’s the other way around then the Nubia Z11 is the perfect choice for you. Other than that, the phone shines in most departments, so it’s a very good choice. If you’re in need of a good and trustworthy phone then the Nubia Z11 is perfect for you.



Macintosh Vs Windows 95

It used to be that the choice between a Mac and a PC was pretty clear. If you wanted to go for the more expensive, easier to use, and better graphics and sound, you went to buy a Macintosh, for the cheaper price, it was the PC. Now it is a much different show. With the release of Windows 95 and the dynamics of the hardware market have changed the equation.

On the other hand, Apple has made great price reductions on many of their computers last October. You can now buy a reasonably equipped Power Macintosh at about the same price as a PC that has about the same things. This makes the competition much harder.

Windows 3.x have been great improvements over the earlier versions of Windows, and of course over DOS, but it still didn’t compete against the ease of use on a Mac. The Windows 95 interface is much better than Windows 3.x. It borrows some from the Macintosh interface and has improved on it.

Some improvements are the ability to work with folder icons that represent directories and subdirectories in DOS. Windows 95, unlike the Mac, logically groups data and resources. A Taskbar menu lets you call up and switch between any software application at any time. Thus feature is better than the Mac’s because its use is more obvious. It clearly shows what is running and allows you to switch programs with a single click of the mouse. Control panels have been added so you can configure your hardware. There is easy access to frequently used files. You can make very long file names on Windows 95 instead of short and strange names that leave you wondering about, such as on Windows 3.x I could not name a folder This is stuff for school it must be a lot shorter. The Help system helps you implement its suggestions. A multilevel Undo command for all file operations safeguards your work, something Macintosh does not have.

Something that Windows 95 has, similar to the Macintosh Alias function, is shortcut icons. It calls up a program very easily, instead of searching through your hard drive. The Windows 95 shortcuts go beyond the Mac’s, they can refer to data inside documents as well as to files and folders, and can also call up information on a local area network server or Internet site. Windows 95’s plug and play system allows the operating system to read what’s on your machine and automatically configure your new software that you need to install, however, this only works if the added hardware is designed to support it, and it will for a majority of hardware.

All these things are major improvements, but hardware and CONFIG.SYS settings left over from earlier programs can conflict with the new system, causing your hard drive to crash. This is something all users of Windows 95 will dread. Even though Microsoft has made many wonderful changes to Windows, Apple is working on developing a new operation system, called Copland. It may beat many of the Windows 95 improvements. Apple is still deciding on what new things to add when the system will start shipping later in the year. Some new things may be a customizable user interface and features such as drawers, built-in indexing and automatically updated search templates to help users manger their hard drives much more efficiently. The biggest improvement is to be able to network systems from multiple vendors running multiple operating systems. Like Windows 95, Copland will also have a single in-box for fax, e-mail, and other communications. The disadvantage of Copland is it can only be used on Power Macintoshes.

I would personally go for a PC with Windows 95. I choose it because of the many programs that can be used on PC’s. Whenever I walk into a computer store, such as Electronics Boutique, half of the store is taken up by programs that can be used on an IBM compatible PC. There is only one little shelf for things that run on Macs. It seems that the more people use PC’s. I have met very few people with a Macintosh. I can bring many things from my computers to theirs and the other way around without worrying, “What if I need to find this for a Mac?”

Schools should use Windows95 PC’s because of the many more educational programs available for PC’s. Since of the making of Windows 95 many companies now make programs for the PC. It may be a long time, if ever, that they will decide to make it for a Mac. Plus since of the many people with IBM PC’s at home, people can bring their work to and from school. If everyone had the same kind of computer on a network, students could go into the computers at schools all over the world to use programs there.

So since now that the quality of computers are equal it is very hard to make your decision. For those that are not computer literate, the best thing to do is to go for the Mac because of the easiness involved in using one. This means you get less choice of programs in a store, and if you go online, many people will be using something different from you so you have no idea what they are talking about. If you know how a computer is basically used, a Windows 95 PC will be no problem. It doesn’t take that long to learn. You will have a bigger choice of programs and may be able to do more things with other people that have a computer. It comes down to this choice. Most of the choosing will go to schools because of the many using Macintosh computers, which most of Apple’s money comes from. It is only recently companies that made software for PC’s that got interested in making programs for educational purposes.

So if you are deciding a computer. I leave you to decide this. Windows 95 or Macintosh, the choice is yours.

I feel that this is the best journal entry I have ever written. It informs the reader a great deal about the subject and it helps you make a decision that is very important if you decide to buy a computer for work or home use. It is very helpful because it can educate people in the world that are not computer literate in a world that is being taken over by computers. Things such as the internet are used by many people, and it would certainly help if you needed to know what kind to buy so your would be compatible with someone else’s. This entry tells that I am one that is around computers a lot and have an interest in them.



Broken Trust

The large animal organizations and the public money.

It is said that in America, anything the imagination can conjure up

can be attained with persistence. In a society where we boast of

freedom and clearly recognize the importance of our leadership in the

world, one must be increasingly disillusioned by the simple things in

life that prevent us from moving ahead even further. We can

successfully put roving monitors on mars,, cure diseases in short

order, win wars in 100 days or less and have the marketing prowess to

alter human life around the globe.

The suffering of animals is a deep and quiet thing; and yet, millions

of people hear, and care and hope to answer this call. More than

3,000 non profits dedicated to the same have logged an estimated 40

Billion man hours in the past 20 years all while Americans are

donating billions of their dollars to animal welfare organizations

who promise that they are relieving animal suffering.

But are they? Or, is the trust being placed in them by their donors,

being betrayed?

The overpopulation of dogs and cats is the major source of the

suffering and death of 8 million animals a year in America. This is a

problem for which the cause is well known, the consequences of not

solving it are well known, and the tools for solving it are within

reach. And yet, little headway is being made. It is one of the

simplest problems to correct.

We hear a lot about increasing adoptions, and this is important; but

where is the effort to prevent the overpopulation in the first place?

The ASPCA, for example, doesn’t even take in strays, so their

adoption program, while valuable, is not addressing the problem in a

significant way. They inaugurated their “no-kill” policy in order to

appeal to more donors. That doesn’t mean that animals are not being

killed–they are just being killed someplace else. And until the

overpopulation problem is solved, this dirty work must be done.

Why is it that almost everyone knows about the ASPCA and HSUS, for

example, but, by and large, the public still doesn’t know that it is

not OK to breed their pets or to allow an accidental breeding? Why

don’t people know about puppy mills or where pet shop puppies come

from? The big organizations have utterly failed to get this message

across. Why?

They have the funds. In New York City, billboards, subway and bus ads

abound. “Think out of the box” is the title under a picture of a

puppy or kitten peeking out of an ASPCA carrier. Not one ad, or sign,

or billboard informs the public about the overpopulation epidemic and

its tragic consequences. Why? Again, the large organizations have

failed to convey this important message to the public, in schools and

to our elected officials.

Our society is continuing to devote a sizable portion of our

existence to finding out the problems that face us and realize that

we must re focus our efforts on the TRUE meanings of responsibility,

compassion and to understand that even though only one voice, each

human is part of a societal choir of sorts that has far reaching

consequences for everyone in that given society. I was once told that

we can never expect to win the game until all teammates play by the

same rules. It certainly holds true in this argument.

Nobody within the ranks of these seemingly noble efforts will

disagree with the facts that nobody wants to work together. They

defend their ideas as if it were a pharmaceutical corporation with a

cure for cancer. The compassion issue is everywhere in the animal

protection movement. ‘Compassion This – Compassion That.” But all the

large animal protection groups continue to bicker, argue, point

fingers and sling mud between themselves. The anger and jealousy and

vindictiveness among the smaller rescue organization efforts is

mammoth in scope. Unimaginably detrimental to all these efforts is

clearly the complete lack of true compassion – at least a real focus

on their actual goals. Of course, politics, egos and agendas play a

large part in covering up any real compassion that may be earned or

even really exists.

We are not advocating the end of the big organizations or even the

reduction of the six-figure salaries being awarded their chief

executives.Why shouldn’t someone who saves an animal get paid as well

as someone who is willing to send them to slaughter or pave over

habitat? But, in any business and most other endeavors, a chief

executive who does not do the job is either demoted or fired. The big

animal organizations have not done the job. Should they continue to

get paid?

Too much of their funding is channeled back into their own

development, feeding their own labyrinthine gullets. These

organizations have become creatures with bigger and bigger bellies

and weaker arms and legs and smaller hearts to get things done. If we

were truly compassion driven, we would not be so uninformed as to

assume the large national groups were truly out to help the animals

with their millions and millions of dollars laying around in bank

accounts while much needed and well deserved programs go unfunded and

lives continue to be lost. If we were truly compassion driven, we

would educate ourselves on the facts of these issues so as to clearly

understand our individual roles in prevention.

Sharing the blame and the shame is the American Kennel Club, which

issues registration papers indiscriminately to decent breeders and to

puppy mills alike. They sponsor the suffering of thousands upon

thousands of animals. No big organization wants to take them on. Why?

We must admit the problems are ours and ours to solve. Like our

fanatical minority and religious leaders, our large animal welfare

organizations need their victims. Absent crime and imaginary

situations against their people and teachings, these organizations

disappear — this means jobs. Jobs = egos. As long as they can

convince those who don’t know any better, they will survive.

The picture as of today, is one of an overworked underfunded and

failing animal control effort, schools failing to institute any form

of humane education programs into a curriculum at any level, the

media won’t cover the real stories of HOW to prevent this and see a

productive future, their readers don’t want the stories of puppies

and kittens dying as it’s too upsetting to read. Finally, all those

who are sitting at their desk right now in any animal protection

organizations while reading this are going to be outwardly angered

that One would accost them in such a manner, but are not willing to

correct the situation as it stands, to ensure they receive a pay

check next week.

The major animal welfare organizations are not useless. The world is

a better place with them than without them, but they fall short. Too

short. To whom much is given, much is expected.



Subliminal Perception – How it Works

What is subliminal perception? Does it really affect your mind and behavior? Subliminal CDs and programs are one of the most recent tools in the self-development field that offers the promise of helping people make dramatic life changes conveniently, inexpensively and with little effort. But, to what degree does subliminal programming work?

Subliminal Perception, A Natural Process…

Perception is the natural, normal way you receive impressions from your environment. Subliminal refers to information that is perceived below the level of conscious awareness. Normally, you pay conscious attention to a very small percentage of information that you experience through our sense and your mind. Try this test: take a moment to focus your attention on the sounds around you and you will discover there are many background noises you normally completely ignore…consciously that is. These sounds probably include traffic noise, machinery, conversations, birds, insects, etc. Nevertheless you are aware of this constant bombardment of stimuli, even though it is perceived below your conscious awareness by your extremely receptive and sensitive subconscious mind.

Interest in subliminal communication first developed shortly after Freud presented his revolutionary idea that we all have a hidden, unconscious mind. One of Freud’s contemporaries, Dr. O. Poetzle, developed and tested theories related to the effect of subliminal stimulation on dream content. In 1917, Poetzle was the first scientist to demonstrate the close relationship between subliminal stimuli and posthypnotic suggestion. His discovery, called the Poetzle Effect, indicates that subliminal perceptions evoke dreams and actions days or weeks after the original perception.

In the last 50 years, many hundreds of carefully controlled scientific studies have been conducted on subliminal perception. An abundance of scientific data resulting from decades of research indicates that subliminal perception does occur and information perceived subliminally does affect the unconscious or subconscious mind. And most importantly, subliminal programming has been shown to be an effective tool for influencing and changing behavior. Controversy over subliminal stimuli arises precisely because it does influence people’s behavior without their conscious awareness.

Subliminal Messages Used in Stores to Reduce Shoplifting…

It was discovered that subliminal messages could be masked in music or other audio programs. An article in TIME magazine in 1979, titled, ‘Secret Voices,’ reported that nearly 50 department stores in the U.S. and Canada were using subliminal messages in the music systems to reduce shoplifting and employee theft. One East Coast chain was reported to have reduced theft by 37%, amounting to the phenomenal savings of $600,000 over a nine-month period.

A similar story in the WALL STREET JOURNAL in 1980 stated the installation of a subliminal message system in a New Orleans supermarket accounted for a drop in pilferage loss from almost $50,000 per six months to ‘the astounding figure of less than $13,000’ – an all time low! Cashier shortages dropped from $125 per week to less than $10 per week. Subliminal messages found to be effective were statements like, “I take a great deal of pride in being honest. I will not steal. I am honest.”

Scientific Evidence: Subliminal Messages Influence Behavior

Extensive Documentation of Subliminal Perception

In his scholarly work titled “Preconscious Processing,” Dr. Norman Dixon, a psychologist at University College in London, England, summarizes 748 scholarly research studies on subliminal perception.

Included in Dixon’s authoritative work is a research study by Zuckerman (1960), that revealed a subliminal stimulus can by-pass conscious intent, and that it makes it unlikely a person would resist instructions which are not consciously experienced. Zuckerman required his subjects to write stories around Thematic Apperception Test cards. Superimposed on the ambiguous pictures on the cards were either the subliminal message, “Write More” or “Don’t Write.” As long as the instructions were subliminal, these messages had the desired effect. However, as soon as they were able to be perceived consciously, the messages had no consistent effect.

Behavioral Improvements Result from Subliminal Messages…

Dr. Lloyd H. Silverman, a psychologist at New York University, has been at the forefront of subliminal testing for 20 years. His work, with over 40 groups of subjects, has shown significant improvements in behavior after exposure to selected subliminal messages. IN a 1980 study, Silverman incorporated a subliminal message into a treatment of half of a group of smokers trying to quit smoking using behavior modification therapy. One month after treatment ended, 66% of the group exposed to the activating subliminal stimulus were still non-smokers, compared with 13% of the control group. Silverman says the positive effect of subliminal messages has been observed in assertiveness training classes, adolescents receiving psychotherapy, college students in group therapy, alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous counseling, and in people undergoing behavior modification for insect phobias and overeating.

Subliminal Messages Improve Academic Performance…

An article in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Volume 29, 1982, reports on a study by Dr. Kenneth Parker, a psychologist at Queens College in New York. Dr. Parker’s research project was designed to see if subliminal messages can improve academic performance. Sixty students received visual subliminal messages using a light-flashing device called a tachistoscope. Three times a week, before class, the students looked through the eyepiece of the tachistoscope and saw a fast flash of bright light, nothing more. In the four millisecond flash was embedded a single sentence. The class was divided into three groups, each receiving a different message. Two messages were designed to enhance academic performance; the third was a control.

Careful statistical analysis of the results of the subliminal stimulation revealed significant improvement in academic performance. Groups one and two, receiving activating subliminal messages achieved average grades in the range of a high B to low A. Group three, the control, received an average grade in the low B range. In addition, those who received subliminal messaged had higher retention of the learned material after one month than the control group had.

Medical Clinic Uses Subliminal Tapes to Reduce Fainting, Smoking, and Temper Flare Ups…

In 1951, Dr. Hal Becker, a behavioral scientist and former member of the Tulane University Medical Staff, began investigating subliminal processes. Dr. Becker has published dozens of research articles which support the effectiveness of subliminal stimulation. One of Dr. Becker’s investigations, presented in a scientific paper to the Ninth Annual Conference of Computer Medicine in Atlanta in 1979, involved the use of subliminal stress reduction messages incorporated into the sound system at the McDonagh Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. A seven-month trial produced dramatic results. Fainting caused by needle pain dropped to nearly zero, smoking in the staff lounge was cut as much as 79%, and the temper flare-ups in the crowded patient waiting room were reduced by nearly 60%. When the subliminal messages were stopped, these problems returned to former levels.

Subliminal Tapes Influence Dramatic Weight Loss…

Becker’s research has shown that the use of subliminal messages can influence weight-loss with astounding results. In Metairie, Louisiana, at Dr. Becker’s weight loss clinic, patients were exposed to videotape and audio cassette subliminal messages as part of a behavior-modification diet plan. One woman lost 100 pounds in one year’s time. In a follow-up study, Becker found that 50% of the patients maintained at lease half their weight loss for up to two years after leaving the subliminal program, while 23% maintained 75% to 100% of their loss. This is a significantly better record than that of diet programs not accompanied by subliminal messages.

Another subliminal stimulation weight-loss study involved two experiments conducted by Silverman, Martin, Ungaro and Mendelsohn (1978) with two groups of overweight women. In addition to traditional diet therapy, half of the subjects received subliminal affirmations and half received neutral subliminal message stimulation. In both experiments, the groups receiving the positive subliminal messages lost more weight than the control groups. The group receiving subliminal affirmations continued to lose weight even after the experiment concluded.

Positive Proof Mind Absorbs Subliminal Information…

In another of Dr. Becker’s controlled tests of subliminal perception, experimental and control groups were asked to guess a three-digit number. The experimental group was exposed to the number subliminally embedded in a hissing sound known as ‘pink noise.’ In three separate experiments, an average of 77% of those exposed to the subliminal numbers guessed correctly, compared to only 10% of those in the control group (who weren’t exposed to the numbers). This confirms that subliminal messages are perceived at a non-conscious level.

HOW YOU CAN USE SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Research indicates that subliminal perception takes place when the subconscious portion of the mind is exposed to messages below the level of conscious awareness. Subliminal audio and video recordings are proving to be a safe and effective, easy and convenient, inexpensive and enjoyable way people can bring about profound personal change in their lives.

Programming the Subconscious Mind to Create Your Reality…

Did you know that your mind creates your reality? It’s true. The functioning of the mind can be readily understood when considered in terms of the widely accepted view that the mind has both conscious and subconscious portions. The conscious portion of your mind is rational, logical and analytical. It questions and modifies incoming information from your sense before the information is stored in your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is non-analytical and houses the motivating forces that direct your conscious actions, thoughts, and habits. It affects your attitudes, how you feel, and what you do. The beliefs and thoughts you hold in your subconscious mind build and shape every aspect of your life.

In other words, your subconscious is what actually creates your life. This is why it is important to discover how to access the subconscious to remove negative, self-limiting beliefs and replace them with positive, life-enhancing beliefs.

The Secret of Subliminal Recordings

The secret of why subliminal recordings are so effective is simple: the positive messages on the tape directly access the subconscious mind. Other widely used self-improvement techniques work only on a conscious level. Unlike those methods, subliminal recordings permit you to work directly with that portion of your mind which actually maintains ongoing control of your life. You must effect change at a subconscious level if you want to make lasting improvements in your life.

Another reason subliminal programs and CD’s are so effective is that they permit positive messages to reach the subconscious without interference or modification from the conscious mind. This is important because often your conscious mind will question or reject certain statements that it knows are not presently true. For example, if you are using positive affirmations such as, “I am successful,” yet you know that success is not presently a part of your life, your conscious mind can negate the positive effect of the statement by rejecting it. Because subliminal messages bypass the conscious mind, the conscious mind cannot question or reject them.

Within your subconscious mind is the raw material that will automatically from your life tomorrow. Subliminal tapes and CD’s provide you with a powerful tool to imprint on your subconscious the positive images that you select as the basis for creating the kind of life you want. The information your subconscious mind accepts through subliminal perception becomes the new mental programming that changes your life and propels you toward your goals.

A Word of Caution: Not all Subliminal Tapes & CD’s are Equal…

Subliminal stimulation has been scientifically validated as a means to bring about desired behavioral change. However, not all subliminal tapes and CD’s are equal; their effectiveness depends on tow key factors: the content of the subliminal messages and the quality of production-including the engineering and electronic mixing of the sound recordings.

Certain production methods used by some companies claiming to contain 100,000 or more subliminal affirmations are of very questionable at best. In order to produce recordings with this number of affirmations per hour, the voice track must be speeded up until it becomes an unintelligible high-pitched squeal and or/ multi-layered many, many times until there is only a garbled confusion of sounds.

While 100,000 affirmations per hour may make attractive advertising copy, there is no documented evidence that the squeal of a high – speed sound track or the garbled confusion of many multi-layered tracks can be understood by the subconscious mind. In fact, the vast majority of scientific experiments that have been done on subliminal programs were done with surprisingly few affirmative statements. In fact, in the study referenced earlier by Dr. Parker, the students were only exposed to a very few subliminal statements at each session, and yet because the statements were carefully constructed, the results were dramatically positive.

There exists NO scientific proof that the subconscious makes meaningful responses to any input that is unintelligible. In fact, the overwhelming consensus from both professionals and the literature suggests that a subliminal verbal communication should be delivered slowly and methodically.

The importance of the content of the messages used on subliminal tapes and CD’s can’t be overemphasized. It is critical that the affirmations be positive since certain negative or aversive subliminal statements may not only decrease the effectiveness of the tape or CD, they may even be counterproductive. It is wise for anyone using subliminal programs to be aware of not only how the tapes and CD’s are made, but what messages are on them. Having a script of the exact statements on a subliminal program is invaluable. It will serve not only to inform you of the nature and content of the subliminal messages that will be programming your subconscious mind, but it can also serve as resource for conscious reinforcement.

WHO USES SUBLIMINAL PROGRAMS & CD’S

Clinics, Hospitals, & Medical Professionals…

There is a rapidly increasing professional awareness of the effectiveness of subliminal programming in the fields of medicine and behavioral therapy. An increasing number of medical professionals and clinics are using our subliminals as a powerful supplement to conventional treatment programs. Subliminals are effectively used to create a relaxed, harmonious atmosphere, to promote healing and more rapid recovery. Although subliminals are not intended to replace or substitute for expert medical advice or treatments, they are being used in addition to other therapies to help facilitate improvement.

Schools & Universities…

Educators are recognizing the value of subliminals to help students build positive self-esteem, increase concentration, improve memory, and achieve higher test scores. A number of schools and universities are using subliminals in classrooms to promote peak learning and accelerate student performance.

U.S. Government Agencies & Corporations…

Business executives, companies, governmental agencies and professional organizations are using subliminals to become more organized, increase productivity, efficiency. Creativity, and reduce stress.

Sales Organizations…

Sales organizations and sales people are using our subliminal programs to develop self-confidence, enthusiasm and motivation, to overcome procrastination and promote increased sales volume and income.

Athletes & Students Involved in Sports…

Athletes, from professionals to elementary schools students, are using subliminal programs to increase motivation, will power, speed, coordination, strength, endurance and overall performance.

Individuals for Self Improvements…

Our subliminal programs enable you to directly access your subconscious mind to create a positive self-image, increase self confidence and eliminate negative emotions.

Interpersonal relationships can be significantly improved using the subliminal programs specifically designed to promote a loving, friendly, affectionate attitude that radiates to everyone around you.

Many people use our subliminal programs to develop an enthusiastic, positive outlook on a prosperity consciousness to attract success and abundance.

You can design your own personal self-improvement program by choosing titles from the expanding selection of subliminal programs we produce. You can improved any area of your life you decide to work on. By stimulating your subconscious mind with the positive messages on the programs you select, you will be able to rid yourself of negative beliefs, thoughts and feelings that are inhibiting your enjoyment and success in life. You can discover hidden abilities, inner strengths, and a prosperous, fulfilling life you may have never dreamed possible.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON SUBLIMINAL PROGRAMS

Question: How do you use subliminal programs?

Answer: Subliminal mental programming is a passive process, relying on the natural ability of the subconscious mind to absorb information below the normal range of your conscious awareness. No active involvement, concentration, or relaxation is necessary for subliminal programs to work successfully.

Subliminal programs can be used anytime your like, day or night. Simply play the program in the background as you go about your daily activities. The programs do not have to be played at high volume. As long as you can hear the music or environmental sounds, your subconscious mind will pick up the subliminal suggestions in the program. They can be played as a soft, soothing background all day or night, even while listening to other music or TV. You can also soften the effect even further by adjusting the tone controls on your player.

Subliminal programs can be listened to anytime day or night while you are doing virtually any activity-relaxing, reading, studying, eating, talking on the phone, at the office, while you are exercising.

QUESTION: DO YOU SUGGEST USING MORE THAN ONE SUBLIMINAL PROGRAM AT A TIME?

ANSWER: The effectiveness of our subliminal programs can be compounded by using a compatible assortment of titles. However, in order to avoid overloading yourself, we recommend not working on more than 2 or 3 behavioral changes at a time. Programs not having to do with addictions or major life changes can be used together very effectively and will often work together to positively reinforce one another.

QUESTION: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I LISTEN TO THE SUBLIMINAL PROGRAMS?

ANSWER: You can’t really overdo listening to positive programs. The more often you listen, the faster you will begin to see results. It is recommended that you play your subliminal programs at least once a day and more often if possible. If you want to strengthen the effect of the programs and get results more quickly, listen to them several times each day and night.

QUESTION: HOW SOON CAN I EXPECT RESULTS FROM USING THE SUBLIMINAL PROGRAMS?

ANSWER: For many people there are immediate, observable, and in some cases, dramatic results after listening to our subliminal programs only a few times. However, because each person is unique, results will vary from person to person. Remember, it has taken years to create the life you have today. The results of listening to subliminal messages are cumulative, so the desired changes will occur provided sufficient repetitions and time are allowed for all levels of your consciousness to absorb the new positive programming. Almost everybody will be able to see positive improvement in 60 days or less.

QUESTION: ONCE I HAVE ACHIEVED RESULTS, DO I NEED TO CONTINUE LISTENING TO THE SUBLIMINAL PROGRAM?

ANSWER: If you are using a subliminal program to help you reach a specific goal, such as losing twenty pounds or quitting smoking, once you have achieved the goal, you may have no need to continue using the tape. However, many people find it helpful to continue playing the subliminal programs from time to time for positive reinforcement. If you feel a desire to return to an old habit such as smoking or eating foods that cause you to gain weight, we suggest you use the subliminal programs again regularly until the desire passes. You may wish to use some of our subliminal programs on an ongoing basis whenever you feel the need. This applies particularly to such titles as Stress Reduction, Start the Day Great, Stop Procrastination, and our many spiritual titles. The main principle is to use the programs as long as or as often as you feel you want or need their benefits.

Subliminal programs provide you with an effective and pleasant way to bring about lasting personal change. We combine the most advanced electronic technology with the latest scientific knowledge of how the mind works and how behaviors are determined to provide you with state-of-the-art subliminal programming. Many thousands have found that using our subliminal programs helped them improve their lives and achieve positive results that seem almost miraculous!

References

Becker, H. C., “Subliminal Communication Advances in Audiovisual Engineering Applications for Behavior Therapy and Education.” Proceedings of the 1978 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Region 3 Conference.

Becker, H. C., “Subliminal Communication and Hypnosis,” Presentation to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, 25th Annual Scientific Meeting, Denver, Colorado, October 24-30, 1976.

Becker, H. C., & McDonagh, E.W., “Subliminal Communication (Subliminal Psychodynamic Activation) in Rehabilitative and Preventive Medicine,” Proceedings of the 1978 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Region 3 Conference. April 10-12, 1978, Atlanta.

Bower, Bruce. “Subliminal Messages: Changes for the Better?” Science News, Vol. 129, March 8, 1986

Budzynski, Thomas. “Tuning in on the Twilight Zone,” Psychology Today., Vol. 11, August 1977, pp. 38-44.

Dixon, N. F., “Preconscious Processing,” New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1981.

Dixon, N. F., “Subliminal Perception: The Nature of a Controversy.” London: McGraw Hill, 1971.

Maxwell, Neil, “Words Whispered to Subconscious Supposedly Deter Thefts, Fainting.” Wall Street Journal, November 25, 1980.

Parker, Kenneth A., “Effects of Subliminal Symbolic Stimulation on Academic Performance.” Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 29 (1), 1982.

Silverman, L. H., Martin, A., Ungaro, R., & Mendelsohn, E., “Effect of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Fantasies on Behavior Modification Treatment of Obesity.” Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, pp. 46, 432-441, 1978.

“Subliminal Communication Technology,” Hearing before the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth Congress, Second Session, No. 105, August 6, 198



Mind Maps For Business

o A system to remember your presentation so you don’t have to read your notes

o A technique that helps you take a project, see the big picture, focus on the key areas and understand all the inter-connections

o A means of making note taking from journals, books, e-articles, quicker, more logical, better organised

o A method for brainstorming that presents ideas logically structured

o An approach to time management, enabling you to focus on your priorities, make efficiencies

How would you like to spend just 10 minutes learning a new skill that will help you in all of the above areas?

In the last year, Mind Mapping has given me all of these rewards and truly revolutionised my approach to knowledge, learning and business. Read on for an introduction to using Mind Mapping in business.

So what an earth is a Mind Map?
Well this is a superb example of how valuable the art of Mind mapping actually is; words cannot adequately express the essence of a Mind Map. The best way to explain is to look at one. Click on the example at the end of the article. And for those who like the words as well as the graphics, I would describe a Mind Map as a ‘thinking tool’; ‘a diagram which places a key idea in the centre of a page and uses words, pictures and linking lines radiating outwards from the centre to present connecting ideas, knowledge and information’.

So how would you use a Mind Map in business? How long is a piece of string? I used a Mind Map to draft this article. It’s a very economical way of making notes. The focus is on key words and their connections, so I saved loads of time in just drafting the core concepts rather than using all these superfluous linking words which glue our sentences together (and turn them into a readable article!). You will also see from the example not only how it facilitates the organisation of words and ideas into a logical format but also how it can enhance the structure by allowing you to view the big picture along with all the detail. And as the key words act as triggers it also facilitates brainstorming as your triggers spawn multi-dimensional concepts.

That’s just a little taster of how valuable Mind Maps can be in business and I will come on to more uses shortly. But first a slight diversion to answer the question ‘why do we need a thinking tool at all?’

We all know that we have a left and a right brain. Left brain deals with logic, analysis, numbers, words, reason, order, sequence. Right brain is in the business of creativity, thinking in pictures, patterns, colours, and uses intuition. Fast forward to caricatures. Think left brain-dominant scientist, ‘brainy’, numerate, weak on the inter-personal side. Think right brained arty farty creative genius, the musician, poet, artist, never could get their Maths O’level.

Now I would never for one minute suggest that we are more likely to fall into either stereotype! But the chances are that we have over-developed the left hand side because we needed to, to pass exams and do business in our traditional western ways. But while we may well have a preference for over-using a particular side of the brain its more than likely due to conditioning and education than nature. The good news is that we have infinite scope to continue to develop the lazier side of the brain. And by doing this the sum of the whole can truly be greater than the individual parts. By using the right and left brain together we can unlock talents we never knew we had, solve problems creatively and generally go about our business in a more efficient and effective way than we ever thought possible.

Mind Maps give us a very simple technique to make the most of our brain’s full capabilities. By engaging the right brain we enhance the logical thinking of the left by bringing in a creative perspective. Mind Maps help us do this by using very graphical means to express our ideas – pictures, shapes, colours, patterns, all very visual stimuli.

And as a thinking tool, a Mind Map also mirrors the way the mind works, storing and retrieving information. So of course it’s going to be an efficient way of organising our thoughts using the contours that are already hard-wired in there.

And there’s more. You may have heard of VAK preferences. VAK refers to visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We all have a preference in our thinking and learning towards one of these styles. Visual people like to learn from seeing things and find it useful to use pictures and graphs. Auditory learners are at their best when listening – talks and lectures, ‘teach yourself’ CDs. And the kinesthetic like to actually do the practical stuff, have a go, ‘get their hands dirty’. Many western educated individuals are either visual or auditory, with a slight majority preference for visual, but there are still a significant number of kinaesthetic thinkers and learners too.

So why does this matter? Well if we can identify our preferred style we can exploit it and look for ways to use it that can improve our learning, problem solving and memory skills. If you are visually preferred, like me, then Mind Maps are an absolute gift. I find my thinking is massively improved when I can get stuff down on paper, see it (rather than hear it); the patterns, colours, shapes in Mind Maps all enhance this. But what if you are not a visually preferred person? Well, as I said before Mind Maps will help everybody make the most of using their right and left brain together. But actually an auditory or kinesthetic style is only a preference and like harnessing the multi skills of left and right brain together, we can improve all our techniques by developing other styles rather than just relying on our preferred ones.

Here’s an example. When I first took a learning preferences test two years ago my results were strongly visual. This didn’t surprise me as I have always had a problem paying attention on courses and lectures, when you just have to knuckle down and listen. The only way I can concentrate and remember anything said is to write it down, draw pictures, doodle, put things in boxes. Up until this point I had always relied heavily on my visual skills and as a result my auditory skills were puny, under-developed things. (This will ring a bell with any of my former colleagues who will remember me multi tasking away on conference calls – at the expense of full-on listening I’m afraid!). Armed with my personal development education I actively set about building those auditory muscles. It was going to be very important to me to be able to offer telephone coaching as well as face to face, so I really had to mature my auditory skills. And I did it! I used a number of techniques (which are beyond the scope of this article) but I really enhanced my auditory muscles. My recent tests show I am evenly split between visual and auditory. This is a fantastic result for me; it has given me a much wider toolbox of skills to call on in my work and life generally. So, the lesson here is, even if you are a kinesthetic or auditory person then Mind Mapping will help you in building your visual muscle and give you a much more rounded skill set.

So there’s the theory. Mind Mapping is a ‘thinking tool’ which will help you do better all sort of things from strategic planning to problem solving to note taking.

Now on to the practice. How can we use Mind Maps in business? Here are just a few examples, with some clarification as to how they can be helpful.

Technical note taking – Focus on core concepts.

Business Planning – Structure, organisation.

Recall and memorising – Hooks and cues.

Exam revision – Key facts and memorising.

Presentations – Logical structure, memorising.

Brainstorming, idea generation – seeing associations, logical ordering.
Agendas – Brainstorming, structure.

Report writing – Planning, organising.

Time management, ‘to do’ lists – Prioritising, efficiencies.

Concentration – Mirrors mechanics of mind, fun. Systems/processing documenting – Structure, organisation. Goal setting- Big picture focus.

Group projects – Integration, flexible to add to. Decision making and problem solving – Analysis, interconnections, interpretations.

And one last thing…..If for no other reason give it a try because………..its fun!

Links

Mind friendly learning is already in schools. Our kids know about it! Don’t you just wish we’d had it back then? This site will tell you more about it and how it is used in schools and has some great Mind Map examples too [http://www.salt.cheshire.gov.uk/mfl/index.htm]

The Mind Tools site is one of my favourites for resources and ideas. Check out their section on Mind Mapping at http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

Mind Genius software is my recommended choice if you want to go for the professional look. http://www.mindgenius.com/website/presenter.aspx?type=doc&uri=/home.htm#topofpage

For a brilliant quick introduction to Mind Mapping, ‘Mind Maps in a Week’ is published by Chartered Management Institute, available via Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0340849525/wwwtheaccount-21

For more depth you have to read Tony Buzan, the guru of mind mapping. Buy his books also on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007212917/wwwtheaccount-21



Cincinnati Karaoke

Cincinnati, like most cities these days, has a multitude of Karaoke bars to choose from on any given night. If you are ever out on a Friday night, you might want to try the Pirates Den on Anderson Ferry Rd. in Western Hills, where Cincinnati Karaoke host Robin Saint James brings her unique style of Karaoke entertainment to the public. She and her sidekick Sean Caldwell provide lots of laughs and guaranteed fun.

Robin is also a writer for local Cincinnati newspaper, and the author of a book called “Karaoke Krazy! Is This On?” The book is a humorous, satyrical, look at the Karaoke phenomenon, and also gives tips on singing and various other topics, including how to create you own television show. Here is an excerpt from the chapter entitled “What is Karaoke Anyway?”:

Several years ago, someone in Japan thought there was a need for this type of entertainment —and they were right.

In Japanese work environments, people are expected to contribute to the common good of the whole and not to draw undue attention to themselves.

American culture dictates a sense of individualism. We are conditioned to “stand out” from the crowd. But this is not so in Japanese culture, where modesty and a sense that one does not “blow their own horn” is the norm.

But we are all human and we like to get attention regardless of our cultural upbringing. In my opinion, the Japanese were more than ready to channel their hidden desire for individuality and acceptance into something “allowable.”

Singing has long been a part of the Japanese culture as it has brought them feelings of happiness. Corporate workers tend to feel a sense of relief from their fast-paced lives when they sing, so Karaoke is a natural outcome of their desires.

When whoever the Japanese genius was that created Karaoke did so, the masses were ready to jump in with both feet.

A few decades ago (in Japan), “Karaoke boxes” were created for people who wished to hear themselves sing. They were soundproof, just in case the singer was not so good. These boxes were set up anywhere the need warranted, from subway stations to street corners.

Eventually, Karaoke bars began to spring up all over Japan. It soon became so popular that there were even “Karaoke cabs” that provided people the means to sing on their way home from work! Sometimes the singers would be required to pay to sing. This became a good source of income for many business owners.

Karaoke also has practical uses for the Japanese. They like to sing western tunes and invariably they are able to learn English or other languages. It is also a significant tool regarding socialization, given that it holds no prejudice in terms of ‘good singers vs bad.’

The Karaoke phenomenon eventually spread throughout Asia and Europe, and of course, the United States.

Laser discs helped to bolster the popularity of this new form of entertainment. These 12-inch albums were first produced, as far as I know, by Pioneer Audio. I assume they were made in the same format as the 12-inch movie discs that started to become popular and then fizzled when DVDs hit the scene.

The Pioneer laser disc is really a work of art. Each and every song has its own video behind the lyrics. This entertained audiences as much as the actual singing. I had people that would come to my shows just to watch Karaoke videos.

I have to credit Pioneer for putting so much effort into their product. It was one of the reasons that my early shows were so successful. Everyone wanted to see what Karaoke was all about. To have videos on top of the singing was simply icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, other companies that eventually got into the Karaoke act and quickly found out that compact discs with graphics (words only) would work just fine.

CDGs were far cheaper to produce and manufacture than laser discs and therefore far more inexpensive to the consumer. 12-inch laser discs were sold at about $130.00 per item. The smaller CDGs could be purchased for the cost of a CD. Therefore, the giant Pioneer laser disc was out and CDGs were in.

Although the giant disc era ended several years ago, I became so programmed to them, I still find myself starting shows by rolling off “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to “Laser Video Karaoke.” I am your host….”

I think it is too bad that “cheaper” won out over “better quality.” Pioneer had a good product but it could not keep producing it when other companies were pumping out cheaper versions at a fraction of the cost.

By cheaper I don’t just mean ‘without the video.’ (Albeit the video cost more to produce than the music.) The orchestration on some brands of CDGs leaves a lot to be desired. It pales in comparison to the fully orchestrated sounds of the old Pioneer discs.

Pioneer used studio musicians, the best sound technicians, the works. You could easily tell that Karaoke versions of songs were as well put together as the artist’s originals.

However, other companies were obviously using a cheaper means of getting there by simply programming keyboards to do what an orchestra once did. Thus, the demand for pioneer discs with video decreased. As far as I know, videos no longer accompany songs….

If you would like to read more, check out the Karaoke Krazy website at www.karaokekrazy.org [http://www.karaokekrazy.org]. You can also order the book at Amazon.com



Pop-ups – 5 Ways to Stop

5 Ways to Block Pop Ups…

Advertisers are constantly looking for any way to draw attention to their products. Although typical banner ads are still used heavily, they now seem to be almost invisible to the average web surfer. Pop ups and other intrusive types of advertising are now used to thrust an ad in your face that you have no choice but to at least acknowledge. Regardless of the nature of the ad, pop ups are a nuisance, and there are now many options available for keeping them off of your computer screen all together.

1. Internet Explorer on Windows XP with Service Pack 2

This summer’s release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP brought about a few significant changes to the operating system. One of the most noticeable was the addition of a pop up blocker to Internet Explorer.

The pop up blocker is integrated into the browser and can be customized by browsing to the “Tools” tab at the top of the program. Like many pop up blocker applications, personal preferences can be set to allow/block pop ups from certain sites, as well as providing customization for how the user is alerted to the fact that a pop up has been blocked.

For those using Windows XP, upgrading to Service Pack 2 is an excellent idea for your system’s security as a whole, but specifically for the additional convenience of an integrated pop up blocker. For those with a Microsoft operating system other than XP, sorry, this is not available for you.

2. Alternative Web Browsers

There are other choices for web browsers available, and many have included a pop up blocker long before Microsoft decided to include one with Internet Explorer.

The Mozilla Firefox browser version 1.0 was officially released on November 9th. This browser has already received a great deal of acclaim and has become quite popular as an alternative to Internet Explorer.

Firefox is a highly customizable web browsing application that includes an effective pop up blocker, tabbed browsing, and many other features not found in Internet Explorer.

Crazy Browser is another option that was released in 2002, which is not as much an alternative browser, as it is a skin for Internet Explorer. In order for Crazy Browser to run, a system must have Internet Explorer 5 (or greater) installed, as well as Windows 95 (or greater) installed as the operating system. The Crazy Browser application then takes the base functionality of Internet Explorer and adds features similar to Firefox, such as the pop up blocker and tabbed browsing.

3. Browser Tool Bars

A growing trend is for websites to offer a downloadable toolbar for use with Internet Explorer. Many of these toolbars offer unique features intended to enhance the user’s web browsing experience in different ways, but they generally also include a pop up blocker. Although there are toolbars available from dozens of websites, Google, MSN, and Yahoo are some of the more reputable names with one available.

The installation of these toolbars is quick and easy, and the most difficult part may be reading the fine print in the license agreements.

Although these toolbars may do an excellent job blocking pop ups, they may also be retrieving data on your web surfing / search habits. If you feel a toolbar may be the right solution for you, stick with one from a trusted name, and just be sure to read the fine print.

4. Pop Up Blocker Software

Stand alone pop up blocking software is available from dozens, if not hundreds, of different sources. With various interfaces, and prices ranging from free to $30 (and higher), choosing one can be a difficult task. Many of the programs that are not available for free do come with a free trial download, so you can at least get a sense of whether the program is right for you before committing. Some of the options in this category include STOPzilla, Secure IE, Zero Popup and Pop Swatter, to name a few.

The main drawback to this type of pop up blocking solution is that you now have another independent application running on your computer. Although they

are generally not resource intensive, why run a program

to do something that can be handled by one that is already running anyway? Additionally, with so many reliable solutions available to eliminate pop ups for free,

spending money on one is hard to justify.

Along with a dedicated pop up blocker, another recommended tact for eliminating pop-ups is eliminating spyware on your computer system. Some pop-up programs use accompanying spyware to target pop ups specifically to you and your web surfing habits. An excellent, free program for eliminating spyware of all type is Spybot Search & Destroy.

5. Internet Access Software from Select ISPs

Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) now incorporate a pop up blocker with the software they provide to subscribers for accessing the internet. Earthlink, Optimum Online, and AOL are just a few of the larger providers that add value to their packages by adding a pop up blocker. Bundling this functionality with the ISPs base software definitely makes things easy for the subscriber, as there may be no need to find one elsewhere.

In general, these blockers are effective, but are not the most feature rich and may have limited options for customization by the end user. One draw back with ISP provided pop up blockers is that some only work with their service. So, if you ever switch to a new provider, you’ll need to be prepared to switch to a new pop up blocker

as well.

Final Words

Pop ups are a fact of life on the internet, but that does not mean you need to put up with them. Among the five general solutions presented above, there are literally hundreds of options available for eliminating the clutter of pop up ads, allowing you

to enjoy only the content you intended to see.



Learn How Restaurants Are Using Apps to Increase Reservations

Owning a custom iPhone and Android app for your restaurant will open the door for many great promotional strategies. Custom restaurant apps gives the restaurateur 24/7 access to a direct line of communication with their customer-base. Restaurants are now easily accessible by users wanting to know more about their history, menu, specials and more. One feature however is actively changing the way things have always been done before – In-App Reservations.

Customers are now provided with a convenient feature within the restaurant’s app allowing them to make reservations, receive email notifications confirmations with the time, party size and date, and get turn-by-turn directions to the restaurant location. Reservations are free and can be made around the clock. App users are completely accommodated with In-app custom features by the restaurant including being able to choose from utilizing Google’s GPS map and directions or directly calling the restaurant with the easy one-touch button residing on the landing page of the restaurant’s custom app.

Reservation systems like Open Table are saving business owners time and eventually money by allowing a convenient way for customers to reserve a spot at their favorite eatery. Open Table has more than 20,000 restaurant customers and has helped more than 200 million diners globally since its inception in 1998. Restaurant mobile app developers should always provide restaurant owners with an east-to-use backend reservation management system. This system allows restaurant owners to develop superior guest recognition. Due to the “real-time” availability, reservations systems immediately record information to the database. The greatest benefit for business owners is the time and money it will end up saving you in the long run.

There are multiple reasons why restaurants and other businesses are employing the mobile app strategy within their marketing tactics, but the most common is to have an advantage over their competition. Nearly 65% of small businesses agree that wireless technologies help provide a better competitive advantage for businesses. Mobile apps are a great time-saver for both you and your customers. Many are wondering, could mobile apps be the next big gain for marketing restaurants? So far, thousand of restaurants are coming aboard the new innovative app craze to get ahead of their competitors and it’s working. If you’re a restaurant owner interested in mobile marketing for your business, be sure that your mobile app developer can provide you with the option of also choosing from the OpenTable Reservation System.