Monday, September 24, 2007

Bigger Muscle Chest Verse

How to build a bigger and better chest

Creating a larger more powerful chest is difficult but if you follow this easy workout you’ll see results in no time. Each of the chest exercises listed should be done with proper form to not only avoid injury, but the better your form is, the better results you will get. Please also note that even though these are only a few chest exercises, these are the most effective. You may or may not want to do every one of these chest exercises in your chest workout routine. Flat Bench Press - This exercise works the whole chest area. 5 sets, 6-10 reps per set at 70% of your 1 rep max Incline Bench Press - This exercise works the upper chest area. 4 sets, 6-10 reps per set at 65% of your 1 rep max Decline Bench Press - This exercise works the lower chest area 4 sets, 6-10 reps per set at 75% of your 1 rep max Dumbell Flyes - This exercise works the entire chest area, focusing mainly on the inner chest. 5 sets, 8-10 reps per set at 75% of your 1 rep max if your looking to build muscle and gain mass and size, stick to free weight exercises like the ones listed here. More important than the amount of weight being used is proper form. It is recommended that you have a spotter available when lifting. You can easily find a workout partner in your area at

Steven H. Bosco is a personal trainer with over 10 years in the fitness industry. He’s also a writer at the world’s first free online dating website for fitness minded singles:

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Personal Touch Marketing Ode

Restoring The Personal Touch

There are now 126 Billion websites where you can buy anything from disposable diapers to nuclear weapons. More business is done on the Internet in one month than France has done in the last 10 years. You can email any human being on Planet Earth in less than 15 seconds.

Those are algore facts - meaning I just made them up. My point is, we're living on a planet that gets more wired every day. As the commercial says "We're changing everything". Maybe not. Some things never change, or maybe I should say they shouldn't change.

You can buy a pair of designer shoes on the web and have them delivered right to your door, or desk. Or, you can go to a shoe store and get personal attention from the sales associate, get the shoes properly fitted, chat about one thing or another and leave with your purchase. Which is the more satisfying experience? Unless you're a serious Type-A personality, it's got to be the latter - and maybe even then.

Why? You got personal service from someone who at least seemed to be interested in your wants and needs and took pains to satisfy you. With the former situation, if the shoes prove unacceptable you have to email the vendor for a return authorization and ship them back - about as personal as a parking ticket. At the store, you know before you leave how happy you're going to be and maybe how much your feet are going to hurt.

Am I a Luddite advocating the abandonment of the web as a commercial platform? Not hardly. I'm suggesting there are ways to combine technology with attention to the individual. Here are some possibilities:

1. How inviting is your homepage? Is it friendly, easy to read and reassuring? Reassuring? Yep. You doubtless know there are many more people wary of buying on the web than there are those who do so fearlessly. So you need to put them at ease from first contact, just as you would greet and welcome people entering your store. Empathize with them regarding their concerns (riptoffphobia, I believe), act accordingly and you will improve your return.
My completely unscientific poll of web surfers confirmed my suspicions: People are put off, even threatened, by an abundance of whirling doodads, flashing thingamajigs, and critters popping in and out all over a site. You won't have a chance to provide personal service if they won't stay a while. You have to set the scene in the first ten seconds. How about a text-only welcome message that pops up while the site loads?

2. Examine the text on your website through the eyes of a prospective customer. Bear in mind the prospect couldn't care less what you want to sell, only what will satisfy his/her needs and wants. Pages of variations on "BUY NOW!" will seldom be read, much less acted upon. The questions the prospect is usually asking are, "What's in it for me; what will it do for me?" and "How much is it?". Do you have some rewriting to do?

3. Don't disappear behind your autoresponder. It can be a good and valuable marketing tool, but that's all it is: a tool. People don't normally have any emotional involvement with a hammer or a clock radio - they're just tools.
Your autoresponder cannot replace you and your personal attention to your prospect. Your sales letters may be warm and fuzzy, while still pushing your product or service, and they are probably as personalized as you can make them. Terrific! But they're still "just" sales letters - very important, but no substitute for you.
A thought (I have them sometimes...): When a prospect opts-out of further autoresponder mailings, email her/him and ask if you can be of service or help find what she/he wants. It may just be the person recognized and objected to electronic bulk mail and will buy with some personal attention. Don't harass them, of course.

4. Seek feedback. Don't assume that just because you've provided a place to email you that a prospect will do so. Be proactive (sorry, corporate buzzword), not passive. Ask your prospect what he/she wants, thinks or has questions about. Ask the person to drop you a note (Doesn't that sound more personal than email me? It does, too!) and be certain to respond within twenty-four hours. At the very least, you might learn about something that needs your attention.

5. Publish an address and phone number where you can be reached. Are you crazy, Butler? Not necessarily. I think doing so is a strong personal statement. It says I'm available to help you, I have nothing to hide and I'll be happy to talk with you. It's a potent confidence-builder. You don't have to plaster it across every page in foot-high characters, just make it easy to find. I think it highly unlikely you'll get many calls or snail mails.

You'll think of other ways to humanize your online business. By all means,use the latest technology, if you wish. Just keep in mind you're asking people to part with their money and they want to know they're dealing with a real person in case there's a question or problem. And that person is you.

Kent Butler has been in marketing and sales since just after the discovery of dirt. He has written a great variety of things, from sales letters to screenplays. If this piece was helpful to you, he's happy. You are cordially invited to explore his Internet Resouce Center at

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Consumer Handbook Opus

Consumer Handbook Available

Having quality consumer information is the best protection you can have in today's marketplace. The Canadian Consumer Handbook put together by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial consumer protection agencies offers a wealth of information. There's information on the differences between proper and improper business procedures, on how to approach banks, insurance companies, utility companies, landlords and many others. It also provides advice on consumer rights, making informed decisions, making a complaint effectively, and protecting yourself from unscrupulous dealers.

Complaining effectively is a skill that the Handbook looks at in full. Consumers should not be afraid to complain, as reputable businesses will be pleased to set matters right. There is information on how to keep track of what you have done to complain and what is the proper line of events that you should follow, from talking to the manager to going to small claims court.

This new Handbook is now available on line. Just visit Consumer Connection's Web site at This is an award-winning Web site developed by the Office of Consumer Affairs of Industry Canada. It provides rapid access to consumer information, powerful tools to cut research time, and many useful links to consumer and other organizations. Canadians can access Consumer Connection from home, the public library, community access points or from Government of Canada, provincial and territorial service outlets. For a variety of information on everything from bank fees, to privacy rights, to the latest scams or frauds, this is the place to go.

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

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Summer Vacation Friendships Poem

Making Summer Friendships Last

Summertime isn’t just about getting dirty, staying up all night, playing in the rain, and going off to camp--It’s about meeting new people. Follow these tips to turn your vacation acquaintances into lifelong friends.

1. Summer Memory Book

Make the summer last forever by preserving memories in a special book. Fill the plastic sleeves of a photo album with photos, ticket stubs, sections of road maps from summer trips, and other mementos. When you’re finished, exchange memory books with your closest summer buddy.

2. Picture Postcards

Keep in touch with vacation friends by sending picture postcards. Scan summer photos and print them on cardstock paper, 4 per page. Use scissors to cut individual cards. On the blank side, include your friend’s address, your return address, and a postage stamp. Don’t forget to write a cool message!

3. Pen Pal Club

Start your own pen pal club! Swap addresses with your new friends and make a commitment to keep in touch. Be creative — don’t limit yourself to writing letters. Send an inexpensive gag gift every so often, or an audiotape letter. Send lists of your favorite things. For instance, one month send your pen pals a list of your 20 favorite movies, and then compare your lists.

No matter how you decide to keep in touch, don’t let summer friendships end when summer ends.

Deborah Shelton is a mother, freelance writer, and author of the brand new book, "The Five Minute Parent: Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones." Visit Deborah's website for more family-friendly ideas:

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Home Decor Serenade

Rustic Accessories the New Buzz in Home Decor

As the cooler seasons draw closer, thoughts and activities drift slowly from the outdoors to the inside, and the annual human version of hibernation begins. We re-acclimate to shorter days and longer, colder nights. There is a sense that the house must be buttoned-up for the winter.

More time is spent indoors, and so this is also when many people decide to give their home decor a new look. Many people are rediscovering the beauty of primitive, rustic decor. The wonderful part about decorating with primitive accessories is that they don't have to be perfect. Since many early items were utilitarian and made on the spot for a specific use, they were often flawed: corners were not square, tops were not level and sides were not smooth.

Because there are more options from which to choose today, these rustic pieces may not be used as once intended. Often it's just a matter of rethinking for today's needs. A dry sink, for example, is better used for display than for cleaning. A galvanized bucket is better suited today for holding bath accessories or children's art supplies; and a tin-punch pie safe is more useful for storing almost anything than the pies for which it was built. An old trunk turned on its end can be opened to display a variety of old quilts and blankets stacked colorfully, with a table lamp above.

Basic wooden furniture, whether painted and peeling, or scratched and dented from years of use, is finding its way back into homes today. Because these are not fine antiques, but basic home furnishings, they often cost less than similar pieces purchased new. In an active home where items are used daily, dents and scratches are the norm. These basic pieces blend nicely in a casual space, giving an eclectic look to any room.

Decorative artists and crafters are seizing upon this style to provide buyers with accents to blend with this decor, and today there are "new" primitives to complete the look. Floor and wall treatments can bring this eclectic look together. Although wall-to-wall carpet does not lend itself to rustic styles, it is a fact of life in many homes. On carpeted floors, try an area needlepoint, rag or braided rug between two pieces of furniture to emphasize the style. Use a twin grip pad to keep it from shifting on the pile. This also works perfectly on natural surfaces such as wood, stone, brick and tile.

On smooth surfaces, try rugs or consider a floor mat. These are a 21st century adaptation of an 18th century craft. Often made from primed canvas, then painted with acrylics and sealed, they are perfect under a kitchen table, in a mud room, under a baby's high chair, or in any area that sees debris and moisture. Use a rubber pad under all rugs or mats to keep them from slipping.

One of the newest old designs making a re-appearance is the simple bee. From antiquity, bees have evoked images of wealth, industriousness and nurturing. The phrases "busy as a bee," or "she has a bee in her bonnet," and even the "birds and the bees" are common. Even the word "medicine" has its roots in honey or mead, an alcoholic drink made from the honeycomb.

Carol Endres, America's foremost primitive folk artist, in conjunction with Chesapeake Wallcoverings, has introduced a new collection of designs to enhance rustic decor, "Beekeeper's Inn." Her designs call to mind a place where life is simple and quiet and where home cooking and handcrafts are a part of every day. In this delightful sample book, Carol offers tips on making beeswax candles and herb-flavored honey in addition to her rustic and complimentary designs. Browsing through it gives the reader many ideas on decorating and folk craft that can apply to any home decor. Look for this collection at a wallpaper showroom close to you, or find it at

To make vignettes within a room, use items in unexpected places. An easy accent is a small quilt or needlepoint rug. In your breakfast area, drape a quilt over a sideboard or your table when not in use. Hang a shelf 3/4 of the way down a wall to display treasures, but keep it simple. Use wallpaper above the shelf and a border or hanging pegs below. In the family room, flank a fireplace with old painted chairs, place a rug between them and you have a cozy place to warm your hands after coming in from the cold. Use a simple small print or a plaid on the walls in a color that contrasts with the chairs, and then use a border, or a combination of borders, to bring out the color. If you have a mantle, keep it simple with a candle or oil lamp and a couple of toys or utensils. By keeping things uncomplicated, motifs can be changed seasonally. The focal point of the family room, for example, can be moved away from the fireplace over to a window, and the kitchen tablecloth changed to something lighter, such as cheesecloth.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chesapeake Wallcoverings Corporation is dedicated to bringing traditional designs, from a wealth of renowned artists into today's home at an affordable cost. Chesapeake delivers three collections a year to the public; the newest, "Beekeeper's Inn," can be viewed at This virtual library from Chesapeake features all nine current collections and includes hanging instructions, measuring tips and room set photography enabling customers to browse through at their own pace, gathering ideas for every room in the house.

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Magic Fashion Verse

Does Fashion Matter When Doing Magic Tricks?

Dressed For Success

So you have an awesome magic trick you want to perform on somebody. You’ve practiced it thousands of times, perfected it in front of the mirror and now are ready to take your act to the streets...ok maybe not the streets but to one of your friends or family members. But wait....what are you going to wear??? You say “What?, who cares what I am wearing?”. Let me tell you something, image and presentation is everything, it is like giving your audience the total package. What is the first thing people see?? It’s you of course, this is your first chance to make that great first impression on someone before even doing your magic trick bit. You may think, I can wear anything to do my magic trick and it will still wow them and you know what, you are probably right, that is if you perform a great magic trick. But you can take that to a whole other level, and that is with your image. It’s like shopping for a car, you first look at the look of the car, the one that looks better is the one you will check out, even though the uglier car may have the same sport suspension and high powered engine underneath its covers, but you see what I mean.

If you are dressed in just your regular jeans and T-Shirt and performing tricks, yes you will still probably get great reactions, but if you stepped up your dress code a bit, believe me, you will leave even a more lasting impression to your audience. Think about it for a minute....think of all the great magicians out there from David Blaine, David Copperfield, Lance Burton, and the list goes on way beyond the people I mention here, you have an image in your head when I mention these people to you, right??? David Blaine, he wears nothing to fancy but he is usually in a nice black collared shirt and black pants, that gives him that mysterious look....David Copperfield, always dressed up to the T for his shows. Now I am not saying go out and wear a tux or your best suede suit to perform, but be aware of what your are wearing, it can be the difference from a good performance to a great performance.

Dion Semeniuk is the owner of the popular online magic store, This is Magic! To receive 4 free magic trick videos and learn about performing other magic tricks, visit

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Polycom Communicating Ode

Are You Communicating Without Polycom?

Are all of your business associates, partners and clients always in the same room at the same time? Probably not. For this reason, it is not unheard of to use telephone meetings as a way of communicating. Ordinary handset speakerphones used to be the best way to do this, until now. Enter Polycom.

Polycom, a world's leader in providing communication solutions, has introduced some of the best technology in audio video conferencing. As most speakerphones allow you to speak to others in different locations, Polycom offers a way to communicate verbally and visually.

While other products on the market seem to be able to deliver a similar convenience, Polycom offers a variety of telecommunications products to allow for "real" interaction. The Polycom SoundStation VTX 1000 is the first wideband conference phone with breakthrough technology.

Polycom's patented Acoustic Clarity Technology makes the VTX 1000 the first conference phone that adapts to each meeting environment. All participants can feel free to speak from any area in the conference room and they can be heard as clear as when speaking right into the microphone.

When coupled with the Polycom VSX 7400, participants can actually see each other as they communicate verbally. Since the VSX 7400 is a visual component, all parties must have this capability to be able to interact visually.

Most businesses rely on meetings and conferences for day to day activity. With Polycom, you can be in many places at once without ever leaving your office. Although convenience makes the day easier, quality makes it worth while.

Jill Meluson is the Marketing Director at ADDRESS.

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Business & Marital Partners Poem (II)

Business Partners & Marital Partners, Will the Marriage Survive? (Part II)

In the last article, we concluded by saying that keeping your business and personal relationships separate is very important to the survival of both your business and your marriage. In this article we will talk about how to achieve this goal.

One of the most important ways to accomplish this is to set up distinct business hours, and when they are over, don't discuss business, concentrate on your relationship. It is difficult, but make a concentrated effort at it. Confine your business discussions to business hours or set aside a specific time to discuss the business.

For example, take the last half hour of the day, and discuss the business day; any suggestions you have, what was accomplished, what needs to be done tomorrow, during the week, how are the monthly goals you set at the beginning of the month progressing. Remember to couch any criticisms or suggestions in a positive vein. Think of how you felt in the work situation and how supervisors dealt with you when making suggestions. Negatives only cause resentment. They do in the corporate arena, and even more so, when dealing with a spouse you must live with 24 hours a day. Be sure to set aside time for each other-go for walks, out to dinner, or just for a drive with your spouse. Do not discuss business.

You should have outside activities that are not business related. If not, join a group that interests you. It will allow you to meet with others who are not connected to your business. Running a home-based business can be very lonely; getting away from the home, and having outside interests is imperative.

In addition to the problems inherent to couples running a business, starting a home-based business presents its own set of problems and questions. Before you start be sure to ask yourself the following:

1. Are you self-motivated? Organized? Able to prioritize your work? You will no longer have a supervisor or a boss to tell you what to do. You will be the decision maker. You will have to motivate yourself. One way to accomplish this is to use a To Do List and stick to it. In addition, set definitive business hours, and stick to them.

2. Will you be able to deal with the isolation? You will no longer meet people in the halls, congregate around the coffee pot, or take a break to talk with your co-workers. To combat the loneliness and isolation be sure to join groups that meet outside the home, or schedule luncheons with friends and associates.

3. Write up a business plan. Be sure the business is something that interests you. You might want to start on a part-time basis, and grow from there. Research the business carefully, make sure there is a market, and the competition is not overwhelming.

4. Be sure you have at least six months living expenses set aside. This will give you the time to work through the marketing strategy outlined in your business plan, and avoid bad marketing practices. In ddition, if changes need to be made, you can do so, without monetary concerns becoming an issue.

5. Be sure your office space is located in a separate room or area of your home that offers the least distractions. A separate office is best, especially if you are meeting with clients. Remember to always present a professional appearance.

6. When will you do your regular household chores? Make up a schedule of when you will deal with them. Some individuals find getting chores done before the start of the work day is best. At the end of the day, close your office door and then deal with the remaining household items that need to be handled. Time management will be a very important factor in running a home-based business.

7. For husband and wife teams, it becomes imperative to have some form of disability insurance for each other. Remember, even though your partner may be your husband or wife, he or she is still your business partner. An accident or illness to one of you can severely impact the operation of the business.

A business is only as good as you and your partner make it. It takes a lot of dedication, time and energy to run a business, whether it is home-based or not. It can be a very rewarding experience. Think carefully, and ask yourself a lot of self-searching questions before you begin.

Chuck & Sue DeFiore are authors, publishers, coaches, consultants and investors; and the Founders of the HBS Forgotten Segment Support Group. Visit their Home Business Solutions Web Site - Where you'll learn about the Perfect Home-Based Business. Lease Purchasing is a specialty Creative Real Estate niche that allows you to control property without purchasing it and generate multiple streams of income and profit; plus build long term net worth. Web Site:

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Distance Learning Success Serenade

7 Strategies for Success with Distance Learning

Distance learning has opened doors for many students, especially for those who cannot afford to pay for the high fees of full-time courses. Although online distance learning courses have many advantages over on-campus degree courses, many factors come into play in order to make this a success for students. Due to the differences in the way that education is being delivered and acquired, adjustments and changes in approaches need to be undertaken.

1. Selecting the right distance learning school
The first element for success is to choose the right distance learning school. There are many unscrupulous “degree mills” around in the market that are only keen to sell their degrees without providing good education and ample student support. As a result, the degrees offered by these institutions may not be recognized, or may sometimes even be regarded as bogus degrees. In order to prevent this, do the proper background check on the institution you are considering with the relevant authorities to verify on their accreditation and authenticity before registering.

2. Cost-benefit analysis
Some students enroll in an online distance learning course without doing a cost benefit analysis of taking the course in the first place. It is a known fact that obtaining an education requires a hefty sum of investment. However, this should be compared with the potential additional income that can be generated from the degree that is earned. Only then can the full rewards be reaped from gaining an online degree.

3. Degree positioning to employers
There have been many cases where employers were wary of the validity of online degrees. With so many online institutions selling degrees, it is justified for employers to exercise caution. Although a distance learning degree may be 100% legitimate, it would help if you provide adequate explanation on the accreditation of the degree in order to avoid misunderstanding. By stressing that the accreditation body which accredited your institution or your program is recognized by the US Department of Education as well as CHEA, you can then eliminate any doubts that employers about the validity of your degree. You can read more information on why accreditation is important at

4. Exercise discipline, determination and time management
In the actual course of study, many students lack discipline and focus and therefore are unable to keep up with online lessons and assignments. It is very important for distance learning students to have great determination to succeed, as it is very easy to get de-motivated and distracted when you are alone with no peers. Good time management along with communication with other students would make excellent measures for success.

5. Make full use of facilities provided
Many distance learning online courses offer online lectures and email correspondence to facilitate communication with lecturers, tutors and other students. These facilities should be utilized as much as possible as it provides a link back to the education institution. Furthermore, this would be a great source of motivation in order to keep progressing through the course of study.

6. Utilize credit transfers
Most distance learning institutions allow students to transfer their credits from other courses that they had taken from other universities or colleges. This way, students will not have to repeat what they have already learnt. In order to do this, it is important for distance learning students to obtain transcripts and results from their previous schools and send them to their distance learning online university to obtain credit transfers.

7. Good utilization of technology for education
The final element for distance learning success it the ability to make full use of the conveniences that technology has to offer. Many online universities provide students with online research resources that are valuable for completing assignments or producing research papers. The cost of facilities such as virtual libraries and online books has probably been factored into the fees paid and therefore it makes good sense to utilize these facilities to the fullest.

Rose Musyoka is a guest contributor at where you find answers, information and advice on distance learning colleges, accredited online degrees and online courses.

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Cyberspace Opus

Maps of Cyberspace

"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts...A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkablecomplexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding..." (WilliamGibson, "Neuromancer", 1984, page 51)

At first sight, it appears to be a static, cluttered diagram with multicoloured, overlapping squares. Really, it is an extremely powerfulway of presenting the dynamics of the emerging e-publishing industry. R2 Consulting has constructed these eBook Industry Maps to "reflect the evolving business models among publishers, conversion houses, digital distribution companies, eBook vendors, online retailers, libraries, library vendors, authors, and many others. These maps are 3-dimensionaloffering viewers both a high-level orientation to the eBook landscape and an in-depth look at multiple eBook models and the partnerships thathave formed within each one." Pass your mouse over any of the squaresand a virtual floodgate opens - a universe of interconnected and hyperlinked names, a detailed atlas of who does what to whom. is one example of a relatively novel approach to databases and web indexing. The metaphor of cyber-space comes alive in spatial, two and three dimensional map-like representations of the world of knowledge in Cybergeography's online "Atlas". Instead of endless, static and bi-chromatic lists of links - Cybergeography catalogues visual,recombinant vistas with a stunning palette, internal dynamics and an intuitively conveyed sense of inter-relatedness. Hyperlinks are incorporated in the topography and topology of these almost-neural maps.

"These maps of Cyberspaces - cybermaps - help us visualise and comprehend the new digital landscapes beyond our computer screen, in the wires of the global communications networks and vast online information resources. The cybermaps, like maps of the real-world, help us navigate the new information landscapes, as well being objects of aesthetic interest. They have been created by 'cyber-explorers' of many different disciplines, and from all corners of the world. Some of the maps ... in the Atlas of Cyberspaces ... appear familiar, using the cartographicconventions of real-world maps, however, many of the maps are much more abstract representations of electronic spaces, using new metrics and grids."

Navigating these maps is like navigating an inner, familiar, territory.

They come in all shapes and modes: flow charts, quasi-geographical maps, 3-d simulator-like terrains and many others. The "web Stalker" is an experimental web browser which is equipped with mapping functions. The range of applicability is mind boggling.

A (very) partial list:

The Internet Genome Project - "open-source map of the major conceptual components of the Internet and how they relate to each other"

Anatomy of a Linux System - Aimed to "...give viewers a concise and comprehensive look at the Linux universe' and at the heart of the poster is a gravity well graphic showing the core software components,surrounded by explanatory text"

NewMedia 500 - The financial, strategic, and other inter-relationshipsand interactions between the leading 500 new (web) media firms

Internet Industry Map - Ownership and alliances determine status, control, and access in the Internet industry. A revealing organizational chart.

The Internet Weather Report measures Internet performance, latency periods and downtime based on a sample of 4000 domains.

Real Time Geographic Visualization of WWW Traffic - a stunning, 3-d representation of web usage and traffic statistics the world over.

WebBrain and provide a graphic rendition of the Open Directory Project. The thematic structure of the ODP is instantly discernible.

The WebMap is a visual, multi-category directory which contains 2,000,000 web sites. The user can zoom in and out of sub-categories and "unlock" their contents.

Maps help write fiction, trace a user's clickpath (replete with clickable web sites), capture Usenet and chat interactions (threads), plot search results (though Alta Vista discontinued its mapping service and Yahoo!3D is no more), bookmark web destinations, and navigate through complex sites.

Different metaphors are used as interface. Web sites are represented as plots of land, stars (whose brightness corresponds to the web site's popularity ranking), amino-acids in DNA-like constellations,topographical maps of the ocean depths, buildings in an urban landscape, or other objects in a pastoral setting. Virtual Reality (VR) maps allow information to be simultaneously browsed by teams of collaborators, sometimes represented as avatars in a fully immersive environment. In many applications, the user is expected to fly amongst the data items invirtual landscapes. With the advent of sophisticated GUI's (Graphic UserInterfaces) and VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) - these maps may well show us the way to a more colourful and user-friendly future.

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. His web site:

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Car Safe Verse

Think Your Car is Safe from Thieves? Think Again

Every time you park your car, you're taking a risk.

Just ask David J. of Stanford, Conn., whose 1998 high-performance Acura Integra Type R was stolen right under his nose just one month after he installed a top-of-the-line security system for $1,500.

Mother's Day is a long-held tradition of revering the woman who gives the gift of life.

"Mothering Sunday" is another early Mother's Day tradition that has shaped the way we celebrate our mothers today. This English holiday dates back to the 1600s, and involved young servants who pampered their mothers with fine delicacies. While we continue to celebrate the mother figure in modern America, it is most often with traditional gifts of flowers and cards. But if Mother's Day is indeed about the most personal sentiment and respect for a mother, a gift of gratitude should warm their hearts forever.

Car was tire tracks in the newly fallen snow.

"They found it three weeks later, stripped clean," he added.

David's experience is not unusual, says James Cooper, CEO of Ultimate Security Systems Corporation of Irvine, Calif. Despite manufacturers' claims to the contrary, most security systems are easy to overpower and hardly even slow down a professional thief, said Cooper, whose firm created and markets the PowerLock anti-theft system.

Every 25 seconds

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ( reports that 1.1 million vehicles are stolen nationwide each year. That's one vehicle every 25 seconds in what has become a $7.5 billion-a-year-industry, according to the Insurance Information Institute (, a trade organization. It's an industry, moreover, dominated by organized auto-theft rings that steal cars to fill contract orders. And no wonder: A $20,000 stolen vehicle can be stripped and sold into $30,000 worth of parts, insurers say.

Your car doesn't have to be a high-performance vehicle like David J's to be an attractive target for a thief with a list of parts, or with orders for a particular make and model of a car. Different models of the popular Toyota Camry and Honda Accord swept eight of the top 10 list of cars reported stolen in 2000, according to an annual study conducted by CCC Information Services Inc., a Chicago-based supplier of software and communications systems to auto insurers. Chevrolet and Ford pickups captured the other two slots.

Brett Ploumen didn't have a security system on his 1992 Chevrolet Astrovan. But he thought he was taking appropriate precautions by parking in well-lighted, high-traffic areas and locking his vehicle's doors and windows.

Ploumen found out differently when he went to dinner with friends at a busy neighborhood strip mall in Santa Ana, Calif. "When we returned, the Astrovan wasn't there. There was broken glass on the ground and another vehicle in the parking place," Ploumen recalled.

"Three days later they found it, wrapped in a tarp on a side street," he said. The entire front end of the car was gone - it had essentially been turned into a trailer, and a beat-up trailer at that. When he saw it, "I was sick to my stomach instantly," Ploumen said.

Some popular devices

Cooper describes some of the most popular auto security devices, and the drawbacks that allow thieves to get around them:

1. Bar or wheel locks: Steering wheel bars lock up the steering wheel; wheel locks prevent the theft of wheels and tires.
How to get around them: All it takes is a pair of bolt cutters or a hacksaw. "They saw through the steering wheel, slide off the bar lock and hot-wire the car. It takes anywhere from 15-30 seconds," Cooper said.

2. Audible alarms: Known in the industry as "nuisance alarms," these alerts are intended to scare thieves away.
How to get around them: Audible alarms are almost universally ignored. Additionally, a professional thief can cut a wire and silence the alarm in seconds.

3. Pedal locks: This device locks the brakes.
How to get around them: They can be bridged or cut in 15-60 seconds.

4. Electronic immobilizing devices: These devices are designed to disconnect all power from the starter, preventing thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. They can be installed at the factory or purchased as an aftermarket item.
How to get around them: Seasoned thieves dismantle these systems or wire around them in seconds, usually by cutting two wires. Additionally, thieves easily find override or valet switches used by owners to disarm the systems.

5. Tracking systems: These devices transmit a radio signal to locate the car.
How to get around them: Tracking devices can be removed at a chop shop before a theft is reported. Or the car can be stripped and dumped before the owner finds out it's been stolen.

6. Solenoid immobilizer systems: Although categorized as an immobilizer, this kind of system is based on a different principle than most electronic security systems. PowerLock is one example. It attaches permanently to the vehicle's starter motor, where it effectively prevents hot-wiring. Once installed, such a system is impossible to remove, bypass or disable.
How to get around them: It can't be hot-wired, says Cooper. "A system like this is virtually impossible to circumvent," he says. The only way to steal a car protected by such a system is to tow it away.

Personal Security

Cooper also warns consumers to be aware of the capacity of their security system. "A lot of so-called security systems consist of remote entry and flashing lights. A lot of people think of that as automobile security, and it really isn't: It's a convenience feature. Some manufacturers are beginning to recognize that, and label it as 'personal security.'"

After his nightmare experience, Ploumen is an evangelist for adding a security system to your car. "Look into some kind of aftermarket security system," he advises consumers. "Find something you feel comfortable with - and that's proven."

Ploumen has researched the security field thoroughly since his van was stolen. He briefly considered a brake lock, but decided it wasn't practical. He chose Ultimate Security Systems' Powerlock after a friend told him about it.

David J. also purchased a Powerlock system after replacing his Acura Integra Type R. "I came across it on the Internet. It was not expensive, so I thought, 'Why not give it a try?'" He added three additional layers of security with brake and pedal locks, plus a tracking system.

David became a would-be victim again a few months later. This time, though, his story has a happy ending. The thieves pried the door open with a "Slim Jim," bent the clutch pedal sideways to circumvent the AutoLock, then broke the ignition switch in an attempt to hot wire the car. When PowerLock circumvented that effort, they tried rolling the car down a nearby hill to pop the clutch. That didn't work, either, so they abandoned the car. The tracking system helped authorities recover the car a short time later.

For more information, contact USSC, 17173 Gillette Avenue, Suite 5, Irvine, Calif. 92614; (800) 231-7131, or visit

Courtesy ARA Content,

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