All That You Need To Know To Plan An Enjoyable Sailing Holiday

Everyone looks forward to a vacation so that they can break away from the monotonous and tiring daily grind. However, the idea of vacation differs from person to person. While some are happy to go visit their loved ones, others take time out to travel to new and exotic places. Many others love to go on trips full of excitement and adventure that gives them an adrenalin rush. A sailing holiday provides just the exhilaration that such people look for.

Sailing sounds a very thrilling thing to do, but if it is undertaken without proper planning, it can turn out to be quite a disastrous trip. There are so many factors to be considered and a lot of decisions to be taken to make sure that your sailing vacation is the adventure you had imagined it to be. The major things to be considered include:

Picking up the correct destination

Choose the right destination, keeping in mind the weather conditions there, the age and health of the people in your travel party, and your budget.

Deciding on the boat and the crew

Pick the right type of boat/yacht and see to it that is well-maintained and in perfect running condition. The crew that would be operating it should be knowledgeable, trained, experienced and friendly. It would be a good idea to check out a reliable online local business directory to find about the sailing companies whose services you can hire.

The required amenities

Your sailing holiday doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. You should ensure that your boat has all the basic amenities for comfortable living such as microwave oven, coffee maker, blender and TV. You should also put in some water toys and arrange rented paddle boats, kayaks, scuba diving gear, etc.

The necessary food provisions

You should have enough food and beverages to feed all the travelers well for the duration of the trip. Carry sufficient water for daily drinking and cooking needs.

First aid necessities

Make sure that the boat has a first aid kit containing antiseptics, antibiotics, medicines for healing cuts or bruises and treating allergic reactions, etc.

Clothes to be packed

You must pack light and pack right, including essentials like good shoes, swimsuits, tees and shorts, hats, sunscreen, etc.

Having a sailing itinerary

It is advisable to plan about the places or islands you intend to visit and draw up an itinerary. Learn a little about the destinations and read up about their high points.

Getting the right phone

Save yourself from unreasonably high telecom bills by enquiring about the roaming charges levied by your phone company before you venture out to the sea. You can get good coverage at excellent rates if you buy a pre-paid phone/data card of the local service provider.

If you plan right, your sailing holiday will be much more than just a vacation. It will be an unforgettable adventure, an experience you will cherish for life.

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Start an Adventure Photography Service

I remember on one of my adventure tours I hired a professional photographer to follow us on a 2 week travel tour through California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. We ended up with many photographs. I believe it was over 1,000 in the end. That was 10 years ago and I am still using those photographs to promote my business.

Why not grab your camera and seek out a unique NICHE to focus on and start taking pictures while doing something you love. I am talking about being an Adventure or Travel photographer for companies. You find companies that are organizing tours, trips, adventures, you name it. Then sell your service to them. You will get to come along for the ride while you do your job.

It will require the discipline to make sure you remember that you are there to take photos and not participate in the tour or adventure. If a company is edgy about paying a large fee for your service, you can ask them to offer the additional benefit to the people on the tour. If there are 10 tour people and your fee is $2,000 then the company can split that with the people on the tour, so that each person pays $100 and the company pays the other $1,000.

This way the company still gets the copyright to the photographs and the clients get photos that they are in. Even though many people carry a camera around with them these days it is a load off their minds knowing that someone else is taking care of the photo taking. I travel a lot in groups and most do NOT want to be the camera person. Even the designated cameraperson does not want to worry about taking photos (especially when they are not in them). Just as people love the sound of their name they also care about one thing – themselves (on an average). So you can capitalize on that desire and offer to provide a premium photography service to as specific niche market and get paid twice. Once with the fee and twice with the adventure. And there is a bonus benefit of making new friends. Either way you earn $2,000 while on vacation.

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Developing Your Shooting Skills Into Your Very Own Photography Service

Being able to work in digital photography is a joyful endeavor. There are so many aspects to cultivate in delivering an excellent photo. You can also promote your photography services by adding a photo blog. Tips such as how to hold a digital camera properly can really be important when developing your photo shooting skills.

The ISO settings for a camera are key in learning to shoot perfect shots. Shutter speed is also a feature that you need to be master. A good photographer will know his equipment which will include his digital camera and all the equipment that comes with it. Canon is known for making great brands of digital cameras.

Be sure to consider a Canon camera if you are looking to purchase one. You can go online and research which cameras you might like. Deals are always around for digital cameras. Stores offer bargains for buyers to get their hands on a digital device.

Photography is a wonderful experience for those who are involved with it. Adobe Photoshop is a program that is widely used when capturing images. Especially for editing purposes, you need an efficient program to allow you to make necessary desired changes. If you really want to become an expert, consider going to photography school.

Experience is necessary to develop your digital skills. Try to practice taking shots with your digital camera and download them to your computer. In terms of a career in digital photography, it can be a rewarding career. You might figure out your passion is in photos or pictures. The Internet makes digital photography an even more interesting career, as there are various directions in which you can go in. Projects in this area are endless as photography continues to develop over time. Technology has gotten very efficient and is still needed in many places.

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How to Promote Photography Services on the Internet

Digital photography is getting really huge on the Internet. If you are in the digital imaging niche, you can earn lots of money. But first, you must learn how to promote a photography service on the Internet.

For your business to be successful, you will need to drive targeted traffic to your website. These are visitors who are interested in what you have to offer – be it content, products, or services. As a service provider, potential customers want to know who are, and why they should be buying from you and not from one of your competitors. So you need to introduce yourself to the community. You can do this by publishing photography related articles on the web.

1) Provide photography tutorials – Beginners are always looking for tutorials about digital photography. By providing good tutorials, you are demonstrating that you are a true expert. This is implicit. You never have to explicitly mention that you are a photography expert. Let the readers draw their own conclusions from the content that you publish.

2) Segment your market – Almost all businesses will need professional photography services. For instance, a baking site will need photos that will help sell more cakes. A furniture website will need professional looking photos to help sell more furniture pieces. When writing articles to promote your services, it’s always good to segment the market into smaller niches so that you can have a sharper focus as you write. If you are targeting the home furniture market, then you can write articles about how to take great photos of such items.

Want to learn how to get to the top of Google using Article Marketing? I have the tools, knowledge, and resources to help you achieve your traffic and income goals.

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How to Find a Professional Company That Offers Spin Photography Services

With websites loading faster and appearing before the user within seconds of clicking the URL most businesses turn online or at least create a virtual store for their business to the benefit of themselves as well as their customers. And for the same reason there are more and more techniques to make a website more interesting and appealing to the visitors and one of them happens to be spin photography.

Spin photography involves the imaging technique where an object is photographed in such a way that it can be zoomed in or out or rotated on multiple axis. This allows a user to zoom, rotate or tilt an object and thus get its detailed view regarding its shape, size, colour, thickness, etc. While it lets you as a seller to highlight the best features of your product it helps a buyer to understand and appreciate all the features of a product he is planning to buy. The ability to turn the product upside down, from right to left or left to right gives the customer a feeling of physically moving the product and allows clearer inspection.

Searching for a company that offers spin photography services is not an easy job, especially if you are doing it for the first time. A mere search in Google using the keyword “spin photography” would give you around 31,700,000 results out of which finding the right company for you is like searching for a needle in a haystack. So how do you find the right company provider for you from this long list? Here are a few tips for you:

  1. Check out the companies listed in the first few pages of search results. This would bring down the number to around 40-50. As you would know, some of the results might be purely informative and not commercial and hence, you could rule them out as they would be from websites like Wikipedia. Pick out the companies that offer spin photography services from the remaining results.
  2. Once you pick out the companies, check their websites to know more about their services and company details. Most companies would have a lot of information on their services, the previous works they have done, the way they work, the portfolio of work, the testimonials of previous customers and so on. This would let you decide on the companies that provide the kind of services you require.
  3. The techniques and equipment that are required for spin photography are more advanced than ordinary photography. Besides, it requires experts who are specialised in spin photography or 360 degree photography and are experienced in capturing and processing images that appeal to and convince the website visitors to convert and purchase. Go through the spin photographyequipments that are used by the companies to create the images.
  4. Next you check the locality of the companies you have selected. It is always better to choose providers who are within or closer to your own locality. This would help you in communicating with them and going back to them for any clarifications or modifications in the work they have done for you.
  5. By now you can shortlist the few companies that you could contact directly and make your enquiries related to services, time for completion, techniques and equipments of photography used, charges for the service and so on. After talking to them by calling or meeting them in person, you could find answers to all your questions as well as clarify their terms and conditions. You could tell them what you are looking for and once there is complete agreement between both the parties, you can go ahead and employ them to create images for your website and thus enhance the shopping experience of online shoppers through effective spin photography.

 

 

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Choosing the Best Online Music Service

Okay, it’s time for me to finally say goodbye to my portable disc player, and join the online and portable music revolution. Okay, the revolution isn’t so new any more, nor is my computer, but as I wade through the sea of options for how to download music, listen to and buy online tracks, I grow more eager to get my feet wet and eventually suit up to take the plunge. But I happen to be a bit more practical than that. So, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last few weeks trying to determine what’s best for my lifestyle, my wallet and my computer.

First thing I realized when searching all of the music services is that things seemed to work a lot smoother with a broadband connection (and most services seem to point that out from the get go). Just like my CD Walkman, the time had come for me to lose my ancient dial-up connection to the online experience. It actually turned out to work in my favor as my cable company gave me a good deal on high-speed, and also threw in a discount on my existing costs for cable TV.

Now that I was “connected” at an acceptable speed to the Web, I had to determine, what I was trying to get out of the online music experience. After some intense melodious soul searching, I realized that the only thing the separated me from the perpetually hip is perhaps the types of music I was searching for, and the amount of time I wanted to spend online searching for music.

The guy who sits next to me has a 60 GB iPod, and is complaining that it is almost full. That’s over seven thousand songs. I don’t know that I would even live long enough to listen to that many songs. My needs were simpler. I had an MP3 player still in the box from two Christmas’ ago, and it promised to hold over 500 songs. That would be perfect for me, at least in the short term.

Next, what was I looking for in my new online music experience? Did I want to listen to music on my PC, in my car or on my MP3 player? Yes to all three. Did I want to listen to the radio while I was on my PC? Again, yes. Did I want to trade music with others online in a peer-to-peer Napster-like environment? Eh, that one scared me a little, and I decided that opening up my files to strangers made me feel dirt, so I put that one on hold.

My next stop in determining how I would “music online” was price. I searched dozens of sites and services, but narrowed my sights to three of the big guys: AOL Music Now, iTunes and Rhapsody Music Service (provided by Real Networks).

I already had AOL, so I signed up for their Music Now product for $8.99/month (that’s in addition to their monthly fee as an ISP). I was able to download songs, listen to them while “offline” and burn them to CD or move them over to my MP3 player for an additional fee per song. That seemed to be standard across most of the services. Music Now was a follow up to the original AOL Music Net, which I actually liked better because it ran locally on machine and the new Web-based Music Now takes much longer. AOL also has a partnership with iTunes, so you can be on AOL, but iTunes will launch and then you’re actually in the iTunes application. It’s confusing. If I want to move my downloaded songs to my MP3 player, the monthly fee jumps to $14.95 per month, and if I want to put them on a CD, I pay and additional 99 cents per track. This is too much money for me. I typically buy one or two CD’s a month, and that would be cheaper than this online service. Not to mention you have to be an existing AOL member (more money per month) in order to even use the product. I’m passing on AOL Music Now.

On to iTunes. Okay, so there is no monthly fee for iTunes. Love that. And I can purchase songs for 99 cents per track. Love that too. But wait. I don’t have an iPod, and iTunes has songs in their proprietary MP4 format. Ugh. The cheapest iPod out there is around $99 (so much for no monthly fee), and it’s not the model I would select. I like my MP3 player. If I already had an iPod, this may be the route I would go, but Apple tends be very inflexible, and I hate to be tied to one provider, player and format. There is also a limit to how you can share the songs on your home network. I feel like even though I own the song, I’m being watched on what I do with it. Good bye big brother.

Rhapsody Music Service from Real Networks. So far they are the least expensive. $9.99 per month and that’s with unlimited access to over 1.3 million songs. I do have to have pay the additional 99 cent fee if I want to burn to CD or transfer to my MP3, but that is the industry standard for paying the artists, and the monthly fee is five dollars less per month than AOL. The music comes over in the more widely supported MP3 format and the songs are mine to rip transfer or share with my other computers on my home network. Like the other two, I can listen to live radio on my pc, but I like the freedom I get with Rhapsody Music Service. I’m not being watched, and the music is mine.

Now that I know how to download music and have chosen Rhapsody Music Service, I’m on my way to joining the new world of portable digital music. I’ve already burned several CD’s for my car, albeit with an older man’s twist on today’s favorites, and transferred those same songs over to my little antiquated MP3 player for those long weekend walks.

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Microsoft Plans New Music Service for Xbox and Windows Phones

Microsoft is eyeing to provide music service in its Xbox Live platform. A report by CNET showed the technology giant is trying to find ways together with several major record labels to come up with an application that would offer similar service to Spotify, MOG, Pandora, Rdio and some other streaming music subscriptions.

This new plan by Microsoft came after its initial failed bid to win customers who like music through Zune Music Pass.

It is safe to bet Microsoft would provide an Xbox Live name to this planned new service instead of resurrecting the Zune brand. The new application would launch on the Xbox 360, upcoming revisions of the Windows operating system, and Windows smartphones. CNET’s sources did not confirm the details how exactly the service will be delivered and how much the music industry would get paid from subscription fees of the service. Microsoft simply provided a rough outline of the service that includes streaming music and downloads.

There was also a speculation that the company will team up with Nokia and HTC on proposed phones that can use the potential service.

It is expected that the record labels would work hard to make this deal happen. After all, Microsoft’s gigantic Xbox Live fan base is declared to be near 40 million worldwide. Record companies will definitely make more money by making higher profile in this huge market.

The move is definitely a strategic one for Microsoft to better compete against Google’s own with its Google Music and Android operating system. Many other major phone makers have also taken steps to strengthen their music features. A good example is HTC’s acquisition of a majority stake in Dr. Dre’s Beats to augment the company phones’ capabilities. Last August of 2011, Research in Motion also announced its plan to upgrade its Blackberry Instant Message service.

The current Microsoft’s Zune Music Pass priced at $9.99 a month no longer allows 10 music downloads a month although subscribers can still opt to pay the more expensive $14.99/month that allows downloads of up to 10 songs. Using the Zune Music Pass on Xbox 360 also requires a Gold Xbox Live subscription.

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Online Music Services For Different Type Of Listener

Every music listerner has different needs. What are yours?

There are online music services – from the casual pop lover to the audiobook listener. Which one would you choose?

Some quick Tips:

Mac user or PC user?

Any products by Apple, including the iPod line, are usually solely compatible with the iTunes Music Store, which is available on both Macs and PCs.
Other devices with the “Plays for Sure” logo work well with Windows Media Player – based download services and are PC-only. Check your favorite devices for compatibility before you buy. Like Apple, Sony players will only work with the Sony Connect music service.

iTunes Music Store:

Home of the 99-cent download, the iTunes Music Store (ITMS) features over 1 million songs. Entire albums are available for download but the ITMS only supports iPod devices. The system allows you to burn your tracks to CD for low-tech consumption. Most major labels are represented and ITMS tends to get newer music even before some of the other major players. A partnership with Audible.com also allows you to download audiobooks, allowing you to while away the road miles with a good book.

MusicMatch:

MusicMatch’s On Demand subscription service makes this system stand out. Instead of purchasing individual songs, you pay $5.95 to listen to a selection of songs for a certain period of time. Once you cancel your subscription, however, the music disappears. MusicMatch also offers 99-cent tracks. A special music suggestion engine makes short work of figuring out what you’d like to listen to next.

eMusic:

eMusic is a pioneering MP3 service that offers a number of downloads for a set price. The most expensive offer, for example, costs $19.99 and entitles you to 90 song downloads per month. The tracks will play on any MP3 player in the world and are completely unprotected by any digital rights management. The music is skewed towards the alternative and unknowns but there are thousands of gems in eMusic’s extensive library, from the Pixies to Bloc Party.

Napster:

The original music service has gone legit. Individual tracks are 99 cents and Napster To Go offers unlimited downloads to any MP3 player for $14.95. The To Go service, like MusicMatch’s service, expires once your subscription lapses. You can only burn purchased tracks to CDs, but the catalog is wide and Napster features all of the latest from artists in all genres.

Rhapsody:

Rhapsody offers free downloadable music in trial mode as well as a $9.95 all-you-can eat subscription with 99-cent downloads and Rhapsody To Go which allows you to download content to your MP3 player. Like other Microsoft DRM-based services, music you didn’t pay for is erased when your subscription lapses.

Sony Connect:

Similar to the iTunes Music Store, Sony’s store will only work with Sony players, which use the proprietary ATRAC format for music files. But one of those players is the very hot Play Station Portable game, video and music device. Sony’s store includes music from all the major labels, not just the Sony catalog. Like other music stores you can also burn downloaded music to CDs.

MSN:

A latecomer to the party, the MSN Music Store supports Microsoft’s Janus DRM system, which is bundled with most copies of Windows. Tracks are 99 cents and the service is compatible with most non-Apple MP3 players. Major labels are well represented, but the featured music skews towards less alternative acts.

 

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Seven Top Free Digital Music Services

It’s the age of freebies. These days, we can download e-books, stream movies, and listen to music, all for free – and legally! It’s just a question of where to find these goodies.

So as far as music is concerned, where can we get them for free? Here are some sites you would want to check out:

  1. Grooveshark (grooveshark.com).Grooveshark is one of the largest music streaming services in the world. This site allows you to find and listen to your favourite music, make your own personalized playlist, browse for new songs, and share them on social networking and bookmarking sites with just one click.

You can listen to free unlimited radio on your Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Jailbroken iPhone, or HP Web OS smartphone by simply downloading the Grooveshark app.

It also has features such as the video mode, which lets you watch YouTube videos of your favourite songs; the Power Hour mode, which automatically moves you to a new song every 60 seconds; and the visualizer, which adds a visual element to accompany your music.

  1. Spotify (spotify.com). The Spotify free account gives you instant access to millions of tracks for your streaming pleasure. You can play and organize your own MP3s, and you can share them with your friends, as well as get your friends’ recommendations, and listen to them instantly with just a click of a Facebook button.

If you want to listen to music offline on your desktop or mobile, though, you’ll need to get the paid Premium account.

  1. We7 (we7.com).We7 is a free music-streaming service available to users from Ireland and the UK. It has more than 6.8 million tracks from four major record labels and a huge number of independent labels. If you wish to purchase the tracks, you can do so from the in-site store.
  2. Last.fm (last.fm).If you like listening to music but are too lazy to search for the music you like, try Last.fm, a music recommendation service. Just sign up, download the Scrobbler software, and let that little tool deliver personalised recommendations based on what songs or artists you listen to most often.
  3. Soundclick (soundclick.com).This site has been around since 1997, so it must be good, right? To date, its catalogue holds over 2.5 million tracks that you can listen to through live streaming. Some of the music is available for free and legal download.
  4. Audio Archive (archive.org/details/audio).If you’re looking for free songs, poetry readings, audio books, old-time radio shows, and even alternative news programs, you can find over 200,000 of those from Audio Archives’ MP3 and audio library.

7. ArtistServer (artistserver.com).People looking for non-mainstream artists and their music can find them at ArtistServer. Choose from over 8,000 free and legally downloadable songs from this website. There is a full range of genres to choose from – country, rock, jazz, metal, blues, classical, hip-hop, folk, and many others – all recorded by unsigned artists, who use the site to promote their work.

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Arts and Crafts Movement and the Studio Furniture Movement

I was recently invited to provide the catalogue forward for an exhibition coming up in london. This is what I wrote.

The Millinery Works has a history closely associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Many of these makers exhibiting here have a similar association if not direct inspiration. The Arts and Crafts movement was a movement of political and aesthetic revolt. They were against a Victorian urban industrialism led by inspirational socialist thinkers of the calibre of William Morris and artists like Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

The makers in this room can certainly be regarded as a movement, though many would not share my assertion. But what they are revolting against this may be less clear. The web forum that has enabled this exhibition to be staged contains a loose association of rugged individuals. Each supporting a myriad of different causes, ideals and creative directions. Most are deliberately working far from the centres of cultural power and influence. They inhabit small isolated workshops, some in urban but many in rural settings often creating work inspired by land, wind and weather. Makers in this room will have had to become expert at providing an exceptional customer service. Listening carefully to their clients and returning with a sensitive and creative response. Again and again they will have exceeded their customers expectation and made something that was truly extraordinary. The best will have the support of genuinely creative patronage.

If these makers, like those of the Arts and Crafts period, are in revolt, today it would be against the lack of quality in our culture. They would be against poor standards, sound bite journalism, the cheapness of our thinking, and the sheer lack of genuine quality in our lives. I am now 60 and I have spent most of my life looking at Art, waiting for an artist to come crashing through the walls of galleries with the creative power of a Matisse or a Picasso. Sadly what I have seen, time and again, has been just shabby and thin. Branded with skill but with little content. I have reasonably expected to be moved by the culture of my age and I now believe that I’ve been let down. The Salon Culture of Conceptual Art is what we creative individuals have to live within. I believe that many of the creative beings within this room may have stepped aside from that context and have chosen creative furniture making as an acceptable way to them of coexisting with an unacceptable art world. A market described by the critic Robert Hughes as ” The second largest unregulated market after the market for heroin and cocaine.” Yes, that would be something worth revolting against.

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