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Addictions: Are Some More Acceptable Than Others?

Much has been made of President Obama’s attempts to quit smoking. The response has been sympathy – it’s a hard addiction to break. But suppose he had another addiction – say alcoholism, or binge eating or pill popping. People wouldn’t have been nearly as sympathetic, indeed having one of those addictions would almost certainly weaken your chances of being elected to any office.

The two most common addictions in our society are smoking and alcoholism. Both are legal addictions, are expensive, cause untimely and painful deaths and hurt families. But with smoking, the blame is placed entirely on the tobacco companies for selling their “evil” weed, and almost no blame is attached to the individual for taking up the habit, whereas with alcoholism, the blame is placed squarely on the individual for not exercising control.

Part of this is historical – smokers in the 1950’s and 60’s were told that there was no health risk to smoking, and that it could even be good for you, and they were not given the chance to weigh up the risk before the addiction commenced. However, since the 1990’s, governments everywhere have been warning about the health dangers. In the UK, cigarette packets come with the words “Smoking Kills” in giant black letters on the front of the packet. Tax on cigarettes has also been increased to eye-watering levels and television advertising of tobacco is banned. Yet still people take up smoking, though they can’t be unaware of the risks, and still no blame is attached to the individual for starting up the habit.

With alcohol by contrast, people addicted are labelled as “drunks” and it is very rare to find a public person who will admit they have a problem with drink. They only confess what has happened to them after they have conquered the habit and are now “dry”. A lot of this is down to the fact that alcohol in moderate quantities is harmless, and can even be good for you. The winemakers are clearly not plying an “evil” trade. So it is easier to focus on the responsibilities of the individual to control themselves and not take their habit to excess. Nic salts are substances that make you get addicted to cigarette smoking. Hence, it is important to avoid things that come complimentarily with smoking. Drinking alcohol is one of tose so it is really important to be mindful of your actions.

When it comes to breaking habits, it’s all down to the individual. You can get help and advice on how to quit smoking from the NHS Smoking website, and advice on alcoholism from the NHS alcohol misuse page. But it would be easier all round if society stopped excusing individuals and put equal pressure on the individual to take ownership of their problem and make the attempt to seek help, whether the addiction is smoking or alcohol .

Fluid Mask 3 Digital Image Review

Since the dawn of Photoshop, users have spent countless hours in their quests to remove subjects from backgrounds in photos. For almost as long, companies have been offering software that promises to perform the pixelated exorcism in a fast and painless manner. Often the software solution turns out to be only a little better than the manual method. So it was with a little skepticism that I began evaluating the Photoshop plug-in by Vertus called Fluid Mask 3. It’s described by the company as the “#1 Still Image Cutout Tool,” and after working with it for a few weeks, it appears the third generation of this plug-in offers major improvements over Fluid Mask 2.

Most selection software requires the user to draw an outline or select the colors of the subject to be selected. When you launch Fluid Mask either from Photoshop as a plug-in or as a standalone application, it detects all of the edges in the image, giving the appearance that it has converted your photo into a paint-by-numbers painting (no kidding). Using the tools, you can quickly select the background and the program offers the option to automatically ll in the foreground. Like all software I test, I installed it and jumped right in to see if I could figure it out without reading the documentation.

The first time I used Fluid Mask (version 2), I immediately closed the software and returned to the excellent tutorials and documentation provided on the Vertus website. When I wrote this review, there were only two tutorials that had been updated for version 3, but the existing version 2 tutorials explained the essentials. Fluid Mask 3 takes advantage of multicore processor architectures to noticeably speed up the startup time as it automatically performs the initial edge detection. “The devil is in the details” is an expression that was surely made by someone attempting to isolate the subject from the background.

To that end, Fluid Mask has added or improved a variety of tools to make this tedious job of defining and blending edges even faster and easier. Once a rough selection is made, Fluid Mask allows you to isolate edge detection and blending operations to specific areas using Patches (called Regions in version 2). My favorite is the Review Cut tool that allows you to view the results instantly by dragging the tool over the image. This instant feedback is essential when isolating stray hairs and fine detail. Fluid Mask has intelligence built into the edge detection that determines which edges should be hard and which require softer blending.

All aspects of the edge detection and blending operations are configurable. Fluid Mask allows selection by color, which is a godsend for anyone who needs to replace an overcast sky in a landscape with another one. In all, Fluid Mask 3 is a powerful application that can get the job done after you master it.

The truth is it takes time to become familiar with the different tools and options. (Hey, you didn’t learn Photoshop in a day.) You’ll also have to allow some time to develop proficiency with Fluid Mask. Following the tutorials, you can do simple cutouts in a few minutes; executing exotic cutouts with hair flying in the breeze will take longer. Or perhaps get a adobe photoshop download for mac to try things out every now and then.

 Vertus offers a fully functional demo version available from their website.

World of Warcraft Falling Short?

September 25, 2012 will be the release for the fourth expansion (Mist of Pandaria) for the World of Warcraft fans. But does it fall short on to many playing fields?

In World of Warcraft: Mist of Pandaria they are adding a new class called Monk and a new Race called Pandaren. The tail of Pandaria is a harmony type look at the world. With a zen atmosphere you learn the way of the Pandaren. The quest will take you through the Panda starting area where you later learn that the turtle, whoms back is where Pandaria resides, is sick and injured. Coming up with a plan to save the turtle you can advance to level 11-12 depending on how many quest you complete and things you destroy. As you are about to leave the beautiful world of Pandaria you are asked if you would rather leave with the alliance or the horde. Your choice sends you to the main lands of Azeroth that fans are used to exploring. Pandara again opens up for people between levels 85 and 90, along with some new gear, dungeons, and challenges.

The Monk class starts out slow. The abilities the Monks receive through the starting area seem abnormally weak and don’t offer much damage. The Monks abilities run off Chi. Yes World of Warcraft has brought back many of the class resources in order to use some moves. This was once a part of World of Warcraft but was taken out and now is being returned to the game. Monks have the option of being a Brewmaster (tank), a Windwalker (DPS), or a Mistweaver (Healer). Both the Brewmaster and Windwalker run on energy while Mistweavers use mana. Much like Rogues, Monks are going to be able to wear cloth and leather.

Bringing in a new class and a new race causes the issue of space for some people. To accompany this Blizzard has added one free spot. This means you can have 11 toons instead of the normal 10 per server. This may help bring in an extra toon but some say it isn’t enough.

This technique of having many toons is similar to Pokemon go account that you need to get for proceeding with each level of the pokemon series and is quite an enthralling experience in Warcraft and the Blizzard has only made things easier by adding up the servers.

One thing the players are looking forward to is the Pet Battles. You will now be able to battle your pet companions helping them get higher ranks and more powers. Pet battles can bring you achievements and gives you a reason to collect them. You can even catch pets from the wild. No more having to buy them or try to get lucky by getting them from a drop. It has a very close resemblance to Pokemon expect your pet will not evolve into something new it will just get stronger and learn new moves.

Rather fans continue to be disappointed in the way World of Warcraft continues to get easier to level toons and max out professions or they are excited to jump into the new expansion and see its new quest lines I see the Mist of Pandaria expansion being another big hit for Blizzard. And as fans continue to voice ideas and concerns we will see many patches coming as well until the next World of Warcraft expansion.

Learn All About Balanced Scorecard And Tips To Create It In Excel!

If you are getting started with a BSC, then you should create it in Excel. Well, it is known as a cost-effective method that is suitable for the organization of any size. Well, many other options are out there that you can consider for creating a balanced scorecard. Check out all the options and then weigh their pros and cons to make the right choice. Before going to create a balanced scorecard, you need to know all about it to enhance your knowledge. 

The balanced scorecard is a concept of performance and financial measurement, and it is has been developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. With the help of this, you can monitor the performance of the enterprise against strategic goals. Usually, it generates the metrics which collect as well as measure the data. 

Benefits of using the balanced scorecard 

As you know, an enterprise can gain various benefits by using a balanced scorecard. If you want to know all these benefits, then you should read the below-mentioned points. 

  • With the help of creating a balanced scorecard, you can get a detailed account of all the aspects related to your management team. 
  • It also helps you to get an assurance that everything is in the right proportion in the sale process. 
  • When you create BSD, then it helps you to eradicate errors and also provides many other advantages. 
  • If you want to know whether your assessments are accurate or not, then you should create a balanced scorecard. 

After reading these details, you may also want to use a balanced scorecard for your business organization. Before going to use it, you need to learn how to create it and some other related details. 

Know the different options 

When it comes to creating your balanced scorecard, you should choose the right medium. First of all, try to be familiar with the different options like scorecard software, using excel or PowerPoint, etc. all the options are not equal, and that’s why you should pick the one as per your convenience and after considering some essential factors. If you are running a small company, then you can choose the option of Excel and PowerPoint for creating a balanced scorecard PPT. Using excel is a cost-effective method, and that’s why you can also opt for it. 

How to create a balanced scorecard ppt in excel? 

Most of the business owners rely on Excel for managing their daily processes. In order to get started, you should create a new excel file and then click on the page layout to choose the landscape. After this, you should highlight some columns that you are going to use. Create a title for scorecard and then add some colors to your scorecard to make it stand out. After this, you need to label the columns, and it is a simple step. At last, you should label each row and highlight the rows which you want to use. Make sure the design is consistent, and you are using the colors smartly to make it look better. 

How to Add Features to Your Linksys Router

Routers are devices that are used in computer networking as you use Hughesnet router login to create a secure network. They are used for two computers or more that belong to a network, either in an enterprise or at home to be able to simultaneously use a broadband Internet connection. One router brand made by Cisco is Linksys. It has different router designs for different needs. Among these is their Linksys Wireless-G Router which is usually known as the WRT54G design. It is based on the Linux component which is under the open-source GNU General Public License rendering the source code for the program available to developers hence it can be customized and tweaked to extend its functions and capability. So now the WRT54G may be loaded with additional firmware to add more functionality and features to it.

Determine what you wish your Linksys router to perform and look for the existing firmware that you may install. Make sure that any firmware you intend on using is compatible with the router. Visit the maker’s website and read the provided information there before downloading any firmware. Once you have located the right firmware you can use, download it to the desktop for easier access later when flashing your router.

Print all of the instructions for the router and the firmware so as to have immediate access to that info when you flash your router and you are not able to use the computer during that time.

When you perform the flash it is better to make use of Ethernet cable to link your computer to your router, since this is more stable than using a wireless connection.

The first step you need to perform is to reset your router back to its factory default settings which the router came with when buying it. There are two methods of doing this. You can press its reset button for 30 seconds prior to releasing it. It is located behind the router. Alternatively, you may do this by proceeding to the present configuration page and clicking Administration Factory Defaults Yes Save Settings.

Once you have reset your router’s settings you may now begin to flash the new firmware that you had selected. Use your browser in connecting to your router’s configuration pages. Search for Administration followed by Firm Upgrade. Hit the browse button to access the browse dialog box. Now you can find and select your firmware file and hit Upgrade. The firmware for your WRT54G upgrade files contains a .bin extension.

Observe as the firmware begins the upgrade. At this moment you do not need to do anything but let the computer handle the upgrading on by itself. Do not touch your PC or your router when it is upgrading to prevent locking your router or performing a bad flash.

A progress bar for your upgrade will appear after some minutes. Leave it alone so that the upgrade is complete and the router starts resetting. Wait for a new page showing on your computer screen having a Continue button. Don’t immediately hit that button. Wait for some more minutes to allow your router to finish the upgrade as well as the reset.

Hit the Continue button once you have given your router enough time to finish the upgrading process. That continue button should lead you once again to the router’s main configuration page. From here you may make the selection of the features you desire to add to the router.

Read the guides and documentation available for the firmware which you have chosen and set up so that you may configure your router with your new firmware. Search for community support within forums run by experts, users, and developers to help you with troubleshooting.

Acting on ‘The Mother of Invention’

Production began in the fall of 2008 for an independent movie. At the time I resided in Los Angeles. I submitted to audition after audition. Finally I was called in to audition for a movie. That movie was “The Mother of Invention”.

The audition was held at the director’s apartment, which was only a short bus ride from where I lived. The audition itself was relaxed. They videotaped the audition. I was nervous, but I was able to relax a little after my first attempt. I don’t remember much more about the audition except that I left thinking I would not get the part.

I was called back to read for the part again. Apparently they liked me, but they wanted to see me read again. Again I left thinking I would not get the part. I thought I would never hear from them again.

I spent the next few days in complete isolation at home as there was a knot in my stomach that was a combination of excitement and nervousness on whether I would be selected or not and would make videos every now and then to improve on my voice and expressions, which you can check out here the official website online.

One day, weeks later, my phone rang. It was one of the directors. I thought it was to tell me that I did not get the role. The reason for the call was to ask me if I were still interested in the movie.

The first scene they shot with my character involved me sitting at a desk in the background. Andrew Bowser, who also played the main character, was in the foreground talking to the camera. The crew dowsed the desk with lighter fluid. My job was to pretend to work on an invention, and have it “accidentally” set on fire.

It had to be lit as though the desk spontaneously caught fire. I had to hide a lighter from the view of the camera, light the desk on my cue, and pretend to be surprised by the fire. I was very surprised when it caught fire. I jumped out of the chair.

At the San Diego Convention Center we shot a scene of us running into the building to attend the young inventor’s convention. I was not told ahead of time that we did not have permission.

We shot the scene once in the center of one side of the building. Then we went through the parking structure to another side of the building. They had someone be a lookout for security. When they thought it was clear to shoot we began the scene. Andrew and I ran up to the side of the building we were at before from the other side of the building.

As we were walking away from the building we were approached by a security guard. After a few moments a couple of detectives arrived. We were questioned. Eventually we were allowed to leave, but I thought we were going to be in trouble for a moment.

World Of Warcraft – This Game’s Better Than Your Favorite Game

When I had first heard about a game that you had to pay monthly to play, I was thinking there was absolutely no chance I would ever pay a monthly fee to play a game. The same company who produced this game had other great games out and they were all free to play, so why should I switch over to a game where I would have to start paying monthly for? This is at least what I thought before I tried the game and actually started getting into and playing in.
I was immediately drawn to the game and it was the game play that definitely won me over and the creativity of the content played a huge role in my decision to actually start paying for the game. Like any game when you start and have no one to help you out, your confused and lost and a lot of gamers who had been playing a while were not too fond of the new gamers. While this was not the most heartwarming community I had ever met, the content of the game overall was supreme to any game I had ever played and ever will play.

World of Warcraft offers so many different variations of character creation and so many different aspects of the game that can be changed in so many ways. One could say that it’s possibly endless to name the amount of things you could change about the game to better fit your playstyle. Whether you enjoy strategy games or role-playing games, this is one game that will hook you and grab your attention and I guarantee you you won’t be able to stop playing. I tried to stop playing the game on two separate occasions and in my experience I always came back to the game, because there is just something about the game that hooks you in.

Warcraft has always been my favorite and I have been a sucker for it since childhood and even today that passionate fan is alive in me and whenever I play it, it gives Pokemon go spoofing vibes while coming across the different levels.

However, the graphics of the game are very cartoon like and this is one aspect of the game that I particularly did not care for. While this is very useful for grabbing the attention of a younger audience, the graphics overall are not too bad and still look fairly decent. I have no complaints about the audio and sound of the game except I wish there was more sound tracks associated with the game so I didn’t have to listen to the same songs over and over again, because after several hours of the same songs they get quite old.

When you start playing the game it will hook you from the very beginning and is one of the easiest to understand games if you just follow simple directions that the game’s tool tips lay out for you. The game itself is available to all age and fan bases and this is how they designed it, because while the cartoon like graphics draw the younger fan base in, it’s the quality of the game play that attracts the rest of the customers in. I challenge you to start playing the game and to stop playing because the content and game play will hook you into the game and it won’t let you stop. If you never play another role-playing game again, this definitely is a least one game you should try out and while it may seem bogus to pay a monthly fee to play a game, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Peter Jackson About to Return to Fantasy Throne

Peter Jackson has stayed quiet in the last few years, but over the next few months, Peter Jackson will seek to reclaim his throne as the king of fantasy. Peter Jackson took over all of Hollywood with The Lord of the Rings, but several years, one King Kong remake, and many pounds later, Peter Jackson is going back to basics. These next few weeks alone will reestablish Peter Jackson’s influence, as he presents a movie that could be the sleeper hit of the summer, and introduces a trailer for his own upcoming film. District 9 will give Peter Jackson some fantasy street-cred back, but The Lovely Bones will prove whether Jackson still has the touch.

This week, the trailer for Peter Jackson’s next movie will be shown in theaters. A week later, Petr Jackson will present another film that already has massive buzz. The Lovely Bones trailer will premiere in front of screenings for Julie  amp; Julia, and is already up online. Next week, District 9, which has the label “Peter Jackson Presents”finally comes out after weeks of early raves.

For District 9, Peter Jackson is not the director, a title which belongs to newcomer Neill Blomkamp. However, Jackson’s influence as a producer and the presenter of District 9 has made the movie possible, and the special effects look to be a Jackson trademark. District 9 is expected to be a sleeper hit and a critical success, which Peter Jackson will get a fair share of credit for. It comes as a good time for Jackson, as a warmup for his own upcoming movie, and as a way to reestablish himself after being off for a few years. For the making, proper information should be available with the person about the cast of the hobbit. The playing of the characters should provide enjoyment and entertainment to the audience. 

The last time Peter Jackson brought any kind of movie to theaters was 2005’s King Kong, which opened big but eventually faded away, unlike the Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson’s King Kong hasn’t held up too well for many, as Jackson’s orgy of special-effects monsters and exhaustive running time finally ran thin for many. As such, it was probably necessary for Jackson to step back and take his time in coming back, before he risked a deeper backlash.

Four years later, having lost a great deal of weight, Peter Jackson is out to return to power. The biggest news he had made after King Kong was over the battle to direct The Hobbit, which he lost to Guillermo del Toro – though he still gets to write it. With a few years off, disappointment lingering over King Kong, and the Lord of the Rings glory fading, Jackson needs to get back in the game to prove he is still one of the best in the business.

Having his name attached to District 9 will help, but his hopes are pinned to The Lovely Bones, which Jackson directed in this case. Fittingly, the first trailer for The Lovely Bones came out right before District 9’s release.

Once again, Jackson is adapting someone else’s material, after bringing The Lord of the Rings books to life, and remaking King Kong. This time, Jackson is adapting a shorter but still very famous novel, about a girl who is killed and resides in her own fantasy world, while watching her family struggle to cope and find her killer.

The fantasy parts are typical for Jackson, but The Lovely Bones trailer shows that it isn’t as large and epic as Lord of the Rings and King Kong. In fact, it resembles the smaller, but still visually stuffed atmosphere of Jackson’s first mainstream hit, Heavenly Creatures. There may be some snickers over Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci’s hairpieces, but The Lovely Bones trailer serves as a handy reminder that Jackson will be back once again.

Winning an Oscar tends to result in a bit of a slump afterwards, and Peter Jackson has been in a little bit of one after Return of the King won 11. That has largely been because Jackson has done just one film in six years. But since King Kong was a letdown to some, and since Lord of the Rings has given way to other fantasy obsessions lately, Jackson could use another hit to reestablish his standing on the A-list.

These next two weeks alone are evidence that Jackson is looking to make a roaring comeback, with District 9 likely to provide the first half of a potential one-two punch, and The Lovely Bones trailer teasing out what Jackson hopes is the second half. Fans of Jackson and the book will know for sure in December.

Switch from Regular to Decaf Coffee Painlessly

Making the switch from regular coffee to decaf coffee is no small thing to someone that has been drinking it for a long time. The health benefits say that the switch is worth it, but many people can not handle the caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, body aches, insomnia and even bowel irregularities are only a handful of the problematic symptoms one might encounter while ditching the caffeine. So how do we go about eliminating the caffeine without going insane in the process? Here are some ideas that wills surely help: 

Gradual Removal of Caffeine

Many people try to claim that you can not do the stair step method to move from caffeine to decaf coffee. This is hogwash and I am living proof. Having enjoyed caffeine laden coffee for more than twenty years, I used this method to go decaf in only one month. The idea is quite simplistic but effective. Reducing your intake of caffeine in increments just makes good sense.

Much like the patch when quitting cigarettes, you can limit the intake of caffeine a little bit at a time. The easiest method to do this is to make two pots of coffee. One regular and one decaf. Mix the two in your cup and reduce the level of caffeinated coffee in each in small increments each week. Over the course of a month, a decaf coffee will seem just as tasty. Regular switching of the manufacturer of coffee will enable the person to enjoy different taste of the coffee powder. The selection of the best will be an easy decision for the customers after the checking. 

Controlling Exterior Caffeine

As most already know, caffeine is not simply in coffee. You find it most notably in many other drinks such as soft drinks, teas and even some alcoholic drinks. Increasing your intake of these drinks will simply offset any progress you have made with your coffee switch. Make sure you are careful to get caffeine free products and keep regular drinks to a minimum. Otherwise, you might as well have your regular coffee.

Increase your Water Intake

Water is one of the most beneficial allies in caffeine withdrawals. It will help to flush your system more efficiently and keep you hydrated. It is also one of the few nervous habits that can actually make you more healthy. Exercise is another fine thing to do when you have the shakes from caffeine withdrawal. If you are going to shake that caffeine habit for good, you might as well get fit all over.

Changing over from regular coffee to decaf seems like a simple process, and to be quite honest it is. I had a serious coffee addiction, and was able to implement this with relative ease. I did have occasional headaches but nothing that Ibuprofen would not take of. If you are willing to put in the energy and invest in a second coffee maker, then you will be on your own road to success in the battle against unhealthy caffeine.

How To Dress Like a Professional Working Man

In the professional world, looking the part is every bit as important as acting the part. Men have to dress to impress in order to get attention and respect in their professional endeavors. Here’s a how-to guide for men’s fashion, from the bottom up:

The Shoes

Every professional man should have at least two pairs of dress shoes – one pair in black, and the other in brown. Always shine your shoes before wearing them into work. If you are strapped for time, a few sprays of Windex can work wonders as a once-in-a-while solution for shining-up in a hurry. Also, it’s a good idea to have a pair of less formal but well-kept brown loafers for more casual offices.

The Socks

If there is one fashion rule that you should never forget, it is this: never, ever – EVER – wear white socks with dress pants. White socks are not for the professional workplace. You should have a collection of black socks – at least a couple of week’s worth to last you through those laundry-procrastinating times. Gray, argyle, navy, and brown dress socks are also okay as long as they don’t clash with the color of pants that you are wearing.

The Pants

Black, gray, brown, tan, and navy are the colors that you have to choose from when selecting your work pants. Whether you get the pants as part of a suit is up to you. If you have to wear a suit jacket at work every day, then it is logical to buy mostly suits. If you rarely have to wear a jacket, it is likely that you will want to get your pants separately so that you can cut your clothing costs. Make sure that your pants are tailored to fit you. It is totally unprofessional to cuff the bottoms of your pants, so don’t go there! Also, make sure that your pants are always neatly pressed – wrinkles are a no-no. In addition, you can also put a nice thin rfid wallet in your pants pocket. This thin wallet comes very stylish and fashionable. Gone are the days when bulky wallets were everywhere. Even your wallet needs to be in style.

The Belt

A shiny belt is an absolute men’s professional wardrobe essential. Just don’t go overboard with the belt. You want something simple and practical, with either a plain silver or gold buckle. You definitely do not want a big, gaudy cowboy-esque belt buckle in the workplace – unless you are working at an oil company in Texas.

The Undershirt

You have to wear an undershirt below your button-down collared work shirt for three reasons: one, nobody wants to see your nipples; two, nobody wants to see your chest hair; and three, nobody wants to see your pit stains. Also, your undershirt should never protrude over the top of your collar.

The Shirt

Your shirt is the staple of your outfit. Even if you have on an expensive Armani suit, the wrong shirt can destroy the entire look. The traditional look still works in the workplace, and it’s tried and true – a white shirt or a light blue shirt, clean and pressed. If you are looking for something more exciting without crossing out of the professional wardrobe limits, look for bright vibrant colors in your collared button-down shirts. As long as the shirt is solid-colored and not neon or metallic-colored, you can make it professional by wearing it with nice pants and a great tie.

The Tie

When you are a professional, you cannot wear ties that do not project professionalism. That means saying goodbye to the piano key tie and the one that plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” when you squeeze Santa’s nose. Solid-colored ties are safe and classic, but don’t be afraid of patterns. Just make sure that your tie doesn’t clash with the rest of your outfit and that it hangs about two inches above your belt line.