Building the Best Entertainment System

You just settled into your large new custom home that you helped design and build. You’re extremely excited to live in your new home but its just not quite finished yet. Yes you have furniture picked out and walls painted but you are looking for some major areas of entertainment to be present in your new house. You need an entertainment system.

Unfortunately, picking out an entertainment system worthy of your new crib isn’t as easy as running to the nearest department store. You need something good, like really good. It needs to look as good as your house, rumble your chairs, and sound like you’re in the movie or at the game. It has to be good! Here is a bit of helpful rundown of what you need to know for picking out the best parts.

The Biggest TV Around

You obviously need the biggest and baddest TV out there. But, maybe the place you had in mind for a TV won’t exactly fit the new 7 foot flatscreen you saw at the mall. The easiest thing to do is to just go to the store and compare the different models. Generally, they will have the biggest and the best playing some of the highest quality video you’ve ever seen. Once you find what you think is the best TV there, grab a salesman and ask him lots of questions. You need to know several different things to help you in your search of the most ideal TV for your space. Here is a list of things you need to know:

  • What makes this model obviously so much better than the others?
  • What is playing on the TV at the moment? Is it cable? or is it a BluRay disc?
  • Find out what cable provider they are using or what BluRay player is hooked up.

Asking these questions will help you figure out what other components such as DVD player or TV provider you need to get the best image.

The Best Sound

Sound is a little bit tricky as it can change depending on the setup. Sometimes it is hard to do unless you have a professional come in and do it for you. However, you can always go online and checkout some reviews of popular systems. This will give you a good idea of what to look for. But still, it is best to go and see, well hear, for yourself what you will be buying. Go and find these systems at entertainment stores that will let you try them out.

The Best Setup

Once you have all of this, you need to set it up in the best possible way that is appealing to the eye and the most effective for your entertainment experience. Visually, it might take some extra furniture or a little bit of work hiding those wires. If you need ideas, check out some images of custom home entertainment system setups. Costello Builders is a great place to view some good examples of custom home setups.

Visually, it isn’t hard to place a TV. As long as no windows are pointing in on the TV and it is comfortable to view, you should be set. As far as audio goes, this is the most tricky part. Generally, subwoofers should be placed on the floor. This gives them a good base and allows them to really rumble your chair. Other than that, it may depend on the type of setup you bought. If you have some kind of surround sound speaker system, it is best to see how the manufacturer recommends you place it. Follow those directions and you will be on your way to movie theater quality or at the game experiences! Enjoy!

SEO and Good Content

Good Content and SEOIf you have been blogging for a little while, you may know that Google is trying its hardest to kick out those who just aren’t creative. Well, not exactly, but they are doing their best to keep just plain bad content out of their search results.

Unfortunately, this has created a need for even more creative people to get around the Google algorithm, which only manipulates their content even more. Search engine optimization has gone under many phases throughout the years, but it still seems to promote ways to get around the algorithm.

Google’s Ideal Internet

Google has voiced its purpose in SEO many many times. Good quality should be rewarded with more views. In an ideal situation, Google would only provide results for relevant pages that are exactly what you want.

It is evident that Google intends to reward truly unique content with good quality. So the question remains, should I bother with SEO in my posts or go with my gut with my words and my content?

Great Content

Your first inclination should be to actually create good quality material. In the long run this is what will be rewarded. But not everything is good stuff. Be creative. Be helpful. Create something that will be of use to someone you know. If it is worthwhile, they will be sure to share it with others. This will only make your content better as the more people know about it.

Develop that content into even better material. The feedback you receive is useful to you as you should update your content the more people desire to learn. Try to answer as many questions as you can within your content and don’t leave the reader in the dark. Don’t write just to have something on your website. Give your content purpose!

Great SEO

There is a level of SEO that will need to go into every piece of material. This isn’t a bad thing. The fact is, Google still wants you to lay the foundation for your blog, then they can take care of the rest. Great SEO doesn’t mean black hat techniques to get your site to be number 1 on Google.

Great SEO means optimizing your content naturally. This means several different things that might seem a little overwhelming, but extremely important. Below is a list of SEO elements that you should do with your content:

  • Keyword Research
  • Outbound Links
  • Meta Titles/Descriptions
  • URL
  • Anchor Text

When you are aware of these different elements, it is much easier to create content on the go while keeping these in mind. Basically, these elements will allow the Googlebot to easily figure out what your content is about. If it is good content, people will link to it and further influence your SEO.

The One-Two Punch

Now, good content isn’t always discovered unless it is accompanied by good SEO. Great SEO, however, doesn’t always make the content good either. A healthy combination of both elements will be the one-two punch you need to make great content even better. Without each other, they are useless. When they are combined, your content is a major contender for high traffic on the results page.

For further information about great content and SEO check out some of the following resources:

Happy Halloween: The Best Ghost Hunting Apps for Android

Halloween is that time of year that none of us can quite resist. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there’s something about Halloween that excites us. That makes us want to go on adventures. For those of you out there that are really keen to have a lot of fun this Hallow’s Eve, you’ll need some help. This time of year, all the app stores are flooded with wallpapers, Live Wallpapers, games and more to cash in on Halloween. Smartphone apps can do pretty much everything these days but, can they hunt ghosts?

If you’re planning a ghost hunt this Halloween you’re going to need some serious tools. These five Android apps will help you find something to scream about. Either that or, you can use these fun apps to make up your own fun.

Ghost Scanner Hunter

This one is pretty straightforward. It’s a simple app that replicates the sort of equipment the Ghostbusters would have. It’s like a radar for ghosts, on your smartphone. It gives you directions as you move, making this perfect while walking around your neighborhood on the 31st. While nothing too special, this is a great companion app to excite your kids on Halloween!

Get it Here

Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast

While this is more of a game than it is a tool, it’s one of the best apps out there. Thanks to the augmented reality features in this, you’ll see hit ghosts and paranormals from the hit film come flying out of your walls. Another excellent app for the young ones but, also great for those big kids that won’t grow up.

Get it Here

Ghost Hunter 1.1 DEMO

A relatively new addition to the Play Store, this is something for the older Ghost Hunter in your life.  Never mind that 2D radar stuff, this app gives you an isometric grid of “real space” to hunt down those ghasts ‘n’ ghouls! This is the sort of thing truck dispatchers would love it’s that detailed. Otherwise though, this is perfect for older fans on the 31st that are looking for something a little more geeky.

Get it Here

SpecTrek Light

If you thought that the above app was for those really looking to find something of the paranormal, then this is even better. By utilizing your GPS, and then using Google Maps, this brings Ghosts to your doorstep! Augmented reality with make you think that this ghosts really are invading your hometown! If authenticity is important to you, then so too is this app. Obviously, if you’re not good with maps then this might not be for you but otherwise this is a lot of fun.

Get it Here

Ghost Detector

This is a slick offering here, it’s got some great-looking graphics. Ghost Detector might have a generic name but, it sure looks the business and won’t let you down if you have gullible friends. This is another one of those apps that could be used to convince the kids you’re really hunting for ghosts and should even work well on some grown-ups.

Get it Here

What Does Hummingbird Mean for Bloggers?

If you’re a work-from-home freelancer or blogger, your web presence is one of your biggest attributes. Your blogs, your portfolios, and you website is what makes you business. For their 15th birthday, Google announced the release of their new search algorithm, Hummingbird.

What is Hummingbird and What Does It Mean for You and Me?

As I understand it, Hummingbird  will provide faster and more precise results for every search based on the user’s previous queries as well as every word in the new query. For example, if you bring up Google on your Smartphone and ask for the nearest gluten free pizza places, Google will now understand your location and exactly what you are looking for instead of just bringing up a list of random pizza places.

You may be wondering like I was, does this make SEO worthless? If so, will I lose traffic to my sites? Luckily, the answer to both questions is no. In fact, Google has stressed that this new system will work with the same traditional guidelines for SEOs that the old algorithm did. Basically, if you have been publishing high-quality, original content, keep doing so and your sites will pop up for all the same relevant search queries.

Most importantly, while Google announced Hummingbird just a few days ago, it was actually implemented a month ago. If you haven’t lost traffic yet, you will not lose it in the future.

Hummingbird Helps More Intelligent Search Happen

I recently read an article posted by Forbes that explains the other new trick Hummingbird is capable of: successive search queries through Knowledge Graph. While their example about the Empire State Building is interesting, I will propose one that is more relevant to you:

Let’s say someone in your neighborhood is interested in working from home. They may start off with a preliminary Google search about how you become a successful freelancer. Next they ask if there are freelance bloggers in the area, and Google may bring up your sites if your location is mentioned in your About Me section or any of your recent posts. Finally, they ask Google how to contact you to either learn more about your business or how they can follow in your footsteps and Google immediately brings up your Contact page. Not only do you have a new viewer for your sites, you may have a new contributor and a new friend.

Hummingbird: Good or Bad?

While both Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph are still new and going through some final aspects of development, from what I can see, this new algorithm will do more good than harm for those of us publishing new and original content from home on a regular basis.

However, now more than ever, it is crucial that you network and include important and relevant information. While keywords are still vital, whether you’re a restaurant or appraisal management company, as Hummingbird develops, the focus on SEO will most likely diminish as people will be able to almost communicate with their computer to find exactly what they want. Make sure you are what they are looking for!

Instagram WT

Be Comfortable With Technology

Instagram WTTechnology can be extremely daunting for a newcomer, especially someone that has been thrown into the mix instead of being brought up around it. Today’s youth is full of proficient geeks, nerds and techies. It’s mostly a product of the times, and the environment. These days everyone has a smartphone, and technology is being utilized by younger and younger audiences with every passing day.

This is not a satire, and no one is poking fun. Technology is a difficult concept to grasp, and using it properly can be even more difficult. As someone who’s well versed in the field, I’d like to provide you with some tips to better live with technology, and learn to be more comfortable with it.

While there are surely some 55+ communities in Delaware that are comprised of non-tech savvy folks, not everyone that has an issue with technology is from an older generation. Everyone could benefit from these tips, not just a particular demographic.

Don’t Be Afraid, You Cannot Hurt Anything

The best way to learn something is through personal experience. If you want to understand how to use your new smartphone, play with it. If you want to learn how to do something with your new laptop, use Google and experiment.

Don’t be afraid of harming whatever it is you’re using. Sure, there’s always the obvious possibility you’ll drop a smartphone and break the screen, or spill coffee on an expensive laptop. Those aren’t the accidents I’m talking about here.

You won’t break anything by exploring a device, so go for it.

Embrace the Modern World, Accept the Neutrality

The unknown can be scary, that much is definitely true. However, just because technology is still in it’s infancy in a general sense that doesn’t mean it’s coherently bad. Technology can be used for both good and evil. It’s all in how you use it, and that holds true with nearly everything in life.

Accept that technology in general is a neutral element. Your smartphone, your laptop, your Smart TV, your new fridge with a touchscreen, none of these things are evil. That being said, you still need to take measures to protect yourself from harm, which brings us to our next point.

Lock It Down Whenever Possible

Smartphones and computers have security measures for a reason. Use them. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I come across someone that doesn’t properly secure their device. In most cases, you’re storing sensitive and personal information on said devices, locking them down and protecting that information should be a top priority.

The same holds true for wireless internet routers. If you have an unsecured network broadcasting to anyone nearby, it just makes it that much easier for ne’er-do-wells to sweep in and harm your system.

Don’t paint a target on yourself by ignoring available security measures. If you don’t know how to use or implement them, there is an endless supply of help on the internet. It seems a bit silly to tell someone not well versed in technology to read about it on the internet, but really it’s the most viable option.

Forget Delaware, there are some over 55 communities in Maryland that would do well to heed that last tip. Heck, there are some young whipper snappers out there that should really be paying attention too.

jennifer aniston

Quick Tips for Aging Well

jennifer anistonOur culture tends to be obsessed with preventing aging and the characteristics associated with youth. We dye our hair, use anti-aging lotions and do everything we can to pretend to the world that we are staying exactly the same age and not getting any older! Some people even have plastic surgery or find other, more drastic ways of making themselves look or feel younger than they are.

While it makes sense that people find youthful traits enviable, there are many enviable qualities about getting older as well! We get wiser and more experienced with every day of our lives. So instead of using potions and products to help preserve our youth, why not try embracing aging and growing into old age gracefully. Here are a few tips on aging well that might help you think about the process not as something you have to fight, but as something you get to do right!

1.    Exercise

Of course, you’ve heard this a million times, but getting out and moving really does help you look better and feel better in your body, mind and spirit. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym; in fact you don’t even have to go to the gym! There are plenty of ways to fit exercise into your daily routine without having to do a traditional workout. Try walking or jogging around your neighborhood or take up a sport that you enjoy, like tennis or hiking.

Cut out the bad habits. No matter how young or old you are, it’s time to realize that those little bad habits you have could be causing you to age more quickly. Cut down on excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. If you are a smoker, it’s time to seriously think about quitting. There are lots of different ways to help you quit these days, too! It doesn’t have to be as expensive or difficult as it used to be. You can buy cheap ecigs that feel like real cigarettes without all the toxic stuff!

2.    Develop a healthy diet

Junk food is fun and tempting when you’re younger but the more years of empty carbs and sugars you devour, the more of a toll it will take on your body and your metabolism. Developing a healthy diet and learning about what foods are good for you and which are harmful can lower your chances of developing heart diseases and diabetes later in life. Save yourself from potential weight gain and literal heartache by cutting out the junk food now!

In addition to these important changes, remember to maintain a positive outlook on life. Studies show that people who have an optimistic attitude about aging are more likely to live longer and happier lives. So go ahead and laugh about it!

Coping With Broken Laptop Battery Chargers

When it comes to replacing your laptop’s battery charger, it can be a touchy subject. Over time, frequent replacement of chargers can cost a person as much as a brand new computer. Depending on the product, the replacement charger may cost in excess of eighty dollars! If you are such a person, you may be understandably reluctant to start shopping for a replacement charger. Even so, having a charger available to keep your laptop powered is a necessary evil. Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of the experience.

Invest In Back-Up Chargers

Before it ever becomes an issue, it would be ideal to have already purchased a back-up battery charger. This should be done at or a short while after the time you buy your laptop computer. This way should your charger fail, you already own a replacement. This can help you feel a bit less pressure when deciding what to do about your faulty charger.

Planning for a faulty or broken charger is an example of smart decision-making. Whether you’re considering a new car, Bridge Loan, or contemplating moving, careful decision-making can save time and money later on. Buying a back-up charger before disaster strikes is considerably less stressful than these concerns, but still prevents unnecessary future headaches.

Repairing a Broken Charger

Sometimes a faulty charger isn’t the lost cause it may appear to be. When possible, it may be a good idea to fix a failing battery charger rather than replace it. The reason is that if every faulty but repairable charger were simply thrown away, that is a great deal of money being unnecessarily wasted.

First, determine whether or not the charger is still under warranty. If a charger is still under warranty, it’s possible the repair may not cost you anything. Or if proven to be irreparable, a replacement by also be free. Next, if you find that there is no warranty or you’ll have to pay for repairs out of pocket, comparison shop. Getting a quote from multiple sources can allow you to find the most effective service within your price range.

If you need to save money or you’re confident enough in your own abilities, there’s always the do-it-yourself option. Definition of this particular method? This is any project or repair that you intend to do without professional help. Ultimately, it means you are on your own. While this may be simple enough if you are experienced with fixing on computer hardware, if you are inexperienced, it may be an unnecessary risk.

If you decide to repair the charger on your own, be certain it isn’t plugged in and you do thorough research regarding all necessary safety precautions. When in doubt of your ability to repair the charger safely and efficiently, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

Paying the Best Price for a Replacement Charger

If a charger can’t be repaired, it’s then necessary to plan to buy a replacement. Any smart shopper will tell you that it’s always possible to get what you want without having to pay full price. For consumers worried about having to pay too much for a new charger, it’s best to do your homework.

Some retailers frequently have sales and promotions. Others offer discounts to customers that carry special store-owned cards, are students, or military members. Always see if there’s a special that will help shave at least a few dollars off your full purchase price.

If no such thing is available, smart shopping may still help you avoid paying the full price. A bit of online research may help you find businesses that specialize in selling discount tech items such as battery chargers.

It’s important to remember while hunting for the most affordable replacement battery charger to not let seeking the lowest cost get in the way of obtaining the best quality. Never purchase a charger from a retailer that refuses to protect your purchase should the item not work or arrive damaged. Sometimes discount items are actually faulty to begin with, and you may find you’ve wasted time and money. Always deal with accredited sources with reliable reviews and testimonials. And remember that if a charger purchase price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Getting a new charger should never be about getting the cheapest item. It should be about buying a reliable product and getting your money’s worth.

Guest Post – 3 Ways to Include Audio on Your Website

Kevin Dooley (cc)

Image: Kevin Dooley (cc)

Sound is dynamic and interesting. People are drawn to sound, whether it is music or the sound of a conversation. That’s why incorporating sound into your website can be a good idea, if you use it correctly. Here are three ways you can use audio on your website to attract visitors and maybe get your site traffic to stick around longer.

1. As Background Music

Embedding a music player on your company’s website may be a good tactic for intriguing customers to stay on your page a bit longer. Pick a few songs that fit the atmosphere of your company and create a brief playlist on your website’s music player. You want to make sure, of course, that the music will be compatible with a number of software types so anyone who wants to listen to it will easily be able to do so.

One more must for background music, don’t use copyrighted songs without permission. Your best bet is to avoid copyrighted music all together. You can use music with Creative Commons licenses, as long as you follow the guidelines with which the artists provide you. You can also pay a fee to use stock audio from stock audio libraries, or simply use music that is considered public domain (classical music, etc.).

Whatever kind of music you decide to add to your website, do not set the music on AutoPlay. Give your site’s visitors the chance to decide if they want to hear the audio you’ve chosen or not. Unexpectedly bombarding your visitors with music can cause them to leave your site abruptly. The key to successfully incorporating background music into your website is a strong consideration for how your site’s visitors will experience it.

2. As a Blog Post about Music

Another way to incorporate audio in your business’s website is to include a music-themed post on your company’s blog. The blog post should still relate to your business in some way but blogging offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to relative topics. If your company recently sponsored and event where live music was present, write a review of the band’s musical abilities. Or if a famous international band recently held a concert to support a cause, declare your own business’s support of that same cause and blog about the band’s recent performance.

The big appeal of musically involved blog posts is that they can be promoted on your company’s social networking sites. In this way, they can attract traffic not only to your company’s blog, but also to your company’s website.

3. As a Podcast

One final way to make use of audio on your company’s website is to create and publish your own podcast. Millions of people listen to and download podcasts in order to learn new information or keep up on industry news. Podcasts are convenient because you can listen to them essentially anywhere – in your car, in your home, or during your breaks at work. The possibilities of podcasting are endless.

Create a podcast that relates to your company’s field of business. If you are in construction, talk about the surge of new developments going up on the east side of town. Or if you work in the accounting industry, talk about what people can do now to keep their tax information in order. You can literally create a podcast about anything related to your work.  Then, simply upload the podcast to your website’s homepage, or create your own podcasting page on your website. Site visitors can then download your podcast to learn more about your company and industry. Sites like Podbean.com are a good way to get your podcast started.

Questions or comments about other ways to incorporate audio on your company’s website? Please leave them below!

Best New Luxury Cars in 2013

luxury carOwning a luxury vehicle is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Luxury cars feature convenient amenities, classy appearances and many other perks that set them apart from the other vehicles on the road. If you are currently in the market for a new luxury car, 2013 saw some new luxury vehicles from some of the most popular brand names in the business.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

U.S. News and World Report ranked the Mercedes Benz E-Class as the top new luxury car currently available on the market. Of the many descriptions this review offered, some terms that were frequently repeated were comfort and luxury. This stems from the vehicle’s solid performance during testing and excellent interior.

While the spacious interior comes standard with a sunroof, climate control and the Mercedes Comand infotainment system, it is also available with a plethora of other amenities. Among these amenities are satellite radio, push-button start and a navigation system. With the navigation system upgrade, it is easy to locate service centers simply by entering your location or needs such as “electrical repair Harrisburg PA” or “gas station Atlanta GA”.

Aside from its numerous amenities, the E-Class offers straightforward handling, roomy seating and good fuel economy. These characteristics make the E-Class the perfect vehicle for the family looking for a luxury ride.

BMW 3-Series

The 2013 BMW 3-Series was featured on Motor Trend’s list of the top luxury vehicles to come out this year. The 3-Series offers a sleek and stylish design that makes it one of the most elegant vehicles on the market. It is available in both a two-door coupe and a more spacious four-door model, leaving room for buyer flexibility.

However, the 3-Series is not all looks as it faired very well during performance testing. This stems from features such as its Dynamic Stability control system, electronic traction control and brake assist system.

While this luxury car performs well on the road, it also makes driving enjoyable from the inside with its loaded interior. With its leather seats and steering wheel, multi-faceted audio system and electronic controls the 3-Series presents itself as an enjoyable ride on every level.

2013 Jaguar XF

The 2013 Jaguar XF is one of the sportier luxury cars currently on the market. Available with a four, six or eight-cylinder turbocharged engine, the XF is a powerful and responsive ride. Noted for its stylish appearance both inside and out, the XF is both appealing and fun to drive.

Reviews from U.S. News recognized the interior of the XF as one of the most tech-oriented in its class. This distinction comes from its push-button start, 10-speaker stereo system and blue tooth phone and audio streaming. The XF also features an infotainment system that will enable you to locate new music, access maps and utilize search engines for researching queries such as “restoration PA” with ease.

Three Alternatives to Traditional Cardio

exerciseCardiovascular exercise is one of the most important aspects of physical fitness. Exercise of this nature promotes heart health, strengthens the lungs and stimulates the muscles in your legs and your core. In addition, regular cardiovascular exercise, when combined with a sensible diet, helps keep off weight as you grow older.

While finding time to fit cardio into your schedule can be difficult, it is a hardship that pays great dividends. Whether you are an employee for a group of Amish furniture stores or a financial advisor in an office, finding time to exercise is worth the hassle. Below are a few less-traditional takes on cardiovascular exercise.

Zumba

For people who don’t feel like wasting away on the treadmill or pounding up and down the local sidewalks, Zumba presents itself as an organized style of aerobic exercise. Zumba is a cross between dance and working out that has greatly increased in popularity in recent years. The various movements Zumba incorporates with music give participants a cardiovascular workout, resistance training and muscle toning.

Another great aspect of Zumba is that it is an all-in-one quick solution to achieving your fitness goals. Zumba classes typically last for an hour, making it possible to fit a class into your busy day. Also, Zumba classes have a social nature — so bring a friend and meet new people at the gym!

Outdoor Sports

For people looking to get away from the office and get some exercise on the weekends, outdoor sports are something to consider. SparkPeople includes activities such as biking, hiking and kayaking on their list of creative and adventurous cardio exercises. They provide you the opportunity to try something new and to get out of your comfort zone while simultaneously improving your health.

Picking up one of these activities as a hobby can be a very positive and fun addition to your lifestyle. If you are someone who appreciates the outdoors and wants to exercise, give an outdoor sport some consideration.

Indoor Cardio

For people who are really on a tight schedule and don’t have the time to get out and run, there are some quick and effective activities that offer a great cardio workout. In particular, jumping rope was featured on About.com’s list of top cardio exercises.

In addition to jumping rope, jumping jacks and squat thrusts are two other cardio exercises that can virtually be done anywhere. Also, these exercises require no equipment and can be done in a short period of time.

Combining these exercises and creating a circuit is a great way to develop a morning or post-work exercise routine. For example, you could jump rope for two minutes, do thirty jumping jacks and then complete 30 squat thrusts. This type of circuit will give you a diversified and efficient workout that fits into your schedule with ease.