Friday, September 26, 2008

Dress Up Your Presentations With Stock Photos

"B & W Study 2 " courtesy of bjearwicke

I'm sure that you've had to give a presentation or seen several and thought that it would be nice to dress it up a little? You've probably hear the expression that a picture was worth a thousand words, so why not add a picture to your presentation?

"sparkle " courtesy of clix

You can only get so far with bullets and different colored fonts. By adding a picture or two you can not only dress up you presentation but they can help you to maintain your audience's attention. You can use a funny or interesting photo as well as just getting a picture that is related to the point that you want to make. Using pictures can help you to get your point across without so many words and might be able to help you cut down on the number of slides used in general.

"Preening 5 " courtesy of bjearwicke

There are several stock photo sites on the internet. I've use Stock Exchange a lot. They have a lot of pictures available. You'll want to have a look at the license which is usually listed in the section called "Availability", usually found under the pictures. Some of the licenses would require you to get permission from the photographer before using the photo, so you'll want to make sure that you can use it for the purpose that you have in mind. If the license doesn't allow the photo to be used the way that you plan, then you should pick another photo or be sure to get the permission that you need before using it, you may even need to pay some type of license fee to legally be able to use the photo, so always check before using. Many of the photos at Stock Exchange are free, but you should be sure to credit the photographer and link to the photo that you used. Also as a form of courtesy, you should should mention how the photo was used and if your presentation or document is available online be sure to put a link there so that the photographer can see how there work is being used. Stock Exchange also has a line of stock photos that you can purchase as well.

"proud iguana " courtesy of coolza

So next time you need to make a presentation, why not add a photo? Are there any stock photo sites that you use or any other comments? Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

Looking ahead I’m planning my posts for…

  • 2008 Blog Action Day
Along with the normal posts that you read here.

Other Posts That You Might Also Like to Read…

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Make a Visit to a Cider Mill Part of Your Autumn


Sarah enjoying an apple

Autumn is fast approaching (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere anyways), days are getting colder, the trees are changing colors, and the days are getting shorter.  The Apple Fest held at a local farm by my oldest daughter’s first grade class this past Friday got me thinking about apple cider. One of the fall activities that I have always enjoyed was going to cider mills.


The apples!

Since moving to Germany, I have not been able to find cider.  They have some nice apple juice here and kids drink a lot of it, in addition, there is apple juice mixed with mineral water which is called Apfelschorle or sometimes Apfelsaftschorle.  Apple wine is also pretty popular.  Friday was the Apple Fest for my oldest daughter’s class and we were at a local orchard where we got to see them make apple juice.  When I arrived the farmer had loaded several apples into the lift of a tractor and the apples were soaking in water.  They then took the apples from the lift and put them into a chopper.  The apple press was prepared for the apples with some burlap sacks placed inside to keep the apples from sticking to the press.  Then the chopped apples were added.  After all the chopped apples were put in, the apples were covered up and several boards were placed on top.  Some apple juice came out immediately and then the chopped apples were pressed.  The kids enjoyed watching the process and the farmer let the kids help out too.  After the juice was done we all got to sample it, and it was delicious.


The chopper!

If you have a little bit of a drive to the cider mill you can soak up the beauty of the trees changing color along the way.  If the cider mill is actually on the orchard you can take in that fresh fall air as you walk along.  It is hard to beat fresh cider and seeing it made at the cider mill makes it that much more special.  Besides drinking it cold, you can heat up apple cider to drink, warm and soothing on for these cold autumn days and nights.  You can add cinnamon and other spices to your cider to suit your tastes. Adults can also let it ferment, so that you can enjoy hard cider.  I found some nice recipes for things you can do with apples at the University of Illinois- Urban website.


The press!

When I lived in Michigan, there were several nice cider mills in the Metro Detroit area to visit. One of the most famous of these cider mills is the Franklin Cider Mill which has been making cider since 1837.  In Rochester Hills you can find the Yates Cider Mill, which has been in existence since 1863.  In Goodrich you can go to Porter’s Orchard, which has been a local staple since 1921.  I don’t have a website for Porter’s Orchard, but you can find a nice review of it at Michigan Cider Mill, All About Apples gives you directions as well there are maps from Yahoo Maps and MapQuest.  I lived close to Porter’s Orchard for around ten years, so I can’t rave enough about how wonderful it is. They make cider six months out of the Year, and you can pick your own Apples (they grow 15 different varieties of apples!) as well as Pumpkins.  They offer hayrides on weekends in September and October. They grow a variety of other fresh fruits available in various seasons. They make their own wonderful cider donuts (nice to eat along with warm or cold cider) as well as other baked goods. They have a whole assortment of other charming products available including; popcorn, honey, jams & Jellies, maple syrup, and a whole lot more. You can find a list of other cider mills in the Metro Detroit area here and for cider mills in Michigan (including many outside of the Metro Detroit area, which can be nice for when you feel like a going for a drive).


So I hope that you get a chance to go to a cider mill and enjoy the fall season.  While you’re there don’t forget to buy some cider and apples to take back home.  I have posted more pictures from our trip to the local farm at Flickr  (if you wish to see them). Are there any cider mills that you’re particularly fond of?  Are there any fall activities that you really enjoy?  Please let me know what you think. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on , Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Merlin Is Back at 43 Folders

When looking at 43 Folders the other day, I noticed that Merlin Mann was back at 43 Folders. I started reading 43 Folders over a year ago and actually wrote about it in one of my spotlight on the web pieces of this blog. I was initially drawn to Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero series about getting your email under control. I was also entertained by Merlin Mann’s sense of humor and his views on productivity. As time went on at 43 Folders it seemed that there were more and more other people doing the posts with Merlin Mann chiming in every now and again. Many of the posts from the other people were good but they weren’t Merlin Mann. Last week in “43 Folders: Time, Attention, and Creative Work” he committed himself to taking control of his blog back and focusing on helping his readers to focus their time and attention on their creative work and things that really mattered to them. I wish him the best in taking back his blog and can’t wait to see more posts from this blogger!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Celebrating One Year at Systems-Overload

"cupcake" courtesy of nazreth

Today marks one year at the Systems-Overload Blog, so I thought that I’d take a few moments to celebrate. I hope that you’ll join me.

It all started with Welcome and GTD Overview posts back in September 2007. I had been reading a few blogs regularly for a few months and I thought that I would give it a try. I had been doing the DC Heron Family Blog for almost one year at that point and had found myself interested in writing about topics that didn’t quite seem to fit with the family blog. While trying to come up with some ideas about dealing with email, I stumbled upon GTD (Getting Things Done). I thought that if I had struggled with email and wanting to get things done that other might be in similar enough situations and like to join me on my journey.

While I do post a lot of pieces related to productivity, I realize that life doesn’t occur in a vacuum and that only writing about productivity, by itself, would have been too narrow a topic. So, when deciding to do the blog, I thought that I would also write about some other topics that many of my audience could relate to like parenting, health, finances, and so on. Today’s world is very complicated and many of us could benefit from reading how other people have dealt with some of the same problems and issues that we’re dealing with or maybe it is helpful to get ideas from others that you can incorporate into your life and adopt as your own. You hear all the time about how the future is going to be more and more about collaboration.

I have enjoyed this past year and am glad that I decided to start Systems-Overload. I’m pleased to have participated in the 2007 Blog Action Day and look forward to contributing to the cause this year. January 2008 was National Mentoring Month and I wrote be a mentor as part of my awareness efforts. I participated in Earth Day 2008. I did an interview of Leo Babauta, the man behind popular simplicity blog, Zenhabits. I was excited to reach the 100 post milestone in August.

Like most everything that you do in this life you’ll find that you plan and then life happens, sometimes changing your plans and sometimes delaying the timing of your plans. Shortly after starting the blog, my father had a heart attack and I flew back home to be with him and my family there as he had by-pass surgery. I’m glad to report that he recovered very well and was able to visit us in Germany this past Summer. My father’s heart attack and surgery was the inspiration for Heart Check. In May I started working on a new project that has often needed that extra time and effort that have slowed down my posts upon several occasions. I did fly to Copenhagen for a client visit and internal workshop back in June, which was my first visit to city of Hans Christian Anderson. I plan to post some pictures of Copenhagen to my Flickr account in the near future. Also in May, we had a terrible fire in the garden hut in our backyard. We were fortunate that nobody was injured and that the damage was not worse than it was. Certainly, I realized that it must be very traumatic to have a serious fire in your house, but now I can relate more to that personal tragedy that has been experienced by those people that have had serious fires in their house. The fire that we had at 3 am that awful morning in May was an adrenalin raising experience that I don’t wish on anyone. I have spent a great deal of time cleaning up and trying to restore some sense of order to our backyard since (I wrote about the progress that has been made here and have posted several pictures of the fire damage and work in a photo album @ Myspace). In July I spent a week in Amsterdam attending a week long training session. For the Seventh Anniversary of September Eleventh, I wrote a post at the DC Heron Blog about David Laychak as part of Project 2996. I have a personal connection to September Eleventh, as my mother lost her battle to cancer while much of the world saw the two planes hitting the World Trade Center.

When I started the blog, I did a brainstorming session about post that I thought that I’d write about and surprisingly enough, many of those ideas are still waiting for me to write about them. I know that some of them might not be relevant any longer, so I’ll need to review the list again, but it is encouraging to know that I haven’t had writers’ block in terms of post ideas! I’m working on my part of the 2008 Blog Action Day, in addition to planning the launch of a project that I started about a year ago. I’m looking forward to the second year of Systems-Overload.

Feedback and comments from readers are always welcome, but even more so on an occasion like this. I’d love to hear what I have done that has been well received. I’d like to know what I could or should do differently. Are there any topics or things that you would like me to write about? I’d love to hear from you.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Remembering September Eleventh

"Twin Towers III" courtesy of mrgoose

I did a post remembering David W. Laychak at the DC Heron Family Blog, in honor of the Seventh Anniversary of September 11th. I did this as part of Project 2996, which is dedicated to remembering the victims of September 11th. I do hope that you'll check it out. David's brother, Jim Laychak, is president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, which held an opening dedication ceremony on Thursday to the victims of the attack on the Pentagon. Last I read, the memorial fund was several million short of what it needs to operate, so feel free to donate here. I realize that the accompanying photos are of the World Trade Center, but they're nice photos and I didn't run across any good photos of the Pentagon that I could use.

"NYC Towers" courtesy of RasmusA

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Time to Talk to Your Kids About..

A few things have happened over the last couple of months and especially within the last week that have made me realize that it is probably "time to have a talk with your kids about a couple of things...". While I’m not saying that now is the time for the dreaded “birds and bees” speech that make so many parents feel awkward and tongue-tied(that is a somewhat different topic for another occasion), you should take the time to talk about not going with strangers and that your child should not let people touch them in inappropriate places.

I know of one child where a neighbor boy tried to touch her and play games that were inappropriate for kindergarten age kids to be playing. Fortunately, the parents had explained that other people touching her private parts was forbidden and things did not proceed as they might have, if the parents hadn’t discussed this with her previously. I also know of a boy that was molested by a bigger boy in kindergarten. While you sometimes hear horror stories of children being molested in kindergartens and in daycare, you need to also consider that this often happens by people that the kids know and trust.

Just the other day I got word that there is a van that has been trying to lure kids away with Gummy Bears. When I was a kid, many parents tried to teach their kids not to talk to strangers. I remember that the police visited my elementary school and tried to explain the danger of going off with strangers. While I don’t want to say that kids shouldn’t talk to strangers, they need to be careful. Candy, toys, puppies, kittens, and other things are often used a lures. Sometimes potential abductors will pretend to know people that the kids know, to try to gain their trust.

Sometimes these strangers will pretend that one of the parents or family members is seriously hurt and they’ve been sent to bring the kids to their parent(s) or family member. Because most younger kids are trusting of adults, they will often take these strangers at their word, without questioning the validity of it. The strangers are playing on a fear that kids have about losing their parents or family. You might want to come up with a strategy of how to handle emergency situations before this happens. Maybe you can come up with a code word or something so that in the unusual event that someone would need to retrieve your kids, that they can trust it to be authentic and not that it is someone trying to lure them away.

If your kids walk to school, they should try to do as much of that as possible in groups and watch out for the other kids. While it might be easy for adults to easily overpower younger kids, they don’t generally want to deal with groups, so there is safety in numbers. These people might try to talk to a group of kids and try to lure one or more away, but if the group sticks together they can usually walk away from the situation. When they’re riding their bikes, they should avoid talking to people that they don’t know. If someone does try to lure your kids away, they should report it, hopefully to you or a teacher or so on. If they’re able to describe the person or get a license plate number, this might be able to lead to the capture of such people.

While it probably doesn’t make sense to try to explain either of these things to babies or maybe even toddlers, you should start talking about the topic as soon as your kids could be exposed to opportunity for either of these things. If your kids are going to a pre-school or kindergarten you should probably start talking about both of these topics. The younger your kids are the simpler the explanations need to be. You also don’t want to scare them or give them nightmares, so you don’t want to go overboard. As your kids do more and more things away from you, you want to make sure that they’re prepared as much as possible.

So, please take some time and talk to your kids about not going off with strangers and not allowing other people to touch them in inappropriate places. With a few words you can help protect your kids. Do you have any other tips about how to protect your kids or any other comments. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

Looking ahead I’m planning posts…

  • Commemorating our one year anniversary
  • 2008 Blog Action Day
Along with the normal posts that you read here.

Other Posts That You Might Also Like to Read…

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Men at Work” courtesy of kiikanla

I hope that those of you in the U.S. enjoyed your Labor Day. The holiday has come to signify the “unofficial” end of Summer and to many school children means the return to the classroom. Have you ever stopped to think about how and why the holiday came to be celebrated in the U.S? The original intent was to celebrate a “workingman’s holiday” and achievement of American workers. I originally tried to post this piece yesterday, so the effect is not quite the same, but I thought that I still wanted to post it anyways.

America was in the Industrial Revolution with people working twelve hour days, seven days a week just to make a basic living. The child labor laws that were on the books didn’t seem to have much teeth to them or weren’t regularly enforced. The working conditions in many locations were terribly unsafe and unhealthy. A strike at Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was ended when President Cleveland sent troops, resulting in rioting and bloodshed. The strike helped bring worker’s rights to the public attention.

There is disagreement about who should be credited with founding Labor Day in the U.S. Some people credit Peter J. McGuire who was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a confounder of the American Federation of Labor. While others believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist and later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J. desires the credit for purposing Labor Day.
Oddly enough, the first Labor Day was on a Tuesday, It was held in New York City on September 5, 1882, based on plans of the Central Labor Union. 1884 was the first celebration that occurred on the first Monday in September (as is the current timing). June 28, 1894 Congress passed an Act recognizing the current timing for the holiday.

Hopefully you had a nice holiday and are now in a "Fall state of mind", since it is just around the calendar corner (if your weather isn't already there). Why not take a moment to ponder the origin of the holiday and how things have changed in America, from being a land of farmers, to an industrial giant, to the way things are today. History of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor and Labor Day from were referenced in writing this post. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

Looking ahead I’m planning posts…

· Commemorating our one year anniversary
· 2008 Blog Action Day
· Along with the normal posts that you read here.

Other Posts That You Might Also Like to Read…
Blogged with the Flock Browser