Thursday, August 28, 2014

The All-Around Benefits of Geocaching

Looking for some real-world adventure? Or do you just want a goal while taking long walks? Try geocaching, a recreational activity of searching for hidden objects using GPS coordinates posted on a website. Once you find the cache or box, write your name in the log book and put it back to where you found it. Some participants even leave behind a gift to fellow geocachers!

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Choose the Right Font Size for Print Projects

Font or typeface is a crucial part in creating a unique and creative print design, but the size of the font can make or break your print project’s overall success. You may have created the most spectacular layout, but if your font size is inaccurate it can ruin hours and hours of work. Problems with font size can range from getting part of the layout cut off in print to not being able to read the text. Here are some simple hints to choosing the right font size for print projects.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Brief History Of Magazines

TIME Magazine; Person of the Year, Greg's Art ...
TIME Magazine; Person of the Year, Greg's Art and My Photo Online (Photo credit: Tony Fischer Photography)
Today's post courtesy of our friends at Modern Litho.

It's easy to take magazines for granted. In this day and age you can get a subscription for next to nothing, newstands are full of all of the recognizable names and any number of niche titles that seem to come and go ad infinitum. The word magazine actually was derived from the Arab world, as the word meant "warehouse", and as a magazine was basically a location for depositing a number of pieces of useful information, it stuck. While that's all well and good, where did the magazine come from, and how did it get to the point where it is today?

The first published magazine ever was titled  Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen (translation: Edifying Monthly Discussions). Thematically this publication centered on philosophy and was mainly written by one author. Several similar magazines followed shortly, all following similar lines of one main writer and a limited scope of subject matter, typically targeting an intellectual audience.

In 1672 the French Publication Le Mercure Galant was the first magazine that followed a more modern format with a large number of contributors and a variety of themes including theater, litereature and politics. This format was a hit and was copied quickly across Europe. The first publication targeting women was launched in London in 1693 and was titled Ladie's Mercury.

Early magazines struggled largely due to the inability to produce enough copies. Moreso than singular books, writing, designing, printing and distributing magazines was an ongoing, laborious, and expensive operation. Most early periodicals were limited to 100,000 copies and were largely geographically limited. Another limitation was the quality of the publications themselves. These weren't the glossy, colorful editions we're used to seeing today. As such, advertising wasn't prominent (along with a tax that existed on advertising up to 1853).

Eventually towards the turn of the century, printing technology and the repealed ad tax started the revolution in magazine advertising that made it a leading form of marketing that it has remained for over a hundred years.

For an excellent detailed timeline of magazine history, check out the one put together by magforum.com

Monday, February 24, 2014

“Son of God” and Similar Movies

We already know the main characters, the ruthless traitors, the sickening torture, and how it all ends, yet Hollywood still keeps on making films about Jesus Christ. But these film producers are sure of one thing—there will always be a loyal following for these movies about the life of Jesus. So what makes Son of God different from the rest of the pack? 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Grand Rapids insurance changes from ACA already in motion

Flag of City of Grand Rapids
Flag of City of Grand Rapids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like the rest of Michigan and the United States in general, Grand Rapids residents will be seeing changes to their health insurance plans, and notifications have already come in the mail for many. Upwards of 200,000 people in the state have been or will soon be notified that their health care coverage will need to be replaced by a new plan that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

For some, this won't be a big change, as their coverage may have a similar substitute available. However, it seems a group that's running into the most problems with this situation are the young, healthy (and non risk-averse) crowd. Via

The policies that are ending were often less expensive on the individual market because they provided limited benefits and were sold to healthier consumers.

And that was fine with consumers such as Josh Mulder.

Mulder had landed a plan several years ago that cost his Wixom family offour just $291 a month. That policy will end Dec. 31, according to a letter from his insurer.

The policy didn't cover things such as maternity care or prescription drugs, but, Mulder said, his family is generally healthy and he was willing to take the risk.

"I had a great rate," he said.

Rates that meet the required benefits under health reform average $762.06 a month on the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace for his family of four, according to a cost estimator by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Learn more at: and

Monday, September 30, 2013

Why You Should Purchase A Pool Safety Cover This Fall

Families buy pools to cool off in the summer and have fun in the sun. Unfortunately, every year in the United States the family pool becomes the source of tragedy for many families. Drowning deaths are the number one cause of fatalities for children under five years of age in the United States. Even with earnest supervision, it only takes as little as two inches of water and a few seconds for a small child to drown. With such a slim margin for error, it's vital to take the right precautions to reduce the risk of a child drowning.

The security of a safety cover
A pool safety cover is a tight fitting cover that is attached by secured anchors. These are sturdy and can be purchased for any size of pool. Typically, there are two main types of safety covers, mesh and solid. A mesh cover is made of tightly bound fibers but still allows small particulates and water to flow through it. A solid cover will not allow anything to pass through, but will likely come at a higher expenditure. Learn more about the differences at

A properly fitted safety cover can support the weight of a child (though under no circumstances should you test this) should they wander out of sight for a few moments. This line of defense can provide parents with peace of mind once the pool is closed up for the season. Further, beyond your own children, the safety cover also provides that last line of defense against others' children mistakenly wandering into your pool, or even pets.

What else can you do?
Obviously you can't leave a pool safety cover in place 24 hours a day 365 days a year so it's important to take some additional steps to help keep children safe around the pool. Here's a collection of suggestions:
Add a pool fence. When the pool's in season, a secure fence with a child proof latch will ensure that children don't have access to the pool without an adult there for supervision. You can even purchase alarms for the gate as children get older to notify anyone in the household if someone is entering your pool area.

Have safety equipment handy. Accidents do happen, and when they do its best to be prepared. While safety equipment won't make your pool completely safe from drowning incidents, have a safety hook near the pool (and learning how to use it properly) is one more tool to help keep your little swimmers safe.

The most important safety element of all, however is proper supervision. If you hear the tragic stories of parents you'd be surprised how little inattentiveness it took for an accident to happen. Something as seemingly harmless as being distracted by the telephone can offer up enough time for a child to put themselves in a potentially life threatening situation. So avoid potential distractions by leaving them in the house so you can focus on keeping an eye on your child.

There's no one way to fool proof your pool against drowning, but these steps will greatly reduce your risk of it happening. It may take a bit of time and money to add some of these safe guards, but in the long haul what's more valuable than the safety of your family?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Use of Cloud Services

cloud computing
cloud computing (Photo credit: kei51)
When you need reliable telecom services, using a cloud based solution can provide just that. Many options exist for companies that need these telecommunication services, from basic telephone networks, to advanced system installation. A number of service providers can offer all of these for a very low rate relative to the cashflow of most businesses. Most offer advanced customization options as well for those who need a complex system. This can in the long run save time and money for the businesses that use them for any of the infrastructure it supports.

A number of companies have requirements for infrastructure that supports the close networking of everyone involved in the enterprise. This can be achieved with up-links to core technology systems provided by many cloud based companies. Significant cost savings can be gained by working with services entirely based in the cloud. If you have an existing phone network relying on old technology, you can update it now and receive serious benefits in efficiency and costs. Knowing the right time to upgrade is the key to staying on top of your business.

The network comprising cloud based solutions generally provides a number of options for business owners, from basic cabling of their existing phone systems, to integrated technology based networks that allow the employees in your company to communicate far more effectively. The interface provided with these systems often rival that of many enterprise based in-house versions. Valuable and cost efficient network systems can be directly integrated into most existing locations to provide the needed technology that allows interactive systems to be created.

If you have a dynamic and fluid workflow, these telecom systems can give your company a noticeable increase in overall productivity. Money can be saved by having the right components installed and the long term maintenance costs for these solutions is negligible. You should work with your network service provider to determine a private cloud services plan that is right for you, so your company and the people who work there obtain the benefits this kind of update can provide. Doing this now, and taking the steps toward an increased workflow for your business can end up making a serious difference in your bottom line.