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Doctor Who: The Card Game, Card Game Review

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Doctor Who holds the Guinness record for the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, airing from 1963 till today. For those unfamiliar with the show (really inexcusable I might say!!) Doctor Who (or The Doctor) is a humanoid alien, a Time Lord, whose planet has been destroyed and is travelling through space and time with a time machine called TARDIS, exploring the universe and helping the helpless. TARDIS looks like a blue British police box, a common sight in Britain during the 60s when the show first appeared. Through the years, it has become a trademark of the show. Doctor Who has faced many enemies through the course of the show, the oldest and most significant ones being the Daleks, an alien race whose sole purpose is to destroy all beings inferior to them. Martin Wallace, a well-known independent board game designer from U.K., undertook the challenging task of recreating the atmosphere of the show in a rather simple card game. Let’s see how the game measures up to its theme and how appealing it is in general as a card game.

Game Overview

Although I am a huge sci-fi fan, I’ve seen very little of the renowned show. However as I sat down to play this game I had in my mind the general concept of “The Doctor”, his time-travelling machine and the atmosphere that the game should have. In my point of view, the fact that I’m not a hardcore fan of the game neither totally ignorant of the theme, makes me more suitable to write an objective review of the game. Let’s go through the basics of the game for starters:

In Doctor Who: The Card Game, players take the role of Doctor Who and his companions, trying to defend locations from various enemies but they also take the role of the “bad” guys, by sending enemies to attack other players’ locations. During each of their turns, players will have the opportunity to perform a number of actions, which involve playing cards. There are four different types of cards in the game:

  • Locations. Players will have to fight for the control of their own locations as well as their opponents’. Each location is worth a number of victory points at the end of the game.
  • Defenders. Defenders will be used to defend a player’s locations. There are actually 4 defenders, all based on the Doctor Who TV-series, each one with their own defense strength: The Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory and River Song
  • Enemies. Players send enemies to their opponents locations, trying to gain control of them. The enemies are well known races and monsters from the Doctor Who universe like The Daleks, Cybemen, the Sontarans and Davros. Each enemy has a different attack value.
  • Support cards. These are allies, special gadgets or events that will help a player or hinder his opponents.

At the beginning of the game, each player must pick a color and get 10 counters of the appropriate colour (5 DALEKS and 5 TARDIS). Daleks are used to indicate that we have placed an attacking enemy at an opponents’ location, whereas TARDIS are used to show that we have successfully defended a location of our own. Each player also gains a starting location which is chosen randomly. The player having the highest value starting location becomes the first player. All cards are shuffled in a face-down pile and 5 cards are dealt to each player except the player sitting to the right of the first player, who receives only two cards. There are also thirty time tokens in the game, which are set by the side of the draw deck.

Each player, during his turn, may play as many actions he wants, limited only by the fact that at the end of his turn he must give to the player on his right 3 cards. Extra cards may be bought during a player’s turn using time counters, that can be gained with a number of ways. Available actions a player may do during his turn are:

  • play a location card in front of him. He receives a number of time counters as indicated on the card
  • play one or more defenders on a location owned by him. The defender cards are played face-down on a location, leaving part of it uncovered so as the value of the location is not hidden. You cannot play two or more of the same Defender card on a given location
  • play an enemy card on an opponents’ location. In contrast to defenders, in general, only one enemy may be placed on each opponents’ location (exceptions do exist). The enemy card is placed face down near the location under attack and the attacking player puts a DALEK counter on the location under attack
  • play a support card
  • discard one or two cards to gain a time counter for each card discarded
  • buy cards by paying five time counters for each one
  • put one or more cards in the reserve. Players may put up to 2 cards in the reserve (face down in front of them) in order to use them in a later round. The size of the reserve may increase using certain support cards

There is no cost for playing any of the cards a player owns and players can perform any number of the above actions. A certain action can be performed more than once. At any case, the active player must end up with 3 cards which he must give to the player on their right. At the end of a player’s turn, he draws 2 cards from the supply and puts them in his hand. After the first player, play continues clockwise as usual.

The most interesting point in the game is combat, which occurs whenever a defender and an enemy card have been played at a given location. All defender and enemy cards are then revealed and their strength is compared. If the defender’s total strength is equal to or greater than the attacker’s, the defender wins. All attackers and defenders are discarded and the defending player puts a TARDIS counter on the location card to indicate that it is under the Doctor’s control. If the enemy wins, all defenders are discarded and the attacker must discard one or more enemy cards with total strength less or equal to the total strength of the defender.

The game ends when a player has all of his DALEK or TARDIS counters in play or when the Game End card is revealed (it is initially put on top of the 20 last cards of the draw deck). In the first case, the game ends immediately, while in the second one an “End Game” period starts, during which players continue to take turns but are obliged to take a single action and they don’t draw cards at the end of their turn. They don’t pass cards to the player on their right either of course. This period ends when a player cannot perform an action. Then all players count the victory points on their locations that are not under attack plus the enemy locations they have their DALEK counters on. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

Components

The game’s components are cards and tokens. The tokens are standard cardboard ones with nothing special to be comment on. The cards however deserve a special mention as they are all beautifully illustrated with much attention to detail. The colors used in the illustrations carry the feel of the game and all pictures are of high detail. All cards enhance the theme of the   game  and the artwork is so awesome that truly captures the eye and sets a  unique  atmosphere, especially the location and monster cards. Design of the components leaves really nothing more to be desired. 9/10

Gameplay

Usually one has not many expectations regarding gameplay when it comes to such “small” games. And when I say “small” I mean having few components and a short duration, usually called “filler” games. It is truly a big accomplishment when a game designer manages to produce a game of enough complexity and depth that can appeal to hardcore gamers out of so little material, while also keeping the mechanics simple enough for more casual gamers. From this aspect I find Doctor Who: The Card Game a rare gem that deserves a place in everyone’s game library, no matter if he is a Doctor Who fan or not or if he is a casual or hardcore gamer. The game starts aggressively right from the start, when everyone’s put down his starting location. The concept of playing cards for free, that means without having to pay a cost as it is usually done in most drafting games, gives a refreshing tone to the gameplay and allows players to develop their strategy with more freedom.

Choices are hard in every round as during each turn players have 5 cards in hand but must hand out to the player on their right, 3 of them. That is the core of the gameplay and the mechanic that gives the game a strategic aspect and depth that you will all appreciate. Which cards should you play and which should you pass? The idea of having a reserve is also interesting and adds to the depth, giving you the opportunity to set your game up the way you want in future turns. Another aspect of the game that I liked is the way conflicts are resolved. Enemies and defenders are placed blindly and are revealed only when both are present on a given location. Very clever idea that maintains a feel of suspense, as you never really know if you have won a location until the conflict is resolved. It feels that Martin Wallace has hit the nail on the head with this one, reminding us how talented he truly is! 9/10

Learning Curve

Despite the many interesting mechanics of the game, rules are kept simple as they should be for a game of this category. The 12-page rulebook can be read within about 10 minutes (in reality the rules are only 9 pages and there a lot of pictures too). At first the mechanics of the game may seem a bit strange but after playing your first game, you will have it all figured out. 7/10

Theme

The game’s theme is supported in every way in the game. From the intuitive TARDIS and DALEK counters to the characters used as Defenders and Enemies and the support cards. The locations all reflect the theme of the game, some set on earth and others on alien planets. Characters from the most recent episodes of the famous TV show are used as the defenders, while the biggest enemies of the doctor have been chosen to serve as the enemies in the game. Support cards feature objects used by the Doctor throughout the years along with special characters and events that boost the thematic character of the game. During my first play, I constantly felt being a part of the Doctor Who universe, I was completely drawn to it. The only thing that felt a bit strange is the fact that you are playing with the “good” guys in general but when you send enemies to opponents’ locations, you take the role of the “bad” guys. That feels a bit strange, disorients you and takes back some of the immersion. I think it would be better if roles were more distinct but that would probably lead to a whole new game. The fact remains that after playing for the first time, it really made me want to catch up with the TV show, maybe try to find some of the older episodes too. 9/10

Replayability

Doctor Who: The Card Game has enough depth and strategy that will ensure that you will have the desire to play it at any given time. It could surely act not only as a filler game but as the main game at the table, with consecutive plays. It’s that addictive! 8/10

Fun:

I really had a lot of fun, playing Doctor Who. There is enough player interaction through attacking your opponents locations and defending your own from attacks and there is a lot of suspense too as you wonder what enemies / defenders your opponents have placed on locations. Every aspect of the game seems to contribute to the fun factor, from the intuitive drafting mechanic to the illustrations on the cards and the feel of the theme. Time will pass fast, with this game, as you constantly have hard choices to make, endless unknown enemies to fight and control of the various locations will change many times during the game. Pure fun if you ask me! 8/10

Pros:

  • A Doctor Who game
  • Excellent support of the theme
  • Simple rules
  • Awesome artwork
  • Gameplay with depth and strategy

Cons:

  • It feels strange to play both as the Doctor and his enemies

Recommended for: Everyone including hardcore “Doctor Who” fans (Whovians)!

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Food Processor Safety Tips

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A food processor is an electrical appliance that operates with fast moving and sharp blades and discs. Like other electrical equipment, a food processor should always be handled with care. Follow these safety tips to protect you and your family from misuse and harm.

  • The appliance’s blades and discs operate and move at high speeds. Make sure your hands and kitchen utensils, like spatulas or wooden spoons, are kept away from the moving blades and discs when processing food. Only insert your hands or kitchen utensils into the food processor after the machine is off and unplugged.
  • As stated, the blades and discs are very sharp and should be handled and stored carefully. When connecting the motor shaft or stem to the processing unit, always place the blades and discs on flat, stable surfaces to minimize potential contact with them.
  • Make sure the work bowl is securely locked before placing blades or discs on the motor shaft.
  • Never put food or other ingredients into the work bowl until the blades and discs are securely in place.
  • Always use the pusher or food plunger to move food into the bowl and into the spinning blades or discs. Never put your fingers into the feed tube or work bowl while it is in operation.
  • Make sure the blade or disc has stopped spinning before you remove the cover from the work bowl.
  • Make sure the processor is turned off and unplugged from the electrical outlet before removing food, changing parts or cleaning it.
  • After your food processing is done, first remove the work bowl from the processor’s base before removing any blades or discs.

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A Glimpse at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing ranked 2nd for its Community Health Nursing Program and 6th for its Graduate Programs according to the US News & World Report. This prestigious school has over 200 faculty members and more than 700 students in its various nursing programs.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing offers two-year and accelerated baccalaureate programs where graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree that prepares them to enter the nursing profession. In addition, the school also has a Master’s Program for nursing practitioners and experts to equip them for leadership and management in the field of nursing.

It is also devoted to research in nursing and healthcare and receives millions of dollars annually for research funds. The school offers a Doctoral Program for those who would like to become nurse scholars and advance the nursing practice through research studies.

Other post-degree programs available in the school offer studies and practicum on pediatric, adult and family care, critical care and emergency preparedness. The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing also has opportunities for continuing education for nurses.

To prepare students in the practice of nursing, the school created programs and formed partnerships with other organizations and the community to give students hands-on experience of administering healthcare and support to various settings including community centers, shelters for victims of domestic violence, elementary schools, outreach programs for the homeless and the aged and many others.

The University is looking for individuals who demonstrate serious and committed interest in scholarship. The Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews an applicant’s academic interests, record, and accomplishments. Each program within the school has its own set of admission requirements and deadlines. You should contact the Admissions Office or visit their website to get more information on the program you plan to enter. You can also check the website for the schedule of the school’s program information sessions and open house.

In its effort to help eligible students pay for their education, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing offers needs-based financial assistance both to qualified undergraduate and graduate students through scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. The school recommends filing application for financial aid together with the application for admission.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is located in the state-of-the-art Anne M. Pinkard Building in the East Baltimore campus of the The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Paper Wings Clothing – The Latest Trend in Kids Fashion

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All children are unique and they need kids clothing to fit their personality. If you are searching for the best clothing for your kids, come into the world of Paper Wings clothing. The Australian brand mixes past, present and future ideals for fashionable and creative children’s fashion design. Paper Wings clothing is influenced by eclectic fashion, traditional crafts, old-school design and vintage patterns, new fashion trends and contemporary style. From bold patterns and colors, stripes and artistic prints, they create beautiful outfits for babies and kids, for girls and boys.

Jason Gibaud and Michelle Fallon are the lead designers and owners of this unique kids designer clothing label. They find inspiration in their own children – Vevette, Esther and Kitty. When designing Paper Wings clothing and Little Wings fashion for kids, they decided to focus on what their kids would want to wear. That is why this brand is practical, comfortable and fun! This boutique kids clothing line celebrates the freedom of being children, dressing like children and feeling like children.

The essence of Paper Wings clothing comes from Jason and Michelle’s experience and success in costume design, film production and architecture/interior design. Jason and Michelle both have a professional background designing costumes for Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Peter Pan. As a result, Paper Wings offers beautiful, casual wear for kids that looks like a work of art. Jason and Michelle develop all of their ideas for kids clothing in their design studio in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Every piece of stylish clothing for kids is designed to be worn every day, over and over again. The clothes are long-lasting and popular with kids and their parents. All Paper Wings outfits are individually made and hand-finished to the last detail. Many cute outfits for girls feature adorable little touches like drawstrings, puff sleeves, bustles, ruffles and bright, zany prints. This popular brand of boutique kids clothing is committed to create premium clothing products with durable, natural fibers like 100% organic cotton.

In 2014, this boutique clothing brand partnered with graphic artist Katie Daisy to feature a collection of designs with shabby chic illustrations. Katie Daisy works primarily in watercolor and acrylic paint and mixed media. She find her inspiration in simple & sweet country pleasures. Katie grew up in rural Lindenwood, Illinois, which is true inspiration for her free-roaming, passion-filled life and a beautiful portfolio of her artwork. Katie Daisy became famous through her illustrations, inspirational quotes and artwork for sale on Etsy. Paper Wings clothing and Katie Daisy both stand for the freedom and joy. That’s why the partnership was an excellent choice for childrens clothing. The illustrations give a one-of-a-kind look to an already stylish brand of clothing and dresses for kids.

Be sure to check out Paper Wings Clothing on your next shopping trip for kids clothing online. You will find stylish outfits for kids ages up to 14 years (girls and boys) as well as cute baby clothes with sizes starting at newborn. This designer kids clothing collection offers t-shirts, dresses, leggings and skirts featuring simple designs and adorable motifs such as mermaids, fish, cats and horses. And guess what… there are swimsuits, too! Paper Wings clothing has beautiful boutique kids clothes fit for any occasion and everyday wear. You will love it forever!

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Where to Buy FRS Energy?

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FRS Healthy Energy has taken the country by storm as one of the top healthy energy drinks on the market for both professional sports athletes as well as the normal everyday person. Its revolutionary method of using the body’s own energy producing mechanisms instead of filling your body with tons of caffeine or sugar is the main reason people are scrambling to buy this product. So the big question arises. Where to buy FRS Energy?

FRS Healthy Energy can be found in a few places, both online and at some of America’s most popular retail outlets. Online you can visit FRS directly and shop at their website located at FRS.com. In addition there are many nutritional sites and drug/pharmacy outlets online that are also offering the FRS Healthy Energy line of energy drinks. Best way to find them is to go to a search engine like Yahoo or Google and type in “FRS Healthy Energy” or “where to buy FRS energy” and you’ll find tons of places that sell their product line. Make sure you’re comfortable with the online company you’re buying from and also make sure they’re an authorized seller of FRS Healthy Energy products just to be safe.

Offline, FRS Healthy Energy products are sold at many major outlets across the USA including popular stores like GNC (General Nutrition Centers), Rite Aid, Vitamin Shoppe and Target. Many local shopping and grocery chains across the country are also starting to pick up this brand because of it’s popularity so keep checking or ask at your local grocery store for details.

Whether you’re buying FRS Healthy energy products at FRS’ website or at your local store you’ll find a huge variety of products to choose from. The most popular of the products is the ready-to-drink cans that come in a variety of flavors including Low Cal Citrus Pomegranate, Low Cal Wild Berry, Low Cal Peach Mango, Low Cal Orange, Lemon Lime and Orange. You can also purchase these flavors in powder form, concentrate or chews which are individually wrapped in 30-count bags. Again, check your local store to see what types they carry or go online to FRS’ website to order directly.

Just as the FRS product line of healthy energy drinks is vast, so are the number of places you can find it for sale. My recommendation is to give it a try first before buying in bulk at FRS’ website. Try a few different flavors, try the chews and even try the concentrate or powder forms and see which best fits your lifestyle. The best way to do this is to visit your local store and buy a few kinds to try it out. Or better yet, FRS also offers a free trial on their website where they’ll send you a bag of soft chews (30-ct) and a bottle of their concentrate (which is a 32oz bottle that makes 16 servings) and you only need to pay shipping.

If you like the products then FRS will send you monthly shipments at 30-50% off which is a great deal compared to other online and offline outlets. The best part is you can cancel anytime so if you try out the free trial and you don’t like it, you just call them up and cancel and you get to keep the freebies they sent you! Hard to pass up free stuff in today’s economy.

So there you have it. Again there are many ways to try FRS Healthy Energy drinks but we highly recommend starting small and trying one or two of their products by visiting your local store. We’ve found the product to be superior in nutrition than many other energy booster drinks out there and we always promote natural products with quality ingredients rather than sugar drinks filled with unnecessary caffeine any day. Give it a try and next time someone asks you where to buy FRS energy you can tell them just about anywhere!

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Tips on Buying Cheap Vitamin Supplement

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Cheap vitamin ads can easily be found in the Internet. They allure us with healthy body in a cheaper way. Who do not want that?

Beyond the promising healthy body advertisement, it is our responsibility to choose the right vitamin for out body. Be smart, because vitamin suppose to help our body maintain its prime condition, not the other way round.

Below are some tips to get maximum health benefit in minimum payment.

1. Do not over supply your body with vitamin.

The smartest way is to buy multivitamin or multivitamin mineral supplement. That will reduce your spending budget on vitamin compared to buying each vitamin in single dose pill. Multivitamin mineral supplements can cover daily vitamin needs. Look at the ingredient data facts and compare each vitamin amount to FDA daily allowance.

2. The manufacturer is the major key.

Do not just buy cheap vitamin supplement without further exploration on the manufacturer company. Here are some important questions about vitamin manufacturer as examples:

-How do they get the raw materials?

-Do they have high standard on the raw materials?

-Have they registered their company and product to a legal council?

-Do they have testimonials from happy customers?

-How do they act trough claims?

3. Estimate the vitamins quantity with the shipping time and expired date.

We usually get lower price or higher discount when we buy large amount of vitamin supplement. It is OK to do so, as long as we can finish consuming them before expiration date. Otherwise it will be wasting money because we buy too much supplement with no enough time to eat them.

4. Choose the simplest formula

You want to buy cheap vitamin, so pick one with no advance formulation like time-release tablet. Time-release tablet enable the active ingredient to be released slowly. So it can stabilize the amount of it in your body for longer time. Tablets like this have done a more complex making process compare to usual tablet, so the price will be higher too. For those who want to buy vitamin supplement at cheaper price, buy usual tablet formula. The end result will be no big different.

Be smart. Healthy living need some cost but not cost that high to maintain it.

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The Cost Of The Virtual!

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Emboldened by his earlier encouraging experiences with the banking hawks Mr Thames Pond decided to carry on from there. He took a pledge to encounter any call from any credit card or banking executive with guts and intelligence. He must ensure that he refuse all unnecessary offers or entrapment. He’d no longer be vulnerable. And then, as usual, he got a call right away.

“Hello… am I speaking to Thames Pond please?”

“Who’s this please?”

“This is Moneycanny Sir, from UC bank!… Mr Pond?”

“Right, this is Pond. Thames Pond!”

“So nice to talk to you again! Good morning Sir!”

“Good morning. Ms err… !”

“Mr Pond… can I take just two minutes of your most precious time?”

“Regarding what?”

“Sir, you are one of our most privileged customers. We’ve reviewed your payment record over the years and found your credit history absolutely sound. Therefore, we’d like to offer you a rare privilege in terms of travel benefits. We are sending you a package of travel vouchers allowing you to have free five-star hotel comforts in various tourist locations you’d like to visit. We need your consent Sir so that we can forward that package to you readily.”

“You are giving me all these free, Milady?”

“Absolutely Sir! This is UC bank’s thanksgiving to one of our most privileged customers.”

“No payment? No hidden costs? Are you sure?”

“Yes Sir! All you have to do is to receive it!”

“Okay… in that case I can consider… Ms… er… !”

“Thanks Sir! Your package is worth more than – bucks. So there will be a service tax and other charges. You will pay an amount of – bucks for receiving the package. We’ll bill this amount in your next card statement… “

“Hey… wait a minute! What are you saying… I’ll have to pay to receive your benefits?”

“Right Sir! You are not making a payment, you are only paying taxes. Your package is worth a lot of money and so service charges apply naturally… “

“Wait a minute… you see… “

“Ours is one of the largest banks of the country with a huge network… “

“Hey! Ms… er… I’m not referring to your bank… I mean you see… that is you and see here! You see… er… you… see… I will have to take leave from my office… book tickets… plan it perfectly to be able to avail of your travel package, right? And considering your five-star privileges I must travel by air… I cannot just crawl and slog to land up there, no? Now, the problem is it may not materialize in that specified period of yours… due to so many reasons… “

“But Sir, we expect you definitely won’t let go of such a money-saving opportunity!”

“… Okay… you expect… I want too. But it is not in my hands. Now, if I fail to avail of your ‘free’ package why on earth should I pay you in advance? You send it… I’ll see, and then if I do travel and enjoy your five-star luxuries please bill the service charges… this makes perfect sense.”

“Sorry Sir! We offer you a value package and therefore we have to charge the service tax now only. Please confirm your agreement so that we can send it across immediately.”

“I’m sorry too… Milady! I cannot give my consent… ” He cut the line with relish.

Mr Pond watched his phone ring again. He rejected the call, deliriously happy. The process repeated itself one more time. Then silence as Mr Pond indulged himself a broad grin.

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Danger – Leather Soles of Shoes Can Be Treacherously Slippery

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LEATHER SOLES

This article explains why you don’t want to wear leather sole dress shoes. The basic reason is that leather is slippery, even when dry.

DRESS SHOES

Dress shoes must serve two functions. First, they should look dressy so that you radiate class and good taste to all who see you. This is especially important if you’re an attorney going to court or meeting clients. Your shoes and haircut will be inspected at these encounters. So you want your shoes to look dressy. Black leather is the best choice for the uppers of your shoes. But what about the soles?

LEATHER SOLES

Leather soles look great but are slippery, even on dry surfaces. Especially when new, they can be hazardous to your health because you can slip when walking on a hard floor, a street, or even a concrete sidewalk!

There are modifications that you can make to leather soles to render them a little less slippery, but these solutions are ultimately unsatisfactory. We’re talking about cutting a crisscross pattern into the leather soles with a sharp knife, or adding rosin to the soles the way boxers used to do to their boxing shoes. Neither solution is adequate. (Incidentally, most boxing shoes today are no longer made with leather soles, indicating that in the world of professional boxing athletes have learned the lesson of avoiding leather soles altogether.)

WHY RUBBER IS BETTER

Rubber soles are better than leather because they provides superior traction on every conceivable surface, including ice and snow. With modern technology, there’s no reason why a dress shoe should have a slippery leather sole. For example, Florsheim provides F-LITE EMAX rubber outsoles on some cap-toe dress shoes. A slightly more casual example is the Nunn Bush Maxwell black leather dress shoe. One of the nicest designs is the Prada ebony leather logo detail cap-toe Oxford with rubber soles, which retailed for $472 in 2011. Other quality dress shoes are also available with rubber soles.

If a shoe’s rubber soles don’t look too sporty, that is, if they don’t have corrugations or obvious sneaker-like patterns that can be seen from the side, then they’re a good choice. A manufacturer who knows about the value of rubber soles and how they provide better traction, is a manufacturer who will also take care of other details, such a style and construction.

It’s incorrect to say that only a leather sole looks dressy. Rubber soles can be constructed to look as dressy as leather, and they’re significantly more comfortable and safer than leather. As image consultants for attorneys and people from all walks of life, we advise clients to not only look dressy but also to wear comfortable safe footwear, and this means well designed rubber soles.

Copyright (c) 2011 William Cane

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Search Engine Marketing – The Past, The Present, And The Future

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1997 – 1999 were the early years of search engine era. Internet Marketing and more specifically search engine marketing mainly consisted of submitting your sites to the search engines. These “voices from the past” are still heard today when this or that Search Engine Optimization company and / or automatic submitting software will claim to do search engine promotion for you by submitting your site to hundreds and thousands engines and directories. The search engines’ indexing programs, called “robots” or “spiders”, looked through all of the HTML code of a page and used some page ranking algorithms that they kept in secret.

Those days were spammers’ Heaven: it was rather easy to get your site ranked high. You could just use your keywords lots of times on the page, in the META tags, HTML comments etc. and hide it from the human visitors by making the text tiny or completely invisible with the help of HTML tricks. The search engines didn’t have any sophisticated technique to recognize this kind of spam, and such sites usually got high rankings very easily. Today, you still can find some samples of this primitive optimization (however you will have to give it a hard try, because nowadays most of such Web projects have been banned by the search engines for excessive keyword usage).

The only exception was Yahoo which has always been indexed by humans who could in most cases identify and ban spamming pages.

Gradually, search engines started recognizing spam and applying corresponding penalties to Web pages using spam methods. However, search engine optimizers were always one step behind the search engines in finding new ways of cheating the indexing algorithms. Hence each search engine is committed to delivering only relevant results to its visitors, the engines needed to take control away from the spammers and auto-submitters. Many began to try different ways of indexing.

The Rise of Google

If someone is asked today about the first search engine to remember, the answer will be Google in 100% cases. Google has started its way to be the King of search engines in 2000 and in 2002 its right for this title has been firmly established, with around 70% of searches done on the Internet. While other search engines were focusing on transforming to universal portals, Google kept a simple and – which has become its distinctive feature – fast interface that solely targeted delivering relevant search results.

Google also developed advanced features such as indexing and searching PDF (portable document format) and SWF (shockwave flash) files. Additionally, Google’s sophisticated techniques to use the “off-the-page” factors made it extremely spam-resistant. Google’s dominance has become steady in 2000 with Yahoo having switched from Inktomi to Google as secondary search result provider. Now, Yahoo uses the combination of Overture’s and own search software and index repository, thus being fully independent on Google, however, without any slightest impact on the dominance of the latter.

Global Consolidation

By 2001, the results of all major engines were produced from a number of mixed / hybrid sources. Yahoo search results combined Yahoo-directory listings, Overture (PPC) results, and Google results. MSN provided results from Overture (PPC), LookSmart , and Inktomi.

The years 2002 and 2003 brought major reshuffles among search engines: in this period, Google purchased Blogger.com, Yahoo bought Inktomi, and AltaVista and AllTheWeb became a part of Overture. Also, there were many shifts caused by emerging search engine partnerships. Further in this course we will give you a complete and actual chart of relationships between the contemporary search engines.

Search Engine Marketing Today

If you thought nowadays search engine marketing can still be done by acquiring (and using) an auto-submission software, drop this idea since now on. Search engine marketing requires an integrated approach to improving site content, quality and popularity. For a Web site to reach its top potential, it must incorporate target audience analysis, competitive analysis, cost per click optimization, and – last but not least – copywriting and copyediting. And, because things keep changing, search engine marketers need to devote a good deal of time staying on top of the SEO industry and its trends.

Today very few (and mostly inexperienced) optimizers / marketers would use spam methods to achieve high ranking. In many cases, spamming and the so-called “black-hat” SEO is recognized by automatic spiders, for these become more and more intelligent. Even though we describe major spamming methods in the end of this course, we do it only in the sake of your awareness. We do NOT recommend using them, as there’s no guarantee at all they can help, whereas it’s very possible that your Web visibility can be seriously damaged as a result.

The Future of Search Engine Marketing

Search engines have already developed into sophisticated systems, and no doubt they will continue to enhance their technical aspect, with improved capabilities to index pages that are located deeply within the site (many links away from the initial page). Also, their abilities to handle dynamically generated pages (e.g. shopping carts) can be expected to grow. Among other perspective trends are advanced non-HTML content indexing (such as PDF and graphics), improved ability to rapidly integrate new content such as news using XML feeds or other technology, organization of search results into logical categories (sometimes referred to as clustering), and other advanced features. For insights into the future of search, you could visit Google Labs ( http://labs.google.com). This is the beta area where Google showcases some of its upcoming technologies.

However, the traditional “highest-bidder” approach makes SEM feel more and more like traditional print advertising. The Integrated Approach to SEM anticipates that in future, best marketing efforts will aim to leverage the three components: paid advertising and analytics, all-sided site and content optimization and qualitative off-the-page factors enhancement. That is why we prefer to call the functions provided by Web CEO “Search Engine Marketing” rather than “Search Engine Optimization”. When all is said and done, it is the traffic you get and the way this traffic converts that matters – not even your site rank on a search engine. You can rank worse than your competitor, yet the percentage of your visitors that turn into buyers will be so high that you actually outperform your competitor several times.

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Favicons and Favicon Sizes

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Favicons refer to icons that appear beside the name of a site. They are usually in the favorites or bookmarks list. The Favicon ico images usually appear in a variety of sizes. They are commonly used in Windows operating systems to show images for various menu options and computer programs. Their popularity has increased because there are more sites that have started to display them. Unlike other formats, the ICO formats allow you to store several images in different color depths and sizes. This allows you to view programs in larger or smaller sizes even if your computer display has fewer colors. It is also possible to get an animated favicon on your site.

Why Use them?

There are various reasons why you should start using these icons on your computer. These include:

• To declutter your bookmarks list.

• To make your display stand out.

The Size

They can have multiple images that are in different sizes. The options available in terms of size include:

• 16×16

• 32×32

• 48×48

• 128×128

The location you intend to use to display your icon determines its display size. If you want it to be on the display bar, it will usually measure 16×16. Most browsers do this in order to save on space. This size is also common because it is the most suitable one for address input boxes. If the image is being displayed on the desktop, it will usually appear as a 32×32 image because this is the size that is configured for display icons. You can change the size by looking at the menu feature and choosing the icon size option. This means that the program that you use to display the icons will determine the colors and size of the images. To create an image with an appropriate size, you can use a favicon generator.

Generating from Pictures

It is possible to generate the images from pictures. You will get the images in both sizes but most of the programs resize them to 16×16.

Free Sites

There are various sites that allow you to generate the icons at no charge. It usually takes about a second to create an image on your machine. Once you have created one, you can get it to show on the desktop by uploading it to a major directory on the site.

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