Photography is something that fascinates almost everybody. Since the very first mainstream images were taken around 1820 by Niépce and Louis Daguerre, the art of capturing and freezing a moment in time has become a central part of human culture. You will find photographs today in almost every home in all parts of the world and throughout every social and cultural level.The tools used to capture images have gone from very large and cumbersome wood boxes with plate film to slim and sleek, highly functional digital cameras no bigger than a credit card. Until quite recently in historical terms, photography was a niche hobby that enthusiasts spent a lot of time and money on.Sony showed the first digital camera in 1981 and it was as recently as 1990 that the first camera came out that was directed towards the public: the Kodak DCS 100. For a long time, digital photography and traditional techniques lived side by side. Both Nikon and Canon for instance only stopped manufacturing film SLR cameras in 2006.The reason they even manufactured them until 2006 was that the film used by traditional SLR cameras delivered superior quality until very recently. It was only when the digital camera sensors achieved around 6 million pixels that the quality barrier was broken.The digital imaging technology has advanced hugely in very short time. The simple compact digital cameras of today deliver at base iso a image quality that is superior to the enthusiast and even some pro film cameras of just a few years ago.Photographing with a compact digital camera requires somewhat different methods than SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. The average compact does not have a viewfinder and composing the shot is done directly on the cameras preview screen. Many actually prefer this type of composition.A digital compact also has a very small imaging sensor so good light is often necessary to achieve optimal quality. Lenses are also very small and lens extension is often limited because the longer a small lens the less it’s optical quality. Additionally, there is no possibility to change lenses, so the user needs to consider the type of photography they will be doing before choosing camera. Most digital compacts have a short zoom lens that goes from slight wide-angle to short telephoto.Digital compact cameras have become extremely popular because of their size, simplicity of use and reliable imaging in diverse settings. Since becoming mainstream, the price of digital cameras has become much lower and is now within reach of most people.Digital compacts are here to stay and now that the image quality is good, the manufacturers are adding different features such as shake stabilization and face recognition.We have come a long way from the plate film boxes and photography is now a hobby for the masses.
Wooden furniture is timeless and beautiful. There’s nothing like natural wood, a wonderful, warm and attractive material when it comes to furniture. Wooden furniture can be broken down into three main categories: rustic, traditional or modern. Regardless of style, wooden furniture is durable and if well cared for, it can last a lifetime. This article highlights the benefits of wooden furniture however, before we begin it’s important to look at a brief history to give you a better perspective on this natural gift.Wood furniture has a reach history dating back to the British Monarchy circa 1550. The Antique period in Britain has been highlighted by Elizabeth and Tudor, Jacobean and Regency to name a few. In France, we have seen the Renaissance period followed by the early Colonial in America. The development of timber such as solid oak was used as a primary source for furniture. Design wise, the introduction of wooden “settle” or long wooden benches with high backs and “armoires”, wooden cupboards is evident. Walnut, cherry, mahogany, oak and beech wood was later used in a variety of wooden products from beds, chairs and tables and bookcases. Let’s now look at the advantages of natural wood when used for furniture making.One of the benefits of wooden furniture is that, it brigs a luxurious, warm and rich feeling into a home. A home is a sanctuary, a place where one comes to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. Given that wood is still available in abundance, although we can argue differently here, it is fairly easy to find a wooden furniture piece that suits your personal style and comfort. In addition to creating a natural living space, wood is also easy to clean and maintain as mentioned earlier.Cost is another benefit. Given the large number of furniture stores, one can find a beautiful and durable wooden piece to fit a budget. This is made possible given the variety of wood types from pine, maple and cherry wood. Pine for example, is an inexpensive wood however, it retains the richness and quality that wooden furniture is known for. If you like a more unique furniture piece made from rosewood, a Brazilian wood, you can also impress your friends with this excellent, unique and rare furniture piece. All in all, affordability is there for all which makes this a desirable and wise choice when it comes to furniture.Wood furniture also provides the green or eco-friendliness factor. Furniture made out of reclaimed wood, typically recycled from old buildings, provides a good way to reduce deforestation and manufacturing waste that can harm the environment. Now days, it is quiet easy and fashionable to have your home more eco-friendly. If you are driving a Prius, you most likely are considering or already have bought other green products. Why not get a beautiful, natural furniture piece from your favorite furniture shop?Another added benefit of wood is that you can use it for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Wooden floors look beautiful and really open up the space in a room along with maintaining a more hygienic home vs. carpeting that can attract a lot of dust and thereby contribute to allergies. Wicker furniture such as wickers chairs, wicker coffee tables are great and attractive furniture pieces you can add to your patio or sunroom. Think about how many times your Wal-Mart plastic chair broke. Why not invest into something that is durable, beautiful and easy to maintain?Given the benefits of wooden furniture outlined such as durability, ease of care, affordable price points, eco-friendliness, design variety and richness that wood furniture can bring into a home, you are now better informed to make a decision on your next furniture piece. We encourage you to visit your favorite furniture shops, ask questions and get the perfect wooden furniture chair, table, bed or whatever it may be that you can enjoy comfortably for many years to come.
Health insurance company earnings were released, showing billion dollar profits by the major insurance companies. Despite these earnings, all of the insurance companies continue to increase their premiums on an annual basis. I am writing as a small business owner, health care provider, and health care consumer to describe my concerns about health insurance abuses.As a small business owner, the annual 15% to 45% health insurance premium rate increases are unaffordable. Each year, as our employees age, we reduce benefits to afford minimal health coverage. As health consumers, our care is inferior and restricted by insurance company bureaucracy, and we have additional increased out of pocket costs. Just this past week, it was reported on how health insurers have posted billion dollar profits, at the cost of reduced care for the insured. How is this fair? It is time to remove the anti-trust exemption that protect insurance companies, and permits them to abuse the public.As a health care provider, my income has systematically been reduced, as insurance companies increasingly dictate the care I provide, the fees I receive etc. Additionally, we have been forced to spend more time and money on hiring administrative staff to deal with insurance company errors, obfuscation, and refusal to pay for things that they must. Thus, health insurance companies increase health care costs tremendously simply through their administrative harassment of health care providers. As an example, I counted more than 200 claim errors from one insurance company in one year. This meant that over 200 hours were spent rectifying insurance company errors! Resolution of the problem only occurred after I sought assistance through Congressman Pascrell’s office (for which I am immensely grateful). It is no surprise that private insurance administrative costs of 35 to 40% are way higher than those of Medicare, which are 3 to 5%. This high rate of administrative costs is unacceptable, and insurance accountability must be implemented.In my quest to resolve the high rate of insurance company errors, I learned that insurance companies routinely employ personnel to deal with bad publicity. They employ entire departments to deal with legislators and the public. They spend unknown amounts of money on advertising and lobbying. In this time of economic distress, and with so many problems funding proper health care, what are insurance companies doing spending so much money on advertising and public relations? Who is looking into the huge burden they add to rising health care costs through all of their administrative errors, public relations gambits, advertising, etc?In the early 1990s, I joined several health insurance panels as a participating provider. Initially, the insurers offered reasonable fees, I signed up, hoping to be part of the solution to the country’s health care woes. Within two years, our fees were slashed dramatically. I maintained provider participation with a few panels whose rates were acceptable. Although I dropped out of the lower paying plans (whose compensation would have left me with an income that is similar to the starting salary of a teacher), it was amazing how my name remained in their list of participating providers (a phenomenon known as the “phantom panel”). In all of these years, the fee has never been raised in the few panels in which I remained. In contrast, my medical health insurance rates have risen dramatically, as have my rents, taxes, utilities, malpractice insurance, etc.There is something wrong in a society when the healers, who require great educational training, are paid at far lower rates than those that deny health care, as is the case with the insurance company executives. Their compensation packages are in the millions of dollars each year, while the health care providers struggle to maintain a middle class standard of living. Health insurance companies contribute to the spiraling, out of control health care crisis.In my opinion, any successful health care reform must include:1. Limits on the compensation of insurance executives (in the same way that incomes of all medical health providers have been reduced).2. Financial limits on insurance company expenditures on lobbying, advertising and public relations efforts. Those funds need to be re-directed towards actual health care.3. Insurance companies exemption from anti-trust regulations must be eliminated.4. Insurance company accountability and reduction of their claims processing errors and administrative costs must be reduced so that they fall in line with that of Medicare (3 to 5%). Stringent penalties need to be assessed upon insurance companies that fail to follow this ruling.