Can’t Decide On A Hybrid Car? Why Not Try An SUV?

Maybe simply buying a lightweight hybrid car does not feel right. Being an all-American consumer made grander by having an all-American family, you might want to try a hybrid SUV. Fortunately for you, there already are hybrid versions of SUVs in the market, so you won’t really run out of options.

While it isn’t likely that you’ll save the same amount of gas as when you get a hybrid car like a Civic or a Prius, getting an SUV will still afford you a similar advantage.

Consumer reports say that the most efficient SUV out in the US market today is the Ford Escape. Observers also recommend the Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV, because of its wider seating and storage capacity, though it has been found to be less fuel efficient that the Escape.

The Toyota Highlander has also been observed to be more powerful than the Escape. If you have a huge family, the Highlander SUV might be a better choice. But if you’re more into the fuel efficiency factor, then go for the Ford. Don’t take this article’s word for it solely, though. It’s better if you go see for yourself which hybrid SUV type suits your needs better.

Other hybrid SUVS out in the market include the Lexus RX 400h Hybrid SUV and Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV. The Lexus is more pricey and fit for the affluent car consumer, while the Mariner is simply a more upmarket version of the Ford Escape. These two models are for those people who want fuel-efficient SUVs but are still hesitating how much of style and class they want to forego.

Next year, new hybrid SUVS are expected to be out, including the Toyota Sienna Minivan, The Chevrolet Tahoe and the Saturn VUE Hybrid. The Tahoe Hybrid is expected to be 25% more fuel-efficient than the traditional Tahoe car.

Also in the works, but likely to come out at a later time, are the Ford Edge Hybrid, the Cadillac Escalade, the Mazda Tribute, the Honda Pilot, the GMC Yukon, the Porsche Cayenne and the Lincoln MKX.

More people are turning to hybrid cars these days because of their promise of lesser fuel consumption and environmental friendliness. Hybrid SUVs, because they run on both fuel and battery-powered engines, eat up less fuel, thereby sparing the consumer the pain of falling prey to price pressures in the world oil market. In addition, it also emits significantly less smog pollutants in the air, compared to traditional fuel-operated cars.

Some critics say that it is not the time to buy hybrid vehicles because they are expensive. However, when you consider the advantages, you really shouldn’t think twice.

While you must be discerning in choosing the right model for your needs, this doesn’t mean you start hesitating. After all, when more people patronize hybrid cars and hybrid SUVs, manufacturers will see the need to produce more and eventually bring its price at very affordable levels.

Cocoa Beach Florida

Knowns as the perfect beach town, Cocoa Beach is an
hour drive east of Orlando on Florida’s amazing
Space Coast. The drive here is almost as beautiful
as the beach – offering you endless ways to enjoy
your leisure and recreation.

Whether you are going on a family beach vacation,
leisure travel, business trip, or just a day at the
beach, you’ll find exactly what you’ve been looking
for in Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast area to make
your stay one you’ll never forget.

Cocoa Beach is one of the most affordable beach
vacations in Florida. There is never a lack of things
to do or see in and around Cocoa Beach. Besides the
fun in the sun, Space Coast offers you the chance
to go deep sea fishing or parasailing, try your
luck aboard a casino cruise ship, or just take a
river tour and get up close and personal with the
awesome wildlife of Florida.

While at Cocoa Beach, you can also visit the Kennedy
Space Center, the Brevard Zoo, or spend some time
shopping. You’ll be within short driving distance
to all of the Orlando attractions, and you can even
drive back to Cocoa Beach at night to enjoy dinner
in one of the many dining spots on the beach.

When night sets in, you can kick back and enjoy
the nightlife on the beach that ranges from cool
jazz clubs to beach side cafes. Then, you can
stay the night with perfect accommodations and
wake up to a breathtaking sunrise on the beach.

With plenty to offer you and your entire family,
Cocoa Beach provides an excellent beach vacation or
getaway. There is plenty to do on the beach, with
enough nearby to keep you coming back for more.

 

JCV HY-HD100

At first look, the JVC HD100 looks like any other
high definition camera with a lot of switches, dials,
and places to plug in peripherals. In operation, it
functions like an old regular video camera. You
don’t really need to do anything special to make a
high definition recording, just press a button –
although there are differences.

One of the things that makes this camera so nice and
unique is the amount of control you have over pretty
much everything you record. JVC really outdone
themselves here, as you can record all of your settings
on a SD memory card and save them to move on to
another JCV camera, which will save you a lot of time.

Another amazing feature enables the video camera to
automatically record to a hard disk while at the same
time recording to a tape. Recording directly to a
hard drive will save you a lot of time in the editing
process, as you can immediately begin using your
video without having to capture tape to your computer,
which can only be done in real time.

Surprisingly enough, the camera is very easy to use
either mounted on a tripod or on your shoulder. The
shoulder pad is a nice addition, being thickly padded.
To make things even better, the camera is very light.

When it comes to the quality, the GY-HD100 needs to
be seen to be believed. HD video is intended to look
like real life. There is an extended gray scale, a
heightened sense of color – and the resulting detail
is simply incredible.

HD at this incredible level has 720 X 1028 lines of
progressive video, which means that the video is shot
in one entire frame at a time. Also, it can be
recorded at 24 or even 30 frames per second.

The 24 fps resembles film and if you plan to convert
to film, it’s a great way to shoot – as you can
quickly and easily go directly to film. The 30 fps
has more data per second, although it is not
appropriate for making a film project.

If you want to experience HD without spending over
70,000$, then the JCV GY-HD100 is more than worth
your time and money. Even though it doesn’t record
uncompressed HD video, it does record a picture
that is far superior to the standard picture you get
with an average everyday camera. HD is rapidly
becoming the future, and with the GY-HD100 – its here
and now.

Controls And Features

The central part of a DV camcorder is the CCD, or
Charge Coupled Device. This sensor creates a video
picture by recording the light intensity to recognize
an image or shape, along with the color levels to
reproduce a full color picture.

There are several tape based DV camcorders that have
both color eyepiece viewfinders and a flip out TFT
LCD screen to view the action as well as the previous
recorded footage. Most tape-less models however,
only offer the TFT screen to preview your captured
video and to view while you make a recording.

When you need to get closer to the action, a zoom
lens can be a great feature. Don’t get swayed by
the digital zoom figure however; as no matter how
large it may be, you should always base your final
decision on the optical zoom.

The optical zoom will give you a true indication of
the video image, where digital zooms interpolate the
available pixels to zoom in on an image. Optical
zooms will normally range around the 10X mark, with
digital zooms ranging from 100X and above.

The auto focusing systems are great as well, although
manual focus options can be ideal for low light or
when focusing on a subject against a landscape. Being
available on most video cameras, the manual focus
control can be found as either a ring on the lens
or as a dual button system on the body.

Most video cameras these days will provide a tilting
feature in the camera itself, although this feature
should be avoided unless you don’t intend to edit
the video on a computer. The title effects on
many cameras are quite limited and cannot be
removed afterwards.

Almost all new high definition video cameras will
use a rechargeable Li-ion battery, even though a
spare battery might be useful as the batteries are
unique to each camcorder maker and normally each
model.

Most of the latest cameras allow you to capture
digital still images onto a removable flash memory
card. The most popular media is SD or MMC, but
Sony and Samsung cameras often capture to a memory
stick.

If your video camera doesn’t offer still image
capabilities, you can always perform a capture of
the screen in your editing program. Always remember
that the image resolution when capturing a still
this way will always be 640X480, which is actually
less than 1 MB, or Mega Byte.

Playing Old Games on a New Computer It’s a Hoot!

Admit it – you still crave a good game of scrolling Super Mario or Dig Dug just like you did “back in the day.” We all do because playing them brings back some of the fondest memories. But it isn’t easy to play these games the way we used to. Unless we’ve kept the systems and cartridges of the past in good working condition, our only trip down this jagged pixel lane is through a little known gem called emulation.

Through emulation, you can play some of your favorite games from the past including games made for Commodore, Atari, and Nintendo. Emulation refers to the ability of a program or device to imitate another program or device and it tricks the software into believing that a device is really some other device. It is also possible for a computer to emulate another type of computer. For example, there are programs that enable an Apple Macintosh to emulate a PC. 1

All that gobbledy gook doesn’t really mean too much until you discover that with the right emulator, your computer can play all your old favorite games. And the news gets even better. You can download emulators from the Internet – free. You can download Amiga, Commodore, GameBoy, Playstation 1, and Nintendo emulators plus you can download the games (ROMs) that these machines play.

Our favorite emulator is the ZSNES Emulator. This particular program emulates the old Super Nintendo console and you can learn more about it yourself by visiting http://www.zsnes.com. This program comes with an extensive help file and walks you through the process of setting up a copy on your own PC. At the very least, your system needs a 486/100 processor, 14.5MB of RAM, a VGA card, and a Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card. However a system with a fast P200 or higher Pentium processor, 32MB of RAM, VGA card, and Sound Blaster 16 or 100% compatible sound card yields the most realistic results.

But don’t think that just because a console is on the computer – you can’t enjoy your favorite gaming accessories. The ZSNES Emulator let’s users maneuver around games with the keyboard and a joystick. But enough about the emulator – You probably want to know what kind of games you can play, right?

Called ROMs, you can play any game on your PC that you played on the Super Nintendo System including:

* Bomberman 5
* Super Battleship
* Beavis n’ Butthead
* Bustamove
* Clue
* Dragonballz
* DreamTV
* Final Fantasy 4
* Frogger
* The Great Waldo Search
* Inspector Gadget
* Jeopardy Deluxee
* John Madden Football
* Mariokart
* Marvel Superheroes
* Megamans Soccer
* Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
* Monopoly
* Mortal Kombat 2
* Pinocchio
* Power Rangers
* Race Driving
* Carmen San Diego
* SimAnt
* SimCity
* SimCity 2000
* Super Mario RPG
* Sonic
* Space Football
* Starfox
* Streetfighter 2
* Super Black Bass
* Super Ninja Boy
* Super Punch-Out!!
* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
* Themepark
* Troddlers
* Utopia
* Vortex
* Wacky Race
* Wheel of Fortune
* Wings 2
* Wordtris
* World Soccer 94
* Yoshis Island
* Zelda 3
* … and tons more.

Downloading these games is a simple matter of finding them online and there are plenty of websites that host them. Try http://www.everyvideogame.com for starters.

Be aware that there’s an issue with downloading these games and it’s a legal one. Basically, you’re not allowed to download and play any game that you don’t already own on a cartridge. If can abide by this law, you can revisit the past, in the present, on your brand new PC.

When is the Best Time to Go to Car Shows

If you are trying to decide on the best time of year to attend car shows then you are in luck, there are several times of year when car shows are highly popular however, they do start to subside during the winter months when it is very cold. Unless you plan on only searching for car shows that are indoors your best goal is to avoid shows in the winter unless you enjoy bundling up and venturing into the areas that are very warm.

Most car shows tend to be held in the spring and summer when it is very warm. The number of shows in the winter months tends to subside heavily mostly due to the cold weather and the holidays combined together that make it very difficult for organizers to have a large enough attendance to be worth the effort. If you are looking for the best car shows possible, you need to search heavily during the spring and summer.

If you are looking for the best car shows in terms of weather, looking in the late spring and early summer is best. This is the time of year when the weather is warm enough you can skip the heavy jackets, but still cool enough that you will not roast as you walk around the show grounds. It is very important regardless of when you plan on attending the car show that you dress appropriately.

For example, in the summer you need to wear short sleeves and shorts most likely, especially if the car show is outside so that you do not overheat while you are there. In the early part of the spring, you should wear a lightweight jacket in case it is chilly outside. If you are going to a show in the winter check to see if it is held indoors since many during the winter are. Choosing appropriate clothing will ensure that you are not uncomfortable during the show.

If you are taking children with you, you may want to look for shows that are in the afternoons. Late evenings tend to find children rather cranky and early mornings tend to also find children cranky because of having to wake up early. Looking to the afternoon time frame after lunch usually finds kids in the best moods possible and less likely to get into trouble and misbehave.

If you are going to the car show by yourself or only with other adults, you may find it is best to go during the early part of the day so that you can avoid a good majority of the crowd that appears in the afternoon. If you are looking for the biggest crowds of people then afternoon is generally going to be your prime time to attend. Choosing the best time to attend the car show is often going to depend upon your schedule with other activities in the same weekend as well.

Once you have a good indication of the weather and your schedule, it is usually quite easy to fit a trip to the car show in so that everyone is able to do something that they thoroughly enjoy without a lot of problems and hassles. If you have any questions about what to wear to the show or the weather always feel free to consult the local weather, or call the organization that is sponsoring the car show to ask. They are generally able to help you ensure that you are dressed appropriately and have a great time.

If you are quite uncertain over the weather, taking a change of clothes may be your best option to ensure that you are comfortable during the car show. After all, you certainly do not want to be uncomfortable or you may want to leave early which could have you missing out on a large portion of the show. Keeping yourself cool, warm and comfortable is a key need to ensuring that you enjoy the car show as much as possible.

Playing Online Games Pro-Style Even if you don’t know what you’re doing…

One of the most intimidating parts of getting started with online gaming is getting over the fear of screwing things up for other players. It’s one thing to play a game and make mistakes at home, but it’s an entirely different thing to play a game and make mistakes that can cause failure in the game plays of others. But there’s no reason to let this fear stop you or another gaming newbie from having fun. This article will give you the in’s and out’s of online gaming so that you can start with the confidence you need to continue on.

The first step anyone new to online gaming should take is to first, learn how to play offline. You can read the game’s manual and save yourself from seeing the infamous acronym, “RTFM” scroll across your screen. Know what that acronym stands for? It stands for “Read The Fu**ing Manual” and its spewed by serious gamers to vulnerable newbies who interrupt a game with questions like, “What is this place?” or “What am I supposed to do?”

You could search the web for game related discussion groups, FAQ’s, and walkthroughs. And you could learn more from game specific Usenet newsgroups. In other words, you could do your “homework.” Some of the kind of information you want to learn includes how to play, how to create characters, how to gather equipment, and how to implement some smart strategies. Trust us when we say your gaming comrades will appreciate it!

In addition to reading how to play an online game, you can familiarize yourself with the game’s interface. Just as you searched the net for a game’s textual instruction, you can additionally search the net for a game’s screenshot (or series of screenshots). Having a graphical representation (.gif or .jpg image) of a game on your screen gives you a chance to memorize where all the game’s controls are. Knowing where everything is on a game before you play will speed things up not only for yourself, but also for everyone else. No one wants to wait for you to search for an inventory panel or message screen in a game when the location of these items is obvious to everyone else.

Once you start with a game, don’t let the pressure of staying in the game prevent you from doing the unthinkable: dying. A character dying in a game is inevitable at certain points, and unless you willingly let go of a lose-lose situation, you’ll run the risk of holding the game up for everyone else. It’s like a game of chess. If it’s checkmate – it’s checkmate. Call it a day and start anew. Whatever you do, don’t hang around waiting for some magical fairy to come to your rescue. Please let your character die with dignity.

On the same token, you don’t want to take dying personally. Remember that online gaming is still just a game. A character that dies in a game is not representative of your character as a person. Turn a death into learning experience. At the very least, you’ll learn your way around an online game by learning all the things that you aren’t supposed to do!

Above all else, ensure that your computer has what it takes to maintain the current pace of an online game. Don’t try to play an online game with a slow computer or slow Internet connection. In fact, if you’re still using dial up, find another hobby. A slow processor and connection will ensure instant death because other players aren’t going to politely wait for their own defeat. They’re going to squash you like a bug.

Hunt around for a computer that was built for online gaming and get a DSL or ISDN Internet connection. You’ll need a fast processor, a high quality graphics card, and a sound machine to match.

By following these simple suggestions, you will have passed the “newbie” test and earned respect as a serious gamer much more quickly than if you stumbled your way through what others pride as “the ultimate hobby.”

The Cold War

When we look back over the span of centuries that represents American history, it is easy to call out major military engagements which represent the major wars of this country. From World War II to the Civil War to Korea to World War I, America has been involved in many military engagements and emerged victorious in all but a few of them. But one of the strangest, longest lasting wars that America has entered into was the one that was called “The Cold War”.

For many Americas living today, The Cold War was a fact of life for decades. The reason it was a cold war was that there was no battlefield, no armies on deployment, no body counts and no major engagements to report. Instead it was a long period of silent animosity between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the end of World War II up to the early 1990s.

The strange thing was that the cold war grew out of our relationship with the Soviet Union during World War II which was a relationship of friendship. But the seeds of the “conflict” were in place at the end of that horrible war. With the presence of nuclear technology, the concept of a “superpower” was born. This was not itself a source of tension until the Soviet Union themselves developed the bomb as well and a long cold stand off ensued in which both nations trained thousands of these weapons on each other to warn the other that they must never consider firing those weapons.

It was a staring contest that lasted almost fifty years and created a tremendous drain on both economies. Both countries had to maintain “parity” of their nuclear weapons so neither country got more than the other thus throwing of the balance of power and giving one combatant an unfair advantage. This was a strange logic in that both countries possessed enough weaponry to destroy the earth dozens of times over but still they insisted on “having parity” throughout the cold war.

It was clear that no battle between the Soviet Union and America could ever be tolerated. The potential outcome of engaging those weapons had the power to destroy life on planet earth. But neither country was prepared to lay down their arms and begin the process of making peace with the other. So the weapons continued to point at each other, day after day, year after year, for fifty years.
So instead of conducting battles directly, the two countries fought each other through small wars around the world. The Soviet Unions, working with China happily contributed to the humiliating loss in Vietnam that the United States endured. But the United States then turned around and armed the Afghan Mujahideen which lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union in their occupation of that country. From proxy wars, the space race, and occasional face offs such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War continued for decades testing the will and resolve of both countries never to look away and give the other the advantage.
Finally the pressure on the economies of the two countries took its toll in the early 1990s, particularly in the Soviet Union as the stress of sustaining such an expensive and unproductive war forced the Soviet economy into collapse and the empire broke up. The United States had won the cold war by sheer will to endure and stubborn refusal to give in. This is a seldom spoken of element of the American spirit but it is one that the Soviets learned to their own disaster not to test. Hopefully no other “superpower” will ever think they are equipped to test it again.

 

Buying Video Games for a Gaming Tot A Quick How To

Visit any video game outlet and you’re bound to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices available – especially if you’re new to gaming. Interestingly, children and teens seem to know their way around these places as if they were their second home. But for the adult, the typical video store looks like some sort of color paint explosion and sooner or later, all the games start to look the same. This guide is for the adult who’s buying a game for a younger person perhaps as a birthday gift or as a bribe. Whatever the reason, you’re going to appreciate the following tips.

1. Research this strange phenomenon before setting foot inside a video store. There’s plenty of information available about video games online, so to reduce frustration offline, fire up your web browser and do a little homework. Visit the website of the gaming outlet nearest you and then look for a link to the games section of the system that your youngster plays. Here’s a helpful chart to explain what all those strange letters mean.

Wii = Nintendo’s Wii System
EA Sports = Entertainment Arts System
PS3 = Playstation 3 System
XBOX 360 = Microsoft’s XBOX 360 System
PC = Personal Computer
PS2 = Playstation 2 System
PSP = Playstation Portable System
DS = Nintendo’s DS System

The key is to locate the system on the store’s website first. The system, it’s accessories, and all of the games that work on that system will follow. If not, you may need to use the website’s internal search engine.

2. After locating the appropriate games section for your youngster’s machine, check out the ratings of each game and create a temporary shopping list of age appropriate material. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gives each game a rating in an effort to inform parents what their children are playing. Here’s a handy reference to what the ratings mean:

C = Appropriate for Early childhood
E = Appropriate for Everyone
E 10+ = Appropriate for Everyone aged 10 and older
T = Appropriate for Teens
M = Appropriate for Mature Adults

3. Within your temporary shopping list, try find a game that’s built from the latest movie release. Little people love the new animated movies put out by Disney and Pixar, and they really enjoy re-living precious moments in the movie in a video game. That’s why when these movies come out on DVD, their producers put a few games in the “Special Features section” of the CDs.

4. If you can’t find a game that’s built from a movie that the child likes, try to find a game that centers around a popular cartoon character or one that attempts to educate.

5. If you still can’t find one that resembles something that you’ve heard this particular person rambling on about, first give yourself a slight slap on the hand. You should pay better attention. Then point your browser to the nearest Blockbuster or Hollywood Video website. Follow the same procedure outlined in steps 1 – 3 only this time, elect to rent 5 or 6 games that look appealing. This will give your tot a chance to play some games and select one to keep forever while you return the others.

6. If on the other hand, you did find a game in step 3 or 4, you can either check out online, or drive up to the store and buy it there.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the illustrations on the both video and pc game cases do a pretty good job of representing the game’s content. So if you see an illustration of fighting warriors, chances are the game will be more violent than you prefer. If on the other hand, you see an illustration that resembles what you’d see on the cover of an interesting children’s book, the game should be age appropriate.

 

John F. Kennedy

In the life of this great nation, a few of its presidents have emerged from the pack as truly historic and memorable even more than others. Of course, the presidents from the generation of the founding fathers certainly fit that bill including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. And presidents that served the country in times of great crisis also are deeply honored in memory. But in recent memory, there probably no other president that brings up emotions of respect and admiration as much as that of John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy seemed to capture the hearts of the American people in a way that was unique in presidents before or since. Part of it may have been the era in history that the country was in when he became the President of the United States. The historic time between 1950 and 1970 was a time when the largest generation of youth, now known as the “baby boomers”, was coming of age. With them a new youth movement brought a sense of optimism, a “can do” attitude and to some extent a sense of revolution. They were looking for new ways of seeing things, a new vision of the future and new leadership and John F. Kennedy was the perfect man of the hour to provide that leadership.

So much about Kennedy’s presidency has an aura of romance and almost a fairy tale excitement of it. From the naming of his family estates “Camelot” to the love affair that the public had with the strikingly beautiful presidential couple, Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy. That touch of magic extended to everything he did and virtually everybody in his family including his younger brother Robert who was idolized as well and almost certainly would have served as president had he not been tragically assassinated during his early bid for that office.

But this was not to say that Kennedy was not a phenomenal leader. He faced serious challenges. The Cuban Missile Crisis may have been one of the most frightening show downs between a nuclear Russia and a nuclear America that has ever happened in history. When it became clear that Russia was beginning to build bases in Cuba and arm them with those terrible weapons, this was no time for a weak president. Had Russia been able to bully Kennedy or intimidate the young president and put those missiles in Cuba, it seems certain that the outcome of the cold war would have been one of failure rather than success. But Kennedy was not bullied or intimidated and using the power of his office, Kennedy stood his ground and stood ground for all Americans and forced the Russians to remove those missiles.

But this was not the only great accomplishment of Kennedy’s administration. It took a leader who had great vision and ability to inspire a nation as nobody else than John F. Kennedy could to set the sights of the nation on landing on the moon. But Kennedy put that desire and that high calling in the hearts of his people and the nation rallied to finally see that man step out on the moon and declare, “This is one step for man, a giant leap for mankind.” That was one of the proudest days in American history and it was Kennedy who inspired us to that kind of greatness.

As much as the life and leadership of John F. Kennedy perfectly exemplified the optimism and youthful zeal of a generation, his tragic assignation changed the country forever as well. On that sad day of November 22, 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down America’s beloved president, the hearts of Americans changed forever.

This was one of those days that almost everybody who was alive at the time, from school children to grandfathers remembered where they were when they heard the news. Since we laid to rest this great leader, the presidency itself has never been the same. While Americans will always respect their presidents, that sense of adoration for the man in the White House disappeared forever. But the thing that did not disappear was the ongoing adoration of the man, John F. Kennedy, who inspired a generation and a nation to look forward to greatness and in the famous words of his inaugural address in 1961…

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

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