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How to Master Digital Photography

Introduction to digital photographyMake no mistake, digital photography is here, it’s big, and it’s the way things will be from now on. People use digital photography in their work every day:- police officers, real estate agents, insurance agents, fire fighters, scientists and doctors, just to name a few.Digital photography has come a long way in a few years. Digital photography, as opposed to film photography, uses electronic devices to record and capture the image as binary data. Digital photography has also been adopted by many amateur snapshot photographers, who take advantage of the convenience of the form when sending images by email, placing them on the World Wide Web, or displaying them in digital picture frames.Digital photography was used in astronomy long before its use by the general public and had almost completely displaced photographic plates by the early 1980s. Digital photography enables you to experiment with the camera settings, different styles of images can be tried out, learn t from and techniques improved all without the expense of film processing.Some other devices, such as mobile phones, now include digital photography features. With the acceptable image quality and the other advantages of digital photography (particularly the time pressures of vital importance to daily newspapers) the majority of professional news photographers have begun capturing their images with digital cameras.Other commercial photographers, and many amateurs, have enthusiastically embraced digital photography because they believe that its flexibility and lower long-term costs outweigh its initial price disadvantages. Almost all of the cost of digital photography is capital cost, meaning that the cost is for the equipment needed to store and copy the images, and once purchased requires virtually no further expense outlay.The biggest advantage of digital photography over traditional film include: Instant review of pictures, with no wait for the film to be developed: if there’s a problem with a picture, the photographer can immediately correct the problem and take another picture.For more info Click Here

Is It Best to Invest for the Long-Term, Intermediate Term, or for a Short Term?

There can be little doubt that investors have been pondering this question since the general public began active participation in stock investing. To add to the dilemma, Wall Street and Wall Street affiliated firms spend massive amounts of money pushing the newest and hottest investment-of-the-week. I think that it is important to realize that Wall Street’s goals and investors goals are not necessarily congruent.Of course, there has never been a shortage of scandals that have bedeviled Wall Street, and investors have generally ended up on the short end of the deal. Whether it was the recent financial meltdown that was a direct result of improper mortgage risk assessment by Wall Street bankers whose primary goal was to repackage the mortgages and sell them at a profit, as the recent credit evolved, or the never ending push to bring new, innovative, and profitable investments to the investing public, regardless of the welfare of the public. You must understand that Wall Street is dedicated to making money for its shareholders, and is definitely not worthy of investors blind trust.Against that backdrop, we must attempt to answer the question posed in the title of this article. What is the best investment strategy for every individual has to be considered on a case-by-case base. As a general rule of thumb, traditional thinking dictates that the farther you, as an investor, are from the time you will require the use of the money, the longer your investment horizon should range.But recent years have brought some change to that mode of thinking.Let me first issue a disclaimer, of sorts: I have been a long time institutional investor for most of my professional career. I was a swing trader in those days, and my trades ranged from one trading session to several weeks. In the last eight years I have narrowed the scope of my investing to primarily intraday trading, using scalping methodology. My average investment horizon is now about 15 minutes. Wow! That is a real change in investment thinking; but I am in all cash every night and I sleep like a baby.Where it 20 years ago, I would strongly recommend that younger investors take a long term approach to their investment strategy. I don’t feel that way anymore, for several reasons:- The ultra-fast dissemination of news through social media and traditional media has literally brought the world into our living rooms. By the same token, the markets receive data and react to that data nearly instantaneously. There can be no doubt that the rapid transmission of information across the globe has added a volatility component into the market that did not exist in prior decades.- Computer based trading programs, also called black box trading, and has had a profound effect on the price action of all highly liquid investments. High Frequency Trading (HFT) operators claim that, under current technology, they can execute 3,000 trades per minute. Further, the NYSE currently estimates that in the area of 50% of all trading fall under the category of HFT. This change of trend in trading has definitely affected the personality and performance of investment practices of the last 6-8 years.- Mutual funds, which are strictly longer term investment vehicles (excluding the ETF variety of mutual fund); have consistently underperformed their corresponding index returns with unprecedented uniformity. Last year, nearly 85% of all open end mutual funds failed to match their index benchmarks.Is long term investing dead?No, not necessarily. But the days of buying the current hot stock and then forgetting about it are long gone. Price volatility has driven the market to lavish highs and unprecedented lows, which has caused long term investing to be viewed as a far less attractive investment choice than in prior times.That is also my viewpoint.I manage my portfolio with a 2-year investment horizon. Given the current state of affairs in the world (two wars, the housing crisis, Japans nuclear issues, the euro crisis, the US economy), I am confident looking ahead only a couple of years, and the once vaunted USA economy cannot be counted on, at the present time, to churn out double digit returns. I feel this approach is well considered and realistic, given the current geo-political problems we are currently experiencing.So I have discouraged longer term investing, suggesting smaller investors concentrate on the intermediate term. I have taken the time to mention that I am interested in intraday (or, day trading) and most of my current investment (or trading) income comes from intraday trading. I prefer short term trading and about half of my portfolio in straight stock investing. I have outlined the reasons for this above. While short term investing takes a bit more time and effort than intermediate or long term investing, the rewards may be well worth the effort.In summary, we have taken some time to look at the pros and cons of long-term investing, intermediate investing, and short term investing. I have stated that in my current economic outlook, I am shunning long term investing in favor of investing with a shorter-term outlook.

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  • Emergency and Security Management: A Career of a Different Kind

    There is a whole field of career opportunities out there that most people don’t even realize exists. But it won’t be a secret for much longer.If you can keep a calm head in an emergency, are organized and detail-oriented, and can manage relationships, then a career in emergency management and security might be perfect for you.When an emergency of some kind happens, the people we usually see are the first responders – police, firefighters and paramedics. However, when a large event occurs, like a gas spill, a train derailment, a terrorist attack, a forest fire or an earthquake, there is a whole team of people running the show from behind the scenes. And that’s where the emergency management profession comes in.This field is one that very few people know about, so competition for jobs is low, and salaries tend to be high. The demand for qualified people to fill these positions is growing in an economy where many career fields are suffering. Why?Population increases mean more and more people are living in areas where a disaster is likely to occur – like near forest fire, flood and earthquake hazard zones. Climate change is also affecting the incidence of and locations of emergencies and is bringing the importance of emergency planning and response to light. We’re living in an age where domestic and international security concerns are high. And, there is a growing recognition of the need to implement solid business continuity practices to ensure businesses can weather emergencies and disasters.Who Are Emergency Managers? For many years, first responders were the same people who fulfilled behind-the-scenes roles as emergency managers. They juggled both the responsibilities of emergency management and their main job duties. They didn’t necessarily have specific training in the field, and because emergency management duties were “off the side of the desk,” they didn’t get the attention they deserved.Today, emergency and disaster response departments are discovering the advantages of appointing positions to strictly oversee the emergency management function – someone whose attention isn’t divided. This opens up a whole field of careers for people who aren’t first responders, but who would thrive in a job where they are just as instrumental in saving lives, preserving our environment, and protecting people and assets from disaster.What Are Some of the Jobs in this Field? Depending on your training, experience and education, there are several career paths you can take. The most common job titles include:

    Emergency Program Coordinator
    Disaster Planning Specialist
    Director of Safety and Security
    Manager of Security
    Business Continuity Specialist
    Risk Management SpecialistEmergency Program Coordinator: One career path is as an or emergency program coordinator for your local city or municipality. In this role, you will put together and update the community’s emergency plan, which will include an analysis of hazards and risks in the area, and strategies for prevention, mitigation, response and recovery. In layman’s terms, the plan will answer the following questions:

    What types of emergencies is my community vulnerable to? Are we located in an earthquake zone? Do many trains carrying hazardous materials run through our community? If it rains too much, are we vulnerable to mud slides?
    What strategies can we put in place to prevent emergencies from taking place altogether – or mitigate their effects if they do happen? Should we restrict building permits in mud slide areas? Clear dead trees in forest fire zones? Outline clear disaster response routes?
    How will the community manage the response if an emergency does occur? Where will we set up an Emergency Operations Centre (a location from which an emergency can be managed)? Who should be involved – do we need representatives from first response agencies, hydro, forestry, First Nations? How will they be trained and know how to work together?
    Where will the general public go if an emergency happens? Do we have a team of trained Emergency Social Services workers to ensure that receptions centres are set up and staffed?
    When the emergency is over, how will the community recover? Are many people, animals and businesses displaced? Has infrastructure, such as roads, hydro or railways been disrupted? Will we need to liaise with non-profit disaster organizations for recovery assistance?You will also be responsible for setting up and maintaining the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), developing relationships with individuals, businesses, and organizations in your community, and managing training and exercise programs. For example, during planning for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the City of Vancouver ran several exercises simulating emergency events that could happen. These exercises helped identify gaps in training or skills that could then be remedied prior to the event.Where Else Are Emergency Program Coordinators Employed? Today, you will find emergency management specialist positions in many organizations, including colleges, universities, hospitals, healthcare organizations, utility companies and private businesses like shopping centres and hotels. In these organizations the duties are similar – you still create the emergency management plan, develop relationships and arrange training and exercise programs – but the difference is that your main audience is not the residents of your community, but the staff, students, customers or tenants at your organization. Your job is to make sure plans are in place to protect your people and property before, during and after an emergency.An additional function in these positions is business continuity. Often, you will create a business continuity plan to ensure that key organizational functions can continue if a disaster occurs and you will be able to get business processes back up and running as soon as possible after an incident. For example, you may make plans to duplicate and store important computer data, such as student, customer or accounting records, at a secure second location – so if there is a fire, flood or other incident, you will still be able to access files. This role has become so important in recent years that some organizations hire specific business continuity specialist positions.Specialist Positions: In addition to the positions mentioned above, many larger communities employ specialized positions such as:

    Emergency Social Services Director
    Emergency Social Services Volunteer Coordinator
    Search and Rescue Manager
    Training Specialist
    Exercise Design CoordinatorAdditionally, many international not-for-profit organizations assist in helping communities respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. These organizations are numerous, ranging from well-known associations such as the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance to lesser known organizations focused on a specific area, such as large animal disaster response. Many rewarding career opportunities are available with these organizations, such as:

    Disaster Planning Assistant
    Disaster Relief Coordinator
    Volunteer CoordinatorThe Merging Fields of Emergency Management and Security So where does security come in? Historically, the fields of emergency management and security were separate. The emergency manager created plans around natural disasters and emergencies, whereas the security manager or director of safety and security would be responsible for keeping the campus, workplace or community safe from criminal activity. However, over the last 10 years, these fields have been merging, especially with private organizations, such as universities, hospitals, and utility and transportation companies.Today, many organizations have created departments that combine these functions. In other organizations the roles are combined.In addition to the emergency management functions described above, in these combined roles you can be expected to be in charge of or coordinate standard security functions, such as:

    Perimeter and building security systems and procedures
    Managing security guards
    Risk analysis and management
    Investigating criminal and other incidents and liaising with law enforcementHow Much Will I Make? Depending on your educational background and experience, you can expect to make between $36,000 and $110,000 annually. Recent high level job postings have reached as high as $140,000. Here are some typical salary ranges:

    Emergency program assistant with a private organization, university, hospital or government agency: $36,000 to $45,000 annually.
    Emergency coordinator, training coordinator, exercise design coordinator or business continuity specialist with a university, healthcare organization, private business, government agency or community: $45,000 to $65,000 annually.
    Emergency program manager with a small to medium-sized community: $60,000 to $90,000 annually.
    Manager of Security and Emergency Management for a university, hospital, utility company, or casino: $65,000 to $100,000 annually.
    Director of Emergency Management for a large city: $90,000 to $140,000 annually.What Kind of Education Do I Need? For emergency coordinator or training specialist roles, you should have a minimum of a Certificate in Emergency Management. You may also consider a specialist certificate in an area such as exercise design. For progressive roles, leadership roles or roles combining emergency management, business continuity and security functions, an academic diploma or bachelor degree is recommended.Where Can I Study? Emergency management and security programs are now offered at select universities and colleges across Canada. You can choose from certificate level programs that train you in basic skills, and diploma and bachelor degree programs, that can provide you with a strong base of management and leadership skills in addition to studies in emergency planning and business continuity. Some programs at the bachelor level even combine studies in emergency and security management to meet the job requirements of these merging fields. Some programs are offered on-site, while others are offered completely online.What Kind of Experience Do I Need? To qualify for an entry level position, often you will need the minimum of a certificate and some experience in communication, program coordination, volunteer coordination, office procedures or customer service. Here are some entry level roles that you can often take on a part-time basis, and will provide a valuable foundation in some basic functions:

    Customer Service Representative
    Communications Assistant
    Volunteer Coordinator
    Office Assistant
    Security GuardA great way to increase your chances of landing that first job is to volunteer with an organization involved in public safety or disaster response. Some organizations to consider are:

    Emergency Social Services
    Search and Rescue
    St. John’s Ambulance
    The Red Cross
    The Disaster Animal Response TeamA Career of a Different Kind If you’re outgoing, organized and enjoy analyzing information, putting plans together, developing relationships and making a difference, then a career in emergency management might be right for you. To explore this career option in more detail, visit the emergency management careers page, where you will find recent job postings.