الخميس، 23 فبراير 2012

Buddy Roemer to Seek Third-Party Presidential Nomination

Buddy Roemer to Seek Third-Party Presidential Nomination  

Buddy Roemer, the former Louisiana governor whose bid for the Republican presidential nomination has been largely ignored, announced Wednesday he will seek an independent ticket for the 2012 election.

In a statement, Roemer explained that he is abandoning his bid for the Republican nomination:

Tomorrow, I will formally end my bid for the GOP nomination for President of the United States. As the GOP and the networks host debate number twenty-something this evening, they have once again turned their backs on the democratic process by choosing to exclude a former Governor and Congressman.

Roemer said that he will seek the nomination of Americans Elect, a nonpartisan, third-party Internet effort that plans on applying for presidential ballot spots in all 50 states. The group will hold an Internet primary in June to determine their presidential candidate.

[See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

Roemer also intends to seek the nomination from the Reform Party, the party started by Ross Perot in 1995 whose members have included Jesse Ventura, Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader.

During his ill-fated GOP run, Roemer railed against the excessive spending of special interests and super PACs, refusing to accept individual donations over $100. He raised around $340,000 during the course of his campaign.

Roemer plans to promote the same message he has been discussing since the beginning of his presidential campaign, but it will now come with the backing of a different party.

"Together, we will take on the special interests that control our leaders and end the corruptive influence of money in politics so we can focus on America's top priority – jobs," Roemer said in Wednesday's statement.

Struggling Floridians line up for a chance to keep homes

Struggling Floridians line up for a chance to keep homes 

(Reuters) - Nearly 1,200 people lined up at a downtown Miami conference center on Wednesday, holding onto mortgage documents and income statements in the hope of saving the homes they are struggling to pay for.

Seated at rows of long tables were scores of loan processing agents for 19 lenders who hold 85 percent of the home mortgages in the south Florida market.

Over seven hours, the homeowners pleaded for loan modifications or other help under a variety of programs aimed at stabilizing the U.S. housing market and keeping struggling people in their homes.

Nearly one million U.S. homeowners have won permanent reductions in their mortgage payments since President Barack Obama's administration launched a foreclosure prevention program in 2009, the U.S. Treasury said earlier this month.

That was far short of the administration's initial projections that the Home Affordable Mortgage Program or HAMP would help up to four million homeowners stay in their homes.

The program, recently extended through 2013, provides incentives for lenders who work with borrowers to lower monthly payments and interest rates, and allow homeowners to sell the homes for less than they are worth or give back the deeds in lieu of foreclosure.

It also provides temporary mortgage assistance to the unemployed and helps owners move into cheaper rental units when their only choice is to give up homes they can no longer afford.

Some of those at the Miami event had lost their jobs or seen their income plunge during the economic downturn. Others fell behind on payments due to illness and medical bills, or refinanced their homes to take out equity during the peak of the housing bubble, only to see values come crashing down when the bubble burst.

"Everybody has a different story about why they're struggling with their mortgage," said Andrea Risotto, a spokeswoman with the Treasury Department's Homeownership Preservation Office, one of the sponsors.

It was the 64th "Free Help for Homeowners" event put on by the Obama administration and the 11th in Florida, where nearly 12 percent of mortgaged homes are in foreclosure, the highest rate in the nation.

More than 17 percent of Florida mortgage-holders are 90 days late in their payments, also the highest in the nation, according to a CoreLogic report earlier this month.

Across the United States, 3.4 percent of homes are in foreclosure and 7.3 percent of mortgage holders are three months or more behind in their payments.


All those numbers have been shrinking as the housing market slowly rebounds. The crowds at mortgage-mending events like the one in Miami have also shrunk since peaking in 2009. Then 2,800 homeowners turned up at one in Atlanta, said Brad Dwin, a spokesman for another of the event's sponsors, the Hope Now Alliance.

Risotto estimated that one-fourth of those in attendance would qualify for loan modifications, and the rest would at least have clarity about their status and their next step.

That clarity was too much for one middle-aged woman who emerged from the meeting and collapsed in tears. She was led out, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief and holding tight to a sheaf of paperwork.

Robin and Michael Johnson left with smiles and smaller monthly payments on the house they bought for $36,000 in 1982. They said they would have had it paid off this year except the couple "fell for a refinancing" during the boom years and ended up with a $180,000 debt. They fell behind in the payments when Michael Johnson lost his job two years ago.

"I am so, so thankful, very relieved," said his wife, Robin.


Elena Hernandez and Ana Balmaseda are eight months behind on the mortgage for the four-bedroom home they bought in 2006 for $450,000. They recently saw a similar home in the neighborhood sell for $280,000.

They are insurance agents whose income dropped when the economy crashed. They submitted their information to a lender on Wednesday and were told they would find out within 30 days whether they qualify for a modification, but were skeptical.

"Nobody qualifies for those programs unless you're living under a bridge already," Hernandez said.

A man who gave his name only as Fred said he was leaving with a clear plan for whittling down his $309,000 mortgage.

"They were able to tell me what to do," said the broadcast engineer who has owned his home for 14 years but has struggled since losing his $150,000 a-year-job. "This has to be cut down to size."

Fred, 57, said he has two work contracts pending and hoped to resume bringing in money soon to help support the household that grew to 10 people when his daughter divorced and moved home with her four children.

"Thank God my wife is still working. She's been supporting all of us," he said.

Beverly, 48, left resigned to losing the home she and her husband bought seven years ago for $350,000. They had top-notch credit, refinanced during the boom, "which just made things worse," then lost their jobs in the health insurance industry, she said.

The couple kept making payments for a year an a half, until they exhausted their savings, she said. They now owe $465,000, aren't eligible for a loan modification and plan to stay in the home "until they tell us we are out. I don't have anywhere else to go," she said.

Irmine and Therman Butts left with the good news that they qualify for a payment reduction that should be final within 30 days. He is a chef who works two jobs and she is a teacher whose income dropped by $20,000 when she was ordered into bed rest during a difficult pregnancy. That cost her a spot as director of an after-school program.

The couple borrowed from their retirement funds and charged up their credit cards. "We're barely making it now," said Irmine Butts, now the mother of a healthy 3-year-old daughter.

They bought their condominium for $180,000 in early 2007, and have seen similar units sell recently for about $35,000, but are optimistic about receiving a loan modification.

"This is like a real cloud and now the sun has come up," Therman Butts said.

Auto lenders give easier terms, cheaper money

Auto lenders give easier terms, cheaper money 

(Reuters) - U.S. lenders made more auto loans in the most recent quarter, but took more risks and charged less interest to get the business, according to a report released on Thursday by credit reporting and market information firm Experian Automotive.

Outstanding car loans increased nearly 4 percent to $658 billion at the end of December from a year earlier as borrowers financed larger amounts per car and lenders accepted lower credit scores and gave people more time to pay.

The expanded lending and easier credit came with evidence that the economic recovery is benefitting banks and borrowers alike: delinquency rates declined and the amount of loans at risk fell by nine percent, according to Experian.

"Lenders are clearly on much more solid ground than they were two or three years ago," said Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive lending at the unit of Experian plc.

With consumer demand weak for other types of loans and banks flush with deposits to lend, competition has increased as interest rates on car loans have fallen to the lowest levels since at least 2008. The average rate for loans to buy new cars was 4.52 percent in the last three months of 2011, down from 4.84 percent a year earlier. For used cars, the average rate was 8.68 percent, down from 8.71 percent.

Capital One Financial Corp and Bank of America Corp were among banks taking market share while manufacturer-based lenders at Toyota and Honda were among those that lost share, the report showed.

Lenders have adopted "more aggressive strategies" to win business, which is benefitting borrowers, Zabritski said.

Average credit scores fell for the second year in a row. For buyers of the new cars, the score was down six points last year to 761, a prime level. For used cars the score was down nine points to down 670, a subprime level. The portion of all loans made to subprime borrowers rose to 41.5 percent from 38.4 percent.

Lenders made loans for an average 110 percent of the value of new cars, which was two percentage points, and for 130 percent of the value of used cars, about the same as a year earlier. The average amount financed for new cars was $17,404 and for used cars $9,015.

Loans giving borrowers more than six years to repay surged by nearly 50 percent to 14.1 percent of the total for new cars, the report said.

Ally Financial Inc was the top lender, with 6.79 percent of the market for all vehicle loans. Ally, the former financing arm of General Motors that is 74 percent owned by the U.S. government as a result bailouts, has shifted its emphasis toward financing used cars. The company nearly doubled its share of the used car loan market to 4.25 percent, second only to Wells Fargo & Co, according to the report.

Analysis: Can U.S. economy withstand gasoline price curse?

Analysis: Can U.S. economy withstand gasoline price curse? 

(Reuters) - Could history repeat itself? That is a question uppermost in the minds of many Americans as they warily watch gasoline prices at the pump rise week after week.

After all, a spike in gasoline prices early last year helped nearly knock the economy back into recession.

The answer, economists say, is that this time is different: the recovery is in far better shape to absorb the blow.

"This is the dark cloud in an otherwise brightening domestic economic picture. It's something we need to watch right now, but not panic about yet," said Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds in New York.

U.S. gas prices have jumped 8.8 percent since the start of this year, according to the Energy Information Agency, topping an average of $3.65 a gallon in the week through Monday. This is a record for this time of the year when prices are usually on the low side because of slow seasonal demand.

Early last year, a combination of strong gasoline prices in the wake of the so-called Arab spring uprisings and disruptions to motor vehicle production after a devastating earthquake in Japan put the brakes on U.S. growth.

Although gasoline prices are 41 cents higher than they were at this time last year, there are no supply-chain problems disrupting factory production and winter this year has been unseasonably warm, giving the economy a mild stimulus.

"Fortunately the U.S. economy is on an upswing, not strong but on the way up. It's in a better shape to deal with the oil prices," said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State University Channel Island. "We don't have the Japanese tsunami to worry about, business and consumer confidence have improved, and the job market is growing nicely."


Recent data ranging from employment to manufacturing have been solid, leading economists to temper their expectations of a sharp slowdown in U.S. economic growth in the current quarter.

The brightening outlook has helped support oil prices, although the main driver appears to be fear that a confrontation between Western nations and Iran could end up disrupting oil supplies. U.S. crude prices hit a more than nine-month high at $106.72 a barrel during trading on Wednesday.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the main Gulf oil shipping lane, in response to sanctions aimed at getting Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. Western nations say the program is aimed at developing weapons; Tehran says it's peaceful.

Although U.S. gasoline prices have jumped, economists take comfort in the fact that the pace of the increase has not been as rapid as it was in 2011. Gasoline prices peaked at about $4.02 a gallon in May last year, not far from the all-time high of $4.16 a gallon reached in July 2008.

The rise in gasoline prices poses a threat to both inflation and growth. It acts as a tax on households, which are already strained by weak income growth, and will likely pull spending away from non-energy goods and services.

So far, the pinch has been tempered by falling prices for natural gas. Natural gas prices dropped 2.9 percent in January, their fourth straight monthly decline.

"Roughly one-third of the gasoline spike has been offset by lower natural gas prices," said Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist at Deutsche Bank in New York. Other economists say the impact could be even greater.

Still, a sustained increase could complicate the task of the Federal Reserve. Officials who may want to come to the economy's aid with more stimulus could think twice if there is upward inflation pressure.

"If we get caught in an environment of steadily rising gasoline prices, that will put them in a bind," said Anthony Karydakis, chief economist at Commerzbank in New York.

"On the one hand they will be looking at the risk of a cool down in the economy again and on the other they will be looking at the risk of rising prices."


Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina, said even at $4 a gallon, gasoline would not push the economy into recession on its own, although it would eat up the benefit of the recent extension of the payroll tax cut, which is expected to provide $1,000 in relief to the average family this year.

"If that is the only thing to happen I don't think that will turn us back into recession," he said.

Last year when prices breached the $4 a gallon mark, they stayed there for only three weeks. Economists argue that if they were to rise that high this year, households would likely view the increase as temporary and dip into savings to fund purchases.

A strengthening in the labor market, which has enjoyed two straight months of solid job gains, is also seen helping to support spending.

But higher gas prices do present a fresh headwind that increases the economy's vulnerability to other shocks.

"Remember a car that's going at 20 miles a hour is easier to stop than a car that is going 60 miles an hour, and the U.S. economy is going at 20 miles. That makes us a bit vulnerable to a pause," said OppenheimerFunds' Webman.

More U.S. kids living in high-poverty areas: study

More U.S. kids living in high-poverty areas: study

(Reuters) - Years of economic setbacks have taken their toll on the nation's youngest residents, with another 1.6 million children living in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to one study that shows nearly 8 million children residing in poor areas in 2010.

In 2000, 6.3 million children lived in high poverty in the United States, a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found.

The growth - a 25 percent increase - reverses the trend just a decade ago that saw fewer children living in communities with high poverty rates, according to the nonprofit group.

And three-quarters of those children live in such areas despite having at least one parent working, the study showed.

The findings reflect the hit the U.S. economy took during and after the 2007-2009 recession even as signs now point to steady recovery. The nation's jobs market has improved, the number of home sales has grown and recent gains on Wall Street have prompted optimism among investors.

"The recession has really set back much of the progress that was made in the 1990s when poverty went down," Robert Sampson, a professor of social sciences at Harvard University and head of the Social Sciences Program at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and data at the foundation, said the data is a key indicator because the poverty children face growing up can have a direct impact on their success as adults.

"Their families have a harder time providing for basic necessities like good housing, being able to access health insurance and good quality health care," Speer said. "Kids who attend schools that are in low-income communities ... tend to struggle in school in lots of different ways."

The foundation, which focuses on children and family issues, gathered the data looking at U.S. Census data from 2010, the latest year available.

The study defined high-poverty communities as those areas where 30 percent or more are in poverty, defined by the federal government in 2010 as annual income of less than $22,314 for a family of four.


Still, while many experts say the effects on children and families who themselves are poor is clear, the impact of poor neighborhoods is still an area of debate.

"I think the geographic dimension is less understood or well known," said Harvard's Sampson, author of "Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect," a book based on 10 years of research.

The recession has exacerbated children's exposure to poverty, and his research shows it can set back their learning the equivalent of a year, he said. That can be difficult to change, Sampson said, and policies need to target both individuals and communities.

"Neighborhoods get locked into the poverty," he said.

Greg Duncan, an education professor at the University of California, Irvine, said when it comes to "the double whammy of both family poverty and neighborhood poverty" the data is far less clear on the impact of where people live.

"How much that really effects how kids turn out when they are adults - that is still somewhat contentious," he said.

But, he added, "we worry about both what it means for kids, what it means for the next generation of workers, what it means for the nation's future prosperity."

Lawrence Mead, a professor of politics and public policy at New York University, said the rise in children living in poverty is dramatic, but that their environment is less a factor than whether their parents work and whether both parents are at home.

"The environment outside the home doesn't add a whole," said Mead, who is also a visiting scholar at the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute.

The foundation's Speer said the effect of living in a poor community varies depending on whether it is in a more isolated rural one or an urban area. Overall, the report found children living in rural areas and large cities were considerably more likely than youth in the suburbs to live in concentrated poverty.

States with the highest rates of children living in poor areas are Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona.

Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, Milwaukee, Fresno and Atlanta showed the highest rates of children living in areas of concentrated poverty among the 50 largest U.S. cities.

BP, Anadarko liable for U.S. spill damages

BP, Anadarko liable for U.S. spill damages 

(Reuters) - BP Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp are liable for civil damages under federal pollution laws over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a U.S. judge ruled, exposing them to billions of dollars in potential fines.

Wednesday's decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans allows the U.S. government to pursue civil penalties at a trial he is scheduled to oversee beginning on February 27.

BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said in a statement the oil company has paid out more than $8 billion in claims, and repeated its commitment to pay "all legitimate claims" and help economic and environmental restoration along the Gulf coast.

Anadarko did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barbier also said Transocean Ltd may be liable for some cleanup costs, but the owner of the exploded Deepwater Horizon drilling rig called the decision a "vital win" that limited its potential liability.

In his decision, Barbier said BP and Anadarko are liable under the Clean Water Act for oil discharged beneath the water surface because they owned a respective 65 percent and 25 percent of the Macondo well that blew out.

The judge ruled that BP and Anadarko are also liable under the Oil Pollution Act for oil removal costs and damages. He said their liability under both laws is "joint and several," meaning that each could be responsible for the entire amount owed.

"Anadarko and BP were the ones directly engaged in the enterprise which caused the spill," Barbier wrote.

"If Congress envisioned that the owner of the offshore facility would have to respond to an oil spill such as this one, then it is logical that they would also be the party upon whom the civil penalty is imposed," he added.

Barbier also said Transocean may qualify under the Clean Water Act as an "operator" of an offshore facility, but there were "disputed facts" as to whether it did. He also said Transocean may be liable under the Oil Pollution Act for oil removal costs, but not the subsurface discharge of oil.

Transocean spokesman Brian Kennedy in a statement called the decision "a vital win for Transocean and for the long-term viability of the industry's operator-contractor model."

Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said that agency is reviewing the decision.

Anadarko agreed in October to pay BP $4 billion to settle claims between the companies over the spill.

In exchange, BP agreed to indemnify Anadarko for most spill-related costs, though Anadarko remained liable for its share of fines payable to the government.

The Clean Water Act lets the government seek fines of up to $1,100 per barrel of oil spilled, or $4,300 per barrel if gross negligence or willful misconduct is found.

Assuming 4.1 million barrels were spilled as the government contends, that could result in a penalty of $4.5 billion, and potentially $17.6 billion if there were gross negligence.

Barbier declined to rule that BP and Anadarko could face unlimited liability under the Oil Pollution Act, as the government requested.

The April 20, 2010 rig explosion caused 11 deaths, and led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP is based in London; Anadarko in The Woodlands, Texas; and Transocean in Vernier, Switzerland.

The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 10-md-02179.

Virginia Gov. shifts on abortion bill; revised measure Virginia Gov. shifts on abortion bill; revised measure

Virginia Gov. shifts on abortion bill; revised measure 

(Reuters) - Virginia's Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday abruptly shifted his stance on a hotly-contested bill requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound, asking lawmakers to revise the legislation just before a scheduled vote.

Virginia's House of Delegates by a vote of 65-32 approved the revised bill, which calls for women to undergo an abdominal ultrasound but not necessarily a more invasive internal one as required under the original measure. Whether the Senate will now follow suit remains in doubt.

Satirized by television comedians and savaged by opponents, the original version of the bill supported by McDonnell drew a large crowd of protesters to the state capital in Richmond earlier this week.

A petition sent to McDonnell urging him to veto the bill contained more than 33,000 signatures, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene.

At the last minute, McDonnell, an abortion opponent and possible contender for vice president, withdrew his support and asked for changes to the bill.

"Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state," McDonnell said.

"I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily."

The approved legislation would require a woman to undergo a non-invasive ultrasound, and she would have the option to choose or decline a more invasive probe if deemed necessary by a doctor. Under the original bill, a woman would have been compelled to have the more invasive probe.

The revised measure also would require that women be given the opportunity to view the fetal ultrasound image prior to an abortion.

After the governor's about-face, Democrats on the House floor sought to build on the momentum by calling for the bill to be killed entirely.

"You're mandating not only a completely unnecessary procedure, but a useless one," Democratic Delegate Jennifer McClellan said.

Other Democrats pressed for more time to study the new measure.

"We got this statement from the governor a half hour ago that he doesn't like the old bill, and he's instructing the General Assembly to come up with something new," Democratic Delegate David Toscano said.

"We need to be spending a bit of time on this bill," he said. "We shouldn't be playing doctor on the House floor."

While Virginia House Republicans prevailed and the amended bill passed, its future in the Senate is in question.

Republican Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, the bill's sponsor, announced on Wednesday that she planned to strike the bill entirely when it comes up for review in her chamber, according to the lawmaker's assistant.

Six other states have passed laws requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion and give the woman an opportunity to view the image, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health issues.

While most of those states allow women to decline to view the image, Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina require women to hear the provider's verbal description of the ultrasound.

The laws in Oklahoma and North Carolina are temporarily unenforceable, pending court challenges. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit cleared the way for enforcement of the Texas law in January.

الاثنين، 20 فبراير 2012

make money with ClixSense

Click Here to Join for Free 

ClixSense is a get paid-to-click ads, also known as PTC (Paid To Click) site. It has been around since 2007 and is considered as one of most trusted in PTC arena.
Clixsense is free to join and a great money maker, specially if you get involved. By getting involved, I mean start using most if not all of the techniques I have outlined in this site and start promoting. The key to make good money with Clixsense are the referrals, and yes this is a MLM program, 8 levels deep – unlimited width.

You get paid by clicking on ads that are posted every day. In general, there are about 10ads posted every day and you can make money by clicking each of them and watching the ad for few seconds.

There is also a paid member ship option for $14.95 an year. In addition to making money through clicking ads, you also get paid 20 cents for every member who joins using your affiliate link, once they click on 20 ads. If your referral upgrades to yearly premium membership, then you get paid $2.
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ClixSense is one of the very few GPA sites that complies with paypal terms and uses it as a payout option to its members. If nothing else, this alone should tell you something about the credibility of the program. The minimum payout is set to $10, if you need to get paid through paypal. One of the fastest ways to earn more money is by referring people and encouraging them to upgrade to premium membership as it pays more money per ad and there are always more ads to click per day.

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السبت، 18 فبراير 2012

Guitar Tuning And How To Tune A Guitar

Guitar Tuning And How To Tune A Guitar

Guitar Tuning And How To Tune A Guitar:
There are many different ways to approach guitar tuning. We'll touch on a couple of the more effective methods on how to tune a guitar. Not necessarily the most popular as some methods, though extensively used, are considered 'bad habits' rather than genuine, effective guitar tuning alternatives.

The guitar standard tuning is as follows:

STRING - 6th String (bottom, bass, low) NOTE - E
5th String - A
4th String - D
3rd String - G
2nd String - B
1st String (top, treble, high) - E

Tips For Any Guitar Tuning Method

First, lets cover a few things that every player should know when taking the proper approach to guitar tuning and how to learn to tune guitar.

Learn to attach the strings to the machine heads properly. Never try to tune down to a note. Stretch the strings and tune up to the note. Tuning heads have a certain amount of 'play' in them so make a couple of deep bends and then fine tune the string. Before tuning a suspect string, check it against both adjacent strings to determine which string is actually out of tune. The string you suspect may not even be the culprit. When tuning a guitar with a vibrato arm, tune the string, give the arm a good shake, stretch the string, give the arm another shake and fine tune. 

Veterans of guitar playing will already know these things so if you're a beginner and just learning to play the guitar, you're already ahead of the game if you implement these practices into your routine. For a great tool visit http:/
Here's A Quick Method For Guitar Tuning

Tune the treble (high) E string to an A440 tuning fork by holding your finger on the 5th fret, then tune the open B string to the open treble E string – listening to the interval of a fourth. It's easy to hear the fourth in that register.

Play the A note fretted at the 2nd fret of the G string, and compare it to the open treble E string – you're listening for a perfect fifth interval.

Fret the 2nd fret E note on the D string and compare it to the treble E string open. Double check this by fretting the E note on the 14th fret of the D string.

Now tune the 7th fret harmonic on the A string (an E note) to the open treble E string.

Finally, tune the 5th fret harmonic on the bass E string to the open treble E string. 

This is a simple guitar tuning method that works well.

الثلاثاء، 14 فبراير 2012

How to Define a Project

How to Define a Project

Before we start there are a number of definitions we need to be clear about. These relate to the type of person needed to manage the work and understanding what a project plan is. 

Project Manager: 

A project manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which is cost, time, and scope. 

A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized. 

In effect the Project Manager oversees the project but does not become involved in the physical doing of the work. 

Project Management Office: 

The Project Management Office (PMO) in a business or professional enterprise is the department or group that defines and maintains the standards of process, generally related to project management, within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution. 

A good PMO will base project management principles on accepted, industry standard methodologies such as PMBOK or PRINCE2. Increasingly influential industry certification programs such as ISO9000 and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) as well as government regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley have propelled organizations to standardize processes. Organizations around the globe are defining, borrowing and collecting best practices in process and project management and are increasingly assigning the PMO to exert overall influence and evolution of thought to continual organizational improvement. 

Interim Manager: 

Interim management is the temporary provision of management resources and skills. Interim management can be seen as the short-term assignment of a proven heavyweight interim executive manager to manage a period of transition, crisis or change within an organization. In this situation, a permanent role may be unnecessary or impossible to find on short notice. Additionally, there may be nobody internally who is suitable for, or available to take up, the position in question. 

In effect the Interim Manager physically does the work and acts as both the designer and implementer. 

Project Plan: 

A project plan, according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, is 

"...a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. The primary uses of the project plan are to document planning assumptions and decisions, facilitate communication among stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A project plan may be summary or detailed." 

PRINCE2 defines "...a statement of how and when a project's objectives are to be achieved, by showing the major products, milestones, activities and resources required on the project." 

At a minimum, a project plan answers basic questions about the project: 

• Why? - What is the problem or value proposition addressed by the project? Why is it being sponsored? 

• What? - What is the work that will be performed on the project? What are the major products/deliverables? 

• Who? - Who will be involved and what will be their responsibilities within the project? How will they be organized? 

• When? - What is the project timeline and when will particularly meaningful points, referred to as milestones, be complete? 

Project Schedule: 

A detailed plan of major project phases, milestones, activities, tasks and the resources allocated to each task. The most common representation of the project schedule is in a Gantt Chart. A typical PM tool is Microsoft Project which can depict the project as a Gantt chart. 

The aim of this article is to understand the different key areas of a supply chain project and what is involved in each. 

The key areas are:- 

1. Deliverables 

2. Timeframe vs. Costs 

3. Resources 

4. Management Structure 

5. Responsibilities / Escalation Process 

6. Documentation 

7. Work Streams 

8. Milestones 

9. Dependencies 

10. Schedule 

11. Dashboard 

12. Visibility 

1. Deliverables 

The project deliverables have normally been outlined by the business and may cover multiple aspects of the Supply Chain / Logistics operations. The deliverable can either be linked to the business case or can be redefined by the PM to clearly outline what is expected and by when. This should then be presented to the project sponsor and signed off. 

This document will be referred to during the life of the project and may change. If changes are made they need to be recorded and signed off by the project sponsor. 

2. Timeframe vs. Costs 

Projects differ in their key requirements. Timeframes may have been set to achieve the end result and cost, although important, is not the key driver. In other cases the cost in implementing the project is key and the business can live with slippage in the timeframe. 

Clearly understand what the criteria are and document them for they will change and potentially cause friction within the management team. 

3. Resources 

Most large projects require the PM to manage the project in the true sense and not to become involved in doing the work. Please note this does not abrogate the PM’s responsibility to oversee the validity of work undertaken by others. 

The PM should agree, with project sponsors, work stream Owners and work stream Implementers. 

Project stream owners are fully responsible for managing the design, resourcing, implementation and successful completion of each sub work stream. 

Project Stream Implementers are responsible to the work stream Owners for all aspects of the sub work streams. 

4. Management Structure 

Clearly define the management structure for the project. Appoint a core working group and define the reporting between this group and the main board. 

5. Responsibilities / Escalation Process 

Core Working Group 

To be made up of a senior person from each business area that is involved in the overall project. See Work Streams for further details. 

Project Steering Group 

To be made up of key board members. 

The Core working group will meet as and when required as defined by the PM. The Project Steering Group should meet fortnightly on set immovable dates where the PM and any invited Core Working Group members report to the Steering Group. The Steering Group will report to the main board. 

Escalation of issues will be through the Steering Group 

6. Documentation 

There are numerous types of pre set documentation which can be used but the following are the minimum. 

• Definition of Business Objectives 

• Meetings Log 

• Project Milestones 

• Meeting Notes (with ACTIONS) 

• Issues Log (Current problems to be resolved) 

• Risks Logs (Problems that might happen) 

• Contacts 

• Gantt Chart 

7. Work Streams 

Warehouse Operations 

Owner: Ops Director 

Work Stream: IT / IS 

Owner: IT / IS Director 

Work Stream: Manufacturing 

Owner: Manufacturing Director 

Work Stream: HR 

Owner: HR Director 

Work Stream: Transport 

Owner: Transport Director 

Work Stream: Legal 

Owner: Company Sec 

Work Stream: Finance 

Owner: Finance Director 

Work Stream: Purchasing 

Owner: Purchasing Director 

Each key work stream area has an owner who has overall responsibility for each sub work stream. The work stream owner is responsible for allocating sub work stream implementers. 

Work streams are identified by the PM and the Work Stream Owner and in put to the Microsoft Plan to produce a Gantt chart. The sub work streams will be verified by the work stream owner and his implementers will fully populate the Gantt chart with the PM. 

8. Milestones 

Define the project milestones with the steering group. Complete a milestone chart showing date, milestone and a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) status flag. Set milestones into Gantt chart. 

9. Dependencies 

Complete a detailed dependencies chart across all areas of the business showing how they are related and what the relationship is. An example chart is set out below. 

10. Schedule 

The schedule is in fact a Gantt chart. This is generated by software such as Microsoft Project and is in effect a list of all project components, linked and with dates attached. If one date changes then it recalculates the project end date and highlights all issues with related sub work streams. 

This tool is important and does not represent the be all and end all of any project. It is a guide and cannot contain everything. 

11. Dashboard 

A project dashboard is used to manage all of the actions that are agreed to in meetings. One of the key issues in project is sub work stream implementers not keeping to their actions or dates. 

The dashboard is a monitoring tool where all actions are added and is monitored weekly to make sure all actions are being processed in time. Example of the headings below. 

13. Visibility 

Do not enclose the project in a cloak of secrecy. Make it as visible as possible within the business constraints. Consider utilising a shared system drive to hold all project files and making them available to all. Perhaps a “SharePoint” option would also suffice.