Viral Marketing And The Search For The Holy Grail

These days when I turn on the news there is an 80% chance that a reporter will have a clip from YouTube on his or her show. Sometimes it's a funny clip about kids doing crazy stunts, or a blooper of some notable TV on-air personality. The viral nature of the Internet is such that we can now count on viral marketing as a viable way to promote products and services.

That doesn't mean that you're going get a hit every time. It means that when planning an online strategy, be sure to include viral marketing in the mix.

1: Viral marketing has to incite strong emotion

The greatest effect of viral videos now is comedy. Intense laughter will prompt the viewer to take the action to pass on the video or program. Sometimes the work is shocking or sexy. The work has to pull the viewer into a different state than the one they were in prior to watching the piece. People love to be grossed out, sexually stimulated, horrified, brought to tears; laugh intensely, or in some cases, scared witless.

Viral marketing is not for everyone. The material is not going to make sense to everyone. The real beauty of viral marketing that the folks who love your piece, will send it to people who they know will love it too.

2: The element of surprise is the key to great viral marketing.

I saw a clip about a dancer doing Michael Jackson moves and doing so quite well. The British judges were impressed. That wasn't the kicker; that was the setup. Soon a rotund cleaning person enters the stage and interrupts the dancer. The judges are surprised and before you know it there's an altercation on the stage. What happens next is the unexpected part. No, I'm not going to tell you; check it out yourself on Youtube.

That's the power of viral marketing. I sent this one to everyone on my email list that loves American Idol.

3: Viral videos are entertainment spots... period.

When was the last time you saw a really good viral video that featured the product or service of the company that produced it? You might remember the company, but chances are you'll never see the product in the video. The most effective viral video makers know that the product will distract from the effectiveness of the piece. No one wants to think about the features, advantages and benefits of a product when they are experiencing an intense emotional shift.

4: It's about branding at this point, not selling.

A crucial point to remember is that you aren't selling anything here. You are using emotion to brand your image. You are taking a slice of the market and making them work for you. The point of making your viral video is to get others to enthusiastically move it along. The temptation to sell is great but you will fail. Don't even bother.

5: Make it easy to access, easy to download and easy to pass along.

Your work needs to be like a piece of candy. You can't make it difficult for people to find. Make sure that your video is accessible and downloadable. You've got to keep the download time on the program or video low and the file as small as possible.

So you get a hot viral video going and people are checking it out on MySpace TV and YouTube. The people are eating it up and loving it. They are passing it around like candy. So what's next? If you don't have something for them right there and then to keep their interest, you've lost them. You've got to have a follow-up. You're like a comedian on a good night. If you've only got one joke, you're sunk.

Take the time to plan your viral strategy for maximum effect. Have a follow up video or some out-takes or perhaps a making of or back story. The worst kind of publicity to have is the kind that catches you off guard. You'll need to be prepared for success.

If the viral campaign does not take off, don't give up study the effects, do a little more research. Were you original and innovative or were you imitating some other campaign? Were you playing it safe or was it bad timing?

There are a million reasons for not succeeding in a viral program, a lot depends on your intended market and your subject matter. Hey, if it was easy; everyone would be millionaires. Don't give up.

Cockatiels As Pets - Best Practices to Prepare Yourself For New Cockatiel at Home

One of the popular birds preferred for a pet is the cockatiel. Pet enthusiasts have given consideration on cockatiels as pets primarily because of these birds' behavior and qualities. They are also known as little parrots with diverse color patterns and of course, a crest. Cockatiels are attractive, easy-to-tame and affable. With their size, some are convinced that they are easy to handle.

Any pet aficionado will adore raising cockatiels as pets because they simply are entertaining because of their specially ability in mimicking speech that they hear or taught upon. Quite the opposite, these birds are comparatively good in whistling several melodies that they either hear from or get taught as well. With these, you now know what type of talking parrots appear in some shows.

Should you choose cockatiels as pets, single out a hand-fed cockatiel that you can also supervise regularly. The prices of cockatiels differ depending on its color. Well, you can expect to shell out more amount of money for a cockatiel from decent breeders than getting from a pet store. But then, any expenditure of a good handled cockatiel is worth it.

Cockatiels as pets are obtainable from pet shops. Preferably, choose an active one. A cockatiel which quietly sits might be feeling sick and should be passed up by buyers. Their feathers should be supple, shiny and lays flat on their body. Feathers should be clean and dry. Look at their feet as their feet scales ought to be smooth. Their nails and nostrils must be in great condition and their beak should be well-shaped.

A proper cockatiel cage is another major thing to think about cockatiels as pets. Because of their playfulness, they have to be endowed with an ample-spaced cage. It should be at a minimum of 26 inches height and 20x20 inches width. Its spacing should not go over æ inches. Horizontal cages regularly provide a great way them to keep fit and climb perches. Few spaces should be provided as perches.

Cockatiels as pets entail giving suitable nourishment. Bird seeds are beneficial aspects of a cockatiel's diet. The problem is that they have high fat content. So, seeds must be given moderately. Experts can suggest a mere 30% of it. Conversely, pelleted diets are typically fine choices for birds as they are balanced and best of all, birds don't pick a favorite seed to eat a favorite kernel then just put down the remaining seeds.

Is The Church Asleep?

The church continues to get defined by society. An argument can be created against this concept, but never won.

Men in Ministry, look at the church in Acts, which is the church as handed to us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is defined right here in this book and not meant to change.

  1. We are told to wait to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples waited for 10 days unified, praying together in a room for the Holy Spirit. We should agree that unity and prayer brings the power of the Holy Spirit.

  2. The church's first move was to testify to the public what Jesus had done. The power from the Holy Spirit is vast as evidenced first in a simple but bold message, which resulted in 3,000 people accepting Jesus and being baptized.

  3. They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer. They held everything in common. They studied the Bible; they shared all their experiences; they ate together and they prayed.

  4. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need.

  5. Every day they continued to meet together. They ate in each other's homes. They were glad and had sincere hearts, praising God. They took care of the needy they met with sincerity. They did not lie to each other-no gossip, either-and they were cheerful. They praised God. God added to their number daily. (The church grew every day.)

  6. God performed miracles through them all the time. They used the miracles to bluntly testify in the love of the Lord and more were added to their number. When was the last time your touch healed someone?

  7. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.They Prayed and were refilled with the Holy Spirit. When was the last time the ground shook during a church prayer meeting?

  8. The apostles continued to testify.

  9. God's grace was so powerfully at work in them, there were no needy persons among them. God provided for every need. There was so much purity, sin had no place, to the point that when Ananias and his wife lied, they died. Sin cannot live in the presence of God! Fear seized the entire church. Does the fear of the Lord exist in the church today?

  10. The Apostles continued to heal every day.

  11. When the disciples worshipped in the colonnade, no one else would enter.

  12. The apostles appointed men from the complaining faction to serve the people while they focused on testifying and preaching the Word. When there is a need for ministry work, the congregation should step up to do the work. How is this working in the church today?

So what is the elephant in the room? The church has slowly lost all its effectiveness because it has slowly stopped doing what it was created to do: Study the Word, Praise God, Pray, Fellowship, Evangelize, take care of the needy, meet continually in homes and the gathering place, and tithe.

Men in Ministry, the church looks like society: can you imagine a person lying to a pastor and dropping dead? Why doesn't that happen? Is there so much sin in the church that one more sin does not make any difference? Has the Gospel been watered down? Our acceptance of a watered down Gospel and sin in the church is supporting the slow decline of the church. How many people actually pray and study the Bible everyday?

If you put the frog in the water and warm it slowly, the frog will enjoy himself swimming and splashing until it is cooked.

It is not too late. II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Let us pray.

The Freeconomics of Online Media

Phil Bronstein, San Francisco Chronicle editor-at-large, said during the 2008 AlwaysOn media summit at Stanford that if he "could collect a buck every time anyone says 'monetize,' I wouldn't need any more money." But Internet users have come to expect free content. So, how will online media companies transform "free" into revenue? Nobody really knows-not even Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who refers to Web-based content profits as the Holy Grail.

How to cash in on the vast online audience for music, videos, news and other content? Media companies launching new online products find themselves weighing whether to build a subscription-based audience, charge on a pay-per-play basis, or rely on ad revenue. Online marketers tread the thin line between "free" and "fee" daily. For some strategies on converting the freeconomics of online media into monetization, here are three pieces worth a look:

Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business. Read what Wired's Editor-in-Chief Chris Andersen is thinking about free, in his blog and upcoming 2009 book on the subject.

"Let them eat chocolate." A Duke University case study on the power of that emotional hot button: free.

When Access was Free. A look back at 1999, when Netzero offered its Internet access service for free.

The Po!nt: Monetize with care. Judging the value of "free vs paid" offers online, in terms of their ultimate ROI, is a tightrope walk.

John McCain got people talking when he aired an ad that compared Barack Obama to style-over-substance celebrities like Paris Hilton; but the conversation really picked up when Hilton shot back with an entertaining rebuttal at the comedic website Funny or Die. Reclined on a chaise lounge-and attired in high heels and a revealing swimsuit-the celebutante outlined her own energy plan, a policy-wonkish hybrid of the McCain and Obama proposals, while also taking self-deprecating jabs at her vapid image.

"Infectious video content like the Paris video spreads like wildfire across the Web in under a week," says Chrysi Philalithes in a post at MediaPost's Search Insider. She notes that Google searches using the term "Paris Hilton" began to spike on August 5 and peaked on August 8 with a five-fold increase over normal volume.

Only a few companies seemed to capitalize on this heightened interest in paid search campaigns. When Philalithes googled Hilton's name, a paltry two ads appeared: one for Funny or Die and the other for Jeremiah Weed, which led not to the bourbon-maker's website but to the company's own YouTube reaction to Hilton's video. "Company strategists have recognized a pop and political cultural moment and are piggy-backing on to it to promote their brand," she says, "And they are not spending tens of thousands or getting buried in a time-consuming production schedule to do so. These opportunities have a short life span, so being quick to leverage them is crucial."

Making Your Kitchen Safer For Your Kids

Of all the rooms in your house, the kitchen has some of the greatest potential for disaster. There are lots of attractive shiny things with sharp edges or knobs on appliances that make noise. The attraction for children can be very great. The diligence of parents to keep their baby or child safe also needs to be great.

Your low cupboards and drawers need to be made child-proof. This is to keep your children away from pointy, sharp things in the gadgets drawer, and to keep children from getting to cleaning supplies, which can be very poisonous, under the sink. It is nice to have a small supply of pot lids and wooden spoons to entertain a child under a cupboard, but keep an eye on any heavy pots that may be pul led out and dropped on a toe.

Many parents take the extra precaution of putting cleaning supplies or poisons high out of reach. The telephone number for your local poison information center needs to be plainly posted somewhere in the open with your other emergency telephone numbers. Also many experts advise parents to have syrup of ipecac on hand in the event that poison control or the doctor advises a parent to induce vomiting in a child. This antidote should be used only on the advice of a physician.

Other things in the kitchen need to be kept out of the reach of children such as alcoholic drinks and medicines. It is nice to have at least one high cupboard that can be locked with a key for keeping the most dangerous of substances and sharp knives. Many people will use a locking box for medicines or for knives. Keep chairs away from the counters and discourage your children from ever climbing on your countertops.

The stove should always be regarded as a danger for burns even when it is turned off. Always treat the burners as if they could be on. Use the back burners for cooking whenever possible and remove stove and oven knobs to a drawer when not in use. Some parents also buy a stove guard to install across the front of the stove to prevent children's reaching fingers from getting burned. Also, turn your pot handles towards the wall to prevent spills caused by accidentally knocking in to them.

Be wary of the dangers of your small appliances. It is so easy to leave an unattended, but hot, coffee pot. There are other dangers besides burns from hot appliances like toasters, waffle makers, and panini machines. If you must leave your kitchen mixer on the countertop at least unplug it and remove the mixing blades. Also remove sharp blades from food processors and keep them inaccessible like knives.

Hopefully the first time you realize your small child has figured out how to climb on the countertop, you will have removed enough dangers that the only thing your child will get is a scolding. It is something that will inevitably happen. As is always true with children, the best insurance for their safety is a parent's watchful eyes.

Work From Home Dads - Maintaining Discipline in 2013

Basing your business at home allows you to stay closely connected to your family. When the children need to be picked up from school or are home sick, the home-based Dad can quickly drop everything and respond. But having the family so close to work can also spell trouble if distractions and family problems start to eat into work time.

If you are planning to work from home, either remotely via your employer or if you setting up a business, be prepared for a massive shift in the way you work.

Yes, we are talking discipline. Get used to that word, because you are going to need a lot of it.

"Those pesky kids... "
"He said... "
"She said... "
"I want... "
"I need... "

Yes, those pesky kids who you adore and with whom you wanted to spend more time, are suddenly under your feet - literally. OK, they may disappear off to school or nursery (or even better, university!) but when they are around, you will know it. And as much as you keep saying that you are working and you are not to be disturbed, be aware that the mind of a juvenile does not have the mental capacity to understand what that means. The same theory also applies when you ask them to keep the noise down - it just will not happen.

The lure of the patterned biscuit tin:

When you worked in an office, you were so busy and your head was spinning so fast, that food could not enter your mouth unless your stomach moaned so loud that other workers wondered if it was thundering outside. As if to balance out those years of malnutrition, your body and mind are now in food overdrive. If you manage not to put a stone on in weight in six weeks then you are well and truly blessed with the skinny gene. Try to resist the temptation, or better still, keep no food other than broccoli stalks in the house. Trust me, it is the only way

Jeremy Kyle is so funny!

You have hated him for years, mocked him, those who appear on his show, and especially those poor souls who are compelled to watch him every day. But actually, it is really interesting! Who would have thought that two brothers could marry their own twin sisters half removed. No... really! A quick five minutes of telly time just to relax, is suddenly five hours of auctions, property makeovers and Hollywood gossip. Hide the remote... now!!

There Is No Empirical Right Or Wrong

Right and wrong are a matter of personal opinion, this is the definition of morals. Your morals define what is right or wrong for you.

If you do things you feel are wrong, but then convince yourself it is acceptable or divert your attention from feeling what you did is wrong, that takes energy and builds guilt.

The worst part of it is that to deal with this moral conflict, you have to shut your mind from the accurate memory of the event. You will block out all or certain aspects of the event or create other imaginary aspects so you can deal with your moral conflict without it being a conscious conflict at all.

When this happens, the only way to maintain a sense of sanity and balance without feeling so much guilt you cannot bear with facing yourself, is to close your heart.

Our morals, one could say, reside in our heart. They are an integrated part and function of the basic foundation of our individual personality, and out ability to feel emotions and express ourselves.

If we contradict our own code of moral conduct, we will subconsciously see ourselves as bad, evil and not worthy to receive anything good in life.

This is a key to self sabotage as well as the bizarre characteristic that some people have of not being able to accept a gift or any gesture of generosity. They do not feel worthy to receive anything good because they subconsciously feel they are bad due to having acted in contradiction to their own set of personal morals and will not see or deal with that due to the above described process of blotting it out.

This is how we get messed up. The solution is always found in the problem which means the solution is in your hands.

The problem is your particular set of morals. The solution is in objectively understanding your particular set of morals. The method to solve the problem is to question why you have chosen these morals and if they are valid at all, then to redefine your moral code.

Where did we each acquire or choose our own moral code? Was it our choice or was it thrust upon us due to culture or family tradition. Did you personally choose what your morals should be?

I personally have my own set of morals which I could believe I have chosen, the things I consider right and wrong. If I go against those self imposed rules, I know that I will have to shut my heart so that my mind will be able to rest in the belief that I have not contradicted my set of rules on how I should live and function without guilt, otherwise, I will just be lost in guilt. Shutting down, even a little, is a very unhealthy thing to do.

It is possible that ultimately, I have not chosen my morals but have accepted them as mine due to my upbringing and the morals I learnt from my grandfather. I have also learnt contrary morals from some people. These are my morals which are polar opposites of their morals and ways of behavior.

Morals can be emulations or rejections of other peoples personality traits. Regardless of the source, I have accepted them and am constantly aware not cross them. In this way, my mind is calm and my heart can rest.

What I chose to do as I became aware of how my moral compass rules my life was to determine my own morals by examining each one I had and tested them through my life experiences to see what makes sense for me in today's world. What do I feel is right or wrong, and never to expect anyone else to have the same values.

These are my rules and mine alone. Everyone is free to have their own. Anything short of allowing everyone the same freedom I desire is to limit my own freedom to be me. This is one of my personal rules.

The purpose of being aware of your moral code, which you will have whether you are aware of it or not, is to choose your actions such that your mind can rest knowing you are a decent person in your own personal view of what is right.

Problems occur when we have morals that are not our own that we disagree with, yet follow. This is the source of back biting, vengeful actions, gossip and random anger which often come out of jealously that we want to do what the other person is doing but do not allow ourselves due to it infringing on our morals. Because these morals are not really ours, but pushed on us, our inner conflict is expressed outwardly.

Find out what your morals are. Decide if these make sense to you. Do you agree with them or not? You must be totally honest about what YOU feel is right or wrong or you will stay the same. Then live your life according to your own rules and you will find a lot of your emotional frustration with yourself and other people dissipates.

If you do not, you will have to shut your heart and distract your mind from remembering your actions and then you will just live in self-attacks, self-destructive actions, self-pity, misery, lack of success and most importantly, lack of true friends or love because friendship and love are the most valuable things we can have in our life and they are absolutely not worthy of an evil person who commits sins against their own highest morals.

When you discover your morals, yet find that you do not adhere to them, this is a clear indication that they are not your morals but ones you have acquired. This is the reason we find it hard to do what we believe in, because we don't really believe it to begin with, we are just taking someone else's word that this is good.

We are all unique individuals, and so we must each have our own set of unique morals. I know, some of you are thinking that I am condoning the thief who feels nothing is wrong with stealing. In a way that is correct, but I do not expect many thieves and evil people to be reading my work, and so I write for the type of person who seeks a higher level of being and consciousness. This type of person I assume will naturally have less destructive natural tendencies. As for the crook, we will just have to leave him to find his own path.

You can trust yourself, you will not be able to do horrible things without feeling guilty, if you have read this far, your essential nature is good and seeking to live without harming anyone which is why you are reading material for self-improvement. All you have to do is define your own morals and follow them.

This will eliminate all guilt and self-deprecation, and will build your self esteem such that you will become a happy, balanced, and positive person.

It is not through reforming the world, but rather through reforming oneself, that one makes any practical improvement.

8 Major Mistakes to Dodge When Working From Home

Working from home does provide a lot of flexibility and the much desired work-life-balance that everyone craves today. However, the reality is very different, than what most of the people anticipate. Working from home brings a lot of challenges, and a few other things that can doom the entire business or assignments if not avoided properly.

Here are eight major mistakes that need to be avoided when starting your business or work from the comfort of home.

1. No Plans for the Day: Never start the day without a proper to-do list or a list of tasks planned, one after the other. Without a schedule to follow for the day, the entire day could slip away with nothing to show for. Having a detailed plan will help you set a deadline for everything that you have to do in the particular day. If you happen to be left with some unscheduled time, then use it to deal with the most important tasks or keep it handy for some unexpected issues that may crop up all of a sudden.

2. Permitting Interruptions: When no one is watching you, the temptation to talk to friends and family over the phone will always arise. It is good to call them once in a while but if this becomes a regular practice then you are definitely permitting interruptions to your work. This trait hurts the focus and consequently the productivity of your business. Hence, one must refrain from gossiping or unnecessary talk over the phone while you are at work. The other necessary distractions such as childcare, laundry, cooking, gardening etc. could be handed over to babysitters and family members. They must be explained clearly that you are to be disturbed only for the urgent requests.

3. Work Schedule of 24/7: At times, it does become a bit difficult to finish the work in the due time. Working from home allows the person to take care of unfinished business anytime he so wishes. But this doesn't mean that one should have a 24/7 work schedule, and work round the clock. The time for work could be set as per your convenience, where you must spend some quality time with your friends and family too.

4. No Separate Area of Work: Even if your home isn't huge, you must set aside a particular space just for the work. Take the little-used room or a corner of your living area, in order to split the home from work. In case you have to work in the area of the house that is common such as the kitchen or dining room, do stack away all the personal belongings to give it a professional tone for the work.

5. Too Busy to Remain Organized: As soon as the assignments pile up, the organization of various things tend to slide away. Succumbing to disorganization becomes easier when one works from the same place he has been living so far. One must always keep a track of what they have done at work, and how much work is left on a particular assignment. The filing and storage of documents as well as business related items should be done separately. The home-office area should remain clean and well-organized at all times.

6. Too Much Dependence on Loved Ones: When there are no co-workers around, the possibility of you discussing your business problems with your friends or spouse increases. You may also seek their help for the housework related things on a regular basis, since you are busy with work. This may create a problem in the long run, as your loved ones may not understand about your business. Moreover, seeking their help regularly could annoy them and strain your relationship. Hence, try to avoid this situation as much as you can.

7. Allowing Employees Abuse Your Home: You will risk getting your home damaged, if you do not set, and enforce the rules of how the employees must behave, when they are at your place for work. One can always ask his employees to take off their shoes before entering the house as well as clean off the designated work area at the end of the day. This will always keep things comfortable and the area tidy.

8. Loneliness: This is the most complained aspect of working from home. The majority of the people who take up this kind of isolated work environment in the hope that they would spend more time with family and friends, do not know about it till it doesn't happen to them. It may look good to have everything done virtually but taking some time away, from the home office for meetings with clients, will certainly help keep the loneliness away as well as build the business. Do take occasional breaks from work when time permits and keep a different kind of schedule every week.

How A Famous Hollywood Actor And Three Little Words Helped To Save My Marriage

Three Little Words

If you were to conduct a poll of a section of the general public and asked each person in the poll for their opinion of celebrity marriages and relationships, I am pretty sure the vast majority would say, relatively speaking, celebrity relationships tend to not last very long. Such perceptions are perhaps fuelled by our daily diet of tabloid gossip and tittle tattle where a day never seems to go by without some celebrity couple splitting or battling it out in the courts over paternity rights and divorce settlements.

However, there is one Hollywood celebrity whose marriage to the same partner endured the test of time. The late Charlton Heston (1923 - 2008), Academy Award Best Actor and star of, amongst others, the 1950s Biblical epics, The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, a true Hollywood Great, had an acting career lasting more than 60 years and was married to the same woman for 64 years. I will always remember an answer he once gave to a question he was asked about his long marriage during a TV interview. When asked how his marriage had endured for so long, which was all the more remarkable in an industry renowned for the high turnover of marriages and relationships, Charlton Heston's somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer went something like, "my friend, I learnt three very important little words early on in my marriage - those three words are 'You Are Right'"

The Way Of Communication

Although this somewhat amusing answer from Charlton Heston implies a certain subservience on his part, his remark has stuck with me ever since because it made me appreciate the importance of communication. The key ingredient in a successful relationship is good communication.

Now, when most people are advised to communicate, they naturally assume this means talking more. However communication is more than just talking. It is in fact the art of combining the ability to express your opinions and feelings in such a way as to ensure that the person you are communicating with understands the message you trying to convey to him or her, with the ability to listen and understand the other person's point of view.

Empathy Is The Watchword

The operative word here is Empathy. The word Empathy refers to this ability to put yourself in another person's shoes, or to see their point of view. This ability to listen and to put yourself in the other person's shoes is crucial to good communication and is the life blood of successful relationships. As human beings our minds are built in such a way as to always want our view to prevail. There are deep psychological reasons for this to do with survival instincts and our view of what we are. To test this out, the next time you find yourself in an argument with someone, try and step back from the heat of the argument and notice how the only reason the argument continues is because each of the people involved is trying to push their point of view forward to make sure they win the argument. Simply by doing a little more listening and accepting of the other person's position will put an end to the matter.

Sadly many relationship problems begin with poor communication, in other words, not enough listening and consideration of the other person's view. Couples often feel that their partner should know what they are thinking and how they feel so do not communicate and then wonder why they feel neglected and undervalued. Therefore the next time you find yourself at odds with your partner or anyone else, remember Empathy is the watchword or at least remember Charlton Heston and the Three Little Words.

Your Job Is Destroying Your Life - Stop It!

It's not a secret that a great number of people feel unhappy at work. They experience poor work life balance, feel emotionally and physically exhausted, not motivated, can not communicate to their bosses successfully and feel their job is killing them. If you know you hate your job or will hate it soon, follow these strategies:

1. Stop Hanging Around With Gossiping Pessimists
Negativity can be spread around like flu, avoid spending too much time with those who hate the company and find faults with it endlessly. What you hear at work is very important, try to create a positive work environment around you in the workplace. Cheer up and let others feel better.

2. Insist on the Need to Get Feedback
If your boss is not willing to give you any feedback, insist on it. Prove how important it is to you. Besides, your boss might not be aware of your needs, don't expect him / her to be a mind reader, initiate this conversation.

3. Stop Suffering from a Bad Boss's Behavior
A bad boss may be a nasty creature who bullies and insults employees. There are various ways to get rid of a bad boss, from complaining to company HR managers to gaining a promotion in another department.

4. Be More Creative
Make yourself more visible at work by coming up with new ideas. If there is something that bothers you at work, if you think you know the ways to improve employees efficiency in your department and make work atmosphere more favorable - take courage to propose something new.

5. Ask for a Pay Rise
Money does motivate people. A pay rise is sure to brighten everything up. If you feel you are underpaid and deserve more, talk to your supervisors about it.

6. Consider a Job Change
If you are feeling that everything is said and done at this job, you are underestimated, there is no chance for promotion and the routine is boring to death, take courage to give it all up. There is no point in losing your time and valuable skills and not getting anything from the company in exchange. Consider opportunities to work abroad, volunteering or working for a nonprofit organization.

Some people tend to retain one job because they are scared of dramatic life changes. If you have made up your mind to become a happy employee, be prepared to take risks.

Trends in Build-it-Yourself Solar Panels

Have you heard the buzz about the improved build it yourself solar panels instructional kits? You can see ads on CNN, MSN, Yahoo, The New York Times and many other news sources. Now you can have a quick and easy way to build your own solar panels.

There is a right and wrong way to go about building your own solar panels though. (If you get this wrong you will waste your time and money. But, do it right and you will have a solar panel you can be proud of and you will save money at the same time.

Solar panels come in a broad range of types. To begin with, there are the experiments you can do in the kitchen with school age children. This is a entertaining and very educational, but you are not going to make much electricity !

Then we have the highly technically advanced systems that cost $20,000 and more. For the right application this is the way to go, but obviously not for the average homeowner.

The type of solar panel that the average homeowner can make can be found somewhere between these two extremes. Build it yourself solar panels are the way to go, this is something you can do this on your own.

Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will save money as well!

Getting started with build it yourself solar panels

Saving money and helping the environment are the two main reasons for making your own solar panels Where I live, energy use is a hot topic because of the ever increasing costs of generating all that power and the environmental impact.

Utility bills just keep rising, and it doesn't look like this trend will be reversed anytime soon! My daughter, who lives in California has a monthly electric bill of over $300, and she is conservation minded!

The impact of coal fired power plants is staggering. Strip mines, destroyed habitat, air and water pollution are just a few more obvious problems. Then there is nuclear power, with all the risks and toxic waste dilemmas.

Ways to ensure that you succeed

Without a doubt, buying a quality instruction kit is the way to go. You will have all the information you need to have a working solar energy panel. With a small investment you get all the necessary plans, written instructions, video guides, and DVD guidelines.

Your build it yourself solar panel kit will have examples of actual people who made their own panels. It is quite a feeling of accomplishment to do this, with the added benefit of saving on your electric bill! You will need a good dose of motivation, persistence,and patience though. It is easy, but you still have to work at it!

Learn the MUST KNOW methods of build it yourself solar panels

Make the decision to get the best kit you can, set aside a weekend, plan ahead and stick with it. Now that you know a bit more about what you are doing, make another solar panel- better than the first. Next thing you know, you will have a small grid of panels, absorbing the sunshine all day long!

You kit will show you the MUST KNOW techniques to save you headaches, endless trips to the hardware store and your hard earned cash. Without the kit, you have to figure everything out on your own. For some technical people this might be just fine, but, for most of us, we need the guidance and help from an expert.

The kit will tell you the best places to get your supplies, how everything works, how to put it together, and how to troubleshoot your system. In the unlikely event that you need it, they offer customer support as well.

Before you know it, you will have a nice, good looking, fully functional homemade solar panel. Plus you will have done this for less than $200 US; usually a lot less, depending on your resourcefulness.

The future looks bright for solar energy.

People all over the world are turning to renewable energy. As technology advances, rest assured that build it yourself solar panels will become more and more common. With the newer technologies, it is even practical to use solar energy in cloudy zones.

In conclusion, build it yourself solar panels is a great way to get started. You can do this!

Multi-Touch Human Interfaces Have Arrived

Multi-touch human interfaces have arrived, but so far they are like surprise visitors: we may be happy to see them, but we're not ready to let them move-in for good. For those of us who are engineers and work every day to realize the dreams of future products, multi-touch offers an opportunity to change the world, in much the same way the first graphical user interfaces did. The race has just begun, but make no mistake, it will be won soon. Personally, I'm not convinced we have a winner yet, and if we don't step up to make multi-touch a great technology, we will live with it being marginal for a long time.

What is multi-touch?

The world applauded Apple's first-generation interpretation of a multi-touch interface in the iPhone 1.0. The new user interface worked, it offered appropriate functionality, and they didn't forget to make phone-calling easy. Apple iPhone added gestures to our vocabulary, offering two-finger pinch to zoom-in, two-finger open to zoom-out, and two-finger rotate; all intuitive and useful on a device with a camera and small screen.

Not many people realize that Apple began their foray into multi-touch with the two-finger touchpad sensing implemented in their large touchpad notebooks that was utilized by the operating system and every application. Even before the iPhone, an Apple notebook user could scroll, both vertical and horizontal, using two fingers on the touchpad. Apple even made their stubborn single-button-touchpad choice look prescient by enabling right-mouse button functionality by putting two fingers on the touchpad and clicking the button (eliminating the annoying -click). Again, it's hard to call these choices anything but useful and welcome. Just recently, multi-touch offerings or announcements from many different vendors highlight the "final-frontier" opportunity today for multi-touch user interface technology. Apple introduced their next-generation MacBooks on October 9, 2008 showing the familiar two-finger gestures of iPhone with new - and less intuitive - three- and four-finger gestures. Microsoft began shipping its multi-touch brain-child called Surface that comes with a hefty $5,000 to $15,000 price tag making it clearly aimed at money-making businesses (early adopters are AT&T and Harrah's Entertainment). At the October 2008 Microsoft Professional Developer's conference, Microsoft unveiled its upcoming Windows 7 and promised multi-touch support. The Microsoft idea of multi-touch as shown with Surface provides some gestures, like the 2-finger gestures to zoom and rotate, but seems more targeted at a multi-user experience. So the question remains, what is multi-touch? The impact of multi-touch will be as far-reaching as the computer mouse and the engineering community needs to step in to ensure that multi-touch fares better in the future than the graphics pad (remember the digitizing, pen-like computer input device that none of us has on our notebooks?)

Multi-touch technology today

In contrast, single-touch interfaces are most often based on the old "touchscreen" technologies most of us experienced on our cell phones and PDAs were resistive, where the stylus position yielded two voltages, one representing the "X-axis" position and the other representing the "Y-axis". Single-touch interfaces result in the same X-Y data that a traditional track-pad and mouse provides today. For their multi-touch interfaces, Apple uses capacitive sensing and Microsoft Surface uses cameras. Capacitive sensing is also the technology typically used in single-touch trackpads in notebook computers. There are several module, screen and individual silicon vendors supporting multi-touch, so there are many options available on the market, making selection a potentially confusing process. Depending upon the technology, it is possible to simultaneously sense the position of all 10 fingers on a display. Certainly the capability to support multi-touch interfaces in a myriad of ways is available. The rub is that there is no one standard way to use this multi-touch data in a computer application.

To see where multi-touch can go, let's return to how the two easiest-to-review implementations of multi-touch interpret what the users of the future (that's you and me) need. The Apple iPhone implements what is referred to as " Multi-Touch Gestures " where two fingers are sensed and their relative motions translated into a gesture that a program can react to (i.e., rotate, zoom, select and move). At a minimum, these gestures need to appear quickly in the lexicon of every laptop, but that means every program and operating systems needs to change to accommodate them. Beyond the 2-finger gestures, the picture blurs quickly. "Multi-Touch All Point" technology enables many simultaneous inputs from the touchscreen or touchpad. What to do with these inputs, now, is the question. There are huge opportunities here, but the current examples of Apple and Microsoft are not exploiting them to the fullest.

Apple has included three- and four-finger gestures on the new MacBook, but only Apple applications use these gestures

(unlike the scrolling and left clicking two-finger gestures). Additionally, the thought process behind which functions should take three fingers and which four fingers appears to be somewhat arbitrary. What doesn't make sense is the comeback of the button, being used as a modifier to the three-finger gestures, even though the touchpad is large and has the ability to sense lots of fingers. Also, the multi-touch equivalent of the mouse-click+ -drag to select seems to have disappeared. Anyone else have trouble completely adopting a Palm(TM) PDA because Grafitti(TM) never became second nature?

Intuitive gestures equal easy adoption

Likewise, Microsoft with Surface(TM) seems to be stumbling in the dark when it comes to using more than two-fingers. For instance, they have a virtual air-hockey game demo that uses one finger for each player to grab and move the controller (there is another version that uses a physical controller like a traditional air-hockey table, but that isn't a multi-touch interface). When I play real air-hockey, I would have been stupid to use one finger, and the true-to-life nature of Surface does reflect this behavior as you can see the user's controller slip-and-slide around as if he were using only one finger to control a large disk. There are other problems too, such as the controllers sometimes switch players when they get too close. This commentary is not intended to slam Apple's MacBooks or Microsoft's Surface but rather to highlight the fact that the multitouch field is wide open. The technical capabilities available today do offer a much more natural and intuitive user interface IF AND ONLY IF we as engineers harness the power and direct it to the greater good.

The software development kits and software development tools for Microsoft, Apple, and Linux all provide built-in, standard support for keyboards and X-Y pointing devices (mouse and track-pad buttons as well). Anyone today can target any operating system and as long as the "input" is translated into one or more keyboard keys and X-Y position, any application can use that input. For example, someone could develop, using standard offerings in any operating system, a 10'-by-10' room as a trackpad replacement, where one runs around on the floor, jumps up and down, and throws one's body against a wall to select and move icons around a PC screen. In the multi-touch future, what do we as a development community need to do to secure a similar level of freedom to develop input devices and the programs that interact with them? What do we need to demand as a standard set of provided capabilities so program developers do not have to worry about the input device and input device makers do not have to worry about the programs? While the ultimate answers are up to all of us, the answers being developed today could seriously affect our lives for the future.

The future of Multi-touch is in our hands

"Standards" for multi-touch interfaces are being developed whether we like it or not and now is the time to get involved, make noise, ad shape the future of multi-touch. Let me put forward some of my suggestions for a better multi-touch future. Read them, use them to come up with better ideas, and then get involved by either working with the standards-setters or by implementing a multi-touch device and putting it into people's hands so we can mobilize more troops in this fight for a great multi-touch future.First, we need a few standard, intuitive gestures and second, we need a standard data interface to provide position data for up to 10 fingers. Standard gestures should cover the most common computer/information device operations, like scroll, zoom, select, move, and grab-and-move, as well as all the new functions multi-touch will enable. What we do not need are multiple company-patented sets of gestures. Rather, let the innovators patent better and smarter techniques of determining the gestures. Note that we do not need a long list of standard gestures, because if that is what we get, users will need to print out the list and paste it to the back of their devices, just like we all did with Grafitti on our Palm PDAs before we stopped using them. Also, gesture detection cannot be forced exclusively upon the operating system nor can it be forced exclusively upon the input device. The best standard solution would accommodate both for maximum flexibility. However, if a choice between

operating system or input device is forced, the operating system must be allowed to win.

Do not stop with standard gestures (or the corollary: Do not define everything as a gesture). Define a data standard for multitouch input devices for tracking up to ten independent inputs. Realize that the use of this data for quite some time to come will be application-specific. That said, and over time the best behaviors (we hope) will be adopted into the operating systems, Why ten and not more? Most devices are primarily single-user or have multiple users doing simpler actions on a relatively small screen. Let the special-purpose large-format devices like Surface explore what to do with more than ten inputs, and when something proves itself useful, it can trickle down. The multi-touch train is leaving the station. For those who do not like everything they have seen so far, get involved and push the envelope further. Use multi-touch in new and interesting ways and let others see and hear about your successes and failures (especially the guys in Cupertino and Redmond). The industry can make multi-touch great, but only if we work


Feed Your Weight Loss Desire - The Key to Staying Motivated

There is more to weight loss success than just diet and exercise you must also feed your weight loss desire in order to reach your goal and stay there. This article shares tried and true methods for building your desire and staying motivated and if you can spare just a couple of minutes you might just tap into that wonderful inner resource - self-motivation.

Weight Loss Desire

1. Write down ALL the reasons. Why do you want to lose weight? What will being thinner mean to your day-to-day life? Write it down and don't stop writing until you uncover that deep, heart-felt reason that moves you to action.

2. Focus on these positive reasons. Researchers who study why people reach goals show that people who stay focused on all the positive things that will come from their efforts are the ones who stay motivated and stay on track.

3. Don't linger on the day-to-day chores of losing weight. Yes, there will be times during your journey when things get boring but instead of dwelling on all the things you must do, expand your focus and daydream about how much this is adding to your life and how your co-workers are going to reach when they see you...

4. CANCEL limiting thoughts. You will have thoughts that lead to self-sabotage unless you cancel them. No one is immune to limiting thoughts that make them want to quit the thing to remember is that you do not have to entertain these thoughts or let them grow and multiply inside your head. The best practice is to learn to recognize these negative thoughts early and then as soon as you hear one yell CANCEL to yourself. It disrupts the thought so it cannot grow.

5. Commit to one thing. If you overwhelm yourself on your weight loss journey you will kill your desire. Instead get really good at one thing (i.e. keeping a food journal, exercising every day, eating breakfast faithfully) and when you get really good at that one thing add another. You will find that your weight loss desire builds and builds.

Endless Youth

Whether you're an avid swimmer or not, swimming has obvious benefits as opposed to other forms of exercise. With the lack of stress on joints, save perhaps shoulders, it is an ideal activity for all ages and is often used for physical therapy.

I have been swimming since I was just 5 years old and although learning how to swim can be a challenge it can be rewarding in ways I have only begun to realize as I venture into my early twenties. If you ever see older people swimming at the local YMCA then you're not alone, or the ever-exclusive women's water aerobics (aka gossip club). But, the fact that you see these older people in the pool tells you something. It shows you that the water is the most accepting medium for exercise.

So often you hear about sports injuries and people requiring rehabilitation due to joint or tendon issues, but swimming has allowed me over the years to maintain peak conditioning while making sure recovery is always easy. If you say, "Swimming is too hard" or "I'm just bad at it" that's OK. You don't have to be good at swimming to get a workout, and it doesn't take long for you to start learning how to make it easier. Swimming is simply fantastic, it works practically every part of the body all at once.

If you're still convinced you're not a swimmer then consider this: swimming in general helps speed up your recovery of muscles. What this means for athletes and others is that you can get an edge on your competition by speeding up your recovery process which ultimately means you can workout harder and more often than the other guys. In college swimming we often times warm-down after an intense exercise which helps get rid of the lactic acid built up in our system. So basically, by swimming (light to medium paced) you can get rid of that lactic acid that causes soreness and prevention of muscle building.

Swimming helps build muscle!

So why wouldn't you start using your local pool? Even if you just jump in for 30 minutes it'll be one of the most important 30 minutes of your workout week. After all, there's a reason why people marvel at the "swimmer's body", the water lets your body do things it normally could not. So BE SMART about your workouts and include some swimming, if nothing else to just rinse off after lifting.

Authenticity Rules - A Reality Check For Creative Advertisers

People prefer the genuine and value the real thing as most desirable. Thus, even in advertising, authenticity trumps creativity - a difficult axiom for creative advertisers to follow.

One lovely day in the summer of 2002, I had an in-person business meeting scheduled with an Englishman. He was a new client and I had been advised by a colleague who also rode motorcycles not to reveal myself as a motorcyclist until after a new business relationship had been cemented. Yet, it was a beautiful day and my motorcycle was a 2001 Triumph, made in England. I considered the sunshine and the English connection (if my client noticed that I arrived on a Triumph) an excuse to ride to the appointment.

Pass test in a blink Within minutes of my arrival, the Englishman led me out to the parking lot to show him my motorcycle. When he read the name on the gas tank, he whispered, 'A Triumph.' Then, taking on a dubious tone, he turned to me and said, 'Aah, but was any of it made in England?'

Fortunately, Triumph had placed a tiny Union Jack decal above the taillight. I pointed to it, said yes, and witnessed a change in facial expression that suggested I had just passed a critical test.

That day, made-in-England Triumph delivered on the perception that authenticity equates with value. This is true of much more than motorcycles. Indeed, the perception of authenticity equates with value among informed and uninformed consumers in any market - so much that it often makes deep wells of creativity unnecessary in effective marketing.

Authenticity = value Because the concepts home-made and locally-grown trigger the impulse to buy, a small hand-made sign offering home-made relish made from locally-grown cucumbers helps to sell more hot dogs at a hot dog stand. Likewise, a poster of Shaun Cassidy from 1977 might sell at a garage sale today. The same poster autographed by Shaun Cassidy can fetch a high price on e-bay. These are further examples of how authenticity increases value.

You want the real thing? Authenticity relates to truthful origins. The word comes from the Greek authentikos which means original. An authentic claim is worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact. An authentic product is original or made in the same way as an original - not false or imitation. Other concepts related to authenticity include real, actual, and genuine - all hallmarks of value.

Generally, people avoid substitutes or pay less for them when they can have the real thing. So, in 1969-70, Coke successfully advertised with the slogan, 'It's the real thing.' When you buy a pair of Levi-Strauss jeans, the label declares, 'This is a genuine pair of Levi's jeans.' These companies understand the value/authenticity connection.

Fakers keep out Typically image-conscious teens still use the labels want to-be and poser as insults. Likewise, the perception that a brand merely tries to be what it claims to be turns off consumers of all ages. People are also turned off by far-fetched claims. Below, a claim that Ladysmith, British Columbia has a 'heavenly' climate exemplifies this.

Creativity better than honesty? When marketers take the route of simple, truthful authenticity, their markets often reward them with success. Yet, the supreme status of creativity is so deeply ingrained in the ad industry that advertising executives refuse to pay attention - or feel that they can do much better.

Creativity is viewed as so basic a requirement in advertising that people in that line of work seldom mention it, except to promote themselves to other industries. Yet, while creativity that is also original may be lauded, danger arises when creativity is divorced from authenticity. The results from an Association for Consumer Research poll 'strongly suggest that consumers are deeply skeptical of advertising claims. Moreover, public opinion has remained extraordinarily constant [about this for at least] two decades.' Thus, public opinion considers creativity insignificant at best when companies and institutions take their messages to market.

For an example of creativity gone too far, consider the climate in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Ladysmith has a mild coastal climate. The summers tend to be sunny and dry; seldom hot. Bringing months of cloud and rain, the spring and autumn typically seem to run together. Despite mild temperatures, the short days and persistent damp gloom of winter lead some residents into depression. Regardless, a brochure promoting condos in Ladysmith claims a 'heavenly' climate year-round.

Ignore user experience? One advertising agency that, incidentally, repeatedly wins awards for graphic design, apparently sees no place for actuality in the creative campaigns it develops. It uses a word-association game to generate campaign concepts. Let me explain.

If the client's business were Mountainside Soapworks, for example, the agency's staff would work with six columns of words on a whiteboard. At the top of each column would be the words mountain, side, mountainside, soap, works, and soapworks. The creative team brainstorms and lists associated words below these headings.

Under soap they list wash, clean, dirty, water, shower, sink, towel, bathroom, tub, and other words. Beneath works, they list paycheque, commuting, job, labour, boots, dress code, career, breadwinner, and others. The next creative challenge is to join words from the six columns into unlikely combinations. For example, dirty and commuting or water and career would be grouped with words from the other four columns. While the fun and creativity are underway, nobody bothers to consider the distinct benefits of using the client's products.

Then, all at the creative briefing are challenged to draw creative sketches based on various groups of six words. The most creative sketches become candidates for the campaign concept. This is how a campaign built on a sketch inspired by valley shower boots hill flank suds job could be used to advertise soap.

The process undoubtedly stirs up fun and creativity. What about the actual experience of the product user, though? What consumer needs does this company's soap address better than the competition's? What can Mountainside Soapworks say about its products that would have the same appeal as the authenticity of a pair of genuine Levi's jeans, or the try-me attraction of homemade relish made from local cucumber? Though the fruits of fun creativity might be appealing, when it comes to advertising, people want the truth.

True, genuine, relevant From the smallest players to the largest, the advertising industry trumpets creativity as the key source of value. Creative Director is one of the most respected positions in the field and the phrase creative marketing is often used in the same sentence as solutions or success . John Grant, author of The New Marketing Manifesto, states, 'Authenticity is the benchmark against which all brands are now judged.'

Overloaded by sales pitches, consumers are gravitating toward brands that they sense are true and genuine. In a December, 2007 issue of Fast Company , Bill Breen writes, 'To maintain its integrity, a brand must remain true to its values. And yet, to be relevant or cool, a brand must be dynamic.' A brand's values - the emotional connection it makes - define its realism in consumers' minds.

The law of candor In contrast to the empty entertainment and unreal overstatement often used to lure buyers, authentic, credible, easily verified claims are valued like gold. Because the average person simply wants truth in advertising, there are examples of plain truth making market leaders - even when the truth is expressed boldly and frankly. Consider Buckley's Mixture cough medicine. It tastes awful, it works, and it has held onto its status as one of the top-selling brands in the Canadian market for many years.

The same values that compel people to seek the authentic and shun the fake and vacuous are involved in demanding fairness and accuracy in reporting from the news media as well as truth in advertising. Indeed, there are laws requiring truth in advertising while misleading claims are widely considered the province of the corrupt. The statement, 'They just make up this stuff' can paradoxically evoke pride in advertising executives and disgust in consumers.

Listen for it So, how does a company or an institution that has something to promote get to the truth about its products or services and express that truth so that the intended audience responds favourably? By listening for it.

Distill it In my experience as a key-messages consultant, the highest quality testimonials are not those asked for but those spontaneously provided. Accordingly, I coach my clients on how to listen to their clients, staff, and suppliers for the essential key messages, such as where the value comes from. Then, what sources of value distinguish them from competitors. To get that information in the words that the market uses simply requires listening - in most cases, trained listening.

Quote what customers say Listen attentively to enough people over a sufficient period and the truth of consumer experience becomes abundantly clear. Listen all the time and the larger sample size reduces the margin of error. Then, when you know how to distill the market's sentiments, the result is authentic key messages of far greater value than a thousand word-association games could ever produce. Propagate those key messages to the market in the words that the market speaks and you can really hit the bullseye. No room for hyperbole. Plain facts can win over even the skeptical. Just like the name Triumph and the little Union Jack on my motorcycle.

- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.

Resource: John E Calfee, University of Maryland and Debra Jones Ringold, American University: Consumer Skepticism and Advertising Regulation: What Do The Polls Show? Advances in Consumer Research volume 15

Join the Party at Glasgow's Winterfest

Glasgow is known as a bit of a party town and a trip up to Scotland over the festive season will not disappoint those who are after a good time.

From the Christmas lights switch-on in mid-November, to the Hogmanay celebrations, which usually last into the first few days of January, the city is taken over by Winterfest.

The two-month party includes live music, ice skating, fireworks and family entertainment.

George Square is transformed over the period, as half is taken over by a custom-made ice rink, which will provide hours of fun for all ages, and the other half makes way for the Big Stage.

It is here that the festivities will be centred; the Big Stage will be the platform on which the chosen celebrities switch on the city's Christmas lights, bands will perform here and the new year will be counted down to in the Hogmanay celebrations.

The square is situated right in the centre of the city, an ideal spot for those who want to do a bit of shopping, get last-minute souvenirs or try out traditional Scottish food and drink in some of the many nearby restaurants and cafes.

Scotland is famous for its haggis and neeps, and of course whisky, and a visit to the city is an ideal time to sample the local produce.

At the end of November St Andrew's Day is celebrated throughout Scotland, and in Glasgow this involves a two-day music party and festival called the Shindig concerts.

There is also an annual Big Familiy Ceilidh, which will give visitors a chance to try out a bit of traditional dancing.

At the start of December, the annual Santa Dash, a 5k run for charity, is a fantastic sight in the city as hundreds of people dressed as Father Christmas take part.

Hogmanay is the highlight of Winterfest and George Square is a great place to celebrate both the last day of the year and the first of the new year.

Each year, the stage is taken over by established music artists as they perform to the crowds, and then after the clocks have struck 12, there is a spectacular fireworks display to bring in the new year in style.