Home Business Concepts: December 2011
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Holidaying In Europe With the Family

Posted by Linda | 7:20 AM

How's everyone doing? Hope you all had a nice Christmas holiday and looking forward to a happy and joyous new year. For me, mine was awesome. I spent the holiday with the family and finally made it to Paris for our anniversary.

We have been planning on going away to France since 2009, but didn't manage to afford it. The economy was bad and the fear of losing one's job was always a big thought. Luckily, we've all managed to sail through and still keeping our jobs.

So, to celebrate how lucky we've been... we thought we would go away to a romantic and exotic place. There's no better place that Paris.

But just before that, we dropped in London on our way and spent 3 days in the beautiful city. Visited lots of places such as Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square Cinema, the Tower of London and the world famous Harrods. You can't visit London and not see these places. They are what make it a great city - lots of history and architecture.

One thing thought that I notice is that the Kindle Fire has not been released in Europe, so if like me you are travelling to Europe, be sure to download Totally Free kindle Books here as you will not be able to get them in Europe.

We are still in Paris and hope to leave on Tuesday. I will post our holiday pictures next week.

Samsung UN46D8000 46-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D LED HDTV

Posted by Linda | 4:16 AM

When I decided to replace my old digital projection TV I did my homework by doing tons of research and read tons of reviews and ended up buying the PN64D8000. After 2 weeks of watching it I can honestly say that I was never been so disappoint with a "top of the line" product from any brand at any price point as I have been with that TV and decided to return it for the UN60D8000. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made because the UN60D8000 simply crushes the quality of the PN64D8000.

SAMSUNG UN60D8000 vs PN64D8000
The overall image brightness of the PN64D8000 was about 20% darker than any other TV I have ever owned so the picture ended up looking dull and didn't pop off the screen the way I had hoped it would. That overall brightness problem was also complicated by a brightness throttle built into the TV that keeps the picture at or below a fixed intensity. This throttle causes huge consistency problems as some scenes will look perfect and then and you see it kick in when the majority of screen has really light or white content and the TV keeps it from displaying a pure crisp white and instead it throttles it back so you get a muddy light grey. Before anyone tries to tell tell me it was a calibration problem I know that I work professionally in the film and video industry and I know how to calibrate a TV so this was not a problem with the settings.

If you read the review on televisioninfo.com so will see that they tested the peak brightness of the PNXXD8000 plasma vs. the UNXXD8000 LED and the plasma scored a 90.43 cd/m2 while the LED scored a 357.93 cd/m2 which is nearly four times as bright.

The UN60D8000 is the complete opposite as the picture is bright with pure whites and has the best overall quality I have ever seen on any TV. It handles day to day TV watching through DireTv incredibly well as the picture looks fantastic but when you watch a Bluray this TV is just jaw dropping.

There is no denying that this TV looks beautiful with it's thin edge and it's slim design makes it look fantastic when you out it on the wall. I ended up hanging mine on the wall because the four legged TV stand made me nervous as it was stable side to side but it seemed like it could tip over fairly easily front to back. The Samsung Smart Hub is a nice addition but if I am going to surf the web I would rather do it on my laptop and I found that services like Hulu Plus and Netflix had better picture quality when I ran them on my Playstation 3 vs the Smart Hub. I do use the Yahoo! Smart Apps fairly regularly as it is an easy way to check the weather, items on eBay and the latest tweets without having to flip away from what you are watching.

There are a lot of reviews that knock with TV for it's black level uniformity and there is some validity to this but having now owned both of Samsung's top of the line TV's I can tell you they both have a some issues. Most plasma's will throttle back the white level but I never saw one as bad as the muddy and dull whites of the PN64D8000 plasma. At the same time any edge lit LED will have a problem where the edges will look a little lighter than the middle and you get a little of this on the UN60D8000.

This TV does have a little of this problem but you will only see when the screen is completely black and on mine it looks like a subtle gradient that goes from a very dark grey to black running right to left. For me this slight black level problem was A LOT more acceptable than the dull and muddy white point on their plasma which just wrecked my watching experience for TV, Bluray and PS3. If you calibrate your UN60D8000 you can pretty much totally eliminated the black level problem.

I have always thought that 3D was just a gimmick for movie studios to charge more for movie tickets and the movies I have seen with in the theaters never changed my mind. This TV came with two pairs of 3D glasses and I threw my the 3D version of Tron Legacy in to try it out and I have to say it was better than any 3D experience I've ever had in any movie theater. I was when I tried the 3D out with Killzone 3 on Playstation 3 that I saw how really cool this could be. 3D gaming on this TV is really fun and it is something I will be doing on a regular basis.

The one issue I have with the TV is an issue I never saw in any review and only found out about after I purchased the TV which is that there is an issue between Samsung LED TV's and gaming consoles especially the Playstation 3. When you plug in your Playstation some of the time you will see the TV display an error message suddenly saying 'Mode not supported'. I have done a a lot of research and testing to find out that there is an issue with the rate that Sony sends the HDMI signal to the TV which makes for a 'handshake' problem between the two devices.

Some people seem to have been able to fix this problem by buying a more insulated HDMI cable but I bought a top of the line cable and it had no effect. There is a simple solution where you can simply turn the TV off for a few seconds and then when you turn it back on it works perfectly. I am investigating if a HDMI signal detective will help fix this problem and I will update the review if I find a solution.

The Help - New Release

Posted by Linda | 2:07 PM

"Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family." Skeeter (Stone) moved back home to Mississippi so she can get some experience writing for a paper before she can move to New York. When she gets a job answering letters about cleaning she asks one of the maids for help answering them.

A simple job about cleaning turns into something major that changes the course of the town. This is a very difficult movie to watch, but this is a must see. The subject matter will infuriate you and the Hillary character is one of the best movie villains to come along in awhile. For a movie that at its most basic level is about interviewing people for a book it is very engrossing and moves along pretty quick.

This is a very emotional movie that will leave you thinking and wondering how you would have behaved in that situation. The cast and acting alone is worth watching for. Emma Stone gives a great performance and is hard to believe this is the same girl that was is "Superbad".

Overall, the first real Oscar contender for best picture and numerous acting awards to come along this year. A definite must see. I give it an A.

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole Pixie-Elf

Posted by Linda | 12:44 AM

I was a little hesitant purchasing The Elf on the Shelf, because I don't try to focus Christmas entirely on the Santa aspect, but more on the giving aspect. I broke down and got one this year figuring if I really didn't like it or thought it put too much emphasis on gifts that I could tell my son that Santa decided he was good enough he didn't need to send the elf for following years. The night after Thanksgiving our Elf landed on our mantel.

I called my son (almost 4) and daughter (22 months) in the room and my husband and I read the book to them and explained the process and rules of our new house guest. I never could've imagined how interactive this little guy would be.

My son insisted that his name is Elfey, and is so excited to talk to him every morning. He is genuinely concered about how is trip was and if he got too cold. I absolutely love listening to their one-sided conversation. He knows that if he is naughty Elfey will have to tell Santa and that he may not get his Santa gift this year.

The only downside I can see is that my son is already sad at the thought that Elfey will go back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve and will be gone for an entire year...Hopefully the gift Santa leaves will alleviate this dreaded time.

This doll is a great size big enough that my kids can spot him no matter where he decides to land for the day, but small enough that he can fit in/on anything, he even decided to perch on our Christmas tree one day. He has a great little face that adds a lot of character and life to the little doll. The book says the kids aren't allowed to touch the elf, which is why it's okay that Elfey isn't the most durable "toy" around. I have no doubt he will be more than able to survive the years of perching around my house for my kids and possibly even grandkids.

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