Tag Archive | "Reviews"

beach camping with the dog

Beach Camping the California Coast

beach camping with the dog

Beach season is still in full swing, even as little campers prepare to go back to school. With its moderate climate, sunshine, and variety of landscapes, Southern California is a top camping destination for beach goers.  Check out the best spots to pitch a tent at the beach in So. Cal. including Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

But California’s best beach getaways aren’t just in Southern California. The Central Coast offers rugged and secluded beaches that are scenic, secluded, and full of adventure. Here’s a guide a camping road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway.

We have a photo gallery of top spots for California a camping getaway, new campground reviews and features on a few top destinations in California to help you get started planning a a summer camping trip in the golden state.

California Camping Guides:

  • Top 10 California Camping Destinations
  • Southern California Beach Camping
  • California’s Central Coast
  • Lake Tahoe Camping Guide
  • Napa Valley Camping and Budget Travel Guide

California Camping Photo Gallery:

  • Postcards from California

Photo: ©  Getty Images | Jordan Siemens

 

Source: About.com


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Posted in TravelComments Off

Umpire-manager arguments are about to get a makeover

Arguing with umpires isn’t going away — it’s as much a part of the game as peanuts and hot dogs. But, just as some ballparks offer sushi and craft beer, the umpire argument is about to get a radical transformation.

The introduction of a challenge system for instant replay reviews for the 2014 baseball season — assuming it’s ratified by the owners, the players’ union and the umpires –  is perhaps the most radical innovation in baseball since the designated hitter was introduced 40 years ago.

How will it work? Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings and two from the seventh inning until the completion of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by video at MLB headquarters in New York, which will make a final ruling. That’s in an effort to avoid being influenced by local forces.

So there should be fewer arguments between umps and managers, but there might be more. Only reviewable plays — fair/foul, home runs, force outs, catch or trap — can be challenged. If a play isn’t reviewable — balls and strikes, for example — we’ll still get managers turning back the clock to Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella, trying to get their points across to the men in blue.

The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman wrote a primer on how the system will work, and some circumstances that could arise (such as where runners would be placed if a call is reversed from foul to fair on a double down the line, for example).

“When you call me back a year after this process has been in place, there will be precise and clear answers to all these issues,” said Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz. “We will have experienced it in real time and know what functions and what hasn’t. We think we’ve covered most of that now, and we’re still working on creating the guidelines for some of those situations. But we believe that this is a significant first big step toward using this great new technology of instant replay.”

Source: About.com


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Posted in BaseballComments Off

Getty Images / Photodisc

Wine Reviews

Getty Images / Photodisc

Wine reviews are a starting point, an initial perspective on palate potential.  They should never be viewed as the final summary of a wine. Numerous factors affect a wine’s review with the age, storage conditions, whether a wine is tasted blind or in a series with labels (and bias) visible all playing a piece in a particular wine’s review.  Wine scores whether based on the numerical 100-point (or 20 point) scale or the five and three-star scales of Decanter and Gambero Rosso, remain subjective to the individual tasting palate.

With so many unique wine preferences and food-pairing protocols that play a person’s palate, it’s important to find wine reviews that align with your individual tastes and takes on a wine. We’ve compiled a list of wine reviews and recommendations based on style, price, region, and overall delight.  Take a peek at the latest About.com wine reviews here.

Image Courtesy of Getty Images / Photodisc

Source: About.com


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Posted in CookingComments Off

TSA Takes It Easy On Employee Misconduct, GAO Reports

While reports of significant incidents of misconduct by TSA employees jumped by nearly 27% over the last three years, the agency has been inconsistent and often lax in disciplining accused workers, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In a report prepared for two House Homeland Security subcommittees, the GAO noted that reported cases of TSA worker misconduct serious enough to possibly jeopardize passenger safety, increased from 2,691 in fiscal year 2010 to 3,408 in 2012.

“In that same period,” reported the GAO, “TSA’s workforce of Office of Security Operations employees at the airport level grew by about 3,200 employees.”

TSA employee offenses reported by the GAO ranged from sleeping on duty, to allowing family members and other passengers to sneak prohibited items past scanners.

While TSA-required punishments for such significant acts of misconduct range from 14-day suspensions to firing, the GAO reported that 50% of the cases occurring in 2012 resulted in lesser punishments including letters of reprimand or three-day suspensions.

Including major and less serious offenses, the GAO examined a total of 9,622 cases of worker misconduct dealt with by the TSA from 2010 through 2012. Of the 9,622 cases, 47% resulted in reprimand letters, 31% drew suspensions, while only 17% resulted in the employee being fired.

In one example cited by the GAO, a TSA agent knowingly allowed a family member to pass through the screening checkpoint with a carry-on bag containing “numerous prohibited items.” While the offense was witnessed by a supervisor who confiscated the bag, the employee received only a seven-day suspension.

Accusing the TSA of playing “fast and loose” with its disciplinary policies, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), chairman of the Oversight committee on management efficiency, said in a statement, “These findings show why many Americans have lost respect for the agency protecting our airports.”

“TSA has already been publicly scrutinized for its behavior and treatment of the American public and when Americans hear about ethical misconduct from TSA employees, whether it be theft, neglect of duty, or even abusive language, it makes the problem even worse.,” said Duncan.

What the GAO Recommended

In summarizing the problem the GAO reported, “TSA does not have a process for reviewing misconduct cases to verify that TSA staff at airports are complying with policies and procedures for adjudicating employee misconduct,” and recommended that the agency create and implement a process for conducting such reviews.

According to the GAO, the Department of Homeland Security agreed with the recommendations and has directed the TSA to take actions in response.

Also See:
Congress Probes Misconduct by TSA Screeners
Congressman Takes On Rogue TSA Airport Screeners

Source: About.com


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Posted in EconomyComments Off

Best Thin and Light Laptops

It is the back to school shopping season and companies are releasing a number of updated laptops thanks to Intel’s 4th generation Core mobile processors finally reaching the market. Because of this, I have been updating my 14 to 16-inch laptop reviews and now it is time to let you know which models I think are the best thin and light laptops for a variety of different budgets and uses. So if you happen to be looking for a laptop for the upcoming school year or or just need a new laptop to replace an aging one, check out the list.

  • Best 14 to 16-inch Laptops
Source: About.com


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Posted in HardwareComments Off

Blog Post: How MTA Exams Keep Up with Technology Changes

Hi Born To Learn community! I’m the Product Manager for the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification. I look forward to connecting with you through this blog to share noteworthy information regarding MTA. In this first post, I’d like to tell you about how we keep MTA exams relevant in a world where technology constantly changes.

As the MTA Product Manager, I’m often asked if MTA exams validate current technology concepts even if the exams reference older versions of the technology. The answer is “Yes!”

MTA exams are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are relevant in today’s environment, regardless of the technology version that’s new in the market. All Microsoft certification exams are reviewed regularly for relevance, technical accuracy, and psychometric soundness. MTA exams are no different.

Remember–MTA exams test users on fundamental technology concepts that span multiple technology versions. Even if the Windows Server and Database exams reference 2008 versions in the questions, the concepts being tested are still relevant in newer versions (e.g., 2012). We will update the versions referenced in the exams over time as we conduct our ongoing reviews.

Sometimes we find references that are outdated or no longer relevant. In those cases, we may remove the question, remove the reference to the outdated technology in the question, or rewrite the question. For example, the MTA Gaming Development exam currently references XNA technology. With the gaming industry moving away from XNA, the MTA gaming exam is being revised to reflect more current technology.

Whether you are the person taking the exam or whether you’re an instructor, you can be confident that we’re watching MTA exams carefully to ensure they are relevant and current.

Related resources:



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Posted in UncategorizedComments Off

A Dozen Rosés: The Latest Rosé Wine Recs and Reviews

Summer is the perfect time to pop the top off of a variety of international rosé wine offerings. Perceptions are changing and paradigms are shifting with respect to drinking “pink” wines. No longer are they doomed to a “sweet wine” category delivering wine cooler-like concoctions in 750 ml.  Nope, today’s rosé is eager to shed over-embellished stereotypes and introduce red wine grapes in their chilled summer suits from all of the major wine growing regions.

We’ve recently updated our latest recs for rosé wines here.  Made for summer, rosé wines are incredibly food-friendly and will typically partner well with many of the same foodie favorites that demand their fuller-bodied red wine grape counterparts.

Source: About.com


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Posted in CookingComments Off

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Choosing Between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4A few weeks ago my husband faced a very difficult decision. Yes, he need a new smartphone and was stuck between the two most popular and highly rated Android phones on the market: the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. the HTC One.

He read countless reviews, specs comparisons sheets, one-sided opinions, and more. (There are 156,000,000 results for “galaxy s4 vs htc one”!) We lingered at the T-mobile store, staring at the devices side-by-side and prodding them. We asked the salesperson what she thought. (She wasn’t much help, saying both were good.)

On one hand, the HTC One has the better build. It feels solid and just overall better in your hands. It has the better-sounding, better-place stereo speakers and works as an FM radio (which appeals to my husband, since he listens to music all day on the go). The processor is a bit faster.

On the other, the Galaxy S4 is lighter and thinner, has an external memory slot, and its battery is removable.

In the end, the HTC One was sexier, but the Galaxy S4 was more practical. We had both previously owned phones whose battery life rapidly deteriorated after a few months, so the option to use a spare battery for critical uptime was more important than the sound quality.

Choosing an expensive gadget is never easy. The best you can do is weigh what’s most important to you and the tradeoffs that come with each feature, e.g., battery life vs. performance. Some business users, for example, might prefer the more professional look and feel of the HTC One, while early adopters might appreciate the Galaxy S4′s futuristic features, such as eye-triggered scrolling. Just like when choosing a laptop or desktop computer, it helps to make a checklist to rank and compare the features you need.

If you’ve decided between the One and the S4, I’m curious what you chose and why.

Source: About.com


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Posted in Mobile & WirelessComments Off

Uber Adds In-app Fare Splitting Feature for Group Rides

If you live around any one of North America’s major cities, chances are you’ve heard about Uber — the San Francisco-based transportation startup that lets you summon a private driver in a chic black sedan with nothing but a tap of your finger and then automatically pay for your ride (including tip) through its smartphone app software.

  • Read about my experience using Uber

Today, Uber announced that it was introducing a new fare splitting feature to both its iPhone and Android apps for people who travel in groups. Not only will this reduce the burden of Uber’s pricey ride fees on the passenger who summons the cab and gets charged for it, but it may also give people more of a reason to use the service more frequently.

The fare splitting app feature allows people to invite their friends through their existing contact list, or they can manually type in a phone number. Passengers who are invited to split up the ride fare will receive a text message with a link that triggers the Uber app to open if they have it installed already, or a download link to install it. Once the invited passengers confirm the fare split request, Uber takes care of the rest by distributing the ride charges evenly among everyone.

To use the fare splitting feature, you need to update your Uber app for iOS or Android. And if you haven’t tried Uber just yet, make sure to check out what I think of Uber, along with a few reader reviews located down at the bottom of the page.

Photo © Uber Technologies, Inc.

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Source: About.com


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Posted in NetworkingComments Off

@SummerBreak Reality Show

@SummerBreak: Social Media Show

The reviews are in for the new social media reality show which follows the summer activities of nine recent high school graduates– and they’re decidedly mixed.

@SummerBreak Reality Show

Called “@SummerBreak,” this social media series is a newfangled attempt at mixing video entertainment with social media feeds.

Not surprisingly, the show drew a negative review from Variety, the magazine specializing in covering the TV industry, and a more positive article from Mashable, an online news service covering the social media industry.

The show, created by a Los Angeles-based media company called the Chernin Group and sponsored by AT&T, was conceived as a “mobile-first narrative” tracking a group of high school grads during their final summer before college. It follows the social streams of of nine real youngsters from high schools in and near Los Angeles.

The story doesn’t unfold on TV, of course. It plays out through social media, including a daily one-minute Youtube video, weekly summary videos and a growing collection of daily tweets, videos and photos via Instagram, Vine, Tumblr and other social media platforms.

Interesting that the social feeds are reviewed by moderators–a large team of professional social media producers– before getting dumped into the show’s official social feeds. So the action is near-realtime, but not quite.

The gripe from Variety was that it lacks a strong narrative or story and devolves into too much trivial, disjointed chatter. But Mashable notes that @SummerBreak is starting to gain some traction as the fan base apparently grows. The action started only a couple of weeks ago and runs for eight weeks.

Where to watch and follow

  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Vine (via the Seenive viewer)
Source: About.com


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Posted in Mobile & WirelessComments Off

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