Special Gifts for the Groom

Sometimes with all the planning, decorations, and thought that goes into your wedding ceremony and reception you can just get cooked up and lost in everything that you have to do. The one important thing to remember is that this day is still supposedly to be centered on you, the bride and groom. So, no matter what obstacles you hit as far as planning things like guest lists, invitations, wedding favors, and decorations you need to make sure that you are still thinking about your perfect and ideal wedding reception with all of your dreams coming true and being discovered in the celebration. Great ways to do this are by using them weddings, by incorporating your personality, and just giving it your all.

However, sometimes you just need to full out pamper yourself or your spouse. Or maybe you are a special friend looking for a great gift that you can give to the brand new couple. If you are that person then you have to think about the most unique gifts out there, just like the bride and groom had to do to choose your wedding favors and all the wonderful decorations that they presented you with. But I bet you will not object since you are close enough to think about getting a unique present to begin with. Well, let's start with the groom. You have to think about what the groom would like, so that means taking into consideration everything that they like and what makes them feel comfortable, relaxed, and happy.

If you do that then you will really be able to choose the perfect gift that they will appreciate maybe more than anything else. In addition to these amazing gift ideas that you can come up with, you should also remember to consider the sort of whimsical and unique gifts that you can find to make them smile and laugh along with you. Here are a couple examples of gifts for the groom that combined everything you need to think about when you are trying to choose a fantastic present.

Screen Tees:

These cotton tee shirts are really great to give as gifts because they are simple but they are sure to put a smile on someone's face when they open it up. The black tee shirt has the bold word "Groom" written in white so that it really stands out against the background. Depending on who you are getting this for, you can get it to say "groom", "best man", "father of the groom" or even "groomsman". This makes this a truly versatile present that you can use to put a smile on the face of any person you choose to give it to.

Men 'Sunshine Flip Flops:

These flip flops are a great gift for your groom who is about to go on a long, relaxing honeymoon. The flip flops feature the phrase "she loves me" and offer a great way to feel the beach atmosphere on your honeymoon and really just get into the sand.

Displaying Photography on the Web

Getting Started:

When deciding to display your photography online, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account as presenting imagery on the web. What I will cover today is image scan quality, the dimensional size of the image, and the impact of image file formats.

Image Scan Quality:

Resolution is the image quality measured in terms of how many pixels make up your image. It is commonly referred to as “ppi”; (pixels per inch). One of the common dilemmas when scanning photo transparencies to digitize them for use on a person’s website is how detailed of a scan do you need to provide your webmaster to post your imagery online. I’m going to sidestep the issue of image copyright concerns for the time being as I’ll cover that in an upcoming article on its own. However, because your images are to be viewed on a screen, all web graphics should be no larger than 72 ppi and thus anything higher has no improved effect, and only creates longer download times. This will also reduce what an individual could do with the image file if they had alternate motives.

Image Dimension Size:

Pixels are the unit of measurement for the screen and most webmasters design a website to fit one of the standard display sizes. Based on statistics that can be looked up on the internet, we have found that most people today have their monitor’s set to display at least 1024 x 768, if not larger.

Why this is important, is that if your scan dimensions in Adobe Photoshop say that the image is 8.5 inches by 11 inches, saving the file at those dimension will not allow a user at 1024 pixels by 768 pixels to see the image in its full presentation without scrolling both vertically and horizontally. Adobe Photoshop provides the ability to resize the image to a size that will fit within your website design. As an added bonus, it will also reduce the download size of the image that the view of the image will experience without losing image quality. This is something that you will need to work with your webmaster to come up the proper tradeoff between file size and the presentation size of the image in your portfolio. It is important to realize that not everyone has broadband connections, so thumbnails are very much appreciated by those who use dialup connections. One thing I would recommend is to come up with standard dimension sizes for your horizontal, vertical, panoramic and thumbnails and stick to them as it will make your life, and your webmaster’s much easier.

Image File Format:

There are two types of color that can be used in Web graphics. The colors can be associated with the Web graphic file formats we just mentioned: GIF and JPG.

GIF:

GIF is short for Graphics Interchange Format and consists of the 216 common colors found on all computer monitors and within all Web browsers. These common colors reside in a Web palette and its advantages are that it is supported by practically all web browsers, can include transparent backgrounds, supports interlacing (providing a low-resolution preview of the graphic to the viewer while it downloads), and can be used as an image map (allowing the viewer to click on the graphic as they would a regular link to another site).

JPEG:

JPEG is short for Joint Photographers Experts Group and is superior in rendering color and detail found in photographs or graphics using blends, gradients, and other tonal variations. JPEG files use red, green, and blue (RGB) for graphical color. The strength of these colors is set in from zero to 255 with zero being the least intensity and 255 being the highest intensity. When red, green and blue are combined at zero intensity the result is black. At full strength, high intensity, where the values are set at 255, 255, 255, the result is pure white. As a photographer, it is important to utilize photographs as much as we can within your Web portfolio to present your work in the best possible quality so that it captures the true spirit of the subject work.

Choosing between the two image formats:

These full color images should not be saved as GIF files because of the limited number of colors. By having limited colors, the full color image will represent the true colors using the existing Web palette of 216 colors and will create a poor, dithered, and ugly image. That is why it is very important to use the right file format for each specific graphic. Sometimes it’s obvious that a graphic on someone’s web page was saved in the wrong file format. Photos may look too grainy, or flat-color images may look too fuzzy. When selecting GIF or JPEG for your graphics conversion, it is important to consider the type of image you will be working with. Use a GIF format if you’re graphic consists primarily of line art or flat colors without gradients. JPEG-converted graphics are best for photographs or images with fine tonal variations in colors, such as images with gradients or metallic images. Choosing the right file format is not only important for the quality, but for keeping your images file size to a minimum.

Summary:

With proper usage of image scan quality, the dimensional size of the image, and the correct image file format, you will be presenting your web portfolio in a manner that the rest of the world can fully enjoy your work.

4 Motorcycle Accessories to Add Your BMW GS Motorbike

The BMW GS series of motorbikes is seen as one of the most popular range of motorbikes in its class – the dual sport / adventure bikes. They are even extremely popular outside of their class, possibly losing out only to Japanese racing bikes and Harleys. If you own a BMW GS bike and have not yet taken it on overnight (or longer) trips, it's high time you do so because this is what they were built for. This article suggests five common accessories you can add to your bike, which you'll certainly appreciate regardless of whether or not you are already a seasoned adventure motorcyclist.

Motorbike Luggage carriers / panniers

Motorcycle luggage carriers are probably the first type of BMW GS accessories you should be looking at. Not much point in taking overnight trips if you can not carry any substantial amount of luggage with you, right? There are several options available:

Tankbags are placed just in front of you, between your seat and the handlebars. These are usually quite small bags, very convenient for storing items you need to get to quickly like your wallet or camera. Topcases are another option which are mounted on the back of the bike. You may or may not need to install a rack or adapter plate to hold the case, especially if you're installing a non BMW topcase.

BMW GS panniers or "side bags" as they are commonly called hang off the sides of the bike, at the back. Soft panners offer less protection to its contents, hold smaller volumes but are less bulky. Hard panniers are manufactured from metal (usually aluminum) can be costly and are definitely heavier and bulkier but usually offer excellent protection from crashes, water and dirt. They can sometimes hold up to 40L each, which ads the same capacity as a very large backpack right on the rear of your bike – get 'em if you can afford' em. If you can not fit all your stuff in a pair of these panners, a rollbag and tank bag then you seriously need to reconsider the amount of stuff you are taking.

Motorcycle Lights

Motorcycle lights are a useful addition which adds an element of safety to your riding experience. You can see better, and you're also seen better. Xenon headlights are available and these make your bike stand out more when you appear in other driver's mirrors – the extra visibility could save your life one day. Several companies manufacture additional light sets that are mounted on the front of bike, to be used in foggy or other low visibility conditions. These are ultra bright lights which allow you to see the road in front of you and any possible obstacles better.

Perhaps they should not be used only in low-vis conditions: I've heard car driver sympathetic to us motorcyclists say that (while being as attentive as they can) "I just do not notice bikes on the road. notice ONE light at all ". Anyone who drives a car through cities should be able to confirm this – a single light just does not stand out. A set of extra lights on the side of your bike results in a "triangle" of lights shining out of your bike: one main light with two extra lights below and to the side of it. If you've ever seen a big GS bike kitted out with this kind of setup you'll know what I mean. Although a little extravagant, these extra lights DO make you more visible in the rear view mirrors of car drivers. Hopefully they will realize a motorbike is approaching before the swerve out of their lane and nail you.

Finally, aftermarket brake lights are available that shine brighter and can be configured to blink or flash quickly when you brake. I'm not sure if they are legal, and they may be annoying to car drivers but they allow motorists driving behind you to notice you quick – very useful in case traffic slows down abruptly and you're worried about getting rear ended by inattentive drivers .

Aftermarket exhausts

Motorcycle exhausts are toys for the boys. They rarely offer practical improvements, other than a great rumbling sound for that extra satisfaction when you're revving the engine at a red light. It has to be said that aftermarket exhausts are usually also lighter than the OE ones and may save a couple of pounds in weight – who does not want a lighter bike? These exhausts usually also give you a little bump in horsepower – not as much as with aftermarket car exhausts, but maybe noticeable nonetheless. One thing to look out for is that exhaust does not get in the way of any panniers or pannier racks you have hanging off the side of the bike. Exhausts are not cheap but will only widen your grin and give your bike more of an individual character.

Fairing & windscreens

Motorcycle fairing is the "shell" that's placed over the frame at the front of the bike and is designed to reduce air drag. It improves the aerodynamics of the bike and protects you from wind blast and debris flying your way. Assuming you have not mounted a fridge sized box on the back of your BMW GS, its aerodynamics are probably good enough for overnight trips. However, the protection from wind and debris offers a substantial improvement. Modifying the fairing on BMW GS bikes is usually done by the real pros and in rally conditions, but casual travelers can seriously benefit from an extended windscreen which can save strain on your body and neck when driving at moderate to high speeds during highway cruising.

For the real fanatics, Touratech is able to convert your GS motorbike in to a fully fledged Paris – Dakar clone. Their "desertio" range of bikes renders the original GS bikes almost unrecognizable. Conversions like this come at a price, but if the environment is appropriate you'll appreciate these full on make-overs.

It's clear that adding BMW GS accessories to your bike are a great way to make your bike safer, unique, better looking and more travel-worthy.

Happy trials and ride safe!

Six Awesome Motorcycle Parts to Soup Up Your Hog

Ask any biker: your motorcycle is not only a high-powered vehicle built to create awesome experiences, but also an expression of your personality.

Even though machines come off the lot stacked with great features, there’s always room for modifications. Working on your bike is just one more fun part of ownership, while adding and subtracting components lets you to create the look, feel, and riding experience you desire. Let’s look at some super-cool motorcycle parts you might consider adding or altering to perfect your bike.

1. Frame Sliders and Engine Guards

Frame sliders are very simple add-ons that prevent your frame from touching the ground, in the event that your vehicle tips over. These metal components create a short cushion between ground and bike, preventing impact to your frame. Similarly, engine guards are steel bars that fit over the cycle’s engine to protect it if the craft keels over. Both of these are easy to install, and give you some cheap insurance against frustrating damages.

2. Fender Eliminator Kit

Most bikes come with bulky, unattractive rear fenders. It’s not a surprise, then, that fender eliminators are one of the most common alterations riders make. Look for a good eliminator kit that works with your rear brake light and gives your vehicle a sleeker appearance.

3. Exhaust System

You feel the need for speed, but do you also feel the need for… noise? Many riders are excited about the powerful sound of their engines, and adding an exhaust system gives you control over that sound’s character and intensity. Though this isn’t the cheapest of motorcycle parts, it adds some power to your engine and is usually easy to install. With so many systems that create unique sounds, you have control over how you announce yourself to the streets.

4. Air Filter

The air filter is the exhaust system’s partner in crime. If you opt for a new exhaust system, you’ll need a filter that can handle it. Air filters heighten performance by keeping the engine clean and aerated. Well-maintained filters can last for tens of thousands of miles, so it’s smart to invest in a good one.

5. Custom Suspension

Suspension is much different for motorcycles than it is for cars. A biker’s weight is much higher in comparison to his or her vehicle’s weight. When you buy a bike, have the suspension adjusted precisely to handle your weight. Very few riders do this, but it makes for optimal handling and performance once you hit the road.

6. High-Performance Tires

Tires are crucial motorcycle parts. Good ones allow you to ride on a wider range of surfaces, while also optimizing handling and fuel efficiency. The tires included with new bikes are functional, but basic. Look for tough, high-performance tires that are built for the kinds of surfaces you plan to encounter – it will make a big difference in the feel of each ride.

Working on your bike can be just as fun as riding it. With these motorcycle parts and modifications, you can transform a good machine into a great one.