Lowering Child Support Payments Through Unspecified Vacations

You want to pay the fair amount of child support and spend as much time as possible with your kids. Easy, right? Unfortunately, no. It can be very difficult for divorced parents to agree on a child custody schedule that lets them both enjoy their children as much as possible. Usually there is a custodial parent who has the kids most of the time – and the non-custodial parent gets to spend some time with them and pay child support. The non-custodial parent may feel completely helpless about getting more time with the children and he / she may feel like there is nothing they can do to lower the child support payments. Fortunately, there are things a non-custodial parent can do to gain more time with the children – and if they spend more time with the children then the child support payments generally go down. One way to do this is to use unspecified vacations.

Let's start with a fairly typical child custody arrangement. The child visitation schedule is set up so that the non-custodial parent has the children every other weekend. Since the children are most often with the custodial parent, the child support payments will be large. With this visitation agreement, the non-custodial parent has about fifteen percent of the customs time. Negotiating for unspecified vacations, however, can increase this time.

Unspecified vacations are general periods of time set aside in a visitation plan for one parent or the other without any specific dates attached. A typical order would read: "Father may take a vacation with the children each year of up to one uninterrupted week two times per year and must notify Mother of specific dates thirty days prior to vacation." This means that Dad gets two separate weeks a year when he can take the kids – and he can do it whenever he chooses. Attorneys generally use this type of unspecified vacation when parties want the flexibility to go on trips – but not at the same exact days and times each year. Also, it's useful for parents who simply want more vacation options or are uncertain about plans for summer break.

So, the smart parent will look through the calendar and choose vacation times that will maximize the time with their children. The parent should choose the weeks when they do not already have custody of their children. A parent can also look into purchasing a child customs software that will calculate the best time for them to schedule the vacation. We scheduled two of these vacations with the scenario used before – and the percentage time shot up to eighty percent. This is a double bonus for the non-custodial parent. You'll get to spend more time with your child and, since child support payments are based on the percentage of time spend with the child, your child support payments will decrease. And, there's the obvious fact that now you get to take your kids on vacation whenever you want during the year. So, take the money you save in child support and you're on your way!

Cooking for Beginners

There is a lot of learning that must be done in order to
become a good cook and then there is becoming a great cook.
But that takes time and plenty of dishes that could have
came out better – and they will-someday. But that's OK
everyone starts somewhere. And the best place to start
cooking for beginners is in the kitchen, of course.

Naturally, there is all kinds of cooking: American, Chinese,
Japanese, Indian, European and etc. All of these types of
cooking takes time and training to learn how to master the
basics. But it can be done because it has been by many
already.

Maybe you are not the best cook yet and maybe that may never
happen. But always remember that someone is not quite as
good as you. Probably you'll be better than most ever will
be. OK so much for having the right attitude and
self-esteem.

Whatever your reason for cooking or learning to cook you
should always begin with the basics. The first thing that
you need to learn is what the different terminology you will
find in recipes actually means. There are many new and
sometimes foreign sounding terms that you will find in
common recipes. These terms can mean the difference in
recipe success or failure. You should be able to find a good
section in any inclusive cookbook that explains the
different definitions for unfamiliar terminology. If you
are not absolutely certain what is meant by "folding in the
eggs "it is in your best interests to look it up.

So take this valuable hint: Try simple recipes at first and
then get a little braver by tackling a few more difficult
dishes. Many recipes will tell you just how difficult it is
to make. But you will soon know by just looking at the
recipe.

Another good idea is that once you get some experience with
different (successful) dishes, make yourself a catalog or
diary of dishes that went over well. Put the date and
comments in the diary.

This will come in handy when you just do not know what to
cook or a special occasion is coming and you want to be sure
to make it successful and fun.

As you learn new recipes and improve your culinary skills
and talents you will discover that preparing your own meals
from scratch is much more rewarding than preparing
prepackaged meals that are purchased from the shelves of
your local supermarkets. You will also discover as your
experience and confidence grows that you will find yourself
more and more often improving as you go and adjusting
recipes to meet your personal preferences.

So what's the secret to learning the basics and becoming a
good cook? Just do it! (over and over).

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.

A Recipe For Outsourcing Your Software Development

Outsourcing your software development can save you time and money if you know what you need. Too often US companies attempted to outsource without a good understanding of what their software should do, and this is the biggest cause of outsourcing failure. It is unreasonable to expect your outsourcing team to have a menu of software, pre-prepared, so you can just select the items you want.

Ever go to a restaurant with a picky eater? They tell the waiter in excruciating detail how they want their food prepared. And heaven forbid that the food arrives different from what was requested! Back to the kitchen it goes to be "fixed" to make the picky eater happy.

Sometimes US companies hire an outsourced partner as if they were going to a restaurant. They select the cuisine based on the flavor of the technology they require. Chinese .NET or Indian Java? How about some Russian C ++? Unfortunately there is rarely a menu for the exact items you might like to order from an outsourced team.

Are you approaching outsourcing your software like you are walking into a restaurant? Are you expecting the outsourcing team to advise you, like an attentive waiter, on the way your software should look, be prepared and presented to your customers?

Instead, bring your own recipe when you start work with an outsourcing team. Unlike your dining experiences, you can not ask for the daily special. You have to provide a specific description of what you would like to have, and how it should be prepared. Without such a recipe, your outsourced software development efforts can be starved for success.

Poorly specified software is often the result when "subject matter experts" are involved. Subject matter experts, or SMEs, know a lot about a particular subject, like IC design, business process workflow, inventory management, etc., but very little about designing software. SMEs can struggle to get their ideas encoded in the software. They need to work with someone that knows the best way to design and develop software.

Sometimes, there is a fear of getting bogged down in the details. Since some software executives are great with people, they feel much more comfortable hiring a person to handle the details. They know how to manage a person here, better than they can manage an offshore team of programmers in a remote offshore location.

One Accelerance client is in this situation. The CEO wants to outsource the development of a new software product. But there is no specification. In this case Accelerance is acting as a virtual CTO, responsible for the design, and development of the client's software.

The client is essentially saying, "Design the software for me, and I'll tell you if it matches what I am thinking." This can work because the cost of outsourcing is so low that rework and multiple design iterations are affordable.

This type of arrangement only works when paying on a Time and Materials basis. There is no way to offer fixed pricing because the end product is not defined.

Of course, not having a specification may not stop you from asking for a fixed price bid! In this case, you can outsource the creation of a specification that defines your software for a fixed price. Then the resulting complete design specification is used to create a second fixed price bid for writing your software.

Another factor comes into play when you pay a fixed price amount for a software design specification. You usually have to pay at least half up front. This is to protect the outsourcing company from delivering a specification for creating the software and then not getting paid.

Because software design often occurs at the beginning of a relationship, both parties seek to minimize their risk. You minimize your risk by selecting an outsourcing team with a proven track record and great references. The outsourcing team reduces their risk by getting partial (sometimes full) payment before starting.

There are multiple deliverables that should be produced during the design phase of creating your software, whether you do it yourself, or outsource the design:

* Marketing Requirements

* Storyboard Demo

* Functional Specification

* Multiple Release Milestone Schedule

* Detailed Task Schedule for First Release

* Detailed Design Specification (optional)

Unfortunately, software development has not progressed to the point where ready-made modules are available to order and combined to create your software. There is not yet a menu of choices available to anyone that is hungry for new software. Instead, you must provide your own recipe for what you need. The good news is low cost outsourced software design and development resources are now available to create your custom software to meet your exact specifications.