Old School Online Gaming

Ever wondered what your parents and the adults played for fun back in their day? Or before the existence of Nintendo Wii's, Playstations, and World of Warcraft, what were the games that people played with the computer? Online gaming back then was not as high-tech as what you play now but they delivered the same amount of fun that today's online games give you. Take a journey down old time geekery and see what was deemed as hi-tech back then:

1. # TradeWars 2002
A space game developed in 1984. In TW2002, the player is a galaxy trader where the main objective is to gain control of a limited set and amount of resources, as you travel in different sectors of the galaxy. Using your earned wealth in trading, you can upgrade your spaceship, get better weapons and fight for control of planets and starbases.

2. # MUDs
Also known as Multi-User Dungeon, this is a text-based multiplayer real-time virtual world that started in 1978. It combined elements such as role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat with a fantasy setting populated by fictional races and monsters. The objective of the game is to slay monsters, explore a fantasy world, complete quests, go on adventures, create a story by role-playing, and advance the character.

3. # MUSHes
MUSH, generally called a Multi-User Shared Hallucination, is somewhat of a text-based Second Life where you can create anything you want, be anyone you want, and do anything that you want in a multi-user game. With the popularity of MUDs in the 1980s, many variations emerged such as TinyMUD in 1989. MUSH was then created by Larry Foard who used TinyMUD's code and added a different programming language.

4. # Hunt
The old school Before Doom, created in 1985 by Conrad C. Huang and Gregory S. Couch, is represented using ASCII characters on an 80×24 terminal screen. Hunt is a multiplayer game where each player wanders around a maze, killing off other players using guns, bombs, and slime. Players can also form a team. The maze, when destroyed, regenerates over time, during which "deflectors" appear, changing the direction of the projectile. Sometimes a "wandering bomb" appears, exploding when contact is made.

5. # Empire 3.84
Considered as the grandfather of all Internet games, Empire 3.84 is a risk-like conquer-the-world game with its original version appearing in 1971 on a PDP-11/45 mainframe computer at Harvard University. It gained popularity for being cited as one of Sid Meier's inspiration for Civilization PC game series.

6. # BBS Door Games
Since the technology in the old days was pretty much text-based, online games back then usually were also text-based games played over the modem on an amateur-run bulleting board system (BBS). Supporting only one phone line, there was not WiFi back then, so players usually had to take turns when playing, but still they can compete against each other.

7. # FIBS
The First Internet Backgammon Server pretty much tells us what it is, it's the first backgammon server on the Internet. Started in 1992, it has become one of the most popular online games to play backgammon against other players around the globe.

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Container Gardening Basics For Success

Container Gardening is becoming more and more popular as the population of cities and suburbs increases. Your "garden" is movable and so it is easier to manage pests and garden environments. It also brings the time that you need to tend to your plants because you can place them where they are easier for you to reach. This is especially good for people who are handicapped but still want a garden.

There are some things that are necessary in order to have a successful container garden.

First, you must have a container. You can find them in almost every size, shape and they can be made of many different materials. And, they can be very inexpensive, especially when you create them from "found" objects. You must make sure that the container that you choose has adequate drainage.

Make sure that your container is appropriate for your plant's full-grown size. You do not want to have to keep changing pots as your garden grows.

Soil is the next thing you have to have for your garden. I'm sorry, but you can not go outside and dig up some dirt. It will be much too heavy and will probably contain lots of bugs and pests that you do not need. The soil must be of good quality to keep your plants healthy and growing well. Buy potting mix that drains well but still is able to retain adequate moisture. The mix should not be so light that it will not hold the plant and root system in the container without propping the plant up.

You can mix your own potting soil by using one part compost; one part perlite and one part garden loam. Be sure that you inspect the loam for pests before using it.

Choose plants that do not have very large root systems. Those plants will soon get too large for the pot that you have planted them in, even to the point of breaking it. As I mentioned before, not sizing the plant to the pot (or the pot to the plant), can cause plants to be spindly and root-bound.

Tomatoes are a good choice for a new gardener because they are easy to grow and have a strong, but small, root system. Other vegetables that are appropriate are peppers, lettuce, spinach, radishes and eggplant.

Herbs are also an excellent choice for container gardens. Herb gardens do not require much space and they are extremely easy to grow, even for the novice gardener. Like most plants, they do require adequate drain to grow them successfully.

Some people use container gardens as decorating accents as well as growing vegetables for the dinner table. Choosing containers that fit with the style of the area you want them in terms of its ambiance. You might even want to use them in a specific area inside your home. Sunrooms come to mind as a great place to grow plants. Do make sure there is adequate sun and shade for your plants.

10 Marketing & Social Media Tactics to Boost Holiday Sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, "65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media."

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here's some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past

Look at metrics from last year's holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the largest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and did not so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year's promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image

Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It's the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags

Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #DIY, #holidaysssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals

Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,

• limited quantity sales,

• buy-one-get-one free,

• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a "12 days of Christmas" promotion with a special deal each day!

Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping

Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $ 100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the largest detracts to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas

Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you do not know what to buy for the person who has everything. You'll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,

• 10 gifts grandparents love,

• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews

If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and reviewing a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offers that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offer go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: # beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers

Offer to give a $ 100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer cutting posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family / friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit

Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer's hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favorite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:

a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.

b. What their most loved Christmas song is.

c. DIY Christmas decorating tips.

d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.

Fast Food, Slow Death?

The all too familiar story: no time to cook, kids are late for soccer practice and McDonald's is on the way. Since it will not take more than a few minutes to shoot through the drive through we'll do the fast food stop. Or all too familiar story number 2: lunch hour at work and I need to pick up my dry cleaning, fill a prescription, and take the car to get gas and find time to eat. Sure enough Taco Bell is on the way and they have a drive through as well. These real life situations play out for all of us, millions of us, everyday. Since time has become one of our most precious commodities the sacrifice we make is often in our diet.

And yet it does not need to be this way. By following a few healthy practices you can still go to your favorite fast food chain and, 30 years from now, live to tell about it. The key is knowing what to select from the menu and balancing that meal with the rest of the day's food intake.

Choose Your Menu Items With Care

Choose a main dish item that is low in fat. As an example, when faced with the choice of a bacon cheeseburger or a regular hamburger, the regular hamburger wins every time. In the battle of the regular hamburger or the grilled chicken breast sandwich the chicken wins hands down. Why? Here's an example:

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich has 360 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0 trans fat. Compare that to the Wendy's Big Bacon Classic which has 580 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of trans fat. Put either choice with a medium fry and you have added another 440 calories and another 21 grams of fat. Choose, instead, the Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Chive and you add 320 calories and 4 grams of fat – a better choice indeed.

Choose side salads and salad bar vegetables as these provide extra vitamins and add dietary fiber. In addition they fill you up without adding lots of extra calories. Be sure to use low fat or non-fat dressing or better yet, a simple vinaigrette dressing. More dietary fiber can be found in the choice of whole wheat or whole grain buns and rolls.

If your sweet tooth kicks in have fresh fruit or frozen yogurt. Or go for the reduced fat ice cream versus the shake. Again an example, this time from McDonald's: 16 oz. Triple Thick Vanilla Shake has 550 calories and 13 grams of fat. The Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone has 150 calories and only 3.5 grams of fat. Granted the lower calories alternative is not as decadent but it also will not clog your arteries by increasing your cholesterol intake and it will satisfy the sugar craving.

Watch Your Portion Size

Portion control is also a key element to successful fast food dining. Although many restaurants have discontinued the super size trend, most portions are simply more than we need to consume. These large portions look like real value when viewed in the monetary sense but when measured by way of their contribution to weight gain and its complications they are simply not worth it.

Choose the smallest size possible especially if you are having hamburgers or fried foods.

Share large or high items with someone else.

Eat half your order and take the rest home. Yes, I know we are provided to clean our plates because there are children starving in China. At least that's what many mothers over the years have been heard to say. The fact is being a member of the Clean Plate Club will also get you entry into the Fat Club, the High Cholesterol Club, and if your really fortify the Heart Disease Club.

Remember These 3 Key Points

1. Reduce total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
2. Increase intake of whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fast food is one of the great innovations of the 20th century. Here in the 21st century we need to manage how we take advantage of its limitless access. To do so will maintain a balance between food as satisfying fuel that keeps our human engine running and toxic waste that will eventually lead to shorten life spans.