How to Set Shutter Speed and Aperture

1.Set the correct film speed on the shutter speed dial on the top left of the camera.
2.Determine the shutter speed and corresponding aperture setting - also known as an f-stop - using a built-in or hand-held light meter. (See "How to Read a Light Meter.")
3.Set the aperture using the aperture ring on the camera lens. Aperture settings indicate the size of the opening in the lens and range from F2 to F22 on the typical camera.
4.Set the shutter speed using the shutter speed dial on top of the camera. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second and ranges from 1 second to 1/1000 of a second on the average camera.  
Aperture and shutter settings work together and can be used in different combinations to produce the same exposure.
A smaller f-stop number will result in a shallower depth of field, and less of the background will be in focus.
With an aperture of F11, the shutter speed on a bright sunny day is typically 1/125 second. Using the same aperture on a cloudy day, set the shutter speed at 1/60 second to expose the film to light for a longer period of time.
Choose a high shutter speed to capture action.   Steps:
1.Set up a natural-looking area around a feeder or birdbath for a "wild-looking" picture. You can do this by planting a bush at your feeder or, for a quick solution, tie a large branch to a post in the ground or your bird feeder post for the birds to rest on.
2.Use a large box, such as a refrigerator packing box, and cut a hole large enough for your camera lens to fit through. Place a chair inside the box if you'll be spending a lot of time there.
3.Try using a dummy or stuffed scarecrow in a chair close to the feeder or nest. Let the dummy sit there for two or three days, then when you use the chair, the birds will be comfortable with your presence.
4.Watch for an old pup tent at a yard sale or auction to use as a bird blind.
5.Drape camouflage material or netting over yourself as you sit in a chair. You may need to cut a hole to slip your camera lens through for a clear photograph.
6.Use your vehicle as a blind. Use a window mount to hold your camera steady. If you don't have a window mount, brace your elbows on the window sill and steering wheel and use a small beanbag to steady the camera on the window glass. Park safely - observe rules about parking so as not to destroy any plants or possible nesting areas. 
Place a hat on your scarecrow with a few sunflower seeds in the brim. When you sit in the chair, wear a large straw hat with a few seeds on the brim. Not only will your feathered friends be sitting on your head enjoying a snack, the hat will save you from a nasty case of sunburn.
Remember that it may take the birds 15 to 30 minutes to come back to the feeder after being disturbed. 
Warnings: If the birds show signs of being upset at your being close to their nesting area, move away.   

How to Set Up a Macintosh

1.Make sure your desk or table is near an electric outlet and a phone jack.
2.Carefully remove equipment from the packing cartons.
3.Make sure you have everything that should have come in the boxes, including power cords for each piece of equipment. Each box should include a packing list.
4.Position the equipment on your desk. If the computer is a mini-tower, it can go on the floor as long as it has space behind it for ventilation.
5.Plug the mouse into the keyboard. Match the icon on the mouse plug to an icon on the keyboard. This ADB plug will only go in one way; turn it 90 degrees if you have trouble.
6.Plug the keyboard into the small, round ADB port on the back of the computer. (This should be marked with the same icon as your mouse plug.)
7.Connect a printer according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Printers might be connected to a number of different ports.)
8.Connect any other devices, such as speakers, a microphone or an external modem. Let the icons on the back of the computer guide you, but use the port specified by the device manufacturer.
9.Connect a modem to a phone jack using the supplied phone cable. Plug the phone cable into the surge suppressor if it has a phone cable connector, then plug the second cable into wall jack.
1..Connect power cords to each piece of equipment.
1..If you have an external Zip drive, connect it to the SCSI or USB port, depending on what type of drive it is.
1..Connect the monitor to the computer. The monitor port is unique; find the corresponding size and shape. Use a monitor adapter if necessary. (If you bought a non-Apple monitor this might be necessary.)
1..Tighten the hand-screws on the monitor plug.
1..Plug each piece of equipment into a surge suppressor.
1..Turn on the surge suppressor.
1..Turn on the monitor.
1..Turn on all other powered devices connected to computer.
1..Turn on the computer last.  
Tips: All the ports on a Macintosh are identified with icons; all Apple cables are marked with corresponding icons. You can't go wrong if you match the cable icon to the port icon.  
Avoid the installing system on a heavily used electrical circuit.
Leave room for ventilation around vents on computer and monitor.
Keep computer system away from magnetic fields, such as unshielded speakers or microwave ovens.
Make sure equipment is dry and at room temperature before installation.    

How to Make Easter Cookie Baskets for Your Friends

1.Buy several pastel-colored woven baskets and decorate them with ribbon.
2.Fill the bottoms with brightly colored paper Easter grass and foil-wrapped chocolate eggs.
3.Whip up sugar cookie Easter eggs. Use an egg-shaped cookie cutter and then decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. If you can find a carrot-shaped cookie cutter, make carrot-shaped cookies and decorate them with orange and green frosting.
4.Make chocolate chip cookie dough, but instead of adding chocolate chips, mix in a bag of pastel M&Ms.
5.Mix up Rice Krispies treats, cut them into egg shapes and then wrap them in colored plastic wrap. Hold the plastic wrap in place with Easter stickers.
6.Fill a few plastic eggs with candy or other small treats such as tea bags, nuts and mints.
7.Arrange the cookies and candy in the basket.
8.Write out your cookie recipes on a card and decorate it with stickers or stamps. Punch a hole in one corner and use ribbon to attach it to an Easter cookie cutter. Include this treat inside the basket or tie it to the handle.
9.Wrap the entire basket in colored cellophane (to keep the cookies fresh) and tie it at the top with a big bow. 
Tips: If you don't have time to make cookies from scratch, take a roll of slice-and-bake sugar cookies and roll the entire thing in sprinkles for a homemade touch. Slice and bake according to package directions.   

How to Play Backgammon

Playing the Game
1.Set up the backgammon board (see "How to Set Up a Backgammon Board," under Related Hows).
2.Sit opposite your opponent with the board between you.
3.Throw a single die to determine who will get to move first. Roll again if both players get the same number.
4.Move first according to the roll of the dice if you rolled the higher number, but keep in mind that you must use both dice to determine your first move.
5.Number points 1 through 24 starting with the point on the upper right-hand corner farthest away from you.
6.Move in a counterclockwise direction, and notice your opponent moving counterclockwise also.
7.Move onto open points only; you aren't allowed to move onto points with two or more opposing checkers. Move checkers separately or in pairs.
8.Move all the pips shown on the dice. Play the larger number if you can only use one of the two numbers or as many of the doubles.
9.Place your opponent's checker on the bar when you hit a blot.
1..Commence bearing off when you've moved all of your checkers into the home board quadrant. 
Rolls of the dice don't count if they land on a checker, land outside of the board or don't land flat.
If both dice come up with the same number on any roll but the first, the player gets doubles and gets to move two times the roll. Getting two sixes means that the player gets four moves of six.
Move any of the checkers you wish, but your ultimate objective is to get them all into the home board. 

1..Rest the doubling cube on the bar at the beginning of play.
1..Propose to double the stake of the game before you take a turn if you think you're well enough ahead to warrant it.
1..Win the game if your opponent forfeits the double.
1..Continue playing if your opponent accepts.
1..Be aware that your opponent may redouble if the game situation changes.
1..Note that a gammon doubles or a backgammon triples the stake of the cube.  
Tips: The player who declines the double the first time loses one point. The stakes are then raised with subsequent redoubles. If a player declines a redouble, he loses two points. If a player declines a third redouble, he loses four points and so on.   Steps:
1.Divide twelve players into three groups of four people. Two teams sit at each table; teammates sit opposite each other.
2.Assign the tables as the head, middle and bottom. At the end of a round, the winning team advances to the next table. Losers at the head table move to the bottom table.
3.Supply each table with three dice, a score sheet and a pencil for each player, and a scratch pad for the table's scorekeeper. Place a bell on the head table.
4.Begin play with the scorekeeper. The scorekeeper at the head table traditionally rings the bell to begin the round.
5.Roll your three dice.
6.Keep score at each table. (See the Related How "How to Keep Score in Bunco.")
7.Continue to roll until your roll earns no points. Play then moves to the left.
8.Continue to play at your table until a team at the head table scores 21 points or more - at which time, the scorekeeper rings the bell again.
9.Change partners after every round, with one player moving to the seat to the right before the next team arrives.
1..Play six rounds per set and at least two sets per game. The winner is the player with the most wins, though some groups award prizes in categories such as most Buncos and most losses. 
There are six rounds in a set. In Round 1, points are scored for every "one" that is rolled; in Round 2, for every "two" and so forth.
Score sheets should have a place to mark the round, the number of wins, the number of losses, and the Buncos.
Keep extra copies of the score sheets on hand.
Change partners at the beginning of each round.  
Warnings: There are several variations to playing Bunco, most notably in the way the round ends - some play until a team at any table scores 21, some until a team at the head table does. There are also variations in who moves at the end of each round - some groups have the winners move (except those at the head table); others have the losers move.   

How to Choose a Home Alarm Monitoring Company

Conducting Preliminary Research
1.Contact the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association. Ask them to provide you with a copy of the brochure "Safe and Sound: Your Guide to Home Security," and ask for a list of member companies in your area.
2.Read the brochure and familiarize yourself with some basics about home security and terms used by the industry. Visit security Web sites for more information.
3.Ask your insurance agent, friends and neighbors for referrals.
4.Call several companies on the list that the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association provides as well as the companies recommended by your insurance agent, friends and neighbors. Ask if their employees are trained and certified by the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and whether they participate in the Installation Quality Certification Program. Ask the companies if they have the appropriate state and/or local licenses.
5.Contact your local police department's crime prevention department, state licensing agencies, consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau. Inquire about the status of the companies you are considering.
6.Narrow your selections down to about three or four companies.
7.Call the companies and arrange for a visit from a representative at a time when all members of your family can be present. The representative needs to know your lifestyle habits to determine what components to use in the system. You want to be certain that all members of the family fully understand how to work the system the representative will recommend. 
Meeting a Company's Representative

8.Ask the representative how long the company has been in business.
9.Ask whether the company uses Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed equipment and whether the monitoring station itself is UL certified.
1..Ask the representative about the company's training programs. Are the monitoring operators, technology advisors and sales representatives trained in the operation and installation of the equipment, how to design a custom security system and how to handle troubleshooting problems?
1..Ask if the monitoring station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and if the company has a customer service department that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
1..Ask if the company has a backup monitoring center. If the main center experiences power problems, you want to be sure your home will still be monitored.
1..Ask if the monitoring center has built-in redundancies for its power, computer and phone lines. If something goes wrong, the redundancy ensures that the center can continue monitoring.
1..Insist that the representative inspect your home and make recommendations and a quote in writing. Ask the representative to explain why he or she made the recommendation as well. A good, easy-to-follow explanation is a good sign you're dealing with a knowledgeable person and an honest company.   

How to Tell if a Martial Arts Instructor Is Qualified

1.Watch the instructors. If you're not a student, ask permission first. Do they demonstrate techniques and do they correct any incorrect techniques students perform, or do they simply give commands?
2.Determine the level of discipline used. Are they too lenient, just right or too severe?
3.Assess the extent instructors encourage respect for partners and opponents during drills and practice.
4.Identify how often instructors ask for student feedback. Are they open to suggestions and innovative practices within a structured curriculum?
5.Check with other students and share examples of good and bad instruction.
6.Ask the head instructor how the school's teachers are chosen. What qualifications do they have? Are they promoted in an accredited organization, such as the World Tae Kwon Do Federation?
7.Assess your progress. Have instructors provided clear direction when asked? Have they encouraged short and long-term goals for each class? 
Tips: Good instructors model the same values they expect from you. 
Warnings: Consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen. Remember that the practice of martial arts can be dangerous, so use caution at all times. 

How to Make a Florist's Bow

1.Cut 3 1/2 yards of ribbon.
2.Make a loop over your thumb. This will be the center.
3.Pinch the ribbon and twist it counterclockwise between your fingers and thumb. The ribbon should be right side out.
4.Work from top to bottom, making equal-size loops in the ribbon that return each time to the center.
5.Pinch and twist each loop under the original center loop and hold the stack with your thumb. Again, the pattern on the ribbon should be facing out.
6.Extend the tail of ribbon out the other side with each loop.
7.Keep making loops until you have a bow the size you want.
8.Twist a piece of wire around the center and wind it around tightly a few times.
9.Twist the ends of the wire together behind the bow, and leave enough so that you can use it to attach the bow to an object.
1..Fluff up the loops. 

How to Watch an NHRA Drag Race

Cars and Drivers
1.Remember that the king of the drag strip is the top fuel dragster - 500-cubic-inch supercharged rear-engine V-8s fired by an exotic blend of nitromethane and methanol.
2.Expect a top fueler to cover the quarter mile in less than 5 seconds at over 300 mph.
3.Watch the funny cars - put a top fuel engine in front of the driver and cover the whole thing with a cool-looking plastic body.
4.Check out the pro stockers - purpose-built stock-appearing Fords, Pontiacs, Chevys and Dodges powered by 500-cubic-inch V-8s running on pure gasoline.
5.Remember that there are pro stock motorcycles and pro stock trucks running, too.
6.Keep an eye on the bracket and amateur racers - hobbyists who hit the strip for fun and trophies in homebuilt quarter milers, some street-legal.
7.Watch for Joe Amato and Kenny Bernstein piloting top fuelers. Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta, Gary Scelzi and Cory McClenathan.
8.Follow pro stock drivers like 1999 champion Warren Johnson, his son Kurt Johnson, Darrell Alderman driving Mopar products, Troy and Jeg Coughlin Jr., and Jim Yates.
9.Check out funny car drivers Whit Bazemore, Scotty Cannon, Tommy Johnson and the Pedregon brothers - Cruz, Frank and Tony.
1..Smile when you see the NHRA's number one ambassador, funny car pilot John Force. The nine-time champion - voted national motor sports Driver of the Year in 1996 - never fails to amuse in interviews, whether he's dancing happily in the victory lane or lamenting another blown engine. 
The Race

1..Watch for the NHRA pros in a 24-race tour beginning in February each year with the historic Winternationals at Pomona, California.
1..Check out races at Phoenix; Gainesville, Florida; Las Vegas; Houston; Richmond, Virginia; Atlanta; Dallas and other major venues across the nation.
1..Find the complete schedule, as well as late-breaking news, at the NHRA's Web site (see Related Sites).
1..Remember that drag races are multiday events, with action lasting all day long since winners are determined by multiple elimination rounds.
1..Attend a night session. Top fuelers and funny cars running at night are a surreal visual experience.
1..Note that only the top 16 enter the final bracket.
1..Attend Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions to see every car on the track.
1..Move around the stands. Watch some runs from the starting line. Watch others from near the finish line. The effect is entirely different.
1..Visit the pit area. Fans have better access than at any other type of motor sport event.
2..Watch crews rebuild and tune engines. Top fuel and funny car engines are almost always torn down and rebuilt between runs.
2..Be prepared if a crew fires up an engine. A top fuel engine generates over 5,000 horsepower. Being close by when one is fired up is a visceral experience.
2..Stick around after the last race. Drivers and crews in the pit area are more relaxed and have more time for fans. 
Overall Tips:
A drag race is a quarter-mile sprint from a standing start. In some parts of the country, some groups stage one-eighth-mile drag races.
Drag races are measured for elapsed time and speed, but in side-by-side racing, first across the finish line wins.
Top fuel dragsters are sometimes called "rails." They're built quite narrow and are 300 inches in length.
A top fueler will burn about 15 gallons of fuel during a single run.
Anyone can join the NHRA, and there are member benefits when you attend sponsored drag races.
Get the NHRA electronic newsletter or subscribe to an independent drag racing e-mail list.
Take a hat, sunglasses and ear protection. Drag races are loud.
A Christmas tree at the drag races? No presents necessary. It's the nickname for the set of starting lights. 
Overall Warnings:
Ear protection is a must. Decibels reign supreme at drag races.
Be patient and polite in the pit area. Big money is at stake for the professionals. Let them do their jobs.
You'll never forgive yourself if you forget your camera or video camera. 

How to Time Your Trip to New Orleans

General Considerations
1.Decide when you want to visit. Generally the climate here is mild and pleasant, though humid. Only in July and August does the heat become uncomfortable. Winter lows average 42 degrees F; summer highs, 91 degrees F.
2.Consider visiting during the low season. If big crowds and giant parties aren't your thing, you'll agree with many locals that January, February and November are the best times to explore New Orleans.
3.Check out what festivals, expositions and live performances are happening (see "Attractions and Seasonal Events" below and Related Sites).
4.Take care of your flight, transportation and accommodations (see Related Hows).
5.Check the weather forecast for New Orleans shortly before leaving, and pack accordingly. 
Attractions and Seasonal Events

6.Put on a costume and party with the entire city on Mardi Gras, New Orleans' biggest and wildest celebration. This culmination of the long carnival season happens in mid-February, the day before Ash Wednesday.
7.Listen to the masters of jazz and sample Cajun specialties at the internationally acclaimed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Second only to Mardi Gras, this 10-day event books up hotels a year in advance. It's usually held at the end of April and beginning of May.
8.Experience Halloween like nowhere else in the world. The costumes are extravagant and will excite everyone in your family. Kids will enjoy the haunted houses, museums and the zoo, while the nighttime activities center on the French Quarter.
9.Acquaint yourself with the latest dance, music, theater and visual art at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St.
1..Hear some of America's best voices at the New Orleans Opera Association, featuring several operas each season.
1..Plan New Year's in New Orleans around college football; the city hosts the raucous Sugar Bowl every New Year's Day. 
Tips: If crowds bother you, avoid New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and the Sugar Bowl.   

How to Sleep on Public Transport While Traveling

1.Carry adequate layers of clothing that you can wear for added warmth when traveling in cool climates or on air-conditioned buses. Your body temperature will drop as you doze, and there is nothing like a cool draft or chilled feet to keep stirring you out of your sleep.
2.Bring an inflatable travel pillow or an additional layer of clothing to use as a pillow. Inflatable neck pillows are good for use when sleeping on an aisle or between other passengers.
3.Use rest stops when they are available, even if you don't think you need to use a bathroom or purchase a snack. A full bladder or empty stomach down the road is bound to keep you uncomfortable and awake.
4.Observe when and how fellow travelers appear to be sleeping. They probably know some tricks of the trade particular to the mode of transportation you are using and the culture you are traveling in.
5.Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and eating sugar. Also avoid alcohol, which may initially make you drowsy, but will ultimately disrupt your sleep pattern, cause you to use the restroom frequently, and dehydrate you.
6.Opt for a portable tape or disc player with a headset to minimize exterior sounds or provide white noise to enable you to sleep.
7.Consider sleeping with ear plugs and an eye mask only if you feel you can adequately judge the safety of your surroundings.
8.Carry plenty of things to entertain you if you can't sleep: books, music, playing cards, travel board games, your journal. Activity may eventually lull you into sleepy land better than closing your eyes and worrying about insomnia. 
Tips: Consider taking turns sleeping if you are traveling with a group or partner and feel unsafe in your environment. Knowing that your partner will be awake to watch your belongings and monitor the comings and goings of others will help you rest more soundly. 
Carry your passport and money in a security pouch underneath your clothing. Never sleep with these in your luggage or under your pillow.
Strap your luggage together and lock it to a luggage rack using a bicycle lock if traveling on transport where theft is a risk. Use a lock on your luggage, handbag or daypack to deter thieves.
Avoid taking sleeping pills unless you are traveling with a partner who will be alert, and you feel absolutely safe in your environment.