3 Ways to Change the Feel of Any Room

Redesigning a home can be a massive undertaking. Instead of tearing down walls and other costly renovations, there are a few easier alternatives to change the feel of any room in the house. While any project comes with a certain degree of challenges, careful planning, meticulous selection, and flawless execution are often what separates these faster design projects from their all-encompassing counterparts.

3 Ways to Change the Feel of Any Room

Install Some Paper

Wallpaper for house walls can easily transform the feel of any room. Whether choosing a custom, vintage, or contemporary paper homeowners can experience the dramatic impact a great wall covering provides. Wallpaper can quickly become one of the most cost-effective renovation projects ever undertaken. Plus, the project does not usually require the rental of a dumpster.

3 Ways to Change the Feel of Any Room

Change the Color

Tired colors and schemes can weigh on the most dedicated of homeowners. Deciding to change the palette of a room can be an involved project thanks to potential to affect the entire home, but a subtle change can bring about a fresh and inviting feeling for a certain room. Some careful execution is a must for any paint project, but with proper preparation the feel of any room can be easily altered.

3 Ways to Change the Feel of Any Room

Floor & Window Treatments

Floor and window treatments are some of the most underappreciated elements of home design. Rugs, drapes, blinds, and more are all pieces that break up eye patterns and compliment color schemes. By adding a few throw rugs, changing a few blinds or shades, or changing up the drapes any room can quickly assume a new identity. In addition, savvy homeowners can institute seasonal changes in these key areas of decoration to alter the feel of the room along with the rotating weather or holidays.

3 Ways to Change the Feel of Any Room

In the end, changing the feel of a room does not have to involve massive renovations or meetings with contractors. In fact, changing the paint scheme, adding some wallpaper, tweaking the floor and window treatments, or some combination of the techniques can breathe new life into any space. All it takes is a little trial and error and the courage to try something new. When a house starts to feel like a home, every project starts to take on renewed importance and priority. Taking the process step by step is usually the best way to accomplish the overall design goal while still respecting the monthly budget of any owner.

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How To Enjoy Your Yard Through the Fall

According to the calendar, summer is almost over. But if you live in a warm or moderate part of the country, it doesn’t have to mean that outdoor living is finished for the year. As long as the sun is shining, there’s no reason not to enjoy your beautiful back yard with family and friends.

The first step is to make sure your lawn stays healthy and looking good after the stress of summer. A thriving green lawn is not only a beautiful sight and the perfect backdrop to outdoor dining and entertaining, it also makes a major contribution to a healthy environment. On a daily basis, a 50-by-50 foot green space releases enough oxygen for a family of four. Not only that, but it purifies the air by absorbing carbon dioxide as well as trapping and breaking down pollutants.

To maintain itself in top condition to do all those wonderful things, your lawn needs a way to open up and receive nutrients and adequate hydration. In other words, just like your body, your lawn needs a way to “breathe.”

What Is Lawn Aeration?

It’s the process of loosening the soil to let oxygen in. By punching small holes all over the lawn, plugs of turf, thatch, and soil are removed, letting your grass breathe easier. These plugs break down and feed nutrients back to your lawn’s root system as they decompose naturally over two to four weeks.

How To Enjoy Your Yard Through the Fall

Does My Lawn Need It?

You can tell if your lawn would benefit from aeration by digging up an inconspicuous square foot section that’s about six inches deep. If the grass roots reach no further than a couple of inches into the soil, it’s time to aerate. Heavy clay and compacted soils are the most likely targets, but a sloping lawn can also use aeration to help watering absorb rather than run off.

How Do I Do It?

The best way is with a gas-powered machine called a lawn aerator that creates evenly-spaced “pores” in the ground. The machine is heavy and bulky, though, so while you can rent one at a garden center, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you hire a professional lawn care service for the job. It generally only needs to be done once a year.

Now on to the fun. Here are some great ways to enjoy your gorgeous outdoor space through the coming months:

Celebrate Nature’s Bounty With a Harvest-Themed Party

It doesn’t matter if the nearest apple orchard is two states over. Create a menu that includes the beautiful fruits and vegetables of the season, and decorate with tall bunches of wheat sheaves you can find inexpensively at a craft store.

Use hay bales for seating, and light up a fire pit or fire bowl to take the nip out of the air when the sun goes down. If you’ve got enough space, you could even arrange for square dancing and a caller to make it a real country hoe-down.

How To Enjoy Your Yard Through the Fall

Tailgate in the Backyard

Make a big pot of chili and rev up the barbecue for a traditional tailgate party in the comfort of your own backyard. Set up some activities for the kids and the hardcore football fans can turn their attention to the game. Lucky you if you’ve already got a TV installed outside or if your family TV is situated so that you can move or turn it to face the party.

But there are other options including HDMI cables, and sending a wireless signal to your TV from a computer, tablet, smartphone, or Blu-ray player. Don’t wait ‘til the morning of the party to test out the system or hot dogs may not be the only thing being roasted.

Host a Pre-Halloween Party

This year Halloween is on a Monday, so the weekend before is perfect for having friends and neighbors come over to make their own jack-o-lanterns. Bring in a load of pumpkins and supply carving tools. As soon as the pumpkin innards have been spooned out, toast the seeds for munching. You could ask everyone try out their October 31 costumes, too, with prizes for young and old.

Above all, keep it simple so you can enjoy your own gathering. Easy recipes for lots of favorite fall dishes abound on the web, and you can find lots of inspiration pictures for fall entertaining here.

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Can Your Car Be Hacked?

It sounds like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster: You’re driving along, minding your own business, and suddenly your car seems to develop a mind of its own. No matter what you do, you can’t stop the vehicle, until you crash.

Sound terrifying? According to some security experts, it’s a possibility — albeit a remote one — that hackers could develop the ability to hack into newer car computer systems and wreak havoc on the driving public. As more drivers demand connectivity in their cars, and carmakers oblige with Wi-Fi service, onboard apps, Bluetooth capabilities, and more, the security risks increase exponentially.

Chances are, though, that the likelihood of an attack that renders drivers unable to control their vehicles is slim at best. The real danger is in the fact that hackers may soon be able to access your car’s computer systems to steal information from you, which is just a dangerous.

Can Your Car Be Hacked?

The Primary Dangers in Vehicles

In most cases, the danger of a cyberattack on a vehicle comes down to three key factors:

  1. The size of the “attack surface.” In other words, how many different ways are there for hackers to access the vehicle? Connections such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular network connections, keyless entry systems, and even electronic monitoring systems such as the tire pressure monitoring system can all create vulnerabilities that are potentially exploitable. So while your vehicle may have all the bells and whistles, those features also make a much larger attack surface.
  2. The level of access the radio connections provide to key vehicle systems, such as the brakes, steering, or ignition. A Bluetooth connection that allows for hands-free calling and wireless music is not as physically dangerous as a warning system that uses wireless tech to alert the driver to low tire pressure but can be hacked to interrupt steering control.
  3. How many features the car has that do not require driver intervention, such as lane assist or parking assistance. These computer-aided features may reduce the likelihood of a fender bender, but if they are attacked, the hackers could send other commands that cause greater damage.

All of this is not to say that if your car has these features, many of which are highly sought after, it’s going to be hacked. In fact, there are several important reasons why it’s unlikely. However, carmakers and cybersecurity experts alike are concerned, and taking steps to help keep drivers safe.

The Good News About Hacked Cars

You’ve heard the bad news, now for some good news: It’s very difficult to hack a car at this time. Most of the tests that have been conducted on the cybersecurity of onboard computer systems have required an extensive rewiring of the onboard systems or physically accessing the vehicle’s OBDII system or Controller Area Network (CAN) (which all vehicles built after 1996 have). In other words, this malware isn’t like what you can get on your computer, which can spread simply by opening an email or visiting an infected website. Attacks on vehicles require knowledge of that specific vehicles operating system and a means of accessing that system, which isn’t always easy.

That being said, what some researchers are more concerned about are attacks on carmakers’ internal systems themselves, which could potentially impact vehicle onboard computers. For example, in one notable case, a car dealership used a software program that allowed them to disable the ignitions of vehicles that were designated for repossession. An unhappy employee hacked into the software and deliberately disabled the ignition systems for more than 100 vehicles in retaliation to the employer. Thankfully no one was injured, but the incident highlighted the potential for dangerous attacks.

Can Your Car Be Hacked?

Protecting Vehicles

Because the potential for harm is so great, carmakers have begun addressing the need to better secure onboard computers to prevent hacking and other attacks. For starters, they are looking into ways to secure and encrypt the data within onboard computers, much the same way that data is protected in other tech. They are also looking into ways to better deliver security updates; Tesla, for instance was able to update the security of onboard computers via an over-the-air update, while Ford and Fiat Chrysler has issued USB sticks to car owners with software that may be vulnerable to compromise.

Still, with everything becoming more and more connected, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers, and do everything possible to protect yourself against them. So while at the moment the risk of your car being attacked is small — almost nonexistent — that could change in the future and you need to remain alert.

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Tutorial: How to Create Film-like Images in Your Digital Camera

Tutorial: How to Create Film-like Images in Your Digital Camera

Just shoot film–that’s the first thing that we’re going to tell you when it comes to shooting images that look and feel more film-like; but we also know that not everyone lives by a film development lab. However, there are characteristics of film that can be mimicked in-camera and without the use of (though very good) preset emulsion sets. Some of this has to do with realizing exactly what film does.
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The Tokina FiRIN 20mm f2 is for Sony Full Frame E Mount Cameras

The Tokina FiRIN 20mm f2 is for Sony Full Frame E Mount Cameras

Today, Tokina is introducing us to a major new addition to their current lineup of lenses: the Tokina FiRIN 20mm f2 FE MF prime lens for Sony E-Mount cameras. This is an all manual focus lens with a wide angle field of view that also boasts manual aperture settings around the lens. It’s electronically coupled though, so it can transmit EXIF data, distance, can use the 5-axis image stabilization system in the newer a7 II series of cameras, and has a setting that allows it to be clicked or de-clicked for video use.
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The Interfit S1 Monolight is Now Compatible with Sony Cameras

The Interfit S1 Monolight is Now Compatible with Sony Cameras

A while back, we tested the Interfit S1 and found it to be a pretty good alternative to Phottix and Profoto though not as good as the Flashpoint option in some ways. Today, the company announced that the Interfit S1 is now available to work with Sony cameras that boast the multi-interface shoe. This boosts the options that Sony strobists now have by quite a bit overall.
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Rodarte Indulges Our Childlike Fantasies for Spring 2017

There are certain things we can always expect from a Rodarte show: lots of feminine sweetness, some darker, gothic vibes, texture galore, gowns worthy of a Hollywood A-lister and, in the most general sense, plenty of magic. Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy often find inspiration in far-fetched …

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