Friday, August 21, 2009
The piano is probably one of the biggest and oldest musical instruments. With its immense versatility and beautiful sound, a piano has the capability to blend extremely well with other musical instruments. It can also prove to be an ideal solo instrument too. However, buying a piano can be quite tricky. There are a wide variety of pianos with various brands that could be chosen from. The sound, looks, effectiveness and features often vary to a large extent. Moreover, their price range varies too. It becomes very difficult to buy a piano unless one is sure about what he is looking for. It is often suggested that the bigger a piano is, the better would its sound quality be. Also buying the more expensive one, even for a starter, would result in a rich sound experience. But these suggestions do not always hold true. This is the space saving age and it becomes extremely difficult to make space for a huge piano. Moreover, people with limited budget cannot always afford a high level brand new piano. But that does not mean they cannot ever own the musical instrument of their dreams. A lot of piano stores sell used piano. There are certain advantages of buying a used piano from these piano stores. Firstly, one can get the instrument of his choice at a much cheaper price than a brand new one. Since the depreciation of a piano is very less and one instrument is generally expected to last for almost forty to fifty years, a piano which is ten years old would still be in a good condition, enough to get along well for another thirty years at least. Used piano does not generally come with a warranty. This makes it important for a buyer to carefully choose the instrument. Certain things must be kept in mind while buying a used piano. It is always better to buy used piano from a piano store rather than buying it from an online shop. Piano is an instrument that needs to be touched, heard and felt before buying. It becomes all the more necessary for used ones in order to carefully check the condition the piano is in. Plenty of piano stores sell used piano these days and it is better to check them out before actually buying one. It is very important to do a history check of the used piano the buyer intends to buy. This should ideally include details about the previous owner if it’s available, how long the piano was with its past owner and how long it has been on the store. If possible it is also wise to find out why the previous owner sold the piano. If the buyer is new to the instrument it is always better to take along someone who has played a piano for some time and has a considerable experience and understanding of the instrument while buying. They can help assess whether the instrument is in good condition by playing it, listening to how it sounds and how it feels while they're playing it. A price comparison between the used one and other used pianos as well as the same model in brand new condition is also suggested. This would ensure that price to be paid for the used piano is worth. If these factors can be kept in mind and followed carefully while visiting a piano store, a buyer can surely get the best deal when it comes to buying a used piano.
Are you looking for the ideal birthday gift for a friend or a child with a summer birthday? Summertime opens up all sorts of unique gift ideas for birthdays and other occasions. Here are some suggestions for great summertime birthday gifts.High End GiftsSummertime is a great time to get a spectacular deal on high end high-tech gifts. With everyone on the move and enjoying the great outdoors, retailers go to great lengths to bring in buyers, and discounting the good stuff is a sure draw. If you've got a school-age kid getting ready to go off to college (or back to college) in the fall, you have two great times to pick up a new laptop at bargain prices - end of school sales and back to school sales. The May/June laptop sales are likely to be deep discounts on this school year's most wanted computers - as retailers and manufacturers clear the deck for the upcoming year's next-gen in tech. That laptop that had your techie kid drooling at the start of the school year is probably high on the ‘must have' list - and chances are you can get it at up to 25% cheaper than you could in September.Digital cameras are another high-end summer birthday gift that's sure to please - but you don't have to go high end to make someone happy. You can set your pre-teen on the road to a spectacular summer with an inexpensive digital video camera. These items are some the hottest summer birthday gift items going. Give your summer birthday gift recipient the gift of summer memories. Digital video cameras are also great bon voyage gifts for summertime travelers. They're point and shoot simple, and it's just as easy to upload to your camera for emailing and posting to blogs. Reasonably Priced GiftsThere are plenty of gift ideas that won't break the bank. These days, everyone has so many electronic gadgets that the accessory business is exploding. A great gift that someone is sure to enjoy is an accessory for their new gadget. Whether it is an mp3 player or a cell phone, there are numerous add-ons available which will only enhance the enjoyment of using their gadget of choice.Summer Birthday Gifts for KidsSummer time is a great time for kid birthday parties. All you need to do is hit the seasonal toy aisle and fill a basket. Some of the best picks for summertime birthday gifts for kids include:Fill a beach pail with an assortment of penny candy and inexpensive summertime toys from the dollar store or toy aisle. Be sure to include:A bottle of bubbles and blowing wandsAt least one inexpensive water pistol. Include two for even more funThrow and catch with Velcro paddles or glovesA paddleballA whiffle ball and bat or other outdoor sporting goods. Summertime is the time for the great outdoors and birthday gifts that encourage activity are ideal summertime birthday gifts for kids. For the serious Little Leaguer, this is the time to invest in a new glove, ball or bat - and include a promise to hit some flies for practice a few evenings a week.- Swim toys are great summertime gifts for the 7-10 year old set, but don't get them for the younger kids. Inflatable rafts, swim rings and water games are a great summertime birthday gift, especially if the family has a swimming pool. Do be careful about buying swim toys for toddlers and preschoolers, though. They could be a safety hazard.Summertime Gifts the Whole Family Can EnjoyYour birthday gift from the summertime birthday boy or girl can be fun for the whole family. Here are a few suggestions for summertime birthday gifts that are fun for the whole family.- Lawn GamesBadminton, croquet, horseshoes and other lawn games are perennial favorites. Give one as a birthday gift, and you'll be providing the whole family with hours of summertime togetherness. - A trip to the water parkAsk any kid where they want to go this summer, and they'll all tell you the same thing - the lure of the water park gets them all. Guarantee your spot as everybody's favorite auntie with a family pack of tickets to the local water, theme or amusement park. - A trip to the mini-golf courseMost towns in the United States have at least one miniature golf course. This is a great gift the entire family can enjoy. Everyone can spend time together outside, enjoying a "friendly" game of mini-golf.
Families across the nation are trying to save their planet and go green, but the task can be expensive. While solar technology has greatly improved over the last few years, few homeowners have the space or money to own the number of solar panels needed to take their house off of the grid. Even installing a few panels onto a roof to generate electricity for the home can cost many thousands of dollars and require professional help. There are tax incentives for making this drastic commitment to solar energy, but they do not offset the costs entirely. Those who can’t afford a large-scale project can find inexpensive ways to use the sun to improve life in their home and reduce their dependence on polluting energy sources. A Brief History of Solar TechnologyHumans have been harvesting the power of the sun since ancient times. The Greeks and Chinese often redirected sunlight onto indoor spaces with mirrored objects in order to heat and illuminate spaces. One of the central thrusts of the profession of architecture has always been to use natural light effectively.The first major developments in solar technology were made near the end of the nineteenth century as part of the scientific advances of the Industrial Revolution. Solar engines and collectors were produced, but the inventions were laid aside for the better part of the twentieth century. The expansion of solar technology seen during the oil crisis of the 70s would not happen at the same rate until just a few years ago, when the world once again feared a fossil fuel shortage. When worries about the fragile state of the environment and the limit of the remaining oil supply began to mount at the turn of the millennium, more scientists began working on solar energy technology. Since then, the field of solar products has grown rapidly.Tubular SkylightsAlmost every home has a dark hallway or a cavernous bathroom. The dim and dreary places can ruin the ambiance of a living space and make it hard to see. Those who worry about adding another power-gobbling light fixture to their home should consider installing a tubular skylight. These products are not skylights in the traditional sense. Once installed, they look more like an electric can light than another window. A tubular skylight is a reflective tube that can be ran through the attic to any part of the house that needs more light. Sunlight is gathered and concentrated from a lens on the roof and then carried down into the desired room. The shape and reflective properties of the tube guarantee bright light even on cloudy days or at dusk. These skylights only cost a few hundred dollars and can sometimes be installed by the homeowner. Potable Solar ProductsSolar radios and flashlights are not new, but they have recently been revamped with more efficient technology. The disposal batteries usually used to power these products poison the environment with acids and plastics. Those that are charged directly from wall plugs raise electricity bills, and their chargers will continue to drain power even if they are not connected to anything.Some solar flashlights will work up to eight hours after being in the sun for eight hours. Solar radios can be played and charged simultaneously. The best part about these products is that they are often priced competitively with their non-green cousins anywhere from $25 to $50. Small Solar PanelsIt may be infeasible for some to make the complete switch to solar energy, but those who can’t afford to deck out their roof with permanent solar panels needn’t worry. There are lots of small, cost-effective panels on the market that can get any family started going green. Few people realize they can make their home more efficient with a few helpful products. There are many potable solar arrays available that can be used to charge small electronics. Not only can these products be used on the go or for emergencies, but they can save energy at home. Solar chargers start at around $50. Those who want to dabble in creating energy for their home without making a commitment can try some of the solar energy kits on the market. Plug-n-play kits come with a solar panel and a battery. Any appliance can be plugged directly into the system. Size and capacity will vary great depending on the kit. These units start at a few hundred dollars.Choosing SolarAs more alternative energies vie for a market share, choosing the best way to conserve energy can become confusing. Instead of giving up on the idea, start slowly implementing new technology. Solar products are reliable and are a great starting point for those new to energy conservation efforts.