Top 7 Do’s for Successful Improvisation

Do you think you can’t improvise? Nonsense! All you need are a few chords, the right attitude, and a piano or keyboard. Follow these seven principles and you’ll be improvising at the keyboard in no time!

1. Do listen to what’s going on inside yourself before and while you sit down to play – your inner state will determine the emotional quality of your playing

2. Do let go of the need to be perfect. Trying to “be correct” will defeat the playful attitude necessary for improvisaiton

3. Do believe that you are good enough to begin. No one person knows it all so you might as well jump in and experience the joy of improvisation.

4. Do realize that you don’t need a lot of theory or technique before you’re ready to play piano in the new age style. If you don’t begin now, when will you?

5. Do understand that improvisation is not some mysterious skill, but a game that can be learned and played just like any other game

6. Do enjoy the process and let go of the outcome. Trying to control what comes out of you is a sure way to stop the creative flow

7. Do stop playing when you become bored or indifferent. There is a natural starting and stopping point to playing. Just like anything, when you feel yourself growing disinterested, stop playing.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented process to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Basically, it provides a clear idea on various actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster.

Disasters are natural or man-made. Examples include industrial accidents, oil spills, stampedes, fires, nuclear explosions/nuclear radiation and acts of war etc. Other types of man-made disasters include the more cosmic scenarios of catastrophic global warming, nuclear war, and bioterrorism whereas natural disasters are earthquakes, floods, heat waves, hurricanes/cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes and landslides, cosmic and asteroid threats.

Disaster cannot be eliminated, but proactive preparation can mitigate data loss and disruption to operations. Organizations require a disaster recovery plan that includes formal Plan to consider the impacts of disruptions to all essential businesses processes and their dependencies. Phase wise plan consists of the precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions.

The Disaster Recovery Plan is to be prepared by the Disaster Recovery Committee, which includes representatives from all critical departments or areas of the department’s functions. The committee should have at least one representative from management, computing, risk management, records management, security, and building maintenance. The committee’s responsibility is to prepare a timeline to establish a reasonable deadline for completing the written plan. The also responsible to identify critical and noncritical departments. A procedure used to determine the critical needs of a department is to document all the functions performed by each department. Once the primary functions have been recognized, the operations and processes are then ranked in order of priority: essential, important and non-essential.

Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs. Before generating a detailed plan, an organization often performs a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk analysis (RA), and it establishes the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). The RTO describes the target amount of time a business application can be down, typically measured in hours, minutes or seconds. The RPO describes the previous point in time when an application must be recovered.

The plan should define the roles and responsibilities of disaster recovery team members and outline the criteria to launch the plan into action, however, there is no one right type of disaster recovery plan, nor is there a one-size-fits-all disaster recovery plan. Basically, there are three basic strategies that feature in all disaster recovery plans: (a) preventive measures, (b) detective measures, and (c) corrective measures.

(a) Preventive measures: will try to prevent a disaster from occurring. These measures seek to identify and reduce risks. They are designed to mitigate or prevent an event from happening. These measures may include keeping data backed up and off-site, using surge protectors, installing generators and conducting routine inspections.

(b) Detective measures: These measures include installing fire alarms, using up-to-date antivirus software, holding employee training sessions, and installing server and network monitoring software.

(c) Corrective measures: These measures focus on fixing or restoring the systems after a disaster. Corrective measures may consist keeping critical documents in the Disaster Recovery Plan.

The Plan should include a list of first-level contacts and persons/departments within the company, who can declare a disaster and activate DR operations. It should also include an outline and content stating the exact procedures to be followed by a disaster. At least 2-4 potential DR sites with hardware/software that meets or exceeds the current production environment should be made available. DR best practices indicate that DR sites should be at least 50 miles away from the existing production site so that the Recovery Point Objective (RPO)/Restoration Time Objective (RTO) requirements are satisfied

The recovery plan must provide for initial and ongoing employee training. Skills are needed in the reconstruction and salvage phases of the recovery process. Your initial training can be accomplished through professional seminars, special in-house educational programs, the wise use of consultants and vendors, and individual study tailored to the needs of your department. A minimal amount of training is necessary to assist professional restorers/recovery contractors and others having little knowledge of your information, level of importance, or general operations

An entire documented plan has to be tested entirely and all testing report should be logged for future prospect. This testing should be treated as live run and with ample of time. After testing procedures have been completed, an initial “dry run” of the plan is performed by conducting a structured walk-through test. The test will provide additional information regarding any further steps that may need to be included, changes in procedures that are not effective, and other appropriate adjustments. These may not become evident unless an actual dry-run test is performed. The plan is subsequently updated to correct any problems identified during the test. Initially, testing of the plan is done in sections and after normal business hours to minimize disruptions to the overall operations of the organization. As the plan is further polished, future tests occur during normal business hours.

Once the disaster recovery plan has been written and tested, the plan is then submitted to management for approval. It is top management’s ultimate responsibility that the organization has a documented and tested plan. Management is responsible for establishing the policies, procedures, and responsibilities for comprehensive contingency planning, and reviewing and approving the contingency plan annually, documenting such reviews in writing.

Another important aspect that is often overlooked involves the frequency with which DR Plans are updated. Yearly updates are recommended but some industries or organizations require more frequent updates because business processes evolve or because of quicker data growth. To stay relevant, disaster recovery plans should be an integral part of all business analysis processes and should be revisited at every major corporate acquisition, at every new product launch, and at every new system development milestone.

Your business doesn’t remain the same; businesses grow, change and realign. An effective disaster recovery plan must be regularly reviewed and updated to make sure it reflects the current state of the business and meets the goals of the company. Not only should it be reviewed, but it must be tested to ensure it would be a success if implemented.

Buying Art

Everyone buys art from time to time, some pay large amounts of money for original artwork – more people buy cheap forms of the arts on-line or at their local market. But regardless of your wealth there are plenty of great art sites selling many great forms of art.

Times are quickly changing and the world of arts is fast becoming more affordable for everyone. With today’s access to information on the web, finding reasonable works of art can save the average person a bundle.

Wealthy people pay large amounts for original art – this is understandable because they are buying the original work of an artist who has made a good reputation for himself . Buying original art is also considered to be a good investment. For some, buying original art may also be a way of increasing social status and attempting to conform to culture norms.

More people stick to buying limited edition art.

Limited edition artwork can range from two copies upwards to infinity. Should we pay big bucks for something that may be hanging on hundreds of walls?

I recently came across a Spanish artists website. His artwork was to a very high quality. He limited each print to 250 copies; they were on sale for EUR650 each. Is this too high a price for a limited edition print?

Are artists charging too much for their work?

I am constantly asking myself this question. How do we price our work? The answer is far from simple.

Do we, as artists un-limit our work and make them affordable to everyone or do we set an enormous price that only a small minority of the worlds population can afford.

When buying art, set out a budget that suits you before you go on-line. It you look at a large range of sites you will find some form of arts that suit your own pocket.

Just remember that the arts are for everyone to enjoy. People from all classes can enjoy, gaze and admire the many different forms of art. If you are looking to buy some form of the arts don’t rush into it. You may have to look at it for the next twenty years.

Breakdancing: The Roots of The Street Dance

Breakdancing is the street dancing which began around 1969. Most people will agree that the superstar James Brown began the whole thing with a dance called the “Good Foot”. James Brown was a real innovator and his dancing was something to behold. He did things with his feet that would give most of us a couple of broken legs!

Simultaneously in the ghetto, what is known as the “dance battle” became very popular and in many cases replaced gangster warfare as a method to end disputes. Breakdancing lent itself very well to the dance battle and the Good Foot was a perfect base for breakdancing.

Street dancers adopted the Good Foot which, for a short period, became known as the B-Boy and then breakdancing. Back then the dance moves were a lot different to the kind of breaking we see today. There were no popular, documented moves such as the headspin or the windmill. The dancers simply used their feet and nothing else. Some would argue that this “old style breaking” is more complicated than the kind of dancing we see these days.

Some of the floor work improvised back then was fantastically complex. If you go to a modern breakdancing competition you won’t see many of the old school moves but you will see a lot of gymnastics. Impressive though this is, there are those that think breakdancing has lost its roots a little. On the other side of the coin you have people saying that it’s just an evolution.

As a way to solve street battles and gang violence it was inspired. You were finding that amazingly, the gangs were using breakdancing instead of fighting. The breakdancing “battle” took on a world of its own. Of course there were still fights and inevitably sometimes a sore loser in a breaking battle would resort to violence.

Out of all this, breakdancing crews were formed. The members of a crew would practice and dance together. This is when the first very basic breakdancing choreography came about. One crew would invent a move which would inspire an opposing crew to go one better. For some of these guys breakdancing was literally the difference between life and death. They were very dedicated to what they were doing.

Just as all these new breakdancing crews were bursting onto the scene a guy called Afrika Bambaataa embraced the genre. Afrika Bambaataa is a legendary figure in the hip hop world. He was largely responsible for bringing breakdancing into the general public’s consciousness. He got to know all the crews and encouraged them to develop what they were doing. Bambaataa’s “Zulu Kings” breakdancing crew became a force to be reckoned with, winning many battles.

Since then breakdancing has continually progressed and more and more very talented dancers were bringing their skills into the arena. There were new moves being invented by the week and it wasn’t long before we had headspins, windmills, backspins and all the other high energy, acrobatic moves we see these days.

The “Rock Steady Crew” were one of the groups to pioneer this new school breaking. These guys along with Charles Ahearn who made the seminal hip hop movie “Wild Style” were to bring breakdancing fully up to date and the dancing phenomenon became much more popular. There was no stopping the onward march of the break dance.

Nowadays breakdancing influences a lot of the choreographed dance routines which are an integral part of a modern pop record release. You have young kids coming up who are really into it and the genre is experiencing something of a renaissance. There’s no doubt about it, breakdancing is here to stay and if you want more info a quick search on the Internet will turn up thousands of references to this modern art form.

Shedding A Light on Green Bonds

The Government is aiming for a greener economy. Businesses and organizations are trying to support their production through green resources. Green economy, green bonds, green business and going green has become the current anthem worldwide! We know what green economy and green business mean but as I wasn’t aware of ‘green bonds’ initially, same will be the case with many of you. So, today with the help of this article, let’s gain an understanding of the term.

Green bonds: In simple language, these are the bonds issued by the Government and are tax-free. These bonds are used for underdeveloped localities mostly by municipalities or federally qualified organizations. The purpose of these bonds is to finance projects which are aimed at achieving energy efficiency, protection of aquatic and terrestrial species, curbing pollution, managing water quality and quantity and clean transportation, to name a few. Due to the tax-free status, purchasing this bond accounts for a lucrative investment when compared to a taxable bond. This tax-exempt status acts as a financial incentive to handle social issues such as preserving energy sources and climate change.

Qualifying for a green bond requires:

1. The building is at least 20 acres in the size
2. The project will receive a minimum of $5 million from the state or the municipality
3. A minimum of 75% of the building is registered for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED, a rating system developed to measure the environmental impact of the building) certification.

Certain benefits of green bonds are:

Reducing the cost of the project: These bonds are an excellent system of saving a large amount of capital to support environmental investment. Ideally suited for large-scale green projects such as solar and wind development which require capital investments prior to revenues and which generate modest revenue over a long time-period.

Investor demands: Due to the increasing awareness for a green financial market, there is a constant demand of socially responsible investment projects. Owing to this scenario, investors are expressing strong interest in purchasing of green bonds. While retail investors seek investment through their brokers and fund managers, institutional investors use these bonds to handle social, economic and Government mandates. Before green bonds came into the picture, it was a struggle to address these mandates with fixed income tools. This is the reason why these bonds have been successful in attracting new investors thereby providing a new platform for future issuances.

Building brand value: As the major provider of these bonds are the Government, they strike the chance and brand themselves as innovative and dedicated to keeping pace with the green projects.

Leadership: Talking about the future, green bond issuers are the leaders of the world. With their active participation, they can encourage municipalities to participate and create a reputation for monetary innovation. This will make way for upcoming projects in financing environmental projects.

Sharing the time when efforts are put-in to preserve the environment, green bonds are an altogether new opportunity for investors and issuers. Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, green bonds are known for several other advantages over other financing options, some of which are:

Providing a medium to access sustainable investments in a fixed income market in familiar and low-risk surroundings.

Allowing the municipalities to develop a public-private partnership to speed-up the process of energy efficiency and technological advancement.