A gift for family fun

Now the summer holidays are here and the kids need entertaining,parents are in need of new and exciting ideas to keep them occupied. Rather than sending them off to friends or sticking them in front of the television, why not indulge in some family fun this year and visit some of England’s finest attractions.

GettingPersonal has once again scored highly this year and has added yet another fabulous family day out to our collection of experience days, that’ll be great fun for both children and adults alike. The Family Tour of Twickenham is an exciting day out and enables rugby fans to look behind the scenes of one of the most famous rugby stadiums in the world. For those who are not quite in the know it’s a chance to brush up on some knowledge of one of England’s most loved sports.

Not only can you delve into the history of the sport whilst exploring the Museum of Rugby, you get to peek into the player’s dressing room and even sit in the seat of your favourite player. For those budding rugby players amongst you, you can experience what it would be like to be a pro whilst taking a drink from the magic fountain before running out of the player’s tunnel, imagining 82,000 people cheering you on. And for those of you just there for a fun day out, the scrimmaging machine is there ready to challenge your strength, and with hours of match footage on show, the tour takes you through a truly interactive journey through the history of this great international sport.

Available for families of two adults and three children under 16, The Family Tour of Twickenham is available from GettingPersonal.co.uk for a fantastic 44.95. This and many other experience days can be delivered free-of-charge when more than 30 is spent in one transaction. Items can usually be dispatched within 24-hours.

Go on; keep them smiling this summer!

Go on – give someone an experience day they’ll remember.To explore our range of experience days further, please visit our website at http://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk.


Budget cuts devastate California higher ed

When California college students return to campus this fall, they’ll find crowded classrooms, less access to faculty and counselors, fewer technology-related perks and other campus services, and more difficulty getting classes they need to graduate–all while paying higher fees.

The state’s financial crisis is battering its world-renowned system of higher education, reducing college opportunities for residents and threatening California’s economic recovery.

Faced with steep declines in tax revenue, states are reducing funding to public colleges and universities across the country. That could hamper the nation’s rebound from a deep recession and undermine President Barack Obama’s goal of making the United States the world leader in college graduates by 2020, experts say.

“It’s going to be harder for me to continue to be in school,” said Nancy Santana, 25, a single mother who attends San Diego’s Miramar College and worries her financial aid will be reduced. “I may be forced to cut school and find a job without a degree.”

No state is cutting more deeply than California, which has more than 3 million students attending college.

To close its massive budget deficit, the state has slashed funding to its 110 community colleges, the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, and the 10-campus University of California (UC) system, one of the nation’s leading research institutions.

The schools have responded by boosting fees, turning away record numbers of students, expanding class sizes, eliminating programs, laying off staff, and furloughing professors and other employees.

“The total magnitude of the cuts imposed in California is unprecedented,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education. “In the 30 years I’ve been watching higher-education policy, I’ve never seen a state implement budget cuts of this size and scope.”

California’s future is at risk if fewer people earn college degrees, laid-off workers fail to develop the skills employers demand, and universities lose their ability to recruit and retain top researchers, experts say.

An April study by the Public Policy Institute of California projected the state would face a shortage of nearly 1 million college-educated workers by 2025 and warned that funding cuts would worsen the skills gap.

“We’ll see a decline in the number of college graduates when the economy demands more,” said Pat Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

For decades, other states and countries have looked to California’s three-tiered system of higher education as a model for access, affordability, and academic excellence. Its 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education opened college to all residents and helped make the state an engine of economic growth and technological innovation.

But the steep economic downturn has forced California to make drastic cuts to education, health care, and social services to close a $60 billion budget deficit, the largest in state history.

UC and CSU will receive 20 percent less state funding this year than they did two years ago.


What Is SEO And How Backlinks Help In Better Serp’su.


SEO is one of the most unnecessarily complicated jobs there is in the internet business world. There are so many “secrets” and “gurus” that offer you the hidden knowledge necessary for top search engine rankings, when in reality, search engine optimization is actually pretty simple. http://www.seo.higradeworld.com

Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be divided into two parts: on-site SEO, and link building.

On-site SEO is the process of optimizing the content of your pages for a particular keyword or keywords. The easiest way to do this is to use a free tool like WebCEO that will analyze your webpage and make suggestions on how you can better optimize it.


At it’s simplest, on-site SEO is making sure that your keywords are found (in the right numbers) in the right places. Specifically, the search engines want to see your keywords in:


– Page titles

– Page body

– Bold text

– Top of page

– Bottom of page

– Alt text

– Text links


Link building, the second half of SEO, is at least as important as on-site SEO, but is often neglected. When search engines look at your site, they also look at all of the sites that link to your site. Each site that links to your site gives your site a certain number of “votes”, based on several factors.


So, the more quality links you can get to your site, the higher you will rank in the major search engines. But before you can start gaining links to your site, you need to know what makes a quality link. There are several factors that determine a link’s quality: http://www.seovally.com



1 – Anchor text

A high quality link will have your keyword(s) in the anchor text, or the clickable text part of the link.


2- Site quality

A high quality link is one from a quality, unique, content based site related to your site.


3- Anchor text variation

When building links, you’ll want to vary your anchor text. If all of your links have the same text, search engines may discount them as spam.


4- Slowly but surely

Good things come to those who wait. Building links should be done slowly and steadily. If you build a whole bunch of links at once, you risk the links being discounted as spam by the search engines.



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CentraComm Refreshes Brand with New Web Presence


CentraComm Undergoes Brand Refresh and Launches
New Website as Result of Rapid Growth
August 5, 2009 — CentraComm has announced theirbrand refresh and launch of a new website reflecting the rapid growth the company has experienced since its inception in 2001. The user-friendly site, www.centracomm.net, offers information about the company’s managed security and network service offerings, as well as resource information, a customer portal and news.
“The branding refresh and new website reflect the growth that CentraComm has experienced the past few years” said Dan Bemis, CEO. “Our ability to continue adding staff and new services is directly attributed to the trust our customers have placed in us to provide their managed security and network services; we’re proud to add another tool to better serve them. Our core values of trust, value and quality service resonate throughout the site.”
Earlier this year, CentraComm was named Juniper Networks Growth Partner of the Year by Catalyst Telecom based on Juniper product sales growth of 232% over the prior year. CentraComm has been named to the CRN Fast Growth 100 list in 2006 through 2008 with a three year growth of 188%.  CentraComm has also rated on Inc Magazine’s top 5,000 list in 2007 and 2008. Results for the 2009 rankings for both lists are expected in the coming months.  
Because of this period of rapid growth, it was determined that it was time to update the company’s brand. CentraComm has built on its early success as an ISP and enterprise hosting provider, evolving into a leading managed security company and network services provider to better serve our Customers. As such, the decision was made to move away from the usage of “Communications” in reference the brand. The new logo and branding scheme is now prominently displayed on the website and is a better representation of who we are today.

"Working on this project with North Design, the brand re-fresh and website site is an effort to better represent the growth and maturity of our company. The new website will be a great source of information for our prospects and clients," said Mark Robinson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Having a great website isn’t simply an impressive tool—it is essential to sharing information about our company and services, our partnerships, and an opportunity to provide value.” 

The goal of the website redesign was to provide a clean and navigable website that clients will find appealing and informative. Visitors to the site can read about the company’s history and services, as well profiles of the leadership team. A Knowledge Center has been added containing documents outlining company services. Customers have access to a client portal with additional resources through the Knowledge Center. The site also allows for expanded ways for visitors to communicate and interact through the use of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Having a website that delivers useful information in a manner that is easy to digest and navigate is just one way CentraComm is working to serve customers better.
About CentraComm:
CentraComm is a leading managed IT security and network services provider. We secure, manage and host high performance IT networks. We serve Fortune 50 customers to mid-market businesses throughout North America while monitoring networks across the globe.  CentraComm was named to the CRN Fast Growth 100 list and Inc Magazine’s top 5,000 list in 2007 and 2008 with a three year growth of 188%.  CentraComm’s network and security solutions are built on our Elite partnership with Juniper Networks and a select offering of best of breed products from other manufacturers. CentraComm’s security offerings are enhanced by the ability to leverage its data centers including a carrier class, nuclear hardened, former defense department facility. The company has a strong presence in healthcare, finance, education, energy and manufacturing.For more information, visit: www.centracomm.net
About NORTH:
NORTH is a multi-disciplinary design and branding firm developing full-service marketing and communication tools for an international roster of clients. NORTH offers fully integrated, comprehensive solutions that encompass both traditional and new media channels. For more information visit:


OWI Speakers Tough Enough for the Job at University of Colorado Boulder

August 6, 2009, Carson, Calif. – When Technology Support engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder went looking for surface mount speakers to use in the school’s “smart” classrooms they had three criteria: the speakers had to have excellent sound quality, be well-priced and rugged enough to survive the college experience. Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, UC Boulder serves 29,000 students on a 786-acre campus with 200 university buildings. With a facility this size it’s no wonder the tech engineers chose OWI speakers. OWI Incorporated, a 30-year manufacturer of advanced audio equipment for AV integrators, and commercial, industrial and residential applications, has a well-earned reputation for superior performance and product longevity.

“OWI’s T800 8 ohm 2-way weatherized speakers were our original choice and they have not disappointed us. Equipment tends to get abused around here and the OWI speakers have held up very well,” said Eric Sherrill, an Educational Technologist in UC Boulder’s Information Technology Services Department. “Recently, at the suggestion of Giovanni Rossini, OWI’s East Coast Sales Manager, we started using the P5278 speakers since most of our applications are indoors. The P5278 speakers sound great and are at a lower price point, so it’s a win-win situation,” added Sherrill. “Over the years we’ve come to trust the quality OWI puts into their products. The school saves not only on the initial purchase but also in product longevity and labor costs. OWI also takes customer service very seriously—there’s always someone there to answer questions and give technical advice.”

OWI’s P-Series Speakers are a versatile line of indoor/outdoor surface-mounted speakers featuring a weatherized aluminum grill and mounting bracket and a rugged housing. The 70volt/8 ohm selectable speakers are offered in 5-, 6- and 8-inch sizes with up to 80 watts RMS maximum power. OWI products are available through authorized dealers and distributors. For more information visit




Deer Valley Unified School District in Arizona Purchases Carnegie Learning Algebra I Math Curriculum for Five Years

PITTSBURGH, PA, August 5, 2009 – Carnegie Learning, Inc., publisher of innovative, research-based math solutions for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students, reports that Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona purchased Carnegie Learning® Algebra I Curriculum for all five District high schools. Beginning this school year and extending through 2014, the Carnegie Learning® Algebra I will be used with students in grades 9 through 12 as the core ninth grade math curriculum at one site, and as the supplemental response to intervention solution in four schools.

Carnegie Learning® Blended Algebra I Math Curricula includes interactive software lessons, consumable textbooks, collaborative classroom activity, and Professional Development services. Based upon an artificial intelligence model, the Cognitive Tutor® Software provides self-paced, differentiated instruction that identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses and individualizes instruction to improve conceptual understanding. Instructors can also re-sequence units to build a custom program that meets the needs of a class or an individual. Carnegie Learning® Textbooks engage students in classroom activities that strengthen understanding of math as it applies to the real world, and collaborative classroom activities encourage students to work cooperatively to solve problems, while improving reasoning and communication skills.

"Carnegie Learning’s philosophy of teaching allows us to prepare students for college and the 21st century workforce,” said Lisa Bush, educational specialist and math content specialist for Deer Valley Unified School District. “Through our evaluation process, we saw that Carnegie Learning® Math Curriculum is one that truly engages students by connecting them to the real world and making math make sense. Carnegie Learning’s research-based approach allows us to know with confidence that we are getting the best math curriculum for our students.”

“We are seeing more school districts engage in careful evaluation processes like that of Deer Valley, and Carnegie Learning programs hold up very well under this scrutiny,” said Dennis Ciccone, chief executive officer of Carnegie Learning, Inc. “In a thorough comparison of performance and functionality, Carnegie Learning most often meets school district objectives for individualized instruction and improved student performance.”

About Carnegie Learning (www.carnegielearning.com)
Carnegie Learning, Inc. is a leading publisher of innovative, research-based math curricula for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students. Our curricula – Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Integrated Math programs – provide differentiated instruction that helps students in nearly 2600 schools throughout the U.S. to succeed in math as a gateway to graduation and the 21st century workforce. Carnegie Learning® Blended Math Curricula integrate interactive software, text, and collaborative classroom activity for core, full-year math instruction. Carnegie Learning® Adaptive Math Curricula Solutions feature Cognitive Tutor® Software that may be customized for Response to Intervention programs. All solutions are supported by Carnegie Learning® Professional Development Services. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Learning was founded in 1999 by cognitive and computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in conjunction with veteran mathematics teachers.



Mary Murrin Carnegie Learning, Inc. (412) 690-2442 X176

Datawise, Inc. is selected as Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Student Performance and Assessment Data Management System.

REDDING, CA – June 8, 2009 Datawise, Inc., maker of the Datawise MEASURES assessment delivery and data analysis suite, was chosen by the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s (LACOE) Board of Directors to be the student performance and assessment data management solution serving staff and students in LACOE’s Juvenile Court, Alternative Education, and Special Education Programs. The comprehensive Datawise MEASURES system was selected primarily for one of its critical system capabilities – that of providing automated updates of student rosters for the highly mobile county student population.
The Los Angeles County Office of Education is the nation’s largest regional education agency, providing a range of programs and services to support over 80 school districts and more than two million pre-school and school-age children. As a dedicated team of educators and support personnel, LACOE and Datawise, Inc. are committed to making a positive difference in these areas of public education and the lives of over 22,000 students with special requirements throughout the school year.
Datawise, Inc. has provided assessment data management to California K-12 districts and districts across the nation since 2000. Since its earliest days, Datawise MEASURES has provided comprehensive data analysis, and assessment delivery and reporting while automating the roster refresh process nightly from district student information systems, thus assuring current rosters and highly accurate data analysis capability. Datawise is based in Redding, California. Contact: (530) 226-0900, sales@datawise-ed.com


Crestron Introduces Prodigy Home Control

ROCKLEIGH, NJ, August 6, 2009 – Prodigy is a new line of home control products from Crestron, the market leader in home entertainment and automation systems. Prodigy is a simple to install, easy to use, and exceptionally affordable solution that does not require any special wiring, programming or expensive custom installation. Prodigy home automation solutions include home theater, audio distribution, lighting and climate control. Backed by Crestron quality, expertise and support, Prodigy is inexpensive control without compromise.


Crestron is installed in more homes worldwide than any other brand, and brings years of experience and success to this latest line of home technology. Prodigy is a very simple and affordable residential solution, delivering the power, flexibility and reliability of Crestron to more people and more homes than ever before.


According to Vincent Bruno, Crestron Director of Marketing, “Prodigy gives our dealers the opportunity to expand their market to provide home control for every lifestyle and budget.  It’s the most affordable and reliable home automation solution on the market today.”   


Prodigy is scalable, so the system can easily grow at any time. Start with a simple home theater today; then add whole house audio, lighting and climate control, even remote control from laptops and mobile devices. Control interfaces include touchpanels, handheld controllers, wireless keypads, and remote access via iPhone and laptop.


Prodigy is easy to setup. There’s no system design, no wiring and no expensive installation. Prodigy Composer guides you through a few simple steps using basic drop down menus and check boxes. The software provides all the logic and creates touchscreen interfaces automatically in the background. The wizard is intuitive so anyone can get a system up and running in minutes without any training. 


For more information about Prodigy, go to www.crestron.com/prodigy. For high-resolution photos, go to www.crestron.com/pressroom.



About Crestron
For 40 years Crestron has been the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced control and automation systems, innovating home technology to simplify and enhance modern lifestyles. Offering integrated solutions to control audio, video, HVAC, lighting, shades and security from easy-to-use touchpanels, keypads, handheld remotes and mobile devices.

In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.


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Serif Launches PagePlus X4, Desktop Publishing Made Easy

NOTTINGHAM, UK & NASHUA, NH August 3, 2009 – Serif, a leading independent design, publishing and creative software developer, today released a significant upgrade to its award-winning desktop publishing software PagePlus X4, which offers the perfect blend of powerful creative design, professional results and affordability, making high-end desktop publishing capabilities more attainable for small businesses, professionals and home-users than ever before.

PagePlus X4 continues to offer its hallmark feature-set including thousands of professional templates and the specialized Cutout and Logo studios, which make professional-quality results quick and easy. Advanced features such as the new learning zone, integrated photo editing capabilities, new sophisticated graphics tools, industry standard file compatibility and added easy-to-use tools to enhance productivity; extend PagePlus’ lead over similarly priced rivals.
“PagePlus X4 is a very exciting release for us, as it makes professional desktop publishing software even more accessible for all levels of user,” said Gary Bates, Serif’s Managing Director. “As always we have listened to the requests of our knowledgeable customers and, with advanced productivity, even more industry-standard file compatibility and powerful graphics features, have delivered a significant upgrade that will be appreciated by new and existing users alike.”
Key new features and benefits include:

·         Innovative Learning Zone Quick and easy access to printable or video tutorials, Serif support and the vibrant user community.
  • Integrated Photo Editing – PhotoLab puts more than 70 professional photo adjustments and artistic effects at the user’s fingertips, along with quick fix options like one-touch red-eye removal, blemish removal or masking capabilities
  • Additional Industry-standard File Compatibility – Import MS Word documents and OpenOffice.org ODF files. Import text and pictures from Microsoft Word 2007 documents
  • Anchored Objects – Maintain a picture or drawing’s position relative to specific text, a column, frame, margin or page whilst remaining fully editable
  • High Impact Graphics Tools – Joining and cutting shapes to create eye catching illustrations such as logos can now be achieved directly within PagePlus
  • Photo-quality Frames and Borders – Drag ‘n’ drop photo realistic frames and borders into documents and resize without losing quality
Additional productivity enhancements include improvements to PDF® import enabling even more advanced PDF editing, an enhanced resource manager which makes it easier than ever to stay in control of long documents, dynamic guides for quick-snap alignment of objects on a page, tabbed workspace for quickly switching between publications and a redesigned Startup Wizard which makes viewing templates and selecting design themes simple.
About Serif
Serif is the publisher of the award-winning software range that includes PagePlus™, PhotoPlus™, DrawPlus™, WebPlus™, AlbumPlus™, MoviePlus™, PanoramaPlus™ and Digital Scrapbook Artist™ and more. Founded in 1987 with the aim to develop low-cost alternatives to high-end publishing and graphics packages, Serif has been repeatedly praised for its powerful yet easy-to-use software which has put professional effects and demanding publishing tasks within the reach of ordinary PC users around the world. Now with over 6 million customers worldwide, Serif has over 200 employees at its head office, development and European sales centre in Nottingham, UK and its North American sales operation in New Hampshire, US.



(Silver Spring, Md. & St. Paul, Minn.) – Today, Discovery Education and 3M announced 10 middle school students from around the nation as finalists in the 11th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.


Each finalist will be awarded an all-expense paid trip to New York City to compete in the Young Scientist Challenge finals on October 6, 2009.  The winner will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value) and the title of "America’s Top Young Scientist."  The competition finals will take place in New York City, where students will demonstrate their scientific innovation and creativity in a series of individual challenges focused on "The Science of Everyday Life."


Discovery Education and 3M are proud to announce the following 10 finalists (in alphabetical order):


Marina Dimitrov, Bozeman, Mont., Sacajawea Middle School*

– Devin Dwyer, Northport, N.Y., Northport Middle School

– Hugh Finch, Burrillville, R.I., home schooled

– Nikita Gaurav, Beaverton, Ore., Valley Catholic Middle School

– Emily Grover, Lehi, Utah, Eaglecrest Elementary School

– Nicholas LaJoie, Van Buren, Maine, Van Buren Middle School

– Jason Liu, Hockessin, Del., Henry B. DuPont Middle School

– Junho Moon, New Providence, N.J., New Providence Middle School

– Nico Seamons, Socorro, N.M., Cottonwood Valley Charter School

– Claire Sheen, Mountain Top, Pa., MMI Preparatory School


"The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge emphasizes our company’s commitment to science education," said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.  "These 10 finalists are examples of the next generation’s ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and solutions, and Discovery is proud to be associated with 3M and saluting these young minds – minds that will ultimately propel the United States to leadership in science and technology."


Robert MacDonald, President, 3M Foundation, added, "Science is at the very heart of 3M, driving the pulse of innovation throughout our company on a global basis.  We have a responsibility to foster interest and development in the innovators of our future, and our partnership with Discovery provides the ideal platform for students to demonstrate just how exciting the journey of learning can be."


As the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings.  In January, students nationwide were asked to create a one- to two-minute video about a specific scientific concept that relates to innovative solutions for everyday life, such as how to reduce TV glare or how to lower heating/cooling bills.  Last month, 50 semifinalists were selected based on their science communication skills exhibited in their videos.  For more information on the challenge, including photos and ages of the 10 finalists, go to www.youngscientistchallenge.com.


About Discovery Education

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education.  Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement.  Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services.  Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.


About 3M

A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $25 billion in sales, 3M employs 76,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 60 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com.


*Schools listed are from time of competition entry.


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