Beautiful Wall Decor Wedding Gifts

When you are looking for the perfect wedding gift, you want a present that will be cherished, used and remembered forever. A wedding gift that can hang on the wall is an ideal gift in all three respects. Choosing a wall décor wedding gift can be tricky, though, unless you take the couple’s personal tastes and sense of design into account when choosing. Here are some helpful hints to make sure that you select a beautiful wall décor wedding gift that will be truly appreciated and loved.

Consider the Style of the Bride and Groom’s Home

When choosing wall décor it is important to remember that this gift is meant to be on display in the bride and groom’s new home. Take stock of the design choices that the couple has made in their personal living spaces and avoid choosing a kitschy wall item if the bride has built her living room around clean, modern Danish lines. Instead, pick a simple design such as a stretched canvas printed with their initials or names in muted colors. For a contemporary living or family room design, consider choosing a wall print or canvas with a sleek, black frame and a colorful, personalized print. If the couple’s taste runs more to the curves of Art Deco, consider opting for a framed design inspired by the elongated curves and almost-abstract art of the Roaring Twenties.

In general, traditional and country styles will be complemented best by personalized prints and art canvases framed in warm or light wood. More modern designs look best with unadorned black or metal frames, or with unframed canvases. Country samplers are ideal for Colonial style living rooms and dens, especially if the print includes calico or adorable animals.

Consider the Personal Taste of the Bride and Groom

If there is a particular motif that is near and dear to the hearts of the bride and groom, you stand a pretty good chance of choosing a gift that they will love if you keep their personal preferences in mind while shopping. Try choosing prints or plaques in their favorite colors and materials, or printed with motifs that hold personal meaning to them. Don’t offer them a floral wall plaque if their tastes run to minimalist modern paintings, and avoid choosing an abstract wall print if they have a country themed kitchen adorned with cute teddy bears. Consider, too, that there are many more kinds of wall decor than just framed prints. Some of the other wall décor wedding gifts that you might consider are wall plaques made of metal, wood or molded resin, and wood plaques carved with the word “love” and the couple’s wedding details, both of which can easily fit into many different décor styles.

Hand painted slate tiles can also be an ideal choice for a rustic or Colonial kitchen, den or family room, and you can even choose one that is painted with traditional wedding icons or ones with more natural scenes.

Another popular wall décor is a stretched art canvas. It is easy to find stunning stretched art canvas designs that make beautiful wedding gifts. Whether you choose a painted Impressionist scene with a pair of love-bird swans or a country rustic saying bordered in twigs and flowers, there are many lovely canvases that can be personalized to make your gift even more extraordinary.

To really stand out, you can always go with a personalized pewter or copper tray wedding present, engraved with the wedding date and names, or a 3-D resin plaque or clock engraved with the wedding couple’s special day details.

Photo Frames

Photo frames are personalized gifts that are always appreciated. When choosing a photo frame, try to keep in mind the general rules of wall décor, choose photo frames and mats that fit with the general décor of the home and do not be afraid to be whimsical or personal. A classic black glass frame is a perfect accent for a modern or contemporary living room, especially when you add the personal touch of a special engraved message. Silver filigree frames are ideal for wedding photos, and wood frames can fit into any style of décor.

If wall hangings seem a bit personal, you might consider a hanging for the outside of their home. A “welcome” slate or plaque personalized with the couple’s married name can make a wonderful gift for the newly married pair.

Whatever gift you choose, personalization is a key part in ensuring that your wedding gift will be special and heartfelt. Think carefully about exactly what to print in the two or three lines you are given. A favored choice is the couple’s names and wedding details, but you might opt to use a personally applicable quote or wedding wish instead. Whichever personalized present you go with, it is sure to be loved and appreciated for years to come.

What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.

Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.