Originally created 10/12/03

Home front

Television tuner

If you have a home theater, chances are that it could use a tuneup. That's where a calibration DVD such as "Digital Video Essentials" (JKP/DVD International, $24.99; http://www.videoessentials.com) enters the picture - and the sound.

The new DVD succeeds the out-of-print "Video Essentials," one of the better calibration discs that came out in the early days of the format. It's larger in scope overall, including an exploration of high-definition video and more on audio setups.

In addition to thorough explanations of the material, the disc includes a battery of reference patterns to calibrate such problem areas as contrast, brightness and speaker balance. A common response by viewers after calibration is that the picture is too dim or too dark, which points to the importance of eliminating ambient light in the room.

'Trading Spaces' pages

You can re-create the looks you see on Trading Spaces in your own home with tips from two new books, Trading Spaces: Make It Yours! and Trading Spaces: Color!

Both books are filled with tips and ideas gleaned from the popular decorating program. Make It Yours! helps you copy such memorable makeovers as Vern's slate-tiled fireplace and Kia's hanging bed. Color! focuses on how-to information such as color selection and painting techniques, while also giving the reader plenty of inspiration from the show.

Neither book, however, tells you how to persuade the neighbors to do the work for you.

The books are edited by Brian Kramer and published by Meredith Books. Each is priced at $19.95 in paperback.

Student housing

Now that you've found Nemo, you need to keep him and his saltwater buddies looking good. Here's a saltwater aquarium maintenance guide:


  • Feed fish according to their suggested schedule
  • Use a power strip for all plug-ins

  • Clean skimmer
  • Check water quality:
  • Ammonia, less than .01 parts per million

    Nitrate, less than 25 parts per million

    Temperature, 76 to 80 degrees F (keep constant)

    Nitrite, less than .01 parts per million

    PH, 8.20 to 8.50 alkaline level

    Salinity, 1.021 to 1.023 specific gravity

  • Check powerheads and filters
  • Add supplements

  • Change water
  • Clean aquascaping
  • Check lighting
  • Perform equipment maintenance
  • Regular maintenance service is available through fish stores for about $1.50 per gallon per month.- Edited from wire reports


    Contact Features Editor Tharon Giddens at: 823-3347 or tharon.giddens@augustachronicle.com.


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