Parenting: Not for the Weak

Parenting isn’t easy… that’s why sayings such as, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ came about. Have you ever heard a non-parent complain because a Mother took time off of work to be with her sick child? As if it were actually an enjoyable experience to deal with a screaming feverish baby or a floor-puking toddler? Non-parents don’t understand what it’s like to be a parent.

New Mothers are lucky if they get two hours of sleep in between nursing, have to comfort a screaming, unappreciative baby who seems upset with everything 24/7, and heal from giving child birth. Along with that comes trying to take a shower at hyper speed, not being able to poop in a toilet alone, and fighting the annoyance that their husband expects sex every night, much less a clean house and laundry that’s put away.

The eye-opening part comes when parents start to realize that being a parent never actually gets much easier… sure once your child is 2-4 years old they begin being much more independent, can communicate their needs and dress themselves but with that comes temper tantrums, a strong/stubborn opinion which often contradicts your own, and destruction of your home at an all-new level (think crayon mural on your walls, play dough in your carpet, and glitter EVERYWHERE).

As they near the tween age they become slightly less destructive and tone it down to just messy. Glasses with milk and straws left around, five pairs of shoes in front of the door, you get the idea. The temper tantrums turn into teen-like attitudes where they feel the need to argue with everything you say, roll their eyes, and think they’re right about everything because clearly they know everything.

I remember being like this with my parents, don’t you? It’s funny how much we understand and feel sorry for our parents for the things we’re now experiencing as parents. I have apologized a dozen times for my teenage years.

So, yes, parenting isn’t easy. It isn’t always glorious but it has its rewards. I love my daughter more than anyone and every day she makes me laugh. Every time we look at each other I see a piece of myself and notice quirks that she gets from me. I’m continually proud of her accomplishments. She is worth every dollar I spend, every deep breath I take to keep calm, and every effort I make to be a good Mom.

Parenting is rewarding because it’s difficult. Because you aren’t given a manual, you have to figure it out on your own and you feel joy when things are going well. It’s worth it because that little creature you made will be your friend in life, a source of excitement as you watch them live, and a comfort when they stop you dead in your tracks and say, “I love you.”

When you feel tired, frustrated, and anxious, remember why you wanted to be a parent in the first place. You are sharing your life with a person you created. You have a privilege that not every human is even able to have. You’ve been given a gift so find ways to enjoy it. You are strong because parenting is not for the weak and yet here you stand, doing it!

Contractor, Handyman Or Construction Broker?

Every Homeowner needs help around the house from small repairs or spruce-ups to renovations. But how can you determine what type of professional to hire? Here are some tips and differences in home improvement professionals that you should consider.

Contractor vs Handyman: Often a contractor’s fees to handle small projects can be cost prohibitive. A handyman typically handles small jobs around the house and yard for both businesses and homeowners alike, and can provide a practical and cost effective solution. Some jobs require a specific license or are beyond the scope of a handyman. General contractors can handle virtually any major home project. One rule of thumb can be how long the job should take. If it’s going to take more than 2 full days to complete, a general contractor is better equipped to handle the project.

Developing a relationship with a reliable and trustworthy handyman over the long term is a good idea for any homeowner. It’s always nice to address those home improvement projects a house needs from time to time easily and quickly. Before going out and hiring a general contractor to repair a hole in drywall or to paint a room, you can hire a handyman. A contractor’s fees to handle small projects can be discouraging.

There are a few good rules of thumb when considering a handyman. With a little investment in time, you can save both money and energy over the long haul. Here is a list of jobs that you can have one good handyman take care of for you:

* Minor plumbing like leaky faucets, a new sink or fixtures

* Minor electrical work like a new ceiling fan, an added plug or switch

* Fixing a leaky roof or correcting drainage problems

* Miscellaneous carpentry around the house

* Painting a room or garage area

* Siding repair

* Building shelves

* Tile repair or installation

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. If you’re going to re-side or re-roof your home, you probably need to find a reliable contractor who specializes in those areas of home remodeling. Both Handymen and contractors should provide you with a free no obligation estimate before tackling a project. A homeowner should never hire a handyman until knowing the cost of the project, including materials. A good handyman can offer estimates and work either by the hour, or by the job like a major contractor would.

If you want to work with your contractor, you may be able to. Some handymen prefer to work alone, but most will work with you if you just want some help getting something done. You’ll likely get an hourly rate if you go this route. On the other hand, once a major contractor has outlined the scope of the work involved, and you approve his bid, you need to stand back and let him go to work. You are only in the way at that point.

Some thoughts on hiring a handyman:

* Have a list of all your projects handy before you call someone. Once your handyman is on site, have him price each project separately, then together as a whole. Depending on the work involved, you may be able to save money having him tackle at least a few things all at once.

* Ask for references and don’t be afraid to call one or two of them. There are a few good directories that prescreen local handymen and even perform background checks and call their references for you.

* Until you develop a primary handyman relationship that you are very comfortable with, don’t be afraid to get multiple bids. You can sort through a search like “local handyman” in Google and you’ll get lots of great results. Remember, anyone can buy an ad, but someone who gets top ranked naturally very likely a serious businessman. Make a choice from the top 4 or 5 search results and you will find a trusted pro. If you get multiple bids, let your handyman know you are getting other bids. It’s not only polite but remember that trust is built two ways.

* Ask your handyman what he specializes in. Engage him in conversation. Any handyman service should know a lot about many different things, but you can be sure he is an expert at only a few. Spending a little time up front with him can go a long way. He likely knows other handymen who can take up his slack where he needs it.

Contracting brokers are another option for you. They are like salesmen who work for a lot of different companies. When you call a good contracting broker, he will assess your need and find the right company for the job you need done. He gets paid a commission from the contracting company as though he were on their sales force, collecting his fee from the company you hire after the job is complete. Some brokers simply point at the right company for you. Others work more like a consultant and service provider. Those really are the best kind. They know it’s in their best interest to make sure you are happy with both the level of service and the finished project and work with you in every aspect of the job. Using a broker should not cost you any extra money and can alleviate much of the task load. If your projects require more than one or two different types of professionals, you should consider finding a good broker. A broker can also enhance the entire contracting experience.

You can find more useful home improvement tips on my blog at YourDallasHandyman.com.

– Phil Vandermeer

Interior Photography: Equipment and Techniques for the Architectural and Interior Photographer

As with any art form, the quality of light is an essential component in the work, and this is true when it comes to photography as well; especially when it comes to Architectural and Interior photography. Whether it be lighting for hotel photography, residential interiors or larger architectural corporate interiors, light defines the textures, planes and atmosphere of the space, and the professional architectural photographer will use light to extenuate and reveal these characteristics in the space that is being photographed. Light is used to direct the viewer’s eye to areas of interest, to separate spaces and planes and to create the illusion of light flooding the interior. Light defines space! Textures and colors can only be made visible through light and although the trend these days is to shoot “natural light” which is just a euphemism for ambient or available light (with little or no supplemental lighting) in almost every situation, the judicious use of additional lighting makes for a much higher quality interior photograph.

There is no reason to have to buy the “latest and greatest” system. My lights are basic Balcar strobes with 2400 and 5000-watt power packs. They are over 25 years old and they are just fine. I say this because light is just light – what is important is how one uses it.

Lighting Equipment:

Flash system: I usually travel with 25,000 watts of power (approximately 7 power packs and 12 flash heads) and I frequently use it all. This is not necessary, however, to achieve good lighting. Although my style and lighting set-ups are generally complicated, one can still produce a nice effect with a much simpler set up.

The advantages with the strobe system of lighting are:

a) The ability to overpower or balance with the ambient light.

b) The ability to convert the color temperature of the flash head, which is daylight, (5K) to other light sources. i.e. tungsten or fluorescent.

c) The ability to control the shutter speed exposure. This is critical when there is strong interior daylight or wanting to capture the exterior view through a window.

If one was to have only one lighting system, I highly recommend a high-powered flash system with the 4 to 6 flash heads with enough power packs to use them at 1200 WS of power for each head.

Other lighting systems that I work with include:

Professional studio lamps If the primary light source is tungsten I will use “hot lights” or studio lights.

These “hot lights” either spots or floods, are balanced to 3200K so a 1/8 CTO (Rosco #3410) correction is required, otherwise these lights will appear too cool in relation to the rest of the scene where the lighting is tungsten.

Modeling lamps in my flash heads: to supplement the ambient tungsten lighting. These lights don’t require additional color correction because their color temperature is very close to that of tungsten lights – especially when dialed down from full power. I also like the quality of the light from the modeling lights – they are directional but not too powerful.

PAR Bulbs: I also use standard bulbs (Par lights 30 -75 watt in spot and floods) in inexpensive “work lamp” reflectors. These lights are used to spot and open up small areas and are very helpful to help create drama and interest. I also use these lights when lighting building exteriors at night. One can put together a nice lighting system very economically with these bulbs.

Other light control “tools” that I use:

An assortment of umbrellas for “fill lighting.” Large, small, hard, soft, diffused and “shoot through.”

Grid spots: To focus the light for a “spot” affect.

“Black wrap” foil: To put on the reflectors for controlling light spill and direction; also for Gobos – to protect the light from hitting a surface or to prevent light from entering the camera lens and causing flare. The more distance from the light source the more precise the control.

Various diffusion sheets to put over and to diffuse the lights. The more distance from the light source the more diffused the effect.

ND filters for over the lights. ½ stop, 1 stop and 2 stop.

Black Chiffon material: To put over the top 1/3 or 1/2 of the umbrellas to keep light of the ceiling or sides; also effective when stretched out to cut down the light from a window or adjoining room.

“Mathews” flags and scrims: for cutting down the light by flagging it off.

Reflector cards: white and silver, to bounce light for fill or reflection or block or subtract light.

Radio and optical slaves: to set off flash packs remotely.

Rosco (Lee also makes these) Conversion light gels: to go over the flash heads to convert the color temperature:

To color balance flash (5000k) to tungsten (2900k) I use a ½ CTO (Roscosun #3408). (In the film days the full CTO Roscosun #3407) conversion was required but I find that with digital the ½ CTO works well. A ¾ CTO conversion may be required under some situations (½ CTO 3408+ ¼ CTO 3409).

When in a mixed light scene with daylight and tungsten lights a ½ to ¼ CTO works well.

In commercial environments (fluorescent or metal halide) I usually use the Rosco tough ½ plus green which although only a half correction from daylight to cool white fluorescent, is ample for the digital media. A full tough minus green (3304) filter was required in the film days, but it is too much with digital.

I find that most modern lighting in commercial spaces is considerably warmer than the old standard “cool white fluorescents” so I usually use the Rosco ½ tough plus green AND a ¼ CTO (3409) or a ½ CTO (3408) to warm up the color temperature.

Rosco also makes CC filters to go over Studio hot lights – but I don’t use them much anymore:To convert 3200 to daylight: Rosco 3202 Full Blue

To convert 3200 to half day 4100: Rosco 3204 Half Blue

To convert 3200 to 3800 Rosco 3206 Third Blue

Lighting is a critical factor in quality architectural and interior photography and it should be regarded as key component that is no less important than composition, color and contrast. The proper use of light maintains proper color balance, reveals textures and colors vividly and can create a dramatic atmosphere of light that would not be possible if the scene were photographed using ambient light only. Although one could spend a small fortune on lighting equipment, it certainly isn’t necessary. One can be watchful for older equipment on the used market and with patience, a collection of adequate gear can be acquired very affordably.

Absorbent Drink Coasters – The Good, the Bad, and the Stains

People love absorbent coasters. They are some of the most functional home accessories that you can purchase. Acting as a shield, a barrier against stains, they soak up the moisture from a sweaty glass, and hold it within themselves, keeping water damage from spreading to your possessions. However the problem is who protects the coasters from those stains? Can you purchase a permanent set of absorbent drink coasters, or are you relegated to the fleeting functionality of less sophisticated disposable models.

First a quick overview of disposable coasters; these consist of paper, cork, sponge, and other low cost material coasters. Their purpose is to be cheap, and effective, once or twice, and then to be tossed. This is the most common choice for a bar or restaurant, because they are easy to replace and purchase in bulk. You can even get them printed up with a particular logo or graphic.

The problem with these coasters is that they get soggy and nasty pretty quickly. They are also obviously cheep, and don’t have much decorative style to them. In a bar, where everything is disposable and made to order this works, but in a home, which is supposed to be your custom environment, it can be a little embarrassing.

The alternative to these temporary accessories are the new absorbent sandstone and slate coasters which are available. These coasters are made from natural stone materials, which have existed since the earth was formed. Natural properties in these materials, allows them to absorb the moisture from a liquid spill or drip, taking the water into its pores, and holding it inside of the stone. While the water is trapped in the stone, air can and does still reach it, and this causes the liquid to evaporate away.

These stone coasters are great, because they can theoretically last forever. The water goes into the coaster, but it will always evaporate away, without causing much damage to the piece.

The problem is that stone is just a natural material, and sometimes, it can stain. When a colored liquid such as juice or sauce falls on the surface of the sandstone, suddenly that absorbent property is a liability, because it will allow the stain to soak down past the surface of the stone, discoloring it from the inside.

If a staining agent does fall on your coasters there are certain things you can do. Soaking the stone in warm water will often allow you to extract the coloring agent. You can also use heat to try and melt the agent. These methods will be most effective, by far; if they are done immediately after the stain occurs.

Another absorbent alternative is to purchase slate coasters. Slate is another natural stone, and it does have absorbent properties, however slate is less absorbent than sandstone, cork, paper, or just about anything else out there. When a wet glass is placed on a slate coaster, drips of water will fall on the surface and sit there, slowly seeping into the stone. It won’t be immediate, but it will have enough suction to keep the water from spilling off over the side of the coaster onto your furnishings.

The fact that they are less absorbent means that they are also resistant to stains, and can survive staining agents much better, and for a much longer period of time, than most of their counterparts.

Absorbent coasters are some of the most useful and functional accessories that are available for your home. They can protect your possessions, while still being stylish, elegant, and customizable. However they do have several drawbacks, most notably of which is their ability to get stained by certain liquid agents. This can make some absorbent coasters more permanent then others. In the end, you will have to balance functionality with durability, to find the perfect set for your situation.

How To Bridge the Gap Between Thought and Feeling

One of the fascinating (and frustrating) aspects of golf, is the wide variation in style; it appears that every player follows a different set of rules.

How can the once-a-week golfer cut through the plethora of (often conflicting) technical data to determine which elements are worth emulating?

Perhaps a different perspective might shed some light.

Have you ever hit a perfect shot? Every golfer, at every skill level, can relate to the feeling of effortlessness. Your ability to consistently re-create that effortless feeling before each shot, is the missing link that is often overlooked in traditional instruction.

Easy to say, but how do you do it?

Develop a simple set of movements, that help you quickly recall the feeling of past success. In golf lingo, this series of movements is referred to as a pre-shot routine.

A common misconception, is believing the routine is immutable; that each movement must be repeated with mechanical precision. An effective pre-shot routine, is a series of innocuous movements that distract the conscious mind from worrying about swing mechanics or potential disaster. The exact movements are secondary – the primary goal is to stay in motion until you feel ready to hit the shot.

Obviously, the generic term “ready” means something different to each of us, but you know the ineffable feeling – as if you knew the swing was going to be good before the swing began.

Freezing over the ball at address, is one of the most common faults for the mid to high handicap golfer.

What happens when you stop moving? The automatic reaction, is to start thinking about swing mechanics or potential hazards or previous mistakes.

Are you familiar with the term “staying in the moment?”

This applies to golfers at every skill level. When the body is in motion, the rational mind is in neutral. Once you stop moving, you have three to seven seconds before the conscious mind takes over and starts sending out warning signals.

The next time you watch golf on television, pay attention to a player’s pre-swing movements. Does the player twirl the club? Perhaps a tug on the shirtsleeve is part of the routine. Any movement that repeats consistently is part of the pre-shot routine.

When you begin to focus on feelings, rather than proper technique, then you’ve found the secret to moving beyond conscious control and allowing your natural ability to take over. In effect, you learn how to “forget” swing mechanics for one-and-a-half seconds and just hit the damn ball!

Warts – Types and Treatment

There are many different types of warts, all of which have one thing in common… they are embarrassing, unpleasant, cosmetically unattractive, unwanted, annoying and sometimes painful protrusions that appear on the skin almost anywhere. They have always been considered ugly and in folklore over the years… witches have usually modelled a whole host of various ‘warty’ protrusions on various parts of their anatomy. In fact the larger the wart… the more evil the witch! The princess never had warts… the wicked stepmother had them though! The ‘goodies’ never sported a fashionable wart but the baddies were regularly seen displaying one or more particularly heinous ones.

What are warts and why do we get them?

They are completely benign epidermal tumors or growths on the skin and most of them are highly contagious. They originate from the human papilloma virus (HPV) which causes the infection and more than 100 HPV subtypes are known.

Warts are particularly common in childhood and are spread by direct contact or by touching itching and spreading through touch. If a wart is scratched, the viral particles may be spread to another area of skin. It can take as long as twelve months for the wart to first appear and they can just as easily spontaneously disappear temporarily or even permanently. The majority of them have a hard surface and a tiny black dot in the middle or each warty mark can often be seen. This is a capillary blood vessel seen through the skin. Warts can develop individually or in clusters and can spontaneously disappear. Hygiene must be of the highest importance to avoid cross infection and if not treated they may spread.

In children, even without treatment, some warts disappear within 6 months and up to 90% are gone in 2 years. They are more persistent than this in adults but they can sometimes disappear of their own accord.

Warts are particularly numerous and troublesome in patients that are immuno-suppressed.

There are many types of warts:

1. Common warts arise most often on the backs of fingers or toes, palms of hands and on the knees.

2. Plantar warts (verrucas) are seen on the foot – mainly on the sole of the foot.

3. Mosaic warts are also seen on the sole of the foot and appear in clusters over an area often proliferating to several centimeters in diameter. Many little dots from capillaries underneath the surface of the skin can be seen throughout mosaic warts.

4. Plane, or flat, warts are often seen on the face or limbs and under the arms and can be very numerous.

5. Periungual warts grow at the sides or under the nails and can distort nail growth if left. Treatment can be difficult because of the sensitivity of the area and the risk of damaging the nail bed.

6. Filiform warts are on a long stalk and these can appear quite often on the face where they are a most upsetting and cosmetically unattractive addition. They often have a multi faceted top like finger like projections which are very dry and crusty.

7. Oral warts can affect the lips and even inside the cheeks. They include Squamous Cell Papillomas (not to be confused with Squamous Cell Carcinomas), are small benign (non-cancerous) growth that begin in squamous cells (thin, flat cells) that are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin (epidermis), the passages of the respiratory and digestive tract and in the lining of hollow organs of the body.

8. Genital warts are very common. There are at least 100 different types of HPV and at least 40 can infect the genital area they are often transmitted sexually and predispose to cervical, penile and vulval cancers.

Treatment Options:

Warts are not a serious health condition and many people will not bother to treat them as often the treatment is uncomfortable and requires considerable effort. To get rid of them, the body’s own immune system has to be stimulated to attack the wart virus. Persistence with the treatment and patience is essential!

There are several options of treatment, some more successful than others.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis has been around for over 130 years for hair removal but is fairly new to wart treatment but is proving high successful and illustrating excellent results. It is a very precise form of treatment not unlike Electrosurgery (curettage and cautery) but is gentler and less invasive. Treatment techniques depend upon the type of wart but with a common wart the tiny electrolysis needle (about the size of a eyelash) is used to cauterise the surface of the skin over the affected area. This is then inserted into the centre of the wart where a high frequency, radio frequency current is expelled. Following treatment the surface of the wart will scab over, which will, after a week or so, slough away leaving perfect skin behind. More than one treatment may be required with verrucas in particular being very resilient and definitely needing more than one treatment.

Other methods of treatment include:

Occlusion. By covering the wart 24 hours of the day may result in it clearing. Duct tape is often used.

Chemical treatment. Chemical treatment includes wart paints containing salicylic acid which remove the dead surface skin cells. Perseverance is essential as it can take 12 weeks to go or more likely to reduce in size.

Cryotherapy. The wart is repeatedly frozen with liquid nitrogen resulting in blistering, swelling and sometimes permanent white scarring following treatment.

Electrosurgery (curettage & cautery) is used for particularly large and annoying warts. Under local anaesthetic, the growth is pared away and the base burned by diathermy or cautery. The wound heals in about two weeks.

Other treatments. There are numerous treatments for warts and none offer a guarantee of cure. They include: Topical creams, oral medication, vaporisation, pulse dye laser destruction of feeding blood vessels and even duck tape and banana skin are home care options.

Why Are You on the Internet, Newbie?

Why are you on the Internet, Newbie? Beware of the cyberspace landmines!

Actually the question is, "What do you hope to accomplish by going online?". Do you think you can run a successful small business or SoHo online?

When I first heard about the world wide web, (the mythical WWW) I had no idea that anyone who had an 'internet connection' could get online and have a 'presence'. Coming from a computer background, you see, I had some idea and understanding that the WWW was more than a network of computers, but I could not imagine that individuals like me could run a home office and be notified. My understanding was that this huge WWW monster was meant for the big western world fortune 500 corporations, the big multinationals who needed to really entrench themselves everywhere on this planet. Me? No. Not for me.

What do you have as a newbie? More specifically, what resources are available to you to even start thinking about an iota of a presence on the web? When I started out I did not have much to go with. Hey, I have never been discouraged, since all the suggested setbacks. I know I will succeed. So will you, Newbie!

The reason I am sharing part of my online journey is basically to encourage you. Does not the world say, "where there is a will there is a way"? If you have the will, you too will soon become a successful online business owner. Sometimes even write a book about your experiences online and sell it as a product for everyone to learn from. Remember what you have heard so far? "You need a product of your own to make it". So start from within yourself! There, see I have learned already from the self proclaimed gurus. Go for it.

A few years ago, about 2000, I decided to take a plunge and step out into the deep WWW to gather info about an online presence. I read somewhere about newbies making it online. At least you could start out selling other people's stuff and earn some money. Sounded good. Action speaks louder than words. So, I took off my right shoe and sock and put my foot into the sea of ​​the WWW. I picked up some free stuff here and there and began to read. I read and read and read. Each day that I read and acquitted some knowledge, I got sucked into the WWW sea. Before I knew it I was gasping for breath. I did not see the tide coming in to shore! Beware, not everything free is free!

Wow, what happened? I should have stayed close to the WWW coastline, right in the eagle's eye of a life guard. But alas even the life guard was choking me as I came up for air once in a while. Before I knew it, everyone was trying to 'rescue' me and showing me the right way to do things! Buy this. Enroll for this. I am the expert, attend my seminar, free. No, it is me the guru not that other person. Yes, you are safe with me. You will soon earn millions of dollars if you stay with me. I will show you how. I could go on and on, but ….

As if this was not enough, I was naive. I subscribed to every free good sounding program. Before long, I began to receive offer letters in my mail bag on my computer from all manner of places. I learned later that they are called e-mails and not letters! Ha ha ha! So I welcomed these e-mail offers initially. After all they were coming from fellow Interneters who were interested in my success online! I opened up my Inbox for every offer, sometimes one of them, just one of these mails was the 'it' I needed to break through.

Ha, in no time I began to see that my mail bag, (sorry my Inbox, forgot I was online!), Was being bombarded with all manner of junk! Junk after junk after junk and I was weighed down in no time. What to do now? I looked around for a solution, (you guessed it), free again! How ironic and still no solution in sight. At least not yet. I needed something to throw out junk before getting to my Inbox. I also needed to construct a wall with a fire around my Inbox and especially around my entry point into the WWW orbit. I said to myself, "I can not trust anyone in the lighthouse, especially those free life saving services. I have to be careful, this time around.

Yet again I looked around for possible free solution to keep out junk which I learned was now being called SPAM. Wow, spam everywhere even from those who promised to help me keep out junk! Before I gained my full consciousness I was now engulfed with spyware, malware, etc. The more free solutions I got to rid myself of junk, spam, spyware, malware and virus the more freedom I lost! I saw that free was actually the source of more infection. Whoops, now I have even learned that you can get infected with all manner of computer disease, just like the infection in a human body. More web entanglement. You have to be alert to stay alive on the web. The WWW is contagious both positively and otherwise. Be Aware. Be alert.

Hey I am not condemning everything free. There are a lot of very good free things on the WWW. Just be wake and look in the right places. For instance once in a while these days I run to the web for some free online virus, spyware and malware scans. There are organizations out there with very good and effective resources especially in this area. For instance I was recently hit by a Mutant Trojan which almost wiped out my mail database. Fortunately I had just installed an anti-virus and security software I was trying out. Boy oh boy was not I really saved just in the nick of time!

Anyways, as the years progressed in my online growth, (remember up to this time I am still only taking in knowledge and self training), on the WWW I began to realize that if I was going to be somebody, I needed to be my Own man. But how? I needed to decisively address the question, "Why are you on the internet, newbie?". No more milk teeth or kid gloves. I must break out and be my own man. I must learn to tell junk / spam from the real stuff out there. I have trained myself through experience, you see. So, when I resolved to go full throttle on the WWW, I refused to label myself "newbie". Since I was a resident of the part of the world which is now commonly referred to as an "emerging economy", I am now an "emerging entrepreneur online". Yeah, emerging entrepreneur and not "newbie" anymore. Yeah, it sounds good and inspiring too! Emerging Entrepreneur, mmmmmmnnhh.

Did it take long? No. I thought I had broken out. Right then I began to encounter more sophisticated suffocation. Wow, I soon learned that there are Gurus at almost every rung of the WWW as you 'go up'! Now it was, 'you have to know affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, must have the right keywords', and the list goes on. For all these things there is one kind of expert from another.

Wow. I got tired again. It is like a story I read somewhere online about the gold rush. Apparently it is not everyone who mined and panned for gold that stuck it rich. Well not so for a lot of them. But hey, check out the guys who were selling the tools for gold mining and panning. They consistently sold shovels, picks food, liquor and whatever to the gold miners to spur them on. The hardware traders even cave the miners Guru advise on the right tools to use. Obviously like our internet gurus they made consistent profits on selling tools. And the miners? Some cave up or died without much or anything to show for their labor! Sound familiar somebody? So I remembered this story about the gold rush and decided I am going to do something about it. It must not happen to me like it did with the gold miners.

Anyway, this is now 2008. For me, forget the newbie stuff, the junk, the spam etc. I am forging ahead as an emerging entrepreneur. So finally in 2007, it was goodbye testing and learning on the periphery. It is now hands-on Internet business training and building. I hear that those who do not attempt do not do. Those who want success must remove fear and train like champions to become the champions they want to be. Period.

Lessons I have learned? Do not trust everyone and everything on the WWW. I am now focused on what my original intention is on the WWW, that is, to have a real entrepreneur's presence on the WWW! One day everyone who matters must get to know about my small online business. My Soho or Home Office must be an essential benefit to those who are like minded with me, distributing a goodness of benefits and solutions to all manner of interneters.

And the free stuff. Not everything is free as in really free. There is no such thing as I have now learned both in the real life and life on the WWW. I am not a statistician but I can safely say 50% of the WWW is full of truth but it is up to you to discover which 50% this is. Again beware. Be alert. Stay awake! You will succeed online this way.

So, once again, why are you on the Internet? What do you wish to accomplish on the WWW? Can you refer to some of my experiences listed here in this article? Are you still a newbie, or you have not tasted the cold waters of the WWW yet? Are you now an emerging entrepreneur or a fully grown small business owner with a succeeding home office? Fear not!

I pray God's Peace and Prosperity to you.

Joseph

An Effective Security Camera System Is All About Location, Location, Location

It’s that simple, security camera placement is all about Location, Location, Location. The devil is in the details and the details determine where a camera should be placed. Too often a security camera is placed to cover as much real estate as possible and that is the wrong approach. A CCTV or Surveillance System should be just that, a system. Each camera should play a key role in the complete system, like a single instrument in an orchestra, alone they’re nice, but once combined they magnify each other’s performance.

In my humble opinion, the most important camera in a complete CCTV system is the gotcha camera. This security camera should give you the same image as the culprits mug shot will when the police take his picture, that is to say, super close-up. Typically the best location for this camera is right behind the register. Of course every store has one there but they usually try and cover the entire front counter. Huge opportunity loss! The gotcha camera should be at eye level right in front of the customer (actually slightly to the side so that the sales clerk doesn’t block the image). A would be robber would think twice after staring into the eye of the camera. This security camera should be such a tight shot that you only have a couple feet on each side of the cash register. It is the money shot, the one that will put the robber into that mug shot I spoke of earlier.

If you’re doing a home surveillance system then the gotcha camera would be at eye level at the front door. Since 70% of all break-ins occur through a door, and most of them are through the front door, this is your money shot. Even if the burglar doesn’t break-in at the front door he will almost always ring the door bell to see if anyone is home. Once again, after looking into the eye of the camera he’ll probably go to another house. Another good location for the gotcha security camera is at a gate. Most burglars will use the easiest method to get into the back yard and if you have a fence, that would be the gate. Don’t be tempted to get an image of the whole fence, you want just the gate, so you can get that sharp picture that will put him on the 11:00 news. (10:00 Central time)

Not every security camera should be the super close-up. This is where the concept of a complete system comes in. Like in any movie you’ll need a camera to set the stage. That wide angle shot that sets the scene in every TV sitcom, that makes you think they really live in that house. You can cover a lot of ground with this camera, even though you would not be able to identify the individual, that’s the job of the gotcha camera. This surveillance camera covers a large area to try and catch the bad guy in the act. It may be a parking lot or a back yard. By itself if would have little benefit, but as part of a system it plays a key role. you may not be able to identify the intruder, but you’ll have the best chance of catching him red handed. In a parking lot it will give you an idea of the type of car he drives and what direction he was going when he left the parking lot. In a store you may see two criminals working together and see which camera they are walking in front of.

The last location is the security camera that fits in somewhere between the super close-up, and the stage setting wide angle camera. Its role is for high priority locations. Maybe where you have expensive merchandise or a trouble spot where you have had shop lifting problems before. It may be the very reason you’ve decided to get a CCTV system. In a home it might be in an area where you keep valuables. You will want to cover as much real estate as possible while still being able to identify the culprit. The key to this camera location is to not try and cover so much area that your can’t identify the person ripping you off.

That leads us to facial recognition. This priority camera must incorporate facial recognition. That means you must be able to identify the person that is taking food out of the mouths or your children and stealing the Christmas presents of your Grandchildren from under your tree (both figuratively and physically). The FBI has come up with a rule of thumb of ten heads. Look at the image on the monitor and imagine stacking the heads on top of each other like on a totem pole. If you only make it half way up your screen by the time you count ten heads, then the face will be too small to get an identifiable image. Anything less then ten is good as long as you balance the real estate you want to cover with the size of the face.

To sum up an ideal surveillance or CCTV system, you will need at least one money shot camera (your gotcha scum-bag camera), at least one stage setting camera (your wide shot camera), and as many priority (high risk area) security cameras as needed. This will depend on the size of the store and the merchandise you’re trying to cover.

One last thing I need to cover, is the monitor. After putting together a killer system, don’t go and blow it by putting the monitor in an area where customers can see it. A robber will be looking for blind spots, if he can’t find any he’ll wear a mask. You may have a camera super tight for the gotcha shot, but all the shop lifter sees is a camera and he doesn’t want to get picked up. If he thinks he’s on camera he won’t try anything. Like a poker player, never show your hand until you need to.

Follow these rules and you’ll have a complete security camera system that will be a valuable weapon to fight crime, and it will pay for itself by cutting down on loss inventory. (and that’s money in your pocket!)

Make Bid Bonds Great Again

You used to love them. They were so easy. Now they are in dollar amounts and percentages, sometimes with a limited maximum value. They can be electronic or digital. Sometimes a letter is required instead. Sometimes nothing is required instead! There may be a single or annual charge for it or maybe it is free! It’s outta control…

So here is your chance to catch up with everybody’s favorite: The fun and fascinating world of Bid Bonds.

The Basics

These instruments accompany a contractor’s proposal during the acquisition process for a new project. This is routine on public work, such as federal state and local municipal contracts. The procedure may also be used on private projects at the contract owner’s discretion.

The bond guarantees that, if awarded, the bidder will sign the contract, furnish the required Performance and Payment Bond, and commence with the work – or – pay the difference between their bid and the next higher bidder (subject to the maximum dollar value of the bid bond.)

Cost

Usually free although the surety is entitled to charge for them. Typical charges could be an annual bid bond service fee or a per bond charge.

Underwriting

The decision to issue the bid bond is based on the underwriter’s willingness to provide the related P&P bond, because that is the real money transaction. The decision is NOT based on the dollar value of the bid bond. Rely on the fact that the underwriter will not provide the bid bond if they do not feel they can support the final bond.

Bid Spreads

If the bidder is more than 10% below the next bidder without a plausible explanation (I have a special machine, I already have materials, I’m already working next door, I’m super fabulous, etc.) the surety could decline the final bond, resulting in a bid bond claim.

Alternative Forms of Security

In addition to a bid bond, proposals may also be secured using a cashier’s check or irrevocable letter of credit, depending on what the project owner (Obligee) is willing to accept.

Percentages

The Invitation or Bid Solicitation describes the proposal requirements. It will state if a bid bond is required and the amount.

The bond value is often expressed as a percentage. Example “20% of the attached proposal amount.” This is convenient because the underwriter doesn’t want to know the actual bid amount (to preserve the bid confidentiality). It is the best way to express the exactly correct amount when typing the bond in advance.

Capped

Because the percentage bond actually has an unknown dollar value at the moment it is executed, language is sometimes added establishing the most it can be worth (to prevent a wildly high amount the underwriter didn’t expect). Example, “10% of the attached bid, not to exceed $100,000.”

Fixed Penalty

“Bond Penalty” is the term used to express the bond dollar value. A fixed penalty bond has a stipulated amount, regardless of the bid. Example, “Maximum bid bond amount required: $20,000.”

Surety Letter

Some owners choose to require a letter from the bonding company, but no bond. Federal projects are handled this way at times. The letter talks about how much they love the client and the contracts they are willing to bond.

Consent of Surety

This letter is the surety’s written promise to issue the P&P bond if the contract is awarded.

Electronic

A scanned copy (pdf) of the executed bond may be acceptable for an online bid.

Digital

Some state departments of transportation use this. The surety registers with the obligee in advance and the bid bond is “filed” online using a unique identification number.

Funky Land

Now some of the weird stuff:

  • You may encounter a bid bond requirement, but no final bond (P&P bond) to follow
  • Can also have the opposite: No bid security required but a final bond is needed
  • No! You are not required to use the same surety for the bid and final bonds – although the bid bond provider fully expects to be the final bond provider and may hunt you down and kill you. (Just kidding!!!)
  • Yes! If you obtain a bid bond under the promise to provide collateral, you are allowed to get the final bond from a different surety that is not demanding collateral. (But you face the hunt and kill thing again)
  • When you acquire a project using a Consent provided by ABC Surety (their promise to provide the bond upon award of the contract), you are not prohibited from taking the final bond from XYZ Surety. However, good protocol dictates that you remain loyal to those who enabled you to acquire the job (meaning ABC).

No Free Lunch

If you default (cause a bond claim), the surety will come after the contractor, it’s owners and spouses for recovery. Remember: Bonds are not insurance.

Make Bid Bonds Great Again

So there you have it. These instruments are fussy and sometimes complicated. It is imperative that they be executed correctly and filed on time or it can cause the bid to be thrown out (loss of contract.) This always makes people very crabby (Read: LAWSUIT).

The key is to review the written bonding requirements as described in the bid advertisement. Use any mandatory bond forms that are stipulated and double check the correct execution and typing of the document including name spelling, job description, project identification details and the correct bid bond amount.

Now that you know, you can start to love bid bonds again!

Controlling Behavior: Are Your Eyes On Your Partner's Plate?

It is often tempting to tell others what to do, especially when it is obvious that they are not taking care of themselves. Discover why this usually backfires and what to do instead.

Shelly and Brad, married for 7 years, consulted with me because Shelly was unhappy with their lack of communication and emotional intelligence. She experienced Brad as being closed and distant much of the time. In the course of the session, it became apparent that Brad was distant because he was in resistance to Shelly's controlling behavior.

Shelly's form of control was fairly humble, but became apprehensive in the session. As Brad was exploring his fear of being controlled, Shelly said to him, "Brad, maybe if you take more time to practice your inner work, your fear would go away. You really are not working very hard on your own growth." As soon as she said this, I noticed Brad stiffening and pulling.

"What are you feeling right now Brad?" I asked.

"I feel like she's the parent and I'm the child, and that she is right and I'm wrong. This is what I feel a lot with. I hate it when she tries to control me like this."

I turned to Shelly. "Shelly, there must be a good reason that you felt the need to tell Brad what to do.

"I care about him and I'm just trying to help him, to give him a gift of truth," she stated.

"Shelly, I know you care about him, but is not your intention really to control him and get him to change?"

"But if he changes he will feel better about himself."

"Probably, but that's up to him." When you put your eyes on his plate and tell him what to do, he does not feel care about, or like he is receiving a gift. He feels controlled and goes into resistance. Your end of the system that is resulting in the very distance you are unhappy about. "

Shelly thought about it and realized that her "gifts" were indeed coming from wanting to control Brad. She agreed to practice keeping her eyes on her own plate. Brad agreed to practice speaking up rather than pulling.

* * * * * *

In a session with Julia, she told me about a problem she kept having with her adult daughter, Heather.

"Heather complains to me a lot about her boyfriend and her job. But if I say anything to help her or even just ask her her questions, she gets defensive. I can not figure out what I'm doing wrong."

"Julia," I said, "what do you think Heather's intention is when she is complaining? Is she open or closed? What do you think she wants from you?"

"She's closed. I'm not sure what she wants."

"Well, she probably wants sympathy, rather than helping in taking responsibility for herself. When you offer her help or ask questions, you are trying to get her to move out of being a victim and take care of herself. She wants, so she gets defensive. She dreams invaded and controlled by you, and you are being invasive and controlling in offering help when she has not asked for help. How do you feel when she complains? "

"My stomach gets tight and I feel pushed on."

"So, if you were to keep your eyes on your own plate and do not get into trying to control her by caretaking her, you would just say" Oh, "or" Uh huh, "or" It sounds like you are having a hard "Since she is not open to learning, there would be no reason to confront her with what she is doing."

Julie agreed to try this next time Heather complained to her.

* * * * *

Richard and Sylvia have a similar system to Julia and Heather. Richard often complains to Sylvia about being tired or not feeling well. Richard does not take good care of himself regarding his health and wellbeing. When he complains, Sylvia often questions him or tells him what to do and then Richard gets angry and defensive, blaming Sylvia for trying to control him.

When Sylvia tunes into her own feelings, she realizes that she feels dropped at by Richard when he complains. Now, instead of telling Richard what to do, she tells him that she is feeling pushed on by his complaining. Richard is open to this information and is becoming aware of how often he hands his inner child to Sylvia for sympathy, and then resists when she tells him what to do.

A big challenge – letting go of trying to control the other person and keeping our eyes on our own plate! When you can do it, you will find your relationships getting much better!

Why Get a Home Water Filtration System?

Home water filtration systems help to protect households from contaminants in the water that can cause allergies and make the conditions of home appliances deteriorate.

The home water filtration system is located at the point of entry of the water supply before it reaches the home. It is at this point where it filters the water before releasing it into the home. Home water filtration systems are recommended if you suspect that the water coming to your home is contaminated.

How The Home Water Filtration System Works

The home water filtration system has a filter housing and a filter cartridge. Some systems may have two cartridges; One for filtering larger sediments and another for smaller elements like chemicals and viruses.

At the point-of-entry, the water is filtered before it is released into the house. The water is then forwarded to all accessible points in the house like sinks, taps and other points.

Benefits Of Using Home Water Filtration Systems

Since a home water filter system is much larger in size than other filtration systems, it handles a larger amount of water. It allows the whole house to access purified water from all accessible points as opposed to just one faucet point

Home water filtration systems remove heavy metals like copper, fluoride and lead that are contained in unpurified water. These metals are a health hazard to consumers because they can cause diseases once they are in the body system. Also, using purified water in home appliances ensures that the appliances do not get affected by rust which is caused by iron that is found in water that has not been purified.

Moreover, water that is purified does not contain chlorine. Chlorine gas is dangerous to people who are asthmatic and those who have cancer. It is usually emitted from showers when households use unpurified water. Chlorinated water causes excessive dryness of the skin and dehydration. Households that have home water filter systems also enjoy uncontaminated and cleaner air which does not contain chlorine. Chlorine is emitted from unpurified water in households that use the water showers and for other uses.

Home water filtration systems purify water from chemicals and other microorganisms that are in it. Poisonous chemical elements from pesticides, cyanides, weed killers and fertilizers usually make their way down into the underground water. These elements can be dangerous and some microorganisms can cause diseases. Unpurified water has also been proven to contain thousands of toxic elements that are as a result of the usage of industrial chemicals.

Other benefits of home water filtration systems include clean water that is free from bacteria and viruses. There are viruses and bacteria that are chlorine resistant and cause diseases when they enter the human body system. An example of such a bacteria is gardia.

The home water filter system is recommended for all households who value their health and are concerned about the lifespan of their home appliances. Although it may seem expensive to install in the beginning, its benefits in the long run outweigh its current costs.

The Many Gadgets Available To Compliment Both Him And Her

There are quite literally thousands upon thousands of cool gadgets out there for you to buy and use in your everyday life that will make tasks in your daily life more simpler.

Although most of these products are really gadgets that cater mainly towards men. There are quite a number of gadgets that are aimed particularly at women also. Of course most gadgets that are available offer something for both men and women to use.

Nearly every single area of your existence involves you using any one of these electronic gadgets which can conveniently be purchased from the local gadget shop. You will see advertising every day for the latest gadgets which will wow you with the coolest gadgets available for you to purchase. A whole array of awesome gadgets are just a credit card transaction away and you can get your hands on some of the coolest tech gadgets around.

Men tend to go for those geeky gadgets whether they be the latest gaming gadgets or those must have car gadgets, there really is some cool gadgets for men. The amount of boy gadgets out there are astonishing and you can find electronic gadgets that will suit all occasions for example camping gadgets or maybe some kind of beer gadgets.

All this men talk doesn’t mean there isn’t some amazing gadgets for women that particularly cater for the female persona. There are loads of kitchen gadgets that help with the cooking, washing up and the cleaning of clothes. You will find quite a few baby gadgets that will cater for mothers caring for their new born baby.

There are also lots of cool gadgets for kids whether they be gadgets for girls or gadgets for boys, many crazy gadgets have been made available to help keep your kids entertained for hours. Your pets are not without their fair share of gadgets either, there are plenty of dog gadgets out there and can be some of the funniest gadgets around.

Gadgets for Him

As mentioned before there are more than enough men’s gadgets out there that can cater purely for the tastes of men (even though women will tend to use them also) and there really are some cool gadgets for guys out there. Boys gadgets are also available and can give a youngster hours of entertainment and in some cases pretty decent outdoor gadgets also.

Car Gadgets

There are lots of cool car gadgets for men to furnish their cars with and these can range from weird gadgets like the Alcosense breathalyser which helps to determine whether you fit enough to drive after a little drink to a premium Satnav that aids in navigation when going on days out in the car giving all the latest traffic reports and road information. Most cars nowadays have some sort of keychain gadgets that locks and unlocks a car through central locking at a press of a button. Even motorcycles get their own gadgets with a whole range of digital speedometers to coolly look at how fast you are going, Bluetooth motorcycle helmet interphones to use your mobile phone whilst riding your motorbike or LED spotlights which help you see when riding around on the those long dark nights.

Gaming Gadgets

The gaming gadgets are some of the real must have gadgets for men and offer up some of the most geek gadgets you can possibly find. Some of these can be gaming controllers for consoles to help with furious game play. And can even be the gaming consoles themselves such as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Wii U for example. There are even handheld gaming gadgets that allow players to enjoy their games while on the move such as the PS Vita or a 3DS.

There are also computer gadgets such as gaming headsets for chatting while playing online multiplayer games such as Halo or Call of Duty. You can also get gaming keyboards and mice to help give those game playing experiences a more professional appeal. Other PC gadgets include surround sound speakers, flight joysticks for flying games and even USB gadgets such as external storage devices and hubs to conveniently connect other devices to the personal computer or laptop.

You even get a whole host of Wi-Fi gadgets for your PC or laptop such a wireless keyboards and mice or wireless speakers. The internet can be connected wireless with a broadband router which also allows other computers in the building to communicate and share files with each other.

Garden Gadgets

Not all gadgets have to be some kind of electronic gadget for them to be entered into the category gadget. There quite a number of garden gadgets that you wouldn’t really think were gadgets such as a bird feeder or wheelbarrow, but these are very handy gadgets to own when out gardening. Of cause the garden has its fair share of great gadgets including lawnmowers for cutting the lawn, hedge trimmers to create stylish hedges to impress the neighbours, water sprinklers to keep the lawn and vegetable patch adequately watered or some kind of solar lighting that lights up the night sky when enjoying the garden at dusk. There are also grill gadgets available that will make any barbecuing event run smoothly and without a hitch.

Camping Gadgets

Yes there are even gadgets available when you take a much needed break and decide to live under a piece of canvas for a week or two in the countryside. Must have gadgets such as a camping stove or mini grill are useful gadgets to have when preparing food in the open air. People can’t be without their mobile gadgets even when on vacation and so a portable battery pack for recharging power will come in handy. Even a whistle key finder can be useful especially when walking around in camping sites where the chance of losing your car or house keys are greatly increased.

Fishing Gadgets

Even the peaceful pass-time of fishing has its use of gadgets to help land those prized specimens of fish. Bite alarms have allowed anglers to fish with more than one rod and you can quite often see fisherman with two or three rods sitting on rod rests with bite alarms fitted. There are even fish finders to help anglers find the location of fish underwater, especially when they are boat fishing on the large lake somewhere. Fishing has all kinds of clever gadgets for helping to dislodge hooks from fish or actually help land those much bigger specimens and these fishing gadgets come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes.

Flying gadgets

Now these are some of the latest technology gadgets and can be enjoyed by anyone, although men and boys tend to favour these gadgets the most. These really are cool gadgets to buy and can be some of the most expensive gadgets around. The futuristic gadgets include radio controlled helicopters, biplanes, blimps and more bizarrely flying saucers. These pieces of kits are amongst the most enjoyable and best gadgets for anyone to have in their gadget collection. Although learning to fly these sorts of gadgetry has a steep learning curve and only really suit the extreme hobbyist who has time to practice with these modern gadgets.

Gadgets for Her

The range of gadgets for her is considerably smaller than it is for men, but both girls and women enjoy using the same types of gadgets that men and boys do. Many gadgets for females centre on household gadgets such as the various kitchen gadgets that are available. I don’t want to pigeon hole woman as the stereotypical homemaker because a lot of new age men do house chores as well. But the majority of women still tend do the majority of the housework and so these types of kitchen gadget are mainly aimed at them. Many gadgets for girls are also being enjoyed by boys so a lot of these gadget categories do cross over.

Kitchen Gadgets

The devices you find around the average kitchen are some of the most unique gadgets invented, and are the most popular home gadgets that people add to the collection of kitchen technology. Doing household chores has become a whole lot easier thanks to many of the wonderful gadgets. Be it washing the dishes with a top of the range dishwasher, cleaning the wooden or marbled floor with a steam mop or even washing and drying clothes with a washing machine and dryer combo there really are some cool kitchen gadgets.

When preparing and cooking food there is a whole range of cooking gadgets to help with this time consuming task, such as food mixers to neatly chop food down to suitable size for cooking, steam cookers so meat and vegetables can be cooked slowly and gives them a more tasty and melt in the mouth texture. Bread toasters are a convenient way to make some toast for breakfast or a quick snack during the day and can even toast crumpets that are equally delicious.

Microwaves have made cooking food much quicker and convenient though the types of food cooked in microwaves tend not to be of a very healthy quality. An even more unhealthy option for a kitchen gadget would be a steam deep fat fryers that allows you to cook chips or chicken drumsticks and food of that type. A healthier option is to use a Smoothie maker to mix fresh fruit or vegetable drinks to give your body that much vitamin and mineral boost.

You really can find some unique kitchen gadgets in most standard kitchens and can even find the odd unusual kitchen gadget such as the electronic tin opener. The various coffee gadgets available can also help you make the perfect cup of coffee when needed. There are many must have kitchen gadgets and no modern kitchen can do without them. Imagine how hectic and inconvenient life would be if you didn’t have the time saving devices around the home, that leads to healthy work and life balance most people enjoy today.

Baby Gadgets

Although there isn’t a great deal of gadgets for babies there are still a few that mothers find useful when nurturing their new born. Baby monitors are the kind of gadgets that have become invaluable to mothers, with the ability to hear everything the baby is doing while being in another room of the house. Mobiles are a fun gadget that keeps a baby both calm and entertained for hours while they are lying in their cot.

Night lights are another gadget that are useful with babies especially when having to get up in the middle of the night to feed or change the baby. Baby car seats are another useful gadget to have thanks to them helping to keep the baby safe and secure in the car while travelling to the shop or the nursery. Even electronic learning games are some useful baby gadgets that help to educate your baby with entertaining sounds and things to touch and rattle with their hands.

Gadgets Galore

There really are tonnes and tonnes of gadgets available to buy in the marketplace and no matter what you are currently doing in your life, there will always be some kind of cool gadget to help make your task a simpler one. Whether it be bathroom gadgets, camera gadgets, fitness gadgets, music gadgets, office gadgets or even party gadgets you are going to find some kind of gadget tech that suits your needs.

One thing you can assure with any gadget is that once it is part of your life it will most certainly be the part of someone else’s life. Take for instance the phone gadgets that are now available and literally littering the planet. These mobile gadgets at the start of this century were simple monochrome phone and texting devices.

Now they are Smartphone’s that have the ability to not only make phone calls and text messages, but also have the ability to play games, take photos, store and play music, and connect to the internet through a 4G connection. Who in this modern world could now ever live without their mobile gadget? These gadgets hold everybody’s important social contacts, photos, music and personal details and the owner would certainly be lost without this technology.

Not all gadgets have to be completely functional in everyday life. In fact some gadgets can be used for special occasions such as the many Christmas gadgets or party gadgets enjoyed at various times of the year. Some gadgets can even be for decoration or to show a particular dedication to a personal such as Star Wars gadgets like the light sabre, which any avid Star Wars fan would love to own.

I for one really love getting my hands on the newest gadgets and just love to scour the internet to buy my gadgets online. I like reading about not only the latest technology gadgets but also news on future gadgets and relish seeing which upcoming gadgets I will be interested in purchasing.

Gadget Insurance

Now with this talk of owning all these amazing gadgets I have to write about the security of those aforementioned gadgets. All this gadget technology is quite an expensive part of consumer purchasing and having some kind of insurance on these gadgets can be very beneficial. Take for instance owning the iPhone and imagine if you lost or damaged this device, the cost of replacing this device would be expensive.

This is where gadget insurance can be helpful when wanting to insure an expensive mobile phone for accidental damage, losing the device somewhere, liquid damage when taking it outside and even in the event of theft. Lots of these Gadget insurance companies have appeared online and offer a wide range of cover for a modest monthly fee.

Food Packaging – Pros & Cons

Food packaging is really a usual practice nowadays. Apart from some simple benefits like storage and convenience, this kind of packaging has changed the market fundamentally by the list of further business and technological improvements. Still, few packaged nutrients bring in a negative impact on environs and the health, and aren’t always as good and sustainable as unpackaged nutrients.

Quality of food

Packaged foods always provide protection from environmental and physical harm on transportation, storage and handling of nutrients. Packaging supplies like Al, glass or plastic container sustains shelf-life of the substances.

Nevertheless, while few packaged materials take more far to get worse, they however miss the freshness; though the substances themselves hold up, the entire smell might not. Artificial flavors and food additives that are generally comprised in packaged materials might not alone aggravate or reduce smell, however may as well test to be unhealthful and/or dangerous for individual use.

A few of these potential health dangers comprise sudden allergies, stomach upset and raised susceptibleness to the kind of diseases like heart disease or lung.

Health

Unpackaged materials could look better for you in essence, because they’re less believable to hold preservatives. But, the fresh nutrients particularly fish, vegetables and meat face up the heavier chance of contaminant on handling, which might extend to life-threatening disease if not sanitized in right way. Packaged materials health aspect depends on the production.

One worthy benefit of food packaging is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) tag that several productions are needed to have. These kinds of tags not alone offer all the ingredients list, likewise as date of expiry, however as well nutrition info like serving sizing also as mineral and vitamin content.

Advantage

Few packaged foods offer a lot of advantage by saving up you preparing and shopping time also as cooking steps. Meals like chicken tenders, pastas, pizzas and even total dinners with desserts and sides, altogether in single packet, are promptly ready for purchase.

Few meals simply require to be heated up in microwave oven for little period of time, or popped up in the oven for few minutes. All the same, these kinds of meals aren’t always healthful options. As dieting investigator notices, a lot of television dinners incline to be great in Na and fatty substance appropriate to improve taste sensation. Likewise, small calorie meals perhaps cloaked by smart packaging to hold in little portion.

Things to Consider When Choosing a House Plan

The first thing to consider when choosing a house plan is how long a person intends to live in the structure. One level homes are the easiest to build, maintain, use and sell. One of the most common mistakes made is when people decide to move from a one level home to a two level home at or near retirement. These people don’t consider climbing stairs in their golden years. A one level home is typically easier to sell than a two level home because it is more user friendly than one with stairs. Anyone can live in a one level home. Not everybody can use stairs in a two level home.

The correct way to incorporate a two level home into ones life is to choose this type of house plan early in life while age allows physically walking on stairs. Two level homes are generally more appealing because those homes have more exterior to enhance curb appeal, but two level homes are harder to maintain because floor number two is usually accessible only by ladder or some other method like scaffolds.

In most cases, purchasing a plan on the internet will be cheaper than hiring an architect to draw plans. Drawing plans without an architect is another option, but is only recommended to people with the knowledge and experience of drawing house plans. The average cost of plans for a moderately sized home purchased online is seven hundred fifty dollars. An architect can range between seven hundred fifty dollars to two thousand five hundred dollars.

Also, check the restrictive covenants or rules of your neighborhood for minimum square foot requirements, set back lines, exterior requirements and type of garage entry requirements. Building a home that does not meet the rules of the neighborhood is not a mistake anyone wants to make.

When choosing a plan, consider options that are offered with some of the newer or more modern home plans like split bedroom floor plan. This type of plan offers a master bedroom and bath apart from the smaller bedrooms and baths, usually located on the opposite ends of the house from each other. Some of the best plans are one level split bedroom plans with the master bedroom and bathroom on the same side as the garage and kitchen as opposed to a plan with the master bedroom and bathroom opposite the garage and kitchen.

A two level split bedroom plan with the master located on the first level and the other bedrooms located on level two is a more desirable two level house plan. Again, in a two level plan, if the master bedroom and master bath are located near the garage and kitchen then the floor plan is more user friendly.

Try not to buy a house plan before purchasing a building lot or home site. If this happens, then the number of lots available that meet the criteria of the house plan intended for construction is greatly reduced because one will need to find a lot to fit the house plan. It is much easier to buy a lot with a certain type of house plan in mind than shop for a lot for a particular house plan.

Online Investing – Is it a Good Idea?

There are still a fair amount of people that use a full service brokerage. But is it necessary? And if not, should you use switch to online stock investing? Is it a good idea?

Consider that online investing has existing for approximately 15 years. So if something were to happen regarding online stock investing it would have happened by now. That doesn’t mean you should just sign up with any company that exists. You have to do some research.

To start, stick with the well know firms such as TradeKing, ETrade, and Schwab. Do a financial check on them using Yahoo or Morningstar. Make sure whichever company you decide to go with that they are in good financial standing. Also, contact their customer support to see how quickly they get back to you. You can ask some questions regarding the service, etc.

So now that you know that online trading is safe and you generally know how to pick an online broker, what are you waiting for? Online trading is not only fun to do, it has the advantage of being typically a lot cheaper. As for stock advice, how good has your full service broker been with that? Did he/she get you out of the market before the current economic crisis happened or did they advise you to keep buying and selling stocks and hence generating a commission for them?

The online brokerages are all very competitive so you can expect a lot of features that can help you with your investing. They often offer research, historical quotes, and live price quotes. If you like to trade options there are usually a whole slew of tools dedicated to that purpose as well. Often the online broker will let you set up a link between your bank account and the brokerage to allow easy transfer to or from accounts. This makes funding much easier.

As for executions of trades, I can tell you that has gotten much better over the years. This is from personal experience. But you can control that too by looking at the bid/ask prices and specifying exactly when price point you want. For long term trading horizons this is less necessary but it is there for people who feel it’s important.

Online stock investing is easy to set up, easy to use and has the added advantage of being cheaper than working with a full service broker. The advantage of instant access to funding and trading also gives you the benefit of knowing that your transactions will be executed in a timely manner. The point is, online brokers are so competitive that they will constantly work to provide you with more options and better service. If you are still a little wary about taking the plunge, you can start out small and make little trades for smaller amounts of money. Then you can increase your purchases the more comfortable you feel with the online broker and its service. in the end everyone wins with online stock investing.