Three Different Kinds of Pergola Roofing For Your New Outdoor Structure

A pergola is a structure that’s often attached to your house which provides a covering for a deck or patio. In other cases, it’s a self-standing building with a lot of open air that can be used for a variety of different purposes. Unfortunately, many homeowners who put up beautiful pergolas find out they aren’t using them because they don’t provide enough protection from hot sunshine or rain, and they want to add some type of a roof that will keep nature out a little more. Among the different types of roofs you can find those made of plastic and fiberglass, metal, or fabric.

Either plastic or fiberglass can be a good choice for a roof for your pergola. The materials are quite durable and hold up well under extreme weather conditions offering you a more permanent pergola roofing option than many others you will find. Roofs made of these materials are designed so that they block the UV rays of the sun and rain, but they still allow a lot of light to come into the structure. Plastic panels are easy to find, inexpensive to buy, and simple to cut and fit to the areas of your roof. Fiberglass, on the other hand, may not be as readily available, but it is an excellent green choice, because it’s often made of recycled materials.

Metal roofing makes an excellent choice, because it is the most durable which also makes it the most permanent. Metal roofs are easy to install, since it’s a simple matter to cut and shape them to any style and size of a pergola roof. Roofs can be made of tin, copper, aluminum, and steel. Steel will, of course, be the toughest roofing material, but it will also be the most expensive. Any of these metal roofs can be very attractive and set off your structure well. Besides, isn’t it soothing to think about sitting in your pergola listening to raindrops falling on a metal roof?

A third option for pergola roofs is fabric, and there are many kinds of outdoor fabrics you can choose from. Some of these fabrics will provide you with UV protection which means your furniture will stay looking nice longer, and not nearly as much heat and light will penetrate through them. One of the good things about fabric roofing is that it comes in so many different colors and patterns that you can make a real statement with it. You can buy matching shades for the sides of your pergola if you so desire to give yourself more privacy and more protection from the elements.

Putting a roof on your pergola can make it even more functional. Therefore, if you’d prefer not to have the sun or rain beating down on your head while sitting in the pergola, you can look into installing a roof of plastic, fiberglass, metal, or fabric.

How To Lay Laminate Flooring – Step By Step

Laminate flooring has become one of the most popular flooring options for many reasons. It is affordable, durable, easy to install, and can be very attractive looking. There are lots of choices available today, many of which simulate much more expensive solid-wood, engineered, or premium exotic wood floors. Most even have textures that can effectively mimic real wood or popular styles like “hand-scraping”.

Sold in planks, tiles or squares, most have an interlocking tongue and groove system that doesn’t require glue or adhesives, making installation extremely simple and perfect for DIY. Stain and fade resistant, usually they can be installed on top of existing surfaces like wood, vinyl or tile. One of the best features is that they are resilient to changes in temperature, moisture, and other factors that can cause complications such as expansion and contraction. There is usually no waiting time after installing, and they can handle traffic immediately!

Like all products, quality does vary, so be choosy about what you buy. Some factors to consider when choosing a product are:

Thickness– Thicker floors are generally a sign of higher quality and better durability and longer wear.

Back layer– some products have better back layers, such as moisture resistance or noise-dampening. If not, these can be added as separate layers during installation.

Wood veneer– some products have really wood veneer on the decorative layer.

Warranties– warranties vary by maker, so choose one that suites your needs.

Ready to find out how to lay laminate flooring? Here we go!

So assuming you’ve chosen the perfect product, here is the scoop on how to lay laminate flooring. Of course this information on how to lay laminate flooring works for most products, but you should always check your specific product for any special installation requirements.

Tools and Materials Need to Lay Laminate Flooring:

  • Foam Underlayment
  • Vapor barrier (if required)
  • Laminate Flooring
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Trim saw and chisel
  • Circular saw / table saw
  • Hammer
  • Tapping Block
  • Pull Bar

Step-BY-Step How To Lay Laminate Flooring

Step 1: Acclimate the Planks for 48 Hours- As I explained in my article about linoleum, it is critical to let you materials acclimate. At least 48 hours ahead of time, stack them in the room where they will be installed in an alternating pattern. Open the boxes and other packaging and set the thermostat to normal temperatures.

Step 2: Prepare subfloor and remove base molding- Make sure subfloor is clean, and CAREFULLY remove any base moldings.

Step 3: Install base layer- If installing over concrete, install a vapor barrier (a thin plastic sheet barrier). Follow manufacturer guidelines for the correct thickness to buy (usually 6 mil), and overlap the seams by about 8 inches (if required). Then, install the foam under layer if your laminate product does not have an attached foam layer, which many do. Roll out the under layer along side the far wall where you begin installing the floor (usually you start against the longest wall).

Step 4: Trim the Door Jambs- Much easier than cutting the flooring around the jamb! Put a trim saw on top of an upside plank over the foam underlayment (to give you the correct height), and make the cut. Chisel it out with a chisel or screwdriver.

Step 5: Install the First Row- Lay planks parallel to the longest wall, using 1/2 in spacers every 12 inches or so to give a space for expansion (“breathing room”). It will later get covered by the molding.

Step 6: Lay the rest of the flooring- Lay each row one by one, matching tongue to groove, and tap in place using scrap wood to protect the flooring making sure there are no gaps. Stagger the rows with each other for a natural look, so you will want to cut the first board so they are offset by about 8 inches and don’t line up perfectly, which would look odd.

Step 7: Lay the last plank- Most likely, you will have to cut the last plank because it will be too wide to fit correctly (unless you get really lucky). Use a mark plank on top of the second to last row, slide another plank over it to the spacers and mark the line, then rip cut the plank on your line and install.

Step 8: Install thresholds, transitions, and moldings. You will buy matching thresholds or transitions if you need them for doorways if they change to a different flooring material. Usually they are cut to size and glued down. Remove the spacers and install the base moldings over the expansion gaps. Calk for a nice finish.

Step 9: Have a beer and marvel at your greatness.

Wanna see it in action? Here Are My Picks for the BEST Video Tutorials on How To Lay Laminate Flooring:

1. Here is a good beginning-to-end video on how to lay laminate flooring (sorry about the commercials).

2. This is a GREAT video that shows how to lay the last row, and also how to lay laminate flooring over concrete.

The Pros and Cons of Group Health Insurance

The health insurance marketplace is certainly challenging, but count your lucky stars that at least you have choices. To that end, this article is going to explore the pros and cons of group health insurance.

Group Health Insurance Pros

  • Group health premiums are subsidized by the employer. Generally, an employer must contribute at least 50% of the “employee only” premium. As such, if you are the employee, you can likely get a richer health plan for less premium than you would pay in the individual health marketplace. However, the cost to add your dependents to the employer’s plan, may be cost prohibitive. In this case, and assuming that your dependents can qualify, then you may want to put them on an individual health plan.
  • Group health premiums for large families are the same as for small families; whereas in the individual market, you pay a separate premium for every family member. So, if you have a large family, you may be able to get a better deal by adding them to your employer’s plan. As with any insurance change though, don’t make any changes without consulting with an experienced insurance advisor in your state.
  • Group health insurance in most states is guaranteed issue – meaning that you can’t be turned down because of pre-existing health conditions. This is a real blessing if you or a family member has a medical condition that prevents you from qualifying for a individual plan. But, this is a double-edged sword. While being guaranteed issue is a huge benefit for those with pre-existing medical conditions, it does come at a price. This one feature alone accounts for most of the disparity between group and individual insurance premiums. Yes, that is right – in most states, individual health premiums are almost always less expensive than group health premiums.
  • Most group plans cover maternity. So, if you are planning on having more children, you should definitely consider hopping on to a group plan. While you can add a “maternity rider” to individual plans, these riders tend to be expensive, restrictive, and otherwise provide less value than the coverage you can get in a group health plan. That being said, if you are considering having more children, we recommend that you contact a health insurance advisor in your state for advice about what is best for your family. The right answer is different for each unique family.
  • Economies of scale can benefit employees of large employers. It is true that the larger the group, the larger the risk pool is in which to share the risk which CAN result in lower premiums than are available in the individual health market. However, the guaranteed issue “issue” CAN wreak havoc on this type of plan. For example, a large employer with good benefits tends to retain employees for long periods of time. Eventually, the average age of the group starts to creep up and so do premiums. In addition, people with large medical needs (expensive medical conditions) tend to be attracted to large plans because they are guaranteed issue with good coverage. And so, over time, not only is the group’s average age increasing, but the group is also attracting employees with large expected health costs. This is the dilemma that we see with large health plans like the U.S. auto-makers and even government plans. Eventually, those with lots of medical needs begin to outnumber those with little or no needs and so premiums are driven higher and higher.

Group Health Insurance Cons

  • Group health insurance can be more expensive than individual health insurance. ln fact, if you don’t factor in the employer’s contribution towards premiums, then individual plans are almost always more affordable than group plans. However, as we discussed earlier, not every one can qualify for an individual plan.
  • What happens if your employment is terminated (by you or your employer)? Yes, you will likely have some benefit continuation rights (through COBRA or state continuation programs), but these benefits can be very expensive and the term limited. So, eventually, you either have to secure another job with benefits, an individual health plan (assuming you are insurable), or possibly join a government health insurance program for the uninsured (if you are not insurable). Let me emphasize, that you should NEVER be without some form of major medical health insurance. Being without this insurance puts you and your family in serious financial jeopardy. In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.¹ To the same point, every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Group health insurance premiums are rising faster than individual health insurance premiums. Why? Because most group plans are guaranteed issue and since they accept “all comers”, they tend to attract those with high medical costs. On the other hand, most individual health insurance plans are medically underwritten. This means that the insurance company can say “no thanks” to any application that it deems to not be in its interest. Put yourself in their shoes – would sign a contract to provide $30,000 in annual benefits to someone that was only going to pay $3,000 in premiums (for a net loss of $27,000) if you didn’t have to? Hmm…let me me think about that one. The answer is a resounding “NO!”. Because of this underwriting process for individual health insurance, insurance companies can control their risk and more effectively manage their profitability, resulting in more stable prices.

As you can see, there is no clear cut answer as to which type of insurance is the best. The answer depends on a number of factors and is different for every unique situation. The best advice I can give you as you consider your health insurance options — get good advice from an experienced health insurance advisor.

Following Building Codes – Vital in Installing Stair Railings

Stairs serve an important purpose to people whether it's installed in a home or building. But apart from providing access to people in going to and descending from upper levels, a vital component of the stair also ensures the safety of users.

The stair railings protect people from falls during their ascent or descent. These are made up different parts – baluster, newel post, guards, landing newel and handrail. The balusters are the ones that protect people from falling off while the handrails help users in keeping their balance while going up and down the stairs. These same parts give the stairs its unique style.

As stairs come in different types, shapes and designs, they also need to be constructed in a variety of ways. Depending on the available space in a home, stairs can be gradual or steep, wide or narrow, hidden or grand. The tread part or the one you step on can also either be an open or closed type. In addition, stairs can be built right in place or you can have one ordered according to your specific requirements.

Another thing to take into consideration when installing stair railings is to be aware of the building codes in your locality. Any stairs need to comply with codes to ensure their safety to all users. The codes pertain to the heights of risers, depth and width of treads as well as placement of handrails. While there are national standards, local codes vary and feature different restrictions. Your city or county building department is your best source for the local requirements.

The restrictions normally are on the types of stairs, their measurements, head-height clearance, placement and construction of railing. If you're installing a spiral stair, for instance, you need to follow codes concerning measurements. A tread depth of 9 to 10 inches at 12 to 14 inches from the narrow side is usually required by many codes.

For the balusters, the opening or spaces between the vertical posts should be from a minimum of four inches to a maximum of six inches. This is so because a wider space in between can allow small kids to get through which may result in accidents.

The handrails need to comply with certain codes as well. For stairs situated against the walls, the required handrail height in the US should be from 30 to 38 inches only while for open stairs, it should be from 34 to 38 inches. In Canada, the allowed height is 32 to 36 inches. A handrail is a must if the stairs are above 24 inches high.

It is also critical that stair railings include handrails that can be easily grasped by users. There have been many cases of slips and falls from places that use wide handrails whether made from wood or metal. The flat and wide types used in stair railings are not advisable because they are not friendly to the hands.

Protection is the foremost goal of stair railings but this can only be achieved if the proper building codes are followed during installation.

Secret Shopper Sample Report – How To Take The Pain Out Of Submitting Your Mystery Shopping Report

After all of the fun and excitement of your first Secret Shopping assignment, now comes the part that gives many people the most difficulty, putting together the report.

It's worth noting that there really is no such thing as a standard report. Each assignment will have been compiled based on the specific requirements of the sponsor company and in collaboration with the Secret Shopping Company a list of questions will have been devised and assembled into a unique questionnaire.

Having mentioned that, there will normally be a basic structure to the questionnaire that will apply to most assignments. This will include:

  • First impressions
  • Salesperson approach
  • Salesperson selling skills
  • Closing the sale
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Overall shopping experience

Many of the questions will require answers in a multiple choice format, Yes / No, Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Poor, Unacceptable etc. and these will be in a 'tick box' or radio button format. These tend to be straightforward and cause little difficulty.

Some questions will then ask for additional information, and this is where most difficulty is experienced. Just remember that all your sponsor is interested in are the facts relating to your experience and not your own opinions. Keep this in mind all the time you are completing your report and so long as you have followed the brief to the letter, the whole process will become much easier.

The following is a sample section summarising the whole shopping experience based on the purchase of a small inexpensive digital camera from a retail branch of a major chain of camera stores. This sample will give you an idea as how to structure your report and can be broken down into the relevant parts depending how your questionnaire has been put together.

"I arrived at the store at 11.00am. There were 6 customers in the store, one of whom was being served at the counter. There were 3 salespersons behind the counter, 1 was serving the customer and the other 2 were having a conversation. Neither of the 2 who were not serving acknowledged me.

There was shelving around 3 sides of the store with a large display of cameras behind a glass frontage along the longest wall. The cameras could be accessed by sliding 1 of several glass doors. All of the doors were closed and had locks although I was not able to check whether all of the doors were locked. I browsed the shelves for a while and after approximately 3 minutes I approached the counter where the 2 salespersons were continuing with their conversation.

As I arrived at the counter they immediately stopped their conversation and a young man, in his early twenties, smiled pleasantly and asked how he could help me. He had a name badge with the name of Tim, in large letters which was easy to read. I could not see the name of the other employee as he turned and went into a room at the back of the store. He appeared older than Tim, I estimate early 30's and was taller at about 6 foot. He had dark curly hair and wore glasses.

I explained to Tim that I was looking for an inexpensive digital camera that I could take with me on holiday. Tim asked me if I had any model in mind and also what my budget was. I told him that I did not know much about digital cameras and that I did not want to spend more than $ 150. Tim was really helpful and went over to the glass cabinet, unlocked one of the sliding doors and picked out 3 cameras. He re-locked the cabinet and brought the cameras over to the counter. He then used one of the cameras, a Sony, and spent about 5 minutes explaining how digital cameras worked, the features of this particular model and the best way to get your photos printed. He also explained that most cameras come with a fairly basic memory card and that it would be a good idea to purchase an additional card with extra memory. He then went on to explain the key differences between the 3 models he had selected and the one which he would recommend, the Sony, which was on offer and was being heavily advertising in the store with posters on the wall and a display in the store window. The Sony was not the most expensive of the 3 but fell in the middle at $ 139.99. Tim seemed very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and answered my somewhat loaded basic questions without appearing bored.

I told Tim that I would like to buy the camera at which point he asked if I would like to purchase an extended guarantee in addition to the one issued by the manufacturer. I asked him what the benefits were and he provided me with a leaflet which he then talked me through. I told him that I did not think the additional cost was worthwhile and he accepted this and did not try to persuade me any further. He then suggested that I should consider a camera case as the Sony did not come with one as part of the package. He showed me 2 cases that the camera would fit and when I chose the cheaper of the 2 at $ 9.99 he said that it would be perfectly adequate for my camera and did not attempt to push the higher priced case.

I paid by credit card which was processed quickly. Tim placed the camera and case in a plastic bag, displaying the store logo and also gave me a voucher for free printing for 30 – 5 "x 7" photographs. He had not mentioned the voucher earlier. He smiled, said he hoped I would enjoy using the camera and if I had any problems to get in touch. By the time I left, the other 2 sales assistants were both helping customers and there were no other customers in the store. "

Outdoor Lights – Types of Lighting for Your Facade, Backyard and Walkways

Outdoor lights can make or break the landscape or overall design of your house facade, backyard, walkway or garden. With the perfect type and location of your lighting, your home could appear romantic, elegant, festive or whatever mood you want it to have. It is used to simply have the basic function of illuminating areas at night so you would not stumble while walking and also to discourage any criminals or intruders.

Innovative designs by light manufacturers have broadened its function. These days, you have a vast selection of lighting products to choose from. They are particularly created to withstand conditions outside your house. They are also generally easy to install. Outdoor lights are usually classified according to how or where you will place it.

Flood or down lighting are usually bright bulbs set on a high location and pointed down towards the ground. They generally function as security lighting. This type includes those with motion sensors, which causes the light to automatically switch on as soon as any movement is detected in the area.

Walkway or path lighting are installed low on the ground along the sides of your walkway or even driveway. You can also use them for dramatic effects on your front lawn and backyard. Designers often suggest you put considerable space in between walkway lights, varying from 6 feet to 10 feet, depending on the size of your area. Placing them too close to one another can create an airport runway feel. Halogen bulbs are the most commonly used for this purpose; however, LED bulbs for walkway lighting are easily available in the market, too. Environmental issues have also made solar-powered lighting in demand for this function.

Scenic lighting, as its name implies, is used to create the scene that you want in a certain area of your patio, garden or front yard. Diffused down lights are used to illuminate an object downward. Sometimes, foot lighting is done using a spot light placed on the ground and directed towards a plant, bird bath or fountain. Back lighting is a favorite among designers as it creates a silhouette of a featured object like a statue or a tree projected on an outside wall or a fence.

These are just some of the common outdoor lights you will see around. If you are enhancing your outside area, you may even place Oriental lanterns hanging on your trees, Tiki torches in your patio, and marine lights in your pool. With the many options available in the market today, you will never run out of ideas.

Network + Exam Tutorial: Ports, Port Numbers, and Sockets

If there's one thing that can be a bit confusing to many Network + certification exam candidates, it's the concept of ports and sockets. Well, it was confusing to me when I got started with computer certifications! Let's take a look at ports and sockets, and why we need them in the first place.

Past Network + exam tutorials have focused on how two PCs start communicating, but what we've got to keep in mind is that host PCs may and probably will have several different kinds of communications going on at the same time. A single PC may be sending email, receiving a Telnet request, and accessing the Internet at the same time. These conversations have to kept separate .. but how?

Through the use of ports, that's how. Each potential type of conversation a host can have is preassigned a port number, and these port numbers allow different types of communications to take place over the same physical cable by keeping them logically separated.

Let's go back to that PC we were talking about. If the PC is using SMTP for email communications, it will use port 25. At the same time, the host will be using port 23 for Telnet and port 80 to access the web via HTTP. The same physical cable is in use, but the communications are kept logically separate by use of port numbers.

A socket is simply the host's IP address followed by a colon and the port number in use. If the previously mentioned host had an IP address of, the socket number for SMTP would be, for Telnet, and for HTTP.

The range of port numbers is quite large – 0 through 65,535 – and the 0 – 1023 range is known as the well-known port numbers. Do not worry, you do not have to memorize all of them! As you gain more and more experience with networks, you'll be surprised how many of these you remember without even thinking about it. In the meantime, for both your Network + and CCNA exams as well as working with real-world networks, it's a good idea to know this list of often-used ports.

File Transfer Protocol uses both ports 20 and 21.

Telnet uses port 23.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) uses port 25.

Domain Name Service (DNS) uses port 53.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) uses port 80, while the secure version of HTTP, HTTPS, uses port 443.

Believe me, this is just a very short beginning list of port numbers you'll need to know to pass the Network + exam. If you're familiar with these protocols, that's great – and if you're not, just look for upcoming Network + exam tutorials!

Opening Up Your Swimming Pool For the First Time – Read This

A lot of us are seasoned pros when it comes to maintaining our swimming pools. It's almost like second nature. Like riding a bicycle, or brewing your coffee in the morning. I can do that with my eyes shut. But for a lot of newbie's or even people that have only owned their swimming pools for a couple of years it's a struggle still every year when its time to open their swimming pools. Well read on, here are a few tips on opening your swimming pool for the upcoming season. First thing of course is to remove the cover removing any debris and pumping off any water that has accumulated over the winter season. Make sure you clean your pool cover off and dry it before you put it away so any mold or mildew will not build up on it.

Remove all the freeze plugs and devices you have installed in protecting your swimming pool from freezing. All of these items will have to be removed before you go to your next step. It is now time to start up your pool pump and pool filter. If you did not clean it when you closed the pool last year, do it now. Prime your swimming pool pump and start er-up. You will hear a lot of action in your plumbing because of the air that has been trapped in the pipes. Make sure you release any built up pressure before opening up your equipment. When running, go around and check for any leaks. Time to clean the pool. If you had a mesh pool cover, there will be dirt and debris in the pool. Scoop out debris with a leaf net, and vacuum the rest. If you had solid cover it should be relatively clean. If not, check for a hole or improper installation of that cover.

Add necessary water to get the level to halfway up your pool skimmer openings. Then you must let your pump run for ½ a day to let the new water circulate with the old. After that is done you can check your water balance and add your swimming pool chemicals. The best thing to do is bring a water sample to your local pool professional for analysis. If you do not know be sure to follow their procedures so you do not damage any of your swimming pool surfaces. Install all ladders and handrails if you have them. Please make sure you inspect your diving board before you let anyone use it. Look for any stress-cracks and if you find a single one, replace your diving board. If you have tiles around the top of your pool clean them with baking soda only. You should never use any abrasives or cleaners in your pool. For a good reference on swimming pool start-up procedures can be found National Pool Council's website.

The Black Hole

Have you ever heard of anyone saying that they sent their resume to a company but it seems to have disappeared into a black hole? How does that happen?

Let's ask some questions of the process.

Did you send an unsolicited resume to randomunknownhrperson (at) If it was not marked "spam", it may still not have made it to the real, live person who takes care of HR. Does the company have a person whose sole job is HR or recruiting? If not, the office manager probably reviews the emails to HR @ company. com and deletes them if the company is not currently hiring – your resume attachment may not ever get opened.

Did you send your resume to a resume blasting company? Those really, really rarely get opened. Did you send it to a recruiter or "headhunter"? Most recruiters will not open unsolicited resumes because the chances that you are looking for the position they are currently working on is microscopic.

In these cases you will probably not even get a "yes, we got your resume" auto-responder email.

If you send your unsolicited resume to someone who is not a personal friend inside a company, you may not get a response either. If it is to someone who knows you, they may acknowledge getting it and promise to send it along, but if they send it to HR, it will probably be deleted or trashed, unless the person you are sending it to is the hiring manager or a very senior person, and even then, it depends. If they pass it on to an actual, relevant hiring manager, but one who is not currently at the resume receiving part of the hiring process (either he has not yet gotten the budget to hire or is already scheduling interviews), it is unlikely that he will respond to a generic resume. Is the company actually in the process of hiring someone with your skills? How far along the process are they? If they have narrowed down the slate to the current top 3 they will not want to slow it down by adding you (unless your resume is amazingly steller and directly speaks to their current problem).

So an unsolicited resume, even given to someone who knows and likes you, is unlikely to get you an interview, and even less likely to get you the job.

If the company actually posts the job online or in a newspaper or magazine, they are soliciting resumes and applications. But check the dates. Sooner is always better than later, but you do not want to be the very first or more than a month after the posting date. The Applicant Tracking System is the name of the Black Hole in this case. Computers are dumb. They do not know a synonym from a homonym, never mind the name of the software that replaced the one in the job posting. If you misspell a keyword, they will not be able to pick it up. If there are 7 ways to say something and you do not use the one in the job posting, your resume will never see the light of day again.

What ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) are good at is sending an auto-responder when you complete the application process. Filling in all the forms will be necessary, or into the black hole you go. It can take up to 4 hours with some systems and it will ask for all the same information on your resume plus other things you never thought of and will have to stop to look up. Another thing that the ATS system is good at is flagging how many times you have applied to work at the company. If you apply for jobs that really do not fit you, you will never get a job there. You will be flagged as a nuisance.

Only 20% of jobs are filled by job postings and some of these are guided through by contingency search people who go around the system and send your resume in directly to HR (see above). Most HR teams have notes on the career page of the company website saying that they do not pay contingency search fees. If a contingency search firm sends in your resume, but you had already applied and are in the ATS, the company will not pay the recruiter, probably will not look at your resume, and you may be flagged a nuisance.

75% of all jobs are filled by personal networking. This is when you are known, remembered, liked and trusted by the hiring manager and / or a member of his team. At that point one of them will ask you for a resume. It will not be seen by the ATS or perhaps not even by HR until after the hiring manager decides to hire you. It can have more than one way to say something and you will know what keywords, language and lingo that particular hiring manager uses to talk about what they are doing in that department. You will not want to apply to other departments because you will know where you fit. You will know that you bring the right skills to the table and know how to solve the problem.

LED Light Helps You To Reduce The Illumination Cost

The cost distance between the LED light and fluorescent lamp is less than five times at the present time. Although the cost of LED light's per watt is still ten times of the usual lights, its illumination is less than five times because of its unidirectional lighting source delicate design and the high-efficiency driving circuit. Lumen is the Correspondence point of illuminance, which is concerned most by customers. The cost gap between every watt and illumination means that the LED light will save fifty percent of the electricity than the fluorescent lamp.

Currently, the cold white LED light is economic in non resident illumination fields, because the cost can be saved after ten thousand hours of lighting on, and the service life the LED has already exceeds this level. Considering the influence of the value, some governments offer twenty percent of the subsidy. What is more, the price is reducing continuously. There is some space for the cost reduction, including the improvement of lighting effect, and the return of profit. The price of chip has begun to reduce. The cost of LED illumination will decrease by thirty percent to forty percent. This price will start the family application sooner and later.

The projects of demonstration and application can change people's cognition of LED light. The abnormal competition and experience make the customers not agree the long service life of the products. The LED illumination concerns about many different areas, such as the chip, package, heat conduction material, drive and so on. About twenty percent of the electric consumption is illumination all over the world, while the LED light is able to save half of the power consumption. This is where the potential of the LED light lies on. The package and application are the areas need more attention in the year of 2011. Because the cost of chip only takes fifteen percent, the later chain usually has so many added values. Integrated circuit related Friends The is VND5E025LK .

Outdoor Lighting – Discover the Many Benefits of Outdoor Lights

One of the easiest ways to add some much needed ambiance to your home is through the installation of outdoor lighting. There are many different ways that you can use outdoor lighting around your home. The most common use for outdoor lighting is that it can provide an added security feature to your home. These lights that are used for security around your home will most of the time be motion activated and will turn on when they are triggered by something or someone moving past. These lights can help keep your home and the surrounding area safe when you are both home and away.

Another use for outdoor lighting is to do just that; provide light. For example, if you are outside grilling on the back porch, you need some sort of light in order to see what you are doing. Without this kind of light you will not be able to see how the food is getting cooked. This means that you are guessing, and no one wants the person who is cooking their food to be guessing. This problem can be solved with simple light fixtures around the exterior of the home. In addition, putting these lights outside your home will allow you to be able to enjoy all the night time activities outside, such as swimming or hot tubs.

There are many types of outdoor lights that you can use in a variety of ways. One of these types is called uplighting. This is where your fixtures are aimed upwards to accent and draw attention to specific areas of your home. Another type is downlighting. This type of lighting is used for putting a spotlight feature on certain designated areas around your home. Safety is a big concern for these lights. Zone lighting is another popular lighting form. This is where you will have various zones lit up around your home for such things as pools, gardens, flowers, plants, and other accentuated pieces.

There are some safety measures that you should take when doing this. First you should always have your wires in conduit, which encases them so that animals and the like will not be able to chew through them. Leave a little bit of wire around the fixtures so that in the event that you want to adjust them, you will be able to move them around freely.

Outdoor lights can be a wonderful thing to invest in. They will add so much more character to your home, and provide a whole new area for you to enjoy after the sun has gone down.

Top Barriers to Effective Listening and How to Overcome Them

Effective listening is every bit as important as effective speaking, and generally much more difficult. Although numerous barriers to effective listening can make the practice difficult, there are several habits one can adopt that will lead to a higher level of listening proficiency.

Listening is the most important part of the communication process. However, listening skills do not come naturally to most people; they require willingness, practice, and patience to develop.

There are many reasons individuals fail to listen successfully. These include:

1. Interrupting

2. Judging

3. Faking Attention

4. Becoming Emotional

5. Tuning Out

6. Jumping to Conclusions

7. Becoming distracted.

Interrupting is a problem for many reasons. First, it is aggressive behavior and will most likely bring a negative response from the speaker being interrupted. Second, it is difficult to listen and speak at the same time. When the listener is interrupting, he or she is certainly not listening fully.

Faking attention (often associated with tuning out) can be offensive and is usually hard to hide. This is hurtful and sends the message to the speaker that the listener doesn’t really care about what the speaker is saying. If an individual cannot listen actively in the present moment, it is best to let that be known and suggest that the communication process be put off until a point when there are no distractions.

Becoming emotional can hinder one’s ability to listen. It is important that the receiver be aware of his or her emotions. If the sender is sending a message that is offensive, it is important to acknowledge that fact and be aware of the fact that something is threatening a breakdown in the process. When a receiver is angered, it is easy for him or her to miss the most important part of the sender’s message.

To avoid jumping to conclusions, it may be helpful for the listener to wait until the speaker is finished before responding. It can also be helpful to ask questions throughout the conversation to clarify issues, or to let the speaker know that he or she is communicating in a way that suggests a certain thing, which may not be what they are intending to say.

It is easy to become distracted while trying to communicate. Often one has many tasks to do or there is a lot of other activity taking place while someone is trying to communicate. This can be a problem because it leads to miscommunication, faking attention, and tuning out all together–all of which threaten future communication.

Although the reasons for listening breakdowns are numerous, there are many ways to improve listening skills. These are:

1. Provide clues that you are actively involved

2. Concentrate

3. Refrain from formulating an immediate response

4. Try to prepare beforehand

5. Be prepared to accept revisions

6. Be sure the environment is conducive to listening.

Clues that one is actively listening can go a long way. It is important to the speaker to feel like the listener cares about what the speaker is saying. This is because it tends to send a message about whether or not the listener cares about the speaker in general. When people don’t feel like you care about them, they don’t trust you and the communication process quickly breaks down. Therefore, it sis important to use verbal and non-verbal clues that you are listening, including eye contact, gestures, and acknowledging statements.

Concentration requires willingness and practice. Practicing active listening helps with concentration but there are other elements that contribute to your ability to concentrate on what someone is saying. When you’re involved in an exchange of information, you can’t be multi-tasking. It’s important to position yourself in a way that maintains eye contact while allowing you to watch for body language and other non-verbal forms of communication.

It is important to refrain from formulating an immediate response. You won’t be able to fully concentrate on forming a genuine understanding of what the speaker is trying to say if you are too busy thinking about what you are going to say in response to them whenever it is your turn to talk. Instead, it is important to approach the communication as a dialogue. Dialogues help us to learn what others have to say by forcing us to think about their message and to acknowledge what we have heard rather than just responding with our own opinions.

Preparation can have a huge impact on the outcome of a dialogue or any form of communication. To prepare for an interaction where effective listening will be important, it is essential to keep in mind the purpose of the exchange. What decisions need to be made and how the collaboration between sender and receiver relates are important factors to keep in mind. It is also helpful to approach the situation with the attitude of really caring about and wanting to know the truth. The dialogue should be viewed as an opportunity to uncover the truth and make progress, rather than as a challenge or conflict.

A willingness to accept revisions will keep the communication process running smoothly. Often people are so busy trying to defend their positions that they fail to really stop and think whether they could be improved upon or viewed in a different way. This is what is often referred to as “spending 90 seconds expressing an opinion and 900 seconds blindly defending it.”

Choosing the right environment is important because it will help the listener focus and avoid distractions. Although there is no set environment which is best for all communication, in general it is best to avoid areas where there are high levels of activity, loud noises, an uncomfortable temperature, poor air flow, etc.

Implementing these techniques takes willingness and patience. The effort is worthwhile however, as the long-term benefit of improved communication skills will greatly increase one’s chances of success in the business world. Effective listening is the most important part of the communication process. It is probably the most difficult to master also. There are many barriers to effective listening, but practicing listening techniques will help one overcome these barriers and become a good listener.

Bighorn Gun Safe Review

If you own a firearm you need to own a gun safe. They protect your loved ones from firearm related accidents and protect your valuables from everything from theft to fire damage. The gun safe is an important piece of hardware that every gun owner who owns more than one gun (or even those who only have just one gun) should own so that they can have the piece of mind that they are safe from their guns and their guns are safe from everything else.

There are a ton of gun safe brands out on the market today and they range in quality from downright crap to incredibly safe and expensive. Today we're talking about a gun safe brand that falls somewhere in the middle of all of that even though it leans a little bit towards the higher quality safes. The brand I'm talking about is Bighorn.

In my basement sits a Bighorn gun safe. It's the Bighorn Model 7144 and it fulfills all of my needs. I own a few hunting rifles and a couple of hand guns and this little safe fits them all in comfortably. It has a sleek black body and proudly displays the Bighorn logo on the front. The door is four inches thick and it's locked with a LaGard Group II Security Dual Lock. The inside of the safe is upholstered with a felt material and you can rearrange some of the pieces inside to best suit your gun collection. The safe has massive one and a half inch diameter door bolts on the side, top, and bottom of the safe. No thief is going to get through this baby.

With the Bighorn Model 7144 I do not have to worry about theft because it is so strong in the locks and I do not have to worry about fire damage either. It is safe for 70 minutes in a 1200 degree fire because of its powder coat finish. The safe itself ways 1050 pounds so no one is going to walk off with it.

The Bighorn gun safe is probably one of the best deals on the market right now. They usually come in at a price range of around $ 800 so you feel like you are getting quality and not crap. I would definitely recommend a Bighorn gun safe if you're thinking about buying a serious safe for your gun collection.

The New Wallpaper?

Re-Decorating – Stop before you spend too much!

Are you like me in the process of re-decorating? Have you spent the past few days, weeks, months trying to think of a really creative way to add some cool statement walls into your design.

Well I think I’m one of the lucky ones as I’ve found a really cool alternative to the typical paint or wallpaper solutions that are the norm.

That’s right I found a solution to adding the wow factor to my walls and it’s not going to cost me the £98 PER ROLL that I my girlfriend was struggling to justify to me, as we tried in vain to pick from a shortlist of rather expensive yet very cool designer wallpapers.

What is it… Designer Wall stickers

That’s right, in one last ditch attempt to find an alternative, I stumbled upon designer wall stickers or wall decals as they are known in America. These are extremely cool, wall stickers made from thin vinyl plastics that have been cut out into patterns or cool graphical shapes and can be easily applied to your walls!

There are a number of pros for me, in particular the main one being that I get bored of looking at the same colours and designs very quickly making these ideal because once you’ve had enough of them, you can simply peel them off the wall again and they won’t leave a single mark! That’s right they are non-destructive and only use their natural static cling to stick to your walls there are no adhesives that will tear off pieces of your plaster or paintwork! This also makes them ideal if your renting an apartment and don’t want to have the landlord to answer to when your eventually moving out!

The other is their price! Some of the coolest and largest designs that I’ve seen cost as little £85.

That’s remarkable cheaper than the 4 rolls of designer wallpaper we would have required equaling just under £400 and that’s without the wallpaper paste, brushes, time!

Time that’s something we all are in short supply of too and applying these beauties certainly won’t take you all weekend to do and you won’t need to get in the professionals as anyone should be able to apply these stickers its really simple. If your stuck or worried you’d have problems just log onto and search for “applying wall decals” there are tons of video tutorials that can give you handy hints on how to get them onto your walls in no time!

I’ve been that bowled over by them that I’ve decided to let everyone I can know about them. Hence this article but also I’ve scoured the web and listed all of the best sites to buy these from in my blog. So if your looking for inspiration why don’t you logon and take a look at the gallery too there are tons of new wall stickers to whet your appetites!

How to Get a Cheap Wyoming Homeowners Insurance Quote

Insurance rates can vary dramatically from company to company, and you do not want to pay more for your insurance than you have to. Here's how to get a cheap Wyoming homeowners insurance quote with a reliable company.

Insurance Rates in Wyoming

Wyoming homeowners typically pay right around the national average of $ 621 dollars a year for their homeowners insurance. Fortunately for Wyoming homeowners, their insurance bill has remained fairly stable even while homeowners on coastal areas are finding their costs skyrocketing.

Save on Your Insurance

To save on your insurance bill …

* Make sure you do not buy too much insurance. You only need enough to replace your home and your possessions. A home inventory will help you figure out how much coverage you need for your possessions.

As for your home, call a real estate agent or a builder and find out the average cost per square foot of homes in your area, then multiply that figure times your home's square footage.

* Take advantage of the auto / home discount most insurers offer by placing your auto and home insurance with the same company.

* Check what discounts your company offers for safety and security features. You can often reduce your premium by something as simple as installing smoke detectors or deadbolts on the doors.

* Set your deductible as high as you can afford. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

* Shop around for the best price. Go to an insurance comparison website and get quotes from several companies at once so you can easily compare them. Choose one that offers an online chat option in case you have any questions.